What a week! On Tuesday the most powerful shiur ever on the Holocaust and why bad things happen to good people, from the Orthodox Jewish perspective. Suffice it to say that life is a challenge, and without that challenge who knows if the end of this blog would ever have been written.
It all started n Wednesday. After the dreadful news about Woolworths and MFI
our weekly rehearsal of the Salford Symphony Orchestra, with a young soloist, Daniel Chappell from Chetham's School here in Manchester, (born and bred in Salford no less), giving us a rendition of a Haydn piano concerto on electric piano, and making it sound like the real thing! That's musicality for you!
Then, after rehearsal, chilling out with my younger daughter home from California and all set to revamp the house in her image, the phone went. It was 10.30 pm our time - half past midnight in Israel. We were catching up on news and watching TV, when the phone went. There was loads of noise as if it was from an outside venue and then ...
Our daughter, Kalela, is now engaged to Sagi, a COHEN noch, and it is really and truly the happiest day of my life.
For only the offspring of Holocaust refugees and survivors will understand what it means when you have lost nearly your entire Polish family and their history is a blank, you just know that they are looking down at you from heaven and rejoicing with you. For their name will now be perpetuated forever: those Rosenstrauchs and Appels who I never knew and my beloved parents who changed their names to fit in, chameleon-like, with their environments - my Dad to Rawson in Scotland, and my Mum from Shulamit to Paulette (running away all over France during the War).
And Kalela is so like both of them: she has the panache, verve and idealism of my Dad and the charm and grace of my Mum. They both doted on her - their lives being cut off very early. But I remember as yesterday their amazed reaction to her birth, their first grandchild, a miracle of survival: somehow a sign that their lives had not been in vain and that this tiny presence staring quietly into the far distance was indeed a perpetuation of their lives and their name.
Everyone is happy: the Christian green grocer said 'Mazal Tov'; the shul said that it was a wonderful piece of good news among all the illnesses and funerals. And in Tel Aviv, they lit candles for Kalela in Masaryk Square
and feted her with champagne after she and Sagi came out of a concert held at the Mann Auditorium by a Canadian-American called Rufus Wainwright!