What with my radio show expanding to 2 hours and the first week of my tour guide course (more on that another time; suffice to say that I'm soaking up so much information that my brain hurts) I had a busier than usual few days last week.
I did make time to go to 3 brises (how do you pluralize that?) also known as ritual circumcisions, obviously on newborn boys. Islam does a version on girls, horrendous as that sounds and is, but we Yiddles just whittle away at the males, which apparently protects against a host of nasty diseases like HIV, although that's not why we do it. As with Shabbat and kashrut and the laws of family purity and/and/and..... there's a bunch of modern, scientific support for what we've done simply as a show of faith for a few millennium. I guess Whomever (note the capital W) asked us to comply with all these laws was actually and unbeknown to us doing us some favors, as well.
But, as usual, I digress. The first bris was that of our nephew's son, and they gave him my late father-in-law's name in the hope that he not only live a long life but a very accomplished one. As with so many joyous occasions in this country, it was also a victory of life. The baby's mother lost her cousin and uncle in a terror attack a few years ago, murdered the night before the cousin's wedding. The Spero/Applebaum family will never be the same, and every addition to their family- and our mutual one- is cause for celebration.
The next was the bris of the child whose parents I met a few years ago when the husband and I took a course together on building tolerance in Israeli society. (Great course, we all like each other. Wish we could extrapolate the relationships of the 20 of us of to the rest of the country. Oh, well.) She was in the midst of years of surgeries, including brain, for injuries suffered in a car crash which she barely survived and which cruelly terminated a pregnancy, leaving them with a toddler daughter. Well, despite her complete lack of abdominal muscles (she has mesh holding her body together) a son was born to them, an absolute miracle, even made the papers. That was one bris I was not missing, not a dry eye in the house when the blessings were said.
Last but not least was the bris of my cousin's first grandson. He's the cuz closest to my age and the only one to make aliya, pretty much because his 2 oldest sons came to do army service and refused to return to America. So they're all now here and these 2 boys- I guess to sweeten the move for their parents- married and both had babes this last month, one girl and now the little guy. These are the first children born to their family in Eretz Yisrael- that they know of -in about 2000 years. Pretty big stuff.
Since no less than Avraham Avinu had his bris (see the Torah portion for yesterday) too, I suppose it was an appropriate way to spend the week. I certainly had my fill of bagels and lox.
Now I'm going out to take 12 Christian German pro-Arab women on a tour of the Gush to try to show them a side they're not at all familiar with. This should be interesting. That covenant that the bris implies is the one connecting the Jews to this place promised us so long ago. But something tells me that they may not get it.
Sigh. Wonder what their grandfathers did in WWII, and when I let them know that I would not have been born had my dad gone to Auschwitz as did a good chunk of his family. And all the while wondering how much they even care now. I do so want to believe in the inherent goodness of mankind, a la Ann Frank. Surprise me, please.