|'ESS, ESS, MEIN KIND'
by Elli Wohlgelerneter
|The IDF Spokesperson has released for publication that St. Sgt. Ari Weiss, 21 - was murdered today 30 Sept. 2002 in Nablus by terrorist fire.
Below is a story that recently appeared in the Jerusalem Post describing how his mother sent his unit food:
Every Jewish mother worries whether her son has enough to eat, especially when he's serving in the army. This is the story about one such Jewish mother who did something about it.
It is also the story of caring strangers she met who didn't hesitate to donate food for her son and the 35 hungry comrades in arms serving with him in Nablus.
The soldier is St.-Sgt. Ari Weiss, 21, a member of a Nahal unit currently stationed in a house in downtown Nablus. He's a good soldier, and a good son, who calls his mother every week and certainly before and after every holiday.
So when he called his mother, Susie, in Ra'anana after Rosh Hashana to relate his holiday experience, he told of his 25-hour stakeout the first night and day, and the second day spent praying and sleeping.
"He said he could only take with him for the stakeout what he could put in his pocket, so he took a halla, a bag of candy, and a mahzor," said Susie. "He said everything worked out well, but all I kept hearing is 'we're starving, we're starving'".
She asked what she could do, but her son there was nothing to do.
"I had one more question: how many are you? He said 35, and with that I hung up."
Off she went walking down Rehov Ahuza, the main drag in Ra'anana, wondering what to do. Suddenly she came upon Kippa Aduma, the shwarma hangout she knows Ari loves.
"I went to the manager of the store, Roni, and said, "My son is in Nablus. He's stuck in some hell hole with no fridge, and he's hungry.' He interupted my sentence and asked the same question I did: 'How many are there?' I told him 35, and he said, "What time do you need it?'" After arranging for the pickup, Weiss walked down the street, satisfied she had done her motherly duty. Wandering into a wholesale grocery, she thought, why not?
"I gave him the speil, and he said, 'What do you want from me?' I looked around and I saw candies and chocolates, but I thought they would melt. Then I saw cases of drinks. He said, 'How many do you need?' I said two, and he gave me 80 drinks."
Feeling empowered, Weiss continued down the street and walked into Balkan Bakery.
"I started giving the shpeil, and he, too, interupted me and said, 'we close at 8, be here at 7:30 and I'll give you everything I have left.'"
Amazed at the spur-of-the moment CARE package she suddenly found herself organizing, Weiss ambled further down the street and into Meatland, a frozen meat and condiments grocery store. "I gave the same shpeil, though this time in English because they are South African. I said how about some cookies, and he said, 'OK, three cases.' I said they don't need so much, and he said 'Each soldier needs his own.'
"All this took place in a span of half an hour." Was it a Rosh Hashana - Yom Kippur feeling that was guiding her and the shop owners? Was it another indication of the rarely written story of the real spirit of Israel, the near unanimous support for the tired boys in the trenches?
"Everyone made it so easy, "said Weiss. "I am gratified, it was a warm feeling. Israelis are always put down as being rude, and here I didn't even have to finish my request in my lame language, and they already understood what I wanted to say and were asking, 'How many.' And they don't know me from a hole in the wall."
Weiss wife of Jerusalem Post columnist Stewart Weiss wasn't done. Later in the day she took her younger children to Roladin, a bakery in Kadima, which gives tours of the facility.
"As they served cookies and cakes to the kids, I said to the girls behind the counter, 'You don't happen to have any extra stuff I can take to my soldier tonight?' And she said, 'wait right here.' Five minutes later she came out with 15 individual honey cakes, with signs decorating the top saying "I'chayal tzava, shana tova."
Chatting with her girlfriends during the day, she told them what was happening, and when she got home there were more bags of goodies left by the friends, "Who by the way thanked me for the opportunity to do this."
There was one more thing to figure out: this being an army operation, coordinating delivery to the soldiers required a military maneuver. Weiss spoke to her son, who said he was a half hour from Ariel, and that if she could get the food there between 11
and 12 that night, he would take care of the rest.
"I told the head of my unit that my mother is getting us some food, and maybe someone can go to Ariel and she'll bring us food there, " said Ari Weiss.
So from downtown Nablus an armed jeep drove to the temporary base downtown, and there a driver took the unit's car and coordinated with Arie's sister, Penina. The two of them pulled into the gas station outside Ariel at the same time. "The driver freaked out, he thought he was picking up a couple bags of shwarma," said Susie Weiss. "He drove back to the base, switched the stuff to the jeep, and then drove to the middle of Nablus to their house, where a couple of guys in full gear unloaded and brought it in.
"An hour later I got a phone call from Arie, with peals of laughter and screaming in the background. Not only was he king of the day, but I have 34 new boyfriends, " she laughed. Soldiers were grabbing the phone saying, 'Geveret Weiss, at lo yada'at ma at aseet lanu' (Mrs. Weiss, you have not idea what you have done for us)."
For Ari, it was all about the pride of a proud son.
"Everyone loved my mom, everyone was really thankful and gobbled it up," he said. "We didn't even eat it all, there's still some cake, pastries, and drinks left over. They asked if my mom paid for it, I told them the stores donated it. I was smiling because I saw how my mother had organized it, and that meant more than the food itself."
For Susie, it was all about being a Jewish mother. "My goal was for them to have enough to last through Yom Kippur," she said.
|The Jerusalem Post, September 12, 2002|