In 1980, my parents sent me to Israel with Camp Ramah for six weeks. As a 17-year-old, I never gave any thought as to the feelings my parents experienced sending their eldest child away for that long. Until that time, the longest we had been apart was during a week when they went to Europe.
Fast forward to Yom Kippur 2018. Nearing the end of the afternoon service, my mother, May-Ronny Zeidman, stood up to leave. She bent down and gave me a kiss; my husband, Dennis, stood and hugged and kissed her. I quickly rose, tapped her on the shoulder and gave her a big hug and kiss. As she walked away I was suddenly choked up and filled with emotion. The next day she was leaving for Israel for a month, and a brief thought crossed my mind: could this be the last time I embrace and kiss her?
I guess at some point the child becomes the parent just a little. At that moment I understood some of the feelings my parents felt as I boarded the bus in Warwick for my summer in Israel. I was simultaneously thrilled for the time she and her significant, Howard Brown, would be spending in my favorite place, as well as somewhat apprehensive and protective of her going. I was also excited for the adventures and the experience of “living” in Israel that she would have. I knew that I would miss seeing her.
Luckily, in the almost 40 years that have passed since my first visit, technology has made the world smaller, and I am certain I will have my usual daily contact and updates from her. I am also glad that more certainly, I along with all the readers of her column, are sure to gain the benefit of her trip in upcoming articles.
Before I left temple on Yom Kippur afternoon and then again during Neilah, I said a few prayers for her safe arrival in Eretz Yisroel, for a safe and enjoyable stay, and most important, for her safe return for all who love and miss her. Leich l’shalom, Go toward peace and return in good health!
Jeffrey Sock is May-Ronny Zeidman’s son.