Sunday, November 9, 2014

Happy Birthday...to Me...

Today is November 9th - it is a day that has special meaning. On November 9th 1938, the Nazis gave the clearest indication of what they would one day do...in a nation that burns books, the burning of humans is often not far behind...from the moment the Nazis started burning Jewish books and buildings in what was later called Kristallnacht, the world should have understood what would be. That they didn't then, perhaps, can be explained away by an inability to understand the true depths of evil that a nation can achieve. That the world doesn't understand now, is unforgivable.


I have lived with an awareness of what this day means beyond the narrow confines of it being my birthday for most of my life. My mother once said I was her answer to Hitler...it was both a heavy thing to carry, and a privilege at the same time. Years later, with the births of each of my children - I knew that I had answered Hitler. This...this is our answer.

A bit over 3 years ago, I became a grandmother...this beautiful baby boy who knows all the Hebrew letters, the blessings for so many foods. This angel of a
child - he too is my answer to Hitler.

Gavriella, aged 12, murdered by
the Nazis. May her memory be
blessed.
And my granddaughter, born a year ago, who carries the name of a child murdered by the Nazis. She is my answer to Hitler too. The Nazis murdered Chaim Eliezer....my husband's uncle...and so my in-laws gave his name to my husband, as they had named each of their children....for someone who had died.

My two oldest sons were named for Jews who died in the Holocaust; my two youngest children were named for my father-in-law and mother-in-law, who survived the Nazis and defied all that was done by not only choosing to live, but to thrive.

Five children I have been blessed with, one son and two daughters have married to give me 8 children; we've adopted two more (who have amazing parents but they lend Yaakov and Chaim to us with love), and their two sisters that we've kind of adopted too.

And Yaakov's two children and Mera's three children, and Amira's son and Elie's daughter and all that are yet to come...all these are our answer.

Birthdays are always fun but today is a day that is mine to remember... throughout our history, there have been those who tried to destroy us, erase us...they didn't accomplish it then, they won't accomplish it now.

I don't know what today will bring, what we will face tomorrow or in the weeks to come. But the sun is shining. There is literally not a cloud in the sky. Shabbat was filled with good food and family; tonight I will join once again with my community for an amazing charity event made possible by the donation of thousands of books from literally dozens and dozens of people.

At this moment, life is so good and I am so blessed. It's been a year of healing from shoulder surgery...and I'm mostly there. It's been a year of wonder, watching a new born baby turn into the most adorable little toddler. It's been a year of amazing growth, watching a toddler turn into a little boy.

Thank you, God, for all the blessings you have given me for the last 53 years of my life. As much as I can't explain why you have given me all that you have, I can only beg you to continue - to bless my children, my family, my friends, my community, my city, my country, my people...my world...with all that you have given to us - sunshine and water, light and life. Health and parnasa (livelihood), safety and peace (if not with our neighbors, than within ourselves).

And as I tell my children...so I will now tell myself...as much as it is my birthday, it is the day my mother gave birth. As I have "five" birthdays, she has three. So, on this day, happy birthday, Mommy - I love you tons!


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