61 years ago she stepped on to a boat. Where it was going, whom she was with and what life would bring to her life were unanswered. But she took one step, then another.
Born in Haifa in the countryside, her home had 2 rooms, shared by her family and two uncles. Each day she would question them about life, specifically their limbs, as each was missing one. She wasn’t really sure why or what had happened, but she was curious, like any two year old would be.
As the sun would rise so would she, picking oranges and avocados in the fields, full of joy and imagination. As the days moved forward so did this young girl, up a hill step by step that seemed to never end.
In her hands, nothing more than a big glass with ice in it. At the top she and her Mom, her hero, would pick poppies and place them tightly in her small hand. As they walked down she would place the flowers into that glass, as the ice had melted and it had given those flowers a chance.
This girl only ever asked for a chance.
Once home she would play and play, fascinated with doors. As they would swing open she would sprint through them or test her young athleticism by waiting until the final moments and rapidly pull her face away from the closing door. It would drive her mother up the wall, yet her only comment would be repeated jokingly, ’your curiosity will kill you.’
Each weekend her Dad would return home from working, a provider and a man who once felt he would be the next Prime Minister in a state that was only 3 years old.
One day they left – moving from a newfound land to one that would bring newfound hope. It was her Mom that led them there; she was concerned for potential violence and knew that America would offer peace and opportunity.
She only wanted her family to have a chance.
Three years later, after living in Foehrenwald—a displaced persons camp in Germany—they made their way to this boat. You see, to immigrate to the states there were two options, and if you didn’t have any money you followed the path this young girl followed.
61 years later she is still on this land she now calls home. At times worried about her future, calling it ‘the fear machine’ that only a refugee can truly relate to. Essentially, safe by law but worries by subconscious.
And 61 years later her son gets to visit the land she walked, the hill she conquered and embrace the smell of those poppies she picked.
Tomorrow I get to visit Israel for the second time, and like our Mom told me prior to departing, ‘Son—go find the peace that the human heart gives people…as you’re going to walk right through the human heart.’
Oh, what a chance.