Saturday, October 30, 2010

Winner of Craig Taubman CD

I wish I could give away the same CD to all of you....but I can't!

So the winner is The Minnesota Mamaleh!

Mazel tov :-)

Send me a snail mail address and I'll get it out to you (after I figure out where I put it...)

And so Rebecca loved Jacob...

Sam is, in so many ways, a quintessential middle child. On the other hand, he and Yael often act like twins, since they have no memory of life without the other one. Either which way, sometimes Sam's personality comes out ways.

This Shabbat, Sam spent "one sleep" with his Bubbie and Zeyde. They have made a concerted effort to take each of my three children separately for an overnight and some special event. This year, each child is going to a different play. Sam's play came up first in the calendar, he is going to see Peter Pan (which is very fitting, since we read the original book together this summer).

Sending Sam to his grandparents' house took a week of "sales" pitches. Sales pitches that, for the first time, actually seemed to work! This morning, he bounded into my room and asked "is today the day I go to Bubbie and Zeyde's?" When I responded yes (and I must admit, cringed, waiting for his response), he cheered and asked if he could take his feetie pajamas. I said yes, and we planned the packing in a few brief sentences. He left my room, empty suitcase in tow. I turned to my husband and we high-fived.


A few moments later he was back again. "I don't want to go to Bubbie and Zeyde's! David and Yael will get ALL THE TURNS here while I'm gone."

My husband did a great job of explaining that while he was at their house, HE would get all the turns there. "Yes, but not HERE," Sam responded.

He does have a point.

Eventually, it all worked out fine. We packed, he spent the morning playing with his brother and sister, and when my parents arrived to pick him up, he went with them happily. This was, I must say, a first for my little guy - no fuss or muss.

In this week's Torah portion, Toldot, we read about children who are not treated equally by their parents. Jacob and Esau are very different boys and grow to be very different people. It's made very clear in the Torah that Rebecca prefers Jacob, while Isaac prefers Esau. (It does set a relatively bad precedent for Jacob's own treatment of his children, doesn't it?)

I think that the lessons of the Torah are (almost) always remarkably relevant to me and my life. Each time I read these stories of the dangers of having a "favorite" child, I think about how carefully and consciously I try to show my love to each of my children. Sam might believe that he gets less turns that his sister or brother, but to me, how many turns he gets is irrelevant to how much love I show him. I hope, as he grows older, that he will understand this.

Each of my children is so different from the others - each one of them exists as a separate person with unique desires and interests. It's hard to balance this with the idea of "equality" - will they all get and do and have the same things? Probably not. They're different people, situations will change, needs will evolve. What might work for one at age 15 might not work for the next one. I have to keep my eye firmly on my prize - creating healthy, balanced, happy children who feel loved all the time for who they are.

No small task, is it? It's far more than making sure everyone gets the same-sized piece of cake. It's far more than keeping track of who gets into the car first, or who chooses the next television program, or who holds which hand in the parking lot. It's making sure to kiss each child and have a moment to tell them I love them. It's making sure that I celebrate their small and big accomplishments and notice when they're good and kind to each other and to the world. It's noticing when they're feeling down and giving them some special snuggle time. And it's soothing hurt feelings when they don't quite feel fairly treated - and giving them space to air those grievances without laughing (too hard) at their seriousness.

I don't think that Rebecca and Isaac were terrible parents. I think they made some terrible choices in parenting their children. And I think their lesson is loud and powerful for those of us who have to share our arms and our time and our laps with little human beings who want only to be loved.

Sam and his Zeyde building a birdhouse together.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Before I Had Children {Re-Post}

I was browsing for an old post and I came across this one that I wrote in 2007.It's remarkable how true it all still I thought I'd re-post it for today...


I'm grateful for my children because....

1. Before I had children, I thought that the best thing in the world was sleeping in. Now I know that the best thing in the world is waking up to a giggly voice telling stories to a little sister or brother in the morning.

2. Before I had children, I thought that the best food was served in fine restaurants. Now I know that the best thing to eat is tofu hot-dog roll-ups slathered in ketchup, served with tater tots. ("My favorite food, Mom!")

