Sunday, November 29, 2009
Was gonna go to this guys house, on a yishuv, but he was really odd on the phone. He said his wife wanted to meet me before. So I was like uh, no thanks. [LOL I wonder-was this Jameel??]
So we went to Bet Gamliel-wealthy moshav between Yavneh and Rechovot. (remember how Rabban Gamliel is buried in Yavneh?)
ahh the beautiful healthy (earthy crunchy, chevee) smell of cows and horses.
the wide expanse of fresh healthy looking green grass.
the clear blue sky and the fluffy clouds that fill it moments later and then disappear.
the muffled chatter and squeals of the children playing nearby.
the clean clear refreshing air.
breathe in and out and in and out
the occasional tractor chuggin by.
the desire to just run and run and laugh and shout to G-d in praise and thanks for being alive and for being blessed w/ the senses of smell sight touch sound and speech.
for being in a 'free' country. for being able to learn torah w/o fear.
o the gifts we have.
and the seeming contradictions that filled this shabbos.
as in the intrinsic paintings and decorations in the savtas house and the utter simplicity of the owner.
the joy of being in israel united with the joy of reading english books and speakin english at the table.
the grandson who is so sweet and small and is in yeshiva but is a combat soldier at the same time.
the very matter of fact way that the savta is so thoughtful and generous. makes u forget she's doin u a favor.
the complete pitch silence punctuated however with the friendly squeals and chirping and mad ranting of the pet birds.
And now I must go. Chabad house duties call.
This annoying guy from the morning bus to the Old City stalked me and found my hideout. One move and all my soldier friends will be on him like birds of prey. Not jokin in the least bit.
All the best kids.
chava (NOT chavale as this psychologist calls me!)
old city, jerusalem.
I remember my sobs, bitter tears on that day
Two dedicated holy Neshamos, cruelly taken away
And the questions they were asking, will we disappear
But yet we stand even stronger after one whole year
Is it magic, maybe luck or coincidence I see?
Can the scarred and axed up big old stump grow into a splendid tree?
But so many acts of goodness in your memory have begun
It can only be your shepherd who gives you strength to power on
So let the burning fires burn and the raging waters rage
Yeah to shine it’s now our turn, it’s our time to turn the page
With our Rebbe in the lead, there’s no doubt that we’ll succeed
Keep on shining… Shluchim changing the world.
Is the sacrifice enough to tear the heavens to the core?
Does the simple serving soldier question what you did this for?
With his marching orders given, and the vision he has shown
With faith you follow his command, so quickly you have grown.
One more Mitzvah’s all it takes and this Golus will finally end
Just one more push if kindness, we’ll see the Shechina shine again
With your superhuman surge of good, loving every single Jew
We will all be reunited, Gabi and Rivka too...
"Really? I thought in Yerushalayim it was earlier."
"Huh? I'm talking about for us."
"You mean you don't believe that we'll be in Eretz Yisroel with Moshiach next week?"
"What are you eating?"
"What are you eating?!"
"The Shabbos seudah!"
"But what are you eaaaaaaaaaaating???"
"Chicken. At my Shabbos seudah."
"I reeeeally like this junk. What gives YOU the most physical pleasure?"
"No, I said physical pleasure."
"I know. Chassidus."
And I am very hurt to tell,
The thing that was most strange,
Was who he looked like as he fell
I'd rather have kept silent,
And with hindsight clear and bright,
I'm sure I was mistaken,
Just to have begun the fight
Today, I got all bloody
As I beat my best friend down,
I thought that since I'm right,
I'm right for taking him to town
At times I feel so righteous
And it's hard to not say why,
And sometimes I can say something
That makes my best friend cry
I never raised a fist to him;
I beat him on the phone,
I said that if he's going it,
He's going it alone
I'd stabbed his back, he left
And he never got to see
That, today I killed a man,
And the man I killed was me
Thought of this rhyme more than once recently.
The blog from where I took it is now blocked, and he only has one post left on his old blog.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
From day one, I've counted down
Ready, each day, to fly from town.
Inside my pores, the day I leave.
Its feel is smooth, its taste is sweet.
The day I leave is from my dreams.
So bright and clear, concrete it seems.
