Sunday, April 2, 2017

Today is April 2nd...... And it is MY Special Day!


Today, April 2nd I am doing very much the same thing I was doing on April 2nd 2015, cleaning for Pesach. 

Little did I know that when I woke up that morning the adventure I was about to go on. The Hebrew date for my story was the day before Erev Pesach.

Many of you know my story:
-I had bronchitis
-Revisited the doctor for a second time because I could barely breathe or hold my head up.  
-The doctor did an EKG, didn't like the results and said he was calling for an ambulance.
-I argued that it was Erev Pesach and I didn't have time.  He said no choice.
-In the ambulance I had a heart attack
-The driver flew
-Arrived at the hospital in 20 minutes instead of normally 35 minutes
-The emergency staff was marvelous
-The ICU cardiologist came to see me
-10 minutes later I was moved to the ICU
-Next thing I knew I was in the cauterization room signing away in case of surgery if the stent didnt work
-Baruch Hashem it worked!

Back in the ICU, the cardiologist came to see me again. He said I want you to know, you had a miracle today...your heart attack was so serious, I wasnt sure you were going to make it. Today is April 2nd...your new birthday date.

And so, for the past 2 years, April 2nd has become my unofficial birthday.

During the past two years I have received many blessing and I am very grateful to Hashem for all He has granted me.

-My cardiologist has told me that my heart is now working nicely.

-I am capable of doing anything I want.

-I have joined an over 60 club at our Moetza Sdot Negev. I tried to do yoga.  I didn’t realize how uncoordinated I am, but continued to attend the sessions for 8 weeks.  Finally, I had to admit I can’t bend myself in umpteen positions.

-I also joined a mosaic craft class and I’m loving it. Using my imagination and creating gives me a lot of satisfaction.  I posted a blog about my experiences on The Blogging Safta Reflections of Life...Happiness, Sadness..CHANGE! 

But the best blessing I received was last year with the birth of my precious great-granddaughter Oriya.  It is hard to believe in a couple of months she will be a year old.

At the bottom of ‘compose’ on my e-mails is a saying that I really like. I don’t know who the author is but I believe in the words.

Life is not the way it's supposed to be [Everything good]. It's the way it is! No two lives are the same. The way we cope with our life is what makes the difference.

Hashem maps out a life for us. Accepting His path, the good and the bad, gives us the strength to live our life to the fullest.

That’s all for now. Feel free to comment.
Pesach Sameach to you and yours


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Anti Semitism is Alive and Flourishing....


This morning, on the Israel National News [Arutz 7] site, there was this headline..............

No Jews' posted in Toronto condo building. Anti-Semitic notes found on doors of several units at condo. article

Reading the article, memories of September 1993, a week or so before Rosh Hashana, when my family faced an anti Semitic act. 

We were living in Hamilton Ontario, a city about 45 minutes from Toronto. It was 7:30 A.M. when I told my twelve year old son to go and wait for me at the car to go to school. I worked in the same school that he attended.

Eli-Chaim opened the door, and screamed “Mommy”! The mat outside the apartment was soaked with smelly rotten eggs. On the front door, the apartment walls and on the exit door to the stairs were large swastikas.

My husband called the police, the Super in our building and we took pictures.

I can’t start to post how scared my son was. The Hamilton police were wonderful and very understanding. They took a report, spoke with my son to calm him and asked if they could have the pictures when I developed them.

The building manager, took his own pictures, and told us he would have everything cleaned up, which he did. 

Two days before Yom Kippur, we had another attack. This one was more serious. Along with swastikas everywhere, on the front door with black spray paint we had a death threat.. DIE JEW! Once again, we called the police, and the building manager. We sort of suspected it was the Super’s son, who was a neo nazis. 

The police questioned him, and the building manager installed a hidden camera facing our door, hoping to be able to catch whoever was doing this.

We told the police, that Yom Kippur was 2 days away and I was scared we would have trouble again. 

The police agreed with me and said they would give us protection. A patrol car passed our apartment building every half hour and checked our front door.

Unfortunately, the hidden camera didn’t catch the person doing this. I think after the police questioned the Super’s son, he got the message, because we had no more trouble.

I don’t believe in coincidences, I believe that everything happens for a reason. 

Our two older daughters and 3 grandchildren lived in Israel. My husband and I talked about making aliyah for years, but we could never find the right time. We always had an excuse.

The anti Semitic attack made us ask ourselves, why are we living in Canada, when the majority of our family lives in Israel. Eli-Chaim only wanted to celebrate his bar-mitzvah at the Kotel.

After Succot, I called the Aliyah office in Toronto and made an appointment.  

