Saturday, October 31, 2009

Who's your daddy?

Yom rishon, 14 Cheshvan 5770.
There is a delightful phenomenon that I have been noticing in my community.  I am sure that it happened in the States as well; but either it is more prevalent here, or I was too busy to notice it as much there.

Whether it is Israeli, or generational, or a combination of the two, I see a lot more fathers walking their kids to school, pushing strollers, carrying their babies around in "snugglies," and pushing shopping carts while having lively discussions with two-year-olds about paying for the Bamba before we can open it.

Some local fathers were pleased to offer their thoughts on the subject.  Patiently explaining around my pidgin-Hebrew with their pidgin-English, they gave opinions as varied as -- well, as varied as opinions you would expect from a group of Jews.

One Israeli said that it is clearly generational.  "This is something my father would not have done.  It was for the woman."

A slightly older oleh from America agreed with him.  "My father used to drop my mother off at the hospital when she went into labor, and then he'd go to work.  It wouldn't have been 'normal' for him, in his generation, to spend this much time with the kids."

Another young Israeli father said, "No, it's Israeli.  We want to spend more time with the kids.  And also it's to give more time to the mother."

A very practical South African oleh said that it's all about the schedule that life in Israel requires.  "It depends on who landed the A.M. job, who needs the car -- like that."

Upon occasion, I wasn't sure if I was photographing a father or a big brother walking the little one to gan; but even this variation is one I did not perceive in the States -- at least not as often.

In Baltimore, fathers frequently drove their kids to school.  So another factor may be the city vs. small-town differences:  It would have been a bit trying for fathers to walk their kids the four miles to the school my sons attended.  Naturally, life was lived pretty much between station wagon or van drop-off and pick-up.  ("Car Pool" is practically a religious affiliation in Baltimore.)  But even when school was not involved, I just don't remember as many fathers having the "dad-and-kid" time to push strollers and shopping carts.

Whatever the reason for the frequency of fathers picking up and dropping off their children, taking them shopping, and in general "hanging out" with them -- it is a pleasure to the eye and ear.

And anybody wanting to make a crack to an Israeli dad about spending too much time playing "Mr. Mom" might want to be sure that the former IDF soldier isn't carrying both a baby in a backpack and his M16.

This post dedicated to all of the kids of Neve Daniel, for cheerfully  submitting to these pictures.  May you continue to enjoy the bracha that is your Abba for long and healthy years.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sometimes the photo says it.

Yom chamishi, 11 Cheshvan 5770, Rachel Imeinu's yahrzeit.

Man ought not fantasize about resting peacefully overlong.  
Life has a tendency to keep growing right over him.

Think I'll get back to work now...

I'm a bit late about it -- but good reading stays good reading, no matter when we hear of it.  Haveil Havalim #240: The Aliyah Edition, is up over at Yisroel's Aretzeinu, which happens to be a very good blog. 

And in honor of Rachel Imeinu's yahrzeit, here is one of my favorite songs by Udi Davidi:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Welcome to the world, Baby Moses!

Yom rishon, 7 Cheshvan 5770.

On Saturday, another righteous Gentile entered the world.  (I know his mom and dad pretty well; so I have no doubt that he will be raised to be righteous.)

 Moses John Albert Bosley, 
aka "MoJo," according to his Israeli uncles

Baby, mommy and daddy are doing fine, baruch Hashem.

Dear Baltimore kehilla:

I just want to remind you of and thank you for your kindness and kiddush Hashem of many years ago, when a nice Gentile boy and girl and their baby daughter came to visit your fair city.  You treated them well, and helped them to learn how wonderful are the Jewish people.  You helped them to understand us.  (Even if they still don't quite "get" kosher for Passover soup nuts, and what anyone would see in horseradish mixed with apples and nuts on cardboard.)

And to everyone else who didn't know us then, but has been davening for the health and well-being of this baby and his mother, may you have many blessings to share with your families, over long, healthy, happy lives.

Todah, hamon todah!

Kehilla:  community
Kiddush Hashem:  sanctification of G-d's name.  When a Jew behaves as he's supposed to, G-d gets good press.
Todah, hamon todah:  the biggest "thank you" I know how to say in Hebrew

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Just a little reminder: we're all in this together.

Yom shishi, 5 Cheshvan 5770.

Hat tip to Haim Makovsky

Mashiv HaRuach U'Moreid HaGeshem:  the prayer for rain, very important to a country that relies so heavily on G-d's blessing of rain for its very survival.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"There is a place for you here." *

Yom revi'i, 3 Cheshvan 5770.

