Thursday, December 25, 2008

Reality hurts

Is he saying, in other words, "forget about it?"

That's depressing, hopeless but then again, maybe realistic...

Please follow the link below.It was broadcasted on CNN on the 21st of December. It's about Lebanon's lost community.

Another candle...

Another candle and the world becomes brighter...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Thank you

I’m grateful to my Lubavitch friend who is full of ideas and resources, and who watches out that I’m not being cut out of the rest of the world.
Thanks to him and to the Chabad mouvement that organised the event, I had the chance to watch, live via internet, a public lighting for Channuka, on Sunday and Yesterday.

And for that, I would really like to thank all the Chabad movement, and all it has done and is still doing all over the world, for Jews worldwide, reaching out to them even in the darkest corners of the world…

Keep on lighting the world.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Chag Sameach

I love Hannuka.

This is the Hannukia I found in the attic of my grandmother.

It was about time it came out of the darkness...

Have a brilliant Hannuka

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Incitement to Violence

On any ordered merchandise coming from outside Lebanon, the following must be mentionned -on the packaging and invoices- in order to let the goods enter the country:

"We declare that goods are not from Israeli origin, have not been imported from Israel and do not contain any Israeli material."

I can only shake my head in disbelief.

We are a long long way from peace...

Sunday, December 14, 2008


So why are the Muslims so powerless... Here are some figures and Facts that speak for themselves:

Extracts of speech by Hafez A.B Mohamed: Director-General, Al Baraka Bank, South Africa


World Jewish Population. 14 million

7m in America
5m in Asia
2m in Europe
100 thousand in Africa

World Muslim Population: 1.5 billion


I billion in Asia/Mid-East
400 m in Africa
44 m in Europe
6 m in the Americas

Every fifth human being is a Muslim.
For every single Hindu there are two Muslims.
For every Buddhist there are two Muslims.
For every Jew there are 107 Muslims.

Yet the 14 million Jews are more powerful than the entire 1.5 billion Muslims, Why?
Here are some of the reasons.

Movers of Current History

Albert Einstein Jewish
Sigmund Freud Jewish
Karl Marx Jewish
Paul Samuelson Jewish
Milton Friedman Jewish

Medical Milestones

Vaccinating Needle: Benjamin Ruben Jewish
Polio Vaccine: Jonas Salk Jewish
Leukemia Drug: Gertrude Elion Jewish
Hepatitis B: Baruch Blumberg Jewish
Syphilis Drug: Paul Ehrlich Jewish
Neuro muscular: Elie Metchnikoff Jewish
Endocrinology: Andrew Schally Jewish
Cognitive therapy: Aaron Beck Jewish
Contraceptive Pill: Gregory Pincus Jewish
Understanding of Human Eye: G. Wald Jewish
Embryology: Stanley Cohen Jewish
Kidney Dialysis: Willem Kloffcame Jewish

Nobel Prize Winners

In the past 105 years, 14 million Jews have won 180 Nobel prizes whilst 1.5 billion Muslims have contributed only 3 Nobel winners

Inventions that changed History

Micro- Processing Chip: Stanley Mezor Jewish
Nuclear Chain Reactor: Leo Sziland Jewish
Optical Fibre Cable: Peter Schultz Jewish
Traffic Lights: Charles Adler Jewish
Stainless Steel: Benno Strauss Jewish
Sound Movies: Isador Kisee Jewish T
elephone Microphone: Emile Berliner Jewish
Video Tape Recorder: Charles Ginsburg Jewish

Influential Global Business

Polo Ralph Lauren Jewish
Coca Cola Jewish
Levi’s Jeans Levi Strauss Jewish
Starbuck’s Howard Schultz Jewish
Google Sergey Brin Jewish
Dell Computors Michael Dell Jewish
Oracle Larry Ellison Jewish
DKNY Donna Karan Jewish
Baskin & Robbins Irv Robbins Jewish
Dunkin Donuts Bill Rosenberg Jewish

