happy birthday

Hi Gheula how are you?
asks me Facebook when I switch it on.
Thanks to G-d. Today it is a joyful day.  I would like to answer it.
Because today I found heartful wishes from people all around the world who make me understand they really love me.
And this, at the end of the day, after everything else you are striving for every second of your life, is the most important thing.
To have people who understand what is really important for you, who care for helping you achieve your dreams and not to give up to them.
You run to different goals. But when you stop for a second, you realize health and love are the pillars of your life.
Thank you for making my love pillar stronger this year.

Thank you very much to all my friends around the world.
I wish everybody of you to feel overwhelmed by friends as I feel today.

 

A sanctuary, though hard, even there…

Vigil For Victims Of Sandy Hook School Shooting - WashingtonIt arrives. Punctual as a Swiss watch, as the sunset in the morning and hunger after a long fast, with the first discovery of evil. That sentence. “The world is not nice as you wanted me to believe”. It’s my child who is growing up. And I shut up. Hit by the deepness of his thought, by his fear of evil, by his dropping down of trust in tomorrow, I stop and think. I think about how we sorrounded him only with kosher animals in the crib. I think how his lullaby was composed only by Jewish words and chassidic notes. I think about the strictly kosher food which we allow to enter in his mouth. About the pictures with Jewish images hanging on his bed. I think how we tried our best, since the first day of life, to surround every child with Torah words. How we do our best to make them chew only good, positive, light and love. How we shut up our mouths preventing bad news to reach their ears, hoping they do not loose their faith in this world. How we hide newspapers with cruel images in the first page, hoping that they will go to sleep thinking this life is nothing but a marvellous trip. How we whisper and share through codes, sad events, justifying our unhappy eyes with a terrible headache due to a heavy day. But then, during time, the unavoidable happens and the magic gets broken. News about another tragedy run faster than our trials to hide them once again. Those tiny faces of children unaware of the shortness of their lives, bring to the arousal of the deep sentence. “The world is not nice as you wanted me to believe.” My dear love, that sanctuary I tried to build around you during all these years, is not always there outside. Sometimes there are events we cannot change or influence at all. When these happen we just have to look for enough strenght to go on and pray. Other times even a tiny gesture can change all the scenario bringing back hope. That tiny gesture is able to remind us we have the braveness after all. My dear love, that sanctuary can be found even there outside. In the midst of horror, of a tragedy without any reason, in the screams due to pain. That sanctuary is there, in that teacher, Victoria Soto, who gave up to her own life trying to save her little students. That sanctuary is there, in those Sandy Hook school teachers, who lost their lives in the trial to make their students go on and believe in them. My dear love, that sanctuary will be even there. If you and me and everyone else, will not give up and will go on and believe. That with responsibility and commitment of all of us, even from the deepest dark, a perfect sanctuary can arise.

Gheula Canarutto Nemni

may your soul be bound up in the bond of eternal life

We are here again. For the 14th time. Since that Nissan 3rd during which it was decided from Above, your life was at its end. How could I imagine the kiss I received from you was forever the last one? How could I know I would not feel your strong arms around me before leaving my home? How could I foresee that one day I would have found myself  thinking of you as a light ray, a soul staying under the Heavenly throne, a person who comes to visit his dears only during night and dreams? For every tear I am sheding for you today, I have a special memory to think inside me. As those hot days spent in the Jewish Cemetery of Venice, washing and cleaning tombal stones of Jews dead five hundred years ago. Because you were scared that, one day, nothing will last of those precious engraved words. Discovering the symbols of ancient Jewish Italian families, as the two hands for the kohanim, the lion for the famous Leon da Modena, the eagle for the nobles. Or those endless journeys to Stasbourg to buy  kosher food and meat when you decided it was worthy to travel one and a half hour more in order to go and see the beth hamidrash of Rashi, where he used to study and bring down to this earth heavenly words and explanations. And that Menorah Lego shape. Which you proudly showed me after having worked on it for nigths and days. It should have been the realizzation of your dreams. The Menorah was a miniature plant of the Italian Jewish Museum you were dreaming to build. But in Heaven there was a different plan. And it was decided you were desired there, directly under the Celestial Throne. During this day in which it seems to me I can still hear your voice and not  the kadish said in your memory, I wish you look from above and you smile. Because you are proud of your children. Whom, in every moment of their life, try to go on with your interrupted job spreading and showing the only thing will last after we are not here anymore, is our good deeds and beliefs. Your love for Judaism, for its roots, for its ancient messages perfectly fitting future generations, is always with us. As you are. My dad, my dear papi. May your soul be bound up in the bond of eternal life (as you taught me to say for those who were not with us anymore)

Gheula, Aviva, Ronnie, Gady and Naty

 

