Brownsteins in the Land of Israel
(TEXT ONLY VERSION)
for the long delay. As usual, there are a few comments and letter
followed by my feature story and then some extremely important letters sent to
me after the most recent (and, God willing, the last) bombing here in
Jerusalem on January 29th. Frankly, the bombing letters sent to me are
much more important than anything I have to write. I greatly appreciate
your time in reading this entire presentation.
again, Billy Baynu, from Derech Eretz wrote of my last story
"Cheated!", "Dear Richie, I read your story 'Cheated!' last
night, right after I received it. It
how you told it like it is about those damn Moslems and Christians in
Jerusalem. You tell 'em Richie.
They should all go back to their own stinking countries.
Burn down the churches and mosques, too, while you're at it!
But then a funny thing happened when I was talking to Mom about it.
She had just finished reading it, too, and she said that it wasn't about
hating people at all, but it was about tolerance.
She said that you were mocking people who are tired of foreigners!
Mom said that you were speaking like a racist, but that you really
didn't mean it. She also said
that the reason you mentioned those other cities at the end was to show that
one man's bigot is another man's object of bigotry.
She even said that the reason you called the story 'Cheated' was just
to make us think at the beginning that you really felt cheated, but that you
don't feel cheated at all. Mother
suggested that I should reread it because I obviously didn't get it at all and
she was embarrassed for me. I
told her that I read just fine and that Rich's chronicles are not tricky, but
very simple about his day-to-day life in Israel.
I told her, 'I've known Rich for 40 years and he is not a serious dude.
He just likes to write subtle humor.'
I was a little bit confused when she then suggested that the $100,000
she had spent on my college education seemed to have been somewhat wasteful.
I just shrugged and went back to my videogame.
Please tell Mama that my Harvard education was worth every penny!"
Hey, Billy: listen to your mom.
dear friend of 25 years, Rachael Andres, wrote of my last chronicle,
"Cheated!": "I was worried for a minute...that you had gone
over the deep end. Thankfully a
little of the liberal Rich(ie) that I know and love is still there."
I'm glad I didn't disappoint you, Rachael.
other people, too, were confused about which video production I was
responsible for. For anybody who
is still confused, click on this link
(and be patient). My dear friend
of 25 years, Jamie Black, wrote of it: "The video had your signature
on it. I don't know how else to
describe it. Your sophistication,
intellect, edginess, sarcasm. It
was just you. A grown up version
of you, but still you." Thank
also have been keeping up a little page on the website called �The Jew Of
The Day.� It is a lot of fun.
sadly, I went into my post office (Chapter
3: An Address, Maybe?) the
other day and finally noticed Tamar sitting in Meir's chair: First Chair, like
in band. It dawned on me that she
had been there often lately, so I asked Tamar about Meir.
She said, "Didn't you know?"
"Know what?" "Meir
died about three months ago." "How?"
"An electrical shock in his home.
It was very sad." I
thought of what Baruch
HaGever told me in his store across the street. Very sad. Meir
was a nice man.
Lastly, a personal note. Last month marked the end of my 41st year in the beginning of my 42nd year. Normally I wouldn't make a big deal out of a birthday, but this year seems somewhat special. For example, this is the second birthday I spent in Israel. The first was my 20th, during winter break of my sophomore year at Reed College. I woke up on that fine Jerusalem morning, bought and downed a beer, and hopped a bus to the practically barren "resort" city of Eilat on the Red Sea. This year I also celebrated in Jerusalem over dinner at Burger's Bar with my wife, my two children, and my niece Elana (and with a Diet Coke). Also, on the day of my birthday, I completed reading the entire set of Kahati Mishah, concluding a three-year daily project. And my 41st year also marked the end of one dream, and the fulfillment of another: the dream that ended was a result of the sale of half of my 13-year-old business, The Transcription Company; the fulfillment of a dream was the realization of 25 years of Zionism, marked by moving my family and myself to Jerusalem and becoming Israeli citizens. And, finally, as has been a tradition for the last seven years, all of the Brownstein children had our annual vacation together (i.e., my brother Jeb and his wife and two kids from Baltimore, and my sister Jois and her husband and their two kids from Portland, and my family). In the past we went to places like Mexico on a cruise and to Palm Springs. This year we all got together in the Red Sea resort city called Eilat. I am blessed with the most supportive and loving wife and siblings I could ever have wished for.
