Favorite moment of the day:

Parking is a bitch, but once I open that gate, I start to get revved for the next couple minutes. Walk through, towards the door, up the stairs. the stairs curve; at the curve is when it hits me – the enormity of what is about to happen. I hear her voice mingled with other tiny voices; they’re all soaked with anticipation. So is my heart. I turn the curve on the stairs. She darts from the corner of my eye. Every time. “Ima! Ima! Ima! Ima sheli!!!” she jumps, and squeals, and grabs at the stairs gate. Her smile is all fulfilled potential. I lift her up, I can’t grab her fast enough. Nothing about a weekday feels nearly as good as when I’m reunited with my tiny delicious daughter at the end of it.

Life in Israel: boys will be boys in flower crowns

Israeli kindergartens love crowns.

This is the first year I’ve been personally exposed to the Israeli flower garland thing. In Hebrew, זר. Kids in gan and early elementary school wear these pixie crowns for birthdays, celebrations, ceremonies.

Naturally, the Shavuot chagiga in gan is one of them, and between his gan birthday and this, Koala’s now been fully introduced to the tradition.

And then this…

Little boys wearing flower crowns shooting at each other with pretend guns.

Isn’t that just… a little boy’s life?

When the kids had a sleepover

Before kids’ bedtime last night, just for the hell of it, I offered Bebe to sleep on the pull-out bed from under Koala’s bottom bunk. Usually she sleeps in her crib, adjacent to the massive bunk bed, which has served mainly as a hulking piece of furniture potential.

She took us up on the offer.

As young parents trying something new and exciting often do, huz and I scrambled to get the bed made and sorted with her favorite items. The kids squealed with delight, and settled down into their places, facing each other.

Soon we found ourselves huddled outside the room, listening to their pillow talk.

“Shalosh… Arba… Osim shalosh…”

“Pesach already happened…”

“Shabbat shalom u’mevurach…”

“If we have shabbat, then we say to everybody shabbat shalom, and then we get a mamtak to eat…”

“If we go aroooound…”

“Ok, Bebe, it’s mesukan to talk when we going to bed.”

“But… but… but…”

There’s something to listening to your son using a firstborn voice to tell his younger sister:

“Ok, no more talking. I need to sleep.”

Finally, as he always does, Koala called out towards the hall – “Ima, I love you.”

This time, Bebe followed: “Ima, I love you.”

“I love you too, guys.”

And then, for the first bedtime ever, Koala added –

“I love you Bebe.”

“I love you Koala.”

 

 

On Jews, Jerusalem, Women and Walls

Note: Reflections based on my rare February and March 2013 trips to the Kotel. Based on today’s news, I figured today’s as good as any to post. 

I’ve been to the Kotel, the Western Wall, way too many times in the past year. Previously, I had a comfortable average of maybe once every two or three years. Maybe less. It felt long enough between trips. And the trips are always for the sake and pleasure of other people.

But throughout the last year, I’ve accompanied various visiting family members through the Old City, the pathway inevitably leading to the token Kotel visit. Some pray, some don’t. I never do.

The Kotel, the Old City, and even Jerusalem for that matter have come to symbolize discomfort, pain, ambivalence, shame, conflict. I don’t want to pray in those places. I don’t want to pray alongside people I can’t trust. I don’t want to reach deep into myself and summon a spiritual presence in such a political place.

You know where it’s lovely to pray? In a forest. There’s plenty of forest around Jerusalem. I live in it. I think it’s a not-so-big-secret that many other ancient sects of humanity get that we don’t. Man-made holiness hurts. Holiness existed before we did. Why wouldn’t we jump over each other to access that?

By all means, if the Kotel means something to you, enjoy it. Women of the Wall, Women for the Wall, women who wear falls, women who wear shawls. Men who throw garbage, men who who wear jeans, men who think learning is working, men who think working is earning.

When I’m standing in the Kotel plaza, I’m filled with anger and pain. So please, count me out. Take my spot. I hope though that between me and you and everyone else, some kind of spirituality will eventually solve our crisis.

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Things I can’t handle #745873: Beit Shemesh Taliban mother and daughters. Visiting the Kotel in March 2013.