Showing posts from May, 2006

why I practice Judaism

This is modified and reprinted from my comment on GodolHador's blog where he questions his beliefs. I didn't have the patience to 'doctor it up' so it may be a little disjointed and out of context:
"What IS a good [belief] system, then? Maybe, human beings are not able to take the fact (if it IS a fact) that we are an accident on this planet, that existence is accidental and unplanned, and that there is 'no one driving the bus'. I personally, am NOT able to take that theory. I prefer to believe in my Judaism, even while being aware, that there are lots of questions with as yet unknowable answers. So, I continue to hope. And meanwhile, I have the opportunity to create a wonderful life for my family, with beautiful rituals and beautiful holidays, with elevating songs and niggunim which instill in them (I hope. In some of them, at least)an other-worldly feeling of Kedushah, of something OUT THERE beyond themselves. Of a good purpose for living. And you never k…

...and THIS as well!

Well, toodles was still bored (same long class, I guess) and also drew this. It is a design of the name of my youngest baby granddaughter. I hope you like it. I think toodles should study graphic design. What do you think?!

just HAD to post this!

Isn't this a beauty?? My middle granddaughter's name is Noa, and my daughter toodles was (ahem) bored in class one day and drew this. Just had to post it!

another Tehillim request...

I am posting again, but for sad reasons...I just found out from my husband who is still back in our home state, that a friend of ours was just diagnosed with leukemia, caused by the chemotherapy from his first cancer which was treated. His name is Michael Yitzhak ben Esther Vikhneh (pronounced " VEEKH-neh"). Please let's all say Tehillim for him. That is all we can do now. When I get back home, I will see if I qualify to donate blood - he needs blood & platelets. He will be getting a bone marrow transplant.
Why is it that since I left, more people seem to need Tehillim said for them? I am suddenly getting names and more names. Didn't want to post for these reasons. As they say, 'rak li-smachot'...

Please Say Tehillim for...

As The Sabra requested I am posting a special post just for this kallah, who was diagnosed with (nebach) a brain tumor a month before her chatunah. Her name is Chana bas Rasha Zelda, and may she have a Refuah Shlemah and the z'chut to go to her own wedding!!
For more info and which Tehlillim to say, click on the link above to The Sabra's blog.
For this, I find a minute (while baby is napping...or at least, she's supposed to be...)!

...last post (bli neder)

That being said (see previous post), I have to announce that this might be my last post for a while. I just don't have the heshek; I think I'm getting a little depressed...blogging is taking up too much of my time and it is not appreciated by certain people, nor is it being 'paid for', so there is no point in it. I know I should strive to be 'b'simcha tamid'like RealJewsDanceandSingadvocates in his blog. Maybe this is my own personal nisayon. Anyway, right after Lag B'Omer I am flying out of state after initially cancelling my trip (due to illness) to visit my daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren, and I won't have frequent access to the computer. It was a surprise and an honor to realize that people were actually reading what I wrote sometimes, and was an honor to get your comments and to read your blogs and comment there as well.
I will miss it (and all of you)...
Again, thank you for being there.

blogito ergo sum

Anonym00kie posed a question on one of her posts. Why do we blog? I was thinking of the same question myself; why did I start blogging? It started by accident: I wanted to post a comment on a friend's blog ( I had never read a blog before, believe it or not) and I discovered that I have to register. That's it in a nutshell (why is it always a 'nutshell'? why can't it be, say, a pea-pod?). Once I had the address, I discovered that I needed to express myself. There were ideas and theories and passions which I needed to air.
Then, once I started, I couldn't stop. It was as if a plug had been unstoppered, and all (most) (actually, some) of my pent-up feelings and thoughts came spewing, er, pouring out.
I agree somewhat with Mookie's idea that the breakdown of the family is a contributing factor, especially the extended family. Surrounded by aunts, uncles, grandparents, a child could often find one someone who would listen. A blog is like an online diary; it'…

It's the family room, darn it!

