moving, lots of moving going on in my house. No, we’re not packing up and
leaving where we live. But in the last month or so, our last child left for
school, I had three days of “empty nesting” and then my sister moved in with
us. She had been in Israel for almost 20 years, and was finally coming back. Her
Israeli spouse got here a week ago, and the time in between was all about
getting a space ready in the house for them. They’ll be welcome here as long as
it takes for them to get settled, find work, and fine a place to live.
work at home, and taking advantage of the opportunity of all the kids’ bedrooms
being unoccupied, I took over the smallest one as my new office space. This
meant moving of another kind: Hauling a desk, filing cabinets, moving files,
(which of course, had to be gone through, culled, re-organized), schlepping
supplies one or two stories upstairs and beds downstairs. Then there is the
satisfying time spent arranging one’s new living or work space. My sister was
doing this also, two stories below.
I sat in my new room, with real window light coming through, and the music I
liked playing, I started thinking about how we move into new spaces, how we get
are now a family of all adults, of which two are immigrants. After all, my
sister has been in Israel for so long that much of American life (and prices,
both high and low) are a shock to her – to them both, really. They were urban; we
live in the suburbs. They are used to open-air markets; we have grocery stores,
and the farmers’ markets are pretty much done for the season. They’re used to
bringing their dog (yes, there is a dog, too) into stores and people’s homes as
a matter of course and running off the leash, and that’s not the case ‘round
here. The list goes on and on.
sister arrived in time to help us put up our sukkah, and we were all able to
share a meal in it. It’s time to take it down. It’s a fragile thing, as all sukkah
structures are. We have to pack it up, store it, and have it ready for next
our family/guests feel like our house is as fragile as a sukkah, wondering how
long it will be the roof over their heads. Immigrants all over the world feel
like that. A hundred years ago, 50 years ago, yesterday, millions of immigrants
arrived here and if they were lucky, they stayed with relatives until they got
America solid under their feet.
The world is again filled with terrified migrants, wanderers looking for a safe place, no matter how fragile, to exhale and begin to think beyond the moment. I wish everyone who has the opportunity to help them would remember the sukkah. A fragile, impermanent home makes us grateful for the ability to come inside where it’s safe and warm. Those who wander deserve no less.