Her voice is flat. All emotion seems stamped out of it. Except weariness.
“Milka, I don’t even have a piece of chicken for Sukkot. I’m not even talking about how all the little girls in my daughters’ classes have been talking about the new clothes their parents are going to buy them for the holiday. My kids will go out Sukkot night and see all their neighborhood friends wearing pretty dresses. “ Her voice suddenly breaks. “My little girls want pretty dresses, too!”
A long silence punctuates the moment. When she speaks again, the monotone has returned.
“They cry to me. They ask me. But we need food.”
Looking away, she sighs, “The other day Tali*, my seven year old, came to me smiling. She told me how much she was looking forward to Sukkot. She said she was so happy the chagim were coming because then we would be able to go to the zoo.”
Bitter laughter ripples across her quiet words. “The zoo! I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.”
Looking up suddenly, her fierce dark eyes pierce Milka. “I wish I could take my children to the zoo. I wish I could take them anywhere. All I want is a little normalcy.” A rogue tear snaking its way down her weather-worn face is brusquely brushed away. Another soundlessly takes its place.
Just one question. Are you going to the zoo this Sukkot? What about Tali?
Donate to the Yad Eliezer Sukkot Fund today.