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Life Lessons with Judy Simon
Batya Medad made aliya from New York to Israel in 1970 and has been living in Shiloh since 1981. Recently she began organizing women's visits to Tel Shiloh for Psalms and prayers. (For more information, please email her.) Batya is a newspaper and magazine columnist, a veteran jblogger and recently stopped EFL teaching. She's also a wife, mother, grandmother, photographer and HolyLand hitchhiker, always seeing things from her own very unique perspective. For more of Batya's writings and photos, check out:
Wow! Did I start to panic this morning.
While showering, I suddenly noticed that my grandmother's earring wasn't in my ear.
I have three holes for earrings. Two in one ear, and one in the other. My daughters had the third one done as a birthday present for me almost ten years ago. I love the lack of symmetry, and it's great for single partnerless earrings. For the past few months, I've had that maternal grandmother's earring in the extra hole, and I just add a matching pair in the other two holes, or sometimes two different ones depending on my mood.
In the shower, when I discovered that the earring wasn't hanging from my ear, I was in no condition to run and look for it. I checked what I could in the bathroom and then calmed myself down. It's not a limb, an eye or anything dangerous to my health. It's not like I discovered someone close to me was dead or dying. Either I'd find it, or I wouldn't.
I originally had my ears pierced when I was almost sixteen, after close to ten years of begging my mother for permission. A couple of weeks later, we were visiting my Aunt Sadie, and she presented me with two pairs of earrings, which had belonged to my grandmother. Why to me? To this day, I don't know. I'm not the oldest granddaughter, and two were born after my grandmother's death when I was almost three. They are named after her. But for some reason my aunt, who had never married nor had any children of her own, decided that I should get the earrings. I wasn't yet religious, but I was very involved in Jewish youth activities, being at that time a regional officer in NCSY, but I don't know how aware the family was of my status. I quickly put them on. I've worn them a lot over the decades, like in this picture.
Being pretty sure I hadn't taken the earrings off the night before, I remembered that I had once found an earring, from my other grandmother, in bed. It had somehow opened up and fallen off when I was sleeping.
Just yesterday after work, when I was finally in Shiloh, almost home, I was talking to a friend who had gotten the same ride, but she needed to go one direction and me the opposite. Then a neighbor who lives right near by stopped his car to ask if I wanted to get in a go home. I did and told him that I was glad that they have a new car, big enough for the whole family to sit safely. Those of us who have lived in Shiloh a long time are still, and will always be, traumatized by the terrible car accident of the Deutsch Family. The father, HaRav Shlomo, and half of their children were killed in a terrible accident. The entire family of eight had been squeezed into a tiny car.
So how could I obsess over an earring, even my grandmother's earring? I'm sure that she would have been the first to tell me that health is most important.
I didn't rush into my room to check to see if it was in my jewelry box or on the sheet someplace. But yes, that's where it was. Easy to spot, right there on the sheet. I guess my grandmother wanted to remind me of what's really iwhat to value.
Chag Orim Sameach
Have a Wonderful, Light-Filled, and Very Healthy Chanukah