course, I'd like to thank all of you who sent birthday wishes and also who made
it possible for us to live our dream here in Israel. Thank you.
is not an exaggeration to say that living in Los Angeles is almost impossible
without a car, especially if you have a family.
Fortunately, cars are relatively cheap in America (except for insurance).
Conversely, one can very easily get around here in Jerusalem by foot, cab,
and bus. Oh, and also, cars are
very, very expensive here, as is fuel. The
main reason that gas and cars are expensive here is because they are both
heavily taxed. For example, there
is a 125% tax on all new vehicles! If,
however, you are a new immigrant, that tax slips down to only 75%, which is a
fleeting benefit for new immigrants. Although
it exists now, that is only by a thread and is vanishing momentarily.
used to be that the Israeli government subsidized many items for immigrants in
an effort to entice people to make their life here. But then some bean counter in the Ministry of Finance figured
out that the revenue gained by taking away these benefits outweighed what the
new immigrants were receiving. In
other words, those of us who could pay for a new car or a new living room set
would do so regardless of the benefit, even if it meant buying a little less
about two months before we were about to leave America, reports started coming
in that the auto benefit was going to be eliminated as of July 1, 2003.
That would have been very unfortunate, considering that we planned to
arrive on July 15, 2003. I even
considered coming ahead of my family to buy a car in order to retain the
benefit, but I thought better of it, because, as you will see, that would have
been impossible. Happily, though,
as our arrival drew nearer, we started to get information suggesting that the
benefit would last until the end of 2003.
arriving, I came to the conclusion that a car was a completely unneeded expense.
Of course, that was when it was 85� every day.
On the other hand, my wife Sara, who is very wise, suggested that
perhaps our days of walking the children to school and ourselves to
Ulpan would be slightly less
romantic once it started to rain virtually every day and the temperature
hovers between 40� and 50�, with a healthy wind for a kicker.
And, sure enough, as the weather started to turn, my wife made it very
clear that I was living in a dream world if I thought that we could get by
without a car. She was right, of
once I shook myself into reality, I started to visit a few dealerships.
But they all said to me, "Don't bother looking for a car until you
have a license. And you probably
won't get a license until after the general strike is over, and that might not
be until 2006!"
after talking to friends who'd recently gone through the licensing gauntlet to
get the skinny on the hoops and ladders I would need to circumnavigate, I
learned that the first stop would have to be a really tiny hole-in-the-wall
office -- seemingly completely unaffiliated with the State -- in downtown
Jerusalem. There I went to present
my California driver's license, Israeli ID card, immigrant card, and some cash.
In return, I received a form with my picture and my information on it.
I asked what to do next. They
said I needed to have my vision and health checked and that this form would be
my scorecard in this very Israeli version of a treasure hunt.
Squinting at the form, at first I was annoyed that they were making me
jump through these silly little hoops to get something so rightfully mine.
But then, realizing that I had no choice, the half-full part of me
rationalized that it was probably better to make sure that all the people on the
highways in Israel be physically able to handle a vehicle.
In fact, as I walked to a heavily trafficked "doctor's office"
-- which is brilliantly situated across the street from the form factory -- I
was actually somewhat delighted that such care was being showered upon us.
Big Brother with a heart.
happy, a minute later I entered this cramped office.
I bumped into a few people who seemed to be waiting in front of me.