I see the moves, I hear the sounds.
I know the steps-I'm freedom bound!
For seventy, eighty years, a neshama wears and tears, just to do a favor for anotherrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
The Holtzbergs. Keepin them alive.
Ok. Calvin smile gone, replaced with true joy.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
In late 2003, just before the holiday of Chanukah, Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg moved to Mumbai, India. This Chabad-Lubavitch couple, like thousands of their peers had done before them, relocated from their comfortable communities in New York and Israel, respectively, in order to spread the light of Judaism to a corner of the world that was still dim. Would life be easy in Mumbai? No. But, this move was in answer to the Lubavitcher Rebbe's call which urges those whom are privileged to be brought up with Torah and mitzvos to share it with the Jews living on spiritually desolate lands; thus, they embraced their mission joyfully.
In India, they cooked, listened, baked, taught, sang, cleaned, wrote, spoke, danced, built, organized, fed and washed, nonstop; there was nothing they wouldn't do for their fellow Jew from that small room they rented in a main tourist area at the three-star Shelley’s Hotel.
For months Gavriel (Gabi) and Rivka (Rivki) struggled with the tiny space they had while at the same time, they thrived and grew in their love and care. Finally, with the help of a donation from George Rohr, they were able to secure a rundown five-story concrete office building on an alley called Hormusji Street. They had big plans for it: a kitchen, dining room, and restaurant on the first floor; a library, a synagogue, and an Internet lounge on the second; guest rooms on the third and fourth; their own apartment on the fifth, and on the roof, they would hold parties and special events.
In 2006, the building was dedicated as India’s first permanent Chabad House.
As for Rivki and Gabi? They, too, were dedicated permanently in India. Day after day, night after night, holiday after holiday, they continued to host, teach, feed and soothe the minds, souls, bodies and spirits of the countless Jews passing through their city. And they planned to do this indefinitely.
But something went wrong.
If you walk into the Chabad House today, you will not see Gabi and Rivki. For the past twelve months, Gabi and Rivki have not been talking, laughing and catering in their Indian Chabad House. But why not? What happened to their permanence? Were they not to stay in Mumbai forever?
They were...but one year ago, to the day, terrorists entered their holy center and killed them.
And so, they're not there anymore. They're gone. But, they cannot be gone. No substance on this earth, neither physical or spiritual, ever disappears. Modern physics has taught us that it merely changes form.
If so, where are Gabi and Rivki now?
Gabi and Rivki are now in the "Gan Gavi VeRivky Chabad" kindergarten in Har Chomah; the "Gan Rivkah" kindergarten in Lod; the "Gan Rivkah" in Marin County, California; and the "Gan Gabi & Rivki-Early Learning Centre" in Bentleigh, a suburb of Melbourne.
They are in the "Midreshet Rivka" learning program in Yehud; in the "Beis Chabad" room in the Beis Chaya Elementary School of Haifa; in the "Neshama" Beis Medrash for women in Givat-Mordechai; and in the "Beis Gavriel" synagogue in Hendon, Northwest London.
Gabi and Rivki are alive in the brit milah circumcisions performed in their honor by 2 teenage Russian boys in Kfar Citron and a 65 year old man in the Dutch city of Almere.
Gabi and Rivki are in the "Gabi & Rivky Holtzberg Kitchen" in the Chabad House in Rancho Mirage, California; the kosher food cooperative in Ulster Country, NY; in the "Holtzberg Hospitality Home" in Morris, NY; and in the libraries in the Chabad House of Seoul, Korea and the mobile Chabad House at the Golani Junction in the Lower Galilee.
They are in the newly renovated Mikvahs in Baltimore and in Kiryat Ata; in "The Chodesh Group" in Conejo Valley, California; in the launching of a Taharas Hamishpocha (Family Purity) website; and in the brand new series of interactive classes on the three Mitzvos connected to women, called "Rivkah's Tent".
Gabi and Rivki are alive in the newly-established achdus gatherings for the Shluchim in Georgia; in the seminars for the women of Lod; the Lag Baómer parade in Ramat Eshkol; the Megillah printed in Bangalore, India; the Aron Kodesh in A&M University, Texas; the daily Chassidic message on Shmais.com; the massive candle-lighting campaign in France; and in the learning, phone-shiurim and publications of Yagdil Torah.
