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
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 title of this blog, "The Safek" refers to the Hebrew word, safek, for question. Up until last summer, that question was my husband, who lived his life in the awkward position of neither being a Jew nor NOT a Jew for 7 long years before that question was answered. (Spoiler alert...he was a Jew … Continue reading A Year as a Jew and More Questions
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
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
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
Yesterday, I sat in the waiting room at day surgery at one of the local hospitals, my lips whispering tehillim (psalms) as I waited to hear news of how my husband's test was going. He was having his fourth heart catheterization, a procedure that shows cardiologists how the arteries that supply blood to his heart … Continue reading Broken Hearted
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.
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
It's been about 2 weeks since our family emerged from the mikvah and I've had a little time to rest and recover from the trip and all the kashering and toiveling of our kitchen. I'm still in the midst of planning our wedding, but I took a weekend off to attend a Jewish women's retreat … Continue reading What Changes After Conversion?
It's only a few steps down into the mikvah, but it's taking me days to really emerge. Around midday Monday, my children and I were each converted. My husband completed his second gerus l'chumrah right after and we began our first day as a whole, Jewish family...by searching for our car. My husband walked, puzzled, … Continue reading Emerging from the Mikvah