All I could think about was the journey that had brought me to this moment
Founding Director of Momentum, formerly the Jewish Woman’s Renaissance Project (JWRP)
Israel and Judaism played minor roles in my life as I grew up in Toronto, Canada, attending public schools with few Jews. In 1984 I was a radio copywriter in southwest Ontario, and early in my post-college career, I won a national award for an X-mas commercial I’d written.
Before making a post-award career move to a bigger market, I decided to quit my job and go backpacking through Europe. Through yad Hashem, I ended up in Israel (I had no plans to visit), and that sparked a journey to Judaism that changed the course of my life.
Now fast forward to 2018.
After over 30 years of working to strengthen Jewish communities in Canada and the United States, and after founding The Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP) that’s now called Momentum, my husband and I merited to make Israel our home.
There I was, at Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital, holding a miracle — my first grandchild — feeling the purest love I’ve ever felt. This precious, tiny bundle was not only the first grandchild to be born on both sides of the family; she was the first from our family lines to be born in Eretz Yisrael.
I thought of my great-grandmother from Yvansk, Poland, whom I was named for, who died in Treblinka. I was holding her great-great-great-granddaughter, Ahuva Palatnik, born in Yerushalayim, Ir Hakodesh. All I could think about was the journey that had brought me to this moment.
My great-grandmother had died because she was a Jew, so that we, and all those we try to inspire, could live to be Jews.
I had no words, only the deepest gratitude to Hashem for giving me the clarity, courage, and opportunity to be part of His incredible plan.
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 760)
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