Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
And over here, I posted an Ecumenical Version.
Today I present a more "grown-up" edition. Offering songs and readings from our nation's founding documents, I think it's a nice simple way to bring religious ritual to the table, so to speak.
I'd love to hear your feedback!
Seriously, though, it's been a while so I guess I'll give it a shot...but with a twist. Here are 7 facts about me as illustrated by 7 of my favorite blog posts:
1. I love to read.
2. I attended rabbinical school at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio.
3. Every summer, I go to camp. I'm such a lucky rabbi.
4. I'm starting to wonder if I need another hobby.
5. I really like to cook.
6. I don't eat meat. (but I do eat fish....so I'm not exactly a vegetarian. But I have made soup for the last two nights....yum.)
7. I started this blog on February 7, 2007. I've come far....
(Actually, doing this was pretty informative. I've always wanted to do a "Favorite posts" post, and I don't think this is really it. It was hard to classify the posts in relation to myself rather than just posts that I like. Also, I realize that I don't actually write blog posts about some of the real obsessions in my life right now like Facebook and Twitter...interesting.)
If you haven't been tagged (it seems that so many people have already gotten there first!), feel free to consider yourself tagged and play along.
Hopefully tomorrow I'll post my Grown-up Thanksgiving Seder. Just in time!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I don't eat turkey.
But that's not even what this is about.
I just don't get it.
Thanksgiving's biggest symbol is the turkey.
Not this one (although it does seem important to people):
(picture from Butterball.com)
But this one:
Can you please tell me how that cute little guy with the Pilgrim hat, the one that the kids color, make out of their handprints, act like (gobble gobble), read about and sing about....
...ends up on the dinner plate?
I'm quite sure that no one eats the other symbols of holidays. We don't eat the lulav and etrog. And I know that no one eats bunny on Easter (even though that one's not my holiday, I'm pretty sure about that.) We don't eat Uncle Sam on the 4th of July. We don't even really eat pumpkins so much on Halloween, we're much more about the candy.
So doesn't it seem a bit odd that we EAT the primary cute holiday symbol?
I'm just saying.
What's your Tuesday Torah?
Monday, November 24, 2008
There are so many times during the holidays and during the year when we have to buy some kind of gift for someone who "has it all"...or it's a "gift of obligation" like a hostess gift or business-associate gift...and often the gifts that we come up with are not very useful, not very exciting, or just not what the person wants.
So this year, why not give the gift of tzedakah -- the gift of charity? I know what you're thinking, who do I give to, how do I choose, and how do I make sure that the recipient isn't offended by my choice of charitable organization? Be creative about it! Just think a little bit about the person, and figure out a charitable organization that "fits" with them.
Here are some of my favorite ideas, which I'm sure will get you thinking about more...
For the guys....if he likes...
…fishing...donate in his honor to Seashare, Fish for America’s Hungry People, an organization that donates fish to the hungry
…cars…donate in his honor to The Dare to Dream Camp, a racecar-theme camp that provides enrichment, recreation, and mentoring for underprivileged, at-risk, neglected and abused children.
…ties, donate in his honor to Shop Well With You, an organization that provides people undergoing cancer treatments with resources and advice on how they can dress and feel both comfortable and attractive.
…computers, donate in his honor to Computers for Communities, which refurbishes old computers and makes them available to needy families and communities.
…music, donate in his honor to SongWriting Works, who promote healing through song.
For the ladies...if she likes...
...candy donate in her honor to A Package From Home which provides candies and treats to Israeli soldiers away from home.
...fruit donate in her honor to Table to Table, an organization that delivers 4000-5000 meals weekly in Israel. The organization gleans fruit from trees to give to those in need.
OR donate in her honor to The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, which aims to plant 18 billion fruit trees across the world to benefit our environment and humankind.
...dogs donate in her honor to Save a Pet, an organization that encourages pet adoptions.
OR donate in her honor to the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind.
...music donate in her honor to Songs of Love, an organization that writes and records original songs for children who are facing life-threatening or chronic illness.
...shoes donate in her honor to Shoes That Fit, an organization that provides shoes to children in need.
....shopping donate in her honor to Shop Well With You, an organization that provides people undergoing cancer treatments with resources and advice on how they can dress and feel both comfortable and attractive.
...reading donate in her honor to Dream Reading, an organization that provides books for libraries.
