יום ראשון, 20 באוקטובר 2013


I grew up to an Israeli father in the late sixties and early seventies.  Although we lived in Chicago, we came to Israel often.  My paternal grandparents and my entire father’s family still lived here.  A twenty year old Israel was very much like a twenty year old person; rough around the edges, thinks they know everything,  is still filling out and is impatient to be considered an adult.

My grandparents’ home was (still is) in the center of Tel Aviv.  Since we usually came in the summers and Tel Aviv weather at least hasn’t changed since then, most days we went to the beach.  I remember the walk, down Jabotinsky Street, which today is a major thoroughfare.  Then it was sand, surrounded by three and four story apartment buildings.  I remember the men selling artikim (popsicles) and corn on the cob  and sabras on the street.  Growing up in the States we had those little corn holders to put on the corn and butter.  Here it was into a paper bag with the steam still rising and salt. 

The sabras were peeled and juicy and red and smelled delicious.  I can’t look at one now and not remember those days.  The gorgeous men (at the time mostly straight) in Speedos  with their cigarettes  stuck into the back playing matkot, the women in mini bikinis, the smell of bain de soleil oozing from their skin, the salty air  and the kids all running around naked splashing in the water. It was a wonderful time.  Coming here was always a joy.

My father has two brothers and many cousins.  To this day I can’t keep track of who is from which side of the family and which cousin is married to who and which kids belong to which parents, even though many of them have over the years become friends and in some cases, very close friends.

The one person I never was terribly fond of was my uncle Uri, my father’s youngest brother.  My uncle was in the paratroopers, at a time when Zahal was at its pinnacle. He was the pride of the family and he represented the best of this fledgling  country. Throughout my childhood he would come to the US for business trips and always bring my male cousins memorabilia from the army, model airplanes and…boy stuff.  I was the only girl at the time.  He didn’t bring me anything.

When I finished high school and came to Israel, he and I locked horns.  He saw it as his role to continue fathering in place of my dad who was 7000 miles away.  I, needless to say, had other ideas in mind.  I thought he was a pain in the neck and rigid. He thought I was rebellious and spoiled.  It stayed that way until the early 2000’s when I came to Israel in the middle of the Intifadah and volunteered.  I think he was blown away and finally saw me.  His reality about me changed.

While he has never said anything to me directly, it isn’t our way, having the kids on my own, was another reality check.  I think he saw that I wasn’t a spoiled fluff; the daughter of the brother who went to the “goldene medina”, made yerida, had American children and had too much of everything.  I think he saw my grit, my strength and my will.  I think he appreciated that and me for surviving and for doing it here because Uri is a true Zionist and loves this country completely.

My uncle has never drank, smoked cigarettes, done drugs or put any other bad substances in his body although he had a penchant for wheat germ and alfalfa sprouts in the 70’s. He was running, eating healthy and living a clean life before most people had any idea about it here or in the US.

My uncle is dying.  It is shaking my reality to the core.  It is shaking my entire family’s reality and worst of all his own.  He has always represented the classic Israeli soldier. Up there in the picture next to Yoni Netanyahu at the Kotel, in my mind, is the picture of Uncle Uri, in all his military glory.  He hasn’t been in the military in many years but it is the reality we all remember and this new reality is unfathomable, cruel, ugly and degrading.

I only wish you comfort, ease and dignity in the coming days.

יום שבת, 14 בספטמבר 2013

Grow Up

I am getting close to a new decade.

I am at an age where I am a grown up. I should be able to say I am responsible, solvent, and together. In many ways I am.

But like most of us, the minute the going gets tough I just want my mommy…and daddy to hold me, tell me they love me,  and that it will be okay…crazy isn’t it? That at my advancing age that is what comforts me, still. While I think that this is fairly universal, I wonder if I was in a loving relationship would I feel differently.

The man I can’t seem to end things with permanently has been back.  I keep asking myself, and my friends and family keep asking me, why?  Never have I had an on again off again relationship.  With me things are pretty black and white. Why has everything  been grey?

I have thought about it, off and on for a while now.  I finally figured it out.  He is kind and doesn’t judge and amazingly accepts me as I am which is not easy to do. It turns out that I am a difficult person.  I am short tempered, impatient, and moody.  I am judgmental and tell it like it is. And he still keeps coming back, which makes me wonder about his mental stability but since this blog is all about me, well, let’s talk about me.

He is even tempered, almost always cheerful, mostly consistent and never yells.  My complete opposite. But recently I found out that he really does judge, omits the truth, yeses people to avoid saying it like it is and is possibly hiding the fact that his children don’t like me.

In most ways we are polar opposites.  He has a very hands off “management style” while I have a very hands on, almost micromanaging style.  Then again, my kids are almost four and his are approaching their 20’s. 

What makes us good parents? Is there a formula, recipe, or secret ingredient for confident, productive mentally healthy and stable children? Does the dad who never yells get better results than the mom who does?

