If you live in America, you probably notice lots of people like me during Passover — namely, Israelis visiting the US of A, trying to shop till we drop. (After all, we did promise Kobi, Uri, Avivit and Dudi that we’d bring them back all the latest gadgets! You really can’t blame us.)
Do you love disaster stories? Well, here’s one for you:
It was about a month and a half before Passover 2013. My husband and I had just made the major economic decision to buy tickets to New York for Passover. After 18 years of marriage we felt that our five awesome sons and we deserved a truly relaxing and/or exciting vacation somewhere far far away from our home in Elad, Israel. We booked our tickets with the FlyAvir travel agency and kind of just sat back and enjoyed life for the next few weeks leading up to Passover. It was great- there I was, able to keep up my work schedule at ajudaica.com, while everyone around me was consumed in a whirlwind of spring cleaning and pre-Passover frenzy. This was the year that I would not rid my home of Chametz, I promised myself. I would just sell it and wave my messy house goodbye, suitcase in hand, five days before Passover.
Arriving at the airport on Thursday, March 21, 2013 with ample time to spare, my five sons, husband and I just hung out on those grey benches you might be familiar with- the ones at the entrance of the Ben Gurion Airport. Gazing at the interesting people in front of us, we bided our time trying to guess where everyone came from and where they were going. I’m sure we must have looked ridiculous, sitting there, gawking, and waving at the occasional traveler. As our flight loomed nearer, we approached the passport control line.
And then it happened. As I write these words I am trembling as I recall that dreadful, loathsome, unnerving event.
“Geveret (Hebrew for Ma’am),” said the 20-something policeman. “Avi’s passport expired 3 years ago.”
My reaction? “Noooooo!” The policeman was definitely lying to me! “It can’t be! We ordered the tickets a month and a half ago and my house is not clean for Passover!
But it was possible. And it was true.
And there we were, totally gung-ho about our (expensive!) family vacation, and… nada. Nilch. Nothing.
Luckily for me, I am a firm optimist and believe that everything that happens in life is ultimately for the good. Soon after the initial shock faded, I called up my neighbor Shuli to tell her my news.
When we arrived home from the airport about an hour later, we found a note on our door, along with 6 boxes of Shmura Matza, a 10-pack of Kosher for Passover wine, and tons of other Kosher for Passover non-perishable food items.
The note read:
Dear Belz Family,
We’re sure you must be disappointed that your trip to America did not work out. But we’ll help you clean for Passover in two days and provide you with all the Kosher for Passover food you need.
Your neighbors in building #16
Would you believe it- the next few days saw the Belz home in a frenzy. Kind neighbors of all ages marched in and out of our two-story penthouse apartment armed with every cleaning supply imaginable. They transformed my chametz-full abode into a chametz-free zone in no time. Oh, and my sons insisted that Mrs. Greenberg’s matza balls on Seder night were light-years more delicious than the ones I normally prepare.
So you see, it did work out ok, and we did enjoy quality time as a family, albeit not in the country we had planned…
That was the Passover that will forever be etched in my mind as “My Passover Trip that Wasn’t”.
Scribe readers: stay tuned for another exciting Belz family Passover escapade that I like to call “My Passover Trip that Was…”
This story "My Passover Trip That Wasn’t" was written by Revital Belz.