Wednesday, March 22, 2023

#BlogExodus #ExodusGram 5783

 Rosh Chodesh Nisan is Thursday, March 23, 2023.

Passover beckons us. It reminds us....spring is coming. Renewal is coming. We are, all of us, a people with a future. The cycle continues. And, as always, Passover is here to offer a respite. I know that many people don't see Pesach in this way, as a resting moment, but I believe that it offers us just that - an opportunity to step back from the ordinary and to focus on something special, wonderful, and beautiful. 

It's easy to get caught up in the Pesach prep and to feel a bit of drudgery, a taste of the hard work imposed upon the Israelites. But there is spiritual preparation too, and that, I believe, is where BlogExodus and Exodusgram come in. 

So what is this really about? #BlogExodus and #Exodusgram are really what you want to make of it. I've provided topics for the first 14 days of the month of Nisan. What you do with it is up to you -- write a blog post, tweet, Facebook, tumblr, or something that I haven't even thought of yet! Use the hashtag to share your post (I put it into the title of each post). It's a great way to kickstart a blog or rejuvenate your languishing blog or just get yourself ready for the holiday of Passover! Maybe this year, someone will get #BlogExodus trending on tiktok!

Maybe you don't have a blog? Maybe you could just post your thoughts, photos, comments, or haikus on your Facebook page. Maybe you're a yogi? What about a photo of a different yoga post each day related to the theme of the day? Creativity is endless.

There aren't any rules, so maybe you don't like the order of the topics? Maybe you want to write on only a few of them? It doesn't matter. It is what you make of it.

Whatever you do, don't forget to tag with #BlogExodus and/or #Exodusgram so we can all share.

Grab and share my graphic and just jump right in!

The themes are really up for your own interpretation. I was thinking broadly and openly about what makes Passover special and interesting to me. I hope it will translate into creative and inspirational posts from all of us!

Are you going to join in? Leave me a comment here or send me a tweet or just...jump in! If I miss your posts, let me know so I can go back and be inspired by what YOU have to say!

#BlogExodus #Exodusgram topics for 5783
1 Nisan - Launch
2 Nisan - Exalt
3 Nisan - Rise
4 Nisan - Cleanse
5 Nisan - Seek
6 Nisan - Retell
7 Nisan - Read
8 Nisan - Expand
9 Nisan - Perplex
10 Nisan - Join
11 Nisan - Celebrate
12 Nisan - Reveal
13 Nisan - Welcome
14 Nisan - Thank

 *Yes, I know that I put the Shabbat dates there. I don't blog/tweet/Facebook on Shabbat but I will post on Fridays before Shabbat and on Saturdays after Shabbat is over. You can, of course, do it any way you like!

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

February 2023 - Books I Read

This was a great month for books! What are you reading?

A Play for the End of the World by Jai Chakrabarti - We discussed this one at our synagogue book group and all agreed that it was quite interesting. A play staged in the Warsaw Ghetto by orphaned children is now, many years later, being staged in India. In both cases, the play represents the tragic situation of the time, and I think it's a powerful commentary on the importance of art even when the world feels like it's crumbling.

Keeper of the Lost Cities 8, 8.5, and 9 by Shannon Messenger - Okay, I thought I was headed into the END of the series but I didn't know there is a 10th book coming out sometime this year. I hope. Now I really want to just know what the ending is!!!

The Summer of Lost Letters by Hannah Reynolds - This was a little bit of a prequel to Eight Nights of Flirting (same universe). I liked it, the teen romance was a little messy (as teen romances often are) but the intertwining stories about the history of this Jewish family on Nantucket Island was interesting and a little bit unique. 

Answers in the Pages by David Levithan - I loved this middle grade novel about banning books and standing up for what you believe in. It had three intertwined stories, and I gasped when they all came together. A quick and sweet read.

We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman - A story of two life-long friends as one of them is dying in hospice. It's beautifully written and heart-wrenching, but boy oh boy, I did not need this book. It was deeply, terribly, horribly sad. Even though I also laughed. I just wanted it to be over. Because it was so sad. And that's my review.

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray - A really cool historical story about a young (secretly) Black woman who worked as JP Morgan's librarian for his own library. Interesting idea, r e a l l y s l o w moving, and also I was a bit irritated by the first-person narrative. It started out well, but I felt like the later chapters just weren't as interesting. I really wanted to love this since so many people have recommended it! After I finished it, I looked up her life and the book was quite true to it, which I do appreciate!

Thistlefoot by GemmaRose Nethercott - Let me start by saying this book isn't for everyone. It's a little dark and odd...and I kinda loved it. It is a revisiting of the Baba Yaga tales (Eastern European Jewish folklore) but with a modern twist, and my favorite parts were when the house itself (Baba Yaga had a house on chicken legs) told its story. The way this story demonstrated, through magical abilities, inherited trauma was intensely powerful and moving to me. I'm not sure who should read this one, but I liked it.  

January Books

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

January 2023 - Books I Read


Welcome back to a new year and some great new reading!

Here are all the books I read in January, 2023

Keeper of the Lost Cities - Books 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 - They're delightful - a rich and beautiful world of magic and intrigue between a team of teens, their grownup allies, and their dark and shadowy enemies. Annoying, each book ends wtih a total cliffhanger, which means I just want to keep going! (I will say that the cliffhanger for book 7 was slightly less compelling to me, so I read the first chapter of book 8 and now I'm taking a short break!) Each one is over 600 pages, so I've read a LOT of pages this month!

An Affair of Spies by Ron Balson - this was not my favorite of his books. Perhaps the dialogue felt a little too modern? Or the whole thing felt a smidge too simplistic? Obviously, a book about spies in Nazi Germany shouldn't be simplistic, but it just didn't work for me. 

The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama - I really enjoyed hearing her voice come through again, and I didn't listen to an audiobook! But I could almost hear Michelle speaking the words. A lovely and heartfelt memoir.

The Matchmaker's Gift by Lynda Cohen Loigman - I don't know how I never got to this one in 2022, but I loved it. This is my favorite kind of story - one that spans a lifetime and has just a tiny hint of magical realism. I didn't want this book to end. 

Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro - I'm often spoiled in January, as I read everyone else's "best of" books from the year before. This one did not disappoint me - the interlinked story of children, parents, and spouses - really an excellent and engrossing read. 

The People We Keep by Allison Larkin - I loved the characters and the journey they took together. It reminded me a little of that Natalie Portman movie - "Where the Heart Is" and I saw April as that young Natalie Portman character who finds her way to a chosen family. Definitely enjoyed this one!

Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner - I loved this sweet book about a London bookstore post-war, and the women who work there. The characters interact with all sorts of real-life famous people, and it was cozy and lovely.