an attractive, young looking woman, can be seen with her beautiful two children
walking mysteriously up and down the aisles of Temple Beth Tzedek almost every
Schabbath. With her smiling face,
youthful strut and attractive figure, she can be mistaken for a model,
advertising the most recent style in women's attire. In a more close encounter,
we find she is the rabbi’s wife, but not the proverbial rebbetzin.
spent her childhood and growing up years in a town south of Tel Aviv,
Israel, where she was born. She has
a delightful accent and spoke to me of her happy and carefree youth.
This state of affairs ended when she was eight years old and a child had
been kidnapped. Caution became the
order of the day. No unsupervised
children could play outdoors for fear of possible life threatening consequences.
She lived in a happy family with her older brother and younger sister.
Her brother lives with his wife and children in a Kibbutz
(Kibbutzim are no longer the socialistic places they once were, but are
owned by various people who rent out portions of the facilities. Children still attend schools together uniformly
and the land on which the buildings stand is still jointly possessed).
attended two years in an architectural college before joining the army. Because
of her education, she worked in drafting rather than carrying a gun.
When she had served her twenty-four months of service, she needed some
respite and took a trip to Dahab, Egypt, where
she enjoyed the Red Sea and its beauty (nearly twenty years ago). It was there
where she met American tourists. She traveled to Thailand, to Naples, loved the
tour. After a month of sightseeing,
she ultimately took advantage of
her remaining time and situation to travel further, ending up in Los Angeles, California.
in America was an adventure for her. Her
English was flawed (as she so succinctly described it, “I had to make up
everything from scratches”) so the job that she found was in teaching, where
she worked for number of years with
young children, instructing them in Hebrew. Additionally, she did some tutoring
to earn a living. It was in 2005 that she met Perry, who was then the rabbi in
the synagogue which was attached to the school in which she taught Kindergarten.
never thought much what she wanted to be, do, or what she wanted of life.
She loved the land of Israel, the Israeli people that she found who
befriended her, and the fact that she could travel whenever possible.
She reminisced about her ancestors.
Her paternal grandfather was a holocaust survivor of European birth.
He went to Cypress after the Shoah, married in the camp there, and placed
himself on a lottery for entrance to Israel.
It took some time before the couple were admitted into what was to become
their home. Granddad was
traditional. She has many happy
memories of him. He died when Safi
was twenty-three years old. Safi’s
parents are secularists and raised their offspring in that fashion.
She is happy raising her
two children: son Nadai, almost five, and daughter Sivan, age three.
When asked what else brings her joy, she answered readily: “Being in a
Jewish bubble.” Her wishes were
first answered when she walked into Kadima School and made her acquaintance with
a number of Israelis who have become fast friends. If she were a magician she would turn on a switch and turn
Buffalo into eternal summer!
does not have any unusual expectations. Travel,
warm weather, raising her little family with her husband, give her a sense of
satisfaction. Having some good
Israeli friends is an added ingredient bringing happiness into her busy life.
Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the author of several books and articles.