Last night, we had dinner with some old friends and family in an Israeli grill. Just three couples who have known one another for a few decades. We all used to live in the same community in the Old Country and now we are all here. Only one of the six of us has any real fluency with Hebrew, so watching us try to order dinner with a waitress who spoke little English was like a skit of Kita Bet ulpan on the first day of class. The waitress asked how many people we would be. I said, "shaysh" and she said, "shisha". That was kind of how it went.
Eventually, the food came and the talk turned to the spiritual merits of our lives in Israel. How we feel closer to Hashem here. How praying, even out loud and with our hands raised in a posture of urgent pleading, feels more natural here. How geula feels closer. How Gd's Hand in our daily lives is clearer.
Earlier in the day, I was on a bus on my way to my office in Jerusalem when the Yom HaShoah siren went off. Ironically, my watch was a few minutes slow, so I wasn't expecting it quite then. The driver stopped the bus, shut off the engine, then everyone, and I mean everyone - soldiers in uniform, young children, Russian immigrants, native Israelis, religious men, secular women, old Ethiopians, everyone stood up inside the bus in absolute silence for two minutes of memory.
Please Hashem, redeem your people from the ravages of antisemitism. Let us live in peace in our Land. Bring back those of our people who were killed because they were Jews and also all those whom we have loved. Let us live in a world of truth and of spiritual clarity.
The moment passed. The driver started the engine, the radio came back on, announcing that it was 10:02. I wiped a small tear, reset my watch and thus began another day.