We met with a shaliach who told us he was leaving at the end of the month and that the new shaliach would arrive in December. He gave us the forms to fill out, but asked if would wait until the new shaliach arrived to hand them in. 

There were many complaints about making aliyah with the Jewish Agency, but our experience was terrific. The new shaliach, a Navy Commander, went out of his way to help us and made sure everything went smoothly.

Five months later, May 31, 1994 we came home. 

That’s all for now. Feel free to comment and share.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Special Pair of Booties..


My mother a’’H was a knitter.  As children, my Bubby a’’H taught all her daughters to knit. Many of the items they made, they sold for parnassa. 

From a very young age, I can remember my mother always had knitting needles and yarn in her basket. Whenever she was sitting, she was knitting. 

Give her a pattern, and one, two, three the item was finished. And if she wasn’t knitting, she was sewing. My mom was so proud of her Singer sewing machine that was a piece of furniture. It was the latest 1950 model. 

As a young girl, I took ballet lessons, and my mom made me gorgeous costumes. 

Growing up in Montreal, where the winters are very cold, my mother would knit for my brother and I. She made us hats with designs and matching scarves and mittens. We had so many sweaters. My brother had vests with collars and pockets. Every now and then, she would knit for herself. 

When neighbours gave birth in she always knitted a hat with 'pussycat' ears and booties for the newborn . My mom once knitted me a skirt with two different tops. On the skirt she sewed poodle appliques. I loved that skirt. 

My mother did teach me to knit but I never really got the bug.  I started many, many scarves but didn’t finish any. As a teenager, I once asked my mom to knit a sweater for me that I saw in a magazine.  She told me to knit it myself and she would help me.  Long story short my mom finished the sweater and that was the end of me knitting. 

Times were changing and my mom sort of lost her taste for knitting. My brother and I were getting older, and hand knitting was going out of style.  

Once she stopped, I didn’t see my mom pick up knitting needles until my daughters were born. It is amazing what grandchildren can do. A couple of years later, my brother got married and there were more grandchildren.  My mom was back to knitting sweaters, booties and hats.

My daughter Naomi, sent me a picture of her granddaughter Oriya, my great granddaughter, and my mom’s great-great-granddaughter, wearing booties that she made for her great granddaughter Bat-el [the baby’s mother] 24 years ago. 

What a thrill I had to see this picture! Naomi told me she also has a sweater and hat that my mother made. 

My mom passed away in 1999. I can only imagine how pleased she would be to know her great-great granddaughter is wearing booties that she made for her mother.

That’s all for now.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Reflections of Life...Happiness, Sadness..CHANGE!


On November 14th, I posted a blog called Reinventing Me! In my blog, I wrote that for the past year and a half, I have been going through a merry-go-round of emotions, but mostly I have felt sad because of family illnesses and the loss of my dear sister-in-law in August.

I know being sad is not healthy for me....I needed change but how?

I enjoy blogging. I don’t blog often, but when I do, I feel satisfied that I said my two cents. My blog is my journal. 

As I mentioned in my blog Reinventing Me!, the first thing I changed was the name of the blog from Miriam’s Words to ‘The Blogging Safta’. The link is still Miriam’s Words. 

Next, I took a good look in the mirror. I wanted to see me! Life is full of ups and downs. There are things I’m proud of and situations I should and could have done differently and things today that I absolutely need to change. 

I have been blessed...believe me, when I was a young bride of 19, I didn’t think that I would have 3 terrific kids, 2 super sons-in-laws, 13 wonderful sabra grandchildren and a very precious great-granddaughter. Next June, G-d willing, my husband and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. Unbelievable!  

I had wanted to make aliyah forever. When I was a teenager, I remember telling my mother a”H, “one day I’m going to live in Israel.”  Because of my kids, my dream was fulfilled 22 ½ years ago.

Second change I needed was to get out of the house more often and try new experiences. Other than walking Patches, which I don’t do very often, [that’s my husband’s job] shopping in Netivot, appointments, and now my chugim, I’m home.

I believe everything happens for a reason. Before the Chagim, our Moetza, Sdot Negev, sent out a brochure of chugim they were offering for children and adults.

Usually, I flip through it and then file the brochure in the round basket but this time I put the brochure in the magazine rack. My husband must have asked me 10 times, why am I keeping the brochure. I told him I don’t know but keep it.

I have wanted to take yoga for some time, but couldn’t find an only women’s group in Netivot. The moetza was offering a yoga chug for women.

After speaking to the coordinator of the 60 plus groups, she convinced me to join two chugim on Sunday morning from 8:15a.m. until noon. Actually there is a third chug after the mosaic that she wanted me to join, but I said no because my language skills are not good enough and that frustrates me.

