Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Camp ROCKS!*

It's hard to believe that this is my third summer blogging from camp. (It's my 6th summer here as a rabbi, though!)

We made it here and I've been having almost too much fun to blog!

We packed up the van and made the trek. This year we tried to pack lightly and we almost succeeded. It's hard to move the whole family for two weeks into two rooms.

More to come later on camp activities. The kids have arrived, Jewish learning and living has begun....

*Thanks to my colleague and friend, Rabbi Eric Siroka for the title of this post.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

No Paparazzi, Please

Why are we so fascinated by Jon and Kate? Okay, I think we're all just fascinated by Kate. (He's a little more benign, don't you think?)

I think I know.

Because we see ourselves in Kate.
Each and every one of us is secretly terrified of what kind of mom the world sees us as.

We're all afraid of whatever would happen if the cameras followed us around for a whole day. I know I am. I can't imagine what it must be like to know that every word you're saying is recorded, even the bad moments.

'Cuz we all have bad moments. (Trust me, no cameras in my house, please!)

I know, I know, she chose it.

But it feels a little like a snowball...rolling downhill...getting bigger and more out of control.

Her initial instinct was to "vlog." If you watched the earliest episodes, many of them were based on her own homemade videos. So many of us are here in the internet writing our lives, sharing our stories.

We all wish we could get our "big break" and a movie or book deal...she got there. I think there's a little bit of envy for that, even if we are glad we didn't have 6 kids all at once, perhaps.

It went to her head and ruined her marriage. What a sad shame.

But we all see ourselves.
And we hope that our stories turn out a little calmer, a little quieter, a little shinier.

(A book deal would be nice though...)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

We're Still Waiting for Gilad Shalit

Last year I posted a similar post on this day.

I truly, horribly, completely wish that I were not writing the same post today.

From this website:

Gilad Schalit was born on August 28th, 1986, in Nahariya and raised in Mitzpe Hilla in the Western Galilee by his parents Aviva and Noam with his siblings Yoel and Hadas. At the end of July 2005 Gilad began his military service in a combat unit of the armored corps. For the two months prior to his kidnapping, he has been on duty guarding and ensuring the security of the settlements around Gaza.

On Sunday, June 25th 2006, in a terrorist attack on an IDF post at Kerem Shalom during which his unit friends have been killed, Gilad was taken captive and has been held since in the Gaza Strip by Hamas.

To this day Gilad didn’t receive any visits from an official faction, including the Red Cross, and there is no reliable information about his well being.

Three years have passed since his abduction. Let's remind everyone that he has yet to come home and demand his quick return.

On June 25th, the three-year anniversary to his abduction, please replace your personal profile picture with Gilad’s picture on Facebook, Windows Live Messenger, ICQ, Tapuz, bona, Mekusharim, news groups and any other social network or blog you’re a member of, and show the world that you are waiting for Gilad Schalit’s return.

Unfortunately, since my post last year, the remains of soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, abducted at the same time as Gilad, were returned to Israel.

We are still waiting for Gilad. Each and every day.

May his return come speedily and safely.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Corny but true....



A warm and sunny day!
I broke out the sweet corn, which isn't exactly in season yet but just felt right for the first real day of summer fun.

Yael was very happy with the corn.
(Sam was too but wouldn't let me take his picture!)
David doesn't like corn.
His loss.

Corn-on-the-cob is such a summer joy. Tomorrow - the pool!
See more Summer Stock Photography over here by Robin.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hair Today...

from this: (originally posted 9/8/09)
to this:

(see this post - yep, we had lice)
and now back to this:

taken this week, 6/11/09
Good thing she's cute no matter what length her hair is!
See more Wordless Wednesday posts at the original WW home and at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Haveil Havalim 221: The News and Politics Edition

It's been quite a week for the Jewish world. With Obama's speech in the Middle East and the killing at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, I can't quite seem to catch up on anything.

haveil havalim
What's going on here today?
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.'
Please please please publicize HH on your own blog and share the news about it!

So here we go....

Politics, News, and People Who Don't Like the Jews...

The Rebbetzin's Husband has some thoughts about Blacks and Jews, a very interesting post that came about in light of this week's killing at the Holocaust Museum.

Lady-Light thinks that in order to work Towards "A More Peaceful and Tolerant World" we need to give up some of our democratic ideals...

Judeopundit gave us Obama's Palestinian ambitions, or Abu Hussein and the 800-lb Al-Buraq.

Shiloh Musings presents Obama, They Love Him Or Hate Him, reporting live from the Diaspora.

SimplyJews considers The elusive issue of settlements and pols' honesty and also reads the news...and wonders Hungarian Jews should stick to playing with their what?

Cosmic X penned An Ode to Obama.

Yechezkel wrote this post, Life of a Salesman - * A Must Read*, to sell us all (well, those of us who aren't already living there) on Aliyah. Are you buying?

APRPEH scares up Wright Warns Obama to be Himself. I know I'm supposed to be all nice and neutral since I'm hosting but really? He's already been elected.

Eliyahu Fink asks Where Is The Outrage? | The Plight of Middle Eastern Jewry and it was posted before the USHMM shooting. An interesting juxtaposition of of events...

