Monday, October 27, 2014

Life as the Sea, Friends like Waves

Yom sheni, 3 Cheshvan 5775.

I am so far behind in writing to you about what has been happening in Israel! It seems to happen any time there is a great weight of sadness. I have much respect for my friends in the Jewish blogosphere who continue to write even when their is much collective Jewish pain. So I have to catch up soon, with God's help, as I climb with everyone else out of the well of sadness.

I want to write about our seventh aliyaversary which passed on October 10. I want to tell you about the wedding of Stunt Man and Molly McMolly! I also mean to write about the Parade of Nations (who love Israel. Admittedly, some countries were probably represented by all five of the people therein who love Israel...). You need to hear about the storyteller I met at Stunt Man's place of work. And about the chol hamoed trip up north to see the Atlit detention camp, and the Tomcar rides, and the visit to the Druze villages.

For now, I'll just share yesterday's adventure in Netanya with a few of my "Coffee Talk" online friends. (We have been meeting for a few years online. At a certain point, it occurred to us that meeting each other f2f -- face to face -- was an important component of our friendship. We have met several times now, at various places around Israel.)

As with many other stories, this one is best told in pictures. Whenever my friends get me off of my beloved yishuv, I am reminded of how easy it is to move around this fascinating country... and I mean to do more of it!

 We juggled locations and times and dates and schedules... and in the end, only seven of our group could meet this time. What did we discuss? Our brilliant children and grandchildren, of course. Our latest endeavors, artistic, professional, or related to our hobbies. ("You are looking at the Summer Triangle; and those three bright stars are called Deneb, Altair and Vega...") I hang out with very talented, smart ladies: musicians, photographers, biologists, hematologists, psychologists, restaurateurs, writers, mothers, wives, friends... So the conversation is far from boring.

We met at a mehadrin dairy restaurant right on the water. I can recommend the food; though for the prices, the portions were not as generous as some of my favorite places in Jerusalem. (Except for the health salad -- which could easily have fed two or three of us!)

During our meal, we also shared Torah thoughts, and spoke about the concepts of achdut (Jewish unity), especially given current events. We managed to discuss politics and our very strong opinions about Israeli foreign relations with complete respect and peace -- which is one of the reasons I love this very diverse group so much!

 I arrived earlier than the rest, thanks to catching an Egged bus before the traffic jams that trapped my friends began. The downside was that I had a lot of time without them. The upside was that I had a lot of time with God's amazing creation, and with other interesting people I was privileged to meet.

They introduced themselves as Izzy and Denise Edelstein, formerly of South Africa, and now living in Atlanta, Georgia. They were here for weddings and grandchildren, the best of everything! Izzy was for many years a family doctor ("They don't make those anymore," he said). We chatted about the home visits of the family doctor in the "olden days." He and Denise have been married for 61 years, and are clearly best friends.

They took a photo of me, too, "just to prove you were here!"
Lovely people, who seemed to have all the time in the world to chat with me about travel and children and getting older. May the Dearly Beloved and I grow older with as much grace, and with the blessing of the fine friendship they share.

I also met a young couple with a baby named Tzippy in her stroller. I explained to her that her parents would not always take her on their romantic dinner dates. She was really fun! Her father mouthed the words silently with a joyful-but-hollow-eyed smile: "She's. still. up..." I commiserated, and gave him the bracha that she would not still be up at 3 AM...

And then there was the Decorator Cat... and the mongoose. Yes, we have it all in Israel.

 Strange but cute little fellows! Fortunately, they seemed calm about being photographed.

 Of course -- next to the wonderful and charming human beings with whom I was blessed to spend a few hours -- the best part is the sea and the setting sun. May we always remember to be grateful, no matter how sad, difficult, or frightening our world becomes, for all of the beauty and goodness around us.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has made the great sea.*

We dedicate our words of Torah and our acts of kindness to each other from this special evening to the memory of Yemima bat Avraham Avinu, הי״ד, that her innocent neshama might have an aliyah.
photo from Voices magazine online
Treat life as the sea,
heart as the seashore, and friends like waves.
It never matters how many waves there are.
What matters is that one wave touches the seashore.
an anonymous Urdu poem

*said upon seeing the ocean or the Mediterranean Sea for the first time in thirty days

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