As I started
to eke out to
receptionist something that she hears 500 times a day in at least five languages
(Hebrew, Arabic, English, French, and Russian), almost without acknowledgment
she said with a classic Russian accent, "Sit down. Two minutes.
Sit down." I sat down.
A minute later she showed me to a room where a virtual teenager in a
white jacket told me to look into a special machine and to tell her which line
had the smallest letters
could read. My lasered eyes didn't
fail me. Then she flicked a switch
and showed me some colored boxes in the machine.
"Tell me," she said yawning, "what three colors do you
see." "White, green, and
red." "Green?" she
said in mid-yawn, with a double-take that would have made any Hollywood director
yell, "Print!" Guessing,
feeling somewhat nostalgically patriotic and historically color deficient, I
said, "Oh, green? I meant, um,
ah, blue. Blue.
Red, white, and blue? Right?"
"Right," she said, almost smiling, while signing my paper,
" red, white, and blue. Go
across the hall to the doctor."
they really are tough here; that eye exam was one of the most grueling 15
seconds of my life.
the hall I found a 50-year-old Russian doctor in a white lab coat, unbuttoned to
mid-chest, with rolling tufts of gray hair bulging through the fabric.
He told me to sit down and took my paper.
He said to me in very dingy English, "You healthy."
�Yeah.� "Okay, sign
here." Once back out on the
street, my nascent sense of confidence in the selection process began to falter
and wither away, like the buttons on the "doctor's" coat.
informants then told me that it is virtually impossible to get a license without
first spending time with a driving instructor.
On one hand, having driven since the Ford Administration, I felt
like having to pay an instructor 100 bucks was a bit of overkill.
But then, realizing I had no choice, the half-full part of me
rationalized that it was probably an ideal policy to make sure that everybody
behind the wheel knows how to drive. (As
if my flash memory had just been reprogrammed and the literally dozens of visions
of motorists bobbing in and out of truly lethal situations had been magically
I called the "teacher" who was recommended to me.
He asked, with a tired Soviet accent, if I had "paper".
I thought so. I described
what I had. No.
I needed to go to �license bureau,� which is very close to my
neighborhood, to get "paper". Once
I got "paper", I should call him back and he would schedule
"lesson" with me and schedule my actual driving test for me as well.
I went to "license bureau" and took a number and waited 30 minutes to
watch a woman look over my California driver's license and other documentation
and ask a few questions. Satisfied
that my California driver's license was valid and had not lapsed, she gave me
"new paper". Back at
home, I called teacher who told me that he would drop by in a few minutes, honk
the horn, and that I should run outside and hand him "paper".
Leaning in from the passenger side, I asked instructor when we would be
able to conclude ordeal. He was
a week later teacher called me and told me that "partner Uri" would be
taking me for test the following day. I
was to meet at hotel near my Ulpan just after class.
"By the way," he asked, " stick or automatic?"
I went for it all. "Bring
on the stick!"
the next day Uri's learner's car stopped in front of hotel and he said goodbye
to a 17-year-old girl who had just tormented him for the last hour through the
extremely narrow streets of Jerusalem. I got in and off we went.
For the next 20 minutes, until we got to testing site, the only comment
Uri made about my driving was that it is better to "keep car in gear"
when going downhill, as opposed to trying to save gas by coasting.
we arrived -- in gear -- at testing site, which is a building and parking lot.
Uri tells me to park car in front of where the test is going to begin.
I comply. Then he says,
"I'm going to show you test route."
Cool. "Okay, go."
So I start to go -- forward -- like, "go" to me means
"go". So then Uri, as I
start to "go"
slams on his instructor's breaks, stalling out the car. "Hey, Uri," I
look at him. "I thought you
said go." Uri pointed to sign
straight ahead, the symbol round with a horizontal line through it.
"That means no enter. You
would have failed test. You
Americans never think it's worth taking lesson... until I stall you out."
