Thursday, June 9, 2011


What a Difference a Visit Makes!

Summer vacation is over and tomorrow Bracha and her cousins Dena and Aviva and are starting their senior year at The Beit Chaya School that they attend. Fridays in school, are a special day for the senior class. This is the morning the girls do their chessed program by volunteering at the Jewish organization in their city. Over the years the girls learnt what a special mitzvah it is to help the less fortunate.

Posted on the school bulletin board are many different chessed programs the girls can choose from. Each girl has to sign her name to the first and second chessed program that they wanted to do. The school said that they would try to give each girl their first choose.

To help make it easier to choose, on the first Friday of school, their Principal, Rabbi Schwartz organized an assembly and invited speakers from the different organizations came to speak to tell why they needed volunteers and what they expected in a volunteer.

Rabbi Schwartz spoke at length about the meaning of volunteering and doing chessed. He said chessed in Hebrew means ‘acts of loving kindness and volunteering means to give of yourself by helping others. Combined, he told the girls, you will be doing a great kindness and fulfilling an important mitzvah.

Besides being first cousins, Bracha, Dena and Aviva are great friends and do everything together. And volunteering was no exception. The girls decided they wanted to do their chessed together at the children’s hospital. When it was time for the speaker from the hospital, the girls listened very carefully to all the details. The hospital was looking for girls who were friendly, reliable and would be able to entertain their young patients. They knew this is where they really wanted to volunteer.

When it was time to sign up, they quickly signed their names beside the option of going to the children's hospital. The girls had a plan. When they went to visit they would bring with their musical instruments. Bracha plays the guitar, Dena plays the tambourine and synthesizer and Aviva can play the accordion. Together, they made a great band.

On their first trip to the hospital, the girls made an Oneg Shabbat for the children. They played musical requests from the children, nurses and doctors. Everyone was singing and clapping. A wonderful time was had by all. The young patients had a reason to forget why they were in the hospital. Everyone was happy and smiling.

The parents who were visiting their children were so happy to see their children enjoying themselves. They thanked Bracha, Dena and Aviva for coming and spending time at the hospital, and the girls felt great satisfaction in knowing their visit made a difference.

Each week one of the girls would tell a Shabbat story. And of course there was always a special activity or two.

Bracha is great at card tricks and her young friends would sit 'wide eyed' as they watched the speed of her hands move quickly across the cards. Everyone would clap and when she was finished they all wanted to know how to do the tricks.

Aviva loved to tell riddles. One by one laughing and excited, the children would call out different answers.

Dena is the composer of the group and she loves to teach the young patients a poem or a song that she wrote. This week she is teaching a Shabbat poem.


Mother lights the Shabbat candles

as her family surrounds her.

She covers her eyes

and says the ancient Bracha.

Together they answer, "Amein!"

Shabbat Shalom to everyone!

The candles gently flicker.

The table is set with the best dishes

and the wine bottle without the label.

The challah is covered, waiting its turn,

to give the mitzvah of another Bracha.

Shabbat Shalom to everyone!

The family welcomes the Shabbat Malka,

singing Shalom Aleichim.

Father recites the Kiddush,

together they answer, "Amein!"

Shabbat Shalom to everyone!

Now its the challah's turn

to be in the spotlight.

Father recites the Bracha

and together they answer, "Amein!"

Shabbat Shalom to everyone!

The Shabbat day is peaceful

no cars, telephones or business.

The gift, Hashem gave to His people,

to enjoy for all eternity.

Shabbat Shalom to everyone!

The morning passes quickly and now it is time for the girls to leave. They wish each child Shabbat Shalom and a Refu'a Shelayma. Next Friday, Im Yirtzeh Hashem, they will return to bring a smile and some joy to their young friends who have to remain in the hospital.

As the girls walk home, Aviva tells her cousins how fortunate it is they are healthy and able to spend Shabbat at home with their families. "Next week," Aviva continues, "Let's make a little play for the children, using some of the patients." Dena and Bracha agree and they plan to meet and start working on the play Moetzi Shabbat.

Shabbat Shalom to everyone!

