Friday, April 20, 2012

Quiet Fridays

I've missed writing. For the last few weeks, I've been busy with first the wedding and then the Passover holidays. I'm exhausted but happy; relaxed and yet tense. The challah dough is rising in the kitchen; the soup is cooking. I have a bit more to do, but it's a very quiet Shabbat - just me, my husband and Aliza. Strange to be so few. I'm not sure I even know how to cook for that small number and so - I'm giving challah to Elie and to Amira; I'm making a fish roll for them as well.

I am sitting down to write - just to enjoy a few minutes. I wrote a novel long ago and never did anything with it. It's a beautiful story - the characters so real. There is one chapter that brings me to tears each time I read it...and that's pathetic because I wrote it, right? I'm thinking of posting it here. I once sent it to a publisher. A woman who worked there really liked it and asked for more chapters. I sent it...she asked for more. I sent more getting really excited that maybe they'd publish it.

She finally asked for the rest - after she read it, she said it was wonderful - and that her company wouldn't publish it because they only publish first-hand accounts of the Holocaust and this was fiction. Of course, she must have known that from the start, so I guess she just wanted to read the story. It really is special in so many ways - I tell people, it's the truest story that never happened. Parts of it did, taken from stories of survivors. But it's a blend and some sections - I don't even know where it came from - it just poured out of me for months at a time.

So, in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel, I've been reading one chapter...I think maybe I'll post it separately if people are interested. So - a quiet Sabbath. Next week will be a busy one as Wednesday is Memorial Day and Thursday is Independence Day.

It is something unique to Israel - this need we have to remember and honor the ones who made the next day possible. And so, on Wednesday, we will honor the tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians who have died in our wars, been murdered in terrorist attacks in the 64 years since Israel was re-established in our ancient and current homeland. It is an agonizing day - no entertainment places are open, one television station simply runs music and a slow listing of all the names of each soldier, each terror victim. Each year, the list moves just a little bit faster - so that all the names can be displayed within the 24 hour period.

And then, as our hearts break and we've spend the day listening to stories of younger siblings remembering their older brothers; of parents telling us about their sons and daughters; of wives who have lost husbands and sons who have lost fathers...and then, 8:00 p.m. comes and there is a ceremony and a switch. I can't explain how it is humanly possible, but we start to sing and to dance and there are fireworks and the tears dry and the smiles come and we celebrate with all our hearts.

That's next week...for now, I'll wish you a Shabbat shalom and tell you that we are a nation at peace. Yes, it is peaceful here - the sun is shining; the flowers are blooming all over the country. Here's a picture of a plant just outside my door that has the most incredible flowers. They open and close each day with the sun - as we do.

The picture doesn't do them justice - maybe because I took the picture with my cellphone. The pink is the brightest of pinks...well, enjoy them anyway.


George said...

Gorgeous flowers. Enjoy your quiet Shabbat. We are already at the stage where sometimes we are just the two of us for Shabbat. Our kids don't believe us when we tell them that it's wonderful and that we feel like a young married couple again :-)

Anonymous said...

Shabbat Shalom u'Mevorach to you and your continuously growing family.

Paula R. Stern said...

SO, apparently, here's the trick. The Blackberry camera captured it fine; my laptop screen dimmed the colors, and my desktop computer shows them bright and gorgeous - so, if you look, look on a "real" computer and enjoy!

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