3. Before I had children, I thought I liked taking my husband out to the movies on a Saturday night. Now I know that what I really like is cuddling with him on the couch, watching a movie from Netflix and knowing that all the children are snug in their beds and I'm not paying for a babysitter!

4. Before I had children, I thought that breakfast was cereal with milk. Now I know that bananas are an absolute human necessity and when they're not around, we all suffer. Oh, and coffee too.

5. Before I had children, farm animals were an interesting curiosity. Now I am fully aware of the noises, habits, and textures of each kind of animal. Especially pigs. And horses.

6. Before I had children, I thought naps were for babies. Now I know that naps are for babies...and toddlers and preschoolers and, most importantly, mommies and daddies.

7. Before I had children, I saw construction zones and sites as a noisy nuisance. Now they are infinite sources of joy and interest. I can identify diggers and rollers and cranes with ease.

8. Before I had children, the arrival of lights and sirens meant that I had to pull over. Now I have to pull over and cheer for the police!

9. Before I had children, holidays were times to delve deep into study and prayer, celebrating in the most spiritual fashion possible. Now I learn new things each year about the holidays as I consider new and different ways to share them with my children and make them relevant and exciting.

10. Before I had children, the camera was taken out for special occasions. Now I know the importance of recording as many "ordinary moments" as possible. I know that each of those ordinary moments is actually a special occasion.

11. Before I had children, grocery shopping was just a part of life. Now it's an important part of each week, devoted to ensuring that the food I buy for my kids is the best for them. And when they come along? It becomes a math lesson, a social justice lesson, a nutrition lesson, a religious lesson, a behavior lesson, and a personal finance lesson. Before I had children, I couldn't imagine filling a grocery cart to the top. Now I sometimes consider a second cart!

12. Before I had children, I liked to keep my car clean and didn't understand how cars could get so dirty. Now that I have children, I know that it's a losing battle against graham cracker crumbs, sweaters, toys, sippy cups, juice boxes, strollers, carseats....and I still don't understand how my car gets so dirty!

13. Before I had children, I thought that children were important, but I never imagined what my life would really be like. Now, I can't imagine my life without them. I can't imagine what I would be like if I didn't have these little people who daily teach me the joys of life and who remind me to see the ordinary as extraordinary. I'm grateful for these lessons, for David, Sam & Yael, who light up my life.


What ideas about children have you gained? I think I could probably write a whole new list to add on...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Winners and Follow-Up

Oops, forgot to post the winners:

Shalom Sesame DVDs:
One goes to ChambanaLaura and one to RavYoga!

For the Love of Being Jewish (signed copy):
my dear friend, Cantor Neff - hey, Sally!

Ladies, please email me your mailing addresses - phyl613 at - thanks!

In other news:
The tooth is doing great, and David has asked that I stop trying to suggest that he wear a mouthguard 24/7...for the first day or so, that's all we suggested. I did nix a caramel apple, tho....

Reviewing my wish list from the other day:
Thanks to some amazing people, I got a pregnancy massage that was awesome. Wow. I don't even know how to say thank you - I was so overwhelmed with these gifts!

Dairy Queen still doesn't deliver but my husband has taken pains to ensure that there's ice cream in the freezer at all times. (He doesn't mind sharing with me, we've had ice cream parties almost every night. Don't tell the kids!) Thanks to a great friend who delivered it straight to me, I even have whipped cream!

Thanks to everyone who offered maternity clothes but I think I'll just stick out the last bit with what I have. I did spill coffee on one shirt and I can't get it out...oh well. And I bought some new PJ bottoms which will last past the pregnancy, so that made me happy. I also bought a new pair of shoes for not too much money (and resisted the ones I wanted to buy so I can wait til afterwards) and so I'm feeling a little happier about that too.

Literally, the same day I wrote the post, in which I asked for someone to walk around with me and remind me of the day of the week, I went to a place that had "soup of the day" listed and I asked her what day it was...and of course, she knew. So even that came true!!!!

And I'm daily trying to remind myself what a blessing pregnancy is. I'm looking forward to meeting our little Yoda but I'm also savoring every moment....or trying to!

