I love being Jew

I love eating an apple when people sit in a restaurant beside the sea having the best smelling pizza of the world. I love shutting down my cellphone when the rest of the world is still fighting for currencies, shares, stocks and internet connections. I love wearing a long skirt while there, at the garden, women dress like men or a piece of cloth instead of a skirt. I love reading from right to left while the most part of the world sees all the letters only in the opposite direction. I love telling my children the stories about rabbis who lived 2000 years ago in the same exact way we are living today. I love waking up every morning washing my hands and thanking G-d for having given to me another chance. I love calling my children with names that to someone sound exotic, to another some strange and that for me taste as the flavor of strong traditions and heritance. I love passiinb beside a door and seeming a crazy person to those who are looking at me, kissing that pieve of plastic, silver of wood, that contains the main points of my faith. I love closing my eyes on the past day while closing my eyes with my right hand and saying good night to G-d once again. I love all this kind of restrictions, limits, obligations, duties. Because they give me real freedom. I am not slave of internet, of time or of money. I am not slave of fashion, of star system, of other gods except mine. I love being jew. Because this means being different, choosing a path that is hard, full of obstacles, but original. And makes you grow through small details, which everyone counts for you to be better tomorrow than today.

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Will your grandchildren be Jewish?

Go around and look. For a logic reason for Jewish survival. Look for the explanation through the physical boundaries of a land that has been dreamt for thousands years but reached only some more than a half century ago. That land so yearned was a common denominator for Jews spread all around the world. But even without living there, even on the opposite sides of mountains and sea, even so far away, Jews could exist. That land explains partly the secret. But not all. Shift your attention on the Jewish culture. The way of writing, the ability of looking at the daily troubles with humor lenses, the courage of asking questions and trying to find a philosophical answer, the usage of musical notes to transmit hope. That culture was a common denominator for that nation which you could find in the four corners of the earth. But even those who did not know how to write a nice novel, to compose a touching melody, or repeat by heart Aristo’s quotes, could survive thorough time and pogroms. That culture explains only partially that above the nature phenomena. Pick up the Hebrew language. Its unique characters, its infinite combinations, its high diffusion among Jews, its being the Esperanto ancestor. Many Jewish families spoke this language. But, through history, many even did not. And though, even if they spoke Spanish and Ladino, Yiddish and French and could not understand the meaning of many Hebrew words in their prayer books, they were able to go on breathing through history and centuries. That language used to create the world can explain only a part of that irrational happening. Open and read. A research article conducted by Antony Gordon and Richard Horowitz a few years ago. In which they try to find an explanation for Jewish survival. Through statistics, numbers and graphics. In which they try to find out the secret combination, that magic common denominator that made the Jewish nation arrive until now despite all prognostics. In front of a big crowd, of intellectuals and professors, they stand on a Harvard podium and declare. That there is only one way for guaranteeing your grandchildren will be Jewish. And it consists in going on and teaching to respect Shabat, keep kosher, put on Tefilin. In one simple sentence, staying attached to mitzvoth. If you want to answer yes to this question, just rinse down your family ground with that gift given to Moses on Mount Sinai more than 3,300 years ago: the Torah.

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The miracle of love

Take a man and teach him. To put on tefilin. If you explained him well the incredible bond he will be able to create with G-d through these leather laces, you will have high probabilities, the next morning this person will put the tefilin without the necessity to be convinced anymore. Take a woman and transmit her. The secret staying behind a dancing flame of a shabat candle. If you will be patient enough to tell her about the infinite dose of light she will be able to bring in this world through a simple flame, you can be sure the next friday she will not need to be told twice. And she will use a match and a candle to add positive light. Take a child and try to describe him. The connection that exists between a biscuit and the faculty of a soul to perceive and serve G-d. If you will be a good teacher a non kosher cookie will never enter in that litttle mouth. Take a human being and force him. To love his fellow Jew as it was himself. To avoid doing others what he would not like people would do to him. If you’ll stay the whole night teaching him about the fundamental concept as love for a fellow Jew is. If you will dedicate him whole days telling him about what rabbi Akiva used to define a big rule of the Torah. If you will convince him that all the rest is only a comment, as Hillel did with that person who dreamt to become a Jew, than start to pray. And hope. That the effect of your words, the impact of your teachings, will last for more than two minutes. Because between 613 commandments that G-d gave to His children, there is one that does not involve hands, does not require a book, nor a kosher logo. It asks only that you, for a while, forget about your problems, your shopping, your wishes and dreams. And try to think with the head of somebody who is another one. But you. G- d knows its creatures, their defects, their limits, their nature. And this is why between the 613 commandments, there is such a thing that reminds it is a duty to love one’s fellow. It is not only a suggestion. It’s a mizvah. As eating kosher and respecting shabat. I know it is hard. Even Rabbi Akiva’s students did not have the strenght to fight against their egos. But the Torah asks to serve G-d with all yourself. And the minimum we can do is to start and try. To put aside for one minute our egos and needs and love our fellow as all his life was ours.