Gabi and Rivki are in the Sunday school in Marrakesh, Morocco; the Jewish Welcome Center in S Thomas, Virgin Islands; and in the new Chabad Center opened in Pokon, Chile.
Gabi and Rivki have had Torahs written and dedicated in Canada (in Downtown Vancouver); in the US (in Gwinnett, GA, in Northwest Connecticut, in Clark County, WA, in San Diego, CA, and in the Federal Correctional Institution at Morgantown, WV); in the United Kingdom (in Manchester, England); in Israel (in Eilat and in Haifa's Technion University) and the latest, most meaningful one (started at the end of shiva) which was dedicated this week in New York and celebrated by hundreds and hundreds of Gabi and Rivki's Chabad family as they danced and sang with the Torah that will soon be sent to use in Mumbai.
Why? How? How does it come to be that thousands and thousands of Chabadnikim should feel this way? That a Shliach in Oslo, Norway and a Shliach in Leeds, England should mourn for Gabi like they were brothers? That the Chabad Emissaries to Coppenhagen, Denmark, to Naperville, Illinois and to Caracas, Venezuela should all feel like they are members of Gabi and Rivki Holtzberg's family? That memorial services and mitzvah campaigns should be held in every city where a Chabad Shliach resides? That large color photos of the young Holtzberg couple should be placed in prominent positions in Chabad homes worldwide? That, during the course of the past year, more than five hundred Chabad couples should name their newborn child "Gavriel Noach" or "Rivka"? Why? How?
Regarding a human hand, when one finger gets injured, the other four fingers work a bit harder to make up for the loss of strength. When a finger on each hand gets wounded, the other eight must work even harder. No one limb insists on separating when the other fails. After all, they all receive their lifeblood from the same one heart and they are all working under the same one head.
Gabi, Rivki and every single Shliach receive their lifeblood from the same one heart and work under the same one head.
According to the "What Can I Do?" Mumbai-response webpage, more than 12,100 mitzvos (good deeds) have been added since-and as a result of-the attack on Gabi and Rivki's Chabad House.
So, are they gone?
Or are they still here?
Are Rivki and Gabi missing from their post?
Or are they carrying out their mission with more force than ever to be believed?
Where are Gabi and Rivki? I think I know.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
May it be so for us today, as well! Amen!
Also, Postville baked Hamantaschen to celebrate today's V'nahafoch Hu.
for Sholom Mordechai Halevi Ben Rivkah
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 09, 2009
Sunday, November 08, 2009
I miss חברון.
I was standing at the entrance to Kiryat Arba waiting for the bus that would take me to Beer Sheva (Zahava had the car), when a late model SUV pulled up and let off a 20-something woman at the bus stop.
The woman was dressed in loose slacks, a pretty blouse and sweater, and had her dark hair pulled back in a sloppy ponytail. At her feet sat an overstuffed soft-sided suitcase, and in her arms she held a baby blanket and a bottle filled with milk or formula.
This seemed odd... baby blanket, baby bottle... but no baby.
But then I spotted the car that had dropped her off idling nearby, and as our bus approached, an older man (perhaps in his 40s) emerged from the car with a baby and handed the child to the woman. Mystery solved. Since it was cold outside, they had simply left the baby inside the warm car until the last possible moment. Responsible parents.
But as I was watching the man pass the baby to the woman, the blanket slipped from her arm and landed by her suitcase. But for this small slip I would never have noticed that there was a luggage identification tag on the handle... written in Arabic. And on the suitcase itself I noticed there were a few more Arabic words written in magic marker.
So this woman is boarding the same bus that I was about to take to Beer Sheva... a bus with bulletproof windows and armor plating on the sides, roof and floor against a very real external threat. Now here was a potential internal threat... against which none of that armor would help!
A moment before I had looked at this woman and seen only a caring mother who loved her baby so much, she had asked her husband (or some other relative or friend) to wait with the car so the infant wouldn't be out in the cold. Now all I could see was a potential suicide bomber with the perfect cover.