I hope you enjoyed my story. Please feel free to comment [below] and forward the story to your friends.

Until next time….

Safta Miriam

* not a real school

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Chapter 10


A Very Special Trip.

Where is the Brown family going?
Why is this trip so special?
Read and find out…….

Avi and Ari had been to Israel many times to visit their grandparents. Now the whole family was going to make Aliyah, which means that they are going to live in Israel. Israel is the home of the Jewish People.

Avi and Ari were so excited. They have wanted to live in Israel for a long time. Their parents told them that they are going to live in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, not far from their grandparents.

For many weeks, the family had been packing and getting ready for their big move. Their mother told the children that they each can pack three special activities to take on the airplane.

Finally the big day had arrived. Ari and Avi were watching for the big moving truck to come to their house. Ari saw a large truck first coming down the street and he shouted, “it’s here!” The truck pulled up to the family’s house. Four men came to pack all the furniture into brown cardboard boxes and put everything into the truck.

The moving truck will take the family’s furniture and boxes to the port, where it will be loaded onto a large ship headed for Israel. Avi asked one of the men “how long does it take for the ship to get to Israel?” “About three weeks, answers the man.”

That evening, after saying goodbye to all their friends and relatives, a van arrived to take the family to the airport. Everyone was so excited. Ari said to his parents, “we have been planning this trip for several months, I can’t believe that today we are making Aliyah.”

At the airport, the family stood in line waiting to go through security and get check in. They will also get their boarding passes. The luggage that they are taking with them is checked and loaded into the airplane. Now the family is eagerly waiting the call for the passengers to board the airplane.


The stewards and stewardesses, these are the people that work on the airplane and help all the passengers find their seats were already on board. After the plane takes off, they will serve snacks and a meal. Mrs. Brown is sitting with Bracha and Mr. Brown is sitting with Ari and Avi. While everyone is boarding, beautiful Israel music is playing.


As the airplane starts climbing, Mr. Brown says a special prayer for a safe trip.

The stewardess and stewards start passing out snacks and drinks. Avi chose orange juice and Avi chose apple juice. In one hour supper will be served. Then the lights will be dimmed, so that everyone can rest.

After many hours the airplane is floating gently in the sky getting closer and closer to Israel. Avi and Ari are so excited they are having a hard time sleeping. Soon it will be morning. The boys are anxious to see sunrise. At the first sign of daybreak, the stewards and stewardess hand out hot towels so that everyone can wash their face. `

At the back of the airplane, some men are getting ready to say their morning prayers. Mr. Brown is also there. The boys will say their morning prayers at their seat.

The smell of hot bagels travels through the airplane. Everyone is hungry and eagerly awaiting for breakfast to be served. The pilot announces that the arrival time is in two hours.

Avi and Ari enjoyed their breakfast, bagels cheese, eggs, vegetable and chocolate milk. Mr. Brown tells the boys the pack up their activities and listen to the instructions.

The pilot announces that they are now flying over Israel and will be landing in fifteen minutes. The ‘fasten your seatbelt sign’ is flashing and the airplane is starting to go down.

Avi and Ari are busy looking out of the window at all the beautiful sites.

The airplane gently touches the ground with some soft bumps. Shalom Alcheim, welcome to Israel, is playing over the loudspeakers. The pilot thanks all the passengers for flying EL AL. The doors of the airplane are opened.

The boys get off the plane with their parents and sister and board the bus that will take them to the terminal. They are shouting and jumping for joy “WE ARE FINALLY HOME.” At the terminal the family goes to receive their TODUT OLAY, the paper that says that they made Aliyah.

While picking up their suitcases, Ari sees his grandparents waiting to take them to their new home in Jerusalem.

After lots of hugs and kisses, everyone piles into the van.
When the Brown family arrived at their new home, they find a sign on their front door that says…….




This is the last chapter of The Adventures of Avi and Ari.

I hope you enjoyed the stories. Please feel free to comment.

After Pesach, I will be posting other stories that I have written.

See you soon!
Saftala Miriam

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Chapter 9


Saying Good-Bye

Ari and Avi are busy saying good-bye to everyone as they
get ready for their special trip.

