“he-lllllloooooo, an-ge-lllllllaaaa,” she greeted me on the phone on an early Thursday morning. I hadn’t talked to her for a year or so, but I knew instantly who was on the line. It was my dear friend, Anat from Israel–my exotic Moroccan-Hungarian friend has a knack of making a two-syllable word into a five syllable one. She happens to have a great sense of humor too. When I told her I had just come out of the shower and was thinking of her, she responded, “Honey, I have to be funny now. What were you doing in the shower thinking of me?”
We both laughed and seemed to pick up our conversation from last year in a matter of seconds. I guess this is where a deep sense of friendship comes from, the ability to connect with another with ease and delight. When Anat used to live in Los Angeles, she used to come to our house for the Passover Seder. Ten years ago, she decided she wanted to go back to Israel to be with her family. She has a thirteen year old son and is an attorney now. So much has changed in our lives, yet every Passover I think of her. I think about the silly comments we used to share at the table and how we used to crack up and giggle like little school girls.
This year, she had come unexpectedly to Los Angeles, right before Passover for a visit. But, this time, she has come to help take care of a friend who was getting chemo. I know this adorable friend of mine loves my cooking–she often tells me that the Hungarian side of her lies dormant. She doesn’t care for the typical Ashkenazi dishes, but dreams of Persian rice and home-made stews. As much as I tried to cajole her with the promise of a great seder and food, this year she has decided she will stay with her friend and nurse her back to strength.
You know, I love her even more for not joining me, because she is being a great friend to someone in need of support. The other day, we walked down the streets of Beverly Hills, arms around each other. “We’ll catch up some more when I go to Israel in July,” I said. “yessssss. I hope we see each other in good health alwayyyyyyyysssss.”
At the start of this sacred holiday, this is also my wish for all of you as well!