This post is a bit off the topic I am most passionate about, but I feel the need to express my frustrations, and this is the only forum I've got. So to all (3) of my readers, I hope you are not disappointed. On the contrary - I am actually hoping for some ideas out there in Bloggersville.
Here is my dilemma:
My husband is not happy that I am blogging. It's not because he doesn't want me to blog, at least I don't think it is. He would be happier if I got a job. That's true. But the main reason is because he says I am encroaching on his territory: The Home Office, formerly known as The Family Room.
As my husband works out of our townhome, when we moved in he set up the family room as a half-family room, half-office, with our old (25 years old) sleeper sofa with my old desk behind it as a sort of 'room divider'.
This is the configuration: The sofa faces the TV, our older son's old recliner - which he couldn't take to Israel because it was too big; it wo…

Eureka, I Found It! (or, the true path to Ahavat Yisrael)

Thank you, thank you I'mHaaretz,Ph.D and Hirhurim for finding a true path to ahavat Yisrael or "ve-ahavta le-re'akha kamokha". This is what I found through surfing posts and comments on the blogosphere, and this is what should unite all Jews (I am tired of hearing 'where there are two Jews there are three machlokot'). Maybe that's what we are; pieces of a puzzle. And we need all our differently shaped pieces to fit together to be a whole. And then, the whole will be greater than the sum of it's parts:

learn kiruv from lubavitch
learn derech eretz from YU/RYDS
learn ahavas yisroel from Maran RAYK
learn to serve Hashem with joy from the chasidim
learn to learn torah from the litvish
learn to love eretz yisroel from the religous zionists
learn how to conduct yourself among the goyim from the modern orthodox
learn tenacity in serving Hashem in the face of all odds from the misnachalim
learn tznius from UO
learn bikur cholim from satmar
learn how to publish a dignifi…

Yerushalayim Sunset...

I have added the photo of Yerushalayim sunset to my profile (It's much better than a photo of me, and anyway I'm in the 'sunset' of my life...). It embodies some of the beauty of G-d's creation.
And, last but not least, (ahem) it was shot by my Daughter the Photog (catch her blog at
i hope this posts in green.

Women Rabbis...לפי הלכה ?

I just read an article linked on the Am Echad weblog ( which blew me away. A woman has just received smicha -rabbinical ordination - from Modern Orthodox Rabbi Aryeh Strikovsky, after having received her Ph.D in Jewish Studies from Bar-Ilan University! Her name is Haviva Ner-David, and although she is not the first Orthodox woman to gain the status of ordination, she apparently is the first to use the title 'Rabbi' openly. I am fine with using the term 'Rabbanit'. I think it's a good idea that woman can achieve the status and recognition of scholarship and learning. I welcome your comments.

Truth Through Humor

I received this in an email from a friend in Tzfat. Depressing, but although it is a joke, it exemplifies how the media would cover such a story:
"A man in Paris saw a pit bull attacking a toddler. He killed the pit bull and saved the child's life. Reporters swarmed the fellow to cover the story.... "Tell us! What's your name? All Paris will love you! Tomorrow's headline will be: 'Paris Hero Saves Girl from Vicious Dog!'" The guy says, "But I'm not from Paris." Reporters: "That's OK. Then the whole of France will love you and tomorrow's headline will read: 'French Hero Saves Girl from Vicious Dog"! The guy says, "I'm not from France, either." Reporters: "That's OK also. All Europe will love you. Tomorrow's headlines will shout: 'Europe's Hero Saves Girl from Vicious Dog!'" The guy says, "I'm not from Europe, either." Reporters: "So, where ARE you from?&q…

"Sad School Saga" - this is exactly what I mean!

With regard to my post on kol Isha, please use the above link and scroll down to that article.
This is what I meant when I said elsewhere in comments and on this blog that there are problems within the Jewish community and the practice of Judaism. What is important? What is true observance of Torah? Where are mitzvot bein adam le-havero ? How should a Jew treat his/her fellow man/woman?This is very frustrating.JCop in a comment asked me, 'but where do we start cleaning up [our act]?'
Please, I welcome all your comments and ideas.

Refreshing: The REAL Reason We Make Aliyah!

I don't get it...

I find this very strange. Here I try to write serious, pithy tomes about The Meaning of Life, Religion, The Importance of Being Earnest - er. I mean, of Israel - and I can't get no satisfac-eh, RESPONSES from anyone (or at best, I get one. maybe).
However, post a couple of smelly feet pictures, and THE WORLD FLOCKS TO MY DOOR. Is it that I have The Meaning of Life totally wrong? - that it's not about JEWISH VALUES, PURPOSE, and PLACING G-D IN ONE'S LIFE.
It's about feet. And mud. And having fun.
OMIGOSH I sound like my kids.

Yeshiva World/Secular World: Compatible?

