We opted to stay home for the 3 day Yom Tov and celebrate the beginning of Sukkos in our own Sukkah. Sukkos is a quirky holiday and one of my favorites. We built huts in our yards to remind us of our past as wanderers, wandering the desert with Hashem's protection. Men are obligated to … Continue reading An Alaskan Kind of Sukkos
A little known fact I learned this Yom Kippur, during Neileh services. Anchorage, Alaska, is, in fact, the final Orthodox Jewish community to say Neileh, sounding the shofar later than any other community in the world. As we davened, I couldn't help but feel a weighty responsibility, as if we were the last to leave … Continue reading The Last to Close the Gates of Heaven
Next year, Hashem willing, our children will be in Orthodox day schools. This is a requirement for most converts because we may not be able to teach our children everything they need to know when it comes to Judaism. Most day schools are simply private schools that follow a "dual curriculum." Students spend roughly half … Continue reading Judaic Studies…in Alaska (or how to teach your children when you live very remote from Day Schools!)
Every Yom Kippur, we read the story of the prophet Jonah, who was ordered to go to a non-Jewish city called Nineveh to tell them to repent. The Jews at the time were a mess and Jonah knew that the non-Jews he was going to would indeed repent. He didn't want to go, which is … Continue reading Jonah – Running from G-d
Here in Alaska, the leaves are leaving the trees quickly, fluttering to the ground and piling up. Our brief fall is fleeing and the chill is setting in. In this week, we've been preparing for Yom Kippur. It even feels like a whole new year with the house painted a new color, one of the … Continue reading 5778
I'm not sure, but I think my first year observing Jewish holidays was one that had several 3 day Yom Tovs in it. If not, then it was at least when I was still very shaky in observing them. This oddity happens when a 2 day Yom Tov (holiday) falls either right before or right … Continue reading 3 Day Yom Tovs!
We had a VERY restful Shabbos and by restful, I mean that most of our family spent it sleeping with a nasty flu that set in toward the end of the week last week. We would wake to daven and do kiddush and such, then sleep. At one point, only my husband still had his … Continue reading Fall Flu, Learning to Dress Like a Grownup, and Iggy Endures!
If you've been under a rock for a few years, then you might just be unaware that people are increasingly getting rid of their stuff, opting to live in tiny houses, or even RV's or completely nomadic. It's kind of a recent trend in the never-ending quest to simplify our lives. There is even a … Continue reading Minimalism, Hygge, and Chassidic Judaism?
It's been a strange week here in Alaska. The sun has been retreating more and more. A friend's son committed suicide. The Shabbat RV continues to have electrical issues that kept us stranded at home for Shabbos. The weather has not cooperated for a planned hiking trip to climb Flattop Mountain. All this on top … Continue reading The King Is In the Field
The mountains exhale into the chilly morning air long breaths of mist ancient rocky shoulders relaxing summer's rush fading into memory The geese have flown and the swans follow following the sun's steady retreat they seek warmer skies leaving us to slow into fall The summer rush ebbs, a tide receding those of us who … Continue reading The Long Arctic Rest
Whenever a Jew hears of a death, there is a blessing we must say. "Baruch ata Hashem, elokeinu melech haolam dayan ha-emes." It translates as "Blessed is the Lord, our G-d, the King of the world and true Judge." It's a really hard blessing to say, particularly today. A couple we are good friends with … Continue reading Baruch Dayan HaEmes
I've been silent for a while, contemplating my own personal storm that was shaking up my little world when I began to see pictures yesterday of a real storm, one that has displaced so many people, the storm down in Houston, Texas. Seeing that level of devastation puts my own storm into a much more … Continue reading After the Rain