Monday, October 25, 2010

How Good {Review & Giveaway}

I'm a big fan of Craig Taubman. Not just because I think he's a cool guy, but because I really like a lot of his music and also the cool projects he gets involved in, like the Jewels of Elul. (P.S. on his website right now, there's a free download of the month and it's one of my favorite of Craig's songs, so go check that out.)

So when I was given a chance to review his new CD, of course I said yes!
How Good
The new CD is called "How Good" and it was written as a companion CD to a new siddur from Behrman House. (I did not receive the siddur for review, but I ordered one and I'll let ya know what I think when it arrives. The siddur is billed for children ages 5-10 and their parents, which I tried to think about as I listened to the CD, too.)

The CD jacket bills itself as "14 original melodies" for the new siddur. This means that (I think) some of them are new versions of some of Craig's familiar standbys. I really like the new additions to Adonai S'fatai - an English verse that helps to illuminate the meaning and purpose of this line of prayer. (I'm not sure I'll be able to use the new part effectively in a service, but it's nice for learning and singing along in the car.) I also liked Rise Up and Acceptable...and my husband and I were groovin' along to Out of Zion, which had a great beat! Craig's earlier Romemu has become pretty standard synagogue fare, but I really liked the new version on this CD!

I didn't love every track, but it had enough gems to keep me listening all the way through. Plus, I do think that some of Craig's music is perfect for tefillah (services) when adapted - sometimes I'll take out the English parts and just do the Hebrew, or just the chorus. But for listening, most of it was really nice.

Overall, I would recommend this CD as a great addition to any Jewish listening library!

I'm giving it away...would you like to have this CD for your very own? Leave me a comment, I'll choose one lucky reader by random drawing to win it. I'll post the winner on you have until then to leave me a comment and tell your friends!

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Wish List

Slightly blurry shot of me at almost 33 weeks.
(Doesn't "wish list" sound so much nicer than "gripe list"?)

Wishes for approximately 33 weeks....

1. A nice person to walk around with me (job qualification: ability to bend and lift) all the time and pick up things that are dropped or need picking up from the ground. Children will not suffice for this task because they, themselves, often are in need of picking up.

2. A nice person (probably different from the first one, job qualification: good memory) to walk around with me all the time and remember things for me. My name, my husband's name, my children's names, what day it is. Simple stuff, really.

3. Maternity clothes that I'm dying to wear.

4. For no one to notice that I've worn the same pair of shoes for about three weeks straight. Not really because my feet are swollen but because they're the best slip-on shoes I have. Tying shoes would require #1.

5. A nice person to walk around with me (in this case, nice is probably the optimal job qualification) to answer the questions. Yes, it's my 4th. Yes, I'm due in December. No, I don't think I'll "go early." No, we don't know if it's a boy or girl. Yes, we've chosen names. No, we're not going to tell you. (Except for my husband's favorite, I have to share that one. Oren Moshe Gershon. So that child would have the initials OMG.) Any questions I've missed? Please refer all questions to the nice person who is walking around with me.

6. A daily afternoon nap.

7. Stock in the company that makes Tums. It will be good for this child's college fund, I think.

8. For Dairy Queen to have a delivery service. At 11pm.

9. A massage. Hey, wait, that one might be possible. I'll get back to ya.

10. Someone to arrange said massage.

11. To find a way to stop being tired and busy long enough to savor every last moment of the end of this pregnancy....because I really want to.
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Day Leo Said I Hate You {Review}

This week's Haveil Havalim is here.

The Day Leo Said I Hate You!A few days after I wrote this post, I got a notice that Robie Harris's new book, The Day Leo Said I Hate You, was available for review.

It was as though it was meant to be. So, of course I said yes!

Just Being Me #3: I LOVE Messes!Robie Harris is a really great children's book author. (I once heard her speak at our synagogue.) Our favorite one is I Love Messes - I think what I like best about her books is that the kids do the most terrible things and the parents respond EXACTLY how we all WISH we would respond. There's a little bit of yelling (makes for fun reading) and then a lot of kissing and making up. Which is how I always hope it will go...

Not that it always does.

