What can I do for you?

Dear soldier  sitting there on the heights of your land while waiting for an order. With black color on your face for hiding yourself in case of war. With your heart beating for the fear of hurting an innocent life. Dear soldier full of anxiety and tension. With your eyes closed and the thought directed to your mother’s smile and embrace full of apprehension and worry. With your heavy shoulders of a responsibility that no one has in the world, at your age. With your  rolled sleeves and the tfilin on your arm while directing your heart to G-d. Dear soldier I think of you while you sit there during the cold of the night. While the radio plays together with the noise of the rockets thrown by an enemy that shouts “ we love death as you Jews love life”. While your soul is trembling because you know you are there, to defend the future of your people. I think of you. And I would like, really like, to do something for you. For all the soldiers, for my and your nation, for the members of my family who have fifteen seconds since that sound breaks the sky, to run and save their lives. I would like to be part of this clash between opposite ways of intending man and the reason for which he is in this world. I cannot wear a military uniform. Nor I cannot take a weapon in my arms. But I know, I truly know, I can help you though I am far. Because we both belong to a nation which is able to fight not only through weapons and strenght. A nation which is able to break all natural rules, winning enemies which are more numerous and powerful than it. We have a secret ally. Who is able to turn upside down all the situation in a few instants. Who is able to decide if a rocket will explode in the hands of the enemy who is preparing it or it will fall in the middle of the sea instead that on a building full of families. In order to help you I know I need to call for that secret Ally once again. Doing something more between all the things He commanded us to do in this material world. More tzedakà, some more kosher, more prayers and shabat. More Torah study moments and concentration of our children education. Dear soldier, dear brother who lives in Israel, may our awakening be appreciated by our Eternal Ally, and may He protect us from the hands of everyone who wants to harm us. Amen.

Gheula Canarutto Nemni

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.