November 22, 2019, Israel
The poet wrote, "There's still time to change the road you're on".
Yesterday I was in the Old City of Jerusalem. I noticed 4 young men/boys in Ultra Orthodox Hasidic garb, like the "old country". We struck up a conversation and soon become good friends.
Turns out they were from my old neighborhood in Brooklyn, and at one time I prayed at the synagogue they call home. Now they are in Jerusalem spending a year studying at the same rabbinic academy that my dear late father studied it when he too was a young man with his whole life ahead of him.
How time flies, and disappears.
This brief meeting trigged some powerful emotions in me. I was sitting there with my Krav Maga training group, having just toured the Old City of Jerusalem. I was joined by my students from all over the world, certainly a feeling of accomplishment, certainly a feeling of having a purpose, a mission in life, a way to make the world a better place.
But this meeting with the young yeshiva students brought me back to another time.
Suddenly I felt I was one of them, I was a young man with a full head of dark hair, long thick side curls, as they have. I was studying right here in the Old City of Jerusalem, I was full of hope and life, and joy.
I believed so firmly that if we "all followed the tune", that soon the "Piper would lead us to wisdom". A new day would dawn and the forest would echo with laughter.
I believed that our ancestors were looking at us from the other world and the day of redemption and glory was soon upon us.
The yeas have passed, the faith has been challenged again and again, the hair has dwindled and turned to grey and redemption is further away.
Terror fills the land, and the world and the only new world order that is emerging is one of terror and fear. Entire nations are at risk of losing their freedom. A terrible new day has dawned.
And it makes me wonder, it does.
For a moment I was that young man again, I could see myself so full of life, so young and so confident in the future. I would devote my life to studying the ancient scriptures and the wise teachings of the rabbis, but...things change. Life changes us.
So many have passed to the beyond, so many hopes and dreams have not come to fruition but yet much good has come.
And I look back and I wonder, can I recapture any of the past? and should I? Should I let the old dreams die, or should I "catch my dreams before they slip away"?
and it makes me wonder, it does.
And I think of my late dear Uncle Seymour, who remarked to an Israeli taxi driver during his visit of Israel, "This is such a remarkable country, if I were a younger man I would move here and fulfill the dream of my ancestors", and the wise Israeli driver pulled over sharply, stopped the car, and turned to my uncle, "Bull shit!", if you want to fulfill your dream, you still have time to do it.
And there lies the answers, we can never go home, we can never be young again, but we can look back, we can relive a moment and rekindle an old dream, there is still time to change the road we are on.
We still have time.
What dreams do you still have?
Students from around the world fulfilling the dream of coming to Israel to train in Krav Maga and visit the ancient holy land.