Chronicles from Home         

Part  13

Our Lives and Opinions

May 18, 2004


I decided few weeks ago that I would stop writing my impressions from
Israel.  I would continue to print my “chronicles from home” in my inner
computer.  My keyboard would be an emotional one that would type on a very
private screen -- my brain -- and print it on my heart.

How can ever words manage to transmit what we have been living here.  As
touching as were your letters of encouragement, each time I read your warm
comments, I found my writing to have been empty and meaningless.  It is
impossible not to loose half of what I want to tell you by putting it into
words.  So I decided that I would not write anymore.

Of course, I could try to describe the “Cat at the Kotel” who didn’t let
anybody push him away.  Avoiding everybody’s legs, he found an empty chair,
jumped on it, stood erect facing the Wall, perfectly motionless.  He was
faster than me and finished his “davening” before mine, jumped down the
chair and left.  Was he just a cat?

I could try to describe for you my shock that same night when, opening the
blankets on my bed, I found a bird in it, half suffocated by the weight of
the covers.  I screamed.  Did I?  I don’t remember having making noise,
although I must have since Rich came up immediately to see what happened.

I could try to share my ambivalent feelings during Lag B’Omer -- my heart
oscillating between joy and pain: joy to see all the bonfires and the
people’s friendship sharing a seat, a treat, a smile; pain because I never
fully enjoy seeing flames, especially when they are tall.  Through the
ashes blowing in the wind, I can’t help but see gigantic eyes looking at
us, urging us not to forget the madness of civilized countries whose hate
was as big as the darkness itself, whose mouths swallowed six millions of
us.   Eyes in flames of those who would never be bury and whose pain I
carry forever in me…

I could try to explain the day of Yom HaShoah, when I found myself standing
during the longest minute I have ever experienced, listening to the sound
of the horn.  Rooted forever in our history.  In Yerushalayim, where I
live.  Between my father and my mother, may they live until 120 years,
whose stories of the war are engraved in my flesh and whose optimism is
rushing through my veins.   In front of “Café Hillel”.  All was there, our
whole story.  No word was necessary.  The true meaning of my life stood up
with me, on the corner of the street.

I could try to make you listen to the sounds of Yerushalayim.  The City is
alive.  She breathes.  And She speaks.  She cries.  And She rejoices.  Some
mornings, I leave our home and I feel it.  Immediately.  I look
around.  Everything is normal.  Busses are full with people.  Soldiers are
at the checkpoint at the entrance of the street.  And yet. There is
something unusual.  The wind tries to tell us something.  There are tears
in the air.  There is no rain, no clouds.  But the City is sad.  I rush
back home and I find out.  Today some Jews died.  For nothing.  Just
because they were Jewish.  In their Jewish land.  Today some children and
their mother closed their eyes forever.  And we are all mourning.  Even the

I could try to write, but I won’t.  Or so I thought.

Something happened.  And I have to write again.  I started to read some
disturbing messages commenting the news HERE.  Most disturbing is that the
messages come from THERE.   And this not right.

In Israel, nobody seems to know what to do about Azza (Gaza).  If we are
assuming that Azza is part of Israel and we should not give it back, let’s
at least be logical and use its Hebrew name.

One morning, I can’t even imagine giving back Azza.  It is ours.  And it is
suicidal to do so.  How would it sound to have thousands of enraged wild
beasts on La Cienega Blvd?  10 minutes from your homes?  I remembered the
day where I found a Tarantula in our house.  I grabbed a netilat yadayim
keli to transport it outside the house.  From the point of view of Halacha,
I am not sure I used the right mode of transportation.  I didn’t want to
kill it, but I didn’t want it in our house either.  And I didn’t want in
somebody else’s house.  So I didn’t know what to do with it.  I walked far,
watching it to be sure it stayed inside the cup and put it in a deserted
lot.  That is how I feel about Azza.

But other mornings, I feel my heart close to explode.  We have to bring
back our youth from this Gehinom.  The sons that parents bury are my
sons.  Every soldier is my son.  I cry and understand their pain.  Would
you like to put your sons in a cage with wild animals?

It is then, when I am unable to see the light at the end of our long tunnel
anymore, that I, as always, seek comfort in prayer.  HaShem, give us
clarity.  Help our leaders to make their decision.

We are not only praying for our soldiers to stay alive, but now we have to
pray for our deaths to be able to be buried.  Before the “Dark side”
snatches their bodies, like animals.

I am not sure of what will happen.  The only thing I am sure is that nobody
who doesn’t hold an Israeli passport in his hand has the right to judge or
criticize us.  The fact a person may be holding a substantial check to give
to Israel doesn’t give him this right either.  It was my belief before I
came here and it is still so now.

At this time of the year when we are counting the Omer, haven’t we learned
anything from our history?  When we are so close to receiving the Torah,
can’t we remember one of the virtues of the desert?  Silence.  Sometimes,
it is louder than cries.

Let’s try not to judge.  Not to criticize.  Let’s instead try to make room
in our heart to find the strength to pray.  And love.

Sara Brownstein


Sara's Chronicle Index E-Mail Sara The Family Page