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Archive for the ‘The Musings’ Category

I was running an errand and encountered a nice red flower.

I decided recently on a career change. I need something less intense (right now) than doing intense psychotherapy with girls with eating disorders. I know a lot of people have said to me, “Wow. That is such an interesting field”, or “Your job has such meaning.” And I do admit that it was fulfilling, but also gut-wrenching. It’s just hard to be an Imma and worry about your clients and your children at the same time. The lines get very blurry and since we just moved, I am taking a natural break. I need some space to think about it. For now, I decided I would like to do something intellectually stimulating but less emotionally draining.

And then came the idea of social media marketing. (more…)

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What is it with women and their jewellery?

What is it with women and their jewellery?

I never considered myself a person who pushes boy things on boys and girl things on girls- although now that I think about it, everything Tzviya owns is either pink or has frills. But seriously, I offer her cars all the time. My mom even bought Mr. G a boy doll. I used to think it was all nature- I mean, when given a stroller to play with, Miss T likes to put dolls in and walk around the house, while Mr. G runs around smashing it into walls. Definitely nature. But on Tisha B’Av, we made jewellery, and Mr. G made a beautiful necklace which at first, he said was for me. But when it came to finishing it off, he decided he wanted to wear it. I put the necklace around his neck and he wore it for about a minute and then he began to get ansy. He started fidgeting with it and then said, “I don’t want to wear this. This is only for Imas and Tzviyalis.” So I took it off and let Miss T wear it and boy was she thrilled. So what does this teach us? Boys can’t stand fidgeting and girls don’t care? Maybe. Or maybe even if we don’t intend to do it, somehow we impart these roles on them. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. This is how the world is. But Mr. G did get great joy seeing me wear his necklace when he handed it to me that night and said, “Ima, I made this for you- I love you!”. aaawww, I know!!! Whichever way you see it, it’s just a nice thing when a man knows how to give a gift, even a 3 foot, 3.5 year old little man with a really big heart.

Mr. G smelling the necklace. Maybe this will give some insight into why girls like wearing these?

Mr. G smelling the necklace. Maybe this will give some insight into why girls like wearing these?

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Last night as Mr. G was negotiating his way out of going to sleep, we had a conversation. He was eating his bowl of cornflakes and he suddenly said, “There’s going to be a fire!”. He was concerned. I said, “Where is the fire going to be?” He said, “In Hashem’s house.” I guess they’ve been learning about Tisha B’Av in gan. Really?? It’s a bit scary, I’d say, but I went with it. “So tell me about the fires.” He goes on and tells me about the bad people coming who burn up Hashem’s house and it’s very sad. How does one respond to this? I say, well if we’re nice to each other and we’re a good friend and a good brother, then Hashem’s house will be rebuilt. He says, “I have a better idea, I’ll build it myself.” So he jumped off his chair, so proud of his idea, and brought his blocks over and began building. Did I mention what an expert he is at not going to sleep? He knew that I wasn’t going to make him stop building the Beit HaMikdash. So he stayed up for another half hour building it and then went to sleep happy.  If only we could take the responsibility he took upon himself to have the Beit HaMikdash rebuilt. Be nice to each other. If only life were this simple. To Mr. G, it is. And I hope it stays that way for a long, long time.

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My Lucky Day

What I’m referring to is miluim (army service- reserve duty) and what I mean is, why is it that it always falls at the WORST POSSIBLE TIME! Let me share. In 2005, July 13th to be exact, I made aliyah. Mazal tov to me! It was both exciting, exhilerating, and frightening. Didn’t speak very much Hebrew and certainly hadn’t learned the art of chutzpah yet (probably the most frightening part). The day after we arrived, we had a lot to do- finding an apartment, getting our bank account, teudat zehut, doctor because I had found out we were expecting our first child. But when we woke up that morning, we found out the next week my husband was going to the army for a month. I may have fainted- don’t remember because I have blocked that period out of my mind. So we were pregnant, homeless, stuffless, and I would be all alone in a new country. Fantastic. What better way to spend my first month in Israel.

The next time he had miluim I think we had just had our first baby- he was four months old- and we were moving to a new apartment and starting a new job. My lucky day was when Rafi came home from miluim to accept our lift (aka 70 gagillion boxes filled with who knows what that I needed to unpack since we were starting work as soon as he got home. Oh yeah, and I also had to take care of my four month old at the same time). Isn’t the army nice for giving him one day off to help me?

The time after that, we were expecting our second baby and I had a 14 month old and the flu. That one was so fun. Oh and my 14 month old had rotavirus. Or was that the next time?

I think this time was the kicker. I kid you not. Exactly one month to the day after giving birth to Achinoam, Rafi is in the army for a month. Oh and he has three exams and two papers to write while he’s there. My lucky day was the day he originally was called for- June 14th- the day I gave birth. He wouldn’t have had to go had it not changed to July 14th.  Luckily I was able to walk and as I’m sure the army knows, one month after giving birth, every mother is up and able to care for her 3.3 year old, 1.5 year old, and newborn.  Oh and I’m sure they also knew that I was able to do laundry, cook, and handle the unrelenting heat. I’m sure that’s why they made that rule and made no exceptions for how many kids you have, whether you have your family close by, and whether you have a budget for a babysitter. I’m sure they considered all those factors when stealing my husband from us for an entire month, the month after I gave birth. I’m looking forward to my lucky day who knows when next week, when he comes back.

I really needed to get that off my chest.

