A Heavy Heart
Sometimes it is hard to be in the moment, to push aside internal thoughts and give over to the now. That’s what Mom’s Alzheimer’s demands from me; that’s what I want to give her.
We strolled around the city’s main square, watched the expanse of blue sky, felt the hot sun on our backs, bought ice creams, and sat in the shady breeze of umbrellas. Idyllic.
When we got home, we watched the first half of The Sound of Music. Mom couldn’t remember having seen it before, and she couldn’t follow the plot. But each song was so familiar to her, she happily sang along.
As we were about to sit down to lunch (salads and tuna, cheese, sliced vegetables, olives, pickles, and rolls for sandwiches), she suddenly cried out, “Where are the children?”
No, she was not thinking about Naftali, Gilad, and Eyal, the three Israeli teenagers kidnapped by the Hamas terrorist organization and whose fate is foremost on all Israeli minds. How could she? She had heard the news—and forgotten it. Her outburst, immediately obvious to me as a reference to myself and my brother, plummeted me back into bleak thoughts that have taken over a part of me. As my good friend said, it’s been hard to breathe since we learned about the abduction.
“Where are the children?” she asked again. “They were just here. They need to eat.”
It was useless to explain that there were no children in her apartment. So I volunteered to be her child and eat lunch with her. I guess that did the trick. Reality imitating…reality.
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, the head of the yeshiva where the boys learn, has asked that we “take upon ourselves [to learn] something additional, no matter how small, especially and explicitly devoted for the sake and well-being of the missing boys.” Psalms 142 and 143 are especially relevant to the current crisis, the rabbi explained. And everyone should also pray for the safety of those working towards the rescue of the three boys.
I swear there were more kindnesses at the bus station than I’ve witnessed in a while: the young Arab man who helped the Haredi woman buy popsicles for her and her children; another young man who held up the line of passengers entering the bus to allow three older women to get on. No on shoved. No one got angry. Not even me.
As Rabbi Steinsaltz wrote, “May it be God’s will that in their merit, and for the merit of their suffering, together with our prayers and good deeds, we shall soon see our boys returned to us, God willing, safe and sound.”
Here’s a recipe that is so full of color and taste, it is bound to make you feel better.
Chicken Breasts with Plums
This elegant recipe is both juicy and tart. And it’s easy to make.
6 to 8 thin chicken steaks or fillets
4 ripe purple plums sliced, pitted and unpeeled
1 onion sliced
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/3 cup water
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Brown one side of chicken breasts in large frying pan. Turn chicken and layer onions and plum slices on top. In a small bowl, mix water, lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour over chicken. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove lid and simmer a few minutes longer. Serve.