Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Big Boy, A Scouser & Fathers

Keren's arrival in our lives has quite obviously changed a few things. The one thing that slipped my mind was brought to my attention by my sister, who visited Israel with her fiancee this past week. When I commented on what a big boy Nissim is, she wisely said, "He only seems big now because you're comparing him to Keren. Remember, he's still a little boy." My lil sis made an important point - I may subconsciously be looking at Nissim as a 'big boy,' but in fact he's still that same happy and curious 2.5 year old he was before Keren was born.


Before the start of 7th day of Chag (Passover), I ran to the nearby 24-7 supermarket to buy some ingredients so that Talya could make albóndigas (meat balls). While waiting on line, an old man looked at my Liverpool shirt and asked, "What's your connection to Liverpool?" "I've been a fan since I was a little boy," I answered, "And you?" "I'm from there," he answered proudly. Jokingly, I ensured that he wasn't from the 'blue half' of Merseyside before wishing him a Chag Sameach. Despite a reputation for the opposite, Jerusalem really is quite diverse ...

As there's not enough time to write about a mishna from each chapter of Pirkei Avot (which Sephardim & Mizrachim start reading this upcoming weekend) this year, I'll just link to the blogs I wrote during the cycles of 2008 and 2010:

Chapter 1: 2008, 2010
Chapter 2: 2008, 2010
Chapter 3: 2008, 2010
Chapter 4: 2008, 2010
Chapter 5: 2008, 2010
Chapter 6: 2008, 2010

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gaza's Humanitarian Crisis

Won't make much difference, but at least the truth does make noise sometimes:

In an interview published on the IDF's Spokesman's Office website, Mathilde Redmatn, deputy director of the Red Cross in the Gaza Strip, said that there "is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza," adding: "If you go to the supermarket, there are products. There are restaurants and a nice beach."

Rather, according to Redmatn, the issue in Gaza was "mainly in maintenance of infrastructure and in access to goods, concrete for example."

Referring to Israel's blockade on the Strip, Redmatn said that while "Israel has the legitimate right to protect the civilian population, this right should be balanced with the right of 1.5 million people living in the Gaza Strip."

"Despite the easing of the closure and the partial lifting of export bans in the wake of the flotilla incident, continued restrictions on the movement of people and difficulties in importing building materials hampered sustainable economic recovery and dashed any hope of leading a normal and dignified life," the Red Cross official was quoted as saying.

"Our goal is not to negotiate peace, but to ensure the well-being of the civilian population," Redmatn told the IDF website.

"We understand and recognize Israel's right to security but it needs to maintain the balance between that and the right of Palestinians living in Gaza to [earn] a living and to [access] proper medical care. Of course this is also the responsibility of Hamas to its citizens and therefore we also have relations with them."

Redmatn also reiterated her condemnation of rockets fired from Gaza into Israel, saying that "rocket-fire from the Gaza Strip is against international law because it is directed at civilians," adding that the Red Cross conducts a "confidential or bilateral dialogue with Hamas on the matter. As time passes, the dialogue also develops."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

All in the Name, Part II

During my daughter's Zeved Ha'Bat today, the lil one finally got her name ... Keren* Sonia** Piha.

* Talya and I both really liked the name. The translation of Keren is 'ray of light,' which we felt symbolized the extra brightness she's added to our lives since her birth last week.

** We decided to honor my late Granny, Sonia Levitt, who passed away in 1996 after a long bout with cancer. She always radiated positive energy and came off as a happy, good person. She had an extremely positive effect on my life and I'm extremely honored to have our first daughter carry her name. She was definitely a 'ray of light' in the lives of those who had the privilege of knowing her.

Shavoah Tov & Happy Passover ... שבוע טוב וחג פסח שמח וכשר

Monday, April 11, 2011

Thoughts & Pics

Talya started having contractions on Tuesday. Despite growing intensity, they weren't close enough to warrant a return visit to the hospital after the first two visits. By Thursday night however, the contractions were strong enough to get us to the hospital. This time, unlike the previous two times, they took us in. This was it, we're going to have another child. We were excited.


The time in the hospital was surreal - to see Talya dealing with such pain was humbling. I know couples are in this 'together' and that the wife heavily relies on the verbal support of her husband, but let's be honest - this is the woman by herself. Tals was incredible - and to see her holding her child after so many hours of pain and struggle was a moment I'll always cherish.


When the doctor handed over the little princess, she immediately told us, "You best say Ha'Gomel tomorrow." I ignored it at first as a woman is supposed to say Ha'Gomel after every pregnancy. Then she showed me the umbilical cord and I understood. It was knotted - it was a miracle that this complication didn't cause any problems. Pregnancy is an amazing process, but one 'little' glitch and there's often times serious complications. Toda la'el that that one 'glitch' had no effect on our process.


Nissim's first interactions with his sister were precious. He was mesmerized by her at first.

As we changed her, his amazement turned to concern as he asked her, "Mah kara?" ("What happened?").

To try and calm her down, he tried helping his mother push the pacifier into his sister's mouth.

He succeeded and the siblings are happy! So far at least! :)

No name yet. We're still working on it. I guess that will have to wait till the next blog ...

Friday, April 08, 2011

The New Arrival, Part II

Talya and I are very happy to announce the arrival of our second child, a baby girl born this morning at 10:15am at Hadassah Ein Kerem. She weighed in at 3.2 kilos and kept her mom busy the past 48 hours!

The name, many thoughts (probably) and more pictures to follow ... stay tuned.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

בדידתו של המצורע

כל ימי אשר הנגע בו יטמא טמא הוא בדד ישב מחוץ למחנה מושבו (תזריע יג,מו).

בפסוק זה יש לכאורה כפילות, ראוי היה יותר טוב להכתב "טמא הוא - בדד ישב", אם כן המשך הכתוב "מחוץ למחנה מושבו" - למה לי?

ויש לבאר, שידוע הוא שהנגעים באים בעוון לשון הרע, ולכן המצורע לוקה מידה כנגד מידה: הוא שגורם פירוד בין איש לאשתו ובין אדם לחברו - יהיה עתה פרוד ומנותק מאשתו וידידיו.

לאור זאת מובן היטב יותר לשון הפסוק, התורה באה להדגיש לנו שהמצורע נענש במידה כנגד מידה, הוא גרם פירוד בין אדם לחבירו, לכאן כאת "מחוץ למחנה מושבו" - הרחק ממקום הישוב של חביריו. ואל יחשוב אותו אדם אשר בו הנגע, שיכול הוא להזמין את אשתו להיות עמו מחוץ למחנה להפיג את בדידותו; עליו לשבת "בדד" - לגמרי, שהרי בזמן שדיבר לשון הרע הפריד גם בין בעל לאשתו, לכן עליו לחוש את הטעם של בעל הנאלץ להפרד מאשתו, ובכך ימנע מלדבר שוב לשון הרע. ולכן כותבת התורה את שני התנאים האמורים: "בדד ישב" - בלא אשתו, "מחוץ למחנה מושבו" - בלא ידידו

This is taken from פניני הבן איש חי