Ladies and gentlemen, Am Israel Chai

April 18th 2012. 26 Nissan 5772. Yom hashoah. The commemoration day for the Shoah. Benyamin Netanyahu speaks in front of thousands people in Yad Vashem. Speaks. And tells. About Esther Nadiv. An 89 years old lady who survived to Mengele and his infinetely cruel experiments. About Hanoch Mandelbaum. An 89 years old man who survived that hell called Bergen Belsen. And who was able, after a few years since his arrival to the land of his fathers, to give life to the desk on which David ben Gurion signed the Israel Independence declaration. Abou Iran. And its constant nuclear danger. About the world. And its renuvated silence. In front of another threaten to the Jewish survival. A silence that easily reminds Netanyahu and us, another silence. That brought to the biggest tragedy of our humanity. Benyamin Netanyahu is in Yad Vashem. And from there, he remembers. The impossibility for most of European Jews to perceive the coming tragedy and save their lives before it was too late. The anger of many of them in front of the scary words of the Jewish leaders who tried to open their eyes in front of the rising antisemitism. Benyamin Netanyahu is in Yad Vashem. And forgets. He is in Yad Vashem, speaking to thousands of people, listened by millions all around the world. And he looses a chance. He mentions the Israeli army. He remembers the Jewish capabilities. He reminds the Israeli nation its duty and its determination, to defend itself. But he forgets.That the Jewish survival among nations. Among big, powerful countries full of weapons and hate. That survival that goes against statistics and mathematical rules. That is the exact opposite of natural laws that tend to grant victory to the stronger and more powerful. That survival is due to Someone. Which  Benyamin Netanyahu, in Yad Vashem, forgets to mention, even once. Ladies and Gentlemen,  Am Israel Chai he says loud and clear. Forgetting that the same person who signed the independence declaration of his state, David ben Gurion,  used to say that in Israel, in order to be realistic, you have to believe in miracles. Ladies and gentlemen, Am Israel Chai. Not because we have an army, or because we want so strong to survive. Am Israel chai, our nation is still here to challenge nature and its eternal laws, because Someone decided it. Because that Someone never stopped, even for one tiny second, to perform miracles for His nation. Benyamin Netanyahu, Jewish secret of survival has only one name. G-d.

life cycle

I put away the Pesach plates. I wrapped the pots, closed the food processor box, folded the table cloth, sealed the carton. And that’s it. Another Pesach has gone. I sat on a chair before putting away the Pesach stuff and closed my eyes. In front of me the Pesach of last year. Its guests, its food, its smells, its end. And how I wondered, sitting in the same chair, how the next pesach would be. How would be my life after a whole year. I remember I whispered a prayer in my heart. Please G-d make the next Pesach be exactly like this year. Make that, when I open the boxes on the next spring season, I make it with a smile. Let me be nervous only about the big number of guests I need to cook for. And nothing else. I get up from the chair and I put the last piece of cellotape on the brown box. I tap the top of the carton and help to bring it to the garage where it will rest for the next eleven and half months. I open the door of my kitchen and remove the aluminium foil on the counters, the refrigerator, cupboards and walls. I let the last smell of Pesach freedom fly away in the air. Bringing in Heaven all my prayers and those of my beloved nation. Image

