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Dec 9 2014

My Family is Thinking About Moving to Israel–But It’s Hard Not to Be Afraid

By at 11:06 am

contemplating moving to israel

When I was a senior in high school, my family and I made our first trip to Israel for my little brother’s bar mitzvah. It was then that I decided that I wanted to marry an Israeli. All of my years at Solomon Schechter Day School learning Hebrew would be put to good use, I would get to visit a country I loved on a regular basis, and our kids would be bilingual and cute. All the kids I knew who had one Israeli parent were bilingual and cute. So, how could I go wrong?

I did marry my Israeli, as it turned out. A mutual friend set us up on a blind date and the rest–as they say–is history. We have kids who are cute, though not yet bilingual. They, too, are at Jewish day school, and they are using more Hebrew with each passing day.

Since that first trip 23 years ago, I have developed a strong connection to Israel. And so, on our last trip a year ago, I turned to my husband and said, “What if we moved here for a year or two? Wouldn’t that be amazing for our kids and for us?” Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 19 2014

I Am a Mother in Jerusalem & I Am Scared

By at 3:54 pm

scared in jerusalem

Last night, hours after the terror attack on a synagogue that killed five men, maimed many others, and left prayer shawls, prayer books, and teffilin to soak in pools of blood, I sat on the couch with my husband and expressed my increasingly intolerable fear.

He asked me a very important question: “What were you thinking when you came here?”

I came to Israel in 2006 right after college without a real plan. I followed an old romantic interest of mine; I was ready for adventure and I was a Jew who was anxious to figure out precisely what that meant. I didn’t know if I’d stay forever, and when people asked me things like, “Are you prepared to send your future children to the army?” I couldn’t relate. I was barely 21 years old, children were an abstract concept, and I still had that good old American feeling of invincibility. I knew that violence came here in waves but the truth is—I wasn’t thinking much. I was yearning for something that I suspected I’d find in Israel. Read the rest of this entry →

What the Gruesome Images from the Jerusalem Terror Attack Taught Me About Hope

By at 11:18 am


The images are gruesome. Heartwrenching. So much blood. I don’t want to see. And for a while I don’t. Not really. I scroll quickly from one post to the next. Four killed in terror attack. Har Nof. Rabbis. Synagogue. Even as my heart is rushing and the tears are falling, my fingers slow down. To read. And to see. To really see.

A blood-soaked tallit (prayer shawl) crouches in crumpled horror. The red-splattered bookshelves stand feebly by. They are a quiet, ueseless protection to the forever stained siddurim (prayer books) they hold. Kehillat Bnei Torah Synagogue is a bloodbath.

“No. No. Nonononono,” I whisper, now unable to stop the onslaught of image after horrific image. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 16 2013

After Boston, All I Have Left to do is Pray

By at 4:09 pm

copley square boston t stopOur governor has asked everyone in Massachusetts to be on a heightened state of alert in the wake of the bombing at the Boston Marathon yesterday.

I can do that. I’ve been in a heightened state of alert since I first learned that I was pregnant, nearly five years ago.

It has been said that every step we take is a prayer, and that fundamentally there are only two types of prayer: please and thank you. And so it has been since I became a mother: every doctor’s appointment, every milestone eliciting a prayer of gratitude for a positive pregnancy test, a healthy birth, a growing child, and also a plea–at times quiet, other times desperate–for another day, another year, another opportunity to be with my daughters, to watch them grow.  Read the rest of this entry →

On Boston, Bombs & Lullabies

By at 9:52 am

boston skylineWhen my daughter was born, I had time to be intentional about parenting. I chose books, music, classes, even BPA-free sippy cups based on copious research.

Now that I’ve got kid #2 in the mix, I don’t have the same kind of time or energy to make those intentional decisions. My parenting is based on what’s fastest, easiest, or most convenient. Which is why, instead of reading my son a long, but lovely, book about The Bedtime Sh’ma, I’ve been reading him a shorter Sandra Boynton book. And instead of singing him my favorite Hashkivenu prayer as a lullaby, I’ve opted for a quick verse of a Laurie Berkner song and calling it a day. The whole shebang takes about three minutes and then I can finish cleaning up the kitchen, giving my daughter a bath, or eating dinner myself. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 15 2013

Boston: Goodness and Love are Marathons

By at 8:15 pm

Boston MarathonWhat is the hardest part?

Is it the mourning for the dead, the prayers for the injured?

Is it the fright and terror for those who are missing?

What is the hardest part?

Is it watching the news footage from home and crying, shaking our heads?

Is it the disbelief, fractured yet again, that there are people in the world who would brazenly murder innocents, this time so close to home?

Is it the knowledge that because of this, we may never be able to look at the finish line of a marathon without an involuntary shudder? Is it the knowledge that there will never again be a day where something like this hasn’t happened yet?

What is the hardest part?

Is it looking at our phones, our computer screens, our televisions, and wondering how we are going to tell our children that there are people in the world like this — that there are people in the world who are broken themselves and therefore want to break the world around them?

What is the hardest part?

The hardest part is undoing what has been done.

Some would say it is impossible. And on one level, of course it is. The horror has been wrought.

But on another level, a more abstract level, it is not impossible. With every day that we decide to not only embrace life, but also to live it in a way that helps others, we work to undo the damage done.

We vow, in passionate fury and sadness, to do what must be done to make the world whole again.

We vow not to fear those who would destroy the world, but rather to align ourselves with every breath of our lives with those who would repair what is broken.

We vow not to lose sight of what matters, and to do everything we can to ensure that our view of human life as being worth something, as being sacred, is perpetuated, from generation to generation.

It is far easier to destroy than to build.

But goodness itself is a marathon – it is long, and hard, and grueling. It doesn’t show results right away. It is the cumulative sweat and work of day after day, and of the way we hope, and choose, to live our lives.

Jul 20 2012

Friday Night: Honoring the Bulgaria Terrorism Victims

By at 2:49 pm

two burning candlesIt happened again.

A suicide bomber blew up a bus full of Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria on Wednesday, killing six people and injuring over 30.

These people were on vacation. They went to a resort city to relax and to get away for a bit, as we all do every now and again. They chose a destination that was different and interesting from their normal environs, yet noted for a comparative absence of anti-Semitism.

And yet, Jewish blood was deliberately shed. Again.

Note I said Jewish blood, not Israeli blood. The person or people who committed this unspeakable act murdered my people. I may be American and not Israeli, but it doesn’t matter: these people were murdered because they were Jewish. Just like the rabbi and children in Toulouse, France earlier this year. Just like the bombing at the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina 18 years ago. Just like the brutal murders at the Munich Olympics 40 years ago–murders which the world still refuses to honor with even one minute of silence. Read the rest of this entry →


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