Apparently I wasn't the only one who had noticed the Arabic writing on the suitcase. Nobody was saying anything, but when the woman asked the driver to open the luggage compartment, her Arabic-accented Hebrew caught the attention of everyone nearby. Suddenly this woman had become the object of silent but intense scrutiny from a bunch of Israelis who would otherwise have been pushing one another out of the way to get on the bus.
A young soldier with the insignia of an elite infantry unit on his shoulder saw that the woman was having trouble juggling the baby and her suitcase, so as she was speaking to the driver, he deftly took her suitcase and carried it towards the storage compartment that was now opening on the side of the bus.
Under other circumstances, his gesture would have seemed polite... chivalrous, even. But as he got on the bus and flashed his ID to the driver (soldiers ride free in uniform, but they need to show their army card), he leaned in close enough not to be heard by anyone but the driver (and the person behind him; me) and said, "It was too light to be problematic."
The driver, who had certainly heard the woman's accent, nodded and visibly relaxed. The people at the front of the bus who had watched the exchange between the soldier and the driver (without hearing it), also visibly relaxed once they saw the driver's posture change back to one of 'business as usual'.
The only person who seemed unaware of the scrutiny and discussion was the Arab woman who was now seated about halfway back on the left side... fussing with her baby.
And so, I too, have a sister from a different mother that I'd like to marry.
My beautiful, awesome, funny, hardworking, talented, honest, zany, intelligent and more, sister.
(Bet you don't know many "and more" kinda folk.)
Can it get any better than working for siblings even when on different continents?
Do stronger bonds exist over the ones we share, us two marketplace maids, whispering importantly-and at times quite heatedly-about our employers as well as our fellow employees?
Our outstanding mutual admiration is hard to be believed.
We are truly sisters.
Ooh nice pun there, Jav, niiice pun.
That was the end of my post. Then I suddenly thought of how YOU would've written it on your blog. Probably something like this:
I was chatting with a friend the other night (I met her online, from my blog. Ya know its sooooooooooooo cool when you can meet people from your blog and I loooooove getting to know my readers and making real connections with them. [ed-i'm gagging. dont know if i can continue]. Anyhow, where was I? Oh yes! I was chatting with this friend and suddenly I noticed the time. Now, I don't know about you but for me, I'm still not used to the army time thingy that people outta America use. Like seriously, I don't get why America can't be normal and just use that system instead of am and pm. But whateverrrrrr. So I see the time on my computer (well not MY computer but the one I use here) says 00:00. That means it's 12 oclock midnight. Cuz it starts from 1 and then it goes till 23 and then after 23:59, it goes to 00:00. First I thought my computer was broken and I'm like "Oh great, I think the computer is broken." (in a sarcastic way, not a serious way that I thought it was great). Then I realized that it meant midnight (see, I didn't have someone explain it to me like I just did to you). I thought it was SOOO cool! I had to blog it to share with everyone. I really enjoyed it and hope you do, too. Please comment and let me know what you think. Anyway, the thing with the quote is like this. After I enjoyed that sight of 00:00, I realized that I'm very much the kind of person who appreciates the little things in life. Like I don't need big things to get me excited, even small things will do the trick. So even though you can't RELY on external amusements to bring you HAPPINESS, you can still appreciate them. I thought it was very important for people to keep in mind so I wrote it in quote form as it seems to stick more, has more power, when it's in that form. I even wrote a quote about that some time back..it's one of the first of Mion Quotes--meaning My Own Quotes.
But personally, that's too much blabbing and info for something I don't feel the need to share. I blab when it's bubbling inside me. Not when I have a snapshot I'd like to freeze. So, my post was two lines :)
The Baal Shem Tov replied, "Acts of kindness."
Because when you see suffering, you don't say, "G-d runs the universe. G-d will take care. G-d knows what is best." You do everything in your power to relieve that suffering as though there is no G-d. You become a heretic in G-d's name.
Do good with all your ego. Say, "I need to make this happen." Say, "I have to see this done."
Not only is this "I" permissible, it is crucial to getting things done.
So what is forbidden? To believe the "I" belongs to you.
Much depression stems from haughtiness.
If you would realize who you really are, you wouldn’t be so disappointed with yourself.
