A Jewish baby girl is named in synagogue during the reading of the Torah. Thus, when Ariel and arrived in synagogue for services on Friday night, I told the gabbis (people in charge of organizing key things in the services) that our son and daughter in law had just had a baby. After a hearty round of Mazel Tov’s, they said that they would give Ariel an Aliyah (he would be called to the Torah the next day) which led Ariel to thank them and say he would like to name the baby. Now, we are members of a very lovely synagogue near our home, the Young Israel of North Netanya. Please don’t get fooled by the name; the majority of the congregation are retired Anglos; the majority are British, with a few Irish, Americans and Canadians tossed into the mix. Very nice people, but young is not the operative word. In fact, they probably had not had a new baby born in a while. However, they were very happy to accommodate this request and on Shabbat morning, the world was introduced to Ora Tehilla, which means Light and Hope. I can’t do justice to the explanation Ariel and Gila provided, but suffice it to say that in many ways the name is self-explanatory. Ora has had a good week, with the hospital being a very quiet place due to Shabbat and the Passover holiday. It was sort of like being in the hospital on Christmas or New Years’ week; everything in Israel is slowed down, labs are only doing essential tests, physicians are taking time off. Elisha has met his baby sister and was very excited. As I write this discharge planning is underway and everyone should be home early next week.
Shabbat was really nice, with our synagogue community joining in our celebration. We visited the baby in the afternoon and Elisha came to visit as well, before going to a local park. In many ways, that was the routine for much of the week; parents going to visit, hold and feed Ora, and Elisha being with Savti and Sabi and going to parks, play areas and in general getting a lot of attention. Frozen yogurt for dinner, anyone?
Saturday night, Elan and Nomi and their kids moved in with us in Netanya prior to the last day of Pesach. So, we went from a house of 5 to a house of 10. Thanks to neighbors who furnished a couple of extra mattresses, we had ample room for all!. Of course for Elisa it was a super treat to have his cousins Shoshana, Shlomo and Nadav to play with. Sunday the two three year olds drove tricycles from our apartment to the city center, which is almost a km away! The two older kids roller-bladed there. It was a work-out, especially for the adults who carried a bike or two home! We prepared for the conclusion of Passover with Elan and Bruce organizing the cooking while Barbara and Nomi chased the biker-kids and roller-bladers. Somehow, dinner did get done, and everyone enjoyed Sunday night and Monday’s fare. Nadav and Elisha especially like being together; at one point they played in the playground together for over an hour without either of them checking to see if the supervising adults were around! They explored the tunnels on the playground climbing structure, chased each other around on the slides and laughed and giggled a lot!
They don’t show you this on CNN: Like most Israeli hospital, the medical staff are Jewish and Arab Muslim and Christian. They are many Arab villages around Netanya, and it has a great reputation in obstetrics, and so it is a hub for patients from all over the region, of all backgrounds and cultures. Everyone works together, and everyone is treated like a person; which is of course the way things should be.
One of the best visuals was when I was visiting Ora, one of the neonatal nurses, a Muslim girl wearing a hijab, walked to the nurses station munching on an enormous piece of hand made matzah slathered in what looked like chocolate spread. Talk about cross cultural relations! Of course, an introduction to Jewish cuisine that starts at Matzah usually does not end so well, but she looked happy.
By Wednesday early AM, Bruce was on a plane back to Montreal, and Barbara was going to stay to help settle baby Ora into her new home. She and Gila got the rooms ready and everyone is now anticipating her discharge for continued health and happiness!
Our best wishes for a peaceful Shabbat!
Barbara and Bruce
Refuah Shlema to Zysl bat Bella
Refuah Shlema to Ora Tehilla bat Gila Freda
Refuah Shlema to Noam Chaim Shmuel ben Judith
We wish Elan a very happy birthday!
We wish Joshua Samuel a very happy birthday!