THIS SITE HAS MOVED
Hard things are put in our way, not to stop us, but to call out our courage and strength.
I'm sorry if you linked here via a Blogger blog. When a blog owner does not allow comments other than blogger accounts, then you get redirected here.
Sunday was filled with me relaxing and fiddling with blogging. Of my pursuits I began the switch from Blogger to Wordpress. I'm not officially moved yet but a preview can be found here. Additionally I have been exploring a number of blogs that are new to me and I thought I'd do a LINK DROP and share them with you. ENJOY.
I fit into the "asked too many questions" category of non-believers. I love TRUTH and really wanted the whole religion thing to work out. Too bad it's just based on the pastiche of a couple thousand Rabbis over a couple thousand years.
This blog consists of my collection of personal experiences and news stories reflecting the precarious nature of human intelligence. I will attempt to make posts at least once a week, giving detailed examples of human stupidity in public life here in Israel
Subtitled: Skeptadox; his name says it all :)
A woman finding her path through Judaism.
This is not a new blog to me but I hadn't read it quite some time so I wanted to reintroduce not just myself but my readers to Toronto Pearl's blog.
My thoughts, assertions and observations on issues important to me as a Jew, a Zionist, a Revenant in Yesha and as an inquisitive human being.
I am a Conservative Jew with Modern Orthodox leanings, hence the subtitle of this blog. I admire these two trends of Judaism for their courage in attempting to tackle the issues of today. We often refer to the Torah as the “tree of life” and thus I believe that Hashem gave it to us to live with in our time. Yet as I feel committed to Halakhah (Jewish law) I also consider that these answers ought to be given within the framework of the Torah. I sometimes disagree or even feel angry with the answers but I enjoy the challenge and honesty.
The premise of this blog is that positive Judaism can inspire.
Such an assertion may seem obvious, but apparently it is not to a great number of Jewish institutions that continue to rely on negativity — guilt, fear and hatred — to inspire Jewish identity and commitment to their cause.
This blog hopes to turn the tide on this phenomenon … and it will do so by promoting a Judaism that is joyful, filled with meaning, ethically centered, hesed infused and passionate about Jewish unity.
An Israeli blogger
The cutting edge (!) of homemaking and parenting in Israel and the observant Jewish community. By a mother of many, born in the US and now living in Israel.
Cross posted at JewsByChoice.Org
Avi and I headed to San Diego in order to have a mini-honeymoon and to visit family along with the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit. This is an experience that we both believe will only come once. According to the museum, this is the largest collection of the scrolls ever displayed in one place. Additionally, there are scrolls displayed that have not been put out in public until now. As a matter of fact, five of the ten scrolls we were able to view were on public view for the first time. How exciting!
As a Jew there is some sort of personal connection, in some sort of far off place within, that makes viewing these ancient texts quite special and in some ways personal. For me there were two specifically memorable texts.
First, seeing the Ten Commandments scroll was amazing. This scroll dates to 30–1 BCE. That is practically incomprehensible. The Ten Commandments are very, perhaps cliche, but altogether symbolic and meaningful texts and symbols for me as a Jew. I believe that the image of the tablets is one of the earliest symbols I recall from childhood.
The second significant text today came at the end of the exhibit. There was a Torah scroll on exhibit. This was an ordinary (if there is such a thing) scroll. A scroll used at a local synagogue, typical of the scrolls many of us see weekly in shul. The special thing for me was that of the portions that were unrolled, I was actually able to make out some of the Hebrew text. Not only was I quite proud, but the text was significant. As I skimmed the hand written Torah, with no vowels (which for me is quite challenging), for any familiar words, I was able to find: Sh'ma Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Ehad...followed of course by the V'havtah. WOW! Hebrew school payed off and at that moment I felt quite connected and special.
These texts afterall are my/our history, my/our lineage.
Cross posted at JewsByChoice.Org
This post was initially intended to be a comment to Avi’s last post on the JewsByChoice.Org (”How I Stopped Being a Jew…”) and a response to Avi’s and Yael’s comments. Because I couldn’t stop my thoughts , I’ve opted to make it my own post. Enjoy, I hope it has meaning for others and makes sense.
“As a woman I will never run into this kind of situation, but I find things even worse for me in many ways.” (Yael)
As a Jew by birth who was raised reform; I agree with you (Yael) though I do see it a little differently. I too believe in the equality of women in Judaism or at least the choice to have equal access (if you will) to men. However, I don’t see what one person struggles with as more or less challenging than the other. What a man or woman struggles with, in my opinion, should not be compared to in a greater than or lesser than way. All our struggles are valid and so much history and experience front loads how we deal and react in different situations that, for me, it’s important I do my best to sincerely try to understand what a person might be struggling with. Believe me being married to a Jew by Choice means I am often reminded to see things from an entirely new and different perspective.
