Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Chani's Best Friend

we just came from seeing our friend, chani, the rabbi's wife at the chabad house. chani lives in a very simple apartment in the heart of thamel, right near the chabad house, where her husband, chezky ministers to the lost & lonely who seek a sense of home far from their own.

a few years ago, before their bar mitzvahs in haifa when they were 13 and 14, chani taught josh & ezi hebrew once a week for nearly two years in her home. she's a trained elementary school teacher and has the heart of a angel, always calm and humorous with the boys as they struggled with that strange tongue, so far from their daily realities.

ahh, chani, such a sweet, religious, kind-hearted maternal young woman who wants to have 5 kids by the time she's 30. a very gentle soul. her hair tucked back under a scarf like a 19th C. russian peasant. always hugging her three children and softly admonishing them while praising their character and resilience.

alas, what we didn't know was that the rabbi's wife in mumbai was chani's best friend. they spoke or skyped twice a day. chani spoke w/ her two hours before their chabad house in mumbai was brutally attacked last wednesday.

we knew that chani must have known the mumbai chabad family, but had no idea how close they were.

chani says she hasn't slept or eaten since last week. she looks so frail to me, like she's aged five years in a week.

of course, these religious women are frontier fortified, as they already live out on the edge of modern culture, holding true to ancient truths and ways of living that most of us have cast out on way to our modern vision of secular sanctity and freedom.

yes, chani's a strong woman living in a strange country. she will get through this, but there is this air of unreality about her as she comes to terms w/ her best friend's death at 27. 'she had so many dreams...', chani says solemnly.

another act of ceaseless violence...

sad, no? how cruel we human beans can be to each other.

such blind fury.

or, as ezi asked, 'how can people hate so much?'

as nick cave and the bad seeds sing, 'people ain't no good', in his somber, mellifluous voice.

vat a vorld we live in...

sometimes you just want to slip inside your own private amplitude

and disappear...

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