When I was growing up on Prospect Avenue in The Bronx, I went to a David Pinsky shul. David Pinsky was an afternoon Yiddish school my sisters and I attended. This, following a day in the New York public school system.
I began my public-school journey at P.S. 44, which housed kindergarten through third graders. I graduated from third grade, and then went on to P.S. 92 from fourth through sixth grade. I was back at P.S. 44 from seventh through ninth grades. And, finally onto Theodore Roosevelt High School on Fordham Road.
By the way, my high school was directly across from Fordham University, a Catholic University. On the grass of Fordham, under a large oak tree, is where my friends and I would study for our major exams. You may ask why we picked that spot, well wonder no more. We would pray for one priest or two nuns to pass us by, which would bring us good luck. Are you laughing, well don’t. We really believed this bubeh meyseh (old wives tale).
Ah, but I digress.
Once a year, every year, that we attended Yiddisheh shuleh, we received the famous “blue boxes.” We would stand at the bottom of the staircase leading to the 242 street “L” train, to beg the passengers to deposit some coins of money to help purchase and plant trees for the State of Israel.
Our teacher explained it was a great mitzvah to raise money for our homeland, the homeland for all the Jewish people, the State of Israel.
Now, once again, our homeland is witnessing and experiencing the most excruciatingly and horrifying manmade suffering. I no longer have any blue boxes.
I sure wish I did. It all seemed so simple when we heard the sound of coins being deposited into our blue boxes. I have both friends and relatives who reside in Israel. Am I frightened for then? You bet I am. I am terrified that so many innocent children, Israeli and Palestinian, must perish. Collateral damage? Two words which confuse the heck out of me.
Gosh, I wish I was back at Theodore Roosevelt High School. I understood the world better then. Well, anyway I thought I did.