Friday, January 29, 2010

Two Simple Moments of Joy in Israel

MOMENT #1 - One of the many, many things I love about the location of our apartment in Israel is that there is a trash receptacle right outside our building (no more schlepping trash cans to the street!) and there are bins for recycling paper and plastic bottles just across the street (no more 2-week old trash sitting in our hallway waiting for recycling day!). Last week, I stepped outside our apartment to toss some plastic bottles into the recycling bin and I heard a familiar voice.  We had been in Israel just a few days and I had not yet seen the friend to whom the familiar voice belonged, so I called out her name while crossing the street to give her a hug.  As we were chatting, a neighbor from upstairs came down to the street for another happy reunion.  Then my neighbor from downstairs, one of the first people I met in Ma'ale Adumim five years ago, came up to the street level.  I laughed to myself at how, within moments of going out to recycle a few bottles, Hashem sent three women to the front of my building to reassure me that my future life here will include friendship.  
Not two minutes later, as we all stood chatting on the street, a rented car parked in front of our building and out popped some neighbors from Baltimore who were visiting our community to see if it was a good match for them.  The whole interaction took less than five minutes, but I felt Hashem's warmth and encouragement - a preview of my life here, filled with many people to enjoy.

MOMENT #2 - A few nights ago, we attend a Chanukat HaBayit - a building dedication for our daughter's Israeli seminary where she learned so much Torah and grew spiritually in such huge measure.  During the entire evening, but especially the four minutes when she presented a plaque to one of the founding families, my heart was proud.  As the building emptied out and only the staff, the students and a few sets of parents were left, the students began dancing, with tremendous earnestness of feeling, to live music in the dining hall.  As we sat in the hallway waiting for our daughter to finish enjoying the company of her friends, I wondered why it was okay for the performing musicians, especially the lead singer who I knew to be religious himself, were in the same room with 60 young, religious women, watching them dance.  I stepped into the room and a huge smile enveloped my face.
The singer was sitting in a corner behind a mechitza while the young women had free reign in the room. 
What a country!!

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