Woman of Valor, Who Can Find One?


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We all know that this day came too soon. I thought I had so much time before I had to sit here writing this eulogy. I thought I’d get home from Israel and she’d be sitting up in bed, making a joke about how she had to pull this elaborate stunt just to get us back to the states.

Because my mom mom loved us so, so much. She would do anything for us, her children, her diamonds. Her love was more than emotional, it was tangible. You could feel it in every cup of tea, every bowl of addicting-as-crack-cocaine macaroni salad; every word of advice, and every hug and kiss she gave. We wear her love like a warm sweater on a cold day, surround ourselves with it to shield us from any storm.

As the family peacemaker, mom mom was the glue that held everything together, from Passover Seders, which she started planning on Rosh Hashana, to remembering to give birthday presents way before your birthday month was even due. Mom mom never put up with any arguing, especially between Becca and me, and somehow managed to diffuse any situation without getting agitated herself.

Mom mom was the kind of person that could be happy anywhere, from watching the horses cross the field at Golden Acres to sipping tea on her porch across from Whole Foods, if mom mom wanted something, she went for it on her own. And she always succeeded, most times beating the odds. She encouraged and pushed in the kindest and gentlest way, and she never ceased to tell us how proud she was of all of us just for being exactly who we are.

It was no secret that mom mom was smart, but she never flaunted her accomplishments – she left that up to pop pop, who would call her Dr. Janet just because she earned it. I even think that every once in a while she would play the role of the ditzy blonde so as not to let on just exactly how smart she really was. But once you figured it out, you had access to a wealth of knowledge, advice, and experience that would get you through any challenge you faced. And she shared it, willingly and readily.

Mom mom taught me a lot of different lessons, but the most important one I learned by example, and I hope that one day I can emulate her in it. That’s the lesson of unconditional love. That when you think that you’ve given everything you have, there’s always a little more. That love doesn’t have limits – hers most certainly did not.

I thought that we had so much more time. There are so many things I’d love to say to mom mom, so many things that I’ll never get the chance to tell her. But the one that I know that she knew; I know that she knows that I love her so, so much. We all do. And that we will always carry her love in our hearts, everywhere we go, for the rest of our lives. Thank you for the gift of your love.

 

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

E.E. Cummings

 

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in

my heart)i am never without it(anywhere

i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done

by only me is your doing,my darling)

                                                      i fear

no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want

no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

 

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

 

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

 

 

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I’ve Been Slacking


In the blog department. I apologize greatly for that, but it’s really exhausting to live here.

Amazingly exhausting, that is. The lifestyle here definitely took some getting used to — there’s no such thing as Target or Wal-Mart, and in order to get the food for the week it usually requires a trip to the shuk (I have some pictures), the supermarket (I have some more pictures) and the Makolet (think corner store, but a little bit more variety), with one or two more errands thrown in between. No one has cars, but there’s always traffic somehow, the bus system is GREAT, but taking buses everywhere is crazy because the bus drivers are army reserve members that  drive like they are STILL in the army, and you have to take a trip to about 5 stores ALWAYS to get everything that you want.

For Sukkot, that meant A LOT of shopping, and a LOT of stores, but we are so excited that we got to have our first Sukkah here in Israel! We had 11 of Jonathan’s yeshiva friends over for a meal, so we certainly had a full house, erm, Sukkah!

Our first Sukkah! The roof is made from palm leaves that enable you to still experience the elements, and we decorated it with etrogim (esrogim, or citron fruits), grape vines, and plastic pomegranates that were realistic enough to fool the bees!

To prepare for sukkot, we went to many different stores, and I finally got to take some pictures of the shuk (open market)! We got there really early, by 8:15 in the morning, but it was already packed with people buying food for the holiday.

A store only for nuts!

And one that only sells olives and pickles!

Soon, I’m going to go back to the shuk and take pictures as we eat our way through it, and do a blog specifically on the foods of Israel, but that’s for another day :-)!