PS. Because people usually don't read the labels--lemme tell you here that these are not my own words. Nor my own ideas. Tzvi Freeman has condensed over 50 years of wisdom from the Lubavitcher Rebbe and sends em out in daily doses. Subscribe here, order his book here. Oh and to further clarify--these were sent out as 3 diff emails over the past 3 past months. I had them starred, waitin to be blogged, and finally put em all together kacha. It flows nicely, no? Yes.
In 1980, a Brazilian college student had a yechidus (private audience) with the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
During the Yechidus the Brazilian student brought up his relationship with a non-Jewish woman, wanting to hear the Rebbe's opinion.
"Rebbe, my girl friend, who is not Jewish, and I, are thinking of getting married. What would the Rebbe say about that?"
"There are," the Rebbe replied, "many aspects of our lives over which we have no control. Many physical conditions, as it has been scientifically shown, cannot be altered since they are a consequence of our genetic makeup, which has been inherited from past generations. There is not much, generally, which can be done by others to help these conditions.
"However, our daily functioning is primarily influenced by decisions we make throughout our lives. When people make dangerous decisions, we expect those around them to work to prevent the danger. If, for example, we hear someone planning to commit suicide, even if they say that they clearly know what they are doing and have made a conscious decision to proceed with the suicide, it is universally assumed that we will do all we can to stop that from happening.
"Our spiritual lives are shaped by the choices we make. In a sense, the results can be more tragic than suicide. Unlike suicide, which occurs momentarily and no longer distresses the perpetrator, a dangerous decision about one's spiritual life will hassle a person for many years. So, we must do all we can to dissuade a fellow Jew from marrying a non-Jew.
"May G-d bless both you and your girlfriend to find the right person for yourselves, and then, with your respective spouses, you will both live happily. Meanwhile, you should discontinue any relationship with her, and it should never be renewed. You should go from strength to strength."
P.S. Choose "yes" from the Jewish Choice Awards drop down.
And yet another year went by …
Last year, on summer 2008 I launched the “Blondi world tour” memorial campaign, I sent my son, Asaf, nick named Blondi, on his world tour. Asaf was killed in a terror attack on March 2003 and can’t go to his world tour as any other young man does. I prepared a one page flyer with his photo and asked you to take it with you on your travels. I asked you to email me back a photo of Asaf from wherever you are. Please see below the original letter I sent out last year.
I got a lot of photos from over 80 countries. Many people responded to my wish from all over the world. Now that another summer starts I send this letter again. Whoever sent us photos, thank you very much, others are welcomed to send us photos this year, all people are invited to forward to their friends.
Happy traveling, enjoy your vacation and may you return safely to your homes.
Blondi’s world tour 2008!
On March 5th 2003, a young high school boy named Asaf (nicknamed Blondi) was on his way home from school. A suicide murderer who blew himself up on Asaf's bus killed him and sixteen other innocent men, women and children.
Asaf was almost seventeen years old when he died, and he is my son.
As every young man does, Asaf would have finished high school and service and would have gone on a trip to see the world: South America, the Far East, India or maybe Australia and New Zealand. He wanted very much to go surfing at the famous beaches in Hawaii and Australia. Asaf wanted to hike the high peaks of Nepal and the Himalayas.
Now I am sending Asaf on his world tour. Without a passport or a back pack. I am sending you only this picture and his spirit and ask you to help take Asaf wherever you go. India, Thailand, New Zealand or the Chinese wall – even the Olympics. Wherever you go, take out the picture, take a photo of it in the place you are and email it back to me (Yossi@Blondi.co.il).
If you are not traveling, take the photo in your city or town, at the mall, city stadium, or even your front or back yard.
Asaf will travel to these places through your photos, which will be displayed in Asaf’s world tour photo album on the internet. This way Asaf will be at all those wonderful places in the world he wasn’t lucky enough to see.
You can print a few copies of the attached picture and leave copies on your way, hang it on a bulletin board at the hotel or the guest house you stay in, leave it along the hiking path, put it in the visitor’s book you write your experience in.
Help me get my son around the world and make his world tour go through each country on the globe.