I wonder what it is that keeps drawing us back to each other. Now that we have arrived at our fifth and final breakup ( I received email confirmation) I think that it is my apparent craving for a complete family, which even in 2013, at least to me, still means man, woman and children.

 I am so blessed to have my girls.  As my cousin Sarit always points out I got them at the 12th hour.  Maybe I am simply a product of my generation that is never completely satisfied with what I have.  I have friends with one child who are desperately trying for a second and I got two in one shot.

However, I have never ever believed  that my kids were a husband/boyfriend replacement.  The minute your kids are delivered they are already on their way out….of your house. They are not meant to stay.

A partner, on the other hand, is. If you’ve read my recent posts, then you know my ex is a widower with three children. Teen children. I never really spent much time thinking about them beyond being “his kids”. My girlfriend who is the product of a “broken home” tells me I should’ve done more to befriend them  When I reflect back I realized that I did what I could but it was regularly stonewalled by their dad…er ..My Man. He lives in two separate worlds. It was either he and them or he and I let myself believe, me.  Rarely did the two meet. When I mentioned it he got defensive or yesed me .  I didn’t really think through the blood vs. water argument enough in this case.  In the last two months, when I think the ups and downs of this relationship were made and broken I realized so many things. He is NEVER going to put me first…or second…or even third.

Spending shabatot together, on his turf, I saw little things.  Mostly that I wasn’t much more than air. The conversations rarely included me. His kids were polite as in hello, please, thank you and good bye. Not much more than that.  He never once saw or took my side.  I moved to his turf for the summer based on a promise the turned into a false premise. One minute I was Carol to his Mike Brady and the next we were Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. 

So I’m back to where I’ve been and still have trouble accepting:

 Do you shut it down before it starts because you’ve read the signs and you’re in your fourth decade and have been there done that? OR do you try; give it a chance, and hope against hope…. And then get your heart broken.. Again.  

For what? Believing? Believing him? Should I believe in “Love can prevail?” even though love does NOT make a relationship work? Should I ignore the wisdoms of life lessons? Hasn’t all that therapy paid off yet?

Here I am back at ground zero.

I feel like an idiot. I don’t feel like “I took a chance and oh well it didn’t work out”. How can I bounce back AGAIN and try? Isn’t there a point where you just say to yourself “I’m not good at this”?


Wishing you a shana tova, with love, laughter, beauty, health and to enjoy it with the loves in your life.

יום שלישי, 4 ביוני 2013

singlehood to motherhood: Let My People Go

singlehood to motherhood: Let My People Go: Let My People Go My whole life I have lived in big cities.   I’m one of those people who knows about three kinds of animals: dogs, ...

Let My People Go

Let My People Go

My whole life I have lived in big cities.  I’m one of those people who knows about three kinds of animals: dogs, cats and pigeons. I used to say I like to see nature while driving by at 100 kph.

Today I’m a little older and possibly a little slower, but I enjoy nature slightly more and I generally do "stop and smell the flowers" mostly because the two little people I live with want to smell, touch, look, enjoy, and ask "ma ze?(what is this) about 500 times in a 30 second span. I appreciate and marvel at their curiosity and therefore enjoy it more.

As you probably know by now, I live in Tel Aviv which in terms of cities is similar to Manhattan. Until now I’ve said that Tel Aviv is Manhattan but more Zionistic.  It pains me greatly to say I no longer believe this to be the case.

Tel Aviv has always been the most modern and diverse of Israeli cities.  That is what makes it wonderful. However, there are two sides to everything and in the last few months I have realized that these things might make my continued residence here untenable. If I was alone, some of these factors would never have even made an appearance on my radar but I am no longer a sole operator and my kids' upbringing and education is of utmost importance to me. 

How do I want to raise my kids? What values do I want to instill in them?  For me, the most important thing is a Jewish education.  For diaspora Jews who care about these things, either a Jewish day school or an afterschool/Sunday school program fulfills these needs. So too, Jewish summer camps.  But here, in Israel, as ironic to those of you residing outside of Herzl’s dream land, this in NOT a given. While I love Tel Aviv for its diversity it is also what bothers me the most about it. Shouldn’t it be a given that living in a Jewish state, which based on the number of non- Jewish moms in my mommy groups is no longer a given either, they would automatically receive this? Sadly, heartbreakingly, no.  While my rather militant view of intermarriage has lessened to a certain degree, shouldn’t this still be predominantly a Jewish state? With Jewish values?  I was in the university yesterday and I saw a sign for a discussion on the place of the Rabbinate in Israel...SERIOUSLY???!!! Where else is there a place for the rabbinate if NOT in Israel?
Haven’t we fought, struggled, died for, been tortured, murdered and discriminated against enough that at least in one place in the world throughout there is room for us and our beliefs?

