Judaism in the News

August 6, 2008 at 3:44 pm | Posted in Judaism | Leave a comment

I’ve spotted a couple articles of interest. The NY Times has a writeup about the Aish Hatorah Executive Learning Program. On a sadder note, Newsweek has an article up about Jews and alcohol abuse. Apparently, Jews are not immune from problems with alcohol.

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What a Bummer!

February 27, 2008 at 8:25 pm | Posted in Judaism | Leave a comment

Due to my increased observance of Judaism, I observe holidays that I didn’t observe as a child. Now, I love Sukkos, Simchas Torah and Shavuos (yea for cheesecake!!) but there are some holidays that are not as much fun, specifically the few weeks leading up to those holidays. Let me give you an example

I found out last week that The Police will go on tour again this summer and they are performing in this area during the first week of August. Shay and I were about to get tickets, we ask Bill if he wants to go and he reminds us that it is during the nine days.  I guess I will have to make do with seeing The Police live once.

Judaism and Ice Cream

December 10, 2007 at 9:38 pm | Posted in Judaism, Opinion piece | 1 Comment

What do Judaism and ice cream have in common? Ice cream comes in almost any flavor you can think of and as this article in the New York Times demonstrates, services also come in different flavors, especially if you are lucky enough to live in a large city. Reading this article made me think back to when I first started going to services regularly in New York City. First, a little background: The only times I went to shul when I was a kid were during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Imagine being in a building where you are one of the youngest people there and reciting prayers that have little, if any, meaning to you. You might think that I would have an intense dislike of  synagogue and at one point, I really did. Moving to a new city gave me the opportunity to go to Jewish events and see what I had been missing out on.

I started going to the beginner/intermediate services at Aish Hatorah 5 years ago. There was separate seating for men and women and most of the service was conducted in Hebrew; asking questions was encouraged, particularly in the part of the service where the Torah portion is read. I also started learning at Aish during the week and made some very good friends that I still keep in touch with today. It was the first time that I saw Judaism as having meaning in my everyday life and not just something I acknowledge only during holidays.

I also went to services at Reform and Conservative shuls; one time it was for a bat mitzvah; other times I went with friends or on my own. When I went to the Reform shuls, I felt like I was in church with all the organ music. It was very disorienting. I also tried services at a popular West side synagogue known for their music; while their services did not appeal to me, I have gone back a couple times for concerts.

I identify and connect the most with Orthodox services. I like the separate seating, it just reinforces that you come to synagogue to connect with G-d. Afterwards, it’s time to socialize : ). However, I understand that not everyone feels the same way. For those who are uncomfortable with Orthodox services, I feel that it’s better to go to a non-Orthodox service and truly connect with Judaism rather than go to Orthodox services and resent the whole thing or worse yet, not having any connection with Judaism.

What kind of services do I go to? I go to intermediate services at my shul, there is a nice crowd of 30-40 people that show up, sometimes more if there is a bar mitzvah/bat mitzvah going on. They are very similar to the Aish services I started going to. When I am visiting my parents on the weekend, I do go to the shul I mentioned in the first paragraph. I still am one of the youngest people there, 3 rabbis have moved to the area in the past 3-4 years and they have brought new life to the shul. I am very friendly with one of the rabbis in particular and have shared many Shabbas and holiday meals with him and his family.

I can’t get ice cream out of my head now. Here are my attempts at analogies:

Traditional Orthodox services: vanilla ice cream

Carlebach services: Ben & Jerry’s Phish Phood

Anyone want to try?

Haveil Havalim #141

November 20, 2007 at 3:54 pm | Posted in Judaism | Leave a comment
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If you have a chance, take a peek at the Save Israel edition of Haveil Havalim here.

