Friday, August 19, 2005

The Lillinthals

A few years ago, I was with a friend, and we were thinking of somewhere fun to go for Shabbat. We decided on Gaza, and I started calling everyone in my phone to see who had a contact there. One friend had another friend who had been there, and he got me the number to the Lillinthals. I called them, told them that my friends had been at their house, and could my friend and I come for shabbat. They readily agreed, andso we went. We told the bus driver we were going to the Lillinthals, and he dropped us off by their house. When we went in they immediately served us cakes and drinks. They told us they werent quite ready for Shabbat, we couldnt help, but we should go see where the Arabs shoot at them from. So we went to this wall where you see Khan Yunis. Shabbat there was amazing. She is an American lady, from Brooklyn if I remember correct. He's Israeli born, from Chaifa. They had other people there also, a couple with a baby. At night we sat and listened to the sound of rockets falling. They told is what it had been like there at the beginning, before Oslo. When they built their Bet Knesset, all the Arab chiefs from all the surrounding tribes came to the dedication. There was always a fence around the settlement, but the Arabs used to all hop it to come to work. They had hired an arab from Khan Yunis to teach them Arabic. It was a peaceful beautiful area until Oslo. Then we gave the Arabs guns, gave the terrorists power, and it all went to hell. They used to occasionally talk to their Arabic tutor on the phone, but he was scared of the extremist leaders in Khan Yunis coming after him for talking to a Jew. Then they changed the fence to an electric one, barbed wire around it, soldiers hanging from a crane over the area between Jew and Arabs. They had a beautiful house, it had been recently remodeled. Mr Lillinthal was in charge of filling the soda machines around the army bases, their backyard was stocked high with drinks. They told us story after story of peoples houses getting hit with rockets, their cars getting hit, watching rockets fall in front of them. It was an amazing Shabbat.
This morning I saw them in Jerusalem. They were walking around the Old City, and asked me how to get somewhere. I recognized them, and asked them how they were. They were fine, they said, staying at the Jerusalem Gold hotel, til they had somewhere else to go. Her sister was from Netzer Chazani, and they were sending them to the Golan for now. I didnt know what to tell them. This elderly couple, they had hosted people every Shabbat for years, all strangers, always going out of their way. Every time I talked to someone who had been in Neve Dekalim, they told me they had gone to the Lillinthals. I stood in front of this couple, now homeless, totally shocked. I gave them my number, asked them to please call if they need anything. I hope they do.


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