Andrea Simantov Andrea Simantov

Pulling the Lever


It might feel liberating to say that Israelis do not care about the American elections because it has nothing to do with us.  But the number of Israelis who actually subscribe to this logic is quite small. The accepted understanding is that we need American support like the body needs oxygen and that, consequently, entitles us… Read More »

The Wedding


Boarding the flight to New York, I felt uncharacteristically calm.  The schedule for the next six days was so tightly crafted that my usual fears of not maximizing “visiting time” were completely abated. All catching-up and chit-chats would have to take place between Sabbath meals, songs, prayer sessions and loading and unloading car trunks. To make… Read More »

A Word About “Choice”


It wasn’t really a conscious decision to stop listening to the news; it crept up from somewhere beneath the kitchen floor as I washed dishes one day. Sleep had become difficult due to the peppering drone of helicopters hovering the dark skies, searching for the respective day’s terrorists and their abettors.  Ambulances and border police… Read More »

Oh Sunday, Sunday


Upon assuming the presidency of UN ratified State of Israel in 1948, David Ben Gurion instituted a few absolutes that remain iron-clad even today. One of them was that serious yeshiva students would be exempt from military service so that a nation that had been decimated by the Nazi war machine could rebuild the learning… Read More »



Longtime readers of this column will know that once or twice a year I travel to Johannesburg.  With three daughters living there with their families including twelve (soon to be 14; tfu, tfu, tfu!) grandchildren, it is a hop, skip and jump from the Holy Land to the land of biltong and pedicures. Something downright… Read More »

Southern Comfort


It was the first time I’d bought a property on my own; we met with the lawyer in order to issue the final checks and pay the brokerage fees. He asked to speak with us privately for a few minutes. “Are you certain that you know what you’re doing?” “What do you mean?” “Are you… Read More »

Arrogance and Acceptance


My husband recently stumbled upon a television series that, land-locked in a shtetl called Jerusalem, I’d never heard of. It offers a shockingly lurid glimpse into insider-trading and government efforts to nab the felons. No one has clean hands and the lines between the good guys and those who want to take over the world… Read More »

Tea Lights and Time


During the intermediate days of the holiday  Sukkot, my youngest daughter Tehilah and Gavin, her long-time boyfriend, became engaged to marry. They live in Johannesburg as do two out of three married daughters. I happened to be in South Africa at the time, celebrating my 60th birthday; my mother and sister flew in from America… Read More »



There is something to be said about living in a country always a hair’s-breadth away from war. Not that hugging a husband who packs a pistol isn’t occasionally awkward, or having my purse searched before buying milk doesn’t get tedious after a while. But between the spikes in tension and fear lie moments of unbridled… Read More »

The Things We See


My favorite teacher once pointed out that we don’t only choose our battles, we choose where to show kindness. This lesson made a great impact on me because, despite having a mind like a sieve, I saw it in the relationships around me. If I loved someone who was a busy-body and spoke loudly, I’d… Read More »