Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Real First

My parents, a"h - Mary and Jack Weintraub, decked out
in their  butcher shop finery

I just lit the yahrzeit candle for my father, a"h.  His yahrzeit is 4 Av, and it's been 17 years since he passed away.  This is the first time I've commemorated the yahrzeit of one of my parents as an Israeli.

I am surprised how strongly I felt when I lit the candle.  All I could think of was one scene with him.  It was the morning of the 1960 elections.  We all were rooting for Kennedy, of course.  I came downstairs to my parents' store (which was located in the basement of our house in the Pimlico neighborhood of Baltimore) - see in the picture below - where the "A" is was the entrance to the store.

Each morning we'd walk downstairs and say goodbye to our parents in the store.  On this day, my father looked at me and said, "If Nixon wins, we are moving to Israel."

I'll never forget the look in his eyes or the seriousness of his voice.  He meant it.  And there I was, all of 6 years old, and all I could think of was the adventure of moving to a new country!  Boy, did I wish Nixon luck that day.

As I got older, and formed my own opinions of things, I still never forgot my father's deep and abiding love of Israel.  When I was deciding on colleges in 1971 or so, I announced that I wanted to attend Bar Ilan.  My father glowed with pride, and my mother said, "If you go, you'll never come back.  So no."  She was just being a mother, which I fully understand now.

My parents came to Israel with a tour group in 1972, their first real vacation ever of more than a day or two, and came back glowing with excitement and pride.

I wasn't an easy child, and I was an even worse teenager - I needed a cause to defend and until I found NCSY I gave my parents plenty of sleepless nights.  But my father always was kind of proud of my feistiness, I think.  I don't know if I imagined it, but I think there was always a twinkle in his eye when I participated in various protests and proclaimed this and that.

So I hope he would be proud that we have made it here and are living as Israelis, that we are part of the country, loving the land, and doing our small bit to strengthen it.  

Dad, so much of what I have done is for you.  I miss you.


  1. I miss Zaidy a lot and he would be unbelievably proud of all of us. I know that for a fact.

  2. I miss them too. Though I thought you were leading into the shaking-the-chicken-legs story, and I was wondering how that was going to fit in.

  3. What a beautiful tribute. May his neshamah have an aliyah.

  4. I remember your father from when I was a young child...he was good friends with my grandfather (Henry Hausdorff).