Conversations with my Rabbi / Lori Mendel
#3 APRIL 1 2020
From time to time I ride my bike for a little spin from home in Cluster 10, down to the Aqueduct, out to the Old City, past the Amphitheater, up to Neot Golf, and then come home. At the Old City I sometimes stop at the synagogue from Roman times that has now been made accessible. It is a lovely spot to enjoy the sea, the remnants of a civilization, and of course, to meditate a bit.
Reading the information on the sign about how the Jews were here 2000 years ago I felt amazed.
How can I explain? How can Rabbi Ayala Samuels explain the continuity from them to me?
We discussed it!
I only know very recent history: my mother came from Odessa when she was six years old with her mother and little sister and brother to join her father and brothers in New York. My mother remembered being hidden in the oven when the Cossacks came through. A typical story of that time. My father came probably from Kiev and found his way to New York by himself at fifteen. I have pieced together little bits and I think he had tuberculosis at one time and was sent back and came again. I know very little about my father’s childhood… were his parents victims of the pogroms? How did these people manage?
And there I sat, in Caesarea, having had a very healthy and protected life in California and having made the choice to come and join my fellow Jews in Israel.
How have the threads stayed intact? How am I connected to those Jews who managed to live with the Romans? How have the Jews survived all the assaults from those times to be flourishing now, here in the same place?