The Woman From Another Planet

The Woman From Another Planet

This morning I snuck into Bank Leumi to sit down and nurse, and while there I saw a woman from a different planet.

The elderly woman sitting in front of me looked like she had just landed from 1950s Morocco and was hopelessly bewildered by the high-tech world of 2015 banking.

“Geveret!” she appealed to a young bank employee passing by, “Why aren’t they calling my number? I’ve been waiting all morning!”

“Savta, you took the wrong number. This is a number from the mortgage section. You need to take a new one for general banking…”

“What? A new one?” It was just too much for her to fathom, so Savta approached a kind-hearted teller (in the photograph) to request assistance.
bank lady

Meanwhile, I finished nursing, and was walking towards the exit when Savta asked if I would hold her cane. So I stood there, and this what happened next…

“I want to find out how much money is in my account,” Savta asked.

“You have 200 shekels and 50 agorot in your checking account. You know, in the future, you could check out your account balance with your bank card. It would be easier for you.”

“I’ve been asking them and asking them for a bank card for years, and they never send me one!” Savta replied as she fingered her ancient identity card in a worn plastic cover—probably the same one she received at the Haifa port in 1956.

When she was done, with a wad of around 1000 NIS in her hand (her savings account looked better than her checking), I handed her back her cane, and she blessed me with all her heart, “May Hashem bless you and your family with health! Only health!”

“Amen!” I answered the Savta from another planet.
I went straight from 1950s Morocco to 19th century Poland—–a book store in Meah Shearim.

As I walked, among the Yiddish-speaking men rushing to yeshiva and the children ferried by their mothers or older sisters to nursery school and cheider, I noticed the following death notice for a woman named Mrs. Dina Rosenblatt (photo below) which read, “With great sorrow and grief we announce the death of our mother and teacher, our sister, our dear grandmother, whose single aspiration was to raise her offspring to Torah and fear of G-d…”

Wow, I thought. What an awe-inspiring planet Mrs. Dina Rosenblatt lived on. A planet of clarity and faith.
death notice

So many savtas from so many planets in this smallest of countries.
Yesterday I was checking out the news, and clicked on the headline “Kim Kardashian arrives in Israel.”

I wasn’t sure who Kim Kardashian is, but I’d heard her name somewhere, and was interested to know who she is and why she is coming to Israel (maybe she’s Jewish?).

The article informed me that Kim Kardashian is one of the most famous celebrities in the world. She has 30 million followers on Twitter and is one of the most highly paid TV stars alive. The funny thing was that the Ynet journalist prefaced this information with the following words: “Unless you have been living on a different planet for the last few years, you know all about Kim Kardashian…”

It’s funny, because I think of myself as relatively with-it. I have a lot of Charedi neighbors who don’t even have e-mail accounts! Scratch that…who don’t even own computers! And here I am, with a computer, with internet access, with a website of my own.

But I guess that journalist is right. Like Savta from the bank, and Mrs. Dina Rosenblatt, I am living on a different planet. And even if you know who Kim Kardashian is, JewishMOM, you are too.

The JewishMOM planet is a parallel reality– revolving around Shabbat and dentist appointments.

Around the holidays and school vacations.

Around mitzvot and homework.

Around holy people and little people (who are holy as well).

And this, I think, is quite a wonderful planet to call home.


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  1. Love this! Very nice to start the week after the pessah holy days!! I didńt know didnot know either who that kardashian was until i read the news! Thank you Hashem we dońt live on this planet of show business and tu ma and lies! Thank you Hashem for our little planet of holiness and spirituality!!!

  2. I still don’t know who kim kardashian is – so she’s a celebrity? What does she do? . . . I do love your post, Chana Jenny. Thank you.

  3. This piece is art. I love how you intertwined everything.

  4. Yup, even me – on the planet where Microsoft lives, have no clue who Kim Kardashian is!

  5. Yocheved

    Sadly, I do know who Kim Kardashian is. Happily, I will soon be moving to your “planet”!

  6. here is one moving story I heard on glz (IDF broadcast radio): a nonagenarian holochaust survivor died a few days ago. she had no family or relatives, just a few volounteers who heard about her. so they organized (via FB and other networks) some 400 that attended her funeral. !רק בישראל

  7. I was working at WalMart when a woman came through my line who was overwhelmed and confused. Her husband was very sweet to her and she started crying. I went around to show her what to do and her husband whispered that she had just gotten out of prison.

    I had been volunteering at the one where she’d been and gave her a hug. No one was behind her and we spoke briefly of the people I thought she’d have known and liked (it was back in 2006 I think and electronic cards had been only can’t-live-without mainstream for a short time.) She said that she’d only been out for a short while but she felt like she was on another planet. I gave her a hug. Her husband saw me a few days later and called me an angel because his wife felt better after we spoke.

  8. I know who Kim kardashian is, and am not sad about it because I am living rabbi Nachmans famous words “the whole world is a very narrow bridge”, with my bridge straddling two very different worlds which are brought together by either elevating one through the other, or avoiding one through the other.
    We all have our narrow bridges, we just need to be aware of them and not become too complacent because we cut certain things out of our lives. There will always be choices, on each and every planet, whether spiritual or physical.
    Shabbat shalom!

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