The Felafel Seller’s Surprise for My Daughter

The Felafel Seller’s Surprise for My Daughter

Today my 16-year-old daughter was buying felafel in Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market when the seller said, “Oh, you finally came back!” And then he reached behind him and handed her a bag. “You were here in July, and forgot this!”
Inside the bag were a beach volleyball, 2 pairs of goggles, 2 sun hats and lots of sand, forgotten souvenirs from one of Moriah’s many trips to the beach this past summer.
When I heard this story, I smiled. How amazing to live in a country that, so often, feels like a small town.
And my mind flashed back to this past October, travelling by train from the Newark Airport to the Newark train station on my way from Israel to Baltimore for my mother’s unveiling. Looking out the window, past 2 middle-age men making small talk in Spanish, I found myself suddenly filled with panic. A sliver of what a 7-year-old sent on his own from the Shtetl to the Lower East Side a century ago might have felt.
“This is such a gigantic country! And I’m so small! Infinitesimal! I could get lost here, disappear and nobody would even notice!”
My existential angst evaporated as soon as I arrived in Baltimore, to father, my childhood home, and Baltimore’s famously warm Jewish community.
As a Jew, I could throw a dart blindfolded at a world map, and then jump on a plane and find myself a community at the Shul or Chabad House nearest to that fallen dart. And of course, as Jews, we can always find ourselves at home in Israel, the largest Jewish community in the world.
In a world where so many people are so alone, where community is becoming more and more a thing of the past, what a tremendous blessing it is to be a Jew. And especially a Jew among Jews.

One comment

  1. What an inspiring falafel seller!

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