Haveil Havalim #140

November 12, 2007 at 2:29 pm | Posted in Judaism | Leave a comment
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Since I forgot to link to this yesterday, you can look at Haveil Havalim #140 today. There are no categories in this edition so you will just have to read as many posts as you have time for : )

Positive Blogging Day 2: Meet The (City) Parents

November 5, 2007 at 2:48 pm | Posted in Inspiration, Judaism | 2 Comments
Tags:

positive%2bblog.jpg  Click here.

I have made no secret about how much I love my neighborhood.  There is nothing better on my walk to work than waving to cute babies with their parents or nannies and you do not want to know how many times I stop on the street to play with a cute puppy. But what makes this neighborhood even better is my community. Dr. O and Dr. N live in the neighborhood and I see them, along with my nephews, 1-2x a week. I also have a nice group of friends who I’ve met at shul and/or various dinners, Jewish events, etc. This post is about two of my friends in that group who have made a huge difference in my life.

I first met my city parents while taking classes at KJ a couple years back. At the time, I was just starting to integrate more Judaism into my life. I would take classes and go to Shabbas dinners but I was working on Shabbas because I needed the extra $. I made some really wonderful friends in these classes, among them was an older couple who was also on the same path. Seeing this couple in the same classes learning with such gusto inspired me and many other people in our program. I learned that my city parents used to work in the New York school system and they love the opera. They are very easy people to talk to, and are the best cheerleaders anyone could ever hope for. They expressed admiration for me and my friends for taking all these new practices on but in reality, I think that they are so much more braver than me. Changing such a major part of your life at an older age requires so much dedication and patience, I’m not sure I could have done it if I were in their position. In the summer of 2006, they decided that they wanted to make their kitchen kosher contacted Go Kosher. They have become parental figures to several of the younger people in our beginners program.

With the encouragement of my CP, I stopped working on Saturdays and was able to rearrange my part time schedule to work on 2 weeknights instead. My relationship with my CP grew; I got to celebrate the 60th birthday of my city mommy, we have shared several Shabbas meals together at shul and in their beautiful home, and we attended the weddings of two women who participated in the beginners program. They also attended 3-4 more weddings over the past 3 months of couples in our beginners program. I know for sure that my life today would not be the same without my city parents.

For more inspirational posts, go to:

Hochmah and Musar

Mes Deux Cents

Musings of a Diva

Rainbows and Butterflies

Becoming a Woman of Purpose

Bohemian Hippie Chick

Boring Black Chick

Alisha Nicole

Spirited Strider

Celebrity Blitz

Ezekiel’s Daughter

Yobachi

Celebrate Love

in the search…

The Luscious Librarian

Live From Israel

A Week of Positive Blogging Day 1

November 4, 2007 at 8:14 pm | Posted in Inspiration, Judaism | 3 Comments
Tags:

positive%2bblog.jpg 

“For a righteous man falleth seven times, and riseth up again,…” Proverbs Chapter 24 Verse 16

This is one of my favorite quotes ever! Anyone who is considering a major change in life, whether it be professional or personal should look at this quote. The thoughts that go thru my head whenever I look at this quote are it’s okay to make mistakes. What matters is that we get up, learn from these mistakes, and continue living life to our utmost potential. Sometimes people ask me how I keep such a positive attitude in the face of disappointment; I was asked this question in the context of dating, although I really think this applies to all of life. The quote above sums it up way better then I ever could.

Image might not show, in the meantime click here.

ETA: Other Day 1 Posts, more to come later; off to a NYC marathon post-party for Dr. N’s sister and family friend I’m back from my marathon party, enjoy the rest of these posts.

Hochmah U Musar 

Mes Deux Cents

Rainbows and Butterflies

Bohemian Hippie Chick

The Life of Wanda (updated)

Put Your Scissors Down

Musings of a Diva

Journey of a Spirited Striver

Becoming a Woman of Purpose

Celebrate Love!

Boring Black Chick Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, Post 4

Ezekiel’s Daughter

Content Black Woman

The Luscious Librarian

Alisha Nicole

Sleeping Beauty

Haveil Havalim #139 is up

November 4, 2007 at 7:18 pm | Posted in Judaism | Leave a comment
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You can check out the latest edition of Haveil Havalim. This edition features a new category “Gender and Marriage”, hope you enjoy.

