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by Moshe Kempinski


The skies are crystal blue in Israel, yet the mood is grey. Not a cloud can be seen in the sky, yet there is a dark pall over the whole country. In these days of grey and haziness one looks for and is nourished from places of light and faith. One yearns to be connected to events like the gathering in Kfar Maimon or the prayer meeting at the Western Wall. When one walks down the street and sees another person wearing an orange band, an immediate bonding occurs, light attracting light. The color orange has since become a beacon of light that from time to time is powerful enough to dispel the pall of foreboding and concern that threatens to engulf the people of Israel.

The darkness seems to emanate from the pages of the newspaper or from the speakers of the radio. When one listens to the reports of Sharon's embarrassing visit to France one feels overwhelmed again by the darkness. The Prime Minister of Israel wearing a sheepish grin as he is suddenly lauded by the leaders of one of the countries in Europe, most shrouded by the pall of anti-Semitism. The media describes in glowing terminology how happy the European leaders seem to be with Israel because of the disengagement/expulsion plan. They forget that Europe has always been sympathetic to Jews who are victims or are at least aware of their rightful station amongst the "enlightened" nations.

One needs to turn off the radio and look for relief and spiritual nourishment elsewhere in order to see "Light" again.

Yesterday a woman brought such "light" into our shop in the old city of Jerusalem. The woman, we'll call Sarah, lives in Los Angeles and has been involved in activities supportive of Israel. She deeply sensed that she needed to be in Israel during the planned expulsion. She bought airplane tickets and waited to arrive towards the beginning of August.

Then, earlier in July, the Sharon government decided to impose a blockade on Gush Katif and on the rest of the Gaza Jewish settlement blocks. Without hesitating, she called the airlines and spent much effort to adapt her flights.

She needed to be with her people.

So "Sarah" left Los Angeles and arrived in Israel without fanfare and without press coverage. She came not knowing what she was going to do or where she was going to go. She just knew she had to be there. A daughter of Israel joining her brothers and sisters.

When over 40000 began the trek down to Netivot and Kfar Maimon, Sarah went with them.

When the buses were cancelled, she hitched a ride with a car heading south and then joined in the long march to Kfar Maimon.

This woman who had just recently left Los Angeles had to sleep on a rocky potato field outside Kfar Maimon in a sleeping bag in that first night.I asked Sarah when the last time she had slept in a sleeping bag was.

Sarah answered, "I have never slept in a sleeping bag. I had to ask my 22 year old son to help me buy one in Los Angeles because I didn't really know which one to buy"

I asked her what she thought about the experience in Kfar Maimon. At this point her eyes glistened as she said that it was probably one of the most impactful and important experiences of her life." She added" there was a sense of the Shechina in that place."

Since then she had been staying with some new found friends she had met in Kfar Maimon. She would then move into a hotel and there she would wait. She waited while trying to find a way to get into Gush Katif. If that was impossible she would join her brothers and sisters in the march from Sderot and Ofakim towards the Gush next week on august 2.

A woman just picks herself up and gets on a plane and lands in the middle of the turmoil because she has no choice. As a "daughter of Israel" she truly had no choice.

One woman, one ray of light joining the tens of thousands of other rays that make up the Jewish people.

Our sages have remarked that redemption will occur in the merit of Nashim Tzadkaniyot, Righteous Women. The prototype of such feminine courage and determination was Miriam the sister of Moshe and Aaron. When all the men in the hovels of the Israelite ghettos of Egypt were busy packing whatever they could for their trek into Destiny, Miriam and her sisters intuitively packed timbrels and musical instruments. It was those instruments they unpacked and used as they sang and danced in celebration of their crossing of the Reed Sea.

Thousands of years later another Daughter of Israel reaches for something to take along on her voyage into Israel's destiny. She reaches for a sleeping bag.

Moshe Kempinski was a family therapist and outreach worker. He is the editor of the email weekly "Jerusalem Insights" and is author of "The Teacher and the Preacher." He is co founder of the "Shorashim Shop and Learning Center" He can be contacted at or by email at This essay is Jerusalem Insights #508 July 27, 2005, from Shorashim of the Old City Learning Center (


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