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Members of the Tribe

Alissa Joseph

A crusty stable manager, an ethereal health-food store owner, me and my boys – what did we all have in common?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


In our home, Dov Ber gets up first, and usually wakes me with a request. This particular Sunday it sounded more like a proclamation.

“You said we'd go horseback riding. And Sunday comes and you're sleeping. Is that what horseback riding is? Sleeping? Riding a horse means riding a horse!”

Then it got funny because he started up with an imitation. Fanning the air the same way I do when the kids have gotten to me, he said in a raspy whisper, eyes half-shut, “Okay, that's enough. Not now. Mommy's tired. Leave Mommy alone.”

I awoke to my lot. “Come back in an hour, Dov, okay? Give me till eight-thirty.”

“Oooooh!” my son yelled back, “One hour? Do you know what one hour means?” His fists found his hips again. “I'm asking you a question!”

I told him he was acting chutzpahdig and I threatened a time-out. He demonstrated his youthful innocence by actually believing that I would get out of my bed to enforce this time-out. My son left the room, slamming the door behind him.

I laid my cheek back on my Wamsutta pillow case and glided into a dream that was part manufactured, part real: a dream about being a worker in a Wamsutta factory in the South.

I eventually woke from my dream and had to confront reality. I set to work finding a place that offered horseback riding. My research led me to a place called, let's say, Giddy Up.

That might seem enough, but his responsibilities as Country Communities Rabbi are just one small part of his workload. In 1994 he was appointed Spiritual Leader and Executive Director of the African Jewish Congress, making him responsible for the Jews of thirteen African countries.


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