Influential Intellectuals/ Politicians

Henry Kissinger , US Sec of State Jewish
Richard Levin, President Yale University Jewish
Alan Greenspan , US Federal Reserve Jewish
Joseph Lieberman Jewish
Madeleine Albright , US Sec of State Jewish
Casper Weinberger , US Sec of Defense Jewish
Maxim Litvinov , USSR Foreign Minister Jewish
David Marshal , Singapore Chief Minister Jewish
Isaacs Isaacs, Gov-Gen Australia Jewish
Benjamin Disraeli, British Statesman Jewish
Yevgeny Primakov, Russian PM Jewish
Barry Goldwater , US Politician Jewish
Jorge Sampaio, President Portugal Jewish
Herb Gray, Canadian Dep-PM Jewish
Pierre Mendes, French PM Jewish
Michael Howard, British Home Sec. Jewish
Bruno Kriesky, Austrian Chancellor Jewish
Robert Rubin , US Sec of Treasury Jewish
Global Media Influentials Wolf Blitzer, CNN Jewish
Barbara Walters ABC News Jewish
Eugene Meyer , Washington Post Jewish
Henry Grunwald, Time Magazine Jewish
Katherine Graham , Washington Post Jewish
Joseph Lelyyeld, New York Times Jewish
Max Frankel, New York Times Jewish

Global Philanthropists

George Soros Jewish
Waltewr Annenberg Jewish

Olympic Gold Medalists

Mark Spitz 7 Gold Medals Jewish
Krayzelburg Jewish
Boris Becker Jewish


The Muslim World lacks the capacity to produce knowledge. Muslim World is failing to diffuse knowledge. Muslim World is failing to apply knowledge.

"My Advice:Please educate yourself and your children. always promote education, don't compromise on it, don't ignore your children's slightest misguidance from education"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I had a prejudice about how Ali would be like: a popular ahmadinejad, a narrow minded, macho guy…. I was wrong.
But then again, doesn’t everyone have prejudices?
When I was in Paris and talked Arabic on the phone, people looked at me in surprise: how come this not-arab-looking woman speak Arabic?
I went to a shop, and directly identified the owner as a Jewish guy by the mezuzah at the door. He immediately identified me as Lebanese.
He said it was my accent (which is funny because Lebanese tell me I don’t sound Lebanese because of my accent!)
And he said something like “ There are nice Christian Lebanese who come here” then he realized he might have slip out: I could’ve been a Muslim Lebanese….
I deliberately said, in a detached way: “it’s ok, no harm done. I’m not a Muslim anyway. I’m Jewish” and I entered the dressing room to try on the dress that I was holding.
The man was astonished. He literally followed me inside, and almost opened the curtain of the dressing room:
“which family?”
I said: “….., originally from Baghdad”
He asked a million questions.
Before I left (I took the dress as a gift to my mom) he gave me a leaflet of the Parasha of the week and the candle lighting times in Paris for Shabbat (the same day)
“Shabbat shalom” and I answered “Shabbat shalom”.
Waw. This is what I call Freedom.

Dinner with Ali

Last week I was in Paris.
I love the month of tishrei in Paris.
I came back on Sunday night, after missing my flight and having a hard time getting finally on a plane to come back home on time for work on Monday…
Monday, I was just off work, at 8 pm, when a friend called.
I was feeling like a zombie and I was dreaming of sleeping.
But what this friend proposed was tempting:
Having dinner (sushi, mmmm) with him and a friend of his, in visit to Lebanon.
The friend is Iranian. Ali.
I liked the combination. Why not: A Lebanese Jew and an Iranian Muslim at a Japanese dinner.

The guy turned out to be the grand son of someone very important who was very close to the shah of Iran. His family has been in exile since he was 3 years.
We talked about exile and about feeling “rootless”.
We had a lot in common: The frustration, the injustice, the feeling of wanting to do something and to feel hopeless and useless.
He despises the extremist regime in Iran, Hezbollah and all that happened to his country, a country he has never been to, a country that they stole from him, a country that he doesn’t even bear the passport, despite being the descent of one of the most know family there (there are mountains there called after them…)
The guy is educated, very charismatic, speaks fluently many languages and is very open minded.
With people like that, I thought, (just a thought that vanished just as the person faded out of sight) that there might, there could be a glimpse of hope. Hope of peace.
Ok, time to wake up.
Anyway, I always appreciate meeting interesting people like that.
Ali looked human.
Before separating, we hugged like long time friends.
The next day he went back to his exile in Europe.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Palestinian Iftar

A few days ago, I was invited at an “iftar”.
An iftar is the meal that muslims have after fasting the whole day, during the month of Ramadan.
The guy is half Druze and half Christian. His wife is Muslim Palestinian. She comes from a very wealthy family, and has always lived between London and Lebanon.
During all the dinner, she insisted about all the dishes being purely Palestinian.
At a point of the conversations, she mentioned she took Hebrew courses. When asked why, she said that one must know the language of his enemies.
I wonder how the world could ever get better with people, so called educated, being so narrow minded and intolerant.
Why should I be tolerant enough to go to an iftar? Because after all, I respect any religion, as long as it worships the same G-od.

