Outrage

There is little more to say.

Today in Jerusalem, four fathers woke up, put on prayer shawls and tefillin and went to their synagogue to welcome the day in morning prayer as they did everyday.

Today two cousins, Arabs, woke up and armed themselves with hatchets, cleavers and guns and also went to that synagogue.

Their intent was to kill everyone that they could inside of the synagogue.

When all was said and done, the four fathers were dead. Many more of the morning worshippers were hacked and maimed. A policeman was shot in the head.

He died tonight.

The Arabs were killed in a shootout as they tried to escape.

Benjamin Netanyahu says that the homes of the cousins will be demolished. Arrests were made, others detained. The internet reported another attack this evening in Jerusalem.

I saw videos of Arabs in East Jerusalem throwing candy and celebrating the massacre.

I watched a live video of the Kotel (Western Wall) throughout the day.

It was desolate.

People in Jerusalem said the buses were empty, people were skittish.

But…people do go on.

I feel strongly about this. I know that the people in Jerusalem are surrounded by Arabs who live and work amongst them. Cab drivers, cleaning staff, bus drivers. And for the most part we are friendly with them and they are friendly with us.

Now the seeds of mistrust have been sown. I can’t help but say that even though they may or may not even remotely know any of these terrorists who are so wantonly killing Jews in Jerusalem these past so many years; Sadly, because they have not taken any steps to put their collective foot down and mandate responsible leadership that can and will take decisive steps to STOP it, they are just as complicit as if they, themselves, wielded the cleavers and axes this morning.

And I also know according to western standards how I feel is not politically correct but it IS correct by way of my Israeli sensibilities and I am an Israeli you know….allowing this CANCER to remain and grow independent of any action to cut it out and eradicate it forever will only bring further heartbreak to Israel. Cancer is not “managed” – it is expunged for the best outcome. And when it isn’t….

Baruch Dayan Ha’Emet.

Am Yisrael Chai!

The Holidays Are Here!

I know that I am probably supposed to be the curmudgeonly Jew who reluctantly put up with the season of American excess and bacchanalia and is breathlessly grateful when New Years signals it’s completion and a return to normal American consumerism.

Yeah, that’s what I guiltily expect of myself as well.

But I have a confession to make and I might as well make it here and now while I still have your attention.

I LOVE THE HOLIDAY SEASON!

There, I’ve said it.

I get onto the bandwagon the first of November and ride the Turkey bus through Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving! I like to make pilgrim hat place cards, search endlessly for recipes I’d like to try (even though I always make the same thing the same way year after year), watch the Macy’s parade with Evan and, of course, our traditional viewing of the quintessential Thanksgiving movie – Home for the Holidays!

I just love it.

Maybe because I don’t celebrate Christmas I just sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds and fun of the season. I love the tv cooking shows – I am especially addicted to all the Unwrapped shows where Marc Sommers goes and tells us how candy canes and turduckens are made. I like the kitschy Christmas movies like The Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation and I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit to watching White Christmas and Christmas in Connecticut a few times every year.

I certainly have my Hanukah but I also am well aware of the nature of the celebration. It’s a small holiday in comparison to our High Holy Days of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippor or even the fun and very festive holiday of Purim that most American Jews just ignore sadly.

I decorate a little and we light our own chanukiot and exchange small gifts. I make latkes and other special food items because for me, its a great time to try out all kinds of new recipes (even though I always go back to the old standbys like a good brisket!) I buy donuts and we play dreidel.

Christmas comes and finds me like it does countless other American Jews with a plate of Chinese food and a movie in front of me. I can’t say I am not bound by tradition now can I?

The holidays wrap up on New Years Eve when we have another big party for our little family with cocktail food and punch as we watch more tv and then race to see who can be the first to bed before the New Year.

It’s a great season for me. I am too poor to really be able to spend money on gifts like I was once able to so I sit now and knit presents that I think are cool and definitely made with love. I plan how to make Hanukah sparkle with homemade and dollar store decorations that Evan and I can make together. I stick cloves into oranges and I bake cookies while the snow flies outside.

It’s a nice time and a time I really enjoy.

So there…you have it. My confession.

No, I am not all of a sudden pulling a big, Griswald-sized Christmas tree into the living room. And no, I am not planning a trip to the mall to sit on Santa’s lap to whisper what I’d like under my menorah while perched on his lap.

