Blog: For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Jews... Or, Much A-Blog About Nothing...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

life...and other things

First off, sorry for my absence! Things have been crazy around here lately, but rest assured, I'm alive :-)

To update the 3 of you that read (used to read? ;-)) this, I have decided to pursue my passion and am going to Cosmetology school. Some of you may be scratching your heads and going "huh?" Let me elaborate a bit. Ever since I was about 13 years old, whenever I was asked what I would do if I could do anything in the world, if I could have my "dream job" I would always reply "I would love to be a celebrity hairstylist and makeup artist." I just never thought that I could make that dream come true, because I 'had' to go to college, get a degree, and find a career. I entered college as a freshman unsure of what I wanted to pursue because I have so many different interests, both intellectual and otherwise, but none of which seemed to really click for me. I thought about becoming an interpreter and translator, possibly working for the State Department or the UN. I contemplated going into social work, working for a non-profit or NGO. Still, nothing really pulled at my heart and said "this is what you're meant to do."

To be honest, I really had quite a hangup about pursuing my dream because of all of the support and encouragement I got while growing up. I know that sounds strange, because my parents always told me I could be anything I wanted to be, and do anything I wanted to do. It's just that I was always told that I was smart enough to do anything, and while I hate to admit it, a big part of me thought that I would be a disappointment to the people in my life if I decided on a career in the beauty industry solely because "I could do so much more." I know that makes me sound shallow, but when you're used to hearing how much potential you have, it makes it hard to choose something that to some people may not be the best use of your talents. Luckily for me, I was beyond wrong. My parents were extremely supportive, and are still. My father told me "If you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life." Well, I'm loving Cosmetology so far, and I can tell that this is really what I want to do. It is such a liberating feeling to be pursuing my dream and not caring if anyone is judging me for it. Like it says on SerandEz, "Be yourself, because the people who care don't matter, and the people who matter don't care." Boy, is that true. I have received nothing but positive feedback when telling people that I am doing Cosmetology, and in fact most of them were like "it's about time!"

So anyway, that's pretty much what's new with me. Along with trying to have a bit of a social life and stay involved with Jewish life. It's great too because my school is in the same city as the University I attended, so I'm still close to all of my friends from college and get to participate in campus Jewish life as if I were still at the University.

Hope everyone is doing well. I'll try not to be absent for so long of a stretch in the future.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Apples & Honey

Happy New Year, everyone! L'shanah Tovah!

I will be in Seattle for Rosh Hashanah this year, which should prove to be an interesting experience. My Mormon sister HAD to pick the 15th for her wedding, and, being the loving little sister I am, did not complain. Nu, you're thinking, what's the problem? Rosh Hashanah will be over by the 15th, though it is Shabbos. Right, well, in order to be out there with plenty of cushion-time in case of emergencies, delays, etc, we have to leave tomorrow morning. And yeah, she's getting married on Saturday evening, which is still Shabbos. I've basically decided I have to let it go--there are too many other external factors going into her wedding planning/considerations that my wishes/needs have to be left alone. I wish it could be differently, but this is my sister and she's only getting married once (Mormons do this peculiar thing they call "sealing" which means that when you get married, you're married for all of eternity. Yikes!) so I suppose I can suck it up and be involved. LOL no, seriously, I am excited about the wedding and all of that stuff--and besides, it's not like HaShem is gonna get too peeved, I'm not "official" yet anyway. So pffft.

Ok, enough rambling about me---I hope all of you have a sweet and happy New Year and eat lots of good food! (Who am I kidding, Jews are professional eaters--you all will be stuffed!)



Thursday, September 06, 2007

I feel pretty, oh so pretty!

Ok this is going to be a pretty boring post. Oh, wait, that's how ALL of my posts are, LOL! :-p

Anyhooz, this summer has been a rough one, but it has also brought about some changes in my life that I am very excited about. I have started working out and eating better, and am well on my way to being the "best me" I can be. If anyone is interested, I highly recommend Bob Greene's "The Best Life Diet" because it's really about making a lifestyle change, not just being on a diet.

This is really cheesy but the reason I was inspired to post today was because I just got my hair cut and it is suuuuuuper cute! It's the little things in life, I guess you could say. See, I'm sort of in the process of growing my hair out after an incident last winter when I decided that I'd look good as a redhead (when I'm platinum blonde naturally---ha ha that was fun, not!). Anyway, my hair is back to it's natural Marilyn Monroe hue, but unfortunately it had taken on a bit of a mullet-ish look. And as attractive as mullets are, I just wasn't really feelin' it. So I made an appointment with my fabulous hairstylist and voila! I'll post a picture on here if I can figure out how to rig my brother's digital camera, but imagine a modified version of Posh Spice's hairstyle.

Ok, enough of my lame blather about hairstyles and diets, I have laundry to get out of the dryer. Hope that everyone is having a good week---just think, Shabbos is just a day away!



Friday, August 31, 2007


Shabbat Shalom, everyone! Just a quick note to say thanks again for all of the kindness in the past few days, and always, of course.

I'm just checking in to let you know (for those of you who didn't know already) that my surgery this morning went well--all the wisdom teeth came out without complication :-) Apparently I told my mother in the recovery room that I felt like I had just been on an "acid trip" which totally made her laugh, naturally, as I haven't the slightest idea what that would be like. I do remember that I felt like I wasn't under for very long and that I saw lots of colors and weird things like a strange dream. Anyway, the only downside so far has been that since my lower left tooth was impacted it caused pain immediately after I woke up from anesthesia, but good ol' Vicodin has taken care of that.

Sadly, I'm not supposed to talk much or do anything but rest, so my regular Shabbat routine has been canceled. Instead I will be curled up on the couch in my parents home drinking apple juice and tomato soup. *sigh* I guess it could be worse! I wish all of you a wonderful Labor Day Weekend and Shabbat Shalom!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Rest In Peace

Thank-you to everyone who called or wrote and who said a prayer or sent warm thoughts. The Brick family decided to remove Rob's life support Sunday evening at 8 pm. He passed away at 8:22. He was 40 years old.