Our host continued judging the people who “don’t respect the fast of muslims by eating in front of them”.
It seems that in Saudi Arabia and other “fanatic” muslim countries, eating in public during the month of Ramadan is a sin, and one could get jailed for that.
So much for tolerance.
And then they wonder why in France they don’t allow young muslim girls to wear the hijab at school. They want to be intolerant at the max and expect to profit from the democracy of other countries to do what they will never accept from other religions in their countries.

Eating in front of a person who is fasting must not be a temptation. Women fast and prepare meals for the night. Although they are hungry too, they are not tempted.
Fasting is a personal choice. In other religions, people fast by conviction and not by force. We cannot force our beliefs on others.
I don’t think that at Kippur, in Israel, it is forbidden for people to eat in public at the risk of being jailed…
This is the big difference. Respect.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Renovating Magen Abraham...

News about rebuilding the Magen Abraham Synagogue are being spread.
I’m getting calls from friends in Europe informing me about the news.
It is already in newspapers here in Lebanon. Friday I read it in the French newspaper, L’Orient Le Jour.

Now that the Lebanese government has given its consent, and the Hezbollah has “agreed”, and that there is a beginning of a funding, the process of rebuilding of the Magen Abraham Synagogue has begun, and this might be as early as October.
The cost of the renovation is estimated at 1 million dollars. 40 000$ have already been collected. Apparently Solidere(the Lebanese joint-stock company in charge of planning and redeveloping Beirut central district), is going to fund some 100 000$ (as it has done to all the worship places that needed restoration).
It seems the Safra family (of Edmond Safra, National Bank of New York) is going to participate also, as well as 2 banks whose founders are Jews of Lebanese origins.

This is wonderful news. But I am really pessimistic about it…
If Hezbollah has given its ok, do they realize that Lebanese Jews might not be against Israel, like they want us to be? Can they tolerate that? Or would we be charged of treason?
Does any Jew feel safe enough in Lebanon to go and pray at the synagogue (would we find a rabbi?)? Would we live our Judaism in the open and therefore risk our life and the lives of our family because of some extremist groups like hezbollah or the PSNP (Syrian national socialist party) who are the equivalent of the nazis?

When, in 2006, the incidents of the caricatures of Mohammad occurred in Denmark, Muslims went into Christian resident areas in Beirut (Ashrafieh) and sabotaged homes, cars and burned down the embassy along with a few office buildings around it.
Can we afford taking the risk of living on the edge?
If anything happens in the world between Jews and Muslims or between Israel and other arab countries(which is frequent), will they take it out on the minority of Jews who dared come out of the dark?…
The answer is obvious.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Kosher list...

I have sent a link of a youtube video, taken from a fellow blogger, ( ), to many of my lebanese friends...
It's about boycotting Israeli products and inventions, which are countless...

"Propaganda!" said most of the people who have received it.
Only a few were impressed by all the Israeli and Jewish inventions.

As for me, I thank the anti Semitics that made a list of Israeli and Jewish products available to boycott… now I know I should only shop from it…

Friday, September 12, 2008

Homemade lebanese khallot

Baking challah fills home with a festive aroma, and making homemade khallot gives home an extra dose of spirit. here is my khallot.

( iknow i know, looks like a granny's blog... but i like it that way)

Shabbat Shalom.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

6 days a week blessings...

I was surfing on the internet when a brilliant idea came to me... why don't I check if I can download a Hebrew course application on my iphone...?
and while searching for that, I discovered that an application called iBlessing exists! and that i can have my own blessing phone with "Mode ani" and "shema" and a touch-to-choose the category of food for the blessing over food...

And don't you just love the add of this application:
Finally a religious device with buttons that doesn''t explode!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Community Of Magen Abraham

Magen-Abraham was the main and largest synagogue of the Jewish community of Beirut. It is the the only one of 18 city centre synagogues to be saved. The synagogue was inaugurated in 1926 after years of delay caused by the First World War.

