Glancing out our kitchen window on this Friday afternoon, the ominous dark clouds embraced the Israeli sky with the heaviness of a balloon about to burst. A cold wind whipped around the people on the busy sidewalk below as their neck scarves billowed over their faces.
I have recently developed an obsession with window watching, partially due to being confined during this season of viral mania and also due to the entertainment displayed on our busy street below. My husband, Baruch, refers to me as nosey Gladys Kravitz from the mid 60’s sitcom Bewitched and I confess, he is not far off.
Our Baka neighborhood grocery store is conveniently located just across the street from us and has become — not only a place to shop, but given us dear friends which we have come to love like family.
Normally our block is overrun with cars honking deliriously, as drivers search for a coveted parking space while trying to avoid jaywalkers darting in all directions. However, on this day, due to a viral pandemic, most all activity had vanished, leaving our streets ghostly empty. Groceries are being ordered by phone or in person at the outside door of the store. As I continued to watch from my upstairs window I could see the workers clad in face masks and gloves, dashing throughout the store filling bags, as masked customers waited for their orders on the sidewalk. I couldn’t help but realize how creative and efficient this process was taking place…but then, Israelis are known for rising above any challenge.
I returned to my cooking in preparation for our Shabbat meals, which normally would have consisted of additional dishes due to guests joining us, however, my husband and I were in ‘self-quarantine’ like many others. We found ourselves among the “high risk” elderly — a title which didn’t seem to fit our mentality, but nonetheless applied in our current situation.
As I added a splash of wine to my hot pan of sauteed mushrooms, I heard a voice from outside shouting my husband’s name, “Baruch! — Baruch!”
Looking out my window to investigate, Eyal from the grocery store stood below with his wavy black hair blowing in the wind and arms waving like pin-wheels! It was not hard for him to capture my attention! Calling my husband to come quickly, I slid the window open, anxious to discover what the reason could be for Eyal’s dramatic behavior. Was there an emergency? Did someone need help? Thoughts ran through my overactive imagination….
“I HAVE YOUR EGGS!” he bellowed with all seriousness in his broken English. “Please forgive me — I forgot to put them in your bag yesterday, but remembered today and saved them for you! May I leave them at your door?”
Amidst the challenges of living in Israel on any normal day, plus the restrictions placed upon us during this viral craziness, it made us realize how fortunate we were. Eyal had shown us kindness and given us a powerful gift, far more precious than eggs!
We are fortunate to live in a place where neighbors watch out for one another. Family is cherished and friends become family. This is what keeps Israel strong and why we are thankful each day for having the opportunity to live here — even if we are “high-risk” old fogies!