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!

Advertisements

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?

Recapturing Shabbat

I’ve talked before about how all of my issues over the last two years caused me to fall horrendously down the ladder of observance.  I particularly miss my Shabbats.

Shabbats in Israel were particularly special to me.  I spent them usually alone with my Boy, and we’d often take some smoke on our nargila (hookah) which I know is BAD but which we found to be SO Israeli and so relaxing, to start our Shabbat.  We’d listen for the Shabbat siren to sound signaling when we’d watch the Jerusalem sun begin to set and we’d light candles together.  Then we’d bless the wine and challah I’d bought that day and have the wonderful meal I’d cobbled together.

I loved it.  WE loved it.

Then we came back and were separated and even though eventually we were brought back together, baruch Hashem, I’d seemed to have lost everything.  I was pretty much homeless and couldn’t drive.  I was living in a home that I wasn’t yet comfortable in and I wasn’t comfortable with being me.  I was deeply troubled and depressed.  That year I couldn’t even bring myself to acknowledge the High Holy Days, much less celebrate them.

I HAVE started to feel better and I feel much more at home both in my skin and in my surroundings.  I made it to Rosh Hashanah services this year and celebrated the holiday as best I could with festive meals at home but Shabbat, Shabbat has eluded me for some reason.

Oddly since Scott and I became engaged, I have stressed that it’s very important for me that he convert before we marry.  So…since he was interested anyway, he has chosen to take the step now.  And…given that, we are attending conversion classes together.

The topic this week was Shabbat and on the way home Scott said it was curious why sometimes I lit candles and sometimes I didn’t.

Right then and there I knew that as important as I knew it had been for Evan when  was growing up (and even now – he will light sometimes when I don’t but not every week) it is now just as important for Scott’s fledgling neshama…maybe more so since he is so new to ALL of this and religion in general.

So this week I got over it.  I made challah (which I HAVE been doing pretty much every week since the beginning of this year) and I baked a sour cream bundt cake for everyone to enjoy.  I made chicken in the crock pot and a cholent in the other crock pot for today.  We lit candles, blessed the children, blessed the wine and challah and ate together.  Havdallah candles were found and grape juice placed at the ready.

I made Shabbat come and I am really glad I did.  I watched the Shabbat candles glow and then fade out and I felt happy that I had tried and succeeded.

We attended services on Saturday morning and as I prayed the long lost but familiar prayers I knew they were and always would be a part of me, just like Shabbat.  I just had to make them come out and just like Shabbat…they were there all the time.

I really just had to light the candles to see that and watch it glow in everyone’s faces.

The Apology That Never Came

I am so sorry that I spread a story about you.  It doesn’t matter whether it was true or not.  I should have thought more about where it would go and what it would do to you in the future.  Oh, I knew it would hurt you which is precisely what I intended for it to do because yes, you did hurt me and yes, I know you did apologize and yes, I did accept your apology.  But that was long after I told the story.

Now I want to ask YOUR forgiveness.  Can you forgive me?  I can never take back to story and I can never give you back the friends I took from you or the reputation I stole from you as I spun a story designed to make me look like a martyr.  I mean, isn’t that how everyone tells a story when they feel victimized?

I know there were lots of stories to be told during our time together and many times you didn’t tell them and I thank you for that.  You never made a point to make me look like a bad person on purpose even though I know you had your support people and I know you told them….you told me you did and I knew that telling them was like telling a wall.  It never went anywhere.

But what I told had legs and still has legs.  I’m sorry I can’t get it back.  I stopped telling it because it doesn’t do anything for me anymore but I know others still get something out of it and for them, it’s just another day of personal satisfaction for them to continue to wallow in it.  They always hated you and this just keeps that fire going.  I wish it didn’t because, really?  To be honest?  I’m about as tired of it as you are.  I want to move on too.

I liked being the victim for a long time but now even I want to do something else but when they say karma sneaks around to bite you in the ass?  They’re right.  So while I can apologize to you, I can never make this one right.  It’s like a game of telephone gone wrong.  What you did happened and it was over.  What I did is like a stone in the ocean….and it never, ever ends and sadly, I didn’t anticipate that.