And so on Sunday mornings at 8:15 you can find me at my yoga chug...after 7 sessions of an hour of stretching, I am still finding muscles I didn’t know I had.

Fifteen minutes later, my mosaic chug starts. Here we create pictures using different mediums either by following a pattern or just our imagination and drawing freehand.  Our group is made up of 11 women and 1 man who is the husband of one of the women.

We are 4 English speakers and we usually sit together chatting as we work. I must admit that I am enjoying the activity very much.

Outside of our art room, the Moetza set up a refreshment table for us to enjoy that is constantly being refilled with crackers, a veggie platter, hummus, cheese, cake, tea and coffee.

Our first project was making a hanging picture on a piece of plywood. I decided to make a sunflower. Most used a pattern to trace a picture. I drew free hand.

Using different colours of ceramics including mirror tile, my sunflower took on a life of its own. Each colour represented an emotion. I used a strip of mirror in each petal of my sunflower because it took a good look in the mirror for me to see what I needed to change.

I named my finished picture Reflections of life..happiness, sadness and CHANGE!

We are now creating a stained glass abstract picture on a window pane and working with see through coloured glass tiles. This is much harder and slower than working on plywood. I have never used glass glue. You need very little as it is thin and runs.

Knowing that on Sunday morning I’m out of the house and having a nice time is something I now look forward too. I’m on my way to reinventing me!

That’s all for now. Feel free to comment
Chag Chanukah Sameach!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Grateful for all my Blessings!

November 14th was World Diabetes Day.  In an article about diabetes in Hamodia, it was reported that in Israel there are about 500,000 diabetics, according to a private health advocacy group and the Israel Diabetes Council headed by Professor Itamar Raz.

I am one of the 500,000 diabetic Israelis. My diagnosis 10 years ago, turned out to be a blessing. I remember that Sunday morning as if it was yesterday.

Today, my diabetes is in total control and I have been medicine free for years. After my serious heart attack last year, my doctor told me that one of the reasons I survived the heart attack without any further complications was because my diabetes is in control .. Diabetes is a leading cause of heart disease.

When I was first diagnosed I was in shock. I shouldn't have really been so surprised because my late father and my brother both were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes years earlier.

But since I never showed any symptoms, I thought that this particular gene didn’t pass on to me. Boy was I wrong!

That Sunday morning started off pretty routine. Among the many other things I had to do, my first stop was to the health clinic to do a routine blood test to check my cholesterol. I got the results the next day.

Although my cholesterol was high, the doctor was much more concerned and very shocked to see how high my blood glucose was. “Must be a mistake,” he said to me. And with that he sent me to the nurse’s office to recheck my blood sugar with her glucose monitor.  My blood glucose 410. Anything over 126 spells trouble.

Suddenly, my world came crashing down when the doctor said, “You have diabetes.” He called the diabetic counselor to come to his office and told me she will be my best friend.

Dalia was wonderful. She gave me the ins and outs, gave me a glucose monitor and taught me how to use it. She arranged for me to see the dietitian and the diabetic doctor. Dalia told me, she would always be available to answer questions and gave me her e-mail address.

Truthfully, when I went home, I couldn't remember one word she said.

After moping around the house for 3 days feeling very sorry myself, I had a deep chat with Hashem, and told Him that since He added something else to my plate, He was going to have to help me go to war with my diabetes and win. He did! I saw Hashem’s Hand everywhere.

From the first day, He made sure everything fell into place. The diabetic counselor was in her office the day I was diagnosed [she only worked two days a week], the dietician had an opening for the next day. The diabetic doctor who only comes twice a month was going to be in his office a week later and he had one appointment time opened.

I parked myself in front of the computer and started my research. I had so many questions. What exactly is diabetes? How did I get it? Is it really hereditary? Is it a virus? Do I have to stay away from sugar forever? Do I have to give up all my favorite foods? Am I going to have to stab myself for the rest of my life? So many questions that now require answers.

The Israeli, British, American & Canadian Diabetic Associations were my first stops. So much information was available. I printed out information that I really wanted to remember and made myself a handbook. 

In Hebrew, diabetes is called sukeret. The Israel Diabetes Association
 web site is in Hebrew but can be translated properly into English .The general information page is loaded with good information. 

The association has a symbol on foods that are safe for diabetics to eat. Over the years, this symbol is appearing on more and more food products.

Truthfully, I‘m not lacking any foods. I’m just careful about what I eat and how much.  If you Google recipes for diabetics, hundreds of recipes are available.

As opposed to many other serious illnesses, diabetes can be controlled. Proper nutrition, [my dietician helped me lose a lot of weight and I have kept it off], close and individualized follow-ups, physical activity and an appropriate drug regimen [when necessary] can prevent complications and offer people with diabetes a good quality of life.

