The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Trippin' With the Baby VIII: Meeting the Aunts

On motzai Shabbos two weeks ago, MHW called the Baby's great aunt, a woman who lived in Tel Aviv. This was not so simple because while, like me, MHW's understanding of Hebrew is pretty good, her facility with the spoken language reflects her 1970-era yeshiva high school education. Nevertheless, between broken Hebrew and broken English, MHW was able to communicate that we were in Israel and we had the Baby.

Early the next morning, I got a call from the Baby's aunt. Could we come over today? I said sure, and at 11 a.m. they showed up. They being the Baby's two maternal aunts and her charming 18 year old first cousin (whose English was excellent and allowed us to bridge the language gap).

The aunt's were out-of-their-keilim crazy about the baby, hugging her, kissing her, making silly faces and noises and doing all the other things you do when you want to express your love.

The morning was filled with mutual feelings of relief and joy. We had been mystified why no one from the Baby's family had showed up to take her when it became apparent that the mother had issues. Now we understood. One of the aunts had been in New York for the Baby's birth and had actually offered to take the Baby to Israel but was turned down by the state authorities. We were so happy to discover that there was capable, balabatish (not frum, balabatish) family in the picture who cared.

The aunts on the other hand, were thrilled to meet us and discover that the Baby was in good hands and was demonstrably happy and thriving. They had heard about us but had no way of knowing who we really were. They were genuinely grateful to us for caring for the Baby.

After a couple of hours, they left, after leaving some very cute outfits and a couple of stuffed animals. We exchanged email addresses and phone numbers and promised to keep in touch.

We don't know exactly how, but MHW and I both feel that this meeting changes everything.



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