oh rats

Or really, mice.

We are back at home now. I am moving very slowly at this moment; I probably should have taken naps during the day. Instead, I have been enjoying uninterrupted internet access to upload all the rest of my photos from this summer to Shutterfly, after editing the last bunch of shots.

Okay, I’m clearly not really back yet. I just heard a siren; an ambulance or a police car, not sure of the difference here, and my heart jumped.

I immediately went back to the last time I heard a siren go off. It was last Sunday evening, right after I got out of the shower. Our granddaughter told everyone–the parent with the headphones on, the other in the air conditioned room which didn’t let any of that sound in–to get moving! I fumbled with my robe and threw the towel over my head and went downstairs to the safe room. Our kids had brought the younger sleeping kids in and there we waited.

Boom. Boom. They could hear 2 booms. I took their word for it, since I had the towel over my head.

We waited the recommended time, even though we didn’t see anything on the media about our specific area having such an alert. But hey! Why not be safe?

Yes, it turns out that once again, we were “over”-cautious. There was no siren in our neighborhood; only in the next one in the next couple of hills over. But it was enough.

And so I have my story to tell. I know that when I go back to synagogue tomorrow, people will ask me, “So what is the most important thing that you…





And I know I don’t have an answer. I can talk about the absurdity of dealing with mice and mosquitoes in our daughter’s apartment, with a mouse running by my head in the middle of the night (on the wall, not in the bed!!) at the beginning of the summer, creating a symbol of the built-in danger all around in a mostly amusing way, as I alluded to here. So it is perhaps not an empty metaphor that we are once again dealing with mice here. The dangers are all around us. When they are small, we can avoid them, or just understand they’re annoying. When they continue to thrive, when we do nothing to stop them, well, do I really have to connect the dots here?

When you see Hasidim wearing baseball hats in the Rome airport so that they don’t get identified as Jewish, you know there’s a problem that has spread.

It’s very comfortable to come back to America and go about my business.

But not really.

It’s curious that I had linked back then to an article by Daniel Gordis; I was planning on doing that again today. He says here in his article called “A dose of nuance: Hope you’re having a good summer”:

War is a brutal and horrific thing, but when one’s nation or civilization is under attack, one simply has to take sides.

Israelis have done that because our houses are under fire. In London and New York, the spectator sport called Zionism continues unabated.

Let there be no mistake – this is a battle for Israel’s survival. Some people get that, many do not. We understand that our Diaspora counterparts have still headed for their beach homes this summer. Why not, after all? Staying glued to CNN in the city isn’t going to do us any good. And we don’t begrudge the Facebook postings of our friends’ and relatives’ trips to Barcelona or Berlin or Tuscany, or the #GreatWeekend hashtags we’re seeing everywhere. Life must go on, after all.

Another curious thing about this summer, continuing with the analogy above was my reading The Fantastic Mr. Fox with my grandson before the fighting broke out. For whatever reason, I had never read it before. I must admit that I’ve never been a fan of Roald Dahl, finding him the kind of author who looks to make children feel superior to adults, which feels forced and smug at the same time.

Are you familiar with the book? (And even though I’m a big Wes Anderson fan, I never saw the movie. Not sure if it follows the same track, either, so let’s stick with the book.) Basically, there are 3 awfully greedy and despicable farmers who want to prevent the fantastic Mr. Fox, a family man and a great provider, from caring for his wonderful family. So the Fantastic Mr. Fox works with the other animals underground to ensure they will always have what they want. By digging a whole series of tunnels under the farms.

At the expense of the farmers.

Are you understanding my unease with this as a metaphor for Gaza, with the tunnels and all?

But I’m afraid that the Western world buys this scenario a little too easily; that the poor Gazans just want to take care of their families and are being prevented by the evil Jews Israelis. Here’s another article by Khaled Abu Toameh that states the extended lesson the world must hear. And learn.

Many foreign journalists who came to cover the war in the Gaza Strip were under the false impression that it was all about improving the living conditions of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by opening border crossings and building an airport and seaport. These journalists really believed that once the demands of Hamas and Islamic Jihad are accepted, this would pave the way for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Yet these journalists, like many others in the international community, failed to look at the bigger picture or take into consideration the context of conflict. Moreover, most of them did not even seem to be listening to what Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been stating before and after the war — that their real goal is to “liberate all Palestine.”

I should find something happy to post, shouldn’t I?

Well, we did find the mouse here in the house. Or it found us. It was sitting on the doorstep to the study while I was sitting here typing/editing away.

My hero got the broom and pushed it out the door. It was probably poisoned from the traps we have around the house, so it was not difficult.

Then he went out and got a new broom.

That probably is a metaphor for something, too.



I know you might be thinking, much ado about nothing. But I would be very happy if he (THE MOUSE!!)  stayed outside and didn’t bother me. Then we could all be friends.

In the meantime, I’ll end with a lovely shot I took up in the Talmudic Village of Katzrin, where we came upon a sofer (scribe) who was very happy to do some writing for us. Another example of his work was in the wall.



It says:

Blessing, success, and happiness

And health to the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces

And they should succeed in their mission.



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