In the case of Leo, he gets tired of all the "no" that his mom is throwing around. "No rolling tomatoes against the wall! No putting string beans in the fishbowl!" (Makes the mama reading feel really good - cuz what parent would cheer those things on!?) Then Leo comes out with the big guns. "I hate you!" and his mom is horrified. And Leo is properly horrified as well, which is nice. This is the hardest part of the book - just because I am horrified by something my kids say doesn't mean that they are too. But it's nice to read the book and talk about how Leo feels - obviously that's the point of the book - and it seems to be having an effect. My kids really love this book, we've read it many times.

In fact, Yael even brought it out to Zeyde to read when he came by this weekend:

This book is wonderful for those kids in your life who really want to move to Australia. The illustrations are colorful and the words themselves jump off the page (great for people learning to read the word "no," for example).

It does seem to be review week here at the Ima's place, but unlike the other two things I've reviewed so far, I'm not giving this one's a new family favorite. But please, go and pick up a copy. You won't regret it. It's coming out in paperback in November - if you must wait until then.

Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for review and I am keeping it.

I am giving away: For The Love of Being Jewish (signed copy!) and 2 Shalom Sesame DVDs - so check those out too!

Friday, October 15, 2010

For the Love of Being Jewish {Review and Giveaway}

What can you say when your boss writes a book?

In this case? That it's great.

Yes, my boss, Rabbi Steven Stark Lowenstein, wrote a newly published book! It's called "For the Love of Being Jewish" and it's a coffee-table picture book.

From the book's website:

Using RHYMES AND COLORFUL ILLUSTRATIONS, "For the Love of Being Jewish" explores the key concepts of Judaism in a fun and humorous way. Definitions of key Jewish words, inspiring quotes, and clever caricatures of famous Jewish people make one of the world’s oldest religions accessible and understandable to all.

Packed with colorful illustration and whimsical verses, this lighthearted, factual, and entertaining exploration of Judaism is the perfect book for encouraging people of different faiths to learn from each other. Through the lens of history, culture, ethics, and values, important Jewish themes are uncovered in a way that makes us chuckle— and think. While it’s not possible to pack 5,770 years of history into 48 pages, For the Love of Being Jewish touches upon some of the key concepts of one of the world’s oldest religions and introduces us to Jewish people who have helped make the world a better place, from Moses to Albert Einstein to Bob Dylan.
And it really is a fun and wonderful book. For me, it's particularly fun, because I can see Steven's favorite quotes and ideas sprinkled throughout - his voice is clearly there, even though he doesn't usually speak in rhyming verse. It's an alphabet of Jewish life, done in a way that you might not expect.

One of my favorite rhymes?

"I" is for Israel,
A place like no other.
It also stands for Isaac and Ishmael,
who luckily didn't have another brother.

The illustrations are awesome. Mark Anderson created great caricatures and drawings that are creative and interesting and add a lot to the book. See....

I really recommend this book - a great gift, a fun addition to every Jewish shelf.

I have one to give away! Funny enough, even though we have many copies here at the synagogue (go figure), the publisher actually sent me a review copy (Dear Rabbi....) so I decided to give that one away to ONE lucky reader. I'll even have it signed just for you (since I do have an in with the author!) - how cool is that?

I'll do a random drawing next week to pick the winners.
You have until next Thursday night, October 21st. 
Tell your friends!

(don't forget that I'm also giving away the Shalom Sesame's Review Week here at the Ima's place.)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Shalom Sesame {Review & Giveaway}

I must admit, I was so excited to get the new Shalom Sesame DVDs in the mail for review. I loved loved loved those days at camp when it rained (or, as I now know, the counselors were hadn't written a lesson plan) and we were allowed to watch the a Rechov Sumsum video, the Israeli version of Sesame Street. I loved seeing these videos, which were clearly created for American children to learn about Israel, especially since I thought they were written for Israeli children. I loved that we watched them at camp, because I thought this was so much better than Hebrew School at home. (By the way, that Wikipedia article I linked to up there is interesting and explains a lot about how the shows were produced, etc. I didn't know that the show was actually known as Shalom SumSum in the edition that I watched. These DVDs are available, by the way, on Amazon.)

The new series came out just recently. Called Shalom Sesame, they are specifically designed for American children, bringing aspects of Jewish life, holiday stories, Hebrew alphabets, and Israeli culture. Lots of celebrities are slated to be involved in these episodes as well. (Publicity materials indicate that there will be games and activities on the website, but they're not live yet. *I received free copies of these DVDs for review purposes.)