Thanks Uri. You dah man; I'm
just dumb American.
the next 20 minutes Uri and I tour the other cool little traps that
overconfident Americans wouldn't notice. Then
we go back to testing station. Uri
goes in and returns five minutes later with Vladimir.
(Did I mention that 1.3 million Russians have immigrated to Israel in the
last 10 years and constitute one quarter of all Israelis?
Baruch HaShem!) So, when
Vladimir says, "Go", I say to Vladimir, "Hey Vladi, where you
want me to go? That's a �do not
enter� sign straight ahead. Don't
you see it? You don't want me to go
there, do you?" "Uri did
good," Vladi smiled. "Maybe,
let's turn right." Yeah,
let's. Now that we had that clear,
once he learned that my wife is from Paris, Vladi spent the next 25 minutes,
while I was driving, practicing his French on me.
We got back to testing station. Vladi
said, "Au Revoir."
gets in. I asked, "So how did
I do?" "I don't know.
You never know. You can
never tell with these Russians!" Uri
smiled. "I call you at four
o'clock to tell you."
o'clock came and went about a dozen times before my wife suggested that maybe I
should call to see how it went, so I called.
Teacher told me that I passed, but, unfortunately, due to current strike,
there is nothing I could do, no place to go to pick up license.
"So what was the point?" "Hey,
you called me!"
it or not, I wasn't sweating it too much because it was still several months
before the end of the year, and I figured I had plenty of time.
Sara was a little less, how can I put it, tranquil.
But it wasn't like I could run over to the Prime Minister's house on the
way to Ulpan and deal with it. I
pointed out to Sara, who grew up in Socialist France, that strikes are
intended to throw people's lives out of whack, or didn't she remember?
Hey Honey, at least in America we have a proud tradition of dealing with
strikes by breaking unions and hiring scabs.
Here, they're just learning how to do that.
miraculously, totally out of the clear blue metaphor, about two weeks later, I
get in the mail a very official looking little document.
I looked over it again and again, like Charlie gazing at the golden
ticket. "I do believe," I
said to my little former Socialist wife, "that this is my temporary
driver's license." There was a
place on it with instructions to go to the post office and pay to have the real
one sent me. So down I went to the
post office, to Tamar, who verified what I had suspected and told me to pony up
approximately 50 bucks. About two
weeks later the real driver's license arrived. Whoopee!
I could start getting serious about finding a car.
to say, cars in Israel are significantly different from cars in America.
The selection is limited and there are almost no options.
The highest "trim level" or version of a model is less plush
then the lowest level of an equivalent car in America.
there's the problem of buying cars from companies whose home country is either
currently or has historically been unfriendly to Jews.
all German cars and all cars owned by German companies, which includes Chrysler.
It also includes all French cars, which means no Peugeot (a pretty nice
car), Renault, or Citroen. Fiat,
too, is a problem because, although Italy is currently Israel's best friend in
Europe, when I went to the Fiat website I found that although Fiats are sold
here in Israel, Israel was the only nation where Fiats are sold that is not
listed there (a.k.a. subtle, but real, anti-Semitism).
Now, I know the argument about Henry Ford being one of the world's great
anti-Semites. Having owned two
Tauruses, one Miata (Ford owns a third of Mazda), and one Volvo (owned by Ford),
this is an old argument for me. In
a nutshell, buying Fords was a matter of ignoring the attitude of one man as
opposed to the attempted genocide by the people of Germany and their willful
collaborators in chronically anti-Semitic France.
being said, I actually wasn't interested in a Ford at all.
What I really wanted was a good, old-fashioned minivan, and the Ford
minivan is appalling. So, after
ruling out all the above, my choices were very
In the end, I decided to get a Kia
Carnival, which has a turbo diesel engine.
It cost about $4000 less than the Mazda MPV, and the cost of operation is
significantly less. For example,
diesel fuel costs about $.65 per liter; gasoline costs about $1.10 per liter.