Yossi Zur, Asaf's father
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
And it's a peaceful, grateful, satisfied feeling I have instead.
Let's start from the morning.
~Easily woke up on time (5:40am) cuz had gone to bed early (10pm) the night before.
~Found clothes quickly, davened with no interruptions, had yummy breakfast (still no olive oil in the house but eventually found some good eggs and had my cooked meal).
~Driver didn't come as late as he sometimes does and he wasn't wearing as much gag-inducing cologne as he usually does.
~Two kids less in the car which means much less fighting (from them) and less begging (from me) to do the pesukim.
~Because the driver wasn't so late, I was able to make copies of the Aleph-Beis sheets (which I had prepared from the day before) that I needed for my first class.
~I greeted all in English rather than yielding (as I regularly do) to the customs (ie language) of the place.
~It was a real pleasure to see the kids-I hadn't spent davening time with them in a long time.
~I was asked to go into the other class for davening but held my ground that I wasn't able to and was consequently allowed to remain with my regular class for davening.
~The kids all recognized the picture of 770 as the shul of the Rebbe
~Shockingly, GY recognized the Beis and Veis. She also spat out, with astounding ease, Hebrew replies to the questions I asked in Hebrew. Wow!
~The kids got a clearer picture of the Parsha when the director came in and 'splained it to em in Spanish.
~I used my hour break to prepare the project I had intended to and I was also able to help a few aides by saying brachot with two other classes. (yeh? you write aides like that? it looks funny). As a bonus, for snack, I had my brown-rice crackers that I had prepared in the morning, guilt free cuz someone is bézrat hashem coming in from New York this week.
~The younger class went well b''h (I think I shall delete circle time from our schedule and geéndikt. Say, this Spanish accent or whatever that ' is called, works well for Yiddish, and I'd guess Hebrew, as well)
~Easy time by lunch with the brachot
~Walked into a teachers meeting (in order to fill up my pitcher), and got a round of applause from the staff and parents that were present.
~Arranged the driver for today, satisfactorily, as well as for the future, también satisfactorily.
~Had time to daven Mincha and finish Tehillim before twas time to go.
~I (sorta) found what I needed in the store (before tomorrow).
~Came home at 2:45 (rejoiced over the lemons in the fridge!) and had time to finish Chitas, grab a carrot and my gym stuff but not feel rushed ;)
~Get a call from M.R. She tells me that her daughter started responding positively and negatively to properly convey her wants! I only worked with her once or twice on that! Wow! Also, she told me more nice things they said by the teachers meeting.
~On way to gym, was able to start a 'Killer Soduku' with NO hints from the back!
~At the gym, I noticed I left half my outfit at home (heehee, hence the not feeling rushed feeling of before). Gotta chance to check out the stores nearby and also to feel very NORMAL in a NORMAL bike shop. Homesickness eased a notch.
~Worked out well b''h, all the machines are getting easier. And the water worked too :)
~AMAZINGLY no traffic on the way home. Time to shower and prepare AND eat a deluxe meal (TOTALLY healthy and permitted) that I had actually started before (baked sweet potato plus canned salmon 'fried' with an egg and a half an onion). Yum.
~Again, AMAZINGLY no traffic back to other side of town.
~The hour and 15 minutes of therapy went by quickly, as usual. Thing I practiced today: Pulling apart the Clicks (or whatever those things are called) and then sorting them by color in a straight line. Introduced memory cards. Blowing down two blocks at a time, vs one. Imitation (with colored blocks). Feeling the vibrations on the throat to encourage sounds. Stringing beads. And of course "lo" and "ken" and "tichaki" and "achshav" and all those little instructions.
~Got my ride back home right when I needed to and felt happy to be able to help em on the 23rd iyh.
~When I came home, I ate well (healthily, not heartily. Well, that too.), did laundry and typed up my day. And now it's 10:15pm and I'm just about ready to wrap up my day and head for the bed.
How wonderful it is not to feel like a complete failure. Not to feel irresponsible, lazy, overwhelmed, helpless and out of control.
How wonderful it is to feel successful. To feel responsible, prepared, capable and in control.
How wonderful it is. How very very wonderful.
Thank You Hashem and may it be the first of endless more. Gracias!