The two episodes that we received were the first one, "Welcome to Israel" and the Chanukah program "The Missing Menorah." Both feature Grover and Anneliese van der Pol, an actress with whom I wasn't familiar. I plunked my children down in front of the TV, and they were very excited for a daytime television treat. It started well. We got through the opening credits/singing, which ends with children shouting "Shalom Sesame!" and Yael promptly responded "Shalom Sesame!" We were off to a good start, I thought.

Sidenote, with full disclosure: My children don't watch Sesame Street. I grew up on it, I love it, but for whatever reason, it doesn't hold my children in its thrall. Disappointing to me, but how can I force them to watch things they don't care to see? So they're not knowledgeable about Grover and his ways. Do your kids watch Sesame Street?

Things declined from there. Anneliese is on a plane going to Israel and she just wants felafel. My children know what felafel is. Do most American children? There's no explanation of it and many of the terms are completely undefined. I think I'd feel confused if I were someone who did not know much about Israel.

There were cute cartoon sketches reminiscent of all the Sesame Street episodes I've seen, and a number sketch with the Count at which the "number of the day" was chosen, with counting in both English and Hebrew - but not much reinforcement of the Hebrew words for the numbers. There was also a letter cartoon section, with some words that started with "yud."

Sam's favorite part (and he is the one who really didn't like the whole video) was when a little boy sleeps over at a friend's house. I thought it was particularly interesting that one little boy was dati and one little boy more secular. He talked about washing and about the friend's mom providing him with special food. How did these little boys get to be friends and why did the show spend so much time highlighting their differences? ("His mom got a special cup for me to wash my hands before I eat." - a statement like this is totally confusing to American (non-frum) children who are least in my wash their hands all the time before and after eating.)

Overall, Sam gave it a thumbs down and Yael gave it a thumbs up.

So when we went to watch the Chanukah video (a few days later), Sam preferred to play his handheld video game while Yael watched. This one was about the holiday of Chanukah, obviously, but only slightly explained what sufganiyot are. The "lost menorah" took about 45 seconds to find, during which the characters all sang a song that wasn't very memorable. The brachot weren't said, and the story of Chanukah was told in a pretty simple and often confusing way. The number of the day was 8, but I'm only now realizing why, since a direct connection wasn't made.Overall, even Yael was a little disappointed with this one.

So....on the upsides: the video quality is great. The colors are bright, the cartoons don't look dated, it's fun to watch and to have Hebrew on the TV in our house. But for learning something? I don't think that my kids got a lot out of these videos. The PR materials did call the series "edu-taining" and I think it's a little light on both education AND entertainment. Maybe this is why the regular Sesame Street show is 1 hour long - to enable them to have many different segments all in the same show. Perhaps they tried to do a little too much.

What worked for me in the original series was that even though they were technically driven toward small children, even the older kids (like me) could see them at Hebrew School or camp and enjoy them. I think these are too focused on the 3-6 year old crowd to be pleasing to older children. Some of the gags were definitely funnier for the parents than the kids. And Grover does do his waiter bit, which was always a favorite of mine. It went totally over my kids' heads.

Sigh. I really wanted to LOVE these videos but I didn't.

So I'll leave it to you...I'm giving away both DVDs, just leave me a comment here and you're entered to win!

I'll do a random drawing next week to pick the winners. You have until next Thursday night, October 21st. You can let me know what you think!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Haveil Havalim #286: Return to "Normal" Blogging

Welcome to the Returning to “Normal” Blogging AKA the Cheshvan isHere edition of Haveil Havalim

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!

In the news...

David Levy of JewSchool presents Dear Queer Kids, Please Stop Killing Yourselves.
Other posts on this subject are:
If Only Tyler Clementi had been to a Gay Synagogue posted at
The Holy One Created Tyler posted at Or Am I?
Still in Shock posted at Walking Humbly, Seeking Justice.
It Gets Better posted at Velveteen Rabbi

And along the same line, this post from JewSchool reminds us that we must be a light unto the nations and Hold them to a Higher Standard.

Funny Stuff...