The visitation is Thursday evening and the funeral with military rites is Friday morning. My younger brother will be a pall bearer. While I am saddened by Rob's passing, I cannot even put into words how torn up my brother is right now, he was like the third child in the Brick family. Anyway, it is hard to believe he is gone now, but I hope that he has found peace.

I hope that everyone is doing well.

In peace,


Sunday, August 26, 2007

A decision no one ever wants to make

This will be a brief post. Things have been hectic here, to say the least... This past Thursday a friend of my family was in a terrible motorcycle accident and has been in the hospital ICU on a ventilator and unconscious ever since. This man, his wife, and his children were our neighbors for 7 years and their children were like extra siblings for my younger brother, who is very close in age to them. Today they are faced with the horrible decision of whether or not to keep him on his life support...My brother is on his way there as I write this, and I know that the family is waiting until he gets there to make their decision. How I wish it were not a decision they had to make. I am praying fervently that Hashem gives them peace and comfort in this time of devastating confusion.

While I do not normally use people's real names on here, in this situation I feel that it is necessary. If you are so inclined, please pray for Robert Brick and his family--wife Tammy, daughter Morgan, and son Andrew. Thank you.

I hope to return to blogging on a more positive note in the near future...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Testing, testing...1,2...

Hello there blogland! Sorry it's been ages since I've posted! Although, to be fair, the book meme (see below) was actually done just a couple of days ago but I can't figure out how to change the date from the date I started it as a draft to the date it was actually published. *sigh* Oh well, I remain technologically challenged--what else is new? :-P

So I decided to copy a page from the Brooklyn Wolf and post a weight-loss tracker on my blog. I may or may not post about my diet/lifestyle change attempts from time to time, we shall see.

Also, I copied from AidelMaideland decided to post a map of the countries I've visited. Next up will be the states I've visited. Just thought it was kind of a fun idea.

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands

Hmm...let's see... nothing much to report here for me, just gearing up to go back to school and evaluating the various options I have, but more on that later. In the meantime, MAZEL TOV to RaggedyMom on the birth of her new baby boy!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Oooh, look Ma, another meme!

Look at the list of books below: Bold the ones you’ve read. Mark in blue (or aqua ;-)) the ones you want to read. Cross out/strikethrough the ones you wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole (or mark them some other way if you can't figure out how to strike through text--I used green) Finally, italicize the ones you've never heard of.

I've read a fair amount of these (didn't like all of them, but ehh) and some I was like "wth is that???" Enjoy. I'm tagging RaggedyMom and Orieyenta because CYM already did this one :-P

1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery) The movies are better but I still liked it.
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling) Only so my friends will quit bugging me about it LOL!
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling) Again only so my friends will leave me alone.
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden) It was good but then I read Geisha: A Life (Mineko Iwasaki) whom Golden based Memoirs on and she claims that he fabricated so much of the book that she was ashamed, so then I was a little peeved.
16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Rowling) See above.
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling) Ahem.
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) High school Honors English. 'Nuff said ;-)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte) Oh, high school Honors English LOL!
28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis) Didn't read it but I have the BBC-produced movies (there are 2 on VHS)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck) I HATE Steinbeck. Ugh. I read The Red Pony in 6th grade and Of Mice and Men in 7th and again in 9th grade English and loathed it both times, and The Grapes of Wrath in 12th grade, again, I hated it.
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell) 9th grade book report
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant) She came to speak at my University and I felt dumb because everyone but me had read it--even my non-Jewish friends! Oh well, her "Choosing a Jewish Life" is a fave so I guess it's all good :-)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. The Bible --I've read the Christian version in several variations, as well as the TaNaKh (translated of course)
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas) I liked the movie but I have no desire to read the book.
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt) One of my all time favorites
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck) Again, I repeat, I HATE STEINBECK.
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens) Technically I didn’t really read it so much as sleep through it…
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens) Why was I tortured in English class?
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald) 9th grade English
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling) Enough with the HP already! :-p
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy) Don't necessarily plan on reading it any time soon but I figure to be considered "well-read" it's kind of a must, right?
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding) Saw the movies which were great but I still want to read the book.
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White) One of my favorites as a kid
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck) YUCK.
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams) 9th grade English, totally creeped me out but I loved it :-P
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding) Yuck. 12th grade English. Though my bff and I still get a chuckle out of quoting some lines from it.
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)Read it just this spring, couldn’t put it down.
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton) 8th grade English. Hated it.
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Bonus: The Princess Bride (William Goldman) I’ve seen the movie, does that count?

Friday, July 06, 2007

I've been tagged! Aaaaaaah!

Ok, ok, so I guess I have been in hiding for too long. Orieyenta has tagged me so I suppose I should finally get off my lazy tuchis and do this ;-) Thanks, O, for making me come back to the blogosphere, it has been too long!

Here we go:

The Rules are:
~ Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves.
~ The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed.
~ At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

1. I am addicted to The Learning Channel, the Food Network, Lifetime, and HGTV. I can't help it. :-p

2. I am a Diet Pepsi fanatic. I can stomach Diet Coke, but if I have the choice, Diet Pepsi is the one for me!

3. I love love love love love studying other cultures, but religions in particular interest me. Of course, my love of travel goes hand in hand with that.

