Peace

A Shiva, A Bris & Chanuka Wedding Bliss

say wha?

That’s Hebrew folks! When a person in the immediate family dies, the mourner sits (literally) shiva (for 7 days) in a low chair, stool, sometimes even a mattress. It’s meant to be a healing period and gives the mourners proper time to lament and reflect on the lives of the deceased. It’s a time to conjure up old stories and funny memories, happy and sad times and to really honor the deceased in a way, helping those left behind to cope with the loss.

Then there is bris, the covenant between man and G-d, a Jewish ceremony of circumcision, which occurs 7 days after a baby boy is born. The mohel, (or as Seinfeld made popular, can be pronounced: “moil”) is trained and performs the ritual, more often than not, this ceremony is serious and not as humorous.

It’s the circle of life – people don’t live forever and this week at least 4 death notices came across my e-mail and I knew people connected to those that passed on. That is a lot. I’m not THAT old…where that should be the status quo, seriously!! So it was especially comforting to know that at least 2 of my friends had babies.

It’s hard to see my friends and colleagues lose their loved ones and especially for a person like me, I feel EVERYTHING, I am so super sensitive. I cried at the bris this morning during the ceremony as the congregants sang about angels. The translation is roughly that the Angel of Redemption is with us through any bad times, so of course even though I was at a happy event it sort of tied in last night’s shiva visit as well.

This weekend was one long party as I hosted my nephew, his 3 (out of 8) sisters, 3 brothers, parents, cousins, future brothers in law and friends. People were everywhere! There was so much food, fun, laughter, alcohol, and not enough time.  Living in a different country than most of our family has a real downside. Not getting together all the time for holidays and weekends or special occasions is a real bummer and it weighs on us. We feel like we miss out and it’s more often than not too expensive to fly everyone in. So we send a representative. BUT, this time, we get to party in our neck of the woods and it feels great!

This plus Chanukah is right around the corner, my baby just turned 7, miracles are abundant and all around us. The Maccabeats put out a new song and besides that I was already addicted to the original version, their parody has me smiling from ear to ear and really just makes me feel like making a batch of latkes (potato pancakes) and dancing and being merry! I know some people think it’s cheesy, but I know some of those guys since they were teenagers and I feel like a bubbe (Yiddish for grandmother), I just want to pinch their cheeks and say good job, yingele (Yiddish for ‘children’)!

Now is the time to spread joy and happiness. With my nephew’s wedding and Chanukah just a few days away, there are dresses to be bought, hair to be coiffed, presents to be wrapped and sufganiyot (Hebrew for donuts) to be eaten. Spread the love and share good news, or dog videos on YouTube (like the one my cousin posted, of a dog dancing disco style – which I generally am annoyed about – but sometimes they are funny!) and be nice to one another, try to greet each other with a smile and share a kind word. Happy holidays to all…

Peace y’all.

My Story. From Over The Green Line.

I don’t even know where to begin but I feel now is the time to share.

There is so much going on in our region of the world now that it should come as no surprise to any of my followers. We are at war.

I thought about writing a piece as a mother, then as a Jew or an American or an Israeli or a settler or a blogger…not sure what angle I should be writing from made it all the more difficult to begin.

But here I sit, the stress I’ve been enduring the last few weeks has left my face looking like the battlefield. Lack of sleep, on constant alert in the event that there MAY be a siren, constantly checking and rechecking my news feed for more or any information that seems new or better than the last-minute of awfulness, the constant pinging of my RED ALERT app alerting me of more rockets flying – mostly towards the southern communities, all have made the bags under my eyes weigh a ton and pimples sprout for no other apparent reason.

max-steinberg-300x234

Max Steinberg, 24,a Los Angeles native who immigrated to Israel and enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces, was among the 13 soldiers killed in the Gaza Strip on Sunday. The slain IDF soldier who was laid to rest on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem earlier today.

I will not be going to any funerals today, but that is not true for many of my friends. I can not begin to imagine,  and yet in my subconscious daze I sort of do imagine, what its like to have to say goodbye to your young soldier boy as he leaves you to go protect the rest of our country. My teenager is turning 15 in 1 week – that’ s like a blink of time before its his turn. And. I. Just. Can’t. Go. There. Because then I think of Max Steinberg, z”tl.  I think about his parents. And my heart breaks into a million more pieces.