In other words follow your doctor's instructions, do research, the internet is full of information, just be careful to take your information from reliable sites. There are loads of ‘quacks’ out there who want to sell you everything from A to Z and promise if you take their medicine or buy their product you will be cured of diabetes.

Just remember, if the advertisement or information sounds too good to be true...take it with a grain of salt.

Some hospitals have support groups for diabetics. Talking is a great way to learn and to deal with your diagnosis. Keep a journal or write a blog. You will see your progress first hand.

I am a very spiritual person and I believe that everything happens for a reason. And the reason for me being diagnosed with diabetes was to give me a wakeup call [a good kick] to get healthy, so that I can be around for my husband, children, grandchildren, and great granddaughter.

I am very grateful for all my blessings.

That’s all for now..Feel free to share and comment.


Monday, November 14, 2016

Reinventing Me!

I can’t believe that I’m finally sitting at the computer to blog. It has been ages since I last posted. With so much on my plate, I couldn’t find the words to make a sentence.

The title of this blog is ‘Reinventing Me’! Why and how do I plan to reinvent me you ask?

November 8th 2008, I started a blog called Miriam’s Words. Now 8 years later I changed the name of my blog to 
The Blogging Safta.

Twenty months ago I had a serious heart attack and my doctor told me that April 2nd is now my new birth date even though I was born in November and today I am celebrating my 70th birthday. Last Monday was the secular date.

During the past twenty months, I have gone through many emotional changes...some good, some not so good.... It is the not so good that needs reinventing...

Twenty months ago, Hashem blessed me with health and life...and I am so grateful.

During the past twenty months I became a great-grandmother to a precious little girl named Oriya. 

My husband is healthy ad120. Our grandchildren are all healthy. Our daughters and sons-in-law and our son are very special. 

Last June, my husband and I celebrated our 49th wedding anniversary.

And of course, how could I not mention Patches, my very loyal four legged friend who is always by my side. 

But during the past twenty months I have been sad.

My brother, may he have a complete recovery ad120 is very sick. 

My dear sister-in-law Esther a”H fought a very brave battle with cancer and passed away 3 months ago. There are times I just want to pick up the phone and have a chit chat with Esther. We spoke every day.

Shortly after she passed away, I was going through my ‘missed messages’ on my cell phone looking for a phone number when I found a ‘missed message’ from Esther dated 3 days before she passed away...

Life is precious. Every minute counts.

When I wake up each morning and say ‘Modeh Ani’ the words have a deeper meaning for me. Make this day count!

Our moetza, Sdot Negev has an ‘Over 60’ program. Only after my sister-in-law passed away did I understand that the gift Hashem gave to me, life and good health means I need to look after me.

I joined a yoga class and I’m feeling muscles I didn’t know I had.

I am also going a mosaic chug [group] and learning the basics. I now know how to use a glass cutter and ceramic glass shaper. Since I like to play and I’m not afraid to get glue on my hands, I’m creating my first mosaic project. 

I designed a simple sunflower on a piece of plywood. The colours and shapes of ceramics that I cut is the way I want to see life, bright yellow, with a little bit of red and some brown. The stem has soft shades of green and the leaves are deep green.

When it is finished I’ll post a picture of my creation on my Facebook timeline.

My two cents..No matter how busy your day is..make a little time for you. 

That all for now. Feel free to comment.
Until next time

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Never Forgotten...

This Shabbat, I have yartzeit for my dad, Louis David Small [Eliezer David Ha Kohen] a”H, who left us and this world on September 9, 1980 / 28th Elul 5740.

My dad was a wonderful man. As a young man, he served his country Canada in the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa, and was deployed to the raging war in Europe two days after he and my Mother a”H were married. Baruch Hashem, three years later he came home. I recently found his discharge papers dated January 1946.

My dad was a great husband, a super father and a loving grandfather. He was kind. He was good natured and he really cared about the next person. He would give you the shirt off his back, if that was what you needed. Our family was the most important part of his life.

When he passed away, because it was Erev Rosh Hashana, we only sat shiva for 1 hour. During that hour and for days and weeks after, the stories we heard about my dad were so up lifting but not surprising. People we didn’t know but who read the death notice in the newspaper contacted us to say how my dad helped them so much.  

When my brother and I were children, he was always there for us. No matter the situation. He would do anything for his children.

My dad would speak softly, but directly to us, never down to us. When I had a problem we would go for a walk or a drive in the country and talk all the way. He made every problem seem not so bad. 

