We keep meeting people who are one step away from us; a couple from London/Jerusalem whose son is good mates with our son in Melbourne; former members of our community who are now living here who met our mechutanim, our daughter’s in-laws, at a genealogy convention. I have always felt that Israel is such a microcosm of the world that it is like an archeological dig of my life every time I am here.
The other day, July 7, was the day I first left for my first trip to Israel. In 1968. I can’t even do the math. Or I can’t handle the math. I met up with old friends in Jerusalem. With one of these friends I share loss on top of our friendship, or is it through it? She lost her mother this year and I my sister. But she is an orphan and an only child. She said that the value of being with old friends is having someone who knows all the layers of your life. I added, “and loves all of them.”
She made connections for me for a project that I am now doing; I made connections for something that she should be doing. She countered my thoughts about something that has been troubling me; she thought that maybe I was approaching something from an unrealistic angle. I accept that and am glad that she is challenging me to think more about my presumptions.
With my other friend, I got to learn more about some really important lessons in making aliyah, real practical suggestions and plans. And I got to laugh in a deep way that is so very healthy.
And in the afternoon, I got to play with our grandchildren.
Pretty successful day, I would say.
The other day, we went out to eat dinner with our kids to the Gush Etzion Winery. Amazing wines, wonderful restaurant. And since we were there still during daylight hours, the kids showed me a section outside that I had not seen before. There’s a lovely setting for a wedding, as well as any other celebration that one might want to have outside. Our granddaughter thinks that’s where she wants us to celebrate her becoming a bat mitzvah next year.
One of the boys grabbed a broom that was there–he wanted to clean away the glass. That’s how he knew that there must have been a Jewish wedding there. Broken glass left over from the smashing of the glass by the chatan, the groom, commemorating the broken state of Jerusalem today.
We are in the midst of the three weeks commemorating the time of the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. It took three weeks from the time of the breaching of the wall to the burning of the Temple. Twice.
Jerusalem is the center that keep me together, but I haven’t really figured out why and how. I need to take that as a given for now.
Right now there are a lot of broken pieces. We all have a lot of work to do to clean it up. Three years ago, I wrote about how Rabbi David Hartman told us how “you have to just keep sweeping up your corner of the universe. Don’t worry about anyone else’s.”
And once again, we learn from the children.