4. My secret dream job is to be a hairstylist and celebrity makeup artist.

5. As a kid, I wanted to be Shirley Temple. I even had a Care Bears cake for my fourth birthday that said "Happy Birthday, Shirley Temple" Yeah, I guess you could say I was a bit obsessed...Thank goodness my mom indulged me and didn't send me to a shrink! :-)

6. I used to do beauty pageants. Yup, you got that right, interviews, speeches, swimsuits, evening gowns and all. Big hair and fake eyelashes, the whole nine yards. And I LOVED it. *sigh* You can take the girl out of the country... ;-)

7. I am an encyclopedia of song lyrics. More often than not, I know the band/singer and title as well, but I for sure know the lyrics to songs as far back as the 1950's all the way through today. I was raised on the "golden oldies" and I didn't know what "pop" music was until I was about 8 or 9--my favorite songs were Chantilly Lace by the Big Bopper and La Bamaba by Richie Valens! Today, however, I have been known to impress my friends with my awesome rapping skills ;-) Take that, P Diddy!

8. I can sleep almost any where, any time, on anything if I am tired enough. I cannot, however, sleep if any dresser drawers are open, or my closet door, or my bedroom door. Maybe I'm borderline OCD, I don't know, but those things simply drive me nuts until I'm forced to get up and close them all myself.

Ok, I don't even think that 8 people read this blog, but I guess I'll tag them anyway. I was going to tag RaggedyMom but I see she's already done it, so I'm tagging Elie, Fudge, JewCess (though she has been MIA since February so I don't know if she'll respond), aaaand...Well, I think that's about it. So get to it, folks!

BTW, does anyone know what the deal is with this new blogger? I can no longer add links or anything because it won't let me out of the HTML-edit-mode-thingy....I'd appreciate the help as I am feeling rather challenged. Thanks!


Monday, June 11, 2007

Testing, testing...1,2...

Hello there, bloggers! My sincerest apologies to the 3 of you who read this for not updating recently. I have been overwhelmed with work and family and household stuff the past couple of weeks, and therefore haven't had much time at all to sit down and blog. *sigh* I am beginning to understand what RenReb and Shifra were talking about when they have taken breaks from blogging---it's hard to have the time! I have tried to catch up on everyone's blog tonight since I had a few minutes to check in, but if I haven't left you a comment please forgive me!

I will try to write more in the next day or so, as I have a few topics I'd like to discuss. Let's just hope they don't all leave my brain before I get a chance jot them down. Ha. Ha. Fat chance of that.

Oh well. Hope all is well with everyone!


Monday, May 21, 2007


Just stopping in to say that I won't be stopping in (probably) much in the next week or so. My younger brother is graduating from high school, and many of our relatives are going to be in town, so this coming week is going to be even more of a cleaning spree than the past week and a half has been. Oy. I will try to keep reading everyone else's blog while I'm on hiatus but that may not happen. Don't worry this isn't goodbye forever, or even for very long, just a week or so.

Also, my aunt Lois passed away this morning at 8:30 a.m. She lost her very long and tough battle with cancer after fighting and hanging on for almost 7 years. I will miss you.

Until soon...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Hebrew Names...Or, I stole this from Elie

The following is a comment I left on Elie's site. I'd link to it but blogger is not letting me put in links at the moment. Pfft!

Very interesting topic, indeed. As a ger (in the process) I don't have parents or grandparents or anyone to name me. I go by Hila because my dear friend from Israel, Keren, said that I should have it as my Hebrew name because it means "halo" like an angel's halo--and that it fits me not only because my "real" name starts with an H, but also I am very blonde much like the gold of the halo of an angel, and that also my personality is very sweet. I'd say she was just sweet-talking me but I don't know what that would have gotten her ;-)

This past Shabbos I was having a chat with some friends and somehow my Hebrew name came up. All the rest of my friends said, no no we should give you a different name. So now the new rabbi (Ed. Note: by new rabbi I mean the potential replacement rabbi for our Hillel) and everyone is all about finding me a Hebrew name.

Addition: The rabbi asked me what kind of name I was wanting, if it mattered if it started with the same letter as my "real" name, etc. I said I wanted something with meaning, something representative of my personality and my own journey to Judaism. He suggested several lovely names, as did some of my close friends, including Noa, Ora, Hadassah, Nediva, and Zahavah. What do you all think? Please post opinions/ideas/suggestions for potential names in the comments section or e-mail me :-)

When my conversion is complete, I am not sure whether I want to take the traditional ____ bat Avraham Avienu v' Sarah Imenu. It's not that I don't want to be known as a convert/ger/ Jew-by-choice, but because I think I would feel a deeper connection if I could have "adoptive" Jewish parents. Maybe the rabbi and my tutor. Just a thought.

What are your opinions on that bit as well? I know it is a somewhat new and "controversial" thing but I read about it in Anita Diamant's book "Choosing a Jewish Life" and it struck me. I don't want to offend anyone, and of course I would be beyond honored to have Abraham and Sarah as my spiritual parents, but part of me also feels like I would have a deeper connection to everything if I could "adopt" Jewish parents. Let me know what you think, I value all of your opinions and insight!

-Hila (or ???)

Monday, May 07, 2007


So right now I should be studying for finals. Buuuut, I don't want to. So I'm taking a break.

I don't really have anything too insightful to post at the moment. I'm stressed about school and everything, sad about the fact that many of my friends are graduating and will be moving away, and in general in a sort of ticked-off mood.

However, that being said, I do know that I have much to be grateful for (this seems to be a recurring theme on my blog :-))

I am excited that one of the staff members at my university's Hillel has agreed to help study with me under the supervision of an out-of-town (but not Out Of Town) rabbi so that I can finally get this whole conversion thing underway. This year has been so busy that I have not been able to organize any sort of formal classes or anything, and I have been frustrated to say the least. A big problem, as I have mentioned before, is the fact that I live in the middle of the cornfields and therefore don't have access to a large Jewish community. But I am lucky because the woman that I am going to be learning with is in the process of becoming an ordained Cantor in the Conservative movement, and has been teaching Bar/Bat Mitzvah and Hebrew classes since she was an undergraduate, so she has a very in-depth knowledge of Judaism. Okay, so she's not an Orthodox Rabbi, but she just about could be...Y'know, if there were women rabbis in Ortho Judaism ;-) yeah, that's a comforting thing. I can't express how much I love learning about Judaism, how much time I spend looking through bookstores at all the books about Judaism and adding to my library, and how much joy it brings me to be among all of the members of the small but vibrant Jewish community here in the Midwest. I thank Hashem every day that I am able to learn and grow more, even if it is unconventional ways.