Velveteen Rabbi posted On divisions in the J-blogosphere, and President Obama's Cairo speech - and she wonders about liberal voices in the Haveil Havalim community. Hineni!


Harry-er than them all shares this bit of the Clinton Interview.
Occidental Israeli thinks that maybe the Status Quo is the best option.
For Zion's Sake presents Our Claim to Our Land.
Israelity posted Sderot solidarity on display, Bagir and Obama, and Meet Israel’s newest cabinet minister.
Israeli Soldier's LIFE & THOUGHTS thinks that a holiday without meat can't possibly cut it...and even worse on base: Food and Detention.
How to Be Israeli shares what she calls "the most traumatic experince of aliyah:" Get your Israeli driver's license!! 
Jewlicious tells us about A New Location for the Russian Library for Jerusalem.
Joel Katz at Religion and State in Israel presents the weekly roundup of issues of religion and state in Israel: Section 1 and Section 2.
Esser Agaroth got a ticket for Jaywalking In Jerusalem (wow!? that is way strict!!!) and also posted Christians Are Everywhere!

Our Shiputzim: A Work In Progress muses about Heblish: Realization of a fear edition - this is the kind of thing that my kids are starting to pick up and we don't live in Israel!
My Right Word wrote West Bank Birthing (did you know the "West Bank" is a country?) and Good Achievement for Benefit of the Temple Mount (explaining how the Temple Mount is actually a holy site)

Judaism and Torah

A Simple Jew presents Question & Answer With Rabbi Zvi Leshem - How To Identify A Spiritual Fall.
Ari's Blog explains Sex Abuse and Tuition Crisis in Yeshivot (Or How to Shop for a Yeshivah: Part 3) and also Ashkenazis vs. Sefaradit (Or, the Pesach I Leined for Chasidim)
Ilana-Davita invites you to join in her Mesorah Project.
Cosmic X recommends the book Sichat Avot.
parshablog wants to know: Why would a rationalist not consider the pnimiyus haTorah response as most convincing and satisfying?
Mordechai Torczyner presents "Giving it to him" is usually a bad idea posted at The Rebbetzin's Husband.

Harry-er than them all asks What have you done for the Jewish people lately?

JBloggers Being Funny

Actually, funny enough, this category is the one that ended up with the most spam posts. Is that because I'm supposed to laugh and then include them? They don't belong here - stop spamming our carnival!!!!

Good News from Israel offers Hebrew Tongue Twisters - check 'em out!
Cosmic X points out Another Cat Gets Into Trouble.
A Time of the Signs made me giggle over 48% puppy-dogs' tails - what is in that stuff???
Maya at How to Be Israeli explains the nosiness factor of Israeli society and warns you...Don't give away information!

The Real Shliach wrote His fictive self, a story.
Not Just Typical offers The Well Rounded Child Ish Diet and totally count me in for #1. 

Culture, Life, and Everything Else...

Occidental Israeli watched Middle Eastern Food on the Food Network - Bobby Flay makes felafel?
Seraphic Secret ruminates on the ideas behind I Was Raped By The Taliban And I liked It...
Conversations in Klal reminds us to Overlook Us At Your Peril (the "us" being the Boomer generation).
me-ander wants to know Sans Internet-What To Do With My Coffee? (and how to get her parents to make aliyah).
Here in HP contemplates the Loss of a Parent.
Lost Star of David saw at lot of Denomination Cooperation in her new town.
Beneath the Wings is playing Mrs Sherlock Holmes.

Did you know that The Rabbi Abhors Thursdays? The Rebbetzin's Husband does and I agree.
My Right Word promises that I Didn't Say It.
Not Just Typical asks Are you Observant? 
I wrote about the Reform movement's rabbinic ordination ceremonies in Cincinnati last weekend.
Robin is hosting a new weekly photo meme called Summer Stock Sundays. Go check it out and play along! (Sorry, Robin, I don't think I'll make it this week since I'm hosting HH!)
Jew Wishes reviewed City of Thieves, a great book and a great review!
Mother in Israel made the Top 50 Frugality Blogs! Mazel tov!
Ashi and Rami's Ima introduced her kids to cows...real cows.

Please send your posts for the next edition of the Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival via the Blog Carnival Submission Form. If you're interested in hosting or receiving more information about the carnival, please contact Jack at talktojacknow-at-sbcglobal-dot-net (and please, for the sake of our hosts, try not to submit more than 3 posts a week!)

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!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Today at the Holocaust Museum

I cannot begin to express my horror at what happened today at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

From the website of the USHMM:
There are no words to express our grief and shock over today’s events at the Museum, which took the life of Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns. Officer Johns, who died heroically in the line of duty, served on the Museum’s security staff for six years. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Officer Johns’s family. We have made the decision to close the Museum Thursday, June 11, in honor of Officer Johns and our flags will be flown at half mast in his memory.