As a teenager, my dad and I washed the supper dishes every evening. He taught me how organize the kitchen and work clean. The few minutes it took too clean-up was my best part of the day. He always asked me how was my day?

My dad would help me with my homework. One time, when I was ten years old, I had a geography project in school. I had to make a scrapbook about each province in Canada and say what it was known for. Now I had weeks to get this project done, but I procrastinated and before I knew it the project was due, and I had information only on one province. 

The night before the due date, I couldn’t sleep because I was so worried about the trouble I was in. At 10:00 in the evening, I finally told my parents my problem. My father was really upset with me, but gently he told me he would try and help me out and that I should go to sleep. 

A few minutes later he was out of the house and drove to the train station. Since we lived in Montreal, the Canadian National Railways had a very large station underneath the Queen Elizabeth Hotel that was opened all the time. My father was able to get great information on every province. 

Five o’clock in the morning, he woke me up and said to me “here is your information, now get to work.” I worked like I never worked in my life. By 8:30 when I had to go to school, my project was more than half finished. I told my teacher that I would bring my project after lunch.

In those days, we came home for lunch. I finished the project while munching on a sandwich.  I couldn’t believe it. My project was completed.  I thanked my father million times for getting the information for me and I promised that I would never procrastinate again.

To this very day, many years later, I never procrastinate. 

Daddy, even though 36 years have passed, I remember our lasts days together as if it was just today. It was Moetzi Shabbos, the night of Selichot. For some reason, I couldn’t calm down. I just felt the need to cook for Rosh Hashana and I cooked up a storm until it was time to go to Selichot. When we came home, I went back to the kitchen to continue cooking. 

Eight o’clock Sunday morning Mommy called and said that you had a heart attack and that I should come to Montreal. [We were living in Hamilton, Ontario] I told her I would get the next flight out. I then understood what I was feeling.

By Sunday afternoon I was at your bedside. Yitzchak arrived from Detroit a couple of hours later. We spent as much time as the hospital would allow visiting and talking with the doctors.

Tuesday morning, you said that you wanted to speak to me alone. You told me to go home to my family. When I protested and said that my family was in good hands you told me not to argue and said I could come back after Rosh Hashana. You then requested to speak to Yitzchak and told him to go home. Yom Tov was the follow evening. What I didn’t realize at the time was that you were saying good-bye.  

With a very heavy heart, we returned to our respective homes. I to Hamilton and Yitzchak to Detroit.

From Montreal to Hamilton the flight was a little over an hour. I arrived in Hamilton in time to go and pick up the girls from school. As we entered the hall of our apartment building, I could hear my telephone ringing. It was Mommy, saying that you had just passed away. Two hours later, Yitzchak and I were on our way back to Montreal. 

Daddy, there is so much more I want to tell you....
I can hardly believe thirty-six years have passed, since you were taken from us. You and Mommy started as two and today you have 12 grandchildren, 59 sabra great-grandchildren, and your first sabra great-great granddaughter was born 3 months ago. Can you believe I’m a great-grandmother?

We miss your presence in our daily lives, to share in our joy and to comfort when we need a good cry.

We know you are watching over us from your resting place and smiling down at us, happy we all live in Eretz Yisrael.

Daddy, you and mommy have grandsons and great-grandsons that have served, will serve or are now serving in the IDF and granddaughters and a great-granddaughter that have also served our country. 

Seventeen years ago Mommy left us, to join you in paradise. We miss you both so very much..

The younger generation lost out on not knowing two special people. How they would have loved to bounce and sit and play with you.

Daddy, now it is time to end my letter with one more line to say
we love and miss you everyday NEVER FORGOTTEN in any way.

That all for now. 

I would like to wish everyone... 
Shana Tova U'metukah, Ktiva v'Chatima Tova
May it be written and may it be sealed that you have a new year that brings fulfillment, joy, prosperity, and good health .


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Israel, The Land of my Heart and Home!

Hamilton Ontario, Canada

May 29, 1994, 7:30 a.m., we were anxiously waiting for our friend to pick us up and drive us to the airport in Toronto. 

Five months after our first appointment at the aliyah office in Toronto, we were making Aliyah!!

We made aliyah through the Jewish Agency, long before Nefesh B’Nefesh came on the scene. Many people complained how difficult it was to work with the Jewish Agency, but the truth is, we didn’t have a minute’s problem. We found them very helpful. 

In those days, EL AL allowed each person making aliyah, three suitcases or boxes plus one carry on. We were three and we each had a carry on and 9 large boxes. One box had a microwave, another bedding.

When our friend arrived and saw what we were taking with us, the blood drained from his face. “Okay” he said, “let’s solve this puzzle and get everything and everyone in the car”. 

