Reflecting on Rubel

June 18, 2024
Gal Rubel

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Class of 2025

Read more from this author →

Part of my identity is being the daughter of Titus and the granddaughter of Yaacov. I never understood how but every time I have visited a community outside of my city in another state, I always get asked if I'm just that, my father's daughter and therefore my Zeide’s granddaughter, or if it's a mere coincidence we have the same last name.

Rubel is uncommon and rarely spelled wrong. It's really easy and leaves little room for error but still, I spell my name using the same trick my dad uses. Maybe because I heard him do that every time we traveled or maybe because I was taught to do it that way when I sat for the same international exam my dad did at the same school he went to. It was the same institution my grandpa worked for, which is still in the same place when my dad attended. He even had some of the same teachers I had when I was little.

Rubel accompanies me daily as a nudge of who I am, reminding me of a part of my identity. It's being part of people I love who I learned a lot from and I want to share the most valuable lesson I learned from them; I'm sorry I can't put it into words for you. I can't encompass 16 years of teaching in one article, years of my mom working to raise me into my religion, and as a proud member of our people. It is hard to explain my passion for it, my love for it. I believe that I can't tell you, you need to look for it. Whether that's talking with friends, visiting Israel if you have the chance, or just sitting and reflecting. The sense of identity can’t be passed through a text on a screen, it's obtained after you look for it on your terms and times because now, after you read this intro, I feel I can confess it to you. There is not a single answer, but understanding that the sense of identity resides in everyone who looks for it is maybe what I will forever remember they taught me.

My dad and grandad were madrichim, local guides or counselors to younger kids when they were teenagers.  My grandfather was a madrich when he was only 13, my dad when he was 17, and I just graduated from madrichim school a mere months ago at 16. I never imagined how much my grandad gave his life to the community, until one night, when on a random car ride to my aunts he told me an unheard story. He went to live on his own in a hotel when he was a junior, and he left his home and moved to a hotel for his Tnua (local JCC). He offered Hebrew classes to afford extra costs and didn't come to visit his family often. Nevertheless, he decided to do that another year, missing senior year and going to school away from his family. He then moved to Israel to do his degree, met my grandma, lived through the six-day war, and had my dad. He then worked at AMIA when the terrorist attacks happened.

That story is still engraved in my mind. My dad still remembers that day as it was yesterday, he remembers being in the mountains with his then-girlfriend when he heard about the bombing, and he reached down to call his dad, who was supposed to be working that day. A sleepy Yaacov answered since he didn't wake up on time to go to work and was still vacationing on the coast, hours away from where he should have been. Every year, as July 18th approaches and one year goes by, I remember that day. I go to the march and youth ceremony and try to educate myself. 

Today, I wonder who I would be if not a Rubel as somebody passionate about their history. If not the daughter of Titus and the granddaughter of Yaacov. Two people with whom I am proud to share blood, surname, and most of all a shared sense of pride for our last name and the Jewish community.=

Gal is a BBG living in Buenos Aires, Argentina who is in love with outer space.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

Explore More Stories

Get The Shofar blasted to your inbox