Lazarre Seymour Simckes

A Snapshot of Israeli parenting

I saw a father in his forties picnicking in the park with his two young sons, one boy about four and the other eight. The boys kept spilling bits of couscous and schnitzel onto the grass but this didn’t bother the father. I asked if I could join them. “I’m a new immigrant,” I said. “I’d like to practice speaking Hebrew!”

The father signaled for me to sit down, but the boys ignored me and kept eating their schnitzel.

“How old are you?” I asked the boys in my best colloquial Hebrew.

They didn’t answer.

“I’m a writer,” I told them. “I should do a story about two Israeli boys who eat so much schnitzel they cannot talk.”

The older boy said, “Okay, just don’t call them by my name. Call them Eden.”

The younger brother must have been Eden.

“No!” yelled Eden. “Call them by papa’s name.”

“What, I eat too much schnitzel?” the father said. “But their mother does too!”

The boys didn’t like this jab at the mother and cast their couscous at him.

“I should have divorced you and not your mother,” the dad said. “I have no power over you.”

“You have no power over them but you have influence!” I said.

The boys jumped up, ran to their dad and hugged him front and back, shouting “We love you more than mom!”

The father was delighted. He turned to me and said, “Please have some schnitzel. It’s kosher.”

I suppose the schnitzel was my reward for doing God’s work.

About the Author
Playwright, novelist, psychotherapist and translator from the Hebrew, Lazarre Seymour Simckes is a graduate of Harvard College, Stanford University, and Harvard University. He has taught literature and creative writing courses at Harvard, Yale, Williams, Vassar, Brandeis, Tufts, and abroad as a Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Writer at Haifa University. He has also conducted a live, interactive writing workshop, delivered via satellite, linking Israeli Jewish and Arab high school students with their counterparts in America.