After several tries, success! We piled into the car and we were starting the first leg of our journey home. 

When I now think about all the boxes on the sidewalk, waiting to be put into the car, and the look on our friends face, all I can say is what was I thinking! We knew he just had a regular size car. 

At the airport, we were treated royally. The EL AL staff members were wonderful. They treated us like first class passengers. The porter labeled our boxes aliyah and said he would get them to the airplane. 

An EL AL clerk brought us to a private elevator to get to the boarding gate. Our papers were checked and we were the first on the airplane.

Truthfully, I was in awe. We had talked about making aliyah for years. Every year there was another excuse. Were we really making aliyah? Our two daughters who had been in Israel for years, our son-in-laws and three grandchildren were waiting for us to come home.

The time passed quickly and before we knew it the pilot was announcing our arrival at Ben Gurion in half an hour.

The stewardess asked us to remain on the plane and she would take us to the luggage area to collect our boxes and then to the passport control, so we wouldn’t have to wait.

Ben Gurion Airport, Lod, May 30, 6:00 a.m.

We had joined Tehilla, an aliyah group, and a representative was supposed to meet us and take us to get our Teudat Oleh. She was a no show. Somehow, we found our way, and made it to the klita office. 

The clerk was so impatient, although she was holding our Canadian passports, she typed that my son was born in Hamilton, Soviet Union and Avraham and myself, Montreal, Soviet Union. When we showed her the mistake, she wouldn’t correct it and told us that we had to go to the Interior Ministry in Jerusalem and they would correct it.

The Arrival Gate 7:00a.m. 

Finished with the paperwork, we waited for our children to pick us up. Needless to say, we were tired but very excited.  

After many hugs and kisses and Avraham got to meet our youngest grandson, 3 month old Michael, today an IDF soldier, Naomi said, “show me your Teudat Oleh, I can’t believe that you really made aliyah.” I couldn’t believe it either. We had come home!

One of our sons-in-law had a pick-up truck and so it was easy to put all our boxes in the truck. 

Our first home: Kibbutz Rosh Tzurim, Gush Etzion, where we lived for 6 years.

Our children were fantastic. They cleaned and painted the house and found second hand furniture for us to use until our lift arrived. Our 3 year old grandson Yoni, drew a beautiful picture and posted it on the front door. On the bottom of the picture it said ‘welcome home’!

We moved from very large hi rise-apartment in Hamilton to a small and cozy 55 meter house. At first, we tripped over each other until we each found our space. We lived 3 minutes from Naomi, Eliezer and our grandchildren. What a special treat to be able to visit them everyday. 

Devorah and Hagai lived in the South, a hour and half away. We spent our first Shabbat, on the Kibbutz with our children and grandchildren.  What a special blessing.

Naomi helped us at the Interior Ministry to get our paperwork corrected. What an experience. That’s a blog in itself for another time. 

Life was good.

I remember our first grocery store shopping trip. It was a nightmare. I didn’t know what I was buying.  

After a month, Avraham found full time work at the Kibbutz factory. He had to learn a new trade in Hebrew. He couldn’t speak Hebrew but fortunately, there was an American working in the factory and he helped with translations. Since Avraham is good with his hands, he learned the procedure quickly.

I worked in the preschool in Hamilton, and liked being with children. I found a part time job working with the babies in the Kibbutz daycare.  

Eli-Chaim was 12 years old, and we registered him in the local elementary mamad [religious] school. They had a program for olim [immigrate] children to learn Hebrew. In three months, my son was speaking like a native Israeli. Unbelievable. 

When we knew we were making aliyah for sure, I asked his Hebrew language teacher in Hamilton, to tutor him after school. It cost us a fortune, and he learned zip.

Several months after we had our feet on the ground, Avraham and I attended a morning ulpan [to learn Hebrew] in Jerusalem. We were fortunate that the kibbutz allowed us to keep our jobs and just work afternoons.

Three months after we made aliyah, we celebrated Eli-Chaim’s bar mitzvah at the Kotel. This was his dream.

Kibbutz life was interesting. Nothing that us city folk had ever experienced.  One morning, when my son woke up, there was a cow looking at him through the window. Seems, the barn was left open and the cows escaped. 

When Eli-Chaim was 6 years old, he asked my husband if he could get a dog. Avraham told him that we weren’t allowed dogs in the apartment but if we ever moved to a farm he would get him a dog.  How little did he know his words would come back to bite him.

A neighbour had a pregnant dog and Eli-Chaim asked her if he could have a puppy. She told him that he should ask one of his parents to come and see her and say it was okay.

