Building Blocks

Building Blocks
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
 
During our too-infrequent visits together, my father and I like to pull out the old Camp Ramah songsters, painstakingly hand-typed, mimeographed, and vocalized.  We sing together classic Zionist songs, Shabbat melodies from various traditions, and indescribable memories.  I've enjoyed swimming in my father's memories of the songs, and have, over the years, discovered them waiting in my own soul as well.
 
I never traversed the dangerous border to the "Sela Ha'Adom", the red rocks of Petra, but I weep when I sing the song of three who went out on that journey, full of dry sand, mystery, and death.  I did not participate in founding Kibbutzim or making the desert bloom, but these shared soulful memories inspire my heart to sing, as I metaphysically walk through Eucalyptus groves and smell the fragrance of the coming evening as the flocks of sheep return.
 
Just now, in chilly, rainy Jerusalem, I remembered that a friend asked me to bring back some stones, to be used as grave markers back in the United States for cemeteries and our Wall of Memory at shul.  I've forgotten over and over to gather some memory-rocks along a whirlwing trip through Israel, but it occured to me, as I looked down to avoid the rain, that the stones that today build memory for our people are not just to be found in fields - they were all around me.  I picked up some pieces of scattered stone from a construction site and put them in my pocket, caressing them the way I have held stones in Yad Vashem's Valley of the Communities. 
 
These stones and those stones mean something.  They are not the red stones of Petra, they are not an idealistic reflection of the founding of the state.  But someone should write a song about them, because they are living touchstones of our People's memories being created every day.

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Announcing ShefaJournal 5770:1 - "The Relationship Between Conservative Judaism and the Conservative Movement" http://tiny.cc/sj5770
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Rabbi Menachem Creditor
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-- menachemcreditor.org

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