So it got me thinking. How do I want to raise my kids? In what type of environment do I want them to live? I myself am a study in contradiction. As a single person, I can live with my inner struggles which most of the time were cool, to my former way of thinking, but now I see that it may not have been to my advantage.  I certainly do not dress like an observant person and my family structure is certainly one that would, at the very least, raise eyebrows in certain segments of the community. It is clear to me that a part of our population would view me as not observant because of that. But I don’t want my girls to live on the fence the way I have. I want them to be on a team. It is something that I didn’t have and it isn’t easy to ride the fence. I struggle and I am stuck.

So as much as I love the diversity, freedom and openness I dislike the lack of Zionism and Judaism. It has become just like Manhattan.  On the other hand, I want to be in a homogenous community even less, although  I wonder if that isn’t best for my kids. 

The bottom line is it is up to me to instill the values, the beliefs and the love of Torah, Judaism and Eretz Yisrael so I am staying here, in Tel Aviv, the White City on the Sea. I hope I am doing the right thing.  Just another thing to worry and lose sleep over.

יום רביעי, 16 בינואר 2013

singlehood to motherhood: I Know

singlehood to motherhood: I Know: andbabymakes2.co.il I just broke up with the man I had been seeing for the last six months.   Like most of the break ups I have had, ...

I Know


I just broke up with the man I had been seeing for the last six months.  Like most of the break ups I have had, I will tell you that I don’t know why, but of course, I have speculated about the reasons.  For the most part, the men are, insert your own “diagnosis” here…unavailable, commitment- phobes, workaholics, just not that into me etc.  Can you relate?
Most women I know will tell you variations on the same saga: at the beginning they were angels, caring, loving, attentive, SO into them.  At some point, most of us will say, it changed.  One day they were darlings and the next they disappeared.  Most of us will also tell you that it usually corresponded to the woman asking for, expecting, suggesting, gently nudging or even demanding….dare I speak of it out loud…MORE. And then he was gone.


I finally met someone who I thought was different;   A widow, with no annoying ex -wife lurking, a single dad, committed, and hardworking. Someone who pursued me relentlessly for three months and put up with my kids, my schedule, and my not so pleasant late afternoon demeanor.

The minute I suggested more…out the door he went without even a goodbye. I mean REALLY? SERIOUSLY? At 50 years old?  Isn’t there a statute of limitations for bad adolescent immature behavior? Did 20 + years of marriage teach him nothing? THIS is how he communicates?

If I stay in this zone, then I can say it is good that it ended. Who needs that? I deserve more and better.   It’s not like I haven’t ever been in a failed relationship before, clearly I have, and we all have. It is sad, disappointing, self-diminishing (at least for me) and a blow to the ego. But I have never had a relationship with children, and without a doubt it’s more complicated….. Interrupted phone calls, babysitter snafus, unsatisfied sex due to little people barge ins… this is all new to me. But I am basically an optimist and shockingly for those who know me, a romantic.  I do believe in fairy tales.  I had a fairy book romance with my ex-husband.  Obviously, we didn’t live happily ever after, but for me, that doesn’t mean that the fairy tale was less real or special or romantic or heartfelt.

This man is the first I have been completely at ease with and entirely myself and I really believed he wasn’t one of “those”.

 In order to move on, we evolved therapized women know we need to find the “good” in order to “get closure”.  This break up is new so I’m still sorting through its demise.  But here is what I do know: when a man isn’t willing to sacrifice for you and the relationship then you shouldn’t either.  If he woos you to get you he should want to woo you to keep you.  If he says he loves you but isn’t around enough to show you that he does then how much does he really love you?  If everything comes before you then how much does he really want you?  If you ask him what he wants after six months of being together and he says he doesn’t know and offers no solution or compromise then he doesn’t want you enough.

And then you talk to your mom and your girlfriends and maybe even your shrink and they give you the platitudes…oh how I love the platitudes…
The timing just wasn’t right, he just isn’t capable, he is passive aggressive, but bottom line, if a guy is into you he will likely go to the ends of the earth, or at least the end of the block, for you. These are my core beliefs on the subject and I am not willing to compromise for an “I don’t know”. 

But… I’m lonely and bored and sexually, well, ..y’know… and I miss having a companion, friend and lover.

So here is my question, can you let go of your own “what I know” for his “I don’t know” because you get SOME of what you want? Is that enough? For me? For my kids? I DON’T KNOW.

So even though I have considered picking up the phone to call, at the end of the day I’m not sure what to say. Or even if I figure it out, how long will it last? Because very soon after the reunion, assuming there is one, won’t the same things that bothered me before still bother me? Won’t I still be annoyed when he tells me yet again that he can’t make it here for my birthday, a good friend’s party, a shabat?  Doesn’t he need to know before we can proceed to…well, anywhere?

If someone tells you I don’t know and they still don’t know when you finally talk then what is left?
So I don’t call. I write this blog, or I catch up on my latest tv show episodes or talk on the phone. I wonder though…What are you thinking? Do you miss me? Why haven’t you called? Are you really so scared? Or are you just not that into me?