Even a week later, this is very difficult to write. You have my permission not
to read this. The short form is: Thank God everybody is fine. Maital slipped,
bumped her head and was rushed to the hospital. She was behaving totally
normally by the time we reached the hospital. She had a CT scan that came back
fine and then spent 24 hours in the Emergency Room for observation. She has
been herself for the past week.
If you would like to know more, keep reading.
The morning seemed normal enough, considering it was our first morning in our
new apartment in Jerusalem. Overall the kids slept, and we were all up having
breakfast, unpacking and helping Daddy get ready for his first day of school.
Nothing exceptional. Maital climbing on everything and our telling her to get
The living room has a leather couch and loveseat, the seats of which,
thankfully, are lower to the ground than one would expect.
So Maital was standing on the couch and was told “Tushy down,” which she
promptly did. Then she was told to get down off the couch, and again, with
little delay, she began to lower herself down from the couch, belly on the
couch, feet down, sliding slowly.
Did I mention that she was still wearing her feety pajamas and all floors in
Jerusalem are made from slippery stone or tile?
When her feety-feet touched the ground they slid out from under her.
Her head hitting the ground at 8:32 AM on Monday, July 2, in the living room of
apartment 28 at Diskin #5 in Jerusalem, is a sound I will never forget.
And so started the scariest minute of my life.
She did not look right. I was not sure she was breathing. She was
I held her in my arms and she limply started moving her head, and her eyes were
glazed. Jen took her from me, and I realized that I did not know how to call 9-
1-1 in Israel. How could we be prepared in so many ways, have brought so much
stuff, done so much research, and be carrying two cell phones and not know how
to dial 1-0-1 (the Israeli 9-1-1 for Magen David Adom assistance. Police
assistance is 1-0-0. Everybody who comes to Israel should know this.)
It was not clear to me that our daughter was going to be okay, and I mean that
in the worst possible way.
I actually decided that I needed to call an Israeli to figure out how to call
for an ambulance, while Jen was pacing the floor and Maital was flopping her
head (clearly breathing at this point thank God).
After phone calls to two different cousins, both of which reached their voice
mails, I reached Megi Navon of the Tel Aviv Foundation, who promptly told me “1-
0-1.” Thank you Megi.
And so ended the scariest minute of my life.
The ambulance was here in less than five minutes. By the time it arrived Maital
was already more alert, more herself.
Jen and Maital rode in the ambulance, with the rest of us following a few
minutes behind in a Taxi.
I expected that when we visited Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital it would be for the
Chagall windows, not for the Cheder Meyun (ER).
By the time I arrived in the Taxi, Maital was herself. Walking around the ER
waiting room, saying Mama and Dada, and of course trying to climb on various
chairs and tables.
So she was examined, seemed fine. The ER Doc interviewed Jen and me, and then
ordered a CT. I have never seen a CT machine up close and never expected to
watch it work on my 15 month old baby. Thank God it all came back right.
In general, I pray a lot, daily. I spend a lot of time thinking about Kavanah,
how to achieve focus and intensity. I also worry a lot about over
intellectualizing prayer, thinking too much about it, keeping one foot safely in
the rational world.
Not on the morning of July 2. Not as my baby had her little keppe scanned in a
CT machine. Not while we waited for results. My N’shamah screamed out that the
energy which gives breath in this world should guard and keep her N’shamah in
its precious little container. My Nefesh shook in fear as it begged with all of
its life force that her Nefesh should strongly radiate from its home inside her,
where it has come to reside over the past 15 months. Prayer is an energy, a
flow, and sometimes, like a beacon from a lighthouse or a watch tower, it blazes
forth through the dark night.
At a Bris, we acknowledge Eliyahu Hanavi, who for his length of days, from his
life in the TaNaKh (Hebrew Bible) to the coming of redemption, watches over and
protects our beloved little ones. There is a saying: malakhim shomrim tinokot
– Angels guard babies. I do not know which forces or energies or angels were
watching over my baby and cushioning her fall at 8:31 AM on Monday, July 2, but
to the Source of those Energies, to the Source of the Life of my baby Maital
Yardena, to the One whose flow sustains life at every moment, with each beat of
my heart, with each breath of the life you have given to me, I thank you and
On the next web page you will read of our first trip to the Kotel (Western
Wall). As Jennifer and I stood together facing the Kotel, she sang part of
Psalm 121. Hinei la yanum, v’lo yishan, Shomer Yisrael – the Guardian of Israel
neither sleeps nor slumbers. Thank you God for your protection and vigilance.
I don’t know if that piece of Psalms is in the first half of the Dead Sea
Scrolls exhibit at the San Diego Natural History Museum or the second half, but
I invite you, when you stand before the scroll and hear Jennifer singing, to
picture yourself before the Kotel and to give thanks to the Guardian of Israel
for all the love and mercy that enters our world.
The rest of the story is more pedestrian. Things like holding her in my arms,
praying that I could rock her to sleep so she wouldn’t need to be anesthetized
for the CT. Then praying that I could place her on the plank without waking
her. Then watching as the CT tech woke her, twice.
If you would like to hear this story or others, please ask us when you see us,
and we will tell you all about our 24 hours in the Cheder Meyun.
Shayna and Nadiv were angels in the ER.
Maital has no bump or bruise, and is, thank God, exactly like she was before.
Jennifer and I are scarred, changed.
Life is truly unpredictable, and can change in a heartbeat or even faster.
Thank and praise God for all of the “good” accidents that everybody walks away
from, especially those who have just recently learned to walk.
Now, go kiss those you love.