Ruti Eastman

Ruti Eastman fell in love with Israel on her first visit, but had to wait 16 years to make aliyah in 2007. She writes about her adventures in Israel, as well as about the family history she wants to capture for her children. She has worked variously as an editor, teacher, artist, radio disc jockey, US army soldier; but her favorite job description is "raises crops of boys." Ruti writes at "Never Ruthless" and her book of collected essays is due out in 2017.

Families in Jerusalem

It’s family. That’s what it’s all about.

Today, I read the sad news that someone’s child at Tzomet HaGush decided to try to run over someone else’s child and got shot and finally died for his efforts. (Please God, the victim of the attack will recover.) Then I read about someone’s daughters who tried to sneak bomb materiel into Israel from Gaza in medicine containers. One of the sisters was coming to Israel for cancer treatment. (Let the full magnitude of that sink in.)

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Posted by Ruti Eastman in Essays
Who says cats are practical?

Who says cats are practical?

One of the delightful things about my early morning sojourn to my ulpan class in Jerusalem used to be the stroll down Emek Refaim Street.  You never know what you’ll see in Jerusalem, and with its college-town feel, Emek Refaim is a particularly interesting street.  One morning, the cats were all lined up for their appointments at the local veterinary clinic.

Or so I thought.

I observed in sociological fascination to learn that Israeli cats wait in line much as Israeli people do.  (“Are you before me?  Who is after you?”  “I’m after him, and her, and before you.  Watch out for the big one.  He always slips in at the last moment, claiming he’s in pain and can’t speak Hebrew.”)

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Posted by Ruti Eastman in Snippets
Flagging Memories: From Respect to Revelry

Flagging Memories: From Respect to Revelry

When I was a little girl growing up in the United States, American flags would be displayed proudly on Flag Day and Independence Day. Older people even had them flying on their homes on Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day. And, of course, there were people who flew the American flag all the time — some taking it down at night, and all being reverently careful to keep the flag from touching the ground.

Times changed. Fewer homes flew flags. Fewer people knew it was Flag Day or Memorial Day. It was hard to completely forget Veterans’ Day, because invariably there would be some old fellow with watery eyes shining with an old doughboy toughness from beneath his military cap, his jacket covered with medals of heroic campaigns forgotten. Red poppies used to be given out by the veterans, and flags were posted at the graves of war dead. Veterans’ Day was in November, Memorial Day was in May. The seemingly unrelated Fourth of July was easy to remember, because it was a day of sales and fireworks and barbecues with the neighbors. There might still even be parades…

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Posted by Ruti Eastman in Essays
Even the Beggar Stood

Even the Beggar Stood

The Dearly Beloved and I went to Yerushalayim today to meet with friends.

As we made our way down Yafo Street, I realized that people were beginning to stand and aim their cameras at some point up the street. Being curious about what they were looking at, and completely having pushed the significance of the day out of mind, I stopped and looked at them. Suddenly, the moment they were anticipating came: the siren began its terrible-yet-comforting wail to mark the moment of silence in memory of our brave, broken, betrayed brethren.

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Posted by Ruti Eastman in Essays

Bless the trees!

Every year, I think I’m going to fulfill the very simple mitzvah of saying the “Birkat HaIlanot,” the blessing said on flowering trees that do not yet bear fruit. It’s just a simple matter of walking to one of the houses in the community that has identified its trees correctly and has posted instructions and the blessing for the ease of passersby. Not a big deal, right?

But this mitzvah is done only in Nisan… and three guesses what I and all my fellow Jewish homemakers are up to our eyeballs doing. Invariably, the month passes, and I simply didn’t get around to it.

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Posted by Ruti Eastman in Snippets