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November 30, 2009
[A SENIOR MOMENT: I TRY AND AVOID LEAVING THE HOUSE BECAUSE OF MY PLUMBING PROBLEMS. Pajama-clad and steps from a lavatory is my favored state. Imagine my consternation panic would be more accurate when we learned of a death in Kiryat Arba, in a family to whom we are very close. But Rachel was insistent that we make a condolence call, so off we went.
Though we got there without mishap, as we approached the house the pressure built until I thought I would either explode or delouse my clothes. Entering the apartment Rachel made her way through the crowd while I knocked people aside getting to the bathroom. Emerging at last I put on the somber face appropriate to the setting and made the requisite mumbling sounds as I worked the room.
Each somber mumble was met with a grin, a laugh, a smirk. Very disconcerting. When I finally reached Rachel at the other end of the room she gave me the 'you pathetic bastard' look and directed my gaze downward. Not only had I failed to zipper up after relieving myself, but my ritual fringes had emerged for air and were swinging to and fro.
Getting old sucks.]
[YOU KNOW MY PENCHANT FOR SITTING OUTSIDE LARGE SWATHS OF NIGHT,
smoking and listening to classical music on the radio. For some reason
the programmers have started playing Greatest Hits discs, wholly
inappropriate for the music geeks like myself listening at those
hours. It's like having eight aural orgasms in an hour. Don't they
realize that, in music as in most other things, getting there is half
[A MODEST PROPOSAL: I HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT THE PRODUCERS OF PORK PRODUCTS, alarmed over dwindling sales, are pushing the media to drop the term 'swine flu' and limit descriptions to H1N1 only. This will never work as Americans demand something catchy and colorful and descriptive, even on a horrible subject, and H1N1 is simply too technical.
Might I suggest that 'swine flu' be renamed 'JewFlu'. Jews, as we all know too well, are blamed for every problem in the world these days, even for bovine gaseous emissions that supposedly cause Global Warming. [Or is it now Climate Change? I get so confused...]
Most American Jews would love the name, accept the blame, embrace the shame and revel in the opportunity to grovel and beg forgiveness of their fellow citizens.
Perhaps when the present wave of Rabbis Fast for Gaza, Gay Jews for
Palestine, Holistic Hebes for Hijabs, Genuflecting Jews for Jihad and
Peripatetic Jewish Pussies for Peace have become passé, all can unite
in a campaign whose motto is I'm A Jew Who Hates The JewFlu.]
[SO MANY OF YOU WERE INSPIRED BY RACHEL'S DESCRIPTION OF OUR VISIT TO LACHISH for the ground-breaking ceremonies. A few minor details were left out, which I hasten to include so as to rekindle the inspiration.
First, there were a substantial number of speakers representing governmental bodies who had, without exception, worked to sabotage the Lachish project. Now they expressed satisfaction that the project was going forward, and modestly claimed credit for the progress.
Second, much to my disappointment one scheduled speaker could not attend. He was a local Peace Partner from a village over the Green Line. I have it on good authority he wanted to thank the authorities for repopulating a desolate area with Jews. Local Peace Partners are faring poorly economically. With the return of Jews and their many possessions the locals will be able to feed their families in the time-honored way of 'liberating' Jewish property.
Third, not only was a Raptor Sanctuary being created, but even the
most esoteric of their needs would be looked after. Knowing that the
flying rats would be affected by the new residents raging religiosity,
crafts shops would be created for raptor-friendly black yarmulkes and
NIGHTMARE ON CHELM STREET or ONWARD AND DOWNWARD!
November 30, 2009
In our first year in Israel I was filled with trepidation at the approach of Rosh Hashana and the Ten Days of Awe culminating in Yom Kippur. I was the same overweight charmer I had been in the States, yet never before had such strong premonitions that I would not be inscribed in the Book of Life for the coming year.
Much of the fear came from a newly discovered sense of mortality. I
had completed three months of basic training as the High Holidays
approached and that experience had shown me how fragile is my hold on
life. Being obese, obtuse and exceedingly clumsy, not to mention my
cinema-generated determination to be a hero, repeatedly put me into
situations from which I was lucky to escape serious injury or death.
