My friends think I’m obsessed with the Holocaust. My husband claims that I can’t have breakfast without talking about it. They are all exaggerating of course, but the truth is not far away: the Holocaust is a crucial part of my identity as a person and as a Jew. I am the grandchild of four survivors. My father was born in the summer of 1942 in a tiny town in the northwest corner of the Ukraine. You can imagine it didn’t go well from there.
Tonight marks the beginning of Yom Hashoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day. Here is a piece written by Yael Ribner several years ago for ChallahCrumbs. The message is relevant today.
It is clear to most who know me that my personality lends itself to the Type A variety. So it is no surprise that I approached a family trip to Disneyland in the most serious of ways. I read books, visited websites, learned the value of mapping out each day (down to the bathroom breaks). If we were going to Disney, we were going to win Disney. At least that was the plan.
Afikomen is sort of the loot bag at the end of a Very Long party. Having lasted through the Seder, it seems to be the least we can do to offer up a gift in exchange for that mischievous piece of disappearing matza, the Afikomen. But it’s the gift, itself, that stumps me every year.
I am a juggler by nature. I multi-task all the time. I juggle the roles of wife, mother, daughter, daughter-in-law, sister, sister-in-law, friend with varying degrees of success. I always feel busy. There is always a load of laundry that I could be doing, some dishes I could be washing, a dinner I could think about cooking. There is always a phone call I haven’t returned, a deadline I’d love to meet, a book I’d like to read.
A wonderful way to look back at your year with your family.
My eight year old went to sleep away camp for two weeks this summer. He was crazy young and I felt moderately insane as I watched him board the bus, but even in that moment, I knew it would be the best decision for him. And it was. But here’s the thing. He didn’t tell me one thing about it. Not one letter, post card, quick note. I heard nothing. For two weeks (14 days which is roughly 336 hours) I had to rely on the camp’s website to fill me in.
As Shavuot heads our way, I’ve been thinking about Moshe in the desert. It took him 40 years to travel an estimated 1400 miles to bring the Jews out of Egypt and lead them to the land of Israel. And while I’ve spent my fair share of time in Jewish Day School and understand the reverence we are supposed to have for our Jewish heroes and leaders, I truly believe I could have taught Moses a thing or two about traveling with family.