Sunday, July 16, 2006

What would Ginrod Do? Whaa?

My day began with refreshing and for by-the-minute updates on the situation up north. After the bombing of the train station in Haifa, it was futile to try calling one of the girls from the girlfriends of fallen soldiers group. I called the head of the group instead. "We have six new girls in the last two weeks, with more for sure to come.." She sadly shared with me.

With Tel Aviv going on alert all I could think with a brain sigh is what am I going to do?

It wasn't until I got off work and walked the streets of Tel Aviv did I realize it's business as usual here in TA. The cafe's are still packed and the walkers still have their leashed dogs in hand, as we wipe the sweat of the humidity from our foreheads.

My mind was quite rattled from watching too much CNN before my Shiur. These days, I am easily stressed, with all the what if's and what the hell's. Time has passed- but my heart is very well aware of the devastation living in this country can bring.

There is an elderly gentlemen that attends the Shiur. He wears a tan golfers hat, a white shirt with tan suspenders- matching tan slacks. He carries this very childlike look to him, even at 81.. And I grin at him with admiration. We stood outside after the Shiur. He asked about my Catholic background and I needed to hear a good story. "My brother and I are the only survivors of the Holocaust of my 70 member family", he told me in his old German/Polish accent. "Do you know a man named Schindler?" he asked me, "of course... ehhh you were on Schindlers list?!" I stammered. He raised his forearm to show his tattoo. "If it wasn't for Schindler, I would have never made it".

He continued to tell me of his experience in the camps, of bribing his way out of Poland after the war into Czechoslovakia, going into Germany, and eventually making his way to New York. "I then got on a Greyhound bus all the way to California and went to Australia!!" he tells me with enthusiasm. "At that time, money was on the streets!! I did property!" He continues... "Would you believe I made millions???.. I only came to Israel because my daughter wishes to live here, I wanted to be around my family".

"That's a story, do you think it's possible to make millions here??" I lamely asked. "Ha!!! Never!!! Go back to the U.S, make your money..Then enjoy yourself here!!" he answered with his eyes bright. "How did you do it Jean?" I questioned. "when you lost your entire family, where did you find the desire to continue, to move on?". Jean looked at me as if I was insane. "survival and to move forward is the only way", fair enough- I thought, I accepted his invitation to a Sabbath dinner under the condition that he would share more stories and went on my way home.

I looked at the sky one last time and lightly wondered what the probability of a missile landing at my toes would be. All the stresses of what too much Sky News, CNN, and too much of the what if's and what the hell's brought today finally simmered themselves for the evening by simply talking to Jean the Pole, who made me realize how many amazing stories there are out there, and thousands more- and if you're gonna ask me what I am gonna do: I'll tell you one thing. I'm not going to bitch about the oil prices (yes, fellow Americans, this is a direct lash at you guys). ...But I will stay at home. Right now, Israel is my home. So I guess I'll be glued to the news, and hope for a resolution. Sooner than later, of course.



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