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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 15, 2007 / 3 Mar-Cheshvan 5768

Relatively Speaking

By Malky Feig


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Some terms defy translation — but not first-hand experiences


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I first heard the Yiddish term landsleit from my grandmother, and though I've long forgotten in what context the word came up, I do remember the flush of nostalgia it evoked.

"Ah, landsleit," she sighed with fond yearning, and though I knew enough to understand that the word meant "fellow townspeople," I failed to grasp the emotional significance of the term.

I had always had a soft spot for old friends, for classmates and neighbors of years gone by. There is a certain sense of acceptance, of familiarity and mutual understanding that lends these deeply rooted relationships special appeal, even after years of being unused. There is something comfortable and comforting about being called by your childhood nickname, about reminiscing with someone who remembers your mother's mandelbroit (cookies), or your older brother's run-in with his math teacher.

People who are considered landsleit, however, simply by virtue of them sharing the zip code of one's youth, never tugged at my sentiment. Never — at least not until that fateful day in Charles de' Gaulle Airport.

It's been quite a few years, but I can still remember the helpless feeling of traveling alone, saddled with a bundled newborn and a bulging handbag, sandwiched between a crowd of passengers trying to deplane for a stopover in Paris.

I remember milling about the orange couches snaking around the airport lounging area, floating amidst an indecipherable muddle of foreign languages. There was no dearth of people, of course.

But shuffling along with my handbag between my feet and baby in the crook of my arm, I felt so markedly alone. I scanned the jostling crowds for somebody who I could relate to.

Nobody was in sight.

I tried to silence my growing sense of disquiet, and searched for an unobtrusive corner where I could block out the hullabaloo and recite some Tehillim, Psalms. Just as I was about settled into my pose, the baby began to fuss.

"Oh no!" I groaned and then glanced at my watch. Where was I going to procure hot water for her bottle?

I got up and headed for the cafe area, as the baby's cries began growing steadily more persistent against the fading backdrop of announcements in lilting French, followed by stilted English.

At the counter, a courteous waiter pumped green slush into a tall paper cup for the young man ahead of me. I tried to formulate in French my request for hot water. I don't know when it happened — preoccupied as I was, patting the baby and thinking of how to approach the bartender — but suddenly I sensed an eerie silence behind me.

Turning around instinctively, I noticed with alarm that all my fellow passengers had left the lounging area. They were now in either one of two lines. First a rush of panic and then a sensation of feeling utterly abandoned overcame me.

Had I missed a crucial announcement? The subdued hum suddenly presiding over the hustling hall of a minute ago made me feel like the last underwater straggler emerging from the pool — dripping and startled, bewildered by the sudden stillness of the water and the hush following the lifeguard's whistle. Was it now time for departure?

The lines were moving forward at a constant pace. I felt my temples throbbing. Should I wait for the hot water, or was it imperative that I get on line immediately? I couldn't think. In my arms, the baby was flailing her little fists and shrieking; in the background that unnerving silence continued.

In the desperation of the moment, I asked the man behind the counter if he could help me. He shrugged indifferently.

And then suddenly I spotted her at the far end of the line.

An unmistakably Orthodox woman — middle aged, scanning the fluorescent green letters on the digital display. Landsleit.

I had never before experienced such an overwhelming gush of relief at the sight of an absolute stranger.

Heaving my handbag over my shoulder, I all but skidded down the length of the hall to the line to where the woman stood. Dropping my natural inhibition, I blurted out my predicament without preamble, and asked the woman if she thought I had time to procure some hot water.

"This isn't departure yet," she reassured me in English, "Just some preliminary form to fill out. Give me the baby. You go make the bottle and I'll keep your place."

A surge of warmth coursed through me. I felt the tingling joy of recovering my senses after the numbness of emotional frostbite. My panic dissolved. My aloneness dissipated. I suddenly felt firmly anchored in this unfamiliar island. There was someone I knew, someone I could cling to and depend on — landsleit.

Later on, and many times since, I've had occasion to ponder that strange relationship of a few hours — the transience of it and the intensity of it. Studying my newfound companion, it struck me that my chances of my pairing up with her under any other circumstances were close to nil.

If attire reveals anything about an individual, then our places in society were miles apart, and so were our personal ideas of tasteful apparel. She was at least double my age, and our ensuing bits of conversation revealed that neither her background, nor her family setup, nor her profession, would have ever fused any bonds between us.

And yet, on that alien soil, we were drawn to each other like natural soulmates.

Against the bold contrast of those stridently foreign surroundings, the two of us represented the same goal, hailed from one source, respected identical ideals. I didn't flinch for a shadow of a second before entrusting her with my most precious possession and my personal belongings.

And she didn't hesitate a moment before offering to watch them.

It was the combination, I suppose, of having no one else to fall back on, and of feeling so vulnerable and helpless, that lent our alliance that sense of kinship, stronger than any I've ever felt with an ordinary friend on just any day.

Landsleit.

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Malky Feig is a columnist for Yated Ne'eman. To comment, please click here.

© 2007, Yated Ne'eman