In other news, the JLIC couple that has been at our campus for the past three years is leaving, and I sad to see them go. I have grown very close to them and will miss them immensely. They won't be too far away, though, so hopefully I will get to visit. The potential, for lack of a better word, "replacement" rabbi was in town for Shabbos this past weekend and it was very nice to get to visit with him. What a funny man! He was able to relate to us students so well that it was if we had all known him for a long time already! He was making jokes with us and telling stories as if he were a college student himself, yet he had plenty of insightful questions and comments. We were sitting around after Shabbos lunch and somehow the topic came up about my conversion, and it was just so awesome how enthusiastic he was about talking to me and learning about my "story." I felt like he was genuinely interested in talking to me and getting to know me, as well as all of the other students, and that was really touching. We are all crossing our fingers that he chooses to come to our Hillel and not somewhere else!

Well, I think that's about it for my random, brain-dead ramblings... Time for my mush-brain to get back to studying!


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Bleeding Heart...

The first draft of a poem I wrote yesterday is below. Let me know what you think! ;-)

Bleeding Heart
I read a book once, about women who lived only to build one another up
To fulfill in each of them a sense of belonging, love, and worthiness
I have wondered about these women, even though they are fictional characters
Wondering if they could exist, in part, in me

I feel a kinship with all of these women, but most of all, with the one called May
Named for her mother’s love of the Spring months
Representative of hope and rebirth
With a heart so full it seemed to consume her

I sometimes think that I am May
I feel the pain of those who suffer so acutely
It is as if I too am suffering

A bleeding heart, someone once called it
If other’s hearts bleed, then mine floods
Gushing wildly with the tears and pleas
Of those who are downtrodden, oppressed, and heartbroken

May died of a broken heart
So filled by the sorrows of the world
That she simply could not hold back the dam
And the floodgates opened until she had drained all of her very being
Emptied out to God and humankind alike
The sacrifice of a pure and gentle soul

Sometimes I think that I, too, will die of heartbreak
That I cannot bear to hear and see the suffering of my people
All people

My heart is full of love and compassion
To the point where I think it should burst
Yet it is weighted with the chains of cruelty, dehumanization, and prejudice
It is my daily struggle to balance the love and the hate of the world with my heart
Before the chains around it will tighten
And cause it to simply burst into a thousand pieces

Leaving my once compassionate and caring soul
An empty chasm of apathy…

The Secret Life of Bees

Hey everyone! Sorry I haven't been posting really regularly lately. I promise I'm still here. It's about to be finals week, though, so there has been lots to do. On top of all that, there have been several emotionally draining events and issues going on in my life to add to the stress load. *sigh* But with God's help, I will get through it all.

Spring really is the season of rebirth and new beginnings. Some things in my life have been ending, and others are just beginning. Yesterday was the last day of my Women's Empowerment Group, a bittersweet meeting of 8 strong women who have come so far over the course of this semester, yet still have so far to go. We have listened to each other's joys, sorrows, pain, and healing. We have worked to build one another up when those in our lives were unable to help. We have cried together, laughed together, ranted and raved and been angry together. These 7 other women have shown me the beauty that lies within every woman. The strength they have shown after overcoming horrible trauma and abuse is incredible. Each of us has expressed feelings of despair, loneliness, and weakness. Yet we are not weak. We may have long paths of recovery, discovery, growth and healing ahead of us, but we are not weak, for just by being able to come together and share our very deepest emotions takes tremendous strength.

The two leaders of our group asked us to bring something that empowered us to share with the group for the last meeting. Some women brought mementos and reminders of positive things, some brought poems and quotes that inspire them even in the darkest of hours. One of our leaders brought a box of beautiful stones, each one different, for all of us to keep to "remind us all of the uniqueness of this group, that will never be the same again, to keep each other with us always, as a reminder that though this may be the end of one thing, it is the beginning of many new and positive events. Even if you do not remain in touch, each of you has one of these stones, and you all know what they stand for. Keep them as a reminder of the rock of strength you all are, and have been for one another."

Then our other leader said that as a "final activity" we were going to do something different (normally at the end of the group we do focused breathing and/or meditation) She asked us to pair up with someone, face them, and take turns repeating the following: "You are a beautiful person, and I am so glad that you are in this world."

It probably sounds cheesy, even a bit cliche, to say that I cried yet again at this moment. How can such a small thing mean so much? I don't know why that felt so great to hear, and to say, but it did. Somehow it was a concrete affirmation of the love and friendship that I have found in these women, and in others in my life. I've posted before about how I am a firm believer in the "small things" yet somehow I had forgotten just how much of an impact those things have on me--I had become too focused on doing them for others.

Anyway, I have probably bored whoever is actually reading this to the point of being semi-comatose, so I'll stop. I just wanted to make this post to express my feelings. Writing really is cathartic, isn't it?

I want to end with something one of the women in my group said right before leaving, something she hoped that we could all take with us. As she went around the room giving us hugs, she said "Whenever you are feeling like you are at your lowest, that everyone is against you, remember love. Remember love in whatever form you feel it. But always remember that you deserve love, and you are loved."

So from me to all of you out there: You are loved.



Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Truly a Tragedy

By now, I am sure, most have you are aware of the terrible tragedy that occurred at Virginia Tech yesterday. I don't have much to say on the subject, other than it breaks my heart, and shakes me to my very core.

