Monday, August 31, 2009

Swirling Thoughts #24 – Bob may be claustrophobic but he’s not afraid of wild dogs.

It’s a process.
People keep asking how my aliya is going. It’s not a slam dunk, I tell them. It’s good, we’re happy, the kids are happy and we are ‘getting there’ but it’s clearly a work in progress. I have mail we just figured out how to collect (there are post boxes near the makolet – we just now identified which box is ours) which is all in Hebrew. Bob asked the pizza store owner to help him translate some of the mail but, for the most part, it is sitting somewhere in my house, unread. I’ve been calling my pharmacist in Brooklyn to translate medications and dosages. I just emailed my Brooklyn butcher to translate cuts of meat. I’m making my Rosh Hashanah menu and working on finding ingredients to make the foods we are accustomed to eating. To get ready for a bat mitzvah tonight I had to unpack about 7 different boxes – I was in search of shoes, a scarf and a purse to go with a particular dress. I found soap, towels, games and hats but had no time to put them away. Tonight I will climb over opened boxes to reach my bed.

sent bob to walk home babysitter. to protect her from roving packs of wild dogs hanging out in the judean hills.

There are no signs for this.
Wild dogs crossing. They run in packs in the hills here. We hear them barking at night and see them near the Northern gate from time to time. Tonight there were 8 of them crossing Route 60. They cross in pairs, which is probably why you see two dead on the road and not one when you do see them that way. We slammed on the breaks to avoid them and then watched in disbelief as they crossed.

How many Elite mazal tov taffy’s should you give a child to get them through a one hour tour of the Kotel tunnels? As many as it takes!
The kids did great. Even Rosie - never underestimate the power of Israeli taffy. We ventured through the narrow tunnels – we got to a spot which is just 97 meters from the Kodesh HaKodeshim – along the underground portion of the Western Wall. We learned about many things – Bob’s claustrophobia being one of them. It was a nice way to spend one of our last days before school starts.

A great story as told by Rav Riskin tonight at a Bat Mitzvah at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, outdoors, overlooking the old city. He told it way better but the story went something like this:

After 5 years of working toward the building of a city of Efrat on the biblical location of Efrat, with 190 families ready to join him on aliya, Rav Riskin was getting ready for the cornerstone ceremony symbolizing the opening of Efrat in 1981. The impetus for building Efrat came from Golda Meir who thought it imperative Efrat exist as the link between Hebron – representative of the beginning of Jewish history – and Jerusalem – representative of the culmination of world history. He went to a ferbrangen of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, A’H, whom he adoringly characterized as the caretaker of all Jewish people of our generation, hoping to receive a blessing for the ceremony. He received two. The Rebbe told him, outright, you will build the city of Efrat. The Rebbe walked away and then walked back to Rav Riskin. He repeated the blessing. The next day Rav Riskin arrived in Israel and his Israeli counterpart shared with him the bad news – a terrorist attack in Hebron caused the cabinet to rule against any settlement activity and the opening of Efrat was effectively cancelled. Rav Riskin persisted and ultimately was set up in a meeting with Menachem Begin – the only person who could overrule the cabinet. He pleaded his case and told Begin about the blessings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Begin realizes he’s met Rav Riskin prior – in a meeting with Rav Soloveitchik and his own father, Benny Begin. Begin, moved, pulls out Der Judenstaat by Theodore Herzl, known as the father of modern political Zionism. He opens to a section where Herzl speaks about creating a Jewish state where rabbi’s will flock with their congregations to the state. He concludes it must be that if Rav Riskin is prepared to come to the Jewish state with his congregation they must be allowed to. He permits the opening ceremony and thus, Efrat is born on the biblical spot of Efrat in a miraculous intersection between the Lubavitcher Rebbe and Menachem Begin.

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