For example, I struggle with many of the traditional things that women partake in within a conservative congregation. Perhaps struggle isn’t the right word choice. I choose not to wear my talit. I have a pink and gold one that my great grandmother gave me for my bat mitzvah. I treasure it, but I won’t wear it. I also have no interest in wrapping tefillin or wearing a kippah. That is not to say others who choose this way to observe are wrong. It simply means that I choose not to. And, even though I believe women are equal, there is this little traditional part inside of me that likes having certain Jewish rituals different than men. That doesn’t make me less than, though in some ways it makes me feel unique and like there is something different and important for me. Take Shabbat candles, I love to light them. I believe it is something women should do; of course I don’t think men shouldn’t do it; but I’m glad it’s something special to women for the most part.
I think it’s important that women’s choices regarding these things are respected; even if the woman is like me and CHOOSES not to partake in these rituals. As far as being called to the Torah to make an aliyah, I’m fine with that for me and look forward to it when I go to the chuppah. I know, weird.
As a Jew by birth, I don’t struggle in the same way with some of Chabad’s style, though I know my husband does. And this has to come into my radar when interracting with the community. Like Avi said, this was the community I truly connected with when I relocated back to L.A. I didn’t connect to the davening and ritual as much as the community. This isn’t a black hat community and it is as diverse a Jewish community that I think I’ll ever find. We have black and white, gay and straight, French and Israeli, you name it. Heck, once for our community Shabbat dinner I even sat next to a Jewish Atheist! It hadn’t occurred to me before I met Avi that attending Chabad once we were married would be an issue because he is a Jew by Choice. However, I discovered that those who are truly Chabad followers didn’t count him as a minyan which also means they don’t agree with our marriage. In other words, if they don’t count him as a Jew, then they would have issues with me (a Jew) marrying him. Sad isn’t it?
And so, back to what Avi had written about. Sorry if I went off on my own thing. Avi wasn’t upset when we left Chabad on Shabbos. We actually walked back to the rabbi’s house to say hi to his wife, whom I do consider a friend, regardless of differing opinions on most things Jewishly speaking. We only stayed for ten minutes and then continued our walk home. We talked about the day on the walk and frankly, I don’t have an interest in davening at my Chabad either. There were perhaps a dozen or so men when we arrived, a few left early which is why the minyan head count happened. And of all those men, there were two woman, myself included. For Avi and I, this isn’t where we would want our children to go. We want families and children. That is not to say that the social events at my Chabad aren’t great. They are. And I think it is safe to say that Avi does enjoy the people who go there and the social aspect. As a matter of fact, we’ve been able to carry some of our shul friendships over into our personal lives so that we still interract with wonderful serious Jews, but not within the atmosphere of exclusion.
For us, this is what is most important. Community.
So many of you said you were excited to see pics of our civil wedding. Well, I'm sad to say the pics are for the most part not so hot. To be honest, the outfit I wore was very nice; however, in photos it bunched up in my middle section which just isn't cute. There are a few pics of us with our parents but I'm not comfortable putting the parents up without asking first.
Anyway...for our Jewish wedding we'll make sure we get many special photos and in the meantime here is one very blurry, very cropped pic of us. :)
Although I can't say the person's name (forgot to ask permission to), a blogger friend just called to announce their engagement! Yippee. It makes me smile and I'm so happy because this person is kind and deserving of being happy. So, MAZEL TOV to you know who.
In other news, TG and I have booked a mini "civil" honeymoon. Well, it's a couple of days out of town. As I've expressed in previous posts, we consider ourselves married and we're quite happy. At the same time, we want our proper Jewish wedding to truly feel special. So a "mini" trip will be perfect for us.
We'll be spending a couple of days out of town in order to have some special time together. We're looking forward to visiting the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the San Diego Natural History Museum. This is an opportunity that most likely will never come around again. The second thing we'll do is visit my mom's grave for the one year anniversary of her passing.
And there you have it.
Don't let the name fool you. This is NOT a blog only for converts. Many of us who were born Jewish, like myself, have come to truly find and connect with Judaism as adults. In this sense, we too have chosen Judaism as a way to live our lives.
The blog is made up of many different contributors of different levels of choice you could say. So, go check it out.
There are a couple of great posts already up; however, be sure to check out the contributors link to learn about those people putting it all together. Truly, each story is quite interesting.
I'll start with the mushy stuff because that's what you all want to hear, right?
As most of you know, TikkunGer and I met via this blog back in April of 2006. We dated via the web and phone for a couple of months before meeting in person. Then, we did the long distance, back and forth thing from June to December, when he proposed. That brings us to today, ten months later.
After a ten month engagement and too many trips back and forth from Los Angeles to Ottawa, TikkunGer and I decided we didn't want to live apart any longer...and so...we decided to tie the knot!