I struggle with figuring out what to do, I want to pray but I can’t make it through the passages without breaking down. I want to help the efforts so I sent out a message on Facebook and within 2 hours and some amazing friends who networked faster than I could have even imagined, had raised close to $1000. I was literally shaking at the thought as I worked my way through the pharmacy picking out products I know they needed first-hand. Wipes, check – but how many packages? was 20 enough? 15 Bottles of sunscreen? And muscle relaxers and cream to help with jock itch – clearly not anything I am used to buying and then getting a strange look from the pharmacist when I told him 10 tubes of each. I explained my purchase but I was so worked up I’m not sure I was making any sense.  I felt bad taking all the boxes of energy bars off the shelf so I left one. Then I went to the next store and bought 60 bags of gummy candy and 20 more containers of gummy candy shaped in hearts to send a message that our hearts are with them. I bought more wipes and about 400 granola bars. And batteries, so many batteries!

I spend my day at work barely able to keep my mind on the tasks at hand and am distracted about 95% of the time, reading multiple articles and blogs, opinions vs facts and videos of idiots who call themselves political satirists. I follow some comments on Facebook posts that lead me to viewing sites from the opinions of our enemies and I am even more frightened by the amount of anger and violent hatred that is aimed at us, call us whatever you want. Jews. Israelis. Zionists. What have we done? Occupied a land as small as NJ? That was ours to begin with and that we cultivated with our own hands, blood, sweat and tears?  A land where we plant flowers and vegetables in our gardens not dig holes filled with cement and weaponry with the intent to creep out like ants waiting to grab the first morsel/life that walks by? Who does this?  When we dig below the earth it’s because scientists want to educate on a global level in the hopes that the  “results of this project will have vast implications in the fields of science and environment and will shed light on new natural resources”.

I am sad and angry. I am exhausted and weary that we will lose more sweet 20-year-old boys to this evil on the other side. And they are pure evil. Why there are so many who still support this entity of violence is beyond comprehension and then, then to read that other countries are willing to give millions, MILLIONS of dollars to aid them in rebuilding the homes of the ring leaders –  that we just sacrificed our young soldiers for – who hid weapons of mass destruction in their basements? In their schools? In their places of worship and hospitals? The last time they were given piles of tax dollar monies they spent it on cement to dig tunnels with the direct aim to do massive harm to innocent civilians or kidnap a soldier. Those are MY tax dollars being used to torment me. Outrageous! I can’t think of enough curse words to express my outrage at this expression of  sympathy. The world has gone mental if the general thought is that innocent women and children are being displaced. That does not mean I don’t feel for them because running for your life or losing a child is awful no matter what your religion is or what you believe. However, these are the women who raised terrorists and continue to praise their efforts. These children are receiving and education which will almost inevitably lead them to become terrorists. Televised programs encourage hatred and are what their children watch for fun, cultivating a life worth dying for at a very early age calling it martyrdom. It’s murder. It’s detestable. It should shock the world, and yet, as I continue to watch rally after rally in countries all over Europe, the UK, France and United States the world cries out in their defense, reminding us that we are “settlers occupying the land” and what this war is supposedly about. I live “over the green line” labeling me a settler.

Not one of the Arabs I employ (but feel free to call them Palestinians if you want) has ever been or felt mistreated in any way. I offer drinks and the use of my bathroom if the need should arise if they are working on my house or in my garden and there has never been one word in anger that passed between us. For goodness sake, they are helping me build my house on OUR land!!!

There are huge very clear red signs that state if I enter into their neighborhoods I risk my life.   

Why would I be risking my life? What’s on the other side of that sign? A pothole maybe that I can fall into like Alice in Wonderland and find myself deep in a tunnel and when I finally get to a stop am in the basement of some guy’s shwarma shop? Maybe. Who knows now? Not me, that’s for sure. How will I know that somewhere when I least expect it, there will be a sewer lid that lifts and out comes a terrorist? Yes, so now I’m paranoid, but what choice am I left with?!

tunnel roadThis is not our way. When we build tunnels, they end up looking like this: and was built in order to travel to Jerusalem and not through the Arab neighborhoods. Oh, and on the other side of this tunnel, only a few meters away is Bethlehem, and the Tomb of Rachel – where we all can pray – but with completely separate entrances. We are a fair nation with a moral conscience. We pulled our own people out of our own homes to give the enemy a chance. To show the world we are a just people. We gave and gave and now we must take back. The world needs to be a better place. We will lose innocent lives and mourn and then wipe off the dust and begin to build again. We have started to defend OUR right to live here and until the rest of the world wakes up we are going to have to fight hard to continue to live here. There is one thing we have going for us though, that no other surrounding nation has. The love of G-d. We have His blessing.