For a new parent or a new grandparent, donate in her honor to St. Joseph's Baby Corner in Seattle, which provides basic care for new moms and babies in that city, or find a similar organization in your own city.
Kids love birthday parties. Here are two organizations that bring birthday parties to underprivileged children: Project Birthday in Sacramento and Birthday Angels in Israel. Perhaps there is one in your city? Or maybe this is something for you to start!
Help out sick kids. Many children's hospitals have wishlists on Amazon. Pick something out and send it off to some sick kids. Perhaps the hospital in your area has a wish list. Here is the list for Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.
For kids who love skateboarding, check out Land of Plenty, which strives to spread physical activity and artistic expression through skateboarding.
Do you have a young leader on your gift list? Look at Dreams for Kids, an organization that empowers young people of all abilities through leadership acitivies.
Kids are very concerned about environmentalism. Check out Kids For A Clean Environment and make a donation in honor of the kids on your list.
There are so many different organizations out there. I love thinking about matching honorees with various different organizations. It opens my eyes to the possibilities out there for helping others, as well as makes a creative and interesting gift.
Some of these organizations will send notifications directly to your recipient. Some are smaller organizations and may not. What I often do is take a picture of my kids doing an activity that is similar to the charity donated to (example: a kid holding stuffed animals for a gift to Heifer International) and make a card on Shutterfly. I'll put information about the charity on one side of the card (usually cut and paste from their website into Shutterfly) and say: "A Donation has Been Made In Your Honor to..." Then on the other side of the card I'll put the greeting "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Birthday." This is very well-received! You could also use blank cards and do this by hand.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Read more about it:
Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs -- a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It's hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by Jack. The term 'Haveil Havalim,' which means "Vanity of Vanities," is from Qoheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon. King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other 'excesses' and realized that it was nothing but 'hevel,' or in English, 'vanity.'
This week, of course, begins the American Thanksgiving holiday, and in that spirit, here are some picks from my kids (as usual) as they put Tzedakah in the pushke.
Oh, and check out celebrating Thanksgiving a Jewish way with me, the Ima on and off the Bima.
My Right Word presents No, The Media Will "Tell", Peres Reformed? Or Flip-flopping?, and Rahm Emanuel Loses Security Clearance.
Religion and State in Israel - November 17, 2008 (Section 2).
Ilana-Davita shares with us Simon Veil, a French politician.
WestBankMama offers her take on the Israeli elections.
Robin tells us all about her Neighborhood Greengrocer.
Benji Lovitt presents *Beelti Precedentzia (Unprecedented)....And There's a 30% Chance That's Actually How You Say It and he thinks Osem should fire its marketing staff. He's always worth a visit for a great laugh!
Have you seen this? Pretty funny. And check out the new G-dCast, which gives weekly cartoon videos of Parashat haShavua.
If you're not reading JCarrot, Hazon's great food and food issue blog, you should be. Here's a yummy-looking vegetarian alternative to the cute little turkey on Thursday.
And of course, don't forget to check out this month's Kosher Cooking Carnival over at Baila's place.
P.S. In the Refuah Shleimah category, make sure you wish a speedy recovery to FrumeSarah, recovering from spinal meningitis, and to Miriam, who is having a stomach-bug-attack while travelling in Israel.
Please please please publicize HH on your own blog and share the news about it!
You can just copy and paste this nice little sentence into your blog if you'd like:
A very lovely edition of Haveil Havalim, the Jewish Blog Carnival, is now up over at Ima on and off the Bima. Check it out!
We now return to our regularly scheduled programming...come back regularly to see what's cooking here! Stay tuned for my now-annual Chanukah Countdown Party with giveaways and fun!
There's a new group on Facebook for Jewish Twitter-ers...are you one? Join us! (And feel free to follow me, too!) And if you're not in the HH Facebook group, come and join that too!
Friday, November 21, 2008
I have been reading for quite some time now about CSA's - Community Sponsored Agriculture. I've read all summer as people shared the contents of their baskets, and bragged about the canning and preserving they were doing.
I already receive a weekly shipment from Timber Creek Farms, a local company that delivers milk and organic produce. But even though they're great, I know they're not growing those pineapples and bananas in Indiana. They don't claim to, by the way. They do, however, deliver "hormone-free" milk that is far cheaper than ordinary organic milk (it's not actually organic, but if I had to rank my milk priorities, hormones and price are above organic). I also get a weekly Fruit Box and a few other grocery items like organic cottage cheese. I tried to get a Vegetable Box but it was just far too much veggies for my family to eat!
