[responsivevoice]Although my official birthday is 12/12, according to the Jewish calendar, it often falls in November. That’s why I celebrated turning seventy towards the end of last month, with family and friends.

Seventy is old enough to be a wise, old lady. I have life experience coupled with intelligence, humor… and humility, ha ha. I have now reached the stage where I can help just about anyone if they’re willing to listen. I can help straighten their messes out. I’ve seen enough, heard enough, to be able to qualify as a bona fide ancient mother.

To commemorate this auspicious birthday, a large number of people gathered last Thursday to surprise and delight me. Quite a number of attendees got up and told Ellie stories. A troupe of playback actors/therapists put on a remarkably creative, sensitive improvisation based on these Ellie legends. Edna Goren, Grand Dame of jazz in Israel, crooned with me on the stage.

Furthermore, my people outdid themselves this time, gathering over seventy video clips of loved ones offering their blessings from near and far. Some of them were sweet, cute, and short. Some of them went into great detail about who I am and what I mean to the speaker. It was most endearing, even if sometimes the superlatives and hyperbole embarrassed me. It was all meant to let me know how they feel.

I feel, as a result, understood, appreciated, and wrapped in love.

Sometimes, on those rare occasions when my beloved doggie Chica and I are the only beings in the house, I can get the blues. Now, with all those videos and testimonials, I know I have an ample supply of mood-enhancers, ever reminding me that I am so cherished. A week later, I’m still quite excited. I expect this should stay with me for a while longer and possibly I’ll figure out a way to incorporate it in my consciousness so that if I’m ever feeling down and lonely, I can remember how loved and valued I am.

Watching the video clips, I am especially filled with affection for my friends in faraway places who of course could not attend. I wish, at least, they could have seen the goings-on and felt that they participated on some level.

I can’t think of friends during the holiday season without being reminded of my dear Mother Angele at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut, whom I’ve known since we were in our late teens. While it will soon be Hanukkah, a very gorgeous week of miracles, I also look forward to seeing the Christmas decorations going up in select areas of Jerusalem.

I adore the way in which different religions celebrate in Israel. . Over the last few years, my husband and I have even developed a friendship with the Father Superior at a monastery five minutes away.

So many of us share a great love for the Almighty.

Look at that. Before I leave for the next life, I still have some wisdom to impart.

A happy holiday season to one and all, my dears. Blessings from the Holy Land.


The Baba Ellie[/responsivevoice]