We just completed a period of mourning in the Jewish calendar last week, the three weeks leading up to Tisha B'Av. Usually, we'd wrap up that period with an intense day of mourning, most of it spent at the Synagogue mourning the destruction of the Temples along with many other calamities that have befallen the … Continue reading Hidden Blessings in Difficult Times
It's Chanukah, but we never got the decorations up. I have quite a collection of Chanukah decorations, most of them delightfully cheesy, like the string of menorah lights. Most years, I put them up before Chanukah with the kids and it makes the house a little more cheerful amid the winter gloom. This year, I … Continue reading Chanukah, Light, and Happiness Amidst Adversity
I always have the best of intentions and plans for Elul. Really I do. I usually plan a new class or book to read on it. I look forward to the month anticipating all the wonderful deep spiritual work I'm going to do. And then, it always seems like life happens. Elul is the season … Continue reading The Ups and Downs of Elul
The man who owned our house before us got a really great deal on some very drab beige paint. I know this because there are still 5 gallon buckets of it in the basement and it covers all the walls, ceilings, and up until last week, even the crown moulding. That beige is everywhere, making … Continue reading Elul and the Great De-Beigification of 2019
This weekend, in a Chabad house not that different from my own Synagogue, a man opened fire and shot and killed a woman who dove in front of her Rabbi, saving his life. several others were injured. They were there celebrating the last days of Passover, much like I was, thousands of miles away. They … Continue reading Freedom From Hate?
Sometimes, despite your best intentions and planning, holidays go sideways. This is how we ended up at the emergency room yesterday on the second day of Passover. My husband is a type 2 diabetic on an insulin pump, along with high blood pressure, heart disease, and a triple bypass last Fall. Even before we lit … Continue reading Passover and Freedom from the Emergency Room
Note: That's not our roof! Tomorrow night Pesach begins. I know...I should be cooking right now, but, instead, I'm taking a break from work to update this blog and think about all the cooking I should be doing. Happily, we have invitations for most of our meals for the first 2 days of Passover! It's … Continue reading Asbestos Roofs, Passover Cleaning, and Other Things You Learn to Love
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 … Continue reading L’Chaim! To Life!!!
A great catastrophe has happened in my local community. A Jewish man, his mind split into pieces, believed our Synagogue was on fire in the night when it was not. In addition to a lot of damage he did trying to put out the flames that were only in his own mind, he also took … Continue reading Burying Our Torahs
When my daughter first got out of the mikvah after her conversion, she celebrated every tiny thing she did "as a Jew" for the first time. (I'm combing my hair...AS A JEW!!!) Actually, she still does! It was such a touching and sweet expression of joy. I tend to be focused more on fewer, bigger … Continue reading Elul Workbook! And…my first Elul as a Jew.
It's been an interesting week. We had Shavuos, but first, we closed on our old house in a mad rush of moving boxes and furniture. Through some coincidences, we found a place to live temporarily until our flight leaves Alaska. An acquaintance living on the east coast reached out to us, asking us if we'd … Continue reading Shavuos, Last Week in Alaska, and the Mystery of the Missing Rabbit
Over a year ago, we sat in our Rabbi's office and he promised, honestly and earnestly, that our conversion journey would finally end in the mikvah the coming April. This April slipped by with little fanfare and drama, peacefully but busily, as we prepared for our move. At this point, there is no more timeline … Continue reading Preparing for Shavuos and the Conversion that Wasn’t