Sunday, June 26, 2011

Miracles in Chaos: Moments in Revolution


Bubbe Bracha was a Communist.  Well, she wasn't always a Communist.  First she was a very pious daughter of the hasid*, Reb Herschel.  Then, she was a Communist.  Do you know what she did?  After she was no longer the daughter of Reb Herschel, she kissed the rabbi's son.  But first, the boy cut off his peyos* and took off his tallis-katan*.  Wow, what a kiss!  So, Dovid and Bracha were a couple.  Their fathers said kaddish* for them at schul* and sat shiva* for them at home.  It was a small town after all and this is what was expected.  But, in the privacy of their study time together, these two old friends drank a "l'chaim"* to G-d who managed to make such a couple even in these crazy times.  

I knew Bubbe Bracha in America.....

Monday, June 20, 2011



-She said WHAT?!?
* You are too old, too religious, too ugly.
-She has never seen me.
*You are a gold digger and not worthy of me.
*What’s wrong with you? 
-It’s a cliché times three:  1) my son the doctor; 2) my son, my baby, the mezhinik (Definition of mezhinik); and 3) my son, MY SON.  Did you expect anything else?
          I’m upset.
-I can tell.
* That’s it.  She finally gets what she says she has always wanted and it is still not good enough.
*We’re getting married with or without her.
-I love you.  By the way, how did you come to this conversation?
*Okay, I called her to tell her I’ve just gotten engaged to a nice Jewish girl.  And she asks me how long we’ve been dating.
-And you said?
*Two months.
-Anything else?   …like we’ve been acquaintances for over ten years.
*No, she only asked about dating.

          So, Grandma that is how we met.  Before we ever laid eyes on each other; before we ever spoke you decided that I was wrong.  Wrong for being too old… wrong for being too religious… wrong for being too ugly… and dangerous for being a gold digger. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

HALLELUJAH, PRAISE THE LORD, a thank you note to a wonderful young woman


There are these remarkable people who arrive in our lives for a moment of need and leave us changed for a lifetime.  How can we thank them? 

When Rachel was born, no one left the room.  It was quiet.  The nurses whisked her away to a side area, cleaning her up and checking her out.  They were horrified and unable to mask those emotions.  Eventually, with a dressed and swaddled baby in her arms and with the care you’d give to a bag of beans, the nurse went to the waiting room and called for the family of Joanne.  Nancy, my friend, stood up.  The nurse shoved the baby into her arms with an awful-sounding “here”.  Nancy looked at my beautiful newborn girl in her arms and walked over to my father.  She gently placed the baby in his arms.  For the next hour he traced every tiny feature on her face and counted fingers and toes. 

A happy maternity ward is a joyous and fun place to be.  Flowers and balloons and smiling faces are always moving in and out of the rooms and up and down the hallways.  An unhappy maternity ward is another world.  Wailing permeates the air.  Grim faces stalk the hallways when there are faces.  There is a stunned and screaming silence.  This is where the doctors put me and my new little girl with Down Syndrome.  We were alone for most of the time.  Besides my husband, my son, and my parents, only my nurse midwife dealt with us in a friendly way.  Everyone else acted gruff, as if they were thinking, “this is a big deal university hospital … how could this happen?”  Very few respected the new life in my arms. 

Dedication: All this I dedicate to the miracle of life which G-d Almighty, the Creator, renews and refreshes every moment, every breath.


After a family gathering my beloved aunt decided she was sick and tired of the "kids" moaning and groaning.  Who are the "kids"?... the young adults with jobs and kids of their own.  This is what she said.

"Listen, our generation knows how to make chicken soup without the chicken.  We learned it from our parents and we also learned how to be happy with it."