Monday, May 23, 2016

Harold from Livingston

So, years ago, I lived in a small town in New Jersey...okay, that probably doesn't help because NJ has tons of small towns, right? I lived there after I got married and overall, it was an amazing place to spend the first decade of our lives, bring three children into this world, and enjoy the home we had created. It was comfortable enough, but not too comfortable that we would have considered staying long term. My heart was in Israel, but more importantly, I wanted my children to grow up in this land...and I am forever grateful that they have.

Packing to move to Israel was hard, but far harder was leaving some very dear friends behind, quitting a job that I had come to really enjoy. We left that small town, left family and friends and found a home more amazing than I could have dreamed. We made many friends, live in a truly beautiful, warm and friendly city and community and have watched our children grow tall, strong and more incredible than I could ever have imagined. Years later, Nefesh b'Nefesh, an organization that helps American Jews move to Israel, would be created and claim the slogan, "Living the Dream," but I've been living that dream for 23 years and counting.

Before moving to Israel, I used to write a lot for local Jewish newspapers and later on the Internet. Then we came to Israel, and I continued to write...and work...and raise my children.  And then, my daughter got engaged and I was really happy...and my son was drafted into the army...and I was really scared. And so, I started to write my guts out...in a very literal sense. Writing has given me two things:

One, is a way to scream out all of the emotions I feel - the greatest of joys, the honor of seeing my children grow, the pride, the wonder. And the fear, the terror, the anger, the frustrations, and so much more.

At first, the screaming was, I thought, done in an empty room where only I could hear it. I could knock my head against the wall, and say, "stupid, stupid government" and so much more. And then one day, the second thing happened...

I realized that I had an audience, people who were listening. Friends and even strangers come over to me and thank me for "writing what I've been wanting to say" and "you gave my thoughts words" and wonderful things like that...

While I lived in NJ, I worked for this amazing doctor. I sort of ran his office and without either of us realizing it, I learned quite a bit about people and how they think and even about myself. I had more patience to deal with his patients (no pun intended), than I expected. I was challenged with the opportunity to run his office, organize workflows, meet and interact with dozens of people, often in crisis. And when I told him that I was leaving to fulfill my dream of living in Israel, he was gracious enough to wish me well as I went off to live in a land that he too loves very much.

So...earlier today, I shared a post with my mother. She is going through a rough time, feeling a bit overwhelmed and as I thought how to reach her, I remembered once long ago, how she reached me. You gave me a gift, when I was a teenager, I told her this morning, and now I give it back to you. The gift was a poem which has helped shape my attitude towards life, in many ways. You can read it here: It Really Is All in the State of Mind. After I read it to her, she smiled and I realized that I wanted to share it with others...Facebook post time.

My friend, the doctor, saw the post and left a comment. He has a friend - named Harold, who lives in Livingston, NJ. My friend ate at his house for Shabbat lunch and they got to talking about favorite columnists and Harold said the kindest, most wonderful thing, "My absolute favorite is this blogger on Arutz Sheva." And guess what...it's ME!!!

Is that not cool? Truth is, it's such an amazing compliment to me and so I thank Harold and I offer him the "shoutout" that MH asked me to offer. Writing is, by its very nature, often a solitary thing. I write something because it comes from my heart and rarely know what impact it will have, or where it will go.

I've gone to weddings and had people tell me, "I loved your article" or "My father, who lives in sent me your article! I told him you're my neighbor!"

I don't write to impact on others...wait, that's not true...now I do. But I didn't start this blog with anything else in mind other than to find a way to come to terms with my oldest son going into the army. I write now because I want to share the experience, yet again, of having a son serving this land.

So, this is a shoutout - but more, this is a thank you to Harold of Livingston and so many others who have reached out to me, or even just read what I've written. It means so much to me to share the life and the land and the family that I love so much and I worry sometimes that I overstep myself and might be offending some people. Not my intention, but sometimes an inevitable outcome.

So - shoutout to Harold and to everyone who shares my words, my thoughts. It means so much to know that I am no longer in that empty room, that there are so many sharing this journey.




2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was in Livingston yesterday...had I known I would have said hello to Harold. Great story.

Anonymous said...

It means a lot to us too to read your blogs.....I always finish reading your comments with a smile, and frequently tears. You are such an inspiration, and are living the life that so many dreamed of, but were not able to fulfill.....stay well, Jan

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