To B- or not to B-

This week should be a very happy one. Our wonderful grandson, Yehuda, will be celebrating his becoming a Bar Mitzvah this coming shabbat. He has worked very hard, learning to chant two full torah portions (it’s a combined reading) and a special maftir and his haftarah- quite an accomplishment for a boy of 13. We have been looking forward to spending a happy, peaceful shabbat, the whole family together, at kibbutz Ein Tzurim.

So what’s the problem? Well, for about a week, the people who wanted Gaza to themselves, the ones for whom we uprooted thousands of Jews from their homes, have been firing rockets at our cities and communities that are within firing range of Gaza. They are aiming for our civilian population- firing, hiding behind their own children, safe in the knowledge that we will not target the innocent.

On Ein Tzurim, there have been sirens and people have run to shelters.

So what do we do?

Oh, I know. Both sides should show restraint. Thanks, world.

Fame in the era of plagiarism

This morning I received an email from my son. He had received an email from his brother-in-law in Los Angeles with this question:

“Isn’t that your father?”

accompanied by this photo:
Bar Mitzvah

Well, yes. It seems as if my husband is moonlighting in LA teaching Bar Mitzvah boys… and I never even noticed.

Or maybe it’s because someone saw this photo
Matan's Bar Mitzvah

in my blog in this posting about our grandson Matan’s Bar Mitzvah in Jerusalem.

And yes, my husband did teach him.

So, thanks, sir, for making my husband famous, but I can guarantee that you can’t hold a candle to him when it comes to teaching boys for their Bar Mitzvah.

Oh, and one more thing, a request for permission to use the image would have been polite. There is no such thing as a secret in the modern world.

Hello People!*

There actually has been a lot going on…

I had had a little minor surgery for a bump on my nose a few weeks ago. I had shown it to my dermatologist and he had filled out a referral to the plastic surgery clinic at the hospital. When the lab results came back, they suggested I return because the biopsy contained only fragments and there could be more of the nasty cells around. Before the surgery I had read of a surgical technique called “Moh’s Surgery” that involved removing some cells, staining and freezing them, looking under a microscope, and then determining if there was anything more to be removed and then continuing the surgery at the suspicious area until they were sure everything looked clean. I had asked the surgeon and he didn’t actually know what I was talking about.

So, when I arrived to have the procedure done a second time, I had two concerns 1. that they wouldn’t get everything this time either and 2. that they would cut me more than necessary. The surgeon looked at me and said that he didn’t think he could do the surgery. He called his associate. They both agreed that because they couldn’t see anything at all that needed to be removed, they could not do the operation. They said I needed a technique called “Moh’s.”

They sent me to the dermatology clinic and they in turn gave me the name of one of the three doctors in all of Israel who is trained in the procedure. I thought I was pretty relaxed prior to my appointment with him, but at one point, on the way to his office, we sat down on a park bench and I could feel my heart beating rapidly. I took my pulse and it was at 120. I was nervous.

We waited well beyond our appointment time, but the doctor who greeted us seemed competent and was easy to talk to. He told us that the dermatologist should not have referred me to a plastic surgeon in the first place. He also told me that the first surgeon should not have operated. We made an appointment and late in June, I will have the Moh’s surgery done. Having set up the appointment for the surgery, I became much more relaxed.

Other things this week…

On Sunday we bid farewell to our shabbat guests. All three of our sons and their families (combined, that yields 19 children) came to Modi’in to take part in the bat and bar mitzvah celebration of our older daughter’s children, the oldest of our boy/girl twin grandchildren. It was a fabulous shabbat. Our daughter and her husband set up their garden to accommodate feeding the assembled masses of people and that included putting in lighting for Shabbat evening and making sure there was adequate shade for shabbat during the day. Aside from three older boys who stayed with friends of ours, we had everyone in our family who was visiting staying at our house and amazingly enough, we were able to give everyone a soft place to sleep.

The garden looked lovely, the food was good, the singing was beautiful, and having a shabbat with the whole family in a place where the noise did not reverberate was amazing. After all, when you have more than 25 children, most of them 12 and under, there is some noise.

We were very proud of both Matan and Lilach for their accomplishments and for being terrific young people. Lilach did research on how women feel about lighting shabbat candles and together with her mother, wrote a book that also contains pictures of candles and pictures of her family. It is fabulous! Matan read his haftarah beautifully. Kol HaKavod to both of them.

Sunday morning we took our car in for its annual test. Talk about nerves! The day we were at the doctor, we had the car serviced at the Toyota dealer in preparation for the test. On Sunday we took our registration (fee paid at the post office) and our compulsory insurance card (fee paid at the post office) and went off to Lod to have the car inspected. At the end of the inspection process the woman who I paid for the inspection said that there was a problem and if I wanted to know what it was I could ask the inspector. I went to ask the inspector. He said, “do you want to become a car mechanic?” I said that I only wanted to know what was wrong with the car. He said, “I can give you the name of a school that teaches you to be a car mechanic.” When I returned to my husband who was having a new back license plate made for the car (the reflective qualities had diminished over the last 11 years) the man waiting on him asked me why I was upset. I repeated what the inspector had told me. He said, “Come with me to my boss.” I didn’t go. There were two reasons. 1. I am really bad at remembering faces and can’t be sure which of the men it was who said it and 2. I didn’t think it was wise to lodge a complaint against someone who could make sure we failed the inspection again when we returned from getting the car repaired.

