The festivities for Israel’s 65th Independence Day are in full swing. But for us in Israel, before the hora dancing, the plastic hammers, and the fireworks, there are the sirens. Two minutes of time to stand and think.
First, the siren goes off for Holocaust Memorial Day. It stops traffic. We get out on the highway, eyes closed, hearts heavy. The scenes rip through our souls: emaciated bodies in piles, starving children in rags, family members ripped apart and sent to their death in factory-like settings conceived by meticulous Germans with their talent for efficiency. We are there, all of us, the devout and the atheist, dressed in black gabardine and the latest Paris fashions, stuffed altogether into box-cars, locked in, helpless. Jews.
The siren seems to go on forever. Then it stops. We breathe again. We go back to …
…continue reading Two Minutes
They were all the same those cowardly young jihadi butchers; all soul-less, Nazi wannabees inspired by hatred and death; morons with brains and hearts the size of pebbles.
I was in New York City for a wedding when I turned on the television news and saw pictures of the Otzar Hatorah school in Toulouse.
I could not believe my eyes.
A little over twelve years ago our daughter Rachel had done her second year of National Service there, trying her best to infuse the children and the community with her own love of Israel and their Jewish heritage. Rav Monsenego, who had interviewed her for the position in Jerusalem, was the head of the struggling Jewish school and Jonathan Sandler had been one of the older students there.
It was a small Jewish community back then, a bit raw and …
…continue reading Miryam and Marie
Everyone who had known Saba Avraham was blessed with the knowledge that his magnificent legacy would live on within them and all the generations that follow.
In part one of “A True Jewish Hero,” published in The Jerusalem Post Magazine on February 24, I followed the story of Avraham and Naomi Timor’s escape from the Holocaust, and their lives as religious, Jewish pioneers in pre-State Israel.
The travails of the War of Independence forced them to abandon their home in Neveh Ya’acov, Naomi giving birth in Jerusalem to her fifth child while Avraham, as Hagana commander of Neveh Ya’acov, courageously led his men to safety on a midnight life-or-death escape to Mount Scopus.
Despite the birth of his daughter, and everything he had already been though, Avraham accepted the appointment of Hagana commander of Mount Scopus.
Only with the first …
…continue reading A True Jewish Hero – Part Two
“Like the biblical Abraham, Abraham Timor was a man of faith, courage and strength who rose to every challenge.”
“By January 1948, the settlement of Neve Yaakov was under siege. The thirty families were under attack by the Arabs of Shuafat, who blocked the road to Jerusalem and cut the water lines. Supplies could only be obtained by giving large bribes to the British police. That is how we got matzah for Pesach.”
So wrote Abraham (Wexler) Timor, Hagana commander of Neveh Ya’acov, many years later in a newsletter to his eight children and 120 grandchildren and great grandchildren.
I found it on the coffee table in his modest house in Moshav Nehalim, a place he’d helped to found, during a shiva call. A few days earlier, Abraham had passed away peacefully in his bed at the age of 96.
…continue reading A True Jewish Hero – Part One
My mother-in-law, Shirley Ragen, passed away yesterday in Jerusalem at age 85 after seven torturous years succumbing to a merciless illness which left her unable to speak, walk, or move her limbs. But the last period of her long life, was not her worst. The worst happened when she was eighteen and the Nazis came to her home in Uzhhorod (now in Ukraine), beating her little brother senseless, and carting away herself, her three sisters, two brothers, parents, and beloved grandmother.
The worst was the cattle car ride, and the platform in Auschwitz in which she and her sisters were separated from their mother, never to see her, or any other member of their family alive again. The worst was the year spent in a concentration camp starving, trying desperately with her older sister Zipporah to keep their youngest sister Malka alive. I remember …
…continue reading The Woman with Many Names
I have just sat down after the fading notes of the siren have finally disappeared. It is another Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen. We have lost 22, 684 sons and daughters. For a little country like Israel, that is an enormous and incalculable loss. Over the years, I have told all those ready to listen Israel’s well-kept secret: there is no Israeli army. There is only my son and your daughter, and the neighbor’s kids. Every loss is the loss of not only an individual, but of generations: the children who will never be born, the grandchildren that will never snuggle in the laps of grandparents.
It is the destruction of not only young lives full of promise, but of their families: mothers and fathers whose lives are forever shattered, grandparents who must bear the unthinkable, young girls who lost …
…continue reading Israel’s Memorial Day 2010
In an election year, we need to be really careful about what we send out and what we say about all candidates who might become the next leader of the free world. But we also need to arm ourselves with information.
I was very interested in the e-mail circulating quoting Newsweek and Snopes about the “lies” being spread about Mr. Obama. I investigated. Interestingly, the debunkers debunk all kinds of things I never heard of, like Obama not saying the Pledge of Allegiance, or using a Koran instead of a Bible in his swearing in ceremony. I never even heard those, and I am glad to hear they are lies.
But there are a number of other things circulating that haven’t yet been “debunked” and these are far more worrying because they are true. Like the fact that Mr. Obama’s …
…continue reading Debunking Barack Obama
I once lived in what shall remain an unnamed city in the Western world, in which one of the most prominent organizations was called: Parents of Murdered Children. In this place, the kidnapping and molestation and murder of children was endemic, so much so that I wouldn’t let my children go out of the house alone. Ever.
In this city, a woman’s car once broke down on the highway. Within ten minutes, a car picked her up, and she was subsequently raped and murdered. And I wondered: What kind of people live in this place that within a ten minute period a rapist-murderer would be passing by?
And now I live in a place where all around me, every minute of the day, in every part of this land, there is a hidden saint and hero.
I want to start …
…continue reading The People I Live Amongst