This is so beautiful, and so true, that I am moved to share it with the readers of my blog.
To Worried Friends: I’m Fine. Enjoy a Dog Picture While I Drive Home from LA.
Workday, Hebrew Union College Library
#Ferguson : My Thoughts on an American Flashpoint
I invite my readers to chew on the words of Michael Twitty. He never lacks for flavor, and this post is especially good, engaging as it does both the head and the heart.
Slow Cooking Monday
There are people who are quick with ideas – maybe we could call them the Microwaves, since they can cook their ideas in a flash – and then there are folks who need time, maybe LOTS of time, to cook on an idea. When an idea is challenging I can be a slow-cooker.
I don’t have much to offer you today. I’m cooking on something complex AND I have a bunch of promised work that must get done today.
Have you ever just had to stew on an idea for a while?
I don’t know how to be Jewish
For my readers who are beginners at Judaism: I know that you sometimes wonder when you will “know enough” and that sometimes you feel intimidated by Jews who have generations of experience behind them. This is a wonderful, honest, forthright account by a women who was born Jewish and is very much like many people who will see at synagogue. We never stop learning, even the rabbis, especially the rabbis.
10 Ways to Enhance Your Jewish Home
I’ve written before about the ways in which the Jewish home is a mikdash me’at, a little sanctuary. Taking care of your home is an important part of Jewish living, whether you live in a tiny studio apartment or a mansion. Here are some simple ways you can make your home more of a sanctuary, a safe, calm place in the world. Choose one or two and see what happens after a month or two:
1. Make your home as safe as possible. Did you know that this is an actual mitzvah? Deuteronomy 22:8 says that when you build a new house, put a railing around the roof, so no one will fall off. The rabbis extended that mitzvah to include fixing all things that are unsafe around your home. Get rid of frayed electrical cords and things that can trip someone. Change that light bulb: it’s a mitzvah!
2. Display whatever Judaica you own. Use your Chanukah menorah to decorate during the 35 weeks a year it isn’t covered in wax! Let your Shabbat candlesticks decorate your bookshelves during the week, instead of sitting in a cabinet. Whatever you do, don’t worry that the room looks “too Jewish” – it’s a Jewish home, after all!
3. Chores: If you can’t get out of them, get into them. In The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin, she suggests that one way to be happier at home is to attack those chores that you don’t want to do. Feign enthusiasm until you feel it. Crank up the volume on music from your high school days. Focus on the details you do like. These, too, are a way of making home safer.
4. Display photos of the people and places you love. You will feel happier every time you look at them. Pictures are not just for your computer screen and your phone!
5. Establish routines. Since Friday night is Shabbat, have a Thursday night or Friday morning routine to get ready for Shabbat. It might be preparing to make challah – or it might be something as simple as cleaning the kitchen and setting out the Shabbat candles. Use the post-Shabbat “burst of energy” to get chores or work done. Have Shabbat routines!
6. Make your bed every morning. Speaking of routines: making your bed is a three-minute task that gets your day started with a positive accomplishment, and means that when you come to bed at night, your place of rest is restful. What a concept!
7. Observe Jewish time in your home. Keep Shabbat in some form. Observe the holidays, at least in small ways. Get a Jewish calendar and display it – or import one onto your smartphone.
8. Invite guests over. Hospitality is a mitzvah. It’s called hachnasat orchim, welcoming guests. You don’t have to feed them something fancy, just make them welcome. Get takeout and share it on the kitchen table or a card table. Better yet, invite them for Shabbat dinner.
9. Be mindful about consumption of media. Don’t let upsetting news stories run over and over. If you need “background noise” try music.
10. Kindness spoken here. Think twice about the words you use and allow into the house. Treat words that embarrass and words that spread gossip as a kind of filth – don’t let them in! Words are part of the atmosphere of your home, part of the furniture. That goes for “helpful” words that hurt feelings, too.
To some of these, you may be thinking, “That’s Jewish?” but seriously, making your home a place of refuge from the world is part of making a Jewish home.
May your home, and the homes of all Israel, be places of light and love!
The Burden of Being Israel
Eloquent words, and true.
Six Things you Can Do when People Say Stupid Sexist Shit To You
I’m reblogging this brilliant post over to CoffeeShopRabbi.com because it’s smart and sensible and applies to more than just sexist comments. It can also be good advice for people who’ve just had a homophobic comment burped up at them, or for a convert to Judaism who’ve just received a clueless comment from someone. Hope, you ROCK.
Sending a 17 Year-Old Child to Israel
This father and rabbi vocalized much of what I’ve been thinking today as the news came of the murders of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali. “Distress, disappointment anger and despair” describe my feelings, too.