I give in. Uncle! My life is full of circles, whether I like it or not.
Like this afternoon. I’m going to attend the wedding of Naomi Shaish on a horse ranch near the Mediterranean. Naomi and her brother, Nim, lived with us in Fairfield probably about 10 years ago. They were among the 10 or so different kids who lived in our house in Fairfield. My kids always joked that they never had a bathroom to themselves. They always shared with some kid who was staying in the guest room for varying lengths of times and for various reasons. Many of those kids were Israelis, looking for a place to live near the Trumbull Mall so that they could hawk nail care products and save up some money for the Israeli version of a “walk-about” between military service and university. Naomi and Nim came to stay with us soon after Max’s bar mitzvah. Naomi stayed about a month; Nim for eight. Today, Naomi is a young fashion designer in Tel Aviv and her wedding invitation is a beautiful small square of blue, floral-patterned fabric topped with a pasted piece of paper that provided all the pertinent information. AND it came with its own magnet on the back so you could easily put it up on your refrigerator. Nice. And so today, that circle brings me to her wedding, her parents, her siblings, and a wonderful way to usher in Shabbat. And none of this seems strange to me. Not even the part that I’m attending the wedding as an Israeli citizen. It just “is.”
Here’s another circle: you all remember Kladno, right? Many reading this, and who knew of my passion for that research probably remember that I repeatedly emphasized how things just “fell” into place. More likely, things were always in place—they just revealed themselves as I went along. And so today I received this photo of Alan and Denise Pransky from Massachusetts who came to visit Israel en route to Kladno and the Czech Hussite church and made a stop in Afula. From Massachusetts to Afula to Kladno. What’s so circular? Their synagogue and Congregation Beth El in Fairfield each have a Torah rescued from the Holocaust that originally came from Kladno.
Another circle will coincide with one more wedding on June 16th. Lina Golub, the Israeli emissary from Afula who lived with my family about 5 years ago, is also getting married. Her invitation? A drawing of a bride wearing a chef’s toque next to a groom with military epaulets on his shoulders (Lina’s a professional baker and Mayan is an officer in the Israeli army). During the time that Lina lived with us, she lost her mother to cancer. Since then, we have always maintained a rather special bond. Lina became a part of our family and so every time Max, Zoe, or I visited Israel, we made sure to see her. In 2 weeks I’ll attend her wedding. She delivered the wedding invitation personally. It was one of those beautiful, sweet moments that you always cherish. I told her that I wouldn’t miss it for anything.
Circles? Jewish Geography? Six, no make that two or three, degrees of separation? I’ve no clue. And I’ve stopped being surprised by any of it. I just smile and nod at the surety that there are many more yet to come.