Archives for March 2011

How it feels

Here’s what it felt like:

I was sitting at my computer and suddenly on Facebook, I saw that there was an attack in Jerusalem. First I felt disbelief. How could that be? Things have been calm for a long time. I went to the four Israel news web sites I use: Jerusalem Post, Ynet, Haaretz, Arutz Sheva. None of them any news about it. But meanwhile, my husband turned on the radio and told me that yes, it was true.

I went to the TV and watched, in the same way that I watched on 9/11, helpless. The energy drained from me. I heard the people on TV talking about how quickly they got to the scene, how quickly they rendered assistance, and how quickly all of the injured were taken from the scene. Within 15 minutes, all of the victims were on their way to the hospital.

We had planned to go to Jerusalem tonight. We went.

On the way, traffic coming from Jerusalem on the road that passes by our house was backed up from the checkpoint near us for several miles. Police were at the entrance to Modi’in as we left and we saw police cars and policemen in profusion. We know that our neighbors often enjoy carrying out multiple attacks.

I wondered– is another round of violence in the offing?

We got to Jerusalem and things were normal. It was cool outside. There weren’t a lot of people on the streets, but it was not unlike other weekday evenings.

We had dinner at a quiet restaurant.

We returned home. Our route took us past the scene of the attack. It was cleaned up and people were standing there, waiting for buses.

By the time we got home, we were able to read the statements of world leaders. Some, like the UN Secretary, understood that this was terror, targeting innocent people, and that there was no excuse for it. Others equated the attack on our people with the accidental injuries of people used by terrorists as human shields. But the most cynical accounts were those that cited a bus stop as the target of the attack. I suppose to them, Israelis are not worth mentioning.

This comes in the same week that rockets and mortars targeted our cities causing damage and injuries.

And there still are those who single out Israel as the cause of trouble in the world– who demonstrate against us. boycott us, hate us.


I am so very very tired of it.

I’m an enabler

OK, I admit it. My husband has a habit and I am the enabler.

I get him his supplies.

I make excuses for why he’s not available.

It’s been going on for years.

It makes him happy.

He says he’ll stop, and I believe him.

His habit: He studies Daf Yomi. Each day he studies a page of Talmud. He’s been doing this for over five years.

I print up his calendars for him so that he doesn’t lose track of which page he’s on. Sometimes I take pictures of the pages of the Talmud and put them on my computer so that when we are on vacation he doesn’t have to carry the heavy volumes along with us and still can study.

When he is studying and people call, I tell them he can’t come to the phone because he is busy.

I support him because this study makes him happy.

And when he does finish,in about a year and a half, I think just as the women whose husbands get Ph.D.s have been known to receive a PHT degree (putting hubby through) I deserve a PHTDY. And I’m guessing there lots more women who also qualify– every one of them enablers.

Don’t do it!

Today I was waiting for my husband and I was sitting across the room from two young people. I am guessing that they were about 15 years old. They were a boy and a girl. I watched as the girl kept leaning forward, placing her face under his face. She would move closer and then closer yet. She kissed him and moved back and then moved forward again, placing her face under his once again. At one point he stood up and moved to a position farther from where she was sitting. He sat down and in no time, there she was, moving in on him- once again touching him and placing herself very close to his face.

And all I could think was, “Don’t do it!” I wanted to tell her that she is a lovely looking girl. She has so much that she can accomplish in her life. But the message that she was giving to this boy and the world in general is that she is so hungry for affirmation from a boy that she has no problem with practically assaulting him in public.

I felt so very sad for her. I thought about what her future might be like. At this rate, she could be pregnant by 16 and opportunities for her own development as a person will be limited. Poverty may follow. And what does she have to give to the next generation?

And coincidentally it is international women’s day. What message do we really need to give to young women?

We need to teach our daughters and granddaughters that it’s a big world full of wonderful opportunities. The time for romance and marriage and children comes later, but first they need to devote themselves to developing as people. They need to discover their interests and expand their capabilities. They need to learn what their particular talents are and then to nourish them and enjoy them. They need to learn about how to have healthy relationships, based on shared values and not just perceptions of “coolness” or appreciation of someone’s looks. Friendships between boys and girls, in my book, are just fine. But things need to be kept light and friendly. They don’t need to rush. They are going to be adults hopefully for a long, long time.

Yichiam to Klil

On Friday, on our way to a lovely weekend at a field school on the coast of Israel near Achziv, we took a hike along with friends of ours on a trail that started at the Crusader Fortress at Yichiam and ended in the ecological village of Klil. We passed lots of other hikers- old and young, Jews and Arabs, all out on a magnificent day.

Because it is already spring in Israel, which one determines by seeing the blooming of the almond trees

we were treated to a very lush experience. Climbing down the mountain we saw this vista

We walked along a dry creek bed, filled with stones.

and we saw beautiful cyclamens,

brilliant anemones,

and even dazzling wild roses.

It was the perfect prelude to a lovely shabbat stay by the sea where we enjoyed the brilliant sun and the clear blue water of the Mediterranean.

Time for a rant

First of all, I believe that people have a right to make choices, so anyone who doesn’t agree with me has every right to his/her opinion and I am not trying to reshape the world in my image.

So here’s what is driving me up the wall…

It’s the increasing separation between the genders that is going on in Judaism. I happen to feel very comfortable with that separation in a synagogue, assuming that the mechitza allows women to feel that they are part of the service, but I really don’t like the growing trend. It started, at least in my mind, with women getting together to study on shabbat at mincha time when the men were at the synagogue. Although there were always women’s organizations, now there are lessons, psalm groups, dramatic presentations, musical plays, etc. for women only to attend.

Here’s my problem: In the olden days when the men used to go out and play poker with their friends or bowling or to lodge activities (like Masons and Lions Club), women resented being such a minor part of their husbands’ lives. Now, women are invited to be out of the house in the evenings and spend their leisure time with other women and, most importantly, without their husbands.

I’m sorry. I married my husband so that we could share life. I don’t enjoy running out and doing every possible thing I can to stay away from him. He is the one I want to spend my life with. But now that has become an impediment to my being part of the community where the norm is to take part in women’s activities.
Climbing Pre Rup in Cambodia with my husband

I do think that women can and should enjoy each other’s company. We share struggles and challenges with each other and help each other in practical ways as well. However, I think it is a mistake to have women’s primary leisure activities being in the company of other women and excluding their husbands. I think it has negative implications for marriage and family life.

Let’s face it, family life is not always a bed of roses. Couples disagree about childrearing, household chores, finances, and a myriad of other things. One ingredient of the glue that keeps them together and happy is that precious leisure time when they can just “be”– when they can enjoy talking with each other or together taking a walk or reading or watching a video or listening to music. Shared experiences build positive feelings. For healthy family life, there need to be a sufficient number on an ongoing basis. Siphoning off a significant amount of time to same gender activities just doesn’t seem healthy.

But that’s just me. Feel free to disagree.