After reflection, this is my post-Tisha B’Av message
Back in the late 1800s/early 1900s my family emigrated from Italy to New York City, the then “promised land”. A land they perceived as the place they would make their fortune and provide a better life for their offspring. They were correct in some aspects as their hard work paid off in financial terms with successful restaurants, bars and bakeries.
New York City became a melting pot for many, many cultures in a relatively short period of time. Despite separation into neighborhoods (sometimes referred to as ghettos), eventually many areas became mixed with colors and cultures – some enhancing, and others degrading, the quality and fabric of family life.
My parents, both the youngest in their families, were the first generation born in America and (along with 2 out of 4 other siblings) the first to stray from the religion and traditions of the Old (-fashioned) Country.
I don’t know what went through the minds of my grandparents during these changes because unfortunately they had all left this world by the time I was a year old. But I do suspect that if they had lived to see just how far my generation in the 70s (and my daughter’s in the 90s) strayed from their values, that they may have seriously questioned the sanity of their decision to move to the USA. Continue reading Israel: The New Melting Pot
Breakfast consisted of Nature Valley granola bars and water since the complimentary “continental” breakfast wasn’t kosher and our room didn’t have a fridge.
Michael went down to the lobby to obtain a luggage cart and assistance, but was told that the guy wasn’t on duty yet. So he dragged all 9 pieces + our carry-on’s down a little at a time and we closed up the room. The next challenge was getting it all back out to the curb (UP the ramp). Fortunately a larger van arrived to take us (and the other hotel guests) to the airport. The driver was a very strong Russian young man who lifted our heavy boxes as though they contained feathers – we were thankful and tipped him well. I felt bad for the other passengers because we just managed to squeeze everything in and they were cramped, but at least it was a short ride (less than 10 minutes).
You have to see our Luggage to appreciate this adventure! 9 – 20″ x 20″ x 20″ double wall cardboard boxes inside Balikbayan Gear Box Covers (refer to http://www.balikbayangear.com/products_cover ) + 3 laptop backpacks fully loaded + tallit/tefillin bag with Holy books + 1 insulated cooler bag full of prescriptions and over-the-counter medications + 1 wheeled laptop bag bursting at the seams with our documentation (everything from birth certificates to marriage/divorce records, medical records, etc.) Continue reading JFK DEPARTURE!
July 8, 2008
After a wonderfully relaxing weekend (well it would have been if Mom hadn’t been hospitalized for losing sight in her left eye) at Vincent & Valerie’s house in Gloversville, we drove down to Queens (5 hours/ 210 miles) where we checked into the Comfort Inn near JFK airport – NEVER stay there! It was awful. Imagine arriving with 9 huge pieces of luggage (20” x 20” x 20” boxes weighing 70 lbs each) + 6 smaller (and heavy) carry-on pieces to discover that the entrance to the hotel is below street level and you have to drag a small and cheaply made cart that will only hold 2 of the larger pieces at a time on a narrow and winding ramp (with 180 degree turns) to get into the hotel and then cross a small lobby into a tiny elevator up to the top level of the hotel because they couldn’t possibly give us a room on the first floor! I wish I had taken pictures because you couldn’t possibly imagine how terrible it was. Continue reading Heading to NYC
As I mentioned in my last post, Mom lost vision in her left eye a few hours before Shabbat ended. The emergency room “care” she received (in my opinion) was awful. One doctor after another contradicted each other and a few even lied to her. Having worked for an eye surgeon for almost 15 years, she knew that if the problem wasn’t diagnosed and treated within the first hour she would not regain her sight. She was put through all sorts of unnecessary tests and treated like a guinea pig at the big teaching hospital.
By 4:30 in the morning – 8 hours after she showed up at Nathan Littauer Hospital – the staff at Albany Medical Center were running around like chickens without heads, they had no idea what was wrong with her but they were ordering drugs and tests. Every time a test was performed, multiple “doctors” put her through it again so they could each experience what they were supposed to be seeing.
At one point I heard (in my exhausted head) Bill Cosby yelling “Hey! You! Almost a doctor!” But it wasn’t funny, it was scary and I had to aggressively protect Mom’s dignity and rights. Continue reading Mom’s Hospital Stay
Friday: We left University Heights around 7 AM and drove to Gloversville, NY (8.5 hours/439 miles). We stopped at Yisrael’s favorite NYS Thruway rest stop – Angola… he likes it because we have to cross a bridge over the highway to get to the restrooms.
Along the way we picked up some food to complete our Shabbat meal and dragged a few pieces of luggage into Vincent and Valerie’s house. Since they were camping, we spent a quiet Shabbat alone enjoying our fish and Peter Baum’s chicken wings.
Saturday: We had a quiet morning with the exception of Yisrael constantly asking when Grandma would arrive. Mom showed up an hour or so before suedat shlishit, we had a nice visit and then enjoyed a meal of broiled salmon and salads, along with Georgia Gancz’s homemade challah (thanks Georgia!)
Mom left around 8 pm because she didn’t want to drive in the dark. About 15 minutes later I heard her voice coming through Vincent’s answering machine telling us that she had lost sight in her left eye while driving home. Of course she told me not to worry (right!) because Philip was coming to take her to the ER. Continue reading Visiting Family in NY
Morning: We went to a nice park in Huntsville with the kids and then back to Sam & Kyle’s apartment to go swimming. Had a nice picnic lunch and discussed the concept of kosher foods and maintaining a kosher kitchen.
Afternoon: Drove back to Nashville, TN (2 hours/134 miles) and spent some time with Jessica at Opry Mills shopping center.
Evening: Drove back to University Heights, OH (8.5 hours/530 miles) arriving around 3 AM to sleep for a few hours.