Deuteronomy 15:4

“However, there will be no poor among you, since the LORD will surely bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess”

Deuteronomy 7:13-14

“He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock, in the land which He swore to your forefathers to give you. “You shall be blessed above all peoples”

Deuteronomy 28:7

“The LORD shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways”

Here is my favorite line of the day though that I want to share with you. It has helped me time and again over the last 2 weeks and I firmly believe it.

Psalms 29:11

“The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with peace”

Tell Me Something Good…

Sunday:

There is so much bad in the world today. I mean literally, today.  Murder, rape, starvation, abuse, terrorism, political scandal, prostitution, abduction, raging fire, sickness, divorce,  ugh the list goes on an on. That was just a snippet from news articles I read today until I finally put a stop to it. My brain and heart and eyes needed a break from all this awful negativity.

I wished there were more articles on good news than bad but alas the way to true journalism  I guess is exploiting ourselves as much as possible. So I searched and searched until I found a few things that lightened the mood.

These are some of the things that made me smile:

  • ‘Dad jeans are making a comeback’ according to The New York Times  fashion and trend section.
  • The Huffington Post added a video of a porcupine eating a banana – you can check it out HERE
  • Apparently, according to the BBC, if one is too fat – he can not live in New Zealand. Some would contend that this is bad news. But imho, it’s so bad that it’s good.
  • An affordable eye shadow has hit the market thanks to Lady de Cosmetic.
  • Two Prince Georges were born, but only one is an ass.

So there you have it.

Monday:

Today is a much better day. My son went to camp happily in his new t-shirt and shorts. I avoided reading anything newsworthy. I am having a decent hair day *which means my wig is washed and clean and soft and smells pretty, (girly-stuff-bla-bla-bla) and best of all I am starting to make time for blogging again. I cleaned more of the piles on my desk that I kind of just shoved into one massive pile.  I broke them down and organized them in a way that actually makes sense and that I can hopefully find something now when I need it.  I redecorated my little desk area so now it’s more functional. However, being programmed to look towards the right at my phone to find out the date and time is getting annoying since I moved the phone to my left.  Other than that its been…

…I was going to say quiet and then tons of people came into the office all at the same time!  It’s noon and I re-checked my incoming email to find some really interesting things (read busy work items)  I need to tend to. What happened to my chilled out planned day? Life is like that  –

A small story before I sum up:

Once upon a time there was a happy little monkey. The monkey wanted to play all day, lounge in the tree and eat bananas until her belly was full. There was only one problem. It was raining outside and this little monkey hadn’t mastered climbing trees when they got a bit slippery from the rain. She had 2 choices. The first was to make a new plan. The second was to go outside and try to climb the tree, even though she had been unsuccessful before. Both options had positive measures with possible positive outcomes. Whatever the monkey decided would be the right thing to do. Making the decision was that hardest part.

Often in life we are given choices or options and are forced to make decisions. With a positive attitude, any decision can made infinitely better from the get-go. 

Today I chose to bypass the news sites. Not because I am ignoring the problems that face the world today, but because I am giving my heart a break. To read such awful outcomes, to fathom that some people are choosing to destroy the lives of others, to contemplate the people of the world as a whole unit doing harm unto one another is too big a pill to swallow day after day. I want to enjoy the beautiful things, the happy moments, the funny and the absurd that we miss because of the negativity that eclipses them.

So here are the things today that made me smile:

I call this the grandmadillo:

Mike Wazowski:

Sad Ending but Inspiring and Always Makes Me Smile:

So with this I end with a message to show some love today. Make choices that help others, that encourage your loved ones, that make you a better person. Feel good about your place on this earth and help make it a better place for our children. Sending out wishes for peace and harmony to all those that struggle today with decisions not in their own hands.