Every year, my family spends a few days touring Yerushalayim while staying in the timeshare apartment in the center of the city that I and my brother inherited from my parents of blessed memory. We decided that this year we would take it easy and not run around too much. We would just “chill.” Well, chilling was not such an option in the boiling weather, and we ended up running around quite a bit. I’ll just share with you a few highlights.

My cousin Adina* was one of those girls you would say had it all. She was sweet, smart, considerate, kind, pretty, and capable. With so much going for her, everyone assumed she would be snatched up and married right away.  But Hashem had other plans. One by one, Adina’s younger siblings began to marry and were blessed with children.  The same was true for her cousins.  Adina danced with genuine happiness at simchah after simchah but wondered when her turn would come.  As the years went by, Adina’s grandmother - my aunt - began to worry for her welfare. The nachas she felt as each of her grandchildren left their nests to move on and build their own families was accompanied by the gnawing concern she felt regarding Adina.  Family members kept Adina in mind, always searching for her elusive match, but with no success.  Nobody would ever verbalize it, but people began to wonder if she would ever marry.

I don’t know what I was thinking, but I messed up. Big time. When I was choosing a career, I debated between social work, music therapy, and occupational therapy.  I wanted to work in one of the helping professions because I, ya know, wanted to help people.  I’m not trying to show off or anything. I’m just that type.  But there were so many fields I didn’t consider; some weren’t even on my radar screen.  But now it’s clear to me that I sold myself short.  I realize I should have set my sights way higher.  I should have aimed to become the President of the United States.  Yes, that’s right, the President of the good old U.S. of A. President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel last week made me realize just how badly I missed my calling.

The only words I can use to describe my neighbor Chavie Gross* is “chesed dynamo.” Besides immediately responding to every call for help, Chavie’s mind is like a radar screen, always on alert, sniffing out the needs of others and initiating acts to meet those needs through anything from making encouraging phone calls to singlehandedly organizing full-blown s’machot. Chesed is Chavie’s hobby, as she genuinely enjoys helping people. She does not expect to receive anything in return for her efforts. But years ago, Chavie took on a particular chesed in an intense way when she herself was in need. The direct connection between Chavie’s actions and the miracle she experienced was crystal clear.

In celebration of our recent anniversary, my husband and I spent a week in Norway. Norway has been in the news of late - not for the best of reasons - but I decided to put all of that out of my mind and just enjoy the trip. Since there is no direct flight from Israel to Norway, we flew through Krakow, Poland. On our flight to Krakow, there was a group of women heading to kivrei tzadikim and a group of approximately fifteen shochtim (ritual slaughterers) heading to Poland in order to do shechitah for meat imported by Israeli companies. I was not uncomfortable with the fact that our fellow passengers were traveling in order to fulfill their lofty goals, while the goal of our trip was to have fun. Okay, I did feel a bit funny. But we are very strict in our lofty goal of seeing Hashem’s beautiful world, which we did.

Dating in Israel is a far cry from the way things were back in my dating days of which I have such fond memories. (If you believe that, have I got a bridge to sell to you.) Most notably, as a girl, my dates always picked me up at home, with the exception of the unusually considerate guy who met me in Manhattan and sent me home by train all by myself at midnight. I can’t say I felt unsafe, though. I believe that the smoke that was emanating from my ears during the entire ride encouraged most people to keep their distance from me. If you (the unusually considerate guy) happen to be reading this article, you should just know that I participate in a weekly musar class and I’m currently hard at work trying to improve my midah of forgiveness. I haven’t reached the point of forgiving you just yet, but I’m getting very close.