The Process & Ceremony
Once we decided, it was pretty simple. First we went over to the courthouse in Las Vegas. We filled out our forms, waited in a short line, and voila! We had our marriage license. We were both happy and excited. I believe we were both quite calm and at ease because we both have been very clear about us and where we are in our relationship.
Next we walked over to a small chapel-like building where the actual wedding ceremony took place. We filled out some more forms, paid the small fee, and waited for Joe to arrive. Who's Joe? Joe is the gentleman who married us. Joe goes from chapel to chapel marrying folks in Las Vegas. He was a funny guy who was quite kind really. He asked us if we wanted a quick or fuller ceremony. He also asked if we wanted G-d mentioned. We of course opted for G-d minus the Jesus part; which he was happy to oblige to.
And so, my dad and step-mom and TG's mom and step-dad were our audience. They sat there, teary eyed, while TG and I committed ourselves to one another for the remainder of our lives. We were both emotional and really, even though it was a quaint ceremony in Vegas, it was beautiful and romantic because it was about us sharing our lives together. Of course we envisioned our wedding a little different, however, this is not the end...We will have a traditional Jewish wedding within the coming year. At that wedding, we will have friends, family, a rabbi, and the wedding itself will be according to Jewish law and tradition.
We are both very happy with our decision to do things as we have. If I could change one thing about the day we got married, it would be to have my mom and my brother who passed away to be alive to know that we are happy and married. However, life goes on and this is not how it was meant to be. We don't feel like we are missing anything as far as the marriage experience and most importantly, we're simply happy to be together and that we have each other.
Photos of the ceremony will be posted in the next few days.
The Week Before...
TG's mom and step-dad were visiting from Quebec in order to meet my parents and simply to visit. We wanted our parents to get the chance to meet before next year, our intended wedding. We spent the week doing a lot of touring and running around. As part of their visit, we had planned on going to Las Vegas for a few days. And so, that's when we decided to get married and make this officially official.
One evening was spent introducing our parents. TG and I knew our parents would like each other. TG's parents were only in town for a couple of days but we still managed to hit Hollywood Blvd. and the Ripley's Museum (skip it if you visit). We did a nice day at Universal Studios. We all really enjoyed the park and TG and I got a year pass. So if anyone ever wants to go...we're in! :) We also spent time simply driving around so they could get a sense of Los Angeles.
After a few days, all six of us headed up to Las Vegas. Since my dad has a retirement home there, we thought it would be fun to visit with TG's parents. That is when TG and I decided that a ten month engagement was plenty long. There was no question we wanted to spend our lives together, so we decided to wait no more. My dad and step-mom and TG's mom and step-dad were there to witness our commitment to one another.
We had a good week spending time with our families. We rode the brutal roller coaster at the NewYork NY Hotel and for our post wedding fun, TG and I spent a few hours at the Star Trek Experience. (something he's wanted to do for a very long time) Yes, that is geeky, but it was fun. On our drive back to Los Angeles we stopped at Calico Ghost Town for some western-style fun.
Although this week was wonderful, we're looking forward to what we call our "real" wedding; our Jewish wedding which will happen within the next year.
Enjoy the few photos on my Flickr account. I'll add some more of the actual ceremony later on.
....and so, those of you wondering where we've been and what we've been up to...now you know :)
Yes, it's true. I am convinced that TikkunGer and I have a hit out on us.
We are being stalked by the J-Blogosphere.
You think I'm nuts?
Today, while at the airport, who of all the J-Bloggers do we bump into? Mottel! Ok, now that is odd. TG hadn't met him in person before so here we are, at the luggage carousel, and poof...
Yes, we're being stalked. Who put the hit out on us???
***of course this is all in jest :) but we do keep running into bloggers. I even bumped into an old high school friends while at the airport today too!
Rosh Hashana was just ok. TG and I went to a dinner in our neig hborhood. The dinner was delicious but the vibe was a bit off. I had a woman sitting next to me who was less than pleasant. I seemed to have upset her when I suggested waiting to eat her challah so we could do it as a table. I think she just misunderstood me. Her reply was quite shocking, "Maybe I did it myself!". The rest of the evening everything I did the woman made a comment such as, "You're unbelievable" or "What did you say!". Sitting right next to her, and her continuing this behavior the whole evening and it spilling over to others at the table, was no fun. BUT, I was cordial, I passed food politely and I quietly wished her a better year.
The next morning we went to Rosh Hashana services which were nice but I don't think I came mentally prepared because meaning was lacking a bit for me. I did however connect to the feeling of Rosh Hashana through some cooking. Cooking can be quite cathartic. Alone, in a kitchen, keeping busy, letting the mind do it's thing. And so, I baked my very first challah ever, Cinnamon Raisin. I also baked a lukshen kugel.