But I really wanted to try a CSA and HomeGrownWisconsin offers a Winter Share. Plus, it's Wisconsin, from where all good things come (as Sara well knows!). A WinterShare, if you're not familiar (I wasn't) is 3 deliveries, once a month, in November, December, and January. (So you can look forward to a similar post in December, right before Chanukah...I'm hoping for as many sweet potatoes so I can make sweet potato latkes!)
While I know that we are not in the least bit qualified to be locavores (we like Costco too much), and we don't always eat organic (I pick and choose), I feel like this is my one little contribution to the world of sustainable agriculture. I look foward to figuring out what to do with all my veggies (pumpkin pie? cranberry sauce? leek soup? mushroom pate?) and, of course, sharing them with you all here in blogland.
What are you doing to improve the sustainability of your food?
Thursday, November 20, 2008
A few years ago, our family started to do a Thanksgiving Seder, a retake on the Passover Seder. Much like Passover, this is a holiday whose primary ritual centers on a meal. There isn't, however, a set liturgy for the Thanksgiving meal...and that's where I come in. I've made some changes and additions to the Seder my family has used for a number of years. My own kids are, as you know, pretty young, so I've decided to create 2 different documents. The first is here today, for your viewing and downloading pleasure, for families with small children. Hopefully I will have the second soon, with more readings and opportunities for discussion with a more mature crowd.
Thanksgiving Seder for Families with Small Children
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this ritual and how you might incorporate it into your family's Thanksgiving traditions.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Saw it? I'm referring to the list of books I've read in 2008. So far, 74. Not bad for a mom of 3 with a full-time job, ya think?
Back in January, I made a list of 101 things to do in 1001 days. I tried to think of things I've always wanted to to do but never did. I love to read. I mean, I really love it. I am never without a book to read, sometimes I'm reading two at once! I've never kept track of what I read. I really wish I had a list dating back from the beginning....
B is for Betsy, a book originally published in 1939. (They've been recently re-released, although never out of print, with pretty new covers.) I remember sitting in the living room of our house when she walked in from work with the book. I remember how excited she was to share it with me, to welcome me into the Club of Readers.
And I remember learning my way around our local public library, and discovering that Carolyn Haywood had written a lot of books. I can still visualize the shelf at the library where I found them. When I finished the Haywood books, I moved onto the rest of the library. I would search the shelves for long series, for thick books, for interesting titles. I read my way through most of the children's department and then joined my mom in the fiction section, discovering authors like Jean Plaidy (then my mom's favorite) and learning to love historical fiction among other genres. Go back and look through my list -- you'll see a very varied list!
I really wish this post was the launch of a new blog. I'm really dying to write a blog called The Reading Rabbi. I have even saved the URL with Blogger. But I just don't have the time right now. I just have to enjoy reading and occasionally sharing the books I read with you all! (And the book discussions we do at the synagogue.)
I just finished The Search Committee by Marc Angel. It was excellent - a great look into the Orthodox Yeshiva world. If you are interested in buying it, consider clicking over to my new Amazon Affiliates shop.
Not that I don't have anything to read, but if you have a great book for me, please share!
Monday, November 17, 2008
I've been a mom for seven years!? I find this incredibly hard to believe.
Snapfish to develop so they have digital images of all of them. whew! who knew I'd need them for future blogging?!)
And now he's seven.
He can read.
He can write.
He can play chess and do karate and play piano.
He rocks a mean Guitar Hero.
It boggles my mind when he carries on a real conversation or says, "actually, Mom...."
We had a driving party. It's a long and complicated story, but basically we bought a few remote control cars and ran our own RC car party, using the synagogue's social hall for a big open space. We thought the kids would race but they had more fun just driving the cars around, so that's what we did!
Then we had chocolate cupcakes. Not as cute as last week's, but very tasty. I am really in love with Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and I love their frosting recipes. This one was the Chocolate Buttercream (but vegan...I'm not one, but I play one in the kitchen sometimes).
That last one is definitely my best shot, although I'm pretty sure my dad took it and not me. Oh well.
Go see what other people photographed this week. Happy birthday, David!
Check out this week's Haveil Havalim! (Hey, I'm hosting next week, so stick around!)