Annual reserve duty only reinforced my sense of imminent doom.
[ ASIDE: TYPICAL MOSHE DRAMATIZATION OR EXAGGERATION, YOU SAY, smiling disdainfully? Try this:
One year our reserve duty was devoted to preparing for a division-size exercise that was to last several days. Tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, everything except air power. Most of the ground troops were regular army, and our aging reservists seemed to be there for window dressing.
My unit's task was to charge up a hill and 'capture' enemy-held bunkers at the top. To make the exercise as realistic as possible live fire was mandated. No running around pointing a weapon and yelling 'fire'. Given the real danger that we might accidentally shoot each other, every precaution was taken, such as insuring we didn't cross each others paths during the ascent.
So far, so good. But I was trained as a rifleman, and picked up some competence as a machine gunner, and I was given an Uzi. I hate the Uzi. The short barrel makes it a midget rifle, or a pistol with elephantiasis. A mammoth like me needs a big gun. Still, orders are orders and I charged up the hill.
I hadn't gotten thirty or forty feet when I stumbled on a rock and involuntarily pressed the trigger. Naturally, this being a live fire exercise, the safety was off.
Two bullets were fired. They passed between the inside of the helmet and my scalp, exiting through the helmet. Those of you who know me for my swelled head will find it impossible to believe there was room enough for the bullets to pass through without blowing my cranium off. I am at a loss for a logical explanation, other than that the Lord was warming me up for future adventures.
Too stupid to be frightened, I just stood there bemusedly staring at the holes in my helmet. Two trickles of blood meandered down my left cheek, losing themselves in my beard. My CO ran up to me. He was gasping for breath, his face a panorama of apoplectic anger and concern. He really was a good guy, and I know his concern outweighed anything else.
"I'll have to report this" he said, still breathing hard. "You'll be court-martialed, and maybe you'll... Maybe they'll let you go with a reprimand because you're a new immigrant." Then, after a long pause, "Don't you have anything to say?"
"I told you I didn't want the damned Uzi."
As it was, there was no court-martial and no notoriety. While I was
giving myself a shave and haircut an artillery unit that was supposed
to fire on Hill X inadvertently fired on Hill Y, killing three
observers and wounding eight others. This happy event caused so much
noise that my contretemps was forgotten.]
THE PURPOSE OF THE ABOVE WAS TO EXPLAIN WHY I WAS FILLED WITH DREAD AS THE HIGH HOLIDAYS APPROACHED. But despite the dread the thought of all those hours in shul had me in a panic. I see we are at the edge of the abyss yet those around me are blissfully unaware of what's coming. It's all smiles and "Thank G-d things are improving every day." But they aren't improving, and I seem to occupy a different world than those around me.
When a good friend, someone I respect and admire, said "Now I understand why we had to leave Gush Katif. We have to teach the rest of Israel how to live as joyously as we lived there!", I completely lost it.
"Don't you see what's ahead?" I shouted. Every day, in the weeks before the expulsion, he and I had hugged each other after morning prayers and said "He won't let it happen." Now he smiled: "He won't let it happen."
I turned away and said under my breath "I can't be with these people anymore."
Be careful what you wish for, the saying goes. Your wish might just come true. If no other human heard me whisper, He certainly did.
Okay, smart guy, I imagine Him saying, let's see how you enjoy a shul-free holiday season. Within days I was coughing, feverish, and diagnosed as having flu. Further tests confirmed it was H1N1.
I was flabbergasted. "I've been an orthodox Jew all my life" I said to a (now former) friend. "I've never so much as sniffed pork."
"Have you looked in a mirror?" he replied. "You eat like a pig. You look like a pig. So why shouldn't you get pig flu?"
The long and the short of it is that I spent most of the holidays at home, and even now am largely homebound. Even after I was officially over the flu, my plumbing was messed up beyond imagining. The worst was Yom Kippur. I've always fasted, and though two doctors and a rabbi told me I was required to drink, I knew better. It went reasonably well until 2am when I awoke with the need to empty my bladder. But instead of what usually comes out there was dried blood and a few drops of the wet variety. And the pain was excruciating.