So please forgive me.  I’m sorry.  I’m sorry for you and I am sorry for me.  I am really sorry that this just won’t stop.

I’m sorry too.  For me, it wont’t stop until I die.  Tragically, I do know how you feel and unfortunately, I don’t feel all that sorry for you.

Aftermath of Elul

During Elul, we prepare ourselves for the holiday of Rosh Hashanah and the Day of Atonement – Yom Kippur. We are commanded to look within ourselves and to prepare by apologizing to those we have wronged throughout the year.

I don’t know about others but for me, I know this year was the first when I was able for a long time to even consider taking baby steps in this direction. There was one friend in particular that I wanted to apologize to. I wasn’t exactly sure why she had stopped speaking to me but I had an idea and since she wasn’t speaking to me and I have a mindnumbing fear of confrontation, I wrote a letter to her apologizing for all of the things I could imagine I may have done that could have caused the rip in our friendship. I invited her to write back and gave her my email address. I even explained a lot of what happened to me the last few years medically so maybe she’d have some understanding of where I was coming from as well.

And for some reason I had an expectation she’d understand and this apology, while not totally healing the rift between us, may be a little bridge to hopefully gaining a foothold and hopefully opening a little crack in the door that had closed between us.

And today I am having to accept that I was wrong. That rift is unhealable. I don’t even know if she forgave me. The answer to my letter of apology was a big, fat sound of crickets.

Oh I could rationalize it and tell myself she didn’t get it but I think she did. Maybe a letter was wrong but I didn’t really have any other way. I’ve sent emails in the past and the reaction was the same.

Silence.

I sent another Rosh Hashanah greeting and the response was the same.

Silence.

This only serves to drive me deeper into myself and to cause me even more self blame and depression. I know I deserve it and I know I cannot force anyone to forgive me. That’s their choice. I can’t force anyone to respond to me. Again, their choice.

But I do know how it makes me feel and I know it makes me take up residence even further inside of myself and trust venturing out even less. These people were friends and they don’t want me. What would make me think anyone else would.

I know it’s a bummer of a message to receive as the joyous holiday of Sukkot starts but it is the aftermath of Elul for me. I want to add that it doesn’t really change anything for me except for piling just a little more Jewish guilt on my plate,

I am who I am. I have disappointed and hurt whom I have have. They will forgive or they won’t. I am further convinced that the leprosy of my neshama (Jewish soul) lives forever and will never be cured.

The aftermath of my Elul probably will also never go away.

Introduction to Judaism

Tonight Scott and I start our Introduction to Judaism classes.  I have been through them before but this is his first time through.  They’ll go weekly through March and I am excited to see what he’ll think about them.

Mine were 12 years ago and I remember how they lit the fire of learning and the love of Judaism within me.  I really hope they will do the same for him but then I also have to remember that despite how much I want this, I also have to let this happen as it will happen and let Scott follow his own path.

What will happen for him will be between him and HasShem basically.

I had never considered how important it was for me for Scott to be Jewish until Rabbi Symons asked me the question and then I realized that yeah, it IS important.  I didn’t have the choice before and there were issues.  I converted halfway through and while during the conversion I didn’t think it was an issue I can tell you…it became one even though he did eventually convert.  There were many times it was a HUGE issue.

I am not saying it WON’T be an issue but I do know that it IS important to me that I marry a Jew and it means a lot to me that Scott is willing to explore that possibility for me and make that commitment.  It says a lot about how he feels about me and the respect he has for my values and my commitment to my own life and faith.

And that just makes me respect and love him more.

Being Jewish Makes Me So Happy

I love being Jewish….

There, I’ve put it out there.

But really it’s true.  And it’s so true that I really feel deep inside that I have to embrace my Jewish life ever closer to me.  I hate that I fell away, that I am so far away from it.  I want to be closer and while I still feel so embraced by Gd, I still feel that my foot is still on those first few rungs of the ladder.  My very own Jacob’s ladder.

But it’s still on there.  And I know I’ll climb up it again simply because of sheer will and determination.  I just feel that fire inside and as I grow ever closer to my return.

I really don’t even know that my return will ever be complete but I know that it’s a road I never want to stop following.

And Baruch HaShem, it’s one I never have to STOP following.