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
Yesterday, my husband and I wed again according to Jewish law and Lubavitch customs. It was a beautiful ceremony, full of meaning and a very emotional time for us and our family. My daughter cried openly and there were tears shed by my husband's family and even our community as they helped us celebrate this … Continue reading Beyond the Veil
The week before we flew out of Alaska, it seemed to be a good idea to climb a mountain. The weather was beautiful and the kids really wanted to do something uniquely Alaskan, so we grabbed a couple of their friends and I drove us up to Flattop mountain while Mr. Safek worked. Climbing a … Continue reading Climbing the Mountain
I had just put a huge brisket for Passover in the oven, the kind that you have to cut just to fit in the pans. Two glorious full sheet pans where covered and ready to go and the oven was heated. My cell phone announced a text. It was from our realtor. "Can you do … Continue reading House Showings and Passover Cooking
The same thing happens EVERY year without fail. I always plan to "turn over" my kitchen (that is, clean and kosher it for Passover), as close to Passover as possible so that my family doesn't have to either eat kosher for Passover food longer than necessary or eat their floury, chametz-leaden food in the garage. … Continue reading “Turning Over” My Kitchen…and Turning Over my Pre-Passover Anxiety
Passover is an interesting holiday. It's one where traditions and customs really seem to come to the forefront in a way they don't always the rest of the year. From how stringent each family is about their cleaning and prep to what they will and won't eat on the holiday, there is so much variation, … Continue reading The Non-Gebrokts Non-Jews
When we first began this journey, 7 years ago, a lot of our focus was to hold on to everything we could. I had originally sought conversion and in the midst of beginning that journey with my children, we suddenly found ourselves dealing with my husband's unexpected issues with his own halakhic status. It was … Continue reading What’s in a Name?
Thanksgiving couldn't be more timely for our family this year. We've gotten so bogged down with so many things and it's easy to lose sight of being grateful for what we have. Thanksgiving in Alaska comes during the deepening darkness leading up to the winter solstice, a time that can seem particularly dark even as … Continue reading Thanksgiving Kosher
I had one reader have a very negative reaction to a writing I did yesterday about the current state of conversion. Basically, by writing about my experiences and some of the other issues I have known about, this person was discouraged from attempting an Orthodox Jewish conversion herself and her image of the Jewish people … Continue reading Conversion Advice – You’ve Gotta Love BOTH
The times that I have fallen in love, I've had a tendency to lose myself in the man I've fallen in love with. It's a pleasant kind of loss of identity and it happens slowly, subtly until I realize that I suddenly have new habits, preferences, and tastes. Similarly, over the years, I have watched … Continue reading Don’t Lose What Makes You, YOU! Advice for Orthodox Jewish Converts and Baleei Teshuva!
It's often when everything seems to be going along just fine with everything coming together when the unexpected happens. This time, the kids and I were in our truck, waiting for Mr. Safek and Sam the dog to arrive at the Synagogue with the Shabbat RV 2.0. All our meals were carefully packed up, our … Continue reading The Simchas Torah that Stole Our Simchas
I'm about to log off, finish my cooking, and prepare for another 3 day Yom Tov, this time including the holiday of Simchas Torah. Simcha means joy and this holiday is all about the joy that Jews feel when it comes to the Torah. Other religions certainly have their holy books, but I've never seen … Continue reading Simchas Torah From My Side of the Mechitza