Panic stricken, I started to drink but the damage was done. Every five or six minutes the need recurred and each time it was wet and dry blood. And pain. I could taste blood in my mouth from biting my lips to keep from screaming.
I didn't want to wake Rachel who had fallen asleep about 1am, totally exhausted from caring for me and running the household. This was not gallantry on my part. I knew that if I woke her she would insist on calling an ambulance to take us to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon. Where we would sit for hours surrounded by drunken Russians and elderly heart attack victims, to finally be seen by Peace Partner doctors and nurses covering for the regular Jewish staff. Not for me.
Three hours, three hellish hours, and I finally was able to sleep. An unforgettable Yom Kippur, and one I completely deserved.
Several of you keep sending me texts and videos of Netanyahu's appearances. Why? Nobody denies that he is an excellent speaker. As is Obama. One major difference is that Obama has beliefs while the invertebrate Netanyahu has none. Obama's beliefs a One World Socialist New Order are repugnant to me. They are leading to the imminent dissolution of Israel, and the eventual disintegration of the United States. Netanyahu, on the other hand, knows what is right and invariably does what is wrong. His sole concern is his own survival.
Immediately after the closed ninety-minute meeting between Obama and Netanyahu I was inundated with requests for my take on what went on. Not that anyone thought I actually knew what had transpired, but because "Moshe, you're always good for a tasteless joke".
As I told a visiting AFSI group they are among the shrinking circle of people I adore, and with whom I feel utterly comfortable "Obama said Israel was to be castrated, but the ever-persuasive Netanyahu convinced him that we first be anaesthetized."
Surely about as tasteless a joke as I could manage, and more accurate than I imagined.
Many sensed something was amiss given the secretive nature of the meeting, and all my tendrils began vibrating in panic when Leftist Labor party ideologue Daniel Ben-Simone said "We must not attack Netanyahu. When the extent of his concessions to Obama become known the Right will abandon him and we will have to rescue him".
Then everything seemed to change. There was the brouhaha over Gilo. People went wild over Netanyahu, Defender of the Faith, Defender of Jerusalem. I begged those who had gone from distrustful to starry-eyed to realize that Gilo was considered even by the Left as part of Jerusalem, and the emphasis on Jerusalem meant the abandonment of Judea and Samaria. To no avail. Gilo was Netanyahu's kashrut certificate.
Basking in his new-found upright stature, Netanyahu quickly reverted to form and announced the "ten month freeze on all settlement building". His sycophants on the Right reacted with shock. Even the estimable Caroline Glick in the Jerusalem Post [Friday, November 27] wrote a scathing column, "Bibi's Bad Week". Long a supporter and apologist for Netanyahu, Glick now sees him as a person with size 2 feet trying to fill size 9 shoes, or a minnow surrounded by sharks.
My own view is much less sympathetic. I believe Netanyahu is complicit in everything that has happened. I believe the Gilo affair was created to establish his bona fides and deflect criticism from the settlement freeze to come.
Whether Glick is correct and Netanyahu is merely pitiable, or I am correct and Netanyahu is contemptible, the result is the same: Doom and gloom for us.
On that happy note...
THE TEN-MONTH TEMPORARY SETTLEMENT BUILDING BAN
December 8, 2009
[ONE OF MY DAUGHTERS LIVING IN A SETTLEMENT NORTH OF JERUSALEM CALLED YESTERDAY MORNING. She was weeping and only with difficulty was able to make me understand what had happened.
When the judenrat announced the "ten-month temporary settlement building ban" it stipulated that the ban, which goes into effect December 1st (yesterday) does not apply to dwellings whose foundation has been completed. A neighbor, who had struggled for years to get the myriad requisite building permits army, police, local council, Housing Ministry, to name just a few began working on the foundation Saturday night. At great expense crews worked round the clock, finishing in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The neighbor, relieved but exhausted, was ready for an extended sleep.