That evening, when Avraham came home from work, Eli-Chaim said to him, “do you remember when I wanted a dog and you said if we ever move to a farm, you would get me one. Well the kibbutz is a big farm and I know where I can get a puppy.” Staying true to his word, Avraham went and said okay and a couple of months later little Rocky, a gentle, black long haired mutt became part of our family for 15 years until he died.

Six years later: We moved to Modi’in. 

Life was different in Modi’in. We rented a very nice new apartment but because the area was so new, the shopping centers they have today were just farm land. Modi’in was known as the city of the future and had gorgeous parks and green spaces. 

Avraham kept his job on the kibbutz and commuted everyday and I worked at an after school center teaching English. When it closed, I started tutoring at home teaching English as a second language and ran an enrichment program for native speakers. ‘English with Miriam’ was born.

We lived in Modi’in for 4 years.

Going South: first to Netivot. We were five minutes from Devorah and Hagai and more grandchildren.

Netivot is a wonderful place to raise a family. The city and residents are hamish [warm]. We enjoyed the seven years we lived there. We had all that we needed at our fingertips.

Five years ago we moved to Yishuv Ma’agalim where Devorah and Hagai and 7 of our grandchildren live.

Once again we are experiencing a different way of life. We are Ashkenazi. This yishuv is Sephardic made up of mostly Tunisians and Moroccans, The main shul [synagogue] is B’nei Akiva Sephardic and the small shul is Moroccan. Over the years we have learned about the different traditional customs.

Once again, the residents were very accepting of us and a little curious of my husband's Ashkenazi English / Hebrew siddur. 

There are 400 families and most people seem to know we are Devorah’s parents. Even people who live in the next moshav, will stop and give us a ride and ask me “how’s Devorah?”

Jews from all over the world make aliyah. Coming from Canada like we do or the United States, living in Israel is unique. Over the twenty-two years we have lived though many IDF operations and wars. 

There was the second intifada, when the suicide arabs bombers were blowing up buses, restaurants, anything that maimed and killed Israelis in the name of allah. My son was in Jerusalem when there was a terror attack at Ben Yehuda and suffered from shock.  

There was the second Lebanese war. The residents of the North were bombarded with missiles.

We live in the south, 9 km. from Gaza. We are Canadians, what do we know about war? Well, we have learned the different sounds war makes.The sounds of drones, tank fire, helicopters, jets, gun fire, wailing of the in-coming missile siren and rockets exploding. 

We have experienced 4 wars and IDF operations since we moved to the South. When the siren wails, we have 15 seconds to seek safety. We have had Grad missiles fired at our yishuv. Some exploding not far from where we lived.  

Rockets have exploded on the road where my grandchildren’s school bus travels to take them to school. I have seen my grandchildren being afraid to go to the park across the street from their house, because of rockets. Some of my grandchildren learn in bomb proof classrooms. Our youngest grandson was born during a rocket attack. His first sound in this world was the siren ringing and rockets exploding.

During the past 22 years we had much nachas and simchat in your lives. When we made aliyah we had 3 grandchildren. We have seen 10 more Sabra grandchildren born. We have celebrated bar and bat mitzvahs. We have watched our little grandchildren become young adults, attending and graduating from yeshiva and ulpana. Three of our grandsons have served or are serving now in the IDF. Another grandson is learning in Hesdar. Our oldest granddaughter served in Sherut Leumi [national service]. We had the honour of watching her get married and now we await for our first great-grandchild. 

Israel, is the land of my heart and home. We have been truly blessed.

That’s all for now.

Feel free to comment and share.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

So Much Pain Because the Dog Ran Out of His Yard...

We dog owners love our four legged furry pets. And as pet owners we know we have a responsibility to our pets:
-medical care
-healthy food
-safe environment
-walking with a leash

We also have a responsibility to our neighbors and neighborhood:
-cleaning up after our dog
-not allowing our dog to run free
-not allowing our dog to jump and bite.

So why am I posting this blog? Most dog owners know their responsibility and are very responsible.

Last week, early in the morning, I went to take our Jack A Bee dog Patches for her morning walk. Patches always walks with a leash.

We were 5 steps from our house when a neighbor’s Belgian Shepherd ran from his yard and dashed down the street directly to us at full speed.

I started to scream, Patches pulled and jumped. The shepherd flew at her, banging into me. I lost my balance, fell down on the street and the dog pinned Patches flat on the street.

Patches did not have a chance to defend herself. Patches weighs around 20 kilos, the shepherd was double her size.

Fortunately, because we were outside my house, my husband heard me screaming and came running. Patches wears a harness and the Shepherd was holding onto the harness so tight that my husband could not pull her paws off the harness to release Patches.

Finally the dog’s owner came to help.  It took the two men to release the dog’s paws and free Patches.