Sunday, November 16, 2008
It's hard to see a company that's perhaps trying a little bit too hard to be "cool" while bashing a great deal that moms hold dear. I sent them an email and I hope you will too.
On the upside of marketing, check out Sears' holiday campaign.
It's a great "Wish Registry" for military families, including their stories in video. What a great way to get us all to realize that no matter how hard it may be, we all need to pitch in and help out, especially to those who are giving so much for our country.
So go check it out and help make someone's wishes come true.
Five Places I've Been This Week
Jewish Robot (i want one)
The Forward 50
Signs You Twitter Too Much (so far, I'm safe)
Californians Against Hate (I'm not from Cali but I'm definitely against hate)
Brown Rice & Lentil Casserole (yum! Our Shabbat dinner this week)
from my delicious
Where have YOU been?
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Thanks to Reiza and Jewschool for the link.
I am definitely going to do this with my kids. But how to be creative....hmm....maybe in front of the Jerusalem stone wall at the synagogue? I'll work on it.
Will you do it!?
Friday, November 14, 2008
very very full of stuff.
A lot to speak of!
God told Abe, "it's time!"
"Those cities are really bad."
"It's time to wreck them,
destroy their outrage and sin.
I'll sweep them away."
"Um, God? Are you sure?"
Abe had the guts to argue.
"They've innocents there!"
A bargain was struck
as Abe negotiated,
"Let's see who is good!"
"Are there fifty good?
forty? thirty? twenty-ish?
Are there ten good folks?"
God said, "okay, yes,
if there are 10 good people
I'll spare the cities."
Jewish tradition teaches that one of the reasons Abraham is considered "the first Jew" and given the blessings of God rather than Noah is because of this interaction. Noah doesn't argue when God threatens to destroy the world, he basically just does as he is told. Abraham, on the other hand, has the chutzpah to negotiate and argue with God on behalf of the innocent.
A lesson for all of us to fight for the voiceless....
See more Haiku Friday here.
Shabbat Shalom y'all!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
...that it seems like suddenly the whole world has joined Facebook?
...that I have a hard time explaining what Twitter is and why I do it. What do you say?
...that I still can't understand how some things go to spam and some don't. And why does some of the real spam show up in my inbox and some of the not-spam ends up in the Spam box!?
...that I have 588 items in my inbox at work. And yet here I am blogging instead.
With that....off to work!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
It seems like no time has passed....and then again, I can't even remember life before him.
He is suddenly funny and opinionated, lovable and frustrating. Alternately cuddly and crabby, he is the epitome of toddler-dom.
I planned for him a Polka-dot Party, mostly because I couldn't bear the idea of a "Go, Diego, Go" party, which is his favorite thing. This week, however, he began to insist that he wanted a Lion Cake and a Lion Party. Really!? So....I researched (love the Internet) and found a plan...it came out like this:
He was ecstatic....and ate 2 of them. Sam's favorite part was the whiskers. In fact, he asked for more whiskers, which, of course, I obliged.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Okay, I just decided it.
So I don't know how often or when I'll be doing it.
But here goes.
Each Friday, I teach a one-hour Shabbat class to 3- and 4-year-olds. It's called "Hello, Shabbat!" and I teach with a wonderful co-teacher who also teaches in our Religious School (and happens to be a good friend).
11 little kids.
Cute, runny nosed, potty-going, talkative little kids.
3 sets of twins!
(and they all regularly remind me that they are twins. And each time, I act surprised.)
And I love it. I'm not sure I would want to be a preschool teacher all the time, but it is so much fun to have this once-a-week gig.
I can't post pictures of these cuties, of course, but we made such a cute project yesterday that I have to share...
Aren't these the most lovely little mezuzot?
So that's part of what I do.
I love my job!
Want to play along? What do you do all day? or all week?
Friday, November 7, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
In fact, this week is the anniversary, since my first Torah Haiku was for Parashat Lech L'cha last year.
I know I missed a few portions...but I'll eventually complete them all, I hope.
But now what do I do on Fridays? Certainly, I could write more haikus about each Torah portion. After all, "turn it and turn it and turn it for everything is within it"...there's always a new opportunity to learn from each bit of the Torah.
Perhaps, though, I've exhausted my haiku-ness...
What do you think? Should I keep writing haikus? Should I pick some new topics?
Tell me what to do, o wise Internet....