I am sure that we are all praying for the families and loved ones of all those touched by this horrible event.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Freak Out Time

Ok folks...Or, RaggedyMom * Umm...So I'm in a bit of a pickle. Well, not really a pickle, so much, but I'm nervous. You see, I regularly attend Shabbat services at our University's Hillel but this week is different. That is because I have been asked to lead the Reform Services tonight. I've helped out in some way or another before when they've needed someone (High Holiday services, etc) but this is the first time I'll be completely on my own.

I have no qualms about it, in fact I'm honored that they would ask me, and also it's a boost to my already inflated ego because I get to sing but not only do I get to sing, I get to be in charge! Bwuahahahahah!!! Mmmm k, so I am a little evil. I'm ok with that ;-)

You see, while I consider myself to be very religious, and I try to live the most frum life I can, I don't always attend the Orthodox services at shul. Don't get me wrong, my rabbi "rocks my world" though I am not married to him! I have a great relationship with him and his wife, I have been a guest in their home, I babysit their children, etc. So it isn't because of that that I don't go to Orthodox services. No, it's because they are so freaking long and slow and boring. I went to a conference this past fall and attended Orthodox services at the Hillel at the college I was visiting, and it was AWESOME! Upbeat, enthusiastic, so full of joy and life. I was almost a bit scared that I'd accidentally walked into some Baptist revival or Evangelical service--just kidding! But the point is that I actually felt like I was a part of the service. Trust me, I understand that halacha about the mechitza, kol isha, etc. That doesn't bother me so much as the annoyingly monotonous and somber tone of the services at my Hillel. I think we need PT to come help us out and show us how it's done! Maybe it's because all of the men in the Orthodox services are completely tone deaf and they all seem to be obsessed with competing with each other to see who can be the loudest (and most off-key). I mean, "make a joyful noise unto the Lord" should apply regardless, right?

Anyway, so most of the time I attend Conservative or Reform services, depending on my mood. Thus, I am at least not completely in the dark about how the whole deal breaks down. I know which prayers are always done, which ones sometimes get thrown in, etc. (Pause) 1:15 p.m.

UPDATE 3:00p.m,: I just went to Hillel and got a Reform Siddur and the JCSC Intern was kind enough to go through it with me and make notes about which things we repeat, skip, or do in some odd fashion, so I feel much better about that.

Not that it would be a huge deal if I flubbed up a little bit, but I definitely want to make sure that I at least have a pretty good grasp on everything. It will probably be a small crowd anyway since it is Mom's Weekend here, but if need be I can always ask someone what tune they want to sing for a prayer or if they want to add something in--that's the beauty of Reform services, it's much more relaxed and therefore there isn't as much pressure on me (or anyone) to be perfect.

Alrighty, I guess I'm done babbling now. Time to read this week's parsha and try and come up with a meaningful d'var.

*You're the best! Thanks for the support!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

My First Passover Seder

Hello there J-bloggers! Sorry it has been an eternity since I've posted--I'm sure the 2 people who actually read this have since given up on me! School has kept me so stinkin' busy lately that I haven't had time to sit down and write anything worth reading. I'll post an update about what's been going on lately sometime in the next couple of days. For now, I thought I'd share my first Pesach experience.

You see, I "officially" decided to convert to Judaism in the Fall of 2005. In the Spring of 2006, I had to move home for various reasons, and did so right around Purim. Being from a small town (I mean reaaaallly small--4000 people give or take) there aren't any other Jews, let alone a shul. Anyway, suffice it to say that there wasn't really a way to get to a seder or do anything for Passover last year. So this year was my first official seder. (Ok yes I know there are seders on the first two nights, so I really mean my first two, but whatever, it sounds awkward)

Anyhoo... I don't really know what I want to write here. I mean, y'all know how the whole deal works so it's not like I have to explain it. I guess it was just an interesting experience for me. It was a "homestyle" seder so it was a combination of Hebrew and English---thank goodness for me because my Hebrew reading is slooooow! It was relaxed and fun yet meaningful and spiritual at the same time. There were students from all different backgrounds, so I didn't feel lost and everyone was like "Mazel tov that this is your first Pesach seder."

Just reason 5,30481 why I love Judaism and Jews :-)

Chag Sameach everyone! Hope your Pesach has gone off without a hitch so far


Monday, February 26, 2007

On being grateful...reflections on life...

I had an interesting conversation with my friend, Elya, yesterday. He called me on the phone to chat because we hadn't talked in quite some time, and we ended up talking for well over 3 hours! No, no, don't get the wedding invitations ready just yet! Elya is a dear friend, and someone I look up to for guidance when I am studying Torah.

Elya is also someone I can confide in without fear of judgment; he knows things about me that most people will never know. He is a baal tshuva (is that right? my terminology is horrendous, my apologies!), born to Jewish parents but raised with no Jewish identity. I'll save you all my story, you can read it here.

Anyway, the other evening we were on the phone with one another, studying the Book of Daniel in depth and I was asking him some questions because my History of Judaism class had recently discussed this book of the Bible and I wanted to get some further insight and clarification from him.

Before that, however, we had to catch up on one another's lives over the past couple of weeks, as we had both been busy and unable to be in touch. He asked me how my conversion was going, how school was going, etc. I told him how I have been feeling lately, how I seem to be at somewhat of a standstill (with the conversion process) even though I am studying on my own and learning as much as possible. Elya being the great friend and kind soul that he is, picked up on the fact that I was feeling down and a bit discouraged. I confided to him that yes, I was feeling low, because lately I have been feeling as though I don't exactly "fit in" with my more religious friends. Don't get me wrong, I love them dearly and I am grateful to have them in my life, but there are certain things that I don't think they'd ever quite understand about me. Maybe that's not fair, maybe they would, but the truth is that I'm too scared to tell them because I am afraid they will judge me. They are all FFB's, and while I know that doesn't mean that they are perfect by any means, it does color their view on the world and the experiences they've had within it. Elya knows my past, knows what I've been through--my struggles and my pain--and he embraces me for it and doesn't tell me that I am ever wrong, he simply guides me to something that will help me when I ask him to, or listens when all I want is to vent. He's not perfect, either. He's had a rough life, and yet, he is one of the most compassionate and warm people you will ever meet.

