I had all of these thoughts about what I was going to write about. Before I begin, I just want to introduce the word “compartmentalize.” This is how I, personally, survive every day. Everyone has things in their lives that are good or bad or whatever emotion they are, but in order to survive, you have to put the bad or sad stuff away in a compartment and focus on the good stuff or even just the mundane day-to-day stuff. You can always come back to the bad compartments later. Which, if you are a human being, tends to happen.
My dear friend, who is an amazing speaker/therapist/life coach, was to speak over the holiday. She has a daughter in Israel. Because, when you think about it, we all have a daughter or a son or a cousin or a friend in Israel. She was telling me how, even before she spoke, she was trying to figure out how she could do it, without letting the harsh, sharp, painful reality of what was going on in Israel not affect her and her speaking engagement.
My immediate response was that people needed her and her humor and insight even more now. Because here, in America, we still have the luxury of compartmentalizing, both physically and psychologically. Thank God, we don’t have to run to shelters with our babies every few minutes. We can turn those thoughts off and go take down our sukkahs or restock our refrigerators. But, of course, we are human. And we still have those daughters or sons or cousins or friends in a land where the unthinkable has just happened.
The goal of my column has always been to elicit at least one chuckle or smile. How am I doing this today, with my Danish and her parents running back and forth to a bomb shelter; with all the atrocities that we have been learning about over the past few days. Even by the time you read this, only God knows what will be going on. What the death toll is. Life really just is out of our control. Always.
On a much, much, much lighter note, I have been bursting to share wonderful news with all of you. I went to an Uncle Moishey concert. Yes, you read that correctly. I went to an Uncle Moishey concert. I had the honor and privilege to take Son and Dil #1, Strudel, and Strudel’s new baby sister, who is still not a pastry. We hopped in our van and made our way to scenic Passaic to take in the Grammy-worthy sounds of UM. (That makes him seem so much cooler, right?) About 18 years ago, I took my pre-Oreos to a UM concert and developed my first ocular migraine, so even though I was taking my favorite Strudel, I was kind of apprehensive about the whole experience.
But, i’ve got to tell you, the man was delightful, and Strudel had a blast, especially when the life-size cow came out for her appearance in the “Kosher Song.” What made me the happiest was that I was the only female wearing pants and not covering my hair. Sitting in between my son and daughter-in-law, I was joking with them that anyone who would look at us would think, “Wow, is that so special that that baal teshuvah couple is taking their mom our for some infusion of yiddishkeit.” Nebach…
The show advertised that there would be free refreshments after the show. I don’t need to tell you what that line looked like, because I am sure you can conjure up the scenario of hundreds of Jews waiting to get free cotton candy for their already hyper children, Ahh, good times.
And did I tell you about the cost of these tickets? 5 dollars for regular folks and 3 dollars if you are learning in a kollel or have a big family. Son #1 was wondering what constituted a big family. 6? 7? 12? What happens if you are from, hypothetically, Paramus, and a big family is only 3? How is that determined exactly? The questions are endless.
But that is compartmentalizing. The concert was before the heartbreaking, earth-shattering news. But after the news, Husband #1 and I took Strudel to the zoo. While our Danish cannot leave her apartment. So we put Danish and her parents in a compartment and focused on Strudel saying “Porcupine” and riding the train. And when we got home, we called Danish and her parents to check in. And it keeps going around and around.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is wishing safety and peace to all of you who have loved ones who are protecting our Land of Israel. Hashem Yishmor.