What I AM doing is just enjoying each day as it comes and enjoying a time of year that is going to happen whether I welcome it or not. I have great memories of Christmases from when I was young. I can’t deny that now that I am a Jew. I don’t think it would be healthy TO deny that.

So I am embracing everything I am. The little girl who still has that look of wonder at the shiny lights and sparkly tinsel all around and the grown up girl who knows her boundaries and can still enjoy it all for what it is.

The Walking Dead – Am I Walking Away?

Last week’s Walking Dead found me fast asleep with 8 minutes to go.

THE WALKING DEAD MAN!

WITHOUT MY SLEEPING PILL!

No, I was NOT among those million or so lemmings who were “shocked” that it was FINALLY revealed that Eugene was faking it all along and DIDN’T have the cure.

I didn’t really care to be honest. That part of the storyline never gripped me like the storyline about Rick’s gang and I guess that’s where I am feeling the disconnect.

I don’t like splitting up the gang and having dueling storylines. I want to see more Daryl and badass Carole avenging bad guys and having a little bit of win for our band of walker stalkers. I want to see Carole bust Beth out and then bring her back and reunite her with Maggie. I want to see Rick get all ghetto on the preacher and see what happens when other wandering bad guys mess with our group of just-trying-to-make-a-living-hearts-of-gold survivors.

Yeah I don’t follow the comics and I am not a super, uber fan but that episode last week completely left me wondering where this was all heading. I was NOT in the mood to watch this little band of Abraham’s merry makers heading to Washington in their little church bus (well, until they NASCARed it dodging a herd of walkers about 5 miles after they left the church apparantly.)

And yeah, I fell asleep and to be honest, I ditched Talking Dead too.

So I am interested to see what tonight brings. I am committed to seeing the season through but last week has put a big question in my head and has me looking out for big sharks and Fonzie on a motorcycle.

**** Please leave a comment!!!!!

Three Cheers for Acarbose!

I went to see the endocrinologist about a month ago.  I had been to see him in 2010 when I started having issues with my low blood sugar.  It was a bad situation.  I’d be out and about and without warning, down it would go to where I couldn’t even see.  I had no idea how low it really was until 2011 when I had a seizure the first night of Hanukkah in Jerusalem on the 4A bus.

In Israel I was tested and finally given the drug acarbose.  I really felt it changed my life.  No more of those wild lows where I felt like I was on some weird psychadelic trip with my vision cutting out on me.  No more seizures.  No more worries of being alone out in public.

But then I came back to the US.  And I had to get new doctors and scripts for my meds and this proved to be a huge problem.

I ran into a nurse practioner who refused to give me the meds I needed even though I had all of my prescription boxes with the labels attached.  Instead she turned me into the Department of Transportation for 1) having seizures, 2) having hypoglycaemia and 3) taking medication that could impair my ability to drive  (that also doubles for someone who is addicted to drugs).  If she had just listened to me, maybe I’d still be driving.  In the meantime I was back to the wild psychadelic trips and became very agoraphobic because I am always afraid I’ll have a low and a subsequent seizure when I am away from the safety of home.

Well, anyway, nearly a year and a half later, I am on anti seizure medication (number 1 taken care of) and on Friday afternoon my endocrinologist called and told me all my tests indicated that yes, I had hypoglycaemia (you don’t say…)

I had two choices.  I could go to a more specialized endo and get more specialized tests done which probably would result in some extensive surgery (read: remove part or all of my pancreas) OR I could try prescription medication to see if that would bring the condition under control.

I chose the medication option since I already have a Frankentummy and I don’t really want to Frankenize anything further at this point.  My endo said that would be his choice as well and then called in a script for the acarbose I had been taking in Israel, had asked for a year and a half ago from the nurse practitioner (until I could get an endocrinologist appointment) and had even asked the endocrinologist for at my first appointment.

I started taking it right away.

He told me to check my blood sugar 4 times a day and then bring my meter in and if it remains steady, they’ll sign the form for the DOT so I can get that much closer to driving again.  YAY!

In the meantime, I am happy.  I take the acarbose tablet when I start to eat.  I eat normally.  I don’t feel like I am going to die.  I don’t feel ravenously hungry in between meals.  I don’t have the fear anymore…I feel calm like I know that this is what I know will work…after all it Has worked so why wouldn’t it work now?

