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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Reflections

Now I know I can write about Hamas' meeting with Putin or Bush's decision not to rush sanctions against Iran, and any number of political topics relating to Israel and/or the world, but I want to write about something, again (I'm going to have to stop this), more personal. This past week-end was my father-in-law's 50th birthday. In celebration of his half century mark, the family threw a big dinner for him, full of family and friends. Sitting at the party friday night, listening to the speeches of loved ones celebrating this man's life, I couldn't help but look around and wonder in awe. There were a couple of things that went through my mind in a manner of seconds.

One, next Sunday is my 24th birthday, and what have I done with my life compared to my father-in-law? He has probably done more in the past 24 years than most people have done in two life-times. As a teen-ager growing up in New York, he became part of the first group of the JDL (that's the now infamous Jewish Defense League). Rabbi Mayer Kahana was his mentor, when Kahana was still sane and actually listened to as being considered a very important person in the Zionist movement. He went to rallies and riots to defend Israel. He became a black belt in Karate and confronted anti-semetism on an almost daily basis because him and his friends made a conscious decision to proudly proclaim their Jewish identities by wearing Yarmulkes. Now that may seem kind of funny to most of you. Wearing a Kippah isn't something novelle or risky or overly "patriotic". But, back in the '60s and early '70s, wearing a Kippah in New York or doing something else outwardly religious was considered an invitation to get your ass kicked. Instead, he was the one who did the ass kicking when his Jewishness was confronted.

My father-in-law always wanted to move to Israel and when he visited the Galil and stood on a hill-top that over-look both the Med and the Golan, he knew that was where he would build his house. You know, most people think or dream of doing something grand or extremely risky or ballsy, something else usually gets in the way and the dream just kinds of fades into the back-ground as a "might have been". Not my father-in-law. Nope. He made it his ambition to get to that home.

When my husband was a little over a year old, my father-in-law and mother-in-law told her parents that they were going to Israel for 3 months so he could do research for his doctoral dissertation. They never looked back. They made Aliyah right after they arrived. It took about 4-5 years, a lot of luck, a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. But, my father-in-law finally built the Yishuv he wanted. It would be another several years before he completed the home of his dreams, complete with a pond in the back-yard. Now the Yishuv is thriving and growing bigger by the day.

Oh yeah, he's always served as a senior officer in the IDF for more than 20 years. This year, he's up for the highest award possible for "officer of the year". He's up against some pretty high ranking Generals, but I know he's got a pretty good shot at winning. That's just the kind of person he is. He's done so much good for the defense of this country, it's unbelievable.

He also runs a successful tourist company, education service, and is highly on demand to lecture in the United States. He's an expert in Military strategy and tactics, amongst a laundry list of other subjects. Many of the most highly touted tour groups demand him by name to lead them and then invite him to the States to speak in their home-town.

Like Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux in hockey, my father-in-law is the ultimate and true diplmat and guardian of Eretz Yisroel, Am Yisroel, and for the Bitachon of Eretz and Am Yisroel. When I told him that he had to admit that he's done a ton of stuff for a person his age, he said he didn't see it. He said he hadn't even begun yet. There's still the Machon Ha'Galil (Institute of the Galilee) that's in the process of being completed and built. No, I guess he hasn't even begun yet.

Next, I looked around and wondered how I had gotten to be in that place with all these people. I couldn't help but be astounded at how much has changed in my life over the past year and a half that brought me into these people's lives. My grand-father-in-law keeps telling me how courageous I was for making Aliyah. Well, he says it a little bit condescendingly. He still thinks Israel is a third world country and can't understand how any-one would want to leave America, ESPECIALLY for Israel. (That's an annoyingly frustrating story for another time... Maybe) I don't know how courageous I was. I mean, it was a big decision, but I don't know how courageous it was. I didn't come here on my own. My fiance was here, and I had a support system as soon as I got here. My in-laws came her with practically nothing and nobody.

It just seems that the second I met my husband, it all led to this place. I had no idea at the time that any of this was possible. My Maslul (track) was completely set. Graduate college. Go to John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Work for the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit. Maybe, hopefully, make Aliyah after Graduate school. A guy wasn't really in the picture at that point.

But, here I am. My Maslul is on a completely different line. One that I could never have imagined. So, there I was sitting around the table, on this yishuv that my father-in-law built, surrounded by such good people, just awed at how G-d led me to this place. As the old Yiddush saying going, "Men Tracht Und G-d lacht" (Men plan and G-d laughs). I could never have foreseen my life leading me down the path that it has.

I have always said that G-d is a prankster. He's got so many tricks up his proverbial sleeve that who know where He's gonna put ya. I'm glad he's put me in His Land. I couldn't have asked for anything else.

1 Comments:

At 7:17 PM, Blogger Vinayak said...

Hi


That was an interesting post

Though I may NOT agree to all what was said, your blog brought back a lot of old memories and thoughts about our country friends and relatives

While we as world citizens think that Justice and equality are the most important cornerstones of a civil society, does the ground reality reflect that ?

We are angered when outsiders, third parties are denied justice. We scream when we read of Jessica Lall, Mittal, Zahira, Iraq, or similar cases.

But what happens when our mother, the epitome of love, the best example of sacrifice is denied justice in her own family ?

more at
http://o3.indiatimes.com/motherindia/archive/2006/03/05/517925.aspx


regards
Vinayak

 

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