The last days of school were quickly approaching. Avi and Ari were looking forward to the summer vacation. The boys had special plans.

This was going to be their last summer in Toronto. In the middle of August, the Brown family were leaving Toronto and going to make Aliyah and live in Israel.

There was so much to do in such a short time. Although the family had received their okay from the Jewish Agency, they still had a few more matters to look after before the big day. Packing was one of those matters.

Mrs. Brown gave the boys the job of packing all their toys, puzzles, books and prize possessions. First they had to sort out what they needed and what they didn’t need. From the pile of didn’t need, Mrs. Brown told the twins to make a second pile of good and bad condition. The good condition toys and books would be given to a Gemach for children. Mr. Brown would try to repair the bad condition toys and books so that they could be given away. If they weren’t useable they would go in the garbage.

Sorting their books and toys was a harder job that the boys ever imagined. It seemed like they needed everything. Their mother suggested making a pile of books they read often and another pile of books they hardly ever read. The same plan for their toys. What they play with and what they don’t play with.

The boys spent two days sorting their toys, puzzles and books. Finally they were ready to start packing the box. Mrs. Brown gave the boys a large box and many plastic bags. She told the boys to make sure each puzzle went into a separate bag before it was packed. It took two boxes to pack up everything. When the boxes were packed they were closed with tape and Mrs. Brown wrote with a red marker on the box ‘boys toys, books and puzzles’ and gave the box a number.

On the last day of school, Mrs. Brown had arranged for the boys to make a good-bye party for their classmates and teachers. They brought chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles, ice cream and juice.

Their classmates had their own little surprise. Each child wrote a good-bye note, drew a picture and in the corner pasted a photo of them. The notes and pictures were then put in a binder. Mrs. Stein, Ari’s teacher and Mrs. Eisen, Avi’s teacher also wrote notes. So did Rabbi Schwartz, the school principal. In the binder was also the e-mail address for each child’s family. The boys said that they would keep in touch. Everyone would want to know what going to school in Israel was like.

After loads of hugs and pats on the back, the boys once again said good-bye to everyone; they left their school for the very last time.

Avi told Ari that he had a funny feeling in his stomach. Ari said he also had a funny feeling.

The boys spent their time visiting relatives, last minute shopping with their parents and just hanging around with their friends.

Mr. Brown came home from work and announced to the family that he had a surprise. “Today was my last day at work, and since everyone has been working so hard to get ready to make Aliyah, I thought it would be nice to spend a few days relaxing in the country, before the movers come. A friend of mine has a cabin on the lake and he is lending it to us for a few days. We can go tomorrow morning.”

“Hurray,” shouted the boys. They were getting bored with nothing special to do. Except for the activities that they were taking on the airplane, all the rest of their toys, books and puzzles had been packed.

Mrs. Brown told the boys to put their bathing suits, four shirts and short sets, underwear and pajamas in their backpacks. “Don’t forget to pack your toothbrushes, she reminded them.

The next morning the Brown family all piled into the family car. Everyone was very excited about this little vacation. “How long is it going to take to get to the country,” asked Ari. “About two hours,” said their father.

“Why don’t we play a car game to help the time pass.” Avi suggest an alphabet game where the first person says a word and the next person has to say a word that starts with the last letter of the previous word. Everyone agreed.
Mrs. Brown said that she would start, followed by Ari, Avi and last would be Mr. Brown.

Mrs. Brown said “Israel.” “Ari replied, “love.” Then Avi answered “eager.” “Ready,” said their father. The family played the game for most of the trip. “I’m hungry,” said Ari. “Me too,” said Avi. “We are almost there said their father.” Mrs. Brown had prepared sandwiches and salad for lunch. “We will eat in a few minutes,” replied their mother.

The family arrived at the country house. They spent the next few days, swimming, hiking, bar’ b’quing and roasting marshmallows in a night campfire while their father told stories.

The little vacation was very enjoyable. Now it was time to go home. The moving truck was coming next week. Then their new adventure would begin.

See you soon.
Have a great week.
Safta Miriam