Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sweet Little Country, Israel

What a sweet little country I live in. I received a phone call this morning from an unlisted number and after the boker tov (good morning) greetings we exchanged, some woman launched into a very lengthy and urgent message. Since my Hebrew is..aaah...very poor...I said to her "rak rega" (just a minute or wait a minute) "ani lo me'daberit ivrit" (I don't speak Hebrew)... (well I do, but katsat - a little)

Fortunately, she spoke English and told me she was from the customs department and needed to discuss a shipment coming to me from Germany. ???? (not ME, sorry). After the usual confirming or not confirming the phone number (she did have my number) and the other formalities, she said the following silliest thing, in the typical innocence that is pure charming Israeli.

"Do you know anyone by the name of Avraham?"

I mean...this is Israel. EVERYONE knows someone by the name of Avraham!!

I started to laugh and said just that. I could hear her smiling and she said, yes, now that she thought about it, her brother was named Avraham. But she meant........

Of course she meant in conjunction with whatever this shipment was, or whatever business it seemed to be connected with...which wasn't me or mine.

But it was just sweet. In this tiny country of ours, it felt like a family conversation, and like now I was introduced to her and her brother Avraham, adding to the list of Avrahams I already know.

I also wondered if it was more than a little coincidence since I am about to go the customs department myself, to inquire about a business opportunity.......maybe it was a "sign" or a nudge from proceed.

Ya' never know here.....where nudges from heaven are just part of the air we breathe.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


(Ze'ev - the ongoing saga (previous posts) of my friendship with a man whom some would call "homeless" - and he is...but to me Ze'ev is a man with a tragic story - and a friend from whom I learn about life)

Ze'ev is gone.

The last time I wrote about him was in March. We hadn't seen each other for quite a long time then and it was a sweet reunion. We were really glad to see one another...the day was warm after a long cold winter and Ze'ev and I were both glad for the warmth. I ran to buy him cigarettes, we talked of many things that day.

It was one of the last times I saw him. One day, Ze'ev just wasn't there anymore. He no longer sat in front of the super where I saw him on Friday's, or downtown, where I saw him during the week. I no longer ran into him on the streets of Jerusalem, backpack as large as himself - a tall but solitary figure.

At times I saw the raw emotions that accompany a man of the street; sometimes he shared them. Ze'ev wasn't well physically and such a life was taking it's toll.

At first I didn't worry. Perhaps he was sick and in the hospital. Perhaps the volatile life in the shelters had left him victimized or his own anger had led him into fights and he was in jail. But too much time began to go by...he just wasn't here any longer.

I don't know where Ze'ev went. Did he move to another city? I doubt it - he thought Tel Aviv was sooo hot in the summer. (and it is). Did he go back to the country from which he came? (Probably not) Did he win the lottery?

Did he die.....?

I miss him.

But...something strange has happened. Twice now, near the super where I saw Ze'ev on Fridays, a man has walked down the street, passing me in the opposite direction. He is a tall man, healthier looking than Ze'ev, but....he looks eerily just like him. I wouldn't think much about it except that both times this man looked at me in recognition, a twinkle in his eye and a smile as if he had a secret.

Perhaps I've been in the Jerusalem sun too long....or just in Jerusalem too long, but somehow I'd like to think that Ze'ev won the lottery and he no longer needs to beg on the street, that he is living life like a normal human being.

Perhaps, if I see this man again, I'll stop and ask him if he is Ze'ev. The funny thing is, when saw him this week and I turned around to take another look..... he wasn't there.....he had disappeared....

.....just like Ze'ev.