At 8am two Housing Ministry inspectors appeared, accompanied by soldiers and police. After a show of examining the foundation, they made a triumphant announcement: Because parts of the foundation were still damp it could not be considered complete. All permits were revoked, and if any further work were done the owner would be arrested and prosecuted for violating a judenrat order.
What horrified my daughter, even more than seeing her neighbor crumple to the ground, was the happy laughter of the soldiers and police.
Media reports focus on demonstrations, violent confrontations, etc. Rarely, as in Gush Katif, are the personal tragedies reported.]
[SOME OF YOU HAVE CRITICIZED ME FOR "GOING OFF THE PATH", meaning that my belief in the Creator is somehow lacking or incomplete. My connection with the Creator is as unshakeable as that of anyone else. The things I have gone through have raised my connection beyond the level of belief to that of direct knowledge.
Where I have "gone off the path" is that I do not accept that we are in the Beginning of the Redemption as most of my believing fellow Jews are convinced, nor is The End of Days almost upon us as my believing Christian friends aver. People cannot live without hope for a better future, an end to suffering, the triumph of good over evil. Nothing would make me happier than to have my perpetual gloom proven wrong. I am cursed by an inability to convince myself that these believers, whom I revere, are right.
For the Almighty past/present/future are one. Every action and its result is simultaneous. The Eleventh of Maimonides' Articles of Faith is "I wholly believe that the Lord rewards those who follow His dictates and punishes those who violate them".
For humans, the shortness of our life span is only matched by the inadequacy of our intelligence. To say the Eleventh Article of Faith, when our limited experience indicates the opposite is true, is a leap of faith I find difficult to make. From His perspective, no problem. From mine...
You all know me for the clown that I am, and with the above I am clearly out of my depth. Moshe as Philosopher is almost as absurd as a Community Organizer as President. So let me just say I believe that the Jews are God's Guinea Pigs, perpetually subjected to new trials to see how long we can maintain our belief. And if you find the 'pig' image offensive, think of us as His Timex watch: "We always take a likkin' and keep on tikkin'". And in the end, whenever and whatever that may be, all will be well.]
[MUCH HAS BEEN WRITTEN ABOUT THE COST OF FREEING GILAD SCHALIT. If I, G-d forbid, had a child in captivity I would do just what Noam Schalit has been doing to get his son released.
Those who argue against the deal though many details are still unknown, we do know that at least 980 terrorists will be released generally focus on the effect on the families of murdered Israelis seeing the murderers roam free.
I see a more serious problem. Every time Israel trades masses of imprisoned terrorists for the bodies of dead soldiers or a few captive soldiers, the result is wholesale slaughter of Israelis. Yes, the terrorists take an oath to be good boys and girls. But that hasn't prevented them from renewing their activities. Is Gilad's release worth the certainty of a hundred or a thousand Jewish deaths? There are 179 known deaths from terrorists released since 2000. With all due respect to the Schalit family, the answer is clear.]
[IF RACHEL'S PIECE 'BUILD OR FREEZE' HAS YOU PASSING THE HAT around for the poor Peace Partners thrown out of work because of the building freeze in Judea and Samaria, forget it. Moshe Dann, an exemplar of investigative reporting and analysis, has informed us that the US government is directly involved in financing massive building projects. And Israel's Tourism Minister, Stas Mezhinski, has bragged that Israel is underwriting development of tourist attractions and recreational facilities. As this outsized rectal cavity puts it, "Palestinians are entitled to a better quality of life."
Why complain about others when we are our own worst enemies?]
There were massive complaints that Goodbye 41 didn't mention the cats. So...
CATS ALL, FOLKS
December 8, 2009
So much has happened so much seems to have happened that it is difficult to know where to begin.
Chaleria, of course. My favorite. Candidate for Homeliest Female. No friends that I have ever seen. Colors, shades of black. Could be poster child for Help Stamp Out Feline Leprosy.
Muffy-the-Slut. After a long absence she is back. Perhaps the economic downturn caused her to be [if you'll pardon the expression] laid-off from her job at the cathouse. She is now wizened, smaller than any of her children and grandchildren, yet she retains a regal snarl that keeps her offspring at a distance.
