Surprising My Brother – We Both Hate Surprises

Surprising My Brother – We Both Hate Surprises

As I wrote recently, I traveled to Israel to see family and to surprise my twin-brother for our 40th birthday. (The Hebrew date – 6 Adar). It was extremely difficult to keep quiet about my plans, but we all managed it. Neither of us like surprises, but I figured this would be one he wouldn’t mind. We planned it for three months!

My older brother picked me up at the airport at 8 am, and we headed back to his place where I showered and changed and rested. Plans had been set for that evening. My older brother had called my twin and arranged that both couples would meet at a restaurant in Jerusalem to celebrate his 40th birthday. My sister-in-law chose a nice place – Joy Bar and Grill – and made a reservation for 7 pm.

We drove up to Jerusalem with plenty of time to spare. We had to scope out the restaurant and figure out how we were going to surprise him. Due to the layout of the restaurant, we decided that I would hide in the bathroom at the back of the place, and my twin brother and his wife would be seated with their backs to the back of the restaurant. My older brother programmed my photo into his wife’s contact info – and we arranged that when everyone was seated he’d tell my twin that I had wanted to speak to him, and hand him the phone already dialing. Twin would see my pic and not look too closely at the number. I had no cellphone while I was in Israel so for the surprise I borrowed my sister-in-law’s phone.

I went into the bathroom to wait. It felt like I was waiting forever. My heart was beating so fast. My brother texted me: They’re parking the car. 5 mins. My heart rate sped up even more.  Within minutes my phone was ringing. “Hey HaDassah” he said “Just wanted to call you and say hello.” I started leaving the bathroom, phone to my ear. “I really wish I could be with you to celebrate this milestone birthday” I said, stepping quietly towards him. “In fact, oh look, I AM here to celebrate with you in person” – and I was standing right next to him. I put the phone down on the table – and he turned his head in my direction. The look of shock and surprise on his face was priceless!! He grabbed me in a huge hug – and spent the next few minutes with a stunned expression on his face.

He had no idea. No one said anything that gave him the remotest suspicion that I was flying in! The whole family were in on the surprise and it went flawlessly!!

We sat and ate and drank and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly!

The next day the entire family showed up at my twin’s doorstep for Shabbat – 16 of us around his table. Nieces and nephews vied with each other for space on my lap, my Mum shepping so much nachat from her assembled children and grandchildren. It was a little sad that the KoD and my princes couldn’t be there, but I was there and that mattered.

I really had a wonderful time – spending time with family is so special. I feel so far away from them all – and I was so thrilled to have had this long weekend with my family, reconnecting and making more happy memories. While it was so hard to come home, my memories of the last weekend are warm and inviting and will be cherished for a long time to come.


The Food We Enjoyed at the Joy Bar and Grill

Post Written by


  1. Crystal Larsh says:

    So freaking awesome!!! Though you should have pictures of the people – as tasty as those dishes look ;p

  2. ahuvah says:

    how simply wonderful.

  3. Nadine Stalick says:

    Hadassah, Gorgeous Suprise, brought a tear to my eye while reading.
    sounds like you had a great time, and fam. time is sooo important – you are right!
    Happy 40th to you both with Mazel and Brocha xxx

  4. That sounds awesome. What a great surprise. I’m going to try something like that some time soon.

  5. Bethany Shondark Mandel says:

    Love it!!!

  6. Rivkah T says:

    That’s a fun story. Happy birthday to you both!

Leave A Reply