Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Coming Face to Face with Rosh HaShanah

As Judgment Day approaches, I cannot help to think with great sadness of how much things have changed in the past year. I went into Rosh HaShanah feeling confident that our lives had just seemed to fall into place. Gone was the feeling, that we were not where we were supposed to be in life. I entered the year confident that I finally had my life in order.

-Channah was starting elementary school and loves being Israeli
-The frustration of a possible move disappeared a few days after returning to Israeli soil
-I have a great job with a great boss
-I had finally set up the learning schedule I wanted, including a chavrusah
-We were doing a tremendous Mitzvah by allowing a long term guest stay in our apartment while they tried to put their life back together again
-I had taken it upon myself to publicly defend one of my Rabbi's from a major controversy taken out of context
-We made the decision to be more proactive, so that I would make the 240 km trek more often to the closest hockey arena
-We were satisfied with our lot in life, including accepting that our family would always be the 3 of us.
-Rachel had upgraded her skills over the summer and was looking forward to applying her new skills to her jewelery
-We were living in the land promised to our ancestors so many years ago, we were literaly living in Jewish history.

That confidence carried over Less then a week later, with Yom Kippor approaching, it appeared that the prayers of a very special 6 year old girl had been answered. All she wanted was a little sister. Although it was a very difficult pregnancy, we met every step of the way with tremendous joy. I was confident that such a wonderful gift would come to fruition. When we hit the gestational date, where Channah was born, we celebrated and went out and bought a stroller. We were coming down the stretch home free.

Then one night Rachel's instincts told her something was wrong. The false confidence I had built allowed me to convince Rachel to wait until doctor appointment in the morning. By then it was too late. Even in the ambulance, full siren racing towards the hospital, I thought the worst case scenario was, we were dealing with a preemie and NICU time. It didn't even occur to me that her life had been in danger and it was already too late. Gabi would be born that day, just without a heart beat. Life would never be the same.

Over the last 7 months we have seen the best and worst in people. We have endless stories of both close friends and strangers, stepping up to help us deal with our grief. There will be many people standing before God this year, with the merits of not only literally saving Rachel's life but saving my family from being destroyed by grief. The flip side is the countless friendships and relationships that have been destroyed in the last number of months. People who we thought we could count on, who put their own comfort in front of our time of need. People who decided what we needed best but didn't have a clue, how wrong they were. People who would ask what we needed and proceed to do the opposite. I have done my best to forget about the burnt out wreckage of those lost friendships. That doesn't mean I sometimes miss the illusion of what I thought I had.

This year, I stand in judgment not with my accomplishments but holding the shards of my broken family that I am trying to put back together. I have less merits than last year, to plead to over turn the evil decree. The only thing I can ask, is that "time served" is enough punishment for my family and that we will have the strength to get back on our feet. I have always tried to be the anchor to hold everything together. Even in the last two weeks, I have found myself feeling more like a dead weight then keeping the ship away from danger.

May everyone (especially those who took the bitterness out of this year), have a sweet, healthy and happy year.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Only Israeli Police Moment

On the way home from softball, there are often police stationed on the on ramp from Highway 3 (goes to Modiin/Latrun) onto Hwy 1 heading towards Jerusalem. While I have wondered what they are looking for but whatever it was, it was not me.

Tonight, the police decided to pull me and the car in front of me over. While, I didn't think I did anything wrong, I started to panic just a little. I asked what was going on and all the officer said was that I he needed my license and insurance. My baseball uniform doesn't have pockets, so I try to keep remember to keep my phone and wallet in the front seat. Not only had I not done that, I couldn't figure out where I left it. Fortunately, I was giving my team mate a ride to his bus stop. I told him to get out my ownership papers, while I continued to panic looking for my wallet. In the mean time he was also able to deal with the 2 girls who were trying to tremp a ride to Jerusalem. I eventually found my wallet. The officer added my name to the long list of people who had also had random inspections and we were on our way.

In case you missed the only in Israel part of the story. There were two girls, on a highway on ramp, waiting for people to stop (either voluntarily or by the police) to give them a ride to Jerusalem.

As for the softball game. It was the first game of the season. For some reason the coach decided that, I can hit and batted me 5th, as I played 2nd base. The other teams pitcher was throwing real hard. My first at bat, I hit the ball so it landed just outside the batter box in fair territory. That was good enough for a single (the teams first hit of the season). My 2nd at bat I hit a hanging liner up the middle that was caught. I also had two put outs at 2nd base. We lost 11-0 after 5 innings on the mercy rule. Although the game was much closer than the scoreboard made it appear.