Week 3 – 4 NY physician volunteers for December at Hadassah hospital

Sat eve December 23, 2023 week 3 summary

I worked harder than usual this past week at Hadassah Ein Kerem doing colonoscopies. My Monday 40- minute lecture went well, and I am giving another lecture (again in English) on Monday. I had dinner Monday evening with my med school classmate, and in another “it’s a small world” event they know Hannah Vago’s half-sister. The half-sister story is amazing, but too long to put on this missive. Ask Shari for the story. Thursday I had dinner with לי-עם, the student that Shari and I are sponsoring for her university studies at Technion. I met her boyfriend. לי-עם has to perform 130 hours of community service as part of her scholarship obligations, and in the past 2 months she worked 85 hours, mostly in agricultural fields. Very hard labor. She also runs a clearing house for the innumerable small fundraising projects in Israel, meaning she check their validity and she has already found several fundraising projects that were fraudulent.

Jerusalem is very peaceful, and despite the proximity of Gaza, Judea/Samaria/West bank and the Lebanese border, while I sit in my sister Mira’s beautiful apartment here I can shut myself out from all the horrible news. (Un)fortunately I have no TV here. I am beginning to think this is a blessing.
On Friday I had 2-hour stroll with friend and retired tour guide Eitan Shomron. We walked a new national park near Hadassah hospital.

עין סטף Eitan is now is now about 75 years old. He describes the war and its consequences “a million grains of sand.” He says that everyone in Israel is moving a few grains of sand. He tried to pick fruit and after 3 hours he got exhausted and had to quit. Then he tried to pack boxes but they were too heavy. He found his ideal grains of sand to move: he walks the dogs of families whose fathers are in the reserves, and the mother with young kids has no time to walk the dogs. The mothers are very, very grateful to him

For Shabbat I transitioned from a secular Shabbat last week to a religious Zionist community on Har Nof, also near the hospital. I spent the entire Shabbat there with my friend his wife and at some meals his beyond count grandchildren. The rabbi of the shul was called into Gaza for 3 + months as a tank commander. I was honored with an Aliyah to recognize my volunteer service. (During the month I have learned to adjust my kippah to the event of the day, and I go from no Kippah to knitted Kippah to black Kippah, depending on the circumstances.)

As I said in my previous weeks’ summary, there is nothing I have learned that you can’t learn by reading or listening to the news anywhere. All the people with whom I interacted with over the past few days are incredulous with the degree of antisemitism and self-hating Jews in America. Every time I try to explain the progressive left in the US, my listeners here get angrier and angrier, and I have to remind them that I am not defending the progressive left but I am merely explaining why they hate us so much. After going through this exercise a few times, I changed by brief dissertation to merely say that they are ignorant antisemites and we will never be able to change their minds. Tel Aviv seems to be the center of the demonstrations in support of the hostages, and unfortunately, I will have no time to visit there. I am reading about the pleas for the hostage families to arrange a ceasefire to free the hostages, while the families of the soldiers killed in action do not want any cease fire, as they do not want their children/husbands/fathers to have been killed in vain.

Years ago when antisemitism in France was at a peak, we all spoke about our disbelief that all the French Jews did not make Aliyah. Now that the antisemites are flooding streets of America, I talk to myself and say that I have the same feelings about American Jews. I am proud that my entire family is able to converse in Hebrew in case we are forced to go, and I am strongly considering buying a place here so that our current and future generations would have a place to go. How long I will have this feeling when I return at the end of the coming week is another story.

I am appreciating not working on Fridays, as I can accomplish everything I have to do on Friday before Shabbat starts, and on Shabbat I don’t have to think about all the things that need to be done. However, I still can’t get used to working on Sundays. I will not be working this Thursday so I can do a shopping day. I am taking orders.

Love to all

Originally published in Times of Israel