He took his dog home, and Avraham and a neighbor who came out to see why I was screaming, helped me stand up. 

My heart was beating so fast. Truthfully, I don’t remember how I walked the few steps into my house.

Avraham went to examine Patches and my son led me to a chair. When I couldn’t sit down easily, I knew I was in trouble.

Our Injuries:

Patches:  Avraham examined her from head to toe and found no scratches or bites.

Me:  I wasn’t so fortunate. My knees were swollen and one knee was bleeding profusely. [It didn’t stop bleeding until the hospital treated it] My legs were also swollen and very bruised. Four knuckles on one hand had been scraped on the pavement and were painful to move.

When I tried to stand up, I couldn’t put any weight on my legs. I thought they were broken.  But my biggest concern was my heart.

While sitting on the chair, I had a hard time breathing and became very dizzy. 

Many of you know, I had a major heart attack last April and although I’m doing well, I’m still recovering.

My husband called a taxi and we went to Clalit [medical center]. [My son told me that Patches sat in the window and cried all the time I was gone]

The nurse saw me immediately. And after checking my blood pressure she called the doctor.

He ordered an electrocardiogram, and when he read the results, he said there were some changes that he didn’t like and told the nurse to call an ambulance for the hospital.

MDA [the paramedics] were wonderful. They hooked me up just in case I had a heart attack in the ambulance. They were ready for any emergency.

Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva is a very busy hospital. Their emergency room is always packed.

When I arrived at the emergency, I was attended to immediately. Since I didn’t have any chest pains, they sent me to the orthopedic section first.

Within 5 minutes, a nurse came, took my vitals and said the doctor would be in shortly. Two minutes later, 2 doctors came to see me. 

They examined my legs, and sent me for x-rays. The results were broken bones.

In the meantime, the cardiologist was examining my EKG and reviewing my chart from the heart attack.  He said, my heart was okay, and that the changes that my doctor saw were the result of fear and anxiety.  

The nurse dressed my bleeding knee and wrapped an elastic bandage around my very swollen right leg and I was discharged.

All I wanted was my bed. Patchy, my loyal friend, parked herself beside me and didn’t move.

8 days later:

I was still in extreme pain with difficulties to walk, sit down or stand up. I decided to go to the doctor just to make sure the pain I was feeling was normal pain.

It wasn’t…My doctor was horrified that I couldn’t stand up unaided and had to ‘jimmy’ myself up. He called the nurse to see if there was an orthopedic doctor in the building, fortunately there was and he called him. The doctor told my doctor to send me for x-rays and then I should come and see him.

The orthopedic doctor was wonderful. When he asked me what happened and I told him about the dog..his comment shocked me.  “Not again!”  Asking him what he meant, he told me that I would be shocked how many people are injured from dogs jumping on them.

He examined my legs very well and said that I have massive swelling which is the cause of the pain. He told me he was checking for fractures, and even though there weren’t any when the hospital checked.  He said sometimes, not often, they see fractures 48 hours later. Thank-G-D no fractures.  And then told me my pain can last up to month and I may need physiotherapy.

All this pain because a dog was able to get out of his yard.

But with all my pain I am also very thankful. The dog did not bite either of us. My heart is strong, no broken bones, and my husband was close by and was able to help me immediately.

That’s all for now
Feel free to comment and share.

For your information:
-We notified all proper authorities. If you are attacked by a dog, you must make a police report.
-The dog had been vaccinated.
-The dog owners called to see how I was feeling.

From the SPCA Israel:
Rabies Vaccinations: an obligatory vaccine for all dogs when they are 3 months old, against the rabies disease which is contagious also to humans. The vaccination is given once a year. With the first rabies vaccine it is obligatory to inject an electronic chip into the dog, which is done only once in the dog's life. 

The Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for veterinary services in Israel. They told me that it is against the law for dogs to be unleashed on public streets and land. 

Violent breeds must be muzzled when outside. 

There are heavy fines for:
-an unleashed dog 
-no registration and electronic chip 
-not giving the rabies vaccine 

Let the Animals Live told me that their legal department said fines varies from municipality to municipality running between from 250 nis to 750 nis and a dog that isn’t vaccinated can be impounded.

If you have a dog that you can’t care for anymore, please do not abandon it. Bring your pet to a shelter. Israel has several. SPCA, Let the Animals Live, Rescue Me! Each has a web site.

The ministry posted this article about a court case against a man who cruelly abandoned his dog.

This was the penalty for abandonment imposed by the court. The maximum penalty in the law for the offense of animal abandonment is a year’s imprisonment or a fine of NIS 76,500.

If you have any questions about pet regulations and laws in your area, contact the moetza [regional council ].