Saturday, June 12, 2021

Roots

I found some such small postcards in a family document box that my brother gave me after my father passed away. They were written in 1940 by my grandmother's sister and sent from the small village in what was then Poland and today it is Belarus.

My grandmother immigrated here with her husband and my father who was two years old in 1927. She was a dentist, studied dentistry in Warsaw in the years when women were barely admitted to universities and continued to be brave and special in the years that followed.

She passed away when I was 16 and I had never heard of her sisters staying there. A year after these postcards were written the sisters, (apparently there were five sisters with families and small children), were no more alive. The small villages from which these postcards were sent were burned and destroyed with all the families who were there.

The postcards were written in Hebrew letters and the language is Yiddish. I learned German from my second grandmother so I could understand a little of what was written.

I wanted to know more and asked for help in one of the wonderful Facebook groups where there are people from all over the world who help translate everything in any language. An amazing guy from Belarus, who knows Yiddish even though he is not Jewish, translated the postcards for me.

Unfortunately the sisters from Belarus do not tell a story, they write in every letter that there is no need to worry about them, they are fine and have enough food and clothes. They do not tell of the difficult situation they had probably already been exposed to because a year later none of them had survive

But it gives me a tip of the iceberg, I have names of people, names of small villages, most of which no longer exist because most of their population was Jewish and they were burned and destroyed.

I keep researching and looking for who these people were that I knew nothing about but they will always remain a part of my family heritage. Unfortunately, there is no one to ask.

I think there is a deep and understandable connection to the fact that all my genealogical searches and that of so many people I see that started precisely in the year of the virus that has been here and all over the world, it is not just the free time that everyone suddenly had. It's something deeper related to existential anxiety, to the feeling that everything is so fragile and temporary. Family roots are something that binds you and gives you a sense of belonging, and in times of existential anxiety it may be the place to escape. Even if your family history is not the happiest thing in the world.

 

Saturday, May 29, 2021

A few more words

 The mind is a wonderful thing. How quickly one returns to the life that was. The roads we were afraid to travel threw are back to being everyday  roads, the places we could have killed there are again the places .

where we live our normal lives, as it were.

What is left is the knowledge that everything is temporary, at any given moment it will come back and it is never possible to predict or anticipate the intensity of the next blow.

That's why we live most of the time in pretense and denial. We live as if we are similar to the whole world. My day is no different from the day to day life of any other grandmother in England, USA, France and more.

As soon as my grandchildren left the protected room I went to them, the dogs were also very excited and happy that I came, one of the dogs developed some anxiety from alarms but knew how to run immediately to the protected room. In less than 40 seconds she has until the rocket falls.

We ordered sushi that everyone loves and there was great joy.

All this above the surface. Inside there is great distress and fatigue.

It was a Covid year where we were all in a partnership of destiny with the world. It was a special feeling that we were like everyone else, all in the same boat, a situation we had never been in before.

We came out of it almost first and did not get to enjoy it. Immediately what started here started and again we are alone with our troubles.

I once wanted to write a post about the reasons why I keep my blog even at times when I write so little. I did not write then, but now I can write that I have always had the good feeling that I am like any grandmother in the world, a kind of illusion that life here is the same life as In many other places in the world,(Me, Rachel and Weaver are going to the hairdresser every week...each to her own..),


and I also knew that in difficult times here it would be important for me to keep in touch with the bloggers who would be supportive. And indeed it happened. There were also people who had not read here before, and every good word was a lot to me.

To my delight, the trolls of previous years did not appear and we were spared all the heartache that accompanies it.

There are quite a few trolls in life themselves and this can now be seen in attacks against Jews all over the world and in demonstrations against us. There is probably no good way to explain to the world that when your life is in danger you are doing what you can to save them.







Sunday, May 23, 2021

The day after

 It is very easy to get addicted to silence. How strange that in one moment everything is back to the way it was. Not really. On Thursday I went to the funeral in Jerusalem and I was very afraid that just before the ceasefire there would be missiles on Jerusalem, my daughter asked me to think twice about taking such a risk, but I went anyway. It was quiet but on the way back the sky above me was filled with the fireballs of Iron Dome.

At night there were still alarms until ten to two and from two at night the silence began. It's temporary silence, we all know that.

I no longer hear the noises of the shelling and interceptions of the Iron Dome, the crashes of the rockets and all those sounds of war that were around here.