The Impregnator. Large, mean-looking, huge thick tail. Rachel thinks he is the original Paramour. I am convinced he is the product of Muffy's first litter. Lawns around here are filled with his offspring. The very sight of him gives me apoplexy. Probably because I am jealous.
Shitsi, daughter of Muffy, also known as Shitsi The Whining Terror. I think I've already written about how we opened our door early one morning to see Shitsi smirking at us, five furballs at her feet. Rachel was charmed. I was appalled. Another five to feed. Three were red like their mother. Two were brown.
Three days later they were gone, and Shitsi whined non-stop. Rachel was near tears. I could scarcely hide my delight, though it was tempered by guilt over the grieving mother.
Two days passed, and suddenly they reappeared. In the weeks that followed they developed rapidly. Two disappeared again gone to Catmandu? leaving two reds, Slummy and Crummy, and one brown, Dummy. The sole pleasure I get is watching them sleep curled into each other.
This leaves three of Muffy's from an earlier litter. Two are so nondescript I haven't named them. The third is One-Eyed Jacqueline, for whom I feel a smidgen of sympathy as a fellow disabled creature.
These ten are the regulars. Others appear and disappear.
Sorry. You know that just as you may be a member of the bourgeoisie I am a member of the poopeoisie.
We long suffered from dog poop on the lawn, until a solution was found. Lots of bottles of water. The bottles act as a funhouse mirror, both reflecting and enlarging the image. Dogs, being stupid, think another larger animal is staring back at them. From the day the bottles were put out there has been no dog poop. An added benefit is that the bottles are a curiosity and visitors invariably ask about them. And I invariably reply that they are part of a satanic ritual that I am forbidden to discuss.
Suddenly piles of poop appeared. Very small piles, doubtless made by a very small dog. I did everything short of closed circuit television to catch the poop perp in the act. Til I saw with my very own peepers that the poopers are my cats. The ground is hard, they go through the motions of digging a hole, poop, then go through the motions of covering it up. But not to worry. Slugs cover the poop with thick, shiny layers of slime. There are times when the slime, covering large swaths of lawn, catches the sun and glows like a giant conflagration. Very impressive. Too bad I can't enjoy it.
Equally annoying, and more costly, when the pooping pussies can't be bothered scratching the lawn they climb on the planters and tear up the soft earth. Flower plants are destroyed and have to be replaced.
One 3 kilogram bag of cat food, costing the shekel equivalent of $13, used to last a month. One 3 kilogram bag of cat food now barely lasts a week. No problem for me. I would just give the meowing moochers less. But Rachel, aka Lady Bountiful, insists they be fed to bursting. True, they don't kvetch while eating, but the moment they are done...
Rachel is inherently more sympathetic to them than me. But there was one instance which left her screaming "Kill them already!" which I take perverse pleasure in relating. We put up our Succah in the spot that is the cats' regular hangout. Naturally they were all over tables and chairs, dirtying tablecloths, destroying place settings, etc.
She would yell "get out of my succah" and they would snarl back "you get out of our playground". [Did you know that I understand ketzelsprach?] We could keep them out when we were physically present, but we couldn't be there 24/7. And when food was on the table even our physical presence didn't hold them back. A very stressful succot.
Turkey Neck Bones.
Someone not the Holy Man who used to hurl bread at our lawn has been putting turkey neck bones outside our door. I have my suspicions, but no proof as yet. And as the person I suspect is a true ditz, I have to carefully work out a plan for getting her to cease and desist.
My balance, at best, is shaky. [Yes, you have always known I'm
unbalanced.] The playful pussies are in the habit of darting before
and aft when I walk, and even darting between my legs. Even when I
swing at them with a stick, they think I'm being playful. When I
forget myself, and give in to the impulse to kick them through the
goalposts of my mind, I fall. So far, just scrapes and bruises. Can
broken bones be far behind?
You know that I have long been looking for a solution not the Final Solution to the cat problem. We feel we are under siege, and helpless.
