L’Chaim! To Life!!!

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!!!

Climbing the Mountain

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

The Downside of a Long Conversion Process

I've written a lot about the good sides of having a long Orthodox Jewish conversion process and I think there are some obvious downsides, but there is one downside that became readily apparent recently that I hadn't really stopped to think about and has come up for us. You can become TOO comfortable with being … Continue reading The Downside of a Long Conversion Process

Hashem as a Life Coach

I came across a great quote today that stuck in my head. My manager at work is one of those people who is naturally intellectually curious about life in general, not just his specialty and he finds my observance fascinating.  I enjoy our conversations because his questions challenge me to better define and articulate portions … Continue reading Hashem as a Life Coach

Why Orthodox Judaism? Why Not Another Type?

It's a question I get asked often, particularly when non-Orthodox Jewish friends and family learn just how long our conversion has been taking.  I've even had Orthodox friends on the more left side of the Orthodox spectrum question our dedication to Orthodox Judaism.  My answer usually depends on how much time we have to talk. … Continue reading Why Orthodox Judaism? Why Not Another Type?

Converts, BT’s…Heck Everyone – You Can’t Control What Others Will Think Of You

An interesting discussion wandered across my social media feed this week.  It began with a post suggesting "Comebacks For Converts," basically a list of ideas for dealing with nosey questions that converts often encounter.  The post itself is pretty good and has some good ideas.  The discussion that ensued, however, made me think for a … Continue reading Converts, BT’s…Heck Everyone – You Can’t Control What Others Will Think Of You

Becoming Whole…with a Chanukah Cactus

So much change is happening, that it's hard to keep you updated on it all.  We have an offer on our house and our flights to our new home.  We're selling furniture and packing boxes, making difficult choices on what to bring and what to leave.  Our conversion timeline may be  moving up as well.  … Continue reading Becoming Whole…with a Chanukah Cactus

House Showings and Passover Cooking

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

“Turning Over” My Kitchen…and Turning Over my Pre-Passover Anxiety

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

The Non-Gebrokts Non-Jews

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

Plot Twist!

This morning, I saw a particularly timely cartoon come across my Facebook feed. When something goes wrong in your life, just yell, "PLOT TWIST," and move on! My life has been full of plot twists.  Interestingly, I've always, in the moment, reflected on the fact that bad news, or a major life change, never seems … Continue reading Plot Twist!