A new page in lifebook…

Today I changed the sheets of the beds. I looked for the most comfortable pillows. I opened the new bed covers I was keeping for a special occasion. I cleaned the floor, I finally moved from its unnatural place the picture of the children. In the old frame. It was standing in the corner of the room for more than three months. Waiting for a special guest to come. I removed all the papers from the desk, I cleaned the dust of two weeks on the printer. I moved the curtain, making it appear as a hotel piece. I sprayed roses parfum in the room. I switched off the light. I locked the door. And I breathed deeply. I am ready, spiritually and materially, to be a real mother in law. In my home. Suddenly I feel as I am my mother. The way she uses to welcome us in her home is always so unique, making you feel as somebody was really waiting for you. And as this somebody is really, really happy to see you. So, with G-d’s help, in a few hours I will open a new page in my life book. A page that speaks about grown up children and their new way of being part of the family, a page relating a story of history. And how it repeats itself. From generation to generation, from mother to daughter, from daughter to grandaughter. To son in law. Welcome to my life new old members of my family. I hope that though immersed in a new life, here, in your old room and with the new sheets, you will always feel home.

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now it’s your turn…

Aleph Tevet 5772

Dear Sarah,

in a few days you will be under the chupa. Standing beside the man you have chosen to share your future with. From that moment your life will not be the same anymore. You will not be able to wake up late at morning knowing that no responsibility is on you. You will be a wife. And, with G-d’s help, a mother. Your children will smile if you smile to them. Your husband will come back home happy if you will show him you are happy to see him back home.  Your kitchen will be kosher if you  keep G-d’s laws about food. Spirituality will dwell in your home if you welcome it to stay. Love for Torah, for G-d and for His way will find a place in your family’s heart, if you are able to transmit them your message.

Maybe it’s not only by chance that your wedding will happen to be just after the days of Chanuka, during a cold winter night of Tevet.

Chanuka is a festival during which we celebrate the victory of a few Jews on a great number of people who wanted them simply to assimilate. To live their attachment to G-d through compromises. A festival to remember the victory of a reborn Jewish identity. A festival which symbol is not a weapon nor a sword. But a small pure oil jar, found after hours of hard research. Jews didn’t want to light the Menorah with a non pure oil. Even if they could do it, even if it was admitted for that exceptional matter. They didn’t want to celebrate a victory through a compromise. They wanted to live their identity with a pure and total serving heart. Jews tried the hard way and G-d rewarded them. Eight days of growing light, for thousands years to come.

Time has come to close this short but intense period of our life. From now ahead there will be, with G-d’s help, your husband beside you.

Take with you the secret of endurance during time of the small flame of Chanuka. The oil that gave life to it was made of pure Torah. There was not a trace of a compromise. This is the way Jews could survive during thousands years of exile.

Though sometimes it can seem very hard to go on and live with strong principles, never give up. Don’t let any trace of compromise on Torah and G-d, enter in your life.

And if that small flame is here today, able to share with us the story of our nation through the winters of exile, there is no doubt anyone can do it.

Go now, it’s your turn. To light the new flame that will burn for many years, b’h, ahead.

Mazal tov my little baby, I will never forget. This wonderful period that G-d gave us as a present to share. I love you with all my heart.

Yours forever,

Mami

Will she keep that broken chair?

Please madam, on the next time don’t bring the children, says the dressmaker after her chair was half broken, her sofa tasted jumping feet for the first time and her mirror survived to the worst attack it had ever had in its life. No, I promise, I will not bring them anymore. I say to her while looking for the coat of the little one. ‘Mum, coat, coat’ he tells me. I look at him. He’s wearing his coat since one hour. He never removed it. Maybe he knew already this place wouldn’t be the most children-friendly in the world. It’s not because I don’t like children, madam, she goes on telling me while opening the door as a person who lets out from her house the worst creatures in the world.It’s simply that it is impossible to do something with these…always moving creatures around. One screams, the other yells, the third one jumps everywhere. Yes, you are totally right, I tell her and I give the hand to my three little devils. It is indeed really hard to do something with them around, I go on repeating while giving every child his/her opportunity to call the elevator and catching the little one while trying to go down by the stairs maybe knowing how he will be squeezed inside the elevator with all his brothers and sisters.. You are not offended, aren’t you? she tells me while looking at me with rigid eyes. If they could just sit down and stay calm, she adds, it could have have been much easier…and I know what she means. Beacuse trying to understand if the dress you are sewing fits you or not while three children create energy from nothing in a room that is big as the smallest toilet of your house, is really a challenge. They cannot sit for so long, I tell her while closing the elevator doors. I imagine she is reliefed. Or maybe she is not. Becuase there, in her tiny apartment, she had never had a baby hand spreading chocolate on a white chair. Or baby lips kissing her goodnight after a long day. And now that is is 75, she has all the time in the world to set up the house again. After the storm. Or maybe she will just sit down on the sofa and think where to keep. The broken chair. That will remind until her last day on this earth the big loss that she had. She had a carreer, she was very good in her job. And for the cause of her profession she didn’t want to have children. She is right. And I am so sorry for her. No one is more noisy than children at this age. But this noise, I can see in her eyes, is the leg of the chair she is missing so much. Unfortunately for her, it is too late…

