Monday, September 27, 2010


Gemma's succah was full and overflowing with friends who came for her annual spaghetti dinner at Succot 2010. One of my demands was for her to sing a few of her childhood favorites which she grew up with.


This was Auntie Alma's first time to visit Gemma's succah even though they have been friends for some time. They met at their favorite spa in French Hill, Jerusalem. For her participation in the evening's event, she sang one of her favorite childhood songs.


David is really not that old but the song he sang is about an old man, Paddy-whack! David brought along his guitar to Gemma's succah and sang a number of songs while everyone else ate all the spaghetti. His music added a little more flavor to the evening and evidently to the food.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


The first day of Chol Hamoed Succot 5771 was a tremendous success as hundreds made their way up through the Hevron hills to Adurayim for a simcha even though it was a hot day and got hotter.
Families came in buses, loaded vans and private cars as young kids and old kids unloaded the vehicles and hurried to the activities which awaited them. The last remaining building of the abandoned IDF Army base Adurayim may be in need of a lot of cleanup & repair but all this did not deter the crowd of adults who crammed into the meeting room to hear VIP speakers: Rabbi Dov Lior of Kiryat Arba, MK Professor Aryeh Eldad, Yehuda Glick.

Young children gathered to paint a banner of the Temple Mount provided by their dedicated art teacher, Yehudit Eisenberg. Each of them really take serious their part of the painting! I drooled over the banner trying to come up with a plan to get it into my Succah, but in the end I surrendered and let it go to a much larger cause.

The older kids – well, they just went wild over the SUMA wrestling as they battled it out for the place of #1 Suma Victor. Believe me! Suma wrestling can get ‘purty ruff’! Especially, when the battle to be in first place is between brothers.
Everyone in between got plenty of exercise on the inflatable slides, climbing walls and just bouncing in mid-air. But in the end, not only the children who participated were drained of energy, but also those of us looking on. Okay, you go figure.

Balloonists, Elazar Brandt and his wife Krine, worked hard to satisfy the demand for creative & colorful balloon-wear. They kept up with the demand with a little extra help from Rene Morgulis and her daughter Chaya. By the end of the event, they had designed some 300-350 balloons. Satisfied customers proudly donned colorful hats, or waving swords!

Plenty of IDF troops kept close guard over the place full of activities. When Women in Green provide these special events, there is never had a dull moment for the soldiers who keep watch in the hills. They are never bored as the children surround them asking so many questions. The attention of bright smiling little faces or the boldness of adolescents keep them entertained

The Mussa Berlin family struck up the band and put the men into action as they mounted the children on their shoulders and began to dance to the music, ending the event in the true tradition of Simchat Succot.

By the time came to say “l’hitraot” and part company, kids were exhausted, parents were wilted having used up their energy, yet all separated with joy that renews our strength to enter Shabbat with rejoicing. A small reminder of what Am Israel will eventually be at all times! (Women for Israel’s Tomorrow website can be found at

Monday, September 6, 2010


Rosh Hashana is the Coronation of G-d as King. We accept the yoke of His kingdom, His rulership. A king can only be appointed by the people who endorse his authority. But he then becomes a ‘moshel’ (dictator) who asserts his will over the rest of the people who resist his authority, according to Rav Zev Leff. The following story is an example of the King, the Moshel.
Feivel was a well-known tailor in his community. He had a modest shop, but even the rich and famous came for Feivel’s clothes. Yet, he never made any distinction between the wealthy and the poor for he was also well-liked for his humble ways and his honesty in business.
So, when the King sought out a tailor for a very important event, his daughter’s wedding, Feivel’s fame reached all the way to the throne of the King. One of his servants told the King of how meticulous Feivel was when sewing garments which ranged from tailored suits to royal robes.
Immediately the King sent his royal carriage for Feivel. Feivel shook in his boots at the very thought of an audience with the King. But, at he stood before him, all the materials necessary for the King’s royal rode was brought to him. It was to be white embroidered with colored threads of purple and red. The lapel was to be laden with silver and gold.
In all humility Feivel promised it would be a magnificent garment, truly fit for a King.
In the days that followed, all kinds of people embarked upon the doorstep of Feivel’s shop. His demanding customers said: “:Oh Feivel! You have favor with the King. You have to enlarge your shop! Increase your prices! Hire some help and let them do the work! Then you can relax and take it easy! Do this! Do that! You have plenty of time to do the King’s garment before the wedding!”
Feivel, the humble little tailor, soon turned into a wheeling, dealing businessman. He enlarged his shop, hired others to do the work, and he sat up late at night counting his money. Humility turned into pride and arrogance, and the quality of the work suffered since the help had no experience.
The day was quickly approaching when he was to submit the royal robe to the King, so Feivel hurriedly put it together boasting to himself: “This is no problem. After all, I’ve been doing this for years! I can practically put this thing together in my sleep!”
Once again, he appeared before the King. Yet, it was apparent that he had changed. Instead of the humble Feivel, he was somewhat pompous as he presented the garment to the King.
The King’s face turned red, and he stood upright in a rage! Knowing they were suddenly confronted by a Moshel, everyone in the court fell on their faces, as he bellowed out in indignation: “This is NOT the royal robe I ordered! Do you honestly think I would wear this to my daughter’s wedding? You have even ruined the material, and haven’t embroidered the royal seal into it! The gold and silver has been sloppily set into the lapel! GUARDS! TAKE HIM AWAY!”
Feivel fell to his knees, begging and pleading that he be given another chance! He would work day and night and definitely present the King with a garment that would be the finest ever made in time for the special occasion.
The Moshel calmed down and said he would give Feivel another chance. BUT, he also promised if one little detail was wrong or out of order, off to the dungeon Feivel would go. NOT EVEN ONE LITTLE MISTAKE WOULD BE ALLOWED!
Feivel ran out of the court and down the road to his shop as fast as his short legs would carry him, his peyote and tzitzits flowing in the wind. Once inside the safety of his shop, he just sat down and wept, crying out: “How stupid I have been! Full of pride and arrogance! I had the King’s favor! Now I have the Moshel’s wrath!” After some time, he contemplated on what to do: “I love the King! I want the King’s favor! I will make him the most glorious robe a King has ever had!”
Feivel went to work straight away. Every thread was woven with a fresh humility. The seal was embroidered with the royal colors of purple and red, and each and every precious stone on the lapel was embossed with gold and silver. Soon Feivel had completed his finest garment ever. But he had not done it for his own ego; he had done each and every stitch out of love for the King.
Waiting in fear and trembling, the King’s horsemen came to escort him while he clung to the new garment. He humbly bowed before the King and laid the garment at his feet. Everyone present was silent, almost holding their breath, as they waited for several minutes while the King inspected the garment. They shook in their place pondering: “Poor, poor Feivel! What will be Feivel’s fate?”
The startling sound of the King’s voice broke the silence! “Arise Feivel!” Worriedly Feivel peeked out of his closed eyes as he arose, and was finally relieved as he saw a smile across the King’s face!
“Feivel! You have done an incredible job! It is better than what I even imagined! You are free to go! Let this be a lesson to all! You will prosper in every good work that is done in humility and love for your King and his subjects!”