We talk a lot about the need to re-invent yourself, in order for aliyah to be successful.

Certainly, there are people with great jobs in the States, to which they commute a few times a month.  That is one way to support one's life and family here in Israel.  And there are other people who land great jobs in their fields prior to making aliyah or once they get here.

But the vast majority of olim must "think outside the box."  For example, we have a friend named Ronda Israel who was a yeshiva administrator for six years.  When she made aliyah, she had to come up with another way to make a living.  The "Chocolate Dreams Company" was born.  (I have tasted this gourmet chocolate, and heartily recommend it!)  Ronda's attitude about making it in Israel inspired our thinking about financial survival after aliyah.

The Dearly Beloved has done many things in his life.  He worked in an auto manufacturing plant; he drove all over the East Coast making brochure deliveries.  He played college football and soccer, and even a little rugby.  He played guitar with several different kinds of bands over many years, sometimes for money, mostly for fun.  He spent 20 years in the US Army, leading men and dealing with "special" weapons.  (Don't you just love euphemism?  Like "friendly fire," special weapons are just as deadly as if we called them nuclear -- and just as nerve-rattling to be responsible for.)

And then he made aliyah.

We have a military pension, thank G-d and Avi's 20 years of service.  We are willing to live simply.  We satisfy ourselves with inexpensive entertainments.  We don't own a home or a car.  And none of the kids is planning on Columbia U or Harvard.  So we don't have to fly to America a few times a month, or spend hours and hours commuting to the city and working at a desk, to sustain our life here.  But we do need a bit of "odd-jobbing" to make ends more or less meet.

We found out rather accidentally that the Dearly Beloved is a remarkable guitar teacher.  Someone heard him playing at a kumsitz, and asked if he could teach guitar to her son.  He decided to give it a try.  And what has unfolded over the last several months has been a joy for me to watch.

My husband doesn't "do Hebrew."  He is not going to sit through hours of ulpan.  And yet, in order to teach some of his young students whose first language is not English, he has begun to teach himself some musical terms in Hebrew.

And because he is a gifted enough teacher to teach the student, rather than the curriculum, he has stretched beyond country and rock to teach himself various types of Jewish music, and even reggae and jazz!  Each of his students has a totally different and tailor-made instructor.  And he and they are having fun.

Let me share a secret with young marrieds everywhere:  one of the sweetest stages of marriage is yet to come.  Watching your spouse re-invent himself when the world expects him to go quietly into that good grandfather night is very cool.  It is eye-opening to see that your life's partner still has lots of life and learning in him.

And the wisdom to know when to rest.

  The Dearly Beloved pretends to take the news seriously.
* In 1991, we visited Rav Noah Weinberg, zt"l, and asked him for guidance about making a living in Israel.  This (the title of this post) is what he said to my husband; and now we know what he meant.  Everyone has to make his own place -- but it is here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Goldstone Verbally Stoned with Facts

Yom shlishi, 2 Cheshvan 5770.

Thank you, Colonel Richard Kemp, for lifting my spirits.  Thank you, Jack, for the heads up.

Another little twist in Jewish political history in the making:  a Jew speaks against his people, and a Brit stands up for us.  Life is never boring for The People of the Holy Land.

Haya li kelev shachor katan.

Yom sheni, 1 Cheshvan 5770, Rosh Chodesh.

I haven't felt much like writing lately.

But a few observations, now that I do.

In Baltimore, a series of hot mornings like this would cause me to say, "I sure hope we get rain soon, so that the chance for fires is diminished."

In Israel, these past several rainless days and higher-than-usual temperatures have caused me to say, "I sure hope G-d isn't really, really mad at us and planning to withhold the desperately needed rains, leading to drought and famine, chas v'shalom."

It is easier to see here how much everything matters.


Haveil Havalim: The Post-Chagim Edition, is up at Ima's place.  Enjoy some of the excellent and varied writing that the J-Blogosphere has to offer.


 Reasons to get up in the morning:

Chodesh tov!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Hero in the Hands of Hashem

Yom shlishi, 25 Tishrei 5770.

I just stole this from my friend Chavale's blog, for two reasons.  I have a cold, which means that I have no creative energy on tap.  And the message is profound and important, and reminds me that, as our friend Aaron Shamberg once said, "All of our problems are good problems."  Read Chavale's entire excellent post here.

Boaz Shabo and his wife just received the more-amazing-than-we-know gift of triplets.