This is definitely a good thing!

Pretzel Challah

I don’t have much time today because I am busy making challah! Today I am pretzelling four of the eigt loaves I am making. Who thought it could be so easy!

In short, make your bread product as you normally do. I admit I use prefab bread and thaw it out to make my challah. In this case, I let it get soft and then cut it into loaf sizes and then strip sizes and then braid it into the final presentation.

Here comes the magic!

Boil 1/2C water. Stir in 1.5 t of baking soda once the water has boiled. It will fizz and bubble. Take it off the heat. Take a brush and brush your bread product with the baking soda mixture.

YES! IT’S THAT EASY!

Make sure you get all the nooks and crannies. If you want finish with an egg wash for a nice brown, shiny crust. Bake as you normally would 🙂

Added: the children pronounced it “good! It tastes like a pretzel!” which is certainly high praise! Then they split the loaf in half, each taking half, and scurried back to their lairs.

Try it!

Introduction to Judaism

It seems that our Introduction to Judaism class raises more questions for Scott and more questions for me to answer than I like to deal with.  Tonight was no exception.  Mostly the hard questions I tell him that it’s a good idea to ask his sponsoring rabbi, that I just can’t give him the answers he is looking for.  But tonight he didn’t seemed satisfied with that answer and pressed on.

The class dealt with history and specifically, the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.  I guess I realize that each person would have his or her own answer to the question Rabbi Mahler posed which was, would you convert and keep your religion a secret or would you just leave?

Unfortunately, for Jews then and throughout history leaving wasn’t as easy as it sounds because there wasn’t always a place for them to go TO which is why the establishment of Israel was and IS so important…a haven ALWAYS in the storm.

But I am not sure I conveyed this adequately to Scott or that I even had the words or knowledge to convey this because this led to, why do Jews have a persecution complex and then to, why do Jews somehow think they are better than everyone else.

So I figured I’d pose these questions here and ask….what are your thoughts?

Expunging the Worries

Worrying is just a fact of life for me. It’s like my job, it’s what I do. Last week I even had a trip to the ER for the start of an ulcer thanks to all the worrying I do.

I worry well and hard. I do my job well.

I worry about everything. Will we have a home next month (even though realistically I know we will)? Will we have food? Will we have clothing for the winter? Will we be able to pay our bills (especially since I have no income) and keep the wolves at bay? Will Scott love me even when I have a few bad days in a row? Will I be able to get the medication that keeps me off the third floor of the hospital? Will I sleep tonight? Will I be banished from my synagogue like I was from our last one? Will the few people that I can call friends shun me like so many others have? Will my father and sister drive me crazy? Will I run into someone I know and don’t want to see or talk to? Will I have a panic attack in public? Will I have a seizure? Will my blood sugar drop when I don’t have food on me to bring it back up? Will something happen to me leaving my son to fend for himself without me? What will he do? OMG what will he do?????

And so many more worries.

I don’t know if there is any one worry I’d get rid of if I could expunge just ONE of those worries. Which one would you pick? Which one would you pick to give me peace? Could there ever be just one?

I watch the show “Monk” and identify with him so much. I can remember when I was the old me. I don’t think that me can ever exist again. I am not that person and I don’t think I’ll ever be that person again.

The person I am sometimes catches glimpses of that girl but the person I am is scared, abandoned, abused, but mostly just scared. Despite a very content and loved life with my Scott and my Evan I do feel alone sometimes. I do feel terrified and I do feel afraid of meeting someone from my life before.

People I knew from before want nothing to do with me and people I knew in Israel don’t talk to me. Some do, granted, but most don’t. I am alone and adrift. I can count the people I trust on one hand.

What worry would I choose? In my mind there isn’t just one and the tears roll down my cheeks as I realize that I am consumed by my worries. Will these fears ever go away? I don’t know. I have been in therapy for my major depression for two years now. I am alive despite times when I wished I wasn’t. I don’t feel that way anymore which is good. I walk and breathe the air and actually I enjoy the solitude. I am getting used to being alone. Being alone doesn’t necessarily mean being lonely.

The people I trust that I can count on one hand mean more to me than all the people I could trust in the Before. I don’t know what my after will be like.

I just wish I didn’t have to make worrying my lifelong profession.