P.S. In case you missed it, I'm still flying high from BEING THERE.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
This video is a little bit hard to see, um, anything. But the point is what you can HEAR. I was there. Standing way in the back. My arms got a little tired holding up my camera. But it was worth it.
I am a part of history. I was there.
What an incredible feeling.
We got a ticket to the Grant Park rally tonight. I spent the whole day wavering - go or don't go? (We couldn't leave the burbs until after 9pm - was it worth it?)
Well, sitting here now at 12:15am on the Metra going back home I can say....it was worth it.
I've never seen a crowd like that. United and proud and tearful and exuberant. We got there as Obama took the stage and whisked in to hear the end of his amazing speech. I took pictures (more later) and just soaked it all in.
I will share this one with my grandchildren, that's for sure.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Today is Election Day.
In many places, that is a day of fear and trembling.
Many people in many countries have waited for generations to vote. (This photo is of Soweto, South Africa, as the lines to vote snaked around in only the third truly democratic election in that country in 2004.)
In our country, we are free from the fear that bad things will happen to us in polling places, and because we exercise our right to vote as we wish.
I have had the privilege to vote since I was 18. On my 18th birthday, I marched into the Village Hall and registered to vote. I get teary-eyed every time I even think about fulfilling my democratic right.
On Monday, I joined with 2000 other people at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Risa K. Lambert Author Luncheon here in Chicago.
Father Patrick Desbois, a French priest who has devoted his life to finding mass graves of Jews killed during the Holocaust in the Ukraine. The whole program was marvelous. Leo Melamed shared some of his own story as well, in a moving tribute to Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat who gave visas to Lithuanian Jews during the Holocaust.
I couldn't help but think about today's events as I sat in that room and listened to the stories of people who were trapped, really trapped, by the events around them. They were not free.
But today. Today I exercise my freedom.
Today I VOTE.
Monday, November 3, 2008
We had Michael's favorite, carrot cake, of course.
The kids jumped in leaf piles and just had a good time. Eventually, they ended up in our house watching a movie (supervised by lovely babysitting teenagers) while the adults were hanging outside and next door (We are in a duplex with my mother-in-law. I guess that warrants its own post, doesn't it?).
Probably the happiest campers were my little ones, who just love all the attention of a good party.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
He doesn't read my blog so I can say whatever I want to.
He is wonderful, this man.
He is crazy about me and our kids.
He is the most beloved teacher I know, the kids flock to him. He remembers their names and their stories.
He is a collector of lost souls. He keeps track of them, he takes care of them, he brings them into our family.
He is a connector, he brings people together. The ultimate matchmaker.
He is my beloved.
Happy birthday, honey, and many many more! I love you!
Yes we Carve (this is too funny no matter your political affiliation!)
Tie Dyed Shirts for Kids
Vegetarian Meat Loaf (seriously, this is so good it's going to get its own post.)
This week's Haveil Havalim...go see what's up in the Jewish blogosphere!
you know it's bad when I haven't been anywhere this week!
I think it's because all I'm doing is reading political blogs and the news.
Wow. Where have you been?
Saturday, November 1, 2008
And, it seems that it will make up for my non-blogging for the past month!
But....I blog without guilt.
But why is the title of this post "emotional blogging"? I plan to be very emotional in the next few days.
"As we stand at the crossroads of history..."
I can't seem to read the paper or watch the news or YouTube without a little tear in my eye. I am shaking with anticipation for Tuesday's expression of choice. Anticipation, fear, and a suppressed joy. Suppressed, because I am too scared to fully revel in what I hope will happen. This is not a political blog, I do not tell my readers what to do or think. I am an individual with individual beliefs and opinions.
But my emotional cup runneth over.
Today, we celebrated the Adult B'nai Mitzvah of 11 people (10 women, 1 man). Together, they stood on the bima of our congregation and read from the Torah. For each of them, it was a mountain, a hurdle, a milestone. Each of them shared it with family and friends. And I was there with them.
As they wept, I wept. (I told you, I'm awfully emotional these days!)
We are constantly at a crossroads in our lives. Constantly making choices that send us in one direction or another. Each moment we choose the path we will take.
This month in my household is the month of birthdays. Three of us have November celebrations, and each one is cause for such joy. Another year older, another year wiser. The beginning of a new year of discovery, growth and life. We celebrate each other and our delight in the simple pleasures of living.
I plan to cry a lot.
So join me on my November journey. I'll be here often, regularly, I promise....daily, I do believe.
May blessings runneth over.