Saturday, November 23, 2013
Found the book fast enough, but waiting on line to check it out seemed to drag on. In front of me stood a young woman with her two sons. Assumed they were her sons, all three of them blond. The boys were aged maybe 6 and 4 years respectively, the younger one still in diapers and sucking on a pacifier.
The problem wasn't just the wait. The boys were wild, screaming, running around, tearing up the flooring and just acting awful. As if that wasn't enough, their mother did absolutely nothing, outside of the occasional "hey guys, stand by me." There was quite a bit of rumbling in line behind me, and I tried hard not to say something.
Because as I was standing there watching this spectacle, I remembered a letter to the editor I read some time back from a mother of an autistic child who asked people not to be judgmental if they saw her child acting out. Why that popped into my mind I'll never know but I heeded her plea. When the elder of the two boys asked what the printer payment box was for, I very calming, slowly and precisely explained how it worked.
The child stared at me wide-eyed. It seemed to me that no one, not even his mother, had ever explained something so clearly to him before. He actually stopped moving for a good three minutes, and then went right back to pushing buttons.
Why the mother didn't intercede and try to explain library etiquette still confuses me. This particular library is popular with children and is always crowded with them. Yet I don't recall any of these children behaving this way.
G-d put thoughts in our minds when the need arises. That's the only way I can explain remembering the letter, and the only reason I didn't take this young mother to task.
Sunday, November 3, 2013
What was even better was reaching out and meeting other clinicians (nurses, doctors, optometrists) who gave their time to make life better for complete strangers. I learned much from the patients, and even more from my fellow RDs.
Did I have a few favorite patients? Of course, Like the skinny young man who had been diagnosed as Gluten sensitive, and just wanted to talk. Or the sweet, young woman who didn't know how she was going fit in eating breakfast after taking care of her 4 year old niece, for whom she prepared breakfast. When I suggested she eat breakfast with her niece, she thought it was the best idea ever!
Nothing like having the occasional good idea.
Saturday, October 26, 2013
This time, the topic was cremation. Every single one of us had a relative or friend who was cremated. Jews are not permitted to cremate themselves or relatives, and before long, we were all worked up. It's not just the cremation, but the price of burial. People choose cremation when they can't afford to be buried, which can cost upwards to $15,000.
We didn't come up with any solutions, but it was food for thought. That, along with intermarriage. America is always a blessing, but on the issue of Jewish continuity, a bit of a curse.
Sunday, October 13, 2013
I have often wondered what Jews in America were thinking and doing in the years leading up to the Holocaust in Europe. My father, first generation American, fought with the American army in North Africa. But most of his family was here, having arrived before World War I after G-d only knows how many years of pogroms in their years in Bessarabia.
My mother was a different story. She, like my father, was the first generation to be born here, but her parents' families were still in Poland. My grandfather saved his half-brother by securing a visa for him to Shanghai, only because there were no visas to America. The rest of the her parents' families disappeared or perished.
Faderman's mother, who came to America in 1914, also left behind the majority of her family. Uneducated, she worked in the garment industry as a draper, barely making enough money to survive. Even though she wanted to, she couldn't scrap enough money to sponsor any additional family members. Burning bridges with a wealthier half-sister, and passing up opportunities to help that would have required a love-less marriage, Faderman's maternal family perished.
What struck me was how pervasive anti-semitism was in America then, and how every avenue to save the Jews of Europe was closed. No one, no where, was willing to help. I couldn't help but get caught up in the near-hysteria Faderman's mother finds herself in when she realizes there is nothing she can do to save her loved ones.
To think that today there are people calling for the destruction of Israel, just like Hitler called for the destruction of the Jews. We Jews are taught that in every generation the evil ones rise against us, and only Hashem will protect us. If there was an Israel in 1939, we wouldn't be having this discussion. No, not all the Jews of Europe would have survived, but history would have written that chapter differently.
To any out there who read this and question why the Jews should have their own country, read the history of the world from 1939-1945. We will never allow anyone to determine our fate again. If the question is asked, why that country, then read the history of the world over the last 3500 years. We Jews are indigenous to Israel, it's where we come from. It's where we get our strength. And we are not going anywhere any time soon.
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Like most major cities, Los Angeles has a downtown wholesale shopping district (well, it feels wholesale and you feel like you're getting a deal). My dear friend, my daughter and I went downtown one Sunday with the intent to doing some light shopping, maybe stopping off for an ice cream. I'm not a real shopper and don't like walking from store to store.
Oh my gosh, we walked from store to store. And the thing is, downtown, all the stores look alike, and pretty much carry the same items. One thing I will say is, you can haggle with the Hispanics, but not the Asians. Man, they are tough. If you want it bad enough, you pay their price.
My daughter, bless her heart, does like to shop, but my dear friend even wore her out. How does a person get that kind of energy?
It's a gift. G-d bless her. Without my dear friend helping out, the party would not have been as merry. I only know that G-d gives us the strength when we need it. Even to shop.
Friday, September 13, 2013
It's all good. Here's a loving Daily Dose from the Rebbe. Easy and meaningful fast to those who do.
Tishrei 9, 5774 ·September 13, 2013
G‑d has many delights:
The delight that comes from a pure and simple act of love.
Greater than that, the delight that comes from an act of beauty sparkling in the darkness.
Greater than that, the delight when a child who has run away returns with all her heart.
Delight lies at the essence of all that is.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
On Sunday, during our monthly Tehillim gathering, the eldest daughter told us a story of how she connected to her mother this Rosh HaShanah. Tearful over her loss, and advised by a wise woman to do so, the young woman just started talking to her mother, pouring out her heart about how much she missed her and wished they could still be together.
The first day of Rosh HaShanah, after prayers, another member of the congregation came up to the oldest daughter with an old Mazchor, or prayer book for the holiday. Inside was her mother's name, and throughout the book, handwritten notes by her mother about the significance of various prayers. Amazing indeed, as all Mazchorim are locked together in a cabinet all year and are used by both men and women alike. That this Mazchor ended up on the women's side of the room was a miracle in itself.
This daughter told us, through tears, that her mother had indeed been with her that Rosh HaShanah, and that her heart felt wishes had been, in part, answered.
Those of us listening who also lost mothers cried with her. But we are all limited. The book, while satisfying, is not a mother's touch, her voice, her smile. Time makes the physical distance fade, but it's always there.