Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Swirling Thoughts #193 - the world through Becky's eyes

Let me start by saying I don’t have television. I listen to the news in Hebrew on the radio which means I catch about every 4th word. Practically speaking, that leaves me to my computer for both my information and to get a feel for the local, national, and international sentiment about that information – in other words the vibe.

My iGoogle homepage streams headlines and links from Arutz Sheva, The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, Ynet, CNN, The NY Times, The Wall Street Journal, The NY Post, and Fox News. I also get Top Stories which can come from anywhere from the Christian Science Monitor to Al Jazeera. No kidding. Some of these sources (and I’m not talking about the last two) are like a car crash – you don’t want to look but you just can’t look away. But Bob always says – it’s good to know what everyone is saying, especially when it’s about you.

As the information keeps streaming, the local vibe is shifting. From grief (over the murder of 5 members of the Fogel family by terrorists) to outrage (over international coverage or lack thereof) to spiritual healing (adding Shabbat candles) and finally to practical healing (how to help the orphans, help the settlements, even how to help our own young children deal with this horror).

My mind was on that last topic from the outset. As I sent my kids to school Sunday morning I contemplated picking them right back up so that they wouldn’t hear about the tragic event. Maybe other kids would be talking about it. Maybe the school would have an assembly. I asked a friend. She gave it to me straight.
The culture is different here. The prime time news is on at 8pm, not eleven. The bus drivers listen to the news on the morning drive.
I was most concerned about Becky, my 2nd grader.
She will hear about it. From friends, from the school. This is not America. They do not shield children from reality.


And so I waited for my kids to come home and see what kind of damage control I could implement after the fact. I started with Asher.
Did you hear anything in school today?
Uh, no.
Were your friends talking about anything?
Uh, no.
I moved on to Becky.
Did they say anything to you in school today?
Did your friends say anything?
I was in the clear. All the other American parents had the same instinct as I – shield our small children from the unexplainable and incomprehensible tragedy that occurred – not across the Atlantic, mind you – less than 100 km from our home.

But then it occurred to me to ask Becky just one more time.
Becky – did you hear anything scary today?
As if on cue she blurted it all out.
Yes. A family was sleeping on Shabbat and terrorists went in their house and killed the parents and three of the children.
Who told you about that?
Quietly, she answered.
My teacher. We said tehillim for them.

We spoke for a while. About who, why and how. We spoke about safety. She repeated the same question everyone is asking:
Why did they kill them?
We spoke until I was sure she was okay. As okay as can be. Thank Gd for the resilience of children. I see she is fine. As it turns out, Asher also knew all about it. His tutor had told him.

It really is a totally different way here. Part of that way is dealing with whatever life throws you and moving on.

The moving on
In Brooklyn we had fire drills. The best description of today’s drill came in the form of a post from my friend Terry:

Israel at its best: While doing Zumba, watching through the window a missile
attack drill at (the girls) school, having the "injured" lying on the ground
carried away by "medics " in Purim attire.

I asked Becky about the drill tonight.
Yeah. We had to go under our desks.
Did you have to do anything else?
(Excited) Yes! We got to go to a room and watch SPONGEBOB!
Was it the room with the really heavy door?
I didn't want to say the words bomb shelter.
Yeah! That room! And the SPONGEBOB was in HEBREW!
Glad to see television’s still got it.

More conversations with Becky
I never really think about the fact that Becky turned 6 just before we left to Israel. Which means she was only five her whole last year in America. Five is really little.

Today we had occasion to talk about Purim and I mentioned my friend was baking hamentashen with her kids.
What’s that?
What is that word?
Um…oznei Haman?
Oh! How do you say it in English again?
Well, it’s not exactly English but…Hamentashen.
They don’t say Ears of Haman in English?
Um…no. They say Hamentashen.


Gan Geula
There’s a half-day playgroup where I’m thinking of sending Peetoosh in the Fall. The kids are beside themselves with excitement at the prospect of Peetoosh going to Gan. They are already planning out who will walk her, who will pick her up on Fridays, who will fix her hair. I must have mentioned out loud the rave reviews my friends gave about the cleanliness of the place.
Becky asked me today if we will put Peetoosh’s hair in a ponytail when she goes to Gan Geula.
Of course!
But I thought there’s no lice in Gan Geula.
Becky – this is Israel! But in Gan Geula, when there is lice, the ganenet actually tells the mommys.
REALLY? I wanna go to Gan Geula!


  1. You made me cry. And then you made me smile. Happy now?

  2. Me too. And I heard all of these thoughts and events before I read them here.