Anat Gopstein presents one of her true stories from her book:
The melody in the heart*
Erev Shabbat, twilight, and she’s going from the Old City back home, after work. Suddenly she hears something familiar, and she stops. Her legs refuse to move. A group of young men are sitting in a circle and singing her grandmother’s tune, the song that makes her heart pound. Yedid Nefesh, Av HaRachaman, m’shoch avadecha el rtzonecha. A tear wells up in her eye and falls down her cheek, she’s standing there with a veil on, and she’s in turmoil. She takes several breaths. And she goes on her way to continue her life as a Jewish woman who converted to Islam.
Every time, the picture of her beloved grandmother, who was so connected to her, comes up. The grandmother who so believed in her, in her ability, who always used to say: “You will grow up and succeed in life! You will succeed in your studies, you’ll have a righteous husband, with G-d’s help.” She recalled how they told her that her grandmother had suddenly died, without saying goodbye. She was a teenage girl, and she refused to believe it. Her mother was busy mourning, and she went out to drink with her friends, to forget everything. There she met her Muslim husband. She married him and converted to Islam.
The family banned her, there was no one to fight for her. But now her grandmother comes back to her in her memories, her thoughts, comes back in dreams. With the melody that’s in her heart.
Several days later, I get a phone call: “Anat, I came back home. I want to return to Judaism.” “I’m happy to hear that, what happened to make you come back?” I ask. I had contacted her previously, but she wasn’t interested. I told her then to keep my phone number for when she was in trouble.
“Grandmother has come to visit and she’s fighting for me, from above”, she said half jokingly. She had a benign figure who raised her, who believed in her and in her abilities, who believed that she is capable of dealing with life’s challenges. And even as she went and now roamed in foreign pastures, there were people who believed in her, that she had the strength to come back home. She came back to Judaism, she married a Jew and she’s raising her son with great devotion, just like her grandmother.
“Every child needs one adult who believes in him” – R. Shlomo Carlebach. One adult who sees his abilities and doesn’t relate just to the current situation, he sees it from afar. He discovers the strengths buried inside of him, and believes that there are strengths inside of him to cope with and overcome the obstacles. Trust is the greatest gift that a parent can give his child. It is a provision for the road, which one puts in his backpack for times of trouble and distress. When parents convey that they believe in their child, this instills in the latter a feeling of capability and a desire to move forward.
When the parent trusts his child, this allow him to trust himself, to believe that he can cope with any challenges he faces. And he believes that he has the power to cope with and overcome the difficulties. Faith is tested in a time of crisis when the child falls like a leaf swaying in the wind. To say in the morning: Your mercy and Your faith, and also at night – faith is needed precisely in the difficult moments of failures and disappointments and falls: “Seven times the righteous man falls and gets up” (Mishli 24). The rise of the tzadik is through his 7 falls. His failures and disappointments are what makes the Tzadik who overcomes, who fights against failure and copes with the falls. And that’s the way he manages to stand up straight and rise.
Trust, faith and the melody that creates movement in the soul within. Deepening the roots and resources within us, and the ability to flourish.
When the tree is planted and the roots are strong, there is no wind in the world that can move it from its place.
(To order the book “M’Afar Kumi” [Arise from the dust]:http://c18.co.il
LEHAVA - Preventing Asimilation
In light of the growing severity of assimilation in the country, several community organizations have focused their energy, for many years, to save Jewish girls. We have established an organization named Lehava which fights assimilation in the Holy Land. Together, the experienced leadership of Lehava has made it their mission to reach these girls, before they reach villages and are gone.