The Mazda gets about 6 kilometers per liter; the Kia gets about 10.
So, the overall cost per mile is about $.10 for the Kia and $.28 for the
I went into the Kia dealership, and Natasha happily took my deposit.
Right afterwards, a
from Ulpan called me and said that he just got the identical car through a
broker who saved him approximately $1500. I
called the broker who faxed me over the information to confirm that he was for
real. Then I called Natasha and I
asked if the dealership could meet the price. Unhappily, they did.
at that point it seemed like there was only one thing left to do: get the car.
Normally I wouldn't have really cared about
timing. A week here, a week there.
There's a strike going on, easy, easy.
Except my brother and sister and their families were coming from America
for our annual get-together. Somehow
I needed to get my family to Eilat, which is about 250 miles from Jerusalem, and
I had hoped to be able to load up the old Kia for a four-hour sing-along.
The alternatives to driving were not terribly appealing: take a cab an
hour to Tel Aviv to wait an hour through security to fly a half-hour to Eilat;
take a taxi the whole way; rent a car; or take a bus.
As you can see, driving my family in our brand new Kia diesel minivan was
far better than any of the above choices. But
several weeks had gone by without any sign of Customs reviewing my vehicle for
release and, frankly, I was almost out of time.
I called Natasha at the Kia dealership and reminded her that my grandmother was
And I asked her if there was any way that I could take delivery of the
car in time for the trip. Tasha seemed very sympathetic, but told me that it was out of
her hands. She explained that once
Customs has the paperwork, the dealership is absolutely forbidden from
contacting Customs. I said to her
that I would be more than happy to make the call myself, thinking that calling
Customs was an impossibility. To
the contrary, she practically leapt at the opportunity to give me the number.
But Tasha also told me not to get my hopes up.
soon as I got a chance, I made the call. Not surprisingly, they were closed because of the strike and
the message said to try again the next day, Friday.
I did, successfully speaking to Boris, the Customs guy.
I told him that I had a problem. He
told me that there is a strike. I
him that my car was being held there and that I needed to have it released.
He listened. I gave him my
ID number. He looked up the car.
I asked him what the story was. Boris
said there is a strike. I asked him
what needed to be done in order to release the car.
Boris told me that if he decided to release the vehicle it would be done
in a matter of minutes, but that he'd been at work now for close to an hour, it
was Friday, and he was going home. He
suggested that I call him at 9 a.m. on Sunday (the first workday of the week in
Israel). I thanked him and told him
to have a good Shabbos.
9 a.m. on Sunday I called Boris and asked him if he had any more news for me
about my car. He said he would
release it immediately. I thanked
him profusely and the 30-second conversation was finished.
immediately called Tasha and told her the good news.
Tash said, basically, not so fast! Huh?
Apparently it would take several days to get the car street-ready once
they received it, including putting on the mandatory alarm with satellite
tracking system that is required by all Israel insurance companies.
I told her that I really didn't have several days and that I would really
appreciate whenever she could do for me.
next day Tash called me to invite me to the dealership to take delivery.
After she ran me through all the buttons and manuals, she said to me,
"Richard, may I ask you something?"
Sure, Tash. "What did
you say to Customs that they released the car?"
It took me a moment to realize that this kind of cooperation during a
strike -- or maybe at any other time in Israel -- would be considered unusual or
perhaps even gracious. So I turned
to her and said, "Tash, can I ask you a question?"
Sure. "What did I say
to you that made you rush my car through so quickly yesterday?"
She hesitated and then answered, "You told me that you needed the
car." I smiled, and said to
her, "Which is all I said to Customs, too."
is a wondrous land of contradictions and ever-present miracles.
Israel can be fitful and frustrating.
But, most of all, Israel is a land where people are always ready for two
things: to be treated roughly by anyone who crosses their path and to be
exceedingly generous when they are not treated roughly.
