at home with ann


Posted on: 3 March 2006

Once you have lived a moment at the Wall, you never go away.
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

I would like to post a story related by Golda Meir. She was Israel’s Foreign Minister 1956-1966 and Israel’s third Prime Minister 1969-1974

“One evening… I went to the Western Wall. I had grown up in a Jewish home, a good traditional Jewish home, but I wasn’t at all pious, and the truth is that I went to the Wall without much emotion, just as something that I knew I ought to do. Then, all of a sudden, at the end of those narrow, winding alleys in the Old City, I saw it. The Wall itself looked much smaller than it does today, after all the excavations. But, for the first time I saw the Jews, men and women praying and weeping before it and putting kvitlach, their scribbled petitions to the Almighty, into its crannies. So this was what was left of a past glory, I thought… all that has remained of Solomon’s Temple. And in those orthodox Jews with their notes, I saw a nation’s refusal to accept that only these stones were left to it and an expression of confidence in what was to come in the future. I left the Wall changed in feeling, uplifted is perhaps the word.

In 1971 I was awarded the Freedom of Jerusalem – probably the greatest tribute ever paid to me – and at that ceremony I told of yet another memorable visit I had made to the Wall, this time in 1967, after the Six Day War. For 19 years from 1948 – 1967 we were banned from going to the Old City or praying at our most holy site, the Wall. On the third day of that war, 7th June 1967, Israel was electrified by the news that our soldiers had liberated the Old City and that it was open to us again. I had to fly to the United States three days later, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave Israel without going to the Wall again. That Friday morning….. I received permission to go to the Wall, despite the fact that I wasn’t in the government then, but just an ordinary citizen like any other.

I went to the Wall together with some soldiers. There in front of it stood a plain wooden table with sub-machine guns on it. Uniformed paratroopers wrapped in prayer shawls clung so tightly to the Wall that it seemed impossible to separate them from it. They and the Wall were one. Only a few hours earlier, they had fought furiously for the liberation of Jerusalem and had seen their comrades fall for its sake. Now, standing before the Wall, they wrapped themselves in prayer shawls and wept, and I, too, took a sheet of paper, wrote the word “shalom” (peace) on it and pushed it into a cranny of the Wall as I had seen others do so long ago. As I stood there one of the soldiers (I doubt that he knew who I was) suddenly put his arms around me, laid his head on my shoulder, and we cried together. I suppose he needed the release and the comfort of an old woman’s warmth, and for me it was one of the most moving moments of my life.”


On every trip I take to Israel, I try to visit the Wall. Of course because of that little fella above, these trips are more and more frequent. I try to imagine how it would have been to walk those winding alley ways in the days of the Temple. I like to recite a few psalms and to place kvitlach, a request, a petition to the Almighty in the cracks. I placed a special note there in January and I look forward to having the chance to do so again very very soon.

With all my love and best wishes to you all for a wonderful weekend and Shabbat Shalom.


11 Responses to "AN OLD WOMAN’S WARMTH"

Awww… Boaz is as cute as ever.

The Wall is an awesome place to be. For me personally it holds no particular meaning, but feeling the historical resonance of the place is amazing.

this thought was just what I needed today, thank you Ann.

Ann, thanks for the story – Golda Meir is a person I have always admired. I’ve told you before, I dream of traveling to Israel someday. I would love to stand at the Wall,and be a witness to those prayers. When will you be going back for a visit?

Is Boaz the cutest child ever? I look forward to his pictures every week.

Have a blessed weekend.

Thank you, Ann. You know, my Friday’s aren’t the same since I bumped into you on the internet. I always look forward to the pictures of Boaz. And I really appreciate the story.

I think looking at Boaz’s face can cure the blues. No matter what mood I am in when I come to your blog looking at that sweet boy’s smile makes me smile. Your story is touching and I appreciate you sharing it with us. šŸ™‚

I love visiting here and seeing that beautiful adorable bundle of joy’s face.. he is sooo darn cute!

God bless all of you..

hugs Janice

that wa so touching ann šŸ™‚ I pray one day that both of us will meet at God’s Holy Temple šŸ™‚

The proud grandmother says thank you… I’ll be back there in five weeks time with all my family.. my mother, Jamie and Rachel…oy vey!

lotsa luv ann xxxx

Thank you Ann šŸ™‚

Both for the story and the wonderful pictures.

Eliza xxxxxx

I hope you’re not offended by this one. How do you know a Jew is from Poland? He stands at the wailing wall with a harpoon.
Anycase, there definitely are places which are genuinely awe-inspiring.

Ann-I loved this post. As a child that was raised in a very orthodox Anglo-Catholic home with a father figure who was VERY sympathiteic to Israel, I have a deep desire to go to The Wall. And Golda? All that one can say is amazing. Is it considered sacreligious for someone who is not a Jew to place a scroll in the wall? I am guessing no, as we are all children of Abraham, but I was curious. If so, please place Golda’s scroll in the wall for all of us-increase the peace!

Take care, and thanks for the words of encouragement-you are a peach.

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the loves of my life

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March 2006
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