I was having Shabbat dinner with the Hasidic family who lives down the street, as I sometimes do. I like to meet new people and have new experiences, and in the sleepy, ocean-breezy, rather homogeneous neighborhood of Santa Monica, California, where I’ve recently relocated, dining with a deeply observant Hasidic family can feel like an exotic night out.
A Jewish Woman’s Emotional Hunt for Her Father’s Circassian Roots Leads to Israel — and the Golan Heights
Extending a welcoming hand in a warm, inviting gesture, Eleonore Merza says: Please, come in. In another minute she might have asked: Who wants coffee and who wants tea? It was a moment that fused a reenacted past with an imagined future, next to a mound of basalt stones in the Golan Heights. Merza, 36, wants to build her house here, on the exact spot where her family’s house once stood.
Mount Hermon glistens white to the north, extinct volcanoes dominate the west, Highway 98 runs between this site and the new school and the water tower. This is exactly the same view her father saw out of the window 50 or 55 years ago: a generous plain that stretches into the distance uninterrupted, with occasional hilly protrusions. Except that he knew the hills as Jabel esh-Sheikh, Jabel Abu Nada and Jabel Quneitra. Or Jabel Mansoura, named after his native village. Other than the new school and the water tower, all the buildings in Mansoura have been razed, including the old school building. Merza, with her dream of reviving the place, is the progenitor of additional, surprising points of confluence: between times, people, religions, adopted memories, geography, buildings.
“People ask me sometimes, ‘When do you think it will be enough? When will there be enough women on the court?’ And my answer is when there are nine,” Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has said. Yup, nine. Just all of them, that will be enough, thanks.
It’s just before Rosh Hashanah in 2013, and New York City’s mayoral campaign is heating up.
Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, for the first time publicly described the depth of her grief following the death of her husband — at a commencement speech at the University of California, Berkeley.