I asked a friend working in our garden if there was something I could put in their water to put them to sleep. No sooner were the words out of my mouth when I realized 'put them to sleep' is a euphemism for killing them. Before I could explain that I literally wanted them to sleep so I could put them in a bag and dump them far away, my friend gave me an embarrassed look and asked "are you and Rachel having problems?"
I asked my doctor about a sleeping powder for the cats, hastening to explain my purpose. He gave me his serious look: "It's not unusual for people in pain or under stress to contemplate suicide", and before I could protest, "You know our Health Plan covers consultations with a psychiatrist".
[To those who ask my opinion of the campaign against the Freeze: The same people who through cowardice, confusion and collusion with the enemy sabotaged the campaign to save Gush Katif are directing the campaign against the freeze. Can the result be different?]
BUILD OR FREEZE
by Rachel Saperstein, Neve Dekalim/Nitzan
GUSH KATIF VIEWPOINT 157
December 5, 2009
Paysi Golomb sent me an email. "I'd like to bring a group of Americans who are planning aliyah to visit Lachish. Could you join us and talk to them?"
Paysi is Director of International Operations for Tehilla, the Movement for Religious Aliyah founded almost thirty years ago responsible bringing about 14,000 families to Israel, and Director of Kehillot Tehilla Housing and Settlement Division of Tehilla
We, who are building Bnai Dekalim in the Lachish area, have spoken most enthusiastically about integrating American families to our future township. Americans come with their enthusiasm, optimism, idealism, education and the sense of community. Many Americans feel more comfortable in already established American enclaves. Building in Lachish will be pioneering.
I met Paysi and his group in Amatzia, a moshav in the Lachish area where Gush Katif people are living in temporary housing. Like us, they too have been stymied by the bureaucracy. In four years only the foundations of their future homes have been built.
The group was charming and starry-eyed. I was joined by Yehezkel Frucht, a psychologist. He and his wife are part of the vanguard of the new town of Bnai Dekalim. The roads have improved and we see the tractors working on the site but there are no commercial amenities yet. The Fruchts, a middle aged couple, have been roughing it. The beauty and history of the area are its main selling points.
Suddenly a new reality has appeared: the Freeze. Building in Judea and Samaria has become an issue. Does one need the hassle of a government crackdown on building? People who have bought apartments in the town of Maale Adumim and are awaiting construction have now been left in limbo. It means renting for another ten months waiting for the freeze to end. And if it doesn't end, then what? Even the installation of an air-conditioner is on hold because it means breaking walls. Life for hundreds of thousands of Jewish families is at a standstill. Even building the extra room for the new baby is forbidden.
Television cameras show police beating Jews as Arab villagers laugh and jeer. Ironically, the sector that will be hurt the most are these jeering Arabs. Many are laborers who build these houses. With the freeze, they will be out of work. Ten months is a long time with no salary to bring home. Their jobs are now frozen. By calling a freeze in construction Obama and Netanyahu are causing a great employment crisis for the Arabs. The result will bring the Hamas hard-liners to fill the vacuum.
Where to build? The Lachish area is desperate for Jewish development. Likewise the Negev, the Galilee and Jerusalem. Arabs and Bedouin are building in these areas at a rapid pace. If Jews do not build in these areas we will lose our country from within.
Paysi Golomb is showing American families all their options. Will they choose safe havens like Beit Shemesh or Ra'anana, or will their pioneering spirit push them toward "the road not taken"?
I hope they will choose Lachish.
Paysi can be reached at Paysi@tehilla.com .
THREE DUFFLE BAGS
by Rachel Saperstein, Neve Dekalim/Nitzan
GUSH KATIF VIEWPOINT 158
December 30, 2009
The Jewish college students arrived in our refugee camp wearing black polo shirts with the Zionist Organization of America insignia proudly displayed. An extra message on the back said it all: 'ZOA for an undivided Jerusalem!'
On their winter break, these handsome young people had come to see and learn firsthand the places and stories behind the headlines.
One of their stops was Nitzan to meet the people of Gush Katif. They also came to deliver duffel bags packed with toys, games, jump ropes, coloring books, crayons and balls of all sizes.
