November 28th, 2010 § Comments Off on Shelter § permalink

Yesterday, a Saturday, I spent the day in a park in Tel Aviv.  It was a gorgeous warm sunny day that would have fit in perfectly in May, but didn’t at the tail end of November.  At some point during the afternoon, I heard an emergency vehicle followed closely by another and another.  When I lived in New York City that was a daily occurrence, but in Israel it usually means only one thing.  The exception that proves the rule was the Versailles wedding hall disaster, which I remember very clearly.  We were living in Jerusalem at the time, and the sirens continued for what seemed like hours.  In the park, I noted to a friend that something wasn’t right.  He said he wasn’t worried because they were firetrucks, and you don’t have to worry until it’s ambulances.  It passed, and nothing of note happened, but it reminded me of how living in this country can affect a person.

This piece was written in the summer of 2006, during the Second Lebanon War.

I’m sitting on the rooftop balcony of my apartment in Migdal HaEmek in the north of Israel. There are scattered clouds in the night sky, with some stars twinkling through the clouds and light pollution. Off to the left, I can just see the hazy outline of Haifa perched on the side of the Carmel Mountain. To the right, neighbors are throwing a party, giving a mizrachi soundtrack to the evening.

It’s the sounds that are going to define this evening. On one side is the steady backdrop of the party, the other is the eerie quiet of Haifa. From about twenty miles even a loud bustling city seems frozen and silent. Overhead there is the occasional jet or helicopter. » Read the rest of this entry «


November 25th, 2010 § Comments Off on Grandmothers § permalink

This picture is an old one. It must be from about 25 years ago, more or less. My brother looks to be about One and a half, maybe two years old, which would put this picture in 1985. My specific memories from 1985 tend to gravitate towards other areas, by no fault of my parents mothers.

Abraham, Ben, and the Grandmothers

Abraham, Ben, and the Grandmothers

My paternal grandmother, Yetta, on the far left of the picture, lived in New York in a home for the aged blind.  If I’m not mistaken it was also Jewish, which gives it quite the specific clientele.  My entire experience with Yetta was in this home, which for a little boy could some times be a little scary.  It was filled with odd equipment and even odder smells.  I remember being amazed by the gigantic tomes that sat in her rooms.  Braille printing necessitates heavier paper than can withstand the printing process and maintain it’s new shape over the long term, and space required by each letter.  They were big books.  I don’t remember now what they were, but my impression was that they were either general fiction or biblical or something.  I was a little kid, how am I supposed to remember. » Read the rest of this entry «

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