what i wouldn’t take a picture of today

I could have been in Israel going to the brit milah (circumcision) of our 12th muffin, 7th grandson. But I came back to the states the other day. I was exhausted, mostly emotionally. It’s been so tense for the last three weeks since the baby was born and Ezra was killed. Before that was not easy, either, but manageable.

The taxi driver who brought me to the airport was a nice fellow. I could have been more worried about him driving when I realized he was not exactly a smart guy. For example, he shared with me that he had just been out of the country for the first time, to Barcelona, and had returned the morning of the Paris attack. (Was that only two weeks ago? I can’t keep that straight anymore.) His parents had been so worried about him going, and then to come back to the news about Paris. He was not a religious fellow, but he agreed that if your number is up, it’s better to be in Israel.

And then he wanted to know how long a flight I had. I told him 11 hours to Boston, but that was pretty good.

“Boston, is that in Europe?”

He asked me if I minded if we stopped to pick up his girlfriend on the way. She was worried about him. They had been together on the trip. I guess the family are worriers. Once she got into the car, all she did was look at her phone. But it was sweet how she wanted to keep him company.

He didn’t need to go out of his way to pick her up once we were on the route he picked, the back road from Efrat via Beit Shemesh to the airport. These days, I would just drive through Jerusalem. These days, I wouldn’t drive the back roads. (If you can stand it, here’s an article explaining why, for example.) But the other road was where another attack happened. This is why it’s correctly called terror. It creates fear. Everything becomes a weighing act–do you really need to go out? What are the real risks involved? How much more expensive is it to just get whatever you need locally and not go to the bigger stores further away?

But as my young taxi driver friend pointed out, it could be Paris. I tried to point out about San Bernardino, but he maybe didn’t know where that was and it wasn’t worth it.

Yes, San Bernardino, where they combined terror with automatic weapons. How much more terrifying can it get? I am terrified to find out the answer to that.

So today, I did something else. I accompanied ISHI to the local cemetery to attend the re-interment of a baby who died five years ago. The family lives here now and wanted him closer to them. Even though the mother was crying (and she was not alone), she was happy, she said, because now he would be closer to them. She felt that he was abandoned and alone.

She wanted to watch as they opened up the metal casket that the plain wooden casket had been placed in for travel. When they opened up that metal casket, there was a stuffed teddy bear.

“This isn’t ours,” she said.

It became apparent that it was provided by the company that transports the caskets for re-interment. There was the same logo on the casket as on the bear.

She took the bear home with her.

I didn’t take a photo of that, nor of the marker of the twins with only one date indicated, nor of that tiniest casket in the enormous hearse, nor of the front loader that had to bring more dirt twice.

All the workers were very kind.

It’s important to remember that.


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