It's about time someone wrote something about the narrow weltanschauung of the yeshiva world. There are serious problems there, problems which should be addressed. I am glad that UnOrthodox Yeshiva Guy is writing about them.
Case in point: My son has a friend who is Lubavitch and very intelligent. Because he hadn't studied English, math & science in school (he went to an Aguda type yeshiva day school), nor did he learn the Hebrew language - he failed three exams needed to enlist in the IDF (it's a long story). He realized then that he was ill-prepared to function in today's world, and promptly (after proving himself and excelling in Tzahal) started studying the courses he needed in order to bring him up to speed (high school level; we're not even talking about college!)
He went on to get his BA in Jewish Studies in college.
You should hear what he has to say about the yeshiva world. And I am happy to say, he didn't 'throw out the baby with the bathwater…

"Kol Isha" and it's Ilk

I understand and believe in tzniut (modesty) and understand the halacha behind it. However, there is a tendancy for people to 'outfrum' their peers, a tendancy to be more 'machmir' than is necessary;
I believe the Rabbanim in this article sited by LakewoodVenter are going 'over the top'. Granted, it is one thing not to be distracted by women, and not to let the secular world encroach into one's life. It is quite another to buy up the entire first-class section when the money can be used for purposes of tzedaka instead, and just plain ridiculous to cover the in-flight monitors! Do the Rabbanim fear they would be tempted to turn them on?
It is similar to the kol isha halacha: It originally meant that a man should not be distracted from saying the Shema by a woman's voice. Reasonable. There are 'machlokot' on this interpretation. It has expanded to the halacha that women are not permitted to sing in public. That is not the original injunction at all…

Shabbat at yam hamelach...

My daughters spent last Shabbat at Yam HaMelach. For my youngest, it was the first time she had ever been there since she arrived in Israel in August, 2004. Too busy with school and tests. And her tiyul shnati was in the negev, but not at the Dead Sea. My older daughter sent a huge file of pics, with specific instructions on which ones I was permitted to post (!). The Foot Foto is a portrait of the photographer and her sister (can't you tell? Aren't they gorgeous?!). The rest are 'nof '. Enjoy! (Even the desert is beautiful).

Oh, for those socialist evenings...

As I commented on David'sblog, his poem reminded me of childhood memories I have of "Intellectual" type evenings", as in the old days of the Jewish Bund, in Europe before WWII. My parents (may they rest in peace) often had 'literature/social/political' evenings at our apartment in NY.
My mother as a youth had been a member of "haShomer haTza'ir". My father, who was an outstanding Hebrew poet (but almost totally unknown) and his colleages read from their poetry; American & British poets as well as the great "modern" Jewish writers, such as Ehad HaAm, Shaul Tschernichovsky, Chayim Nachman Bialik, '/Shin Yud Agnon' , Rachel, Shalom Aleichem - to name just a few - were read and discussed.
These evenings included heated political discussions, arguments/ideas flew back and forth. And I listened in from my bed, through the wall...
I was considering starting a second blog solely for the purpose of posting my father's poetry, bu…

Wxuqp Verification (burp)

Dear Reader,
Bzodsnel yblykxp mxvimryr, and btjoccsg, but more importantly, also plnhar, vjmuobe & ldnharg. And don't forget the aeesbltu and the hteers, either.
Ok, ok, I get the message. Nobody likes word verification. Neither do I. I enabled it because I thought it would be a way to discourage spammers. Instead, I think it's discouraging other bloggers from commenting, so I decided I'll disable it, for now...
You can all rejoice! (and remember to COMMENT!!)

Holy Castles!

Here are the promised pics of an especially holy castle on the holy beach of holy Tel-Aviv.
Image on top is the back of the castle; below is the front (castle faces the ocean).
My daughter (who built this with a friend) said that people strolling on the beach were so awed by this structure that many stopped to photograph it.
It reminds me a bit of Gamla (may it not fall again, heheh!)

Quote of the Day (see linked article on Judaism):

(quote on snake hunters blog, reprinted here without permission)
"A people that glorifies and honors suicidal killers, and eagerly sacrifices their young, promising virgins and other heavenly rewards is a sick culture, and deserves exposure."

The Importance of Yom Ha-atzma'ut

There is some talk going around of people having a problem with celebrating Yom Haatzma'ut (Israel Independence Day) - by breaking the period of semi-mourning which we observe during the counting of the Omer, and by saying the beautiful "Hallel" prayer - for several reasons. One major reason, for 'dati' (religious) Jews - Israelis and American alike - is the Israeli government's lack of a Jewish identity in general; this has been evidenced by the terrible expulsion of the people in Gush Katif, and the new P.M. Ehud Olmert's future plan to remove certain so-called "settlements" from the Shomron (commonly known as the 'west bank') area.
I was just discussing this with my younger son on 'Skype'. He called to wish me a 'Yom Ha-atzma'ut Sameach' as he and his two sisters & older brother who are living in Israel were preparing to go to a celebration in the Yishuv where he lives. He is planning on a full celebration, and …