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
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
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
Yesterday was my wedding anniversary and, as usual, the biggest question most of my friends had was "How long have you been married?" In this case, like so many others with my family, this was a simple question with a complicated answer. It all depends on how you look at us. From a Jewish perspective, … Continue reading One Year A Jew and One Year Married…Again
A year ago, we were anxiously awaiting our meeting with the Beis Din. We were hoping and praying and adjusting to life down from Alaska. A year ago, we drove all the way to Brooklyn, NY through the night. Now I'm planning a trip back to New York in August for work as an Orthodox … Continue reading A Year After
It was a year ago that we left Alaska and boarded a plane for the midwest. Since then, it's been a hectic year with our conversions, Mr. Safek's heart surgery, and the busy-ness of living in a fully functioning Chassidic community. I have loved this year, even the tough parts. Our children both had some … Continue reading The Tree House and Another Move
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!!!
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