Friday March 18, 1944
Tonight my father is showing us pictures from 1935 when he spent the summer in Palestine. Here’s what he wrote home: “And now about Haiffa and Palestine – In the first place the actual land in Palestine is exactly like Beirut – except that there are practically no trees here – only rocks and dirt – & dust – lots and lots of dust. The weather too is the same – very hot in the daytime – you fry in the sun & sweat in the shade – if you go bathing you come out of the water feeling like a boiled chicken. We looked around for a hotel and looked and looked – till finally we found the cheapest one we could get – at 50 cents each a night – Did you ever hear of such highway robbery? It’s not a bad room though – two beds and much stuff – Then we went out to see the city. The Jewish part is the largest – about 60,000 people – and as I said before, it’s built on the side of Mount Carmel.” Palestine was already a magnet that summer for European and Russian Jews fleeing pogroms and the Nazis. Only 3 years earlier, he had experienced and witnessed the beginning of that flight himself. Those are Bukharan Jews, he says, sitting at the base of the Wailing Wall. Is that his wife sitting next to him, with her face covered?
Light the Sabbath candles and be grateful we are in America.