I'm thankful to have learned this lesson after only six months in my
thanks for reading this far.
a strikingly different perspective on getting an Israeli driver's license, I highly
encourage you to read my wife's short piece about her unique experience by
appreciate and look forward to your comments and greetings.
you know, we are in the middle of a membership drive, so please get me the
e-mail addresses of people whom you want to add.
(Let them know ahead of time, so I don't get in trouble with the spam
stay tuned for Chapter 14: �Class Lessons.�
DISTRIBUTION: 400 worldwide
cars were harmed in the photography of this reenactment.
characters except Billy Baynu are purely fictional.
you want to add someone to this list, or remove yourself, just e-mail email@example.com
and let him know.
My 18-year-old niece Elana Brownstein, who is in Israel for her freshman year of college, wrote this letter the day of the bombing.
She is an
amazing young woman and I am very pound of her.
Dear Friends and
At approximately 8:30 this morning a Palestinian Authority Policeman/Homicide Bomber denoted his explosives on a bus, murdering 10 and injuring an additional 65. Egged bus #19 was traveling from Hadassah Hospital in Ein Karem to Hadassah Hospital on Har Hatzofim when the shrapnel-packed bomb exploded a mere block and a half from my Jerusalem dorm room where I have spent the past 5 months.
majority of my group (Nativ), including myself happened not to be in the dorm at
the time of the explosion as we were touring a Charedi (Ultra Orthodox) school
several neighborhoods away from our Rechavia (Jerusalem neighborhood) home. Some
of my friends, however, remained in our dorm and experienced the horror. The
dorms shook, ambulances with deafening sirens overwhelmed each block of the
building's 5 street intersection, and the trauma was in close eye shot of the
Nativ roof balcony.
returned from our tour at around 11am at which time I hurried to the mostly
cleared out scene. A few ambulances and police vehicles remained while private
cars were still unable to pass on Azza Street. ZAKA (emergency relief
volunteers) were searching for body parts in tree branches as I passed by. Media
crews, onlookers, and emergency workers enveloped the area. Not many people were
speaking. No one had anything to say. There was nothing to say. There is nothing
helpless all day with my emotions running high, I decided to visit the scene
once again, this time with candles and tehillim (psalms) in hand. I lit 10
candles - one for each of today's victims and recited verses of tehillim (one
for each victim) for nearly an hour. I don't ever remember crying as much as I
did today and tonight. As I stood reciting tehillim and weeping, an Israeli
woman came to me and embraced me for a long moment and whispered "Yihiyeh
Tov, Yihiyeh Tov- It will be okay, It will be okay." After some time, I
returned to my dorm room feeling a little bit better knowing that I did the only
thing I could in such a helpless situation.
I knew that coming to Israel during this trying time in our nation's history
would be difficult, I never imagined that something would hit this close to
home. Nonetheless, I feel proud to be a Jew, living (even if temporarily) in the
state of Israel among my brothers and sisters. Thank G-d, everyone I know is
okay, and my immediate family is safe. My extended family though, Am Yisrael
(the Jewish people), lost 10 innocent members this morning. May their memories
be for a blessing.
V'ahavat Zion (With peace and love for Israel),
feel free to forward this to anyone who might benefit from reading it and I
would love to hear back from you if you have a chance to write.
My dear friend
Rabbi Shraga Simmons, who is Aish.com and HonestReporting.com, wrote this letter
the day of the bombing.
He is an amazing man and friend.
Jan. 29, the day of the bus bombing in Jerusalem in which 10 people were killed,
I spent the day with a friend who was visiting from America.
families!" my friend said over and over, shaking his head in bewilderment.
"I just think of each of those people kissing their kids goodbye in the
morning, and then heading off to work. Murdered in cold blood."
reaction to the bombing was far less emotional. Perhaps after nearly four years
and 1,000 dead, I had stopped reacting. Somehow, the pain was too great to bear
and I had tuned it out, in order to go on with my life.
people!" my friend kept repeating throughout the day.
gnawed at me the fact that I was not distraught over the massacre.
then I got the news.
