Sunday, July 27, 2014

It's Been So Good!

Check out the family! After an eight hour drive to Nebraska so he can be back with his mom tomorrow, you can guarantee we'll miss iBoy.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Difference: Christians, Muslims, and Jews

I posted this to Facebook and it was well received, so ...
Something interesting that my dad pointed out to me.

Christians are more than happy to kill other Christians who don't practice the faith the way that they do. (Look at Ireland.) 
Muslims are definitely more than happy to kill other Muslims who don't practice the faith the way they do. (Sunnis vs. Shi'ites, Hamas's religious leanings vs. moderate Muslims, etc.) 
And Jews? Well, when it comes to Jews and other Jews who don't practice or live the way they do, they complain a lot, they treat each other poorly a lot of the time, they tell them they're "not Jewish" or that they're "too Jewish." But you know what they don't do? They don't kill each other en masse.

It just. Doesn't. Happen.


Jews value life, above all. The life that we live in this world is the most important for Jews. We don't worry about the afterlife, what's coming, what's not coming. We live in the here and now, so we cherish life more than anything.

And that's the difference.

Note: My dad was raised in a Christian household. Not a crazy bible-thumping one, but a moderate one, and he raised us with one rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That helped guide me to Judaism.)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

This is My Narrow Bridge: What's Been Going On

The world is a very narrow bridge, and the main thing is to not be afraid. 

כל העולם כולו גשר צר מאוד, והעיקר לא להתפחד כלל

I've been so very mum the past few weeks here on the blog while so many things in my life tumble around. The utterly disgusting reality of what's happening in Israel paired with our own familial issues with my father being in the hospital, dealing with the small tree's worth of paperwork for Mr. T's immigration paperwork, preparing for iBoy to come visit, and the money being hemorrhaged for everything has my mind in a bit of a flutter, my body exhausted, and the concept of decent sleep off in the faraway distance somewhere.

Mr. T and I speak frequently about the guilt that we feel about being in the U.S. with everything going on in Israel. Part of me feels blessed to have experienced the "raining rockets" lifestyle after making aliyah a few years ago, because I now know what the fear feels like. I know what the desperation feels like. And I know what the "life as normal" necessity feels like. We're happy we're here in the U.S. and safe, but all of our friends -- who are so much our family -- are still there, and it horrifies us minute to minute. The deaths of the three teenage boys that seems to have set this all off has me more afraid than ever of raising a child in Israel. Reality smacked me in the face.

Yes, I know that children are kidnapped and murdered everywhere in the world. But it's different. At least in the U.S. it's different.

Here, a random psycho -- even if it's someone familiar with your family -- could cause you and your children harm. It's a fluke, an imbalance, a direct attack.

In Israel, it's a bunch of random psychos who have it in their mind that all Jews, all Israelis, are worthless and unnecessary. It's the continuation of so many episodes of marginalization, murder, and massacre. It's personal. It's different. Those three teens weren't kidnapped and murdered because of a random psycho. They were kidnapped and murdered because they were Jews. Their existence stood in the way of a world that's Judenrein.

It's hard being here. Having iBoy with us for two weeks very soon will be bittersweet. He'll be safe in our home. He'll be loved and cared for and not at risk. No red alerts, no rockets. But then he'll rejoin his mother and go back to Israel and be in danger again. B'ezrat haShem (thank God) the conflict will be over by then, but if it isn't? We'll continue to be on edge.

My father's health is up and down, left and right, and the brain is proving itself elusive and a formidable, frustrating foe that won't reveal why its doing what it's doing. It's scary. I feel the reality of growing up, getting older, even more than when he was diagnosed with lymphoma or had bypass surgery. I feel older than I should with the fear that my dad is mortal, that he's outlived his own parents by dozens of years, and that not knowing what's going on is scary. Very scary. In the moments you should feel like an adult you're sent back to the scary days of being a child and not knowing or understanding.

Mr. T's immigration paperwork has been sent off at last. I have quickly become a pro at filing the i-130, the i-485, the i-131, the i-765, and the dozens of supporting documents required. I've also become a pro at writing checks for thousands of dollars. Become an American is stupid expensive. It's prohibitive. I now understand why there are so many illegal immigrants.

America is not the melting pot it once was. It's a place where they want to make sure you won't leach off the government. Oddly enough, it's the people born here who seem to do that more than the immigrants. They just want to work. Mr. T is desperate to work. It makes me sad that I know people who can work and won't because they're lazy and ungrateful and my husband is desperate to work and pay taxes but can't.

It's stupid.

But small victories in the past few days over people who talk a big game but ultimately have zero clue what they're doing have shown me that HaShem truly does run the universe. The plan is there. It's big. HaShem is big. And although I fall -- constantly -- HaShem gives me the nudges I need to remember that it's all bigger than me.

All I have to do is remember that.