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
On the farm, you could see storms coming from far off, the wide, flat horizon offering a good view of storm clouds gathering miles away. More than that, though, you could just tell when a storm was coming. Birds would quiet and the air would still, feeling heavy. Before a big summer storm, it would … Continue reading The Calm Before the Storm
In this week's Parsha, Yosef has dreams that he will be the greatest of his brothers and yet, he finds himself thrown into a pit and then wrongfully imprisoned on his way to greatness. There had to be times, in the pit or in the jail cell, that Yosef's dreams had to seem very far … Continue reading Yosef’s Dreams and the Faith Clinic
I know we've moved on from the epic story of Jacob and Leah in the parsha. This week, we're talking about Joseph and his dreams and how he wound up sold into slavery. However, in my own life, this morning, the idea of Leah's eyes came to me. It's often said that Leah's eyes were … Continue reading And Leah’s Eyes Grew Dim
In this weeks parsha, poor Jacob goes through a lot of trials. First, he has to flee his home under threat of violence from his brother. Then, he sleeps on a rock and wrestles with an angel, earning him the name Israel and a wound he carries the rest of his life. When he does … Continue reading Vayeitzei, Cancer, and the Power of Laughter
When my children were babies, I used to catch myself staying awake even though I was exhausted just to watch them sleeping. I'd marvel at their perfection and I would have this feeling of not wanting to miss a single moment. I wanted to make time stand still and memorize every feature of them. Since … Continue reading Asher Yotzar and Watching Him Sleep
It's a word that cuts through all other noise, that stops one story and begins a new page. It's the word I was struggling to process this last Wednesday, as Mr. Safek lay drowsy in front of me. We'd come in for a colonoscopy to explain some symptoms he'd been having and we were leaving … Continue reading Cancer
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
Surrender is something I always want to be good at, but really struggle with. A great example is anesthesia. When I was 15 years old, I had to have my wisdom teeth extracted in a surgery. For this, they had to put me under and when I woke up, I heard the WORST language being … Continue reading Surrendering to Surrender…Again
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
It's been several months since our conversion and then Mr. Safek's triple bypass. Since then, it's been a whirlwind of Jewish Day school for the kids and classes and work for us. It really has flown by and now I think I finally understand why most conversion blogs seem to peter out after the conversion. … Continue reading My First Winter…as a Jew!
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!!!