The Magen-Abraham synagogue was considered as one of the fanciest in the whole
East. Its activity attracted many people for praying. A youth choir was founded,
and on Saturdays, hundreds of people came to hear the choir singing. In addition
to religious services, the synagogue was used for cultural and intellectual
activities, weddings, and other festive events. Twice a year, in Passover and
Sukkot, the heads of the religious communities in Lebanon were invited to join
the ceremony. During the 1940s, the synagogue was used as a center for
underground Zionist activities. Many of the illegal migrants who arrived in
Beirut on their way to Israel were put temporarily in the building. Youth and
little children were housed in the synagogue's compound before taken to Israel.
The vitality of the synagogue waned with the decline of the entire community. As
Jews left Lebanon (particularly after the Civil War in 1975) in increasing
numbers, it became harder to gather a minyan for prayer. In 1982, the synagogue
was plundered and later efforts of Lebanese Jews to renovate and preserve the
building were unsuccessful.

During the Lebanese civil war, the synagogue was looted and sacked by fighters and turned into a dispensary by the Amal militia. The Torah scrolls were transferred to Lebanese synagogues abroad. Now the roof has collapsed, the plants have completely taken over the site and the building is in desperate need of repair.
Since the end of the seventies, the community has not had a rabbi. There is no place to buy locally produced kosher. There are no Jewish schools to teach children prayer and Hebrew.

The flourishing community was of an estimated 14 000 (some even say 30 000), and it could trace its roots back to 1000BC. Today, it is estimated at less than a hundred. But then again it is almost impossible to know the true figures as it is impossible to identify its members. They keep their religious identity a secret and pass along as Christians or Muslims, for fear of persecutions from other sects, like the PSNP (Syrian national socialist party) or the Hezbollah, who openly wish to eradicate Zionism and Judaism.

The Jews are one of the 18 religious groups officially recognized in Lebanon. A 2004 report said one out of 5 000 Jewish Lebanese citizen registered to vote in municipal elections. Most of those registered are believed to be dead or to have fled the country.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

She Never Asked...

When Ariel (a good friend that I met through the internet) and I discovered we both had Iraqi origins, and that both our grandmothers were from Baghdad, we were astonished. I live in Lebanon, and he lives in Israel (virtually, a Jupiter and Mars distance) and our grandparents could’ve been neighbors!
Thanks to Ariel, I discovered that my favorite dish (a dish that no one in my circle of friends has ever heard of, made from Hallumi cheese and red lentils) is Iraqi and not Turkish, like my mother pretended.
I wonder if it was a deliberate attempt to muffle everything related to my grandmother’s origins…?

My mother doesn’t want to get into all of this. She will defend the Jews from all her heart, but for some reason, never felt attached to all this. As if the battle was never hers.
When I first started showing some interest for Judaism, we had strong clashes. We still have, especially on politics.
She never asked my grandmother questions about her origins or about Judaism. So today, when my grandmother was recounting to me how they used to buy kosher meat from a butcher in Beirut, and how they used to have Shabbat lunch altogether with her family even after she got married to my grandfather (who isn’t jewish), my mother discovered her early Jewish life. She used to eat only kosher meat, and she used to observe Shabbat!
“You never asked!” said my grandmother…

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Story From My Childhood

Here is a story that happened in 82:
A few weeks before the IDF entered Beirut, my grand father’s (mother’s side) house was attacked by a Palestinian gang. We never knew who spread the word about my grand mother, but somehow they knew she was Jewish.
We used to live in the building facing theirs.
I can never forget the screaming, both of my grand father and from the attackers.
They were shooting at the apartment from everywhere: the main door, from the street on the living room side and the street from the kitchen side.
If it hadn’t been for a well connected neighbor, my grand parents would have been dead.
Then a few weeks later Israeli soldiers were walking those same streets. I never really asked how they got to my grand mother, but they did and she told them what happened…
They gathered all the men of the neighborhood, made them stand in line and asked my grand father to identify the attackers. (because when the neighbor interfered, my grand father had the occasion to see their faces, and they were actually adolescent/young men, most of them the neighborhood kids)
I was too young to understand the situation, but I remember my mother explaining to me that the bad guys are being caught. Those soldiers were my heroes.
My grand mother didn’t want anything bad to happen to the “kids”, and forgave them. Maybe she was thinking that from there on she was going to be safe.
She still lives in that same apartment.

