Sunday, May 29, 2011

Honesty and The Jewish Community VII: Sadness

(continued as part of this series)

When I left off the story, I was driving into the Old City with my good friend Rivka T. and my almost 2 year old baby, Kayla, when I had just received the news that my boss had just been arrested.

After I got off the phone, I remember that I was literally shaking. To try to give it an analogy, and please excuse me if this comes off the wrong way, I think it's like the disconnect between getting sick, going to the doctor, being told there are some negative results, and that they need more testing, over and over again - and then being told finally that it's cancer. As much as you have a nagging feeling telling you this could be bad, until it's official, it just doesn't really click until the news hits.

Thank God, Rivka T. was a lifesaver that day. We parked, walked through the Old City, I stopped in for a very quick hello at my cousins who live there, went through the Cardo, and down the steps toward the Kotel - quite the feat with a stroller and a rambunctious, tired 2-year old. After going through security, which was quite difficult as well, we realized that Kayla had lost a shoe. Thankfully and surprisingly, I was able to run back and find it rather quickly; we checked the pictures we'd taken and realized it had to have happened in the last few minutes.

A few minutes later, Rivka T. offered to watch Kayla while I would go daven Mincha at the Kotel. As I finished Mincha, my phone rang. It struck me later that the people calling me, vendors we had used and owed a substantial amount of money, are not Jewish - and yet, despite no reason to have added care for us, despite being owed so much money - they always acted more properly than any individual, professional, or company we dealt with that entire year. They had just read about the arrest in the Wall Street Journal, and were afraid how it would impact us - and in turn, them. I asked them for patience, as I knew as much as they did at that point, and thankfully, they graciously gave me time. (Sadly, they were probably hurt more than anyone other than perhaps the employees once everything ended, never receiving what they were owed - and yet to this day, they have been the most kind, honest, gracious people.)

A little while later, we were walking out of the Old City, when I spotted a familiar figure walking toward us with a friend of his. I turned to Rivka and immediately pointed the person out, and said "What if he doesn't know? How do I tell him?!"

A minute later, we came closer. The person I'd pointed out had recognized me, and was smiling broadly, saying, "What's up!? What are you doing here?!" We'd been pretty friendly in the past, and I gave him a brief hug, then paused as he looked at my somber face while I asked if he'd heard anything that happened today. He gave me a questioning, worried look, then we stepped off to the side and sat on the ground at the edge of the stone-brick walkway.

After a second to gather myself, I told him simply:
"I'm so sorry... Your father was arrested this morning."

(to be continued)