When I Walk Around Israel With My Stroller
When I walk around Israel with my baby and toddler in a stroller, some wonderful things happen.
This Sunday I was waiting for the elevator after taking Yaakov to the emergency medical clinic for a pinky toe that was, b”H, merely squished– not broken.
Next to me stood a Yemenite couple in their 60s. The husband in a white knitted kippah, the wife in a white headscarf.
When the elevator door opened, the couple motioned for me to get on before them. But I motioned for them to go first, “No, please, you first!”
But they insisted, “No, Geveret, you are with a stroller!”
And then the elevator lost patience with our politeness and slammed without delay in our faces.
This Monday, I was on my way to my neighbor, Ruti’s, graduation from Beit HaGalgalim, an incredible center for handicapped young adults.
The address on the invitation looked clear enough—The Reut School on Eliezer HaGadol Street 4. And the young woman sitting next to me on the bus assured me she knew EXACTLY where the Reut School was located. But after I get off the bus, it didn’t take me long to realize that she knew EXACTLY where the Reut school was located…. Before it had moved elsewhere.
On Chizkiyahu HaMelech Street I saw a bunch of secular young professionals and students drinking coffee at a hip sidewalk café. I approached one of them and asked if she knew where the Reut School on Eliezer HaGadol Street was. But before I knew it, the entire café had gotten involved in helping the lost mother with a baby and a toddler in a stroller.
“Geveret, go straight, straight, straight, and then to the left!”
“You’re sending her to where the Reut School used to be! It moved!”
And then a 30-something architect-type took out his fancy smartphone and proceeded to spend the next few minutes looking up the address on his GPS, and explaining to me how to find the school.
And then the entire café sent us off with a big “Bhatslacha!” and a smile and a wave for Yaakov and Yonatan.
Near my home, right next to Shalom Felafel, there is a set of about 15 stairs leading down to Betsalel Street. I go up and down those stairs pretty much every day, but almost never without help.
This morning, as I prepared to bump my stroller down the stairs, a young man with a Mohawk and jeans that had fallen way too low, asked me in a quiet and courteous voice if I would like his assistance carrying the stroller down the stairs.
Later this morning, as I prepared to rock my stroller up, step by step, a man in his 50s wearing a black-knit kippah asked if he and his wife could help me get the stroller up.
“Sure,” I answered, used to the routine.
And I told him something I have thought countless times and never said before out loud: “If only the rest of the world could see Am Yisrael like I see Am Yisrael every day going up and down these steps with this stroller!”
Not sabras, I thought. Sweet only after you get past the prickly exterior.
Walking around with these kids in this stroller I witness a nation of…
Sweet through and through.