Go It Alone?

November 2, 2007 at 8:10 pm | Posted in Judaism, News and Views, Opinion piece | 3 Comments

Judaism places a huge emphasis on marriage and children; you might have heard of the phrase “be fruitful and multiply”, you can see that in Genesis 1:27-28

“And God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28. And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the sky and over all the beasts that tread upon the earth. ” (taken from www.chabad.org)

Jewfaq has this to say about the importance of marriage in Judaism:

“Marriage is vitally important in Judaism. Refraining from marriage is not considered holy, as it is in some other religions. On the contrary, it is considered unnatural. The Talmud says that an unmarried man is constantly thinking of sin…….Marriage is not solely, or even primarily, for the purpose of procreation. Traditional sources recognize that companionship, love and intimacy are the primary purposes of marriage, noting that woman was created in Gen. 2:18 because “it is not good for man to be alone,” rather than because she was necessary for procreation.” (taken from www.jewfaq.org)

What happens when you are dating for what seems like forever and you are no closer to getting married now than you were when you started dating? Women have one factor that weighs on them very heavily, especially as they get older. Newsweek has an interesting article this week on women who choose to be single mothers rather than have no children.  I can’t say I blame these women, sometimes you can try every avenue in the book in order to get married and if it doesn’t work out, what do you do? I think we are so lucky to live in an era where women have options. In previous generations, there was no IVF, or sperm donation. There was more of a stigma attached to single motherhood than there is now. We have good old Murphy Brown to thank for paving the way.

Even though I support the decisions of the women profiled in the Newsweek article, I am not sure that I would made the same choice if I was in their shoes. Hopefully I will not have to find out. With all the emphasis on marriage and children in Orthodox Judaism, I wonder where single people fit in. It is very easy to be single and Jewish in New York City but when you move out of such a large city, you find that religious Jewish singles have it very hard. At least in NYC, we can go to events and classes every night and meet people our age. In more suburban and rural communities, your options are few and far between. For example, the shul I go to when I visit my parents serves mostly senior citizens and young families. Where does a young, single Jew fit in that shul?

I was browsing the Chabad website and I came across the “Dear Rachel” column, women ask Rachel a variety of questions and she answers their questions using Jewish wisdom. A single woman in her 40s asks Rachel if there is a place in Judaism for her even though she is not married and does not have any kids. In her answer to the woman who asked the question, Rachel gave some sensitive thoughts that not only answered this woman’s question but I find that any woman can use this advice in her own life. If you want to see the whole column click here.

“Our Sages teach that there are “70 faces” to the Torah. That means that for every word, every sentence and every concept that exists in the Torah, that there are (at least) 70 different ways of understanding it. Take for example the commandment “be fruitful and multiply.” The classic and simple meaning is “have and raise children.” But if you care to expand your conceptual framework a bit, you could also understand this to mean: be creative, work hard, and contribute to this world and your good deeds and effort will be your legacy, the fruits of your labor… your spiritual children if you will. “

“So even though you may sense an ideal of a married life with children, it is important to understand that there are many ways to be a wife and a mother. We can wed ourselves to observing the Shabbath…And we can be a mother to a sick person in need of love and attention. We can nurture a community project and reach out to others in need. There are wonderful opportunities to wed, and worthy projects to mother. “

I support any informed and educated decision a woman makes regarding having children. We only have one chance in this world and if a woman is not married and wants to have children, if not having kids is something she will regret for the rest of her life, then she should have a child, whether it’s by IVF, adoption, or other methods. If a woman does not have children, then she deserves the same respect. If she is making the best decision for herself, then who am I to criticize? Who is anyone to judge?

Positive Blogging

October 31, 2007 at 2:51 pm | Posted in Judaism | Leave a comment

 Starting on Sunday, I will participate in a cool new project. Spread the word.

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