Photo by Amir Cohen for YNet

Asked how he will now be able to start dealing with three little babies, Boaz said, “It won’t be easy – but a lot of things have not been easy over the past few years. I tried to look at everything from the positive, optimistic side, and put the difficulties aside; I think that 50% of the problems are psychological. If a person says that it will be hard, then it will be hard. But if you decide to try to get up in the morning with a smile, and know you are headed in the right direction, then it will be much easier for you. You can’t let the obstacles stop you; put them aside.”

“I just want to emphasize," Boaz said in closing, "that everyone must know: Never give in to despair. There is always a light at the top, even if it might involve a hard climb. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, at which can be found light, happiness, faith, and all of our goals.”

We Jewish people are fortunate to have among us such heroes and role models.  May their example give us the strength to endure, and to try to fulfill G-d's expectations of us.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Monday, the J-Bloggers Chilled

Yom shishi, 21 Tishrei 5770.

When the Dearly Beloved and I were discussing the first J-Bloggers' Convention last year, we fantasized that it would be a big auditorium filled with people with laptops, furiously typing away to each other, with zero eye-contact.  After all, even though we commented on each other's blogs regularly, most of us had never met in person.  What could we possibly talk about, without the benefit of Google and spell-check?

After both last year's and this year's J-Bloggers' Conventions, the biggest complaint was that there wasn't enough social time around all the programming.  So this year, we decided (via comments on each other's blogs, natch) to create our own social gathering.  And, since we were in charge, we decided to invite family, lurkers, and readers.

RivkA (with a capital A) from Coffee and Chemo organized the event (and continued organizing, even during the event).  We met at the Japanese Bell in Gan Sacher, where rumor had it there was a sukkah.  It took the Dearly Beloved and a couple of other intrepid souls a bit of a hike to find it; but there was, indeed, a very tiny sukkah (conveniently placed near a large, open-air beer stand).

I met "friends" whose writing I had enjoyed for some time, but had never met, such as Mrs. S from Our Shiputzim.  (Which reminds me that I want to speak at some point about how people who meet each other through their extensive written thoughts are not strangers by the time they meet in person...)

I met again bloggers I'd met at the conventions -- but this time, I had time to hear their thoughts.  I had a very interesting conversation with Gila of My Shrapnel.  She gave me much food for thought, and the reminder that it is vitally important to listen to opinions that differ from one's own.

Yisrael of My Right Word deigned to join our merry band, even without our beloved Batya ("She LEFT me," he lamented), who was off doing something -- probably important -- which we might get to read about in me-ander or Shilo Musings or at Arutz Sheva.  (Can you say "prolific"?)

Even Jameel permitted himself a short break from The Muqata to mingle with the holy Yidden.  And I found one blog I'd never encountered before -- but which could easily become a favorite -- thanks to David of Balashon - Hebrew Language Detective.

There were sweet family moments.

Toby and her daughter take a moment away from A Time of the Signs

while RivkA and her dear husband say "gvina!" for the camera, as does Robin from Safra-Knit with her cute bunchkins.


There were very nice moments between fathers and daughters and between sisters...  and between soul-sisters.

An added bonus:  the Dearly Beloved found some more cheerful students for the strumstick.


Everyone's kids found the usual ways to amuse themselves:  kite flying, Frisbee, gummi, wrestling on the lawn...  whatever they would have done at home, but with new friends.

There were many deep and interesting conversations on many topics:  Israeli politics, American politics, religion, kids, sports,music, beer...  even a little Toirah.

The Dearly Beloved quotes George Harrison ("I've got blistas on my fingas!") in a conversation with Gidon of How to Succeed as an Atzma'i.  I think there was music and beer in this conversation.

Klara of treesandforests and Devra of Every Day and its Challenges share an animated conversation, probably about the heavenly taste of Devra's mushroom and onion quiche.  And then Klara has a moment with Gila...

...which Gila then shares, ala "telephone," with Debbie of Jerusalem Notes: Fiberwork by Debbie.

And just like the teenagers in my yishuv, the conversation eventually broke down into groups of girls, and groups of boys.  (Nice modeling, parents.) 

We were having such a fine ol' time that the conversations went into the evening.

All in all, it was a rockin' good time.  We look forward to the next one, at which we hope to see some of the bloggers who wanted to come but couldn't make it, such as Aliyah06 of Baka Diary, the namesake of I'll Call Baila, and West Bank Mama.

Where else can you get entertainment like this -- for FREE?  Moadim l'simcha!