Greetings from the plane! OK, well I have not exactly been in Israel for long, but Barbara has and so we have to blog about it. You know that the world is very different now than even 5-10 years ago. We have better internet, the magic (literally) of communication between people over VOIP, SKYPE, FACETIME, Chat, etc. So, what happens when your Skype character magically appears in your house? That is what happened this week when Barbara arrived in Israel and was able to pick up Elisha from day care. All those months talking to a screen, and here is the real thing? Must be confusing, at least to a 2 year-old! However, both Barbara and Elisha are taking full advantage of the opportunity to co-exist in real time, rather than Face-time! This means picking him up from day care, the exclusive privilege of pushing him around in the cart at the grocery store, having snack and supper together, and going to the beach. Not to mention quality time with Gila and even with Ariel, when he could extricate himself from the law office. They even had a chance to enjoy some of Tel Aviv’s fine cuisine at lunch on Thursday.
Of course the trip has its other purposes, other than enjoying family time (although that would be quite sufficient, thank you!). It started with a rehab conference (Rehab Science and Technology Update) in Rishon LeTziyon at which Barbara and several of her students and colleagues will be presenting. The opportunity was so tempting we booked the flights on Sukkot even before the conference presentations were finalized! This has led to feverish preparation for the presentations over the last little while. The conference takes place Monday-Wednesday and we will spend those days in Tel Aviv. In addition, I had to justify my existence, so I will actually be working as well. With a few McGill colleagues, I have teamed up to write a grant for a new Canada-Israel joint venture, so I will be visiting scientists in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to build this scientific project. I will also be working on a potential program linking the Montreal Children’s Hospital and Israeli Universities in the training of physicians and young scientists. So, the week ahead promises to be an extremely busy and hopefully a very productive one!
Of course, we are coming to Israel at a time that has been exceedingly difficult. I posted in October about the death of a young Rabbi and his wife, murdered on the road to their home. Rav Henkin was a beloved teacher to many, including Gila. The reign of terror since then has unfortunately not abated, with many killed or wounded by stabbing attacks by Palestinians. This week we have to be both saddened and relieved by a horrible event at Damascus Gate into the Old City. This is not the main gate that tourists take, but nonetheless it is sobering to think that a group of terrorists armed with guns and knives tried to enter the hallowed Old City of Jerusalem. If not for the quick work of the police, this could have been a disaster; as it was one 19 year-old Israeli soldier was killed. What is exceedingly maddening is the Western Press’ reaction. The first headlines (from CBS) read “Three Palestinians Killed by Israeli Police” as if they were innocent bystanders. Although this headline was adjusted somewhat, it is shameful to think that a liberal Western Culture that prides itself in fairness cannot distinguish between acts of terror and self-defense when Israeli Jews are involved. Had the three terrorists carried out their mission, they could have killed dozens of Jews and tourists from all over the world. Perhaps that would have engendered some sympathy and made a better story, but only if you have a vulture mentality. Khaled Abu Tomeh, a Palestinian journalist who writes for Gatestone Institute, talked about the culture of laziness among most (not all) Western journalists. They have a set story, and they don’t let the facts get in the way of the narrative. He concludes that journalism is not about who is right and who is wrong, but about the truth. Check out www.gatestoneinstitute.org; it’s required reading!
By the time you read this, I will have landed, made my way to Netanya by train, and gotten fully in the swing of preparing for Shabbat. We will be 5 (as far as I know) with Ariel, Gila and Elisha having moved in on Thursday night. We look forward to a Shabbat that is peaceful and allows us to build bridges between people, not destroy them.
Wishing you the most amazing Shabbat and a wonderful weekend!
Happy Birthday to Monty!
Happy Birthday to Roanne!
Happy Birthday to Jacob!
We wish a Refuah Shlema to Zysle Bat Bella and Noam Shmuel Chaim ben Yehudit