Jewish Blogmeister offers suggestions on Jewish Slogans: How to Market Your Neighborhood...
The always-funny Benji Lovitt presents WWZ Vlog #2: Israeli Taxi Driver.
Eric @ examined Stereotypes Come Out in HaMisrad (The Office).


Shiloh Musings posted: Mubarak, Stop The Threats! and Dangers of The Jewish and Israeli Lala Left, also Proper Use of Strength, Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers.
Our Shiputzim: A Work In Progress talks about National Parks: Apollonia Edition
Israelity shares these posts:
An alternative Nobel for Israel
No red lights for TV’s ‘Ramzor
Sleeping with the enemy. It’s OK, really
Yoel Meltzer posted A Trip to Outpost Land.
Esser Agaroth says that Israel Must Say "Yes" To Torah, Sooner Or Later.
Good News from Israel shared Photos of Ma'ale Adumim's Dog Day.
Daniel Ben-Shmuel presents Rachavam Zeevi's Misguided Message (audio).
Occidental Israeli wrote Unlikely Mythbuster and Entitled.
The Real Jerusalem Streets always has beautiful photos and a taste of what’s going on in the Holy City.
Wikibias offers us More on the Deletion of Israel Articles.

Kashrut and Food

The 59th Kosher Cooking Carnival is up for Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan!
Elianah-Sharon of Irresistably Me wants to know Did I ever tell you the one about my dad and the clams?
The HomeShuler and the Edible Torah got together for this guest post on Tuxedo Potatoes (and other things).

Torah and Judaism

A Chassidishe farbrengen posted Loving rebuke and Seraphim: Passionate love for Hashem, also The Moshiach paradox: Preparing and praying.
The parshablog wrote Rav Yonasan Eibeshutz's Rocket Ship and also An analysis of Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz's Space Elevator.
A Simple Jew talks about Why am I a "Weekday Vegetarian"?
The Rebbetzin's Husband wrote Rav Saadia Gaon tackles Chivi haBalchi and Of Bobby Cox and Synagogue Rabbis.
Yechezkel gives a Chareidi perspective on What It Means to Convert.
Adventures in Mama-Land is hosting Jewish Homeschooling Blog Carnival #1: Cheshvan 1, 5771 - a new carnival for Jewish Homeschoolers. Check it out!
DovBear wrote Noach is the most difficult parsha: Questions and then Noach is the most difficult parsha: Answers.
Just call me Chaviva discovered A New (or Old) Convert!
I posted these thoughts on Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan. FrumeSarah has a slightly different take. I think we’re both right :-)
Will Social Networks Change the World or do we still have to do the heavy lifting? posted by Ira Wise.

Personal and Other Stuff

Miriyummy wrote Headless Chicken.
Frume Sarah muses on A Purse is just a?...a strange Facebook phenomenon.
Dov ben Avraham, seeking information, sent in this post from Just call me Chaviva: A Friendly Request: Gerim!
The Minnesota Mamaleh presents About Threes.
JewWishes reviewed War On the Margins (among other books and stuff this week).
An interesting post from the JDC about The Race for the Cure in Sarajevo.

Oh, and did everyone see these interesting things: Jewish New Media Innovation Fund is offering grants and such. And for those in the Reform movement, the URJ is doing a Techie award

The Jewish Book Carnival will hit newsstands (okay, blogstands?) on the 15th of October, so I think there's still time to get your posts in for that one too (maybe they'll go to an automated system soon....?)

That's all for now, folks! Hope I didn't miss anyone. Feel free to share your own favorite posts from this week in the comments.

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!)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Rethinking Cheshvan?

We call it Mar Cheshvan
the bitter month

no celebrations
no holidays
just life.

We can't win
life either gives us
too many holidays
or too few.

Maybe it's time to rename
this month

A month to celebrate
remind ourselves that
these are
holy too.

The new moon of the month of Cheshvan falls over this Shabbat. Cheshvan is the month that follows Tishri, which is a pretty big deal in the Jewish calendar - many many holidays. In Cheshvan, there are no (Jewish) holidays, and therefore the month is known as "Mar" or "bitter." 

May this month of Cheshvan bring you balance and harmony, an opportunity to find blessing in the ordinary and everyday, a chance to breathe and regroup...may you celebrate life!