Anyway, after confiding to him how I felt, he decided to tell me a bit of wisdom that the Lubavitcher Rebbe (may he rest in peace) once said in regards to those doing tshuva. He told me that the Rebbe said (now don't quote me on this, I'm taking it from what Elya told me so I could be a bit off here) that someone doing tshuva is like an oil lamp. The flame is what's burning, what the person's soul is, that is becoming ever brighter with the study of Judaism and the devotion to G-d and His Torah. The oxygen that helps keep the flame from going out is G-d and the embracing of Torah, the ever-increasing knowledge and happiness from learning. But what keeps the flame burning from beneath? The oil surrounding the wick, which represents the person's past, their life experiences, what they bring with them as they enter their journey towards Torah observance.

So, Elya said, do not be ashamed of where you have been and what you have done, because that is the fuel that keeps your fire burning. You have a gift that others do not have; you know what life is like without Torah, and can in turn appreciate it that much more as you come to know it.

I cannot express in words how much hearing this lifted my spirits. I am so grateful to have a friend like Elya in my life, who can help me learn and grow in my Judaism, and keep me motivated when I feel like I'm faltering. All thanks and praise to G-d, for all of the gifts he has bestowed upon me. I am so blessed.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I'm a liberal, but still...this pushes my buttons...

This is from an e-mail that my father sent me. I have debated about whether I should post it but I decided that what the heck, I can say what I want and no one else has to agree with me. Normally, I am pretty liberal. I'm a compassionate person, I do what I can to help people--in fact I've been told all my life that I'm "too nice." But this irks me.
I suppose it's because I grew up the daughter of an immigrant parent, one who came to this country LEGALLY, learned the language, and eventually became a citizen.

The e-mail is in italics, my comments are in regular font.

This certainly puts it in perspective!
Let's say I break into your house

A lady wrote the best letter in the Editorials in ages!!!
It explains things better than all the baloney you hear on TV.

Her point:

Recently large demonstrations have taken place across the country,
protesting the fact that Congress is finally addressing the issue of
illegal immigration (actually, they aren't illegal immigrants; the word immigrant implies that you came here legally and they didn't ; the correct term is illegal alien).

Certain people are angry that the US might protect its own borders, might
make it harder to sneak into this country and, once here, to stay

Let me see if I correctly understand the thinking behind these protests.

Let's say I break into your house.
Let's say that when you discover me in your house, you insist that I leave.

But I say, "I've made all the beds and washed the dishes and did the laundry and swept the floors. I've done all the things you don't like to do. I'm hard working and honest (except for when I broke into your house).

According to the protesters:
· You are Required to let me stay in your house
· You are Required to add me to your family's insurance plan
· You are Required to Educate my kids
· You are Required to Provide other benefits to me and to my family
(my husband will do all of your yard work because he is also hard-working
and honest, except for that breaking in part).

If you try to call the police or force me out, I will call my friends who
will picket your house carrying signs that proclaim my RIGHT to be there.

It's only fair, after all, because you have a nicer house than I do, and
I'm just trying to better myself.

I'm a hard-working and honest, person, except for well, you know, I did
break into your house.

And what a deal it is for me!!!
I live in your house, contributing only a fraction of the cost of my keep,
and there is nothing you can do about it without being accused of cold,
uncaring, selfish, prejudiced, and bigoted behavior.

Oh yeah, and I DEMAND that you to learn MY LANGUAGE!!! So you can
communicate with me.

Why can't people see how ridiculous this is?! Only in America...

Feel free to comment and put your 2 cents in!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Please pray...

I took this information from a Facebook group that my former roommate (and dear friend) started. It is for her cousin, Luke Kinsella.

I don't know all of the details, just what was on the site. They are asking for prayers, and I figured that if I put the word out maybe God would get our message just a little bit louder. It can't hurt.

Hello Everyone. As some of you may know, my cousin Luke was admitted to Children's Hospital on 1/30/07. On 1/31/07, he underwent a bone marrow biopsy and spinal tap and received his first chemotherapy treatments. From these tests, the doctors determined Luke has pre-B cell acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL).

You may not know him personally or me either but all that we are asking is that you pray for him. Luke is a 3 year old boy who lives in Minooka, IL and was diagnosed the day after his birthday. Please keep him in your prayers Thank You.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!...Or, why I *strongly dislike* my University

So most of you folkies out there have probably already shlepped your kiddies off to school and have heard the weather reports for those of us who live where the weather is, how shall I say, not so kind in the winter. Where I live we have winds blowing North at upwards of 25 m.p.h. and have already seen 5 inches of snowfall since last night. The temperature (without windchill factor) is 20 degrees Farenheit. There is a Winter Storm Warning in effect (um, DUH). And that's just what the Weather Channel says. Now let me give you the weather report as seen from my dorm room window:

Icicles have formed on my window---how does that happen? My window is a FLAT PLANE OF GLASS and I don't have any awning of any, mates?

Snow appears to be very icy and is blowing in an almost horizontal fashion. Wind gusts swirling up snow repeatedly look as though a tornado is about to start. Snow falling is indistinguishable from snow blowing on account of aforementioned gale force winds. Winter Storm conditions have been confirmed and all personnel are advised to seek shelter. Do not engage the enemy weather demons at any cost.

Moving on...

Have I mentioned lately that I love my Mom? Because I do. If it were not for her, I would have bundled myself off and shlepped off to class--only to find out that today's classes are canceled and my frozen appendages suffered for nothing.

You see, I arose at 8 this morning (an amazing feat for a college student when he/she doesn't have class for an HOUR AND A HALF--15 minutes prior to class is considered plenty of time where I go to school)

I checked my e-mail, hoping against all hope that my professor would have written to say that he was canceling class, but no such luck.

