You probably haven’t heard that I recently turned 80. I don’t think it was announced on the radio but it’s a fact of life. But I want to let you know that here in Jerusalem, safely locked up due to my age, all by myself and thankfully corona-free, quite unexpectedly I feel like I’m in a kind of Garden of Eden or Paradise. Yesterday they brought me a parcel with two excellent meals to heat up and eat up and promised me three more to expect this week, and this evening Tzvia, my excellent social worker, phoned to check up if I was okay or needed anything, and not to go out, not even to the chemist for my medicines, and she also told me that the wonderful welfare fund, Keren Yedidut, was prepared to make a donation for some much needed dental work.
Then another dear friend earlier today arrived with big packs of Matzot and other Pesach goodies to enliven my lonesome Seder table. And as if this was not sufficient for the beginning of the week, a kind friend phoned to ask how I was managing and told me that I should come and collect an envelope with money to help me to cover expenses over the Chag. And then, all of a sudden, the next day, and quite unexpectedly, a youthful masked volunteer from a Chabad welfare agency deposited two very heavy boxes filled to the brim with Pesach delicacies and fruit and vegetables, as if to make doubly certain that this particular Pesach I should not starve or bemoan my corona-enforced loneliness. But how on earth could I possibly feel lonely in my old age with such amazing evidence of friendship and care? Who knows where it will end, I wonder, as I strive manfully to clean and clear my tiny Kiryat Moshe apartment?
And indeed, to crown it all!, when I opened my door on Friday morning to do some last-minute shopping, I saw affixed to my door an envelope from some unknown source which when I opened it with shaking hands contained a very generous sum. Stunned by such human kindness it suddenly struck me that the sum in the envelope was exactly the amount I had the previous day given to a poor woman who had no money to buy food for Shabbat and Pesach! What an ideal way to greet the Shabbat and to launch me on my Pesach preparations!
And so, as I review the events of the past few days, I’m beginning to feel as if here in Israel in the midst of the fearful pandemic, I am the object of so much genuine care and generosity that I must surely be in some Garden of Eden or at least some Heavenly Jewish Paradise. All I can say, my dears, is Lucky Me! And I sincerely hope that many of my contemporaries are feeling the same way in our Holy Land and experiencing similar manifestations of love and care for Israel’s lonely elderly.
David Herman, Jerusalem