One of the defining characteristics of Judaism is that it is a religion of life. It doesn’t focus on the afterlife or some eternal reward, but is grounded in what we do here and now. There is little emphasis on martyrdom. We are meant to live for Hashem and Judaism, not die for it unless there are very specific and rare circumstances.
My husband is enjoying a second chance at life…in fact, this year we all are. We all were given a new life when we converted and with this new year and my husband’s successful triple bypass, we are living a new life.
With that has come a lot of changes. First, our lives had to change quite a bit just to convert. We moved thousands of miles to join a fully functional Jewish community with schools for our children. We left behind Alaska and everything we knew there. I changed jobs, the kids changed schools and we all had to meet and make new friends. We drove to and from Brooklyn twice. We had a wedding. Then, we discovered my husband’s health was much worse than we thought and, the day after Rosh Hashanah, he had a triple bypass to save his life. When I compare all that to the changes we are now making to keep him healthy, it seems small by comparison.
We are moving to a very different diet to support his heart health and regulate his blood sugars. I’m creating an additional blog just about that and you can check it out at kosher-carrot.com. Suffice it to say that brisket is no longer on the menu! We’re also adding in more exercise, bit by bit. I plan on using the kosher carrot to talk about eating a plant based diet while keeping kosher and observing Jewish holidays like Shabbat as well as balancing an observant lifestyle with exercise. I feel like these are areas where a lot of us struggle and, if I learn something along the way or come across a great recipe, why not share it for others? (My vegan cholent recipe will be there soon!)
A new year provides so many opportunities for a new beginning. As we relax into our Sukkah this year, I’m so grateful for how Hashem has guided our family to a wonderful, supportive community and good doctors and how we are now healing and growing…and thriving! I hope everyone has a very joyous Sukkos! Ours will be filled with a bountiful harvest of fruits and vegetables and a lot of happiness at being together.