Zelda Harris
Five on the 100 aliyah from UK list!

One of the lucky ones?

I am listening to radio as usual. Doing the chores in the kitchen, making sure my home is sparkling clean, so that while fasting and roaming around the apartment trying to pass time in between glances at the prayer book to keep me in line, I will not feel the urge to take a shmatut-rag and wipe something down. Forbidden, on this holy, sanctified day. I would love to venture out but it’s unbearably hot and I really do not want to risk God Forbid sunstroke or dehydration before the Fast even begins.

So the discussion on the radio is is loneliness, being alone and what it can do to a human being?

It’s more than that. The act of eating alone for me, who until my husbands’ death had a household of three, is not comforting even if its my favourite food! Following his death I put my apartment to good use and invited Airbnb guests so that every so often I would have others in my home. “OH” said my friends “How can you do that aren’t you afraid?

“Never use that word to me” I remonstrate.

Yes of course it’s risky and I may have doubts with every booking, but I have a method to check potential guests out and it works. I simply call them and hear their voices and ask them if they have any specific needs. Thank God and I am a believer…of sorts, it has almost always worked well.

One has to like people and not be afraid of work!

Also to have confidence in one’s ability. Most of my friends in similar circumstances are abhorred at the idea.

So no guests, no income, Corona has made us all more dependent, on our children. I am extremely fortunate in that less than a year before my dear husband Leon died, we moved to be near to our son, his partner and their family.

End of story.

My youngest son lives in England. He and his family are loving and caring but not every day. With all the technology, how about a line on the g.mail or a call on WattsApp? Only the ones nearby, take the true responsibility of the aged mother, grandmother and great grandmother!

So these programmes, are upsetting, because I hear about those who have not got what I have. Then I am ashamed of my negative thoughts.

However I must add in fairness that my very close friend who is orthodox and has masses of grandchildren, receives a call from every grandchild on Friday afternoon before Shabbat. When she was living in Jerusalem some would pop by and she would Bless them. I thought that was beautiful .

So whatever, we grandparents will still get emotional, usually with joy when talking about grandchildren .I even have great grandchildren but that’s another story. For them I am fossil from another era. They cannot believe that I was ever young!

So we have what we have and must be thankful. That is our prayer, that it may never be worse. That we will even at this great age try to be better human beings. For at the end of the day that’s what we are. Even if some who rule us think that they are Gods.

About the Author
Zelda Harris first came to Israel 1949, aged 18. After living through the hardships of the nascent state, she returned to England in 1966. She was a founding member of the Women's Campaign for Soviet Jewry. In 1978, she returned with her family to Israel and has been active in various spheres of Israeli Society since. Together with the late Chaim Herzog, she founded CCC for Electoral Reform, was the Director of BIPAC in Israel, and a co-founder of Metuna, the Organisation for Road Safety, which received the Speaker of Knesset Quality of Life Award for saving lives on the roads and prevention of serious injury. She is now a peace activist, blogger for Times of Israel and is writing her life story.