I turned on the local news channel to see if my college had been listed as closed, but alas, my hopes were dashed yet again.

I then decided to mute the t.v. and give up hope of having any miracles occur--I didn't have much hope to cling to in the first place, as my university has only canceled classes once in twenty---yes, twenty---years. But thanks be to God, a miracle indeed has occurred. And at precisely 8:56 am, the Chancellor of my beloved university proclaimed, via email, that classes for today are, in fact, canceled.

Which is great, but now it negates my awesome rant that I was going to post around 8:30 when I emailed my poor father to rant and rave about, among other things, the fact that I would have to go to school today while my lil' brudder
wouldn't have to.

But maybe I'll post it anyway, just because it was so nice and rant-y...We'll see. For now, it's time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the fact that I don't have to go outside.

Sending you warm thoughts from the Midwest,


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Jews in the Media

Ok folkies, I'll admit that this post is probably not going to rate high on the "interesting" scale, but what can ya do? It's from one of those diary entry thingies that I've been doing for my Religious Studies classes--so there you go. Inspiration for this post came from this site

Emblems and symbols of Judaism seem to be more and more apparent in American television and pop-culture these days. It has been talked about for quite some time that Jews are over-represented in the performing arts--there are only about 6 million Jews in the United States. The new trend, however, is people who are not Jewish playing with dreidels, using Yiddish words as slang, and otherwise displaying bits of Jewish culture without actually identifying as Jewish. The television show, "The Knights of Prosperity" features the cast members in a Judaica shop in Queens--they are Black, Indian, Latina, Italian, and Irish. On "Grey's Anatomy" Sandra Oh plays Dr. Cristina Yang, who identifies as Jewish when helping her castmates through the ritual known as shiva even though she only sees her Jewish stepfather on Yom Kippur and openly admits that she is not religious. Celebrities such as Madonna and Demi Moore sport Kabbalah bracelets and have gotten into Jewish mysticism. Yet there seem to be few characters who are fully Jewish who are able to embrace their heritage and faith in the media. Sure, there are those comedians and actors such as Fran Drescher and Adam Sandler--but even they are portrayed in such a kitschy, over-the-top manner that they are not allowed to be viewed as "normal". What does this say about our culture? Are we just trying to be inclusive--or are we compensating for the overwhelming amount of anti-Semitism all around us?


Friday, February 02, 2007

School is Poopy...and other fun things!

Hey there, peoples! Many apologies for the lack of posting this week. I have been super busy with school...*sigh*...Why doesn't anyone understand that I'm a COLLEGE student? Don't they know I'm too busy to do any work? :-P Jk jk, of course!

Not much new here...I have been invited to be a guest of the Rabbi & Rebbetzin Elana for Shabbat this week, so that is exciting. This will be the first time that I will have spent Shabbat with someone's family, in their home, so I am so thrilled. Up until now, I have just gone to our campus Jewish centers (we do have two), which are perfectly wonderful and I enjoy them, but I know that it is nothing like actually having Shabbat at home.

Let's see...What else is new? Classes are frustrating---I just wanna graduate already! Dang it! And of course the real kicker is that, while I'll be pretty much done (save for 3 hours for a Senior Capstone Course) with everything for my degree and my general education requirements after this semester, I technically don't have enough "hours" to graduate. Stupid university just wants to suck more money out of me. Harumph! Oh and wouldn't you know that the Senior Capstone Course is only offered in the spring, and it conflicted with the rest of my schedule this semester so I couldn't take it, so instead of being able to take a couple of summer classes and next semester, I will be at this place another year. Pffft to that!

Ok, I promise to stop being bitter now. I just want my freaking DEGREE already! Grrr...

At least it's only -7 with the windchill today. Hooray for the little things ;-)

Shabbat Shalom, everyone!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I'm a poet and I didn't know it! Ok, yeah I did...:-)

Here is my lame attempt at poetry. Don't laugh, ok? I'm taking a creative writing class that my friend Aliza recommended to me (she's in it). It's an "Intro to Poetry Writing" class, and so far, it's been pretty fun. The teacher is absolutely nuts but he's hilarious, so it makes for a good time. You see, I'm not a stranger to the world of poetry, I've been writing my teenage angst-ridden musings for years. I've even been published (wouldn't you all just like to know where? Well I can't tell you because then you'd know my *real* name) :-p. But maybe sometime I'll post the poems that got me published on here, because I doubt that anyone has actually ever read them before. Anyway. This poem is a work in progress, feel free to leave comments on what you like/dislike, etc. Thanks!

Standing there
cold and pacing.
A chance meeting,
I knew you in high school
Making conversation
How have you been and what's new?
Being friendly because we're glad to see a familiar face--
someone from home, because we fancy ourselve part of an elite--ha, yeah, elite--
group of people known as "People Not from Chicago or the Suburbs"
and it unites us.
We realize now that we were immature back then
And while I can't forget the hurtful words you said to me that made me uncomfortable with myself
I forgive you, even though it's just silently to myself, and I smile at you and chat about the past few years
I see you now in a different light
You're softer, sweeter.
Maybe you've changed, or maybe it's me.
I don't need your approval anymore,
there's no popularity contest to win
Just two people who knew eachother "back when"
When we were confused, hormone-driven teenagers who cared only about what everyone else thought
and didn't give a shit about our own well-being.
We just tried to fit in.
So we stand here, shivering and talking
And as my anger at those painful memories fades to pity
for the angry young man you were, and slowly melts into compassion and understanding
I smile again at you
Because it really was nice
To see you again
And you say I should get in touch with you sometime
I agree and say I will
Although a part of me thinks that you were just being polite
But maybe not--because I really do think you've changed
I don't know
So in case you really did mean it, I'll call you sometime
and we can stand there,
Shivering and talking.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Shabbos Goy

Editor's note: I had to restart my computer because it spazzed on me so I lost most of this post. Please bear with me as I try to remember what I had written. Enjoy :-)

The inspiration for this post came about 8 minutes before Shabbos. You see, as most of you know, I am observant and religious, even though I am not "technically" Jewish since I am not finished with my conversion process. I don't have a piece of paper that "proves" I'm a Jew, but I am.That does not mean that, in every other sense, I am not Jewish. I am a Jewess. And I know that Hashem knows it. So my question is, why, if almost everyone I know sees my spiritual and religious growth and wants to help me with it, there are still some people who take the opportunity to point out the fact that, indeed, I am not "technically" Jewish?

