I grew up in a Chassidic home. Following in the foot steps of King David in Psalms, my mother and father instilled in me the love of animals. My father the rabbi would bring home a puppy from the home of a Bar Mitzvah student and Mom trying to keep a small railroad flat fit for human habitation, had to turn down keeping the sweet thing. But she did so with gentle regret and only after cuddling and feeding the small creature yesterday's challah soaked in milk. Abba and I would wander the then pastoral Bronx at 10:00 pm looking for an open pet shop, for my father would never abandon this puppy in a garbage bin.
So it was natural for me when making my home in Jerusalem to raise a dog and then her beautiful girl pup and later two cats. The latter came about when running up and down eight flights of stairs to walk the dog became a necessity after my son - the dog walker- got married Thank God. I missed life shared with a small creature and dreamed of a medium sized silky ball of fur that would follow me around the house talking to me in "meows" and bringing the wild into my home.
I was gifted with two kittens, the male brought to me from the shores of the Kinneret Sea in the north of Israel and so named, the female a sleak white Jerusalem lovely named Rachel for Israel's great poetess who is buried in the Kinneret graveyard with other well known historical figures.
Here is a poem from my new collection, "Tales of Love and Exile".
Garden of Eden
It seems to me the peace that reigns
in my home, the days of affection
are as it was in Eden's Garden
Within my walls there is no bloodlust
we talk and think our thoughts
each in our common way
fur and skin, eyes and heart
deep in each hours' occupation
find the time to say hello
seek out the touch and the embrace
voices that speak and sing
bark and trill and coo with love
and tell the tale
the truths of our brother and sisterhood
that was God's true intention.
Shira Twersky-Cassel (c)