Does stone-throwing count as work? How about Dylan in Hebrew?
Special to the Jewish Week
Shabbes! Shabbes!! Has it ever struck you as odd, those scenes in Jerusalem of fervently Orthodox Jews blocking cars and throwing stones on the holy day, to protest its desecration? To you, this may seem absurd and repellent, a blatant violation of the tranquility of Shabbat. To them, it’s a matter of life and death, not just a lifestyle choice. In short: what is or isn’t shabbesdik — in the spirit of the Sabbath, in Yiddish — is very much a subjective affair.
With a nod to Carrie Bradshaw, Anna Sophia Loewenberg webcasts her search for love in a town that’s never heard of JDate.
In a bright pink button-up dress, white knee-highs and dangly earrings, a daringly confident Su Fei saunters into a swanky Beijing boutique hotel for an evening of speed-dating, where she’ll sit down with 21 eligible bachelors — like Hai, Wukejia and Richard.
But for Su Fei, a curly-haired Carrie Bradshaw look-alike whose real name is Anna Sophie Loewenberg, finding a boyfriend in Beijing isn’t easy.
For the Jewish adults from Nazi Europe who spent some of their wartime years in a 40-square-block area of Shanghai, it was a difficult time. Low wages, if they had work. Crowded apartments. Disease and hunger.
For the kids, it was easier. They went to school and played.
For all, it was better than being back home under the swastika.
Her dream has been deferred — for a full half-century — but it hasn’t died. It has survived the Shoah, the squalid conditions for Jews on the run from the Nazis, of postwar Shanghai, and her husband’s desire to live in the States.
And now, 50 years after the idea first lodged itself in the mind, and in the heart, of Dina Noth, and more than a decade after her husband died, her dream is on the verge of coming true.
My father continues to breathe — huge, wheezing, unconscious but determined breaths — despite the doctor’s predictions, despite the Alzheimer’s that’s ravaged his brain and despite the broken hip and pneumonia that brought down the rest of him. And somehow, that continued existence seems entirely appropriate for this inadvertent survivor.