The remainder of the holiday was relaxed and we had our neighbor over for a pre-Shabbat/Rosh Hashanah lunch of kugel, challah, fruit salad, broccoflower salad and good company. That was quite nice and hopefully a first of many.
Saturday after Shabbat TG and I went to the Grove for a bookstore trip and kosher hot dogs. We had a nice, and for me much needed, evening roaming about. Yes, it was quite crowded but I truly enjoyed it and bought a great book called "Grandpa's Mountain". I LOVE the book. Although it is quite easily a young adult book, I suggest everyone read it. The basic premise of the book is it is a series of letters between a grandson in New Jersey and a grandfather whom he has never met in a border town in Israel. Their correspondences are touching and amazing. They are filled with hope and healing.
Sunday we did Tashlich with VBS. The lake was quite pretty. However, we didn't know where around the lake it was so we did a lap and a quarter before we found everyone. It was a bit, or seemed anyway, disorganized. I tried to step off to the side to have some quiet serious reflective time which was good for me. After TG and I got home we read Jack's Shack and discovered we had been found out. :) We're still waiting to do coffee with Jack at this point.
I'm really glad Yom Kippur falls on Shabbat so we don't have an extra long holiday again. After Yom Kippur, on Monday, TG's mom will be here for a visit and so we can introduce our parents to each other for the first time. Both TG's mom and step dad, and my dad and step mom are looking forward to meeting. Earlier in the year his mom made my step mom a beautiful quilt which she regularly uses. They have also exchanged a couple of nice emails so I'm sure all will go pleasant. Both TG and I are looking forward to the week they are here.
May your week be full of forgiveness and I do wish everyone a meaningful and solemn Yom Kippur.
The high holidays are here and, although I haven't been doing a lot of blogging or discussing of things, I've been doing a fair amount of self reflecting. I think much of my self reflecting occurs throughout the year; however, during this pre-holiday season, it seems that so much comes more into focus and clarity.
For me, self reflection comes in different forms and at random times. Sometimes the thoughts just sneak up on me, hitting me over the head like a hammer, carrying with the blow a message of "what are you doing!". Usually these happen after-the-fact which isn't always great. One thing I need to work at in the coming year is communication,and simply being aware - always - of what I say before it comes out. I don't always just blurt out the "wrong" there; however, there are definitely times when I realize, a split second too late ,that how I communicated was not effective or that how I communicated came across in a way that I did not want to be perceived. I can remember many times in my life where I've felt misunderstood and I'm positive that much of these experiences had to do with miscommunication on my part.
During this time of the year I find myself simply more aware of what or how I am doing or relating to others. Even though it may be subconciously, I find myself in tune with myself or at least more aware of what I'm doing. Perhaps it's simply the time of year, knowing that the "official" day of atoning is near and that I had better get a head start.
Judaism is great at building in to rituals the time for preparation and reconciliation BEFORE that very important day.
Being in a relationship and spending a lot of time together really helps put into clear focus many of the things I want to work on for myself, communication being key here. TG and I get along quite well and considering we went from living 3000 miles away to living together, we are doing teriffic. I am happy with us and our life although I know it can be better as we both learn about ourselves and each other; and as we grow from year to year as a couple. For me, a part of growing is working on communicating and working on not taking any aspect of "us" for granted. I think I'm seeing in myself that when I get so comfortable with the day to day life together, it's easy for me to take for granted the need for effective communication and the need to be clear in all things.
I guess this post was a quick way for me to put out there some goals for the upcoming year: improving communcation and appreciating all things in my life and relationship; working always to not take things for granted. Of course I have tons of other small goals I want to work on and accomplish: reading "Everyday Holiness", "The Giver", "A Night to Remember", amongst oh so many Jewish books that we have in our library. I hope to become a more organized and effective teacher. I hope to work at improving family connections. I hope to grow closer to my fiance's family and I hope to help TG feel closer to mine. I have so many things I hope to accomplish in the year. Many known, even more unknown. I don't want to set "resolutions" because a resolution has a sense of completeness and I feel that at the new year, goals that are ongoing are more realistic for me. With the exception of completing books, my desires for the year are to keep growing, keep changing, and keep embracing myself and my life.
Shana Tova to all. May this time of the year bring you reflection, reconciliations, and all things productive.
p.s. I also hope to make a sweet challah for the first time this year...tomorrow I think!
I love my apartment. I love old buildings. They have character. It's hard to find a good sized place with crown moldings, hardwood floors, a bay window, a walk in closet, linen closet, bathroom storage, a wide kitchen, a large bedroom, a jacket closet by the door. Yeah...it's a reasonable size for under $1000 a month. Everything works and for the most part it's in great shape. There is however one huge problem...