Tomorrow I will go see my grandchildren who have finally come out into the fresh air after 11 days.

I feel terrible and very sad when I see the pictures from Gaza, the simple people there are the real victims of a terrorist organization that has taken over their lives. The Hamas hides under their houses and from there their missiles are fired at us, they use children and women as human shields. All the cement and concrete and money they received to rebuild life there they poured into the purchase of weapons, rockets and missiles.

Here too people have lost their lives and their homes, but we have a government that will always take care of us and not abandon us. There they are lost because of Hamas. We provide them with electricity, water, and treat their wounded in our hospitals.

It's very hard to be the bad guys in this story, but it's important to remember that there is no country in the world where the civilian population has been bombarded for years with missiles and rockets. We have no other way to protect ourselves.

I very much hope that my next posts will be about shopping trips that my granddaughter loves so much. I promised her this  what we shall do after the virus disappeared.






Monday, May 17, 2021

The small details of the big story

I have two apps on my smartphone, one is called red and the other has no name but both warn me in real time about expected rockets. At night I sleep with the smartphone and it is so smart that if a rocket is expected it just shakes and does not shout, as if it wants to wake me up gently so that I do not panic, but as soon as I pick it up to see, at the next alarm it is already shouting. It knows I'm not sleeping.
The TV is also open almost 24 hours a day and the orange stripes tell me exactly where a rocket is expected.

Because of the Iron Dome the expected is accurate and a list of localities appears where rockets are expected to land. The distance from Gaza measures the time during which shelter can be found. 40 km away there is 15 seconds to find shelter. My grandchildren are 45 km from Gaza and have 40 seconds. I have a minute and a half.
Dozens of times I saw the name of their settlement on the orange stripes on TV and I knew that at that moment the rockets were over their heads. I'm waiting to hear if there are any casualties, calm down and wait for next time.
In the picture you can see the sky above my house. Apparently there was a missile that made its way over me.


 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Thoughts in the middle of the night

 There are no goods and bads in this reality of ours nor will there be winners or losers although each side will have its own narrative to which it will stick. The experience of a victim is a difficult experience but we are all in fact victims in this situation, the Palestinians, us and the residents of Gaza. First of all we are victims of human nature who do not know how to give up, forgive and forget.

We are victims of history, of the life stories of our grandparents who had to give up a good and comfortable life elsewhere (Germany, Poland.) and flee here knowing that only here they might be safe, and the other side that his ancestors fled their homes during the war here. .

And all this because human nature cannot give up, forget and forgive.

 If someone had promised me, my children and my grandchildren a good and safe life elsewhere, I would have gone there right away.

I am willing to give a lot for peace and security.


There is still something asymmetrical and unbalanced in this story, we never just fired missiles at other people's houses, and yet most of the time we are the bad guys in the story, anyone who sends us arrows of criticism should think carefully about what he would do if his children and grandchildren Were under a barrage of missiles.

Our government officials do not hide in civilians' homes and hospitals because they know that there they will not be harmed, here they will never use civilians as human shields.

And yet it is so sad that it is impossible to produce understanding, compassion and peace among so many people who just want to live their lives in peace.

I'm a little tired after a night with little sleep because of the hundreds of missiles fired at so many settlements here. Quite a bit about where my grandchildren live.

I also feel I need to request a forgiveness from my grandfather, my uncle, my first husband and some of my good friends who were killed in the wars here, each in a different war at a different time, you gave your life for a place that for me is now not the safest place in the world.


Friday, May 14, 2021

It's still going on

 The last thing I need to do now is deal with cynical and a bit vicious comments from people on other blogs.

There is never symmetry when two sides are fighting and both are suffering, there is always someone who suffers more at a given time, my heart also hurts because of the innocent people of Gaza but I have to deal with my fears and anxieties here at this time.

I try to ignore the cynical and superficial comments and I myself do not understand why I care so much about them. I want to thank all the wonderful people in Blogland who respond in simple and warm words, you have no idea how important and helpful it is here.

I'm so glad that at least in my blog there are such wonderful people who know how to express compassion and say a good word. It also surprises me how important it is to me.

My daughter has been in the protected room of her house for four days and nights, just last night more than a hundred rockets were fired at her settlement.

The farthest they can go out is to the living room of the house and even then the ears and eyes are constantly open.

It's still quiet here but I hear a lot of explosions all the time and at night I can see the flashes of Iron Dome.