I am having trouble writing this. I don't know how to say what I want to say without sounding rude or mean or just plain foolish.

Anyway, I guess I'll just get on with it. So 8 minutes before Shabbos, the Rebbetzin calls me. I had no idea who was calling me right before Shabbos, but since I didn't recognize the number I figured it was probably pretty darn important. So I answer, and it's the Rebbetzin. And she's like "Hila, it's is Elana*. I know this will probably sound like a really strange question, but I have something to ask you." At this point, I have a slight inkling of what might follow, but am still pretty much in the dark. She continues "Do you have any plans for tomorrow?" Riiiight, I think to myself, I can see where this is heading. Sigh. "I was wondering if you could come to my home tomorrow and help me walk to [our shul]. I would need you to push the double stroller with Zahava* and Eytan* in it, and Reut* and I would walk with you."

*pause for me to process said request*

Another sigh.

Anyway, the conversation continues for a couple of minutes, with Elana asking me if I mind helping her, and if I have anything going on, to which I reply that I was planning on meeting some people for lunch around 1 but that other than said lunch I was free for all of Shabbat. She continued to explain to me that she and the Rabbi just got the go-ahead from their Rav to (in essence, hire a Shabbos Goy, although those are my words, not hers). She continued by saying that of course, she would pay me for my time spent getting to and from their house and the time walking/pushing the stroller. I said I understood. She then asked if I have a car. In almost utter disbelief, I said no, as a matter of fact I do not. As if that matters? If I had a car I sure as heck wouldn’t be driving it on a Saturday afternoon! *grumble* She seemed a bit taken aback/upset by this, as she further explained to me where her home is located, which is about 1.5 miles from where I live (and I live about a block from shul). I reassured her that it was not a big deal, that I would walk to her house and meet her there. Because at this point, as you can now guess, I agreed. I don’t know why I agreed, it was one of those split second decisions you make where you just go “Ok, sure, yeah.” I couldn’t help it. I’m a helper. And Lord knows that Rebbetzin Elana is just about the most pure-hearted, kindest, warmest person I have ever met. So when she asked for my help, long before she even explained what it was that she wanted me to do, I immediately agreed. Of course, I was disappointed when I heard just what it was that she wanted me to do, to say the least.

Ok, I’ll give. I know that she isn’t around our shul that much, what with three small children and all, but it isn’t as if she doesn’t know me. I’ve baby-sat her kids, for goodness’ sakes! So anyway, I know, she probably doesn’t realize just how religious I am, because I don’t wear skirts and long sleeves every day, I sing in public, and don’t have any qualms about sitting next to men. All that being said, however, I am trying my hardest to be Orthodox. Or maybe I’m Conservadox. Either way, Shabbat is special to me. I do my absolute best, in my own bumbling and accident-prone way, to observe it exactly as it should be. Granted, I know I mess up. Hashem knows I mess up. And I think I’m forgiven. I mean, theoretically it doesn’t “matter” anyway, since I’m not “official” yet. But that’s the thing. It does matter. To me, it matters.

And it almost broke my heart when I realized what she wanted me to do. To break the laws of Shabbat. Oh Lord, oh Lord, what had I done? What had I agreed to? An overwhelming urge came over me to say “Listen, I’m sorry Elana, but I simply cannot do this.’ But I didn’t have the heart, after hearing how it had been 2 ½ years since she had been able to get out of the house on Shabbat, and how she wouldn’t have asked but she was desperate and didn’t know who else to call. Of course the part about not knowing who to call/being desperate was what hooked me in the first place, before I was told just what it was I’d agreed to.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Elana; she is the best. And I am always happy to help her and her family in any way I can. I just never thought this would be one of the ways.

I’m stuck. On the one hand, I am grateful to have the opportunity to help out Elana and her family, because I know that she was truly grateful to me for the help. On the other hand, I am saddened because I broke the laws of Shabbat and it wasn’t a matter of pekuach nefesh, not in the slightest. But then again, I find myself asking “what does it matter anyway?” And then I feel defeated. And small. I feel as if I am back at square one again, asking God what it is I am supposed to be doing and where I am supposed to be going. I’m lost. I suppose it really isn’t that big of a deal and I’m probably just blowing things out of proportion. I know that the Rebbetzin did not mean any offense or insult to me in any way, shape, or form. She simply isn’t capable of it, that much I do know. That still doesn’t change the fact that I was crestfallen when I learned what I had agreed to. But I believe that it would have been far worse to break my promise to such a great family than the injury to what I realize is, ultimately, my pride. But it isn’t just my pride, it’s my soul, my spirit, that have been wounded, if ever-so-slightly. I’ll get over it, and I realize that it is not the end of the world. Yet I cannot help but wonder
“Why did she have to ask me?”

*Names have been changed to protect identities.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Back in Business

Well hey there, folks! Sorry for the lack of updating lately. Just got back to school after a nice long break and I'm really not looking forward to the workload this semester. I'm taking 18 hours and I have 7 classes. Yikes! I am excited, however, about my History of Judaism class. You see, each week we have to write two "diary" entries about anything related to Judaism that we want to. They are informal and can be as long or as short as we want. So I thought, cha-ching! Blog material! Woohoo! And it's good for all of the 4 of you that read this thing because I'll actually have something oh you know, interesting to say, at least twice a week :-)

Ok, now it's time to get some homework done! See you all soon!