We decided to take the car to a nearby garage. The man there looked at the car and told us that we actually didn’t have a problem. A little oil in one place made it look as if we had a leak, but we didn’t. That cost us 100 sheqels. Then we went back to the inspection station.

We waited in the shorter line and then they began to do the inspection. The man who made us the license plate came over and told them that we were fine and so they let us go through. We paid an additional 66 sheqels for a retest, but in the end, it was done. We have a year until the next test. It will take that long for me to feel relaxed again.

And this week… I am working on the information packet on the June tour (information about the locations we will be visiting) and of course preparing for a fabulous trip to BARCELONA with my older daughter!

*to understand the reference, you will have to see an amazing act of unparalleled talent performed my members of my family.

A Party of 8 / Anniversary 43

If I had been smart, 43 years ago today, I would have prayed that my marriage would be happy. I would have prayed that it be fruitful and yield us a houseful of healthy, beautiful, bright children. I would have prayed that we would live to see them have children of their own.

I didn’t. I was so young and naive and trusting, I just believed that I was walking into a new and wonderful life. I never thought about the details.

And now here I sit with all of those prayers more than answered.

This past week we took six of the oldest grandchildren on a four day cruise on the Mediterranean to celebrate their having reached the age of bar/bat mitzvah (two of them well before the event). I roomed with the three girls and my husband was with the three boys. The children were wonderful. We had only happy times with all of them. They loved exploring the ship, watching the sunset, feeling the strong headwinds while on deck one night, and eating from the buffet. Most of all they enjoyed the land excursions to Marmaris (Turkey), Kos (Greece), and Limassol (Cyprus). They loved shopping and bargaining. They loved interacting with the people on shore.

What I loved was the time to get to know them when no one had to think about preparing meals or washing dishes or cleaning up afterwards. It was just pure pleasure to be with them.

The whole crew in Marmaris

The whole crew in Marmaris

Grandparents: Don’t miss an opportunity to do this for your grandchildren! (and I have a great tour to China that would be just perfect…)

Seeds and seafaring

This is a week of anticipation. On Sunday we will be taking 6 of our grandchildren on a cruise. This is not only a very exciting adventure, but it is a lesson in what we therapists call “seeding.”

Our grandson Daniel had his Bar Mitzvah a couple of months ago. Like his father, Daniel has a good sense of humor, and as he spoke about himself and his family, he mentioned something to the effect of our being tour guides and traveling and joked that for our information, he’s free to travel at the end of June.

We came home that night and the seed that he planted in my mind began to grow. Two years ago I had the opportunity to take my oldest grandchild with me on one of the tours I guided to China. We spent 11 days in Beijing and it was a completely wonderful experience. I was lucky enough to have some other young girls on the tour. The girls were 12, 13, 17, 22, & 24 — and amazingly, they really enjoyed being together and formed a little subgroup. Staying in the same hotel gave them an opportunity to get to know the neighborhood and feel at home there. We saw some magnificent sights such as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City- which I talk about here and here and here , and the Summer Palace– a place where the group had a lot of fun! My granddaughter learned to bargain (she’s much better than I am) and she learned some Chinese words, and best of all, we now have a shared experience that was very very special.

It seemed to me that Daniel’s joking about a trip made sense and that there had to be a way that we could treat him to something special. My first thought was that my husband could take him somewhere. Unfortunately, an opportunity like the Beijing trip doesn’t come along very often– perhaps never again since it was pre-Olympics and now everything is much more expensive. Then I began to think, “why should he have all the fun!” and the idea began to form in my head. Finally we decided that we could go on a cruise and take advantage of the fact that the 3rd and 4th passengers in a room were half-price. So we decided that my husband would room with three boys and I with three girls. Our oldest grandson was unable to come with us because he has a bagrut, a Regents- type of exam on Sunday, the day the cruise leaves. So, we looked for the next younger grandson. Unfortunately, he had an end of the year celebration during the time we will be away, so we went for the next one. In the end, we will have three 13 year olds, one 12 year old, and two 11 year olds. We will have two brothers, two sisters, and boy/girl twins with us.

We will be visiting for a couple of hours each in Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus. We think it will be wonderful!

And the most amazing part is that the whole idea came from a little seed that Daniel planted in my brain. See how powerful offhanded jokes can be?

Mazal tov, Matan!

It’s hard to believe, but we are in the full swing of Bar/Bat Mitzvah season… I expect it to last for many years even as wedding season will begin to overlap.

By now there are 3 Bat Mitzvah girls and 2 Bar Mitzvah boys and today, the third put on his tfillin for the first time. All of us went out to celebrate together. OK, not ALL of us, but all of my children and some of the grandchildren.

It says so much about the future- not just the future of our family, but the future of the Jewish people, as I see these young people take their place as contributing members of the community with dedication. Their bright beautiful faces give me hope.

Read what my daughter Rachel said about this special day in her son’s life. here