Jewish and Childless on Passover

The holidays are the worst for an infertile woman. Some holidays are harder to push through than others but they all kinda suck in some way or another. Although I do not practice the Jewish religion, it is my ancestry and my family was raised practicing. I passoveracknowledge all holidays and used to call my grandparents during each one but they are no longer alive. It’s my race not my religion. Today at sundown begins Passover.

This religion is practically based on traditions. And what are traditions for? Passing down. And who do you pass them down to? Children. So what does a Jewish girl do on this holiday if her Jewish family is no longer around to celebrate with and she has no children to pass these things on to?

Well, she cries a little. She cries because this is just another part of her dream that was crushed with the diagnosis of infertility. She had dreams of teaching her kids about the Jewish religion. Dreams of sharing her unique family structure and showing them the importance of tolerance, acceptance and love. She would have taken them to their grandparents’ house to hear Nana talk about what it was like to grow up in an orthodox household, to only speak Hebrew at home and how to make all the traditional foods.

Then she turns to the internet for comfort and finds this story…

Rabbi Berel Wein, noted scholar and Jewish historian, tells this story, which he heard from Rabbi Moshe Pardo himself. Pardo has since passed away.

Moshe Pardo was a wealthy Jew in Turkey, and he owned many businesses and properties. He also had a number of orchards in Israel near the town of Bnei Brak, before Bnei Brak became the city it is today.

He had just one daughter. A few weeks before his daughter’s wedding, she contracted meningitis and died. Moshe Pardo was heartbroken.

Seeking solace and advice, Pardo visited the Chazon Ish (Rabbi Abraham Yishayahu Karelitz), one of the leading rabbis and arbiters of the 20th century.

The Chazon Ish was himself childless his entire life. Pardo told the Chazon Ish the story of his daughter. He then said, “I want to die, too.”

The Chazon Ish told Pardo that it is forbidden for a believing Jew to think like that. Then, the Chazon Ish told him, “I’ll tell you what. You give up your business, Pardo. And you make a school for Sephardic girls, because you see what’s happening here, the Sephardim are being destroyed. You make a school for Sephardic girls here in Bnei Brak; take some of your orchards and start. And I promise you hundreds of children and thousands of grandchildren.”

Pardo took the Chazon Ish’s advice and founded Or Hachaim Seminary in Bnei Brak in 1952. For girls from kindergarten age up to high school, the school serves children from disadvantaged homes, girls who would find themselves on the street otherwise, and gives them a chance to have a livelihood. The school also helps make shiduchim, or matches, so they could marry.

Or Hachaim Seminary in Bnei Brak still exists today, serving 1,500 students.

On the day Moshe Pardo told this story to Rabbi Wein and his wife, Pardo pulled out a notebook. In this notebook, he had recorded the name of every girl who ever went to the school, what happened to her, and how many children she had.

On that day, he told Rabbi Wein, his 4,000th grandchild was born.

Not only did she find this story inspiring but she also recognized herself in every word. As a former teacher she could relate to the way the Rabbi seems to feel about his students. She treated them as if they were her own. She is reminded of the reason she loved teaching so much!

Maybe teaching again isn’t such a bad idea. She feels like it would be too difficult to be around that many kiddos all day. But…What if it turned out to be more rewarding than painful? She does miss helping children. I think she should reconsider her decision to never work with kids again.

Maybe she should reconsider.

Maybe I will…

Much Love To All!

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