Pleading For My Land

For those of you who never read or heard it-because it was in french- here is a "poem" of Herbert Pagani. I translated it -as good as i know how.
Just Wonderful.

11th of November 1975

Yesterday I was in the subway when I heard two ladies say :
“Did you see those Jews with their stories at the UN, those trouble-makers!”

It’s true.
We are trouble-makers.
It’s been centuries that we’ve been harassing the world… It’s in our nature!
Abraham with his unique G’od,
Moses with his Tables Of The Law,
Jesus with his other cheek, always ready for the other slap.
Then Freud, Marx, Einstein,
they were all annoyers, revolutionists, enemies of the Order.


Because no Order, whatever the century, could satisfy them,
given that they were always excluded from it.

To reassess, to see ahead,
change the world to change destiny,
this was the fate of my Ancestors.
This is the reason why all supporters of all implemented orders hate them.

The anti-Semite of the right blames the Jews to have provoked the bolchevist revolution,
It’s true. There were a lot, back in 1917.
The anti-Semite of the left blames the Jews of being the owners of Manhattan.
It’s true, there is a lot of Jewish capitalists.

The reason is simple:
Religion, culture, and the revolutionary ideal from one side,
wallets and banks on the other side,
are the only transportable valuables, the only homeland to those who don’t have a homeland.

And now, that it exists,
the anti-Semitism is being reborn from its ashes
–sorry! From our ashes-
and it is called anti-Zionism.
It was applied to individuals, now it applies to a nation.

Israel is a ghetto, and Jerusalem is Warsaw

…the Nazis who besiege us talk Arabic
And if their sickle is disguised in a crescent,
it’s to better trick the Left, all around the world.

I, a Jewish left-winger, don’t give a damn about a left
that wants to liberate men at the expense of other men,
because I am precisely of those.

All right for class war,
but I’m also for the right of being different.
If the left wants to include me in, it can’t ignore my problem.

And my problem is that since the roman deportations,
in the 1st century after Jesus Christ,
we have been, everywhere, cursed, banished, stalked, betrayed, denounced, crushed, despoiled, burnt and converted by force.


Because our religion,
which is our culture was dangerous.
Yes, dangerous!

A few examples…

Judaism was the first to establish Shabbat, day of the Lord, an obligatory, weekly day of rest.
Imagine the “joy” of the pharaohs, always a pyramid too late!

Judaism forbade slavery.
Can you imagine the reaction of the Romans,
antiquity’s most important wholesalers of free working force!

It is written in the Bible: “Land doesn’t belong to men, it belongs to G’od”
From this results the law of the land which automatically reassesses the ownership of the land every 49 years.
Can you imagine the effect of such a law on the popes of the Middle Ages and the empire-builders of the Renaissance!

It was important that people didn’t know…

So they began by forbidding the Bible,
then there were the disparagements,
walls of calumny that became walls of stones, and that they called ghettos.
Then there was the Inquisition, the pyres, and later the yellow stars.
Auschwitz is only an industrial example of the genocide, but there were thousands other handcrafted genocides.
I could spend three days only naming the Spanish, Russian, polish and North African pogroms.

Fleeing, running away, moving, the Jew has been everywhere… and he is from nowhere.

We are amongst the countries, like a child in public assistance:
I don’t want to be adopted anymore.
I don’t want my life to depend on my owner’s moods.
I don’t want to be a citizen-tenant.
I’ve had enough of knocking on History’s doors and to await the “come in”.
I’m Coming in and I’m yelling!
I’m home on earth and on earth I have my land.
It has been promised to me, and the promise will be kept.

What is Zionism ?

It can be defined in one simple sentence:

“Next Year Jerusalem”

No, it is not a Club-Med motto.
It is written in the Bible.
The best selling and the most wrongly read book in the world.
And this prayer became a scream, a cry of 2000 years,
And the father of Christopher Colombus,
Of Kafka,
Of Proust,
Of Chagall,
Of Marx,
Of Einstein,
and even Of Mr Kissinger,
repeated this phrase, this cry, at least once a year, at Pessah.

So is Zionism racism?
Make me laugh!
Is “sweet France, dear country of my childhood” a racist anthem?

