Thursday, September 18, 2014


Waiting...Do you ever feel like you are constantly waiting for something? We wait on the telephone as the cell phone provider puts you on hold. We wait endlessly at the post office. We wait for the fix-it guy to show up at our door.  We wait for blood work results from our doctor....We are always waiting for something.
One of my kids recently said to me, "Mom, when is the cease fire going to be over?" I answered, "It is not going to be over, it is a CEASE FIRE, that means that Hamas stopped shooting rockets." My son quickly replied, "Mom, it never lasts always ends." This just broke my heart. I tried to convince my son that this time it is REAL, and we do not have to worry, but he would not budge.  He is waiting for the next rocket, just like we wait for a delivery at the door.
How has this happened?  Our US brethren are now waiting with bated breath for the news about the new developments against ISIS. And, we in Israel wonder what the ramifications will be on our soil.  The unknown is such a hard concept to process.  With all of our technology, and know-how...we still cannot predict what the next terror crisis will be, or where it will be committed.  And, thus, we are just waiting...hoping it is not going to be here, or anywhere near loved ones and friends.
Is this a way to live? Have we gone mad?  How can we change ourselves so we are not living this anxiety filled process all of the time? Is this why will fill our lives with facebook messages, whatsapps, instagrams, and more?  Are we trying to avoid the inevitable, or the inconceivable?
John Mayer is so poignant in his song "Waiting for the World to Change." While it was written years ago, it is a perfect take on our world today:
It's not that we don't care
We just know that the fight ain't fair
So, we keep waiting,
Waiting on the world to change.
(Click on the link below to hear the song)
At this time before Rosh Hashana, maybe we need to all make an effort to make the world change.  Somehow, we need to STOP waiting. We need to actively do something different.  There have been moments in our history, when we all joined together and actually made a difference to our society, to our culture, and to our lives.  Now, more than ever, it is time to make the world change.  I think we all need to take some small good deed, and make it our "project." Get others involved in your deed, and actually make a difference in this world. For, this world is not going to change by itself. It is time to stop waiting. It is time to act.
L'Shana Tova! Have a Happy and Healthy New Year! May it be a year of growth, peace, and understanding!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Full Circle

Anyone who is connected to social media networks knows that today is the first day of school in Israel. Over 2,000,000 children started school today in this country.  Parents are thrilled by the new school year's commencement. August is not the easiest of times to entertain children. Many children end up going to work with their parents, and add a special twist to the term "work."
Yesterday began my family's procession towards school. My recent High School grad began her first day at a midrasha (women's seminary) called Midreshet Lindenbaum.  The premise of this midrasha is that the girls learn for a year, and then they choose a particular area of the army in which they will attend with other girls from the midrasha.  Together, they will give each other strength religiously, as they give their national service time to the IDF.
My daughter proudly took me throughout the school, on a tour of the Beit Midrash , the library, and the dorms.  It felt like a mini-college of sorts.  I had sudden flashbacks to my first days of seminary, and college.  And, then it hit me, I realized that my first born is actually on her own this year...beginning a new journey of learning new texts, meeting new people, and living away from home.
As I kissed her, and hugged her before I left, I began to cry.  "I am so proud of you honey, I am so, so proud of you!" I said, as the tears flowed.  And, I truly daughter chose this path for herself. She could have gone to many other National Service options, but she chose this wonderful bastion of learning so she could strengthen herself before she gives back to the country via the IDF.
I slowly walked myself to the car, and cried a bit, and then I had a flashback.  When we were first married, we subscribed to the Jerusalem Report magazine. It is a publication from the Jerusalem Post that has various newsworthy articles about Israel, and its environs.  Reading the magazine helped us keep tabs on the pulse of Israel, and it was very helpful to keep our Zionist spark alive.
One day, when we received the magazine, I noticed an ad, it was an ad for donations to a seminary that prepares women for the army.  I looked at the pictures of random young female soldiers, smiling out at the readers, and I thought "Wow! This is incredible!" As I scrolled down the page, I realized it was Midreshet Lindenbaum, a product of Ohr Torah Stone (Rabbi Riskin's yeshiva in Efrat).  I remember, wondering to myself...will our children ever be able to do that? I showed the picture to my husband, and we contemplated the possibility, which seemed so far away....
And, now, our first-born daughter, Carmi is fulfilling the dream of so long ago. Now, she is attending that very seminary from the ad I saw so long ago. Our lives have come full-circle.  She is essentially living the dream we barely imagined possible.  Right before our very eyes, she is making the ultimate Torah, and to Israel.  I pray that she has a meaningful year, and that she is prepared for whatever the IDF has in store for her.
Carmi Blacher and a friend at the Midreshet Lindenbaum Bet Midrash