On our way back from the shuk, we were getting off of the light rail to transfer to a bus home when someone suddenly yelled out to Jonathan and ran up to him to introduce himself. Turns out, because they looked so much alike, he wanted to know if they could possibly be related. This man, Gilad, has some American family that he never got to meet and wanted to know if Jonathan could possibly be his long-lost cousin. After they shmoozed for almost an hour at the bus stop and on the bus, it turns out that they certainly are NOT related, but they do look alike.

Jonathan and his new “brother.”

We also went to the supermarket, which was even busier than it was last time I showed you a picture. See?

This was the supermarket on Thursday afternoon, before Shabbos and Sukkot. It was so crowded, you had to walk to the back of the supermarket to make it to the other side, and you couldn’t even choose which check out line you wanted to use — whichever aisle you were in dictated that decision for you.

During this pretty sizeable break from classes, we were also able to travel to the south to visit a lot of Jonathan’s Aunts, Uncles, and cousins. It’s certainly been a busy break, and one filled with lots of food! His aunt Mazal told us she was only going to prepare us a snack, and when we got to her house there was a feast — four courses including fish, steak, wings, soup, and dessert. My waistband was not happy with me by the end of this trip.

Jonathan and Mazal at our feast!

We also made pizza in this awesome pizza oven at Jonathan’s Aunt Aleeza and Uncle Moshe’s.

At the end of this trip, we were definitely ready for the respite that Shabbos brings — I don’t think I’ve ever napped so much on one Shabbos before! Now that break is over, and I’ve gotten A LOT of Hebrew practice and we got to travel quite a bit, we are ready to get back into gear at school. I’m going to be doing a new education program, where I learn a curriculum for teachers in Jewish Day schools, which I’m really excited about.

I’ve got more to update everyone on, so stay tuned!

Jonathan and Me all ready for Shabbos at his Aunt Aleeza and Uncle Moshe’s house.

Kaddish


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Pop Pop dancing at my wedding, a memory I will cherish forever.

For any of you that knew my Pop Pop, you know that this isn’t the first time I’ve thought about doing this. For the past five years, my Pop Pop has been very sick, and my family and I have prepared for this day more than once.

But when I think about my Pop Pop, I don’t think about how sick he was, or how he looked, walked, talked, or felt over the past few years. The Pop Pop I remember, and whom I want all of you to remember, was much bigger than anything or anyone I’ve ever known in my whole life.

He was so tall, that when he took my sister and me to Golden Acres Dude Ranch in Gilboa, NY, the only kosher Dude Ranch of its kind; they actually had to bring a horse out of retirement so that he could ride it.

He appreciated the little things in life, and loved telling jokes. I spent many hours in the car wondering just where this man Ishkabible Fafufnick actually lived and if we would ever get to Jepip, and for years I thought that if my sister and I stayed up talking in our bedroom in their house, our other house, that our noses would really start to grow.

He called us, his family, his diamonds – and he cherished us beyond belief. My sister and I grew up with an idea of piety and faith because of him; practiced the alef-beis until our faces were blue time and time again. It always amazed us that a man who had seen as much as he had, who had experienced loss the way that he had, could still believe so steadfastly in G-d. My grandfather knew how to love, and he was a holy man; a man who upheld his faith in the face of many different types of adversity.

I don’t want to say goodbye to my grandfather; rather, I want to say that I will see him later, in another life, or another realm, soon, in our own days.

Waiting Game


Okay – so they placed me on the waiting list.

I am surprisingly at peace with this situation, although it does put me in a slight pickle. I was hoping to be able to leave my job sooner than later, but now I feel like I need to stay to save up whatever money I can in the next few months. In addition, the latest they might give me a decision is April 9, which is less than 3 months before the program is scheduled to start.

At least I’ll know if I need to take summer courses, right?

 

A Jumping off Point


This week went by with such a blur — once again, I feel like I was home all week but I don’t remember really being home. But being busy means being successful, most of the time.

I hope to have some exciting news on Monday. You’ll know as soon as I do because either I will post, or I will not.

Posting = good, not posting = bad.

Got it?

I am so excited to go home today. This is my plan — make something to bring for dessert tomorrow (Cherry Pie sound good?), take a nice, long shower, take a nap, eat dinner, and go to bed.

Sounds like the perfect Friday to me.

Happy weekend!