Zionism is the name of a liberation combat.

Each one has got his “Jews” in this world:
The French have the Bretons, the Occitans, the Corsicans, the immigrant workers.
The Italians have their Sicilians,
The Yankees, their blacks,
The Spanish, their Basques.

Us, we are the Jews of ALL

And to those who’ll tell me: « but the palestinians ? »
I say” “I’m a Palestinian of 2000 years.
I’m the oldest oppressed of the world”

I’ll debate with them but I will never give up my place.
There is space for two people and two nations.
The borders must be defined together.
But the existence of one country can’t by any means exclude the existence of the other,
and the political options of a government have never reassessed the existence of any nation.

So why Israel ?

When Israel will be out of danger,
I will choose amongst the Jews and my arab neighbors, who is my brothers-in-thoughts.

Today, I am united with all my alike, even with those I hate, against this big insurmountable enemy: RACISM

Descartes was wrong:
“I think therefore I am” means nothing.
It has been 5000 years that we have been thinking and we still don’t exist.

“I fight therefore I am”

Herbert Pagani

Friday, August 29, 2008

"Hava Nagila" made in Lebanon

A few months ago, I was invited to dinner at a friend’s house. We were a bunch of good friends who often gather on week-ends instead of hanging out in night clubs.
After dinner, I proposed to one of the guest, a very dear doctor friend, to play the piano.

Before I go on with my story I would like to elaborate on this guy: When we first started meeting at diner parties or in restaurants we had always the same political point of views. One evening, the discussion was about Israel. Of course there were the attackers who would love to see the Jewish state vanish forever, and me, backed up by my Dr friend, who defended it with all the passion I had in me.

I was really happy that evening to find someone as fervent as I am. When I questioned him about his enthusiasm, he said that he admires the Jewish people for their strength and their determination. He is even working on signing a petition to renovate the Lebanese synagogue. I was startled. I had to tell him about me. And I did.
Since that day, we have a special complicity.

So that evening, I asked my Dr friend to play the piano. He decided that he will play a song for each one of us to sing along. There was the “lullaby” to the sleepy friend, Madonna’s “material girl” for the fashion victim etc… then came my turn. He winked and played “hava nagila” and he sang along. I laughed nervously. No one understood what it was. Then he switched to “hatikva”. He didn’t know the words but played it till the end. I sang in my heart. It was a very moving moment.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fashion Kills...

My entourage is a “jet-set”, “high society” one. And when there is jet-set, there is fashion.
I mean I consider myself as a fashion addict. But never a fashion victim…
What is wrong with all these girls, walking around with Palestinian scarves? The kaffiyeh comes now in different colors: blue, red, mauve, pink… does anyone understand the meaning of these scarves? Do they know what they are wearing? the symbole of it? Or is it a feature of the high society, to be brainless?
Never a fashion victim….


Sometimes I sit in the midst of a crowd and I think: here I am, a Jew, who is learning Torah, who is learning how to speak and read Hebrew, and who loves Israel… what am I doing here? Is it really hostile grounds? But these people around me are my friends…
Would they still be my friends if they knew who I really am? Do I want to continue living in the shadows, hiding my biggest pride?


The summer is almost over. Lebanese are rejoicing. They had a wonderful summer: tourism was blooming, restaurants and hotels were full, night clubs took in double the capacity of clubbers, beaches were invaded.
After 2 summers of frustrations ( the Israel-lebanon war in 2006, and the nahr el bared war in 2007), Lebanese wanted to celebrate. And to celebrate, there is nothing better than the fireworks… nostalgia?
I wonder if anyone is keeping an eye on what Hezbollah is planning for the coming months for this country… are they serious? A deal with the salafists??? there is something really wrong here...

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I came back from a trip to Paris… a very important trip. I am officially registered as Jewish. My children will not forget who they are. My heritage is not gone for ever. I’m so proud.

It took me a whole year to collect all the information I needed:
My grand-mother doesn’t have any proof of her being Jewish. She says she was too afraid to ask for any. I think that it is the guilt-feeling of marrying a none-Jew, that held her from ever going to a rabbi and asking for any written proof.