Goldberg, a friend, father of seven, immigrant from Toronto, and contributing
writer to Aish.com, was among those murdered in the bus bombing.
who felt deeply the pain of every Jew, and who dedicated his life to working
with "at risk" teens.
who warned us all against falling into "numb acceptance" of terror
years ago, after a triple-terror attack on Jerusalem's Ben Yehudah pedestrian
mall, Chezi wrote the following essay. Please read it, in honor of his memory.
And may we all take Chezi's words to heart.
You Don't Cry, Who Will?"
walked into shul. I nodded my acknowledgement like I always do. He made some
strange gesture, which I couldn't understand. I went on with the business of the
few minutes later, he walked over to me and said, "Didn't you hear?"
understood that he was talking about last night's terror attack on Ben Yehudah
assumed that he obviously intended that someone we knew was hurt or killed.
looked at me as if I had landed from another planet. "About who? About
everyone who was attacked last night."
nodded, "Yes, I heard."
why aren't you crying?"
words shot through me like a spear piercing my heart. Our Sages teach that
"words that come from the heart enter the heart." He was right. Why
wasn't I crying?
could not answer. I had nothing to say.
pointed around the shul. "Why aren't all my friends crying?"
could not answer. I had nothing to say.
we all be crying?"
was right. What has happened to all of us? -- myself included. We have turned to
stone. Some would call it numbness. Some would call it collective national
shock. Some would say that we all have suffered never-ending trauma and it has
affected our senses.
excuses are worthless. All the reasons in the world don't justify our distance
from the pain that is burning in our midst.
an attack happens, in the heat of the moment, we frantically check to see if
someone we know has been hurt or killed. And then, if we find out that "our
friends and family are safe," we breathe a deep sigh of relief, grunt and
grumble about the latest tragic event and then, continue with our robotic
motions and go on with our lives.
have not lost our minds, my friends. We have lost our hearts.
that is why we keep on losing our lives.
I left the shul, my friend said to me with tears dripping from his bloodshot
eyes, "I heard that the Torah teaches that for every tear that drops from
our eyes, another drop of blood is saved."
are living in a time of absolute madness. And yet, we detach ourselves and keep
running on automatic in our daily lives.
night, 10 people were killed and nearly 200 were injured. Even MSNBC referred to
the triple terror attack as a "slaughter."
still, we are not crying.
my friends, we are foolish to believe that the nations of the world should be
upset about the continuous murder and slaughter of Jews -- if we ourselves are
not crying about it. Am I not my brother's keeper?
most effective way for us to stop the carnage in our midst is to wake up and to
react to it from our hearts. How can we demand that God stop the tragedy, when
most of us react like robots when tragedy strikes?
we don't cry about what is happening around us, who will?
you don't cry about what is happening around us, who will?
I don't cry about what is happening to us, who will?
our salvation from this horrific mess will come only after we tune into our
emotions and cry and scream about it.
our enemies pound us and we fail to react because we no longer feel the pain, we
are truly in a precarious position in the battle to survive.
know a woman who has no sensitivity in her fingers. When she approaches fire,
she doesn't feel the pain. That puts her in a dangerous position because she
might be getting burnt and not know it, because her senses don't feel it.
we are being hurt and we don't feel it, then we are in a very risky position. A
devastating 3-pronged suicide attack on Jerusalem's most popular thoroughfare
should evoke a cry of pain and suffering from all of us, should it not? Unless
of course, we have lost our senses.
if we have lost our senses, then what hope is there?
turn on the news to hear of more carnage in Haifa. Sixteen dead. Sixteen of my
brothers and sisters.
Solomon said, "There is a time for everything." Now is the time for
God protect each and every one of us from our enemies so that we will not have
to cry in the future.