Chapter Ten

Our New York Baby

    In December, I went back to Boston for one day so my doctor could examine me and the baby we were expecting. I was planning to have this baby is Boston so I could have the same doctor for the delivery who had delivered all of our other children. This doctor's name is Leonard Safon, and he is the greatest obstetrician in the entire world. I feel I must also mention that the main reason he was able to become so great was because of the love, patience and support he has received for over 40 years from his lovely wife Jeanie.

     After the check-up I surprised my friend Dolly Bloom at the Yeshiva in Boston, and we spent a few hours together before I went back to New York. I had made so many special friends in Boston, most of them through my connection to the Yeshiva there. When I was driving back and forth from Sharon like a crazy person every morning, when we would finally arrive at the Yeshiva I was always lovingly greeted by the women who worked in the kitchen. They were two of the most kind-hearted ladies I have ever known. First Mrs. Melman would say "Good Morning!" with a big smile and offer me a cup of tea. Then Mrs. Alperin, who made the best egg salad in the world, would tell me to sit down and relax and she would bring me one of her famously delicious sandwiches. In those days I was always either pregnant or nursing, and I was very hungry all the time. There was never enough time to eat breakfast, so I really appreciated those egg salad sandwiches. Mrs. Alperin always had an amusing story to share, and she always made me feel good. A good dose of Mrs. Melman and Mrs. Alperin was a great way to start my morning.

     While visiting with Dolly, I began to wonder if I would ever meet people like this in Crown Heights and feel the same kind of warm connections. I also wondered if I even had the energy to make new friends. The funny thing was that when we first moved to Boston in 1980, I remember having the same thoughts, only then I was missing all of the special people I had become friends with in Miami Beach and wondering if I would find friends in Boston. But eventually I did make new friends in Boston, friends that I will keep forever. So when I came back to New York, I began to think that maybe I would be able to make special friends again right here in Crown Heights. The truth is that there are special people everywhere. You just have to look for them and make the effort to reach out to them.

     On January 26th at about three o'clock in the morning, my water broke. It was Erev Tu B'Shvat and I wasn't due to have this baby for about another eight weeks. Since I was planning to have the baby in Boston I hadn't even bothered to see a doctor in New York. I had also heard that the hospitals in New York were horrible, so I was really worried, but I tried not to panic. I called a woman who had recommended her obstetrician in case I decided to have the baby here. She called him and he told her I should come to the hospital. It was snowing out so we called Hatzoloh and asked them to drive us there.

     The whole experience at the hospital was very difficult because I was used to having Dr. Safon there for me, overseeing everything. I felt really lost without him, but thank G-d our adorable baby boy and I came through alive and well. He was born on Tu B'Shvat, which also happens to be the birthday of Ita's mother and also the birthday of my friend Dolly Bloom. While I was still in labor I called Ita to tell her I was in labor but I wasn't due yet. She told me that she had just dreamed about having a baby boy and she went to see him in the nursery, and on his bassinet was the name Baruch. In her dream, she told the people in the nursery that he can't have the name Baruch because she already had a son named Yosef Baruch. Ita knew that I also had a son named Yosef Baruch. I like to think that since I went into labor early and since I consider Ita to be my guardian angel, somehow she managed to intercede on my behalf and on behalf of the baby. Also, since Baruch means blessed, everything really ended up well Baruch Hashem for me and the baby.

     By the time we came home from the hospital, the people in the front apartment had moved out and we were able to rent that apartment also. When combined with our back apartment, we then had a lot more space.

     Because the baby had gotten an infection in the hospital we had to have the bris late. The bris came out on the Sunday morning during the convention of the women emissaries of Lubavitch. I was worried about the baby because he was so small (he only weighed 4 pounds 12 ounces when he left the hospital), but the mohel said the baby was just fine, strong and healthy thank G-d.

     When our first son was born I wanted to have a Lubavitch mohel but I didn't have the nerve to ask my parents or my in-laws to pay for a Lubavitch mohel to come in from Crown Heights since there was a perfectly good non-Lubavitch mohel in Boston. I had the same feelings when we had our second son but again I didn't ask. Then we had four girls in a row (keneinahora), and during that time I remember hoping that if G-d should ever bless us with another son we should be able to have a Lubavitch mohel. Well now we were able to have one. We chose Rabbi Shain, whom we had seen many times before in Boston.

     Although there weren't many people at the bris, the people who were there were really special. Unfortunately, no one from either of our families was able to come. But our friends the Hershkowitzs were there, and Ita and Tzipora Brusowankin were in town for a convention, so they were also able to come. Ita's parents came too, which was extra special. Our good friend Rabbi Wolosow was in town and he served as the Sandek. There were also a few neighbors and new friends from this community who were kind enough to come and help make the bris very special. We named our New York baby Chaim Yisroel for Dovid's great uncle and both of his grandfathers. Again, we were grateful to G-d for blessing us with a new life, one more precious Jewish soul, one more connection with Mount Sinai.