The taste of freedom

What is freedom? Asked themselves Jews the day in which they left Egypt. What are we going to be? Went on saying those who did not dare to ask themselves such questions little before. What is the taste of getting up in the morning not being forced by anybody to do things you don’t want to? Dared to think people who were still bearing on their bodies the signs of a cruel slavery. Freedom is to sacrifice the god of your oppressors to the true G- d answered Moses explaining the rules about the Passover lamb. You are going to stop being the slaves of men. In order to be free to be the slaves of G-d, went on to explain Moses. You will taste the real freedom since the exact instant in which you will be commanded to observe the sanctity of shabat, when you will not enjoy anymore the opportunity to eat any kind of meat you might like, with the duty to eat only unleavened food during the days of Passover. Time went by. New generations arrived. People who did not find satisfying answers for the questions they had. Is this real freedom? Ask themselves Jews everyday when coming back from an uninterrupted seven days of work. Is this my true identity? Go on saying people who are not used to ask themselves what is the real purpose for which G-d put them in this world. Is this the true taste of freedom? Dare to think some Jews challenging a world that thinks Divine rules are a limitation for human expression. Freedom is to be able to think as a Jew. And not as the world wants you to, answers Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Rebbe, whose main purpose in life was to save his brothers and sisters from having similar thoughts and life approach to all other nations on this earth. Freedom has the taste of kosher food. Of matzah, maror and charoset. Freedom lies her. In the daily strenght to eat unleavened food when all the world around you eats chocolate eggs. Freedom is to be able to sit at a seder table and to tell without shame and fear the story of the Exodus from Egypt for the hundredth and thousandth time to your children. Freedom is this. To raise your head when the world would like you to stay down and cry. And shout with all the air you have in your lounges: am Israel is still chai. We are still here, thanks to all Moses of each generation. And no evil, no assimilation will ever have the power to erase matzah from our seder table.

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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

 

Killing values and children

It’s morning. It’s night. It’s time to start a new day. It’s time to end all of them. It’s life. It’s death. It’s values. It’s culture of killing. It’s fathers. It’s children. It’s Toulouse. It’s France. It’s 2012. And still people die because of their religion, because of being value oriented, because being Abraham children. Because following G-d and His laws. Beacuse believing in the right of everybody to live free in the world without being scared to go to a Jewish school. Values and children are dying in our world. Civil values and Jewish children. And if those who are scared to openly condemn these murederers calling, if those who don’t dare to give terrorists their true name and are afraid to put a stop to their crazy race against life, if they think that their being non-Jews, their not belonging to the eternally persecuted nation, will be an emergency exit for them. This time they are wrong. Because the fight of this anti values world starts from Jews. But will not stop there. All unfaithful people will be condemned. Unless the world understands that going against Jews is killing the civil values at the base of all democracies.

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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Happy purim, the feast of natural miracles…

Good morning world, says the voice of the lady while singing her preferred song. And naturally breathing to take some air in her lounges. Have a nice walk, wishes the mother to the son. And naturally walking he approaches his new goal. What a wonderful sight, says the tourist when hit by the blue of the sky mixing with the blue of the sea. And naturally using his eyes, stops the magic moment on a camera. I love you so much, whispers the young husband to his newly married wife. And naturally feeling his accelerated heartbeat, hopes that these feelings will never stop to exist. Hello world, announces the blogger moving his fingers fast on the keyboard. And naturally connecting memories, knowledge, inspiration and neurons to the words running on the screen where he is writing. Let’s make a party, says Achashverosh, and bring my wife too. The queen doesn’t want to appear. And naturally the king orders to kill her immediately. Find me a new queen, commands the king realizing he is alone. All the girls of the kingdom are brought to him. And naturally he chooses Esther, whose Jewish identity is not revealed. Haman becomes the most important minister of Achashverosh reign. everybody must bow him. But Mordechai doesn’t want to. And naturally Haman thinks it would be good to get rid of him. And, why not, even of all the Jewish people. Mordechai sends a message to Ester telling her she is the only chance of salvation.And who knows if it was only for this that you happened to be the queen. Esther is afraid to go and ask Achasverosh to save her brothers and sisters.She goes anyway. And naturally Achashverosh listens to her requests though it was thirty days he was not seeing her and though she was fasting since three days.We wake up in the morning and we take everything for granted, the fact we are breathing, that we are able to see, to walk, to feel, to think, to exist. There is such a day in which we rejoice for natural events. It is called Purim. And it reminds us that all those tiny, insignificant, usual, things, are never by chance. That Achashverosh could get married with the girl just behind Esther. That Mordechai could be in the synagogue instead of being there in the exact moment and hear the complot against the king. That Haman could remain an insignificant deputy. Instead of becoming the most important king minister. That the king could see the greenish face of Esther, due to three days of prayer and fast. Instead of giving her the chance to go and speak to him. Purim is the feast of natural miracles. Of small, insignificant, unnoticed facts, that happen in the most natural way. Soprannatural events, that bring, seemingly by chance, to the salvation of the Israeli nation. And to the daily existence of biliards of people. This is Purim. The day in which nature is asked to remove its mask and reveal the hand of G-d behind every event. From the tiniest one to the most magnificient and unbelievable natural fact.

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