A Word with You Press has had some very fine moments of bringing people together. How ironic, that this contest, which is as much about what divides us as what unites us, should evoke in me a very special memory of this contestant and friend to us all, Miryam Meiers. Miryam, a devout Jew and wife of a Rabbi entered what was often referred to as our “playground” and befriended whomever she chose, and she chose 80 year-old Peggy Dobbs, an equally devout born-again Baptist Christian. Their affection for one another transcended borders that others might have created, and it was clear in their on-line banter that they loved each other. I understand that they communicated privately as well, swapping recipes and keeping up with each others’ family. Isn’t that what’s supposed to happen? Isn’t that the real purpose of being a writer, connecting to each other in personal, loving ways? It only came to an end when Peggy passed away, saddening all of us. And, how life could be and should be amplifies the sadness in this second entry from my dear friend Miryam.
For Just a Moment
By M. Meier
There are moments.
When the curtain of time is held open, and one may step through the abyss in safety.
The lunch crowd was bustling in Jerusalem’s open market. I had finished my sabbath shopping and decided to have a bite to eat in one of the cafe stalls before catching the #7 bus home. I surprisingly found a table and snatched it. As I perused my surroundings I saw her. She was standing alone among the multitude of people inspecting the area for a place to sit, like myself a few moments before. I sensed by her face that she was tired and heard her faint sigh of frustration penetrate the cold December air. I spontaneously gestured for her to share my table. She looked at me with a questioning expression and I motioned for her again to please sit. She hesitated but sat down on the bench seat across from me as I smiled and introduced myself.
She shared a timid smile back.
“My name is Abiha. I live in Haifa and am visiting my daughter in Jerusalem today.”
We proceeded to talk over our lunch; mainly about our children and grandchildren while randomly sharing pictures on our phones. Any initial uneasiness quickly melted away, as her warmth reached into my heart. Our differences no longer seemed important. We were grandmothers, wives, career women, living in one ancient land called Israel. By the end of our lunch, Abiha had invited me to her home when I came to Haifa and we “friended” one another on Facebook. I reached out and took her hand. She squeezed my hand back and we said goodbye.
The next morning as I routinely checked the news, with horror I read that Rabbi Razed Shevach, 35, father of six was gunned down and killed by Arab terrorists while driving home just before midnight outside Jerusalem.
After the overwhelming sadness subsides, I reach for my phone and delete Abiha’s information. I check her Facebook page and discover she has already blocked me.