back to the past…

Mum, if you could go back in time, would you get married so young again?
I pour the coffee on my skirt while the bride, after having thrown as a stone in the sea her philosophical question, is sitting in front of me writing on her bbm to a destination that is across the Ocean.
Well…I start thinking. This is a trap. Pay attention, I say to myself. Be calm, don’t answer too quickly. I breath deeply. I relax. And memories come back to me as birds going back to their nests. My first child as a baby, with her giant brown eyes, while pronouncing her first word, learning to read, hugging me on her way back from camp. My second neverstopping hunger, his haircut at the age of three, fighting with the sister. My third child opening her blue eyes for the first time, being defined ‘the sun of the class’ at the age of 5. My fourth child preferred video, his allergy to the detergent. My fifth child ceasarian, his being so small compared to my prevoius babies. My sixth child being the copy of the third one, her way of jumping while singing the Chanuka song about the doughnuts. My seventh child sleepless nights, his unique way of saying ‘amen!’ to every good thing we wish.
The coffee has dried on my skirt. The bride is still writing bbms maybe having forgotten the quetion she made some minutes ago. I wake up from my journey in the past. I take her hand and I tell her: You know what? I would never change one thing of my life. If I had the opportunity to start everything again, I would do all exactly the same. I would get married at 19, have you at the age of 20, go on studying in university, having your brothers and sisters, working, writing, sitting with you here in our kitchen trying to come out from this mad plan of getting married in five weeks…I would never change anything, believe me. Though it was hard, sometimes very tough. Becuase the amount of love I received every day in my life is the most precious thing I will ever own. And I would never give up to it for all the freedom in the world….

No reminders for 25 hours…

G-d, I just wanted to thank You. For giving us the opportunity to detach the wire from our daily runs. For offering us a weekly chance to breath deeply without feeling guilty. For having us cooking for something that goes beyond our hunger. For closing our ears to the daily news for 25 hours. For letting us sleeping during the night without the nightmare of forgetting to set the morning alarm. For giving us time for smiles and laughs with our kids without looking at our dictator-watch. For offering us a weekly fine tuning on the real values of life. For having chance to meet our friends without being called 200 times per hour by our children on the cellphone. For letting us close the file with the guest list of the wedding without feeling the heart rythm increasing dramaticaly. For giving us the opportunity to go around without reminders ringing during the way. For forcing us to switch off our cellphones, our computers, our wifi’s, our ipads, ipods and iphones, fearless to loose the most important phone call of the day, the coolest news of the week, the top song of the month, the most important Facebook history. G-d, I just wanted to thank You. Because when I cannot use anything, when the only creative activity I can do is to sit down and listen to my kids, I realize that it is only thanks to You, that I finally get to dedicate them some calm time after 144 hours of crazy run. And now that it’s over since 5 hours and I had already time to fight with the elecrticity company, update the wedding guest list, choose the right wines for that special night, write 157 new reminders for the next 144 hours of the week, feeling the accelerated heartbeats for the fear of having forgotten an important detail for the wedding night, I am already making the countdown for the hours that separate me from the next shabat….

When an address smells of love….

I have a file from the last event I organized. There, some scattered, you can find all the names of those invited five years ago to our party. Name, address, confirmation. There are some people whom are not living in Milan anymore, becuase of their job or their studies. There are some people who moved. And their address is not the same anymore. I was reading the list hoping to find as much useful information as I could. And then suddenly, her name was there. So bright, so sweet, so full of taste of home. So smiling, so embracing, so smelling of tagliatelle with ragù and italian style artichoques. So linked to a past I’ve loved with all my heart. To those rainy milanese Sundays in which we were all forced to go there. Despite your friends, homework, studies and fun. To those difficult days in which the temperature outside was speaking of snow and I used to put all my little children, included the new baby of that period, in my car. Her name is flashing now on my screen. Reminding me that when we have the opportunity to give somebody our love, we don’t have to miss that chance. Nonna Alba, my grandmother is still with us, thanks to G-d. She is living in Israel now and I feel a hole in my heart when I pass in front of her house, here in Milan. Or when I bake the chocolate cake filling the air with the same smell she used to communicate us her love. I don’t need to send her any invitation. Becuase she is on a chair, waiting only for someone to come and kiss her when you happen beside her. I miss her so much. I think I will write her name on an envelope anyway. Just to feel her close to me now, in this precious time, during which I am living one of the most amazing adventures of my life. And just to remember, in any case, how it is important to learn and apreciate every single little detail, as an address written on an invitation envelope, containing the name of those whom you really love.

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