May his memory be for a blessing.
"A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum stimulates leaders and citizens to confront hatred, prevent genocide, promote human dignity, and strengthen democracy."
May we continue to fight against hatred in the world. May the mission of the USHMM continue to be undeterred. 
Let us never forget.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Hard at Work...BSM

We got some large-size posters suitable for coloring and my kids thought it was great fun to color something so large...I thought it was a hoot to let Yael sit on the table to color. (so did she)

See more Best Shots here...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Summer in Cincinnati

There are lots of "official" beginnings to summer. One of these is, for me, the Rabbinic Ordination ceremonies in Cincinnati, Ohio, the first weekend in June each year. Since my 2nd year in school, I attended every Ordination leading up to mine (in 2003) and many since. It's really an incredible thing to witness these rabbinical students turning into rabbis right before our eyes.

In true Cincinnati fashion, the ceremonies are a celebration not only of these rabbinical students, but also of the whole heritage of Reform Judaism that stems from that small city on the border between North and South. Cincinnati, Ohio is truly the birthplace of Reform Judaism where Isaac Mayer Wise founded his synagogue, seminary, and most of the institutions that today comprise the backbone of the modern Reform movement. He was quite a visionary, really creating a "minhag America" - an American custom - that endures today. (Minhag America was the name that Wise gave to the prayerbook he composed.)

Ordination takes place at the historic Plum Street Temple, an incredible structure in downtown Cincinnati that is at once living Judaism and living museum. It is gloriously restored, much of the original parts like flooring and pews and lecterns still a part of it, and used regularly and lovingly by the Wise Temple community. There is a great deal of pomp and procession, a service unlike any other, and a moving ceremony in which each student stands before the open Ark as the President of the College-Institute places his hands on their heads in ancient blessing.

(interior shot of the beautifully painted ceilings inside Plum Street Temple)
The exterior of the Moorish-style building

Following the Ordination services, the 1000+ attendees stream onto Plum Street, which is closed off for the occasion. The Ordinees hug and greet their families, friends, teachers, and colleagues.

Zeh ha-yom asa Adonai, nagila v'nismicha vo.
This is the day that God has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118)

It was truly an honor for me to be present, to recall the moment of my own ordination, and to welcome my friends as colleagues. May they be blessed in their endeavors and may the work of their hands and hearts be fruitful.

(More Summer Stock Photography here....)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Shabbat Tune....

Click over to read the lyrics.

Shabbat Shalom!

Oops....forgot to say Thank You!

Have you ever gotten so excited that you forgot to say thanks!?

I wrote that last post and I definitely forgot to say thank you to all of my current and regular readers - I was very excited to welcome the new folks.

So..to my regular readers, I thank you for coming and visiting and commenting and being a part of my online world. Todah rabah!!!!

I'm off to The Motherland Cincinnati, Ohio, for rabbinic ordination....pictures and updates to come on Sunday!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My 15 MInutes

I am very excited to announce the delivery (in my own real mailbox) of this month's Reform Judaism magazine. The cover story, "CyberSanctuary: How the Latest Technology is Changing Jewish Life," features 5 rabbis and 3 lay leaders in a "cyber symposium." Guess who one of those rabbis is? Me!

I was invited to participate last December - remember, magazines have a long lead time. I must admit, I was hesitant about what to write because so much changes in the world of technology. I was very pleased to re-read my answers and felt that what I said six months ago was still relatively timely. I answered a question using Twitter as an example, and I know back in December (pre-Oprah's Twitter explosion) it wasn't exactly mainstream. But now, it turns out that I sound very cutting-edge!!!

I think it's really wonderful that so many of us are working hard to bring Jewish experiences into the technology age - and I enjoyed reading what the other participants had to say as well. It's interesting to hear what I'm doing and what's being done around the country/world. I must admit, sometimes I think I know everything that's going on and then I read an article like this only to find out that we're all in the same technological boat!

I'm hoping that some of my recent spike in traffic is thanks to this article. So I wanted to say hi {{{waving furiously}}} to all my new readers... I'm inviting you to stick around for a while. One good way to do that is to click over there <---- on the top of the left-hand column where it says "Subscribe to my feed" which you can do either in a reader or via email. This way you'll get my latest content delivered directly to your Reader program or your Inbox as soon as I create it!

To get you up to speed with what happens here at Ima on and off the Bima, the answer is - just about everything! I like to post about my family and my life, about Judaism and Jewish life, and really everything in between. I almost always put a link up to the weekly Jewish blog carnival, which gives a round-up of Jewish posts around the globe, and I have hosted it here a few times myself. Sometimes I review books or products and sometimes I give things away, so feel free to read, comment, and come back often. Those cute munchkins in the header pictures are my kids, and they definitely give me endless material...

Here are a few good posts to read to get to know me. Most of them contain a bunch of links to other posts, which is always the best way to read a blog!!
2008 Year-end Post
2007 Year-end Post
7 Posts About Me

But you don't have to start at the beginning - it's okay to just jump in and join the journey!
It's nice to have you along. Hope to see you again soon.

We all scream....

See more Wordless Wednesday posts at the original WW home and at 5 Minutes for Mom.

(I really should be saving these up for Robin's Summer Stock Sundays but it was too good to pass up for today!)