Friday, March 23, 2012


Today it all came together in one moment and it made me cry.

No, not a bad thing.  Quite the opposite.

Today I attended the birthday party of my grandson Yaakov at his gan.  This is kind of routine in Israel - Israelis make a very big deal about birthdays and I have seen picutres and videos of the birthday parties of my other grandchildren in Israel, so I kind of new what to expect.

[Important editorial note:  I love knowing that Yaakov is named for my father.  For that reason I am always looking for my Dad's traits in him, whether that is something that I should do or not (some people may find it silly).  I do think that Yaakov embodies a lot of my father's wonderful character - he is funny, sweet, and very humble.  He watches the world and is amused by it.  I watch him sometimes and wonder what he is processing inside, and how it will eventually mold him into a wonderful young man.]

Anyway, Bubby-kvelling aside, I was so pleased to be able to go to the party - some of the gans are physically too small for grandparents to attend, say, a Chanukah or Purim party, when all of the parents attend.  But since it was Yaakov and a friend celebrating their upcoming birthdays, I was invited.

The emotion took a while to bubble up.  First, Yaakov took my hand and told me to sit in the two chairs of honor next to him - normally reserved for Mommy and Daddy.  He said he was sure he wanted me to sit there with Donny, who just returned from the US yesterday. Yaakov was clearly very emotional about this.

Then the party begins with a selection of birthday songs and dances, and with children selected to come up and present him with a flower.  These beautiful little Israeli kids singing and dancing - the country's future was in that room - I know, it's kind of a grandiose statement, but it is also true.

And I am part of it.  I am part of Israel's future.  I have changed my life to do something with it that means something.  I think for the first time I actually matter. 

Every day here has the kind of meaning I never thought I'd experience.  My home is small, my car is small, I'm not making that much money, everything is expensive - and none of it matters when you realize that just being here makes you happier and more full than you thought possible.  You and your life have meaning.  What is expensive tuna compared to that?

That's when the emotion started.  The kids, the music, my part in it.  I did not want to embarrass Yaakov ("Did you know that Yaakov's savta started to cry at the party?") or myself, so I choked it back, but it was raw and deep.

Final and kind-of related note: Last night I heard a commercial for a TVstation advertising their special selection of programming of kid-oriented shows "for chol hamoed Pesach."  It just felt so right to be living in my culture, not in a country centrered around another culture in which the highlight of the year is the showing of "It's a Wonderful Life" in December.  I'm home. Awesome.


  1. This is so beautiful, I'm so choked up.
    Shabbat Shalom!

  2. I am so happy for you, too. It is wonderful that you feel this way after your big move and all the challenges, that it is all worth it.