Not long after I started at the Hebreo in 1980, Israeli Ambassador Jaime Aron and his wife asked me to teach private English classes to their kids Cathy and Ariel. They were living in the ambassador’s home, on Calle 92 I believe.. For my first class, on a Monday, I parked in front of the house and walked in, taught the two hour-classes, and left, no problem. Thank you very much. See you next week.
Two or three days later, the M19 drove by early in the morning and shot a bazooka into the ambassador’s home! The Ambassador was in Medellin, the kids were at school, but the wife, Laly, was at home. Like a good Israeli she rolled off her bed onto the floor and only suffered minor injuries.
In shock, I was sure that we wouldn’t have class the next Monday. Sunday night I called, “We don’t have class tomorrow, right?” “Of COURSE we do!” came the answer. (I hadn’t understood the Israeli mentality yet).
So, this time I parked the car two blocks away (down by Carulla on 15, in the days when you could park on the street), and walked. After all, it wasn’t my car. It did have insurance… but…. Once I arrived, only five minutes had passed when someone called the home. “Everybody evacuate!”
Thus, I had the privilege of accompanying the family of the Israeli ambassador from their home to the apartment of the Carmi family. This was exciting for me. I learned from the start: I am here to accompany the Israeli and Jewish people, in good times and in bad times, “en las buenas y en las malas”, no matter the circumstances.
Throughout the years I have heard the blessing at Jewish celebrations: “Siempre en fiestas!” “May we always see each other in good times! In festivities!”
Amen! At the same time, the reality is that life also includes difficult times, and we must be prepared to stick together in both. Difficulty, sometimes suffering, and even the passing of a loved one brings us sobriety. Only then are we truly able to appreciate and be thankful for the good times. And those are the critical moments when we need to accompany one another.