This story begins two months ago when I received a call from Keshet Tours.
"Mrs. Saperstein, on December 28th at 5pm a ZOA group is coming to visit. Would you be able to speak to them about the expulsion from Gush Katif?"
"With pleasure. But I'm not very nice."
"Speak from your heart."
Now the story moves in another direction. A New York businessman, kindly and concerned, a genuine tzaddik, had said "Rachel, I'll send duffel bags of toys for the Gush Katif children if you can find people to bring them."
Aha! The wheels began to grind.
I called Jeff Daube, the Israel Director of ZOA. "I understand a group is coming in December. Will they be able to bring duffel bags of toys to Nitzan?" "I'll ask," Jeff replied. "I know they are already bringing gifts for IDF soldiers."
An hour later Jeff called back. "Yes, they will! I'll have the group leader, Josh Nason, coordinate with the donor."
Now Aliza Kadosh, working with the kindergartens, came into the picture. I asked her for a list of needs. As soon as she supplied the list I contacted the donor, gave him the wish list and the contact information.
"Great! All that counts are the kids' happy faces" replied this exceptional person who, with his partners at Amazing Savings, prepared the duffel bags. Dovid Feig delivered them to Josh at the airport.
On December 28th at 5pm duffel bags stuffed with toys were pulled out of the tour bus parked outside the Nitzan/Dekalim Community Center.
Waiting inside were dozens of kindergarten children and their mother, brothers and sisters. Heart-shaped paper necklaces with the words Bruchim Habaim, welcome, inscribed in the center and decorated by the children were handed to the visitors.
With the duffel bags now settled in the center of the room the children rose to sing a welcoming song. We couldn't understand a word but their hand gestures and enthusiasm brought smiles to every face.
A small Torah scroll was brought out and handed to one of our Bnei Menashe children. The children formed a train with their hands on each others shoulders and sang Ki miTzion teytzei Torah, From Zion Comes the Torah. Jeff Daube joined the children, the Torah scroll now caressed in his hands. Tears and applause exploded simultaneously.
Now for the great moment: the duffel bags were opened and, to the delight of the children, a myriad of toys were revealed. All were shining and new; no dolls with missing parts, broken crayons, or puzzles with pieces missing. For children accustomed to getting cast-offs, this was a delight beyond words.
The following morning each of the six kindergartens received a bag of its own.
Thank you, Amazing Savings. Thank you, ZOA. Our donor's sole regret was that he could not be with us in person. He certainly was with us in spirit.
I spoke to the students: "These children were born in this shantytown to parents who had lost their homes and jobs. It is to the credit of our Jewish mothers who brought new life to this land despite the edict of expulsion that turned them into homeless Jews. Their love of the Torah and the land remains unshaken."
And I concluded with a quote from the old A-Team television series: "I love it when a plan comes together!"
OPERATION DIGNITY has supported Midreshet Kissufim projects. You can help enrich the lives of Gush Katif and Northern Negev women through your contribution.
Send your check, earmarked "Operation Dignity" to
Central Fund for Israel
Rehov Hagoel 13
Central Fund for Israel,
980 Sixth Avenue,
New York, NY 10018,
Shekel checks should be sent to Operation Dignity, POB 445, Nitzan 79287, Israel
See our website www.operationdignity.com for further information.
OPERATION DIGNITY is bringing hope, financial aid and employment to
OPERATION DIGNITY needs your help to revitalize a once
Moshe Saperstein lost an arm while fighting in the 1973 Yom Kippur
War. A resident of Neve Dekalim in the Gush Katif area of the Gaza
Strip, Moshe was wounded in February 2002 when he drove his car into a
terrorist who had just shot and killed a young mother traveling in the
car in front of his. He writes frequently of his physical and
emotional struggles on the long road to recovery
He and his wife Rachel were among the thousands of Jews kicked out of their homes in Gush Katif, in the Gaza strip, and forced into temporary quarters so dismal, their still-temporary paper-based trailers in Nitzan, seemed a step up. Contact them by email at ruchimo@.netvision.net.il
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