So I found myself in front of the difficult task of finding her sister, who lives in France, going to her, convincing her to give me her kettouba (an old kettouba dating from 1943, and issued in Lebanon!) , then going to the “consistoire de paris” with a big pile of paper (papers that prove links from my grand-mother to her sister, then my mother to her mother then me to my mother and grand-mother….), and proving I’m a Jewish.

I couldn’t believe how easy it was. Here I am, recognized by the Jewish community, officially.

It is just a piece of paper, and my belonging to my Jewish heritage goes a lot further than that, but it is like never having registered a born baby: the child exists, of course, but not officially. Same here, I felt that as long as I don’t have it archived somewhere, I don’t really exist.

The torch can still be passed on…

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Suppressed Memories

I started asking questions.
She always answers back in a low, fearful voice.
Does she remember Iraq? How old was she when they left? Were her parents religious? Does she speak Hebrew? Does she know her prayers? What does she remember of her traditions? What does she remember about the old Lebanon, who welcomed so many oppressed jews?
So many questions. She had been here all this time, always quiet. My grandmother kept all this for herself.
What was she thinking?? Another few years and all this heritage would have gone to waste…
One day, after she saw all the interest I was showing for Judaism, and after she begged me to be careful (like every day of the past few months), she said to me: “I always knew you were special”
Deep down inside, she was happy someone is passing the torch…

At every Jewish holiday, I try to summarize it to her: the story behind it (megilat Esther, the exodus of the Jews from Egypt…) the meaning, the symbols (like with the Seder ), the traditions during this holiday…
She rediscovered some souvenirs she had. She gave them meaning, like when she remembered looking for pieces of bread with a candle (“bedikat hametz”, a tradition just before Pessa’h) and I explained to her the meaning of this “bread hunt”, and why the use of the candle…

One day she dared to ask: “where do you think I’ll be buried?”
Her parents are buried in a Jewish cemetery, forbidden to visitors… She can never go to see their graves…

Sunday, June 29, 2008

How It All Started

A few months ago, I was surfing on the internet. I started a video game of a virtual world, amazed of what it had to offer… didn’t go there to socialize or anything, just heard of it on the news and went in by curiosity.

A week later, I was wondering on a virtual beach, discovering the “realness” of it all, when suddenly, I met an odd avatar.

We started talking. He said he was Jewish… I felt safe enough behind my avatar, speaking to an avatar who spoke a very good French (eliminating the possibility of him being a trap…), to tell him about my grandmother, and that I’m Lebanese.

He was moved. He asked if I was aware that I was Jewish. In fact I wasn’t really aware, it was somewhere in the back of my mind… time made me forget its existence.

We talked for hours and days. I discovered he is originally from Tunisia, living in France, and that he is a Lubavitch. I had no idea what Lubavitch meant. Neither the word “Shoah”.
Now, when I look back, I understand how much a learned in a year.

We “met” through msn, on video cam. I met his whole family. His daughter gave me lessons on Judaism. He did too. I used to spend hours, days and nights taking notes.
I was eager to learn. And the more I learned, the more I wanted to know…

A few months later, I was in Paris for a few days. I went to a synagogue for the first time of my life. I was overwhelmed. I even spent Roch Achana with my new spiritual family…

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Revelation

I was 8 years old. One day, I came home from school, and after having a discussion with a friend whose father was a Palestinian writer, I told my mother that Jews are horrible bad people. I could never forget the look on her face…
She then said she has something important to tell me: my grandmother, to whom I was very close, is Jewish. Of course it came as a shock.
This is when I first heard about the Jewish people, the Torah, the Holocaust, and Israel.
I immediately felt I belonged to this People.
For years I had to hide it.
Of course I understood the danger of revealing it: I used to go to an American school, and ironically, in Lebanon, Muslims go to American schools. Christians are more into the French system… Needless to say what I heard about Jews and Israelis on a daily basis, and from both students –my friends- and teachers. I was struck by all the aggressiveness and the hatred.
My grandmother is the incarnation of love and kindness in a person. So for me, she incarnated also my People.
I had to lie low. For many years…

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Motive...

For several months now I’ve been thinking of creating this Blog.
Several months ago, I began exploring a part of my identity, a part that I have always hidden.
Never did I imagine its importance.
Maybe now that I have achieved important life goals, I found myself confronted with its existence and its reality. It was time to deal with it.
Maybe I had to wait for the maturity and the courage to deal with it.
I am Lebanese. I am Jewish.