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Rafi's amazing artisan bread

Rafi's amazing artisan bread

Rafi made this amazing bread for shavuot last week. His culinary skills have seriously surpassed mine and the funny thing is, I’m ok with it. I never thought I would be. When we first got married, I insisted on being the super wife- cooking up gourmet meals in the kitchen. I loved it, but I know it partly came from wanting to carve out a niche for myself in the relationship. It was a way to give, to provide for my husband and my family, and it was very fulfilling.

For me, cooking is still fun, but since pregnancy and child rearing, I guess I’m finding more ways to contribute and the cooking just isn’t as important to me. Although, it could just be that I’m in my 39th week and heck, following all those instructions? I’d rather sit back and watch the Today show. That’s why Rafi’s new culinary skills couldn’t have come at a better time. Since I have limited ability to stand up in the kitchen, he has recently taken over. He now has a favourite blog and a website that he goes to for recipes (desserts mostly). Cooking allows him freedom to explore his creative side and create something from nothing. When it comes out good, which it always does, it’s really fulfilling.

Something else came out of this “baking binge” (if you will) and that is more admiration of him. When we’re looking for a husband, we have in our heads the criteria we’re looking for. We’re very often turned off when that person isn’t exactly what we want. I remember when we were dating (this actually sounds nuts), one day in the summer he wore a polo shirt untucked. He had always worn a tucked in striped or plain blue button down shirt so this was a big change. I don’t know why, but I was like, “what are you wearing?” In my head, he had to be put together and look like a mentch. Yes, when one day he wore shorts I almost blew my top!  I got over it (I know that wasn’t the best example, but it certainly illustrated my nuttiness).I realized he could be himself, not the image in my head.

So when he took on these baking projects and the outcome was just way beyond what I ever had the patience to create, I realized this was a whole unexplored dimension to my husband that I never knew before and I saw him in a whole new light. Isn’t that what relationships are all about? Always keeping an open mind and heart to discovering new and wonderful qualities in your spouse. It’s nice when it happens and I hope and know that there will be many more good surprises like this one along the way!

You can see some of his creations here. Yes, he was mentioned on my sister-in-law’s blog!

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Blankie

comfort zone

comfort zone

It’s funny how life comes full circle sometimes. I still have my blankie that I’ve had since I came home from the hospital 28 years ago. It’s not in the best shape, but it’s still useful. The only thing is, it’s not useful for me anymore because my daughter now uses it. She’s so attached to it, something like I was at her age (and older, and older). She needs it to go to sleep, she asks for it when she is upset, and he just likes being around it. I look at it and think about all the memories it holds, all the love that my mother had when she crocheted it with her own hands all those years ago. I sometimes want to repair it and make it new again, but that will somehow erase the delicate charm of loving years that it has.

I guess I don’t know how to say this, but now that it’s no longer mine, that somehow means time is going by and we’re getting older. Rafi said it to me today as shabbat was ending, “isn’t it funny about days- how they end and don’t come back.” Kind of a sad thing to think about, but happy that hopefully we just had the best day we could have had- such a nice shabbat together playing with the kids all day and spending time together as a family.

So in a way, blankie represents time. It’s not just an old ratty blanket. It’s all my mother’s memories of me, my memories, and now, Tzviya’s. Blankie looked a little different back then, just like time. You can’t make time look the same- we can’t turn back the clock. But moving forward every day and creating our own memories and life experiences adds to the interwoven charm and richness that is the blanket of our life.

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At times it’s tough living here. Both in Israel and in this neighborhood. But I always think that just at those moments of despair, I am clearly reminded of why I’m here. Obviously there are many reasons a person chooses to live here in Israel- some are personal and some are ideological. Today I had an “AHA!” moment on my porch.

As we were playing in the living room, we heard this music coming from outside. As it louder and louder we began to see swarms of people walking in parade form outside our building! This sometimes happens in this neighborhood, as there are many synagogues here- it was a hachnassat sefer torah (or here). We all gathered to watch everyone dance by our house with the Torah under the chuppa and I started to think what a beautiful moment this is. This just doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world.

Hachnasat Sefer Torah on Reiness St. Kiryat Moshe/Givat Shaul Jerusalem

Hachnasat Sefer Torah on Reiness St. Kiryat Moshe/Givat Shaul Jerusalem

I just felt bad for the guy stuck in his car trying to get out.

He's stuck in the front seat...poor guy!

He's stuck in the front seat...poor guy!

And of course, the seriousness of the moment was broken by the concentration of loonies on the roof accross the street. We had to explain to Mr. G that they were being very naughty and we do not EVER climb on rooftops. I guess their Imas didn’t warn them.

To give you perspective

To give you perspective

Closer up

Closer up

I had another moment yesterday on the drive to gan. Traffic stalled for a minute at the light and we were at the front so we could see that there was a blind person crossing the street.  But what happened next was just astounding. There was a whole line of cars making a left turn in the direction of the blind man. The cars were being led by a motorcycle (they always want to go first). The motorcyclist got off his motorcycle and stopped traffic until the man got to the other side.

There were two more lights to cross before he fully made it to the other side. So when he put out his stick to cross the second street, a man got out of his van and walked him accross the street. When he made it to the other side, the light had already turned green, but there was no honking (never happens here!) and he got back into his van and drove away.

We were still waiting at the light and I was wondering how this man was going to make it accross the third and final light (yes, I could have gone out to help him, but the image of a 9 month pregnant lady running to help a blind person accross the street- not so pretty somehow- anyway, it was too far from the car). As soon as the man got to the final light, I saw another man run up to him and lead him accross the street. It was such a moving minute of waiting- such chessed!

That day I had an initial meeting for a program in Jerusalem that I’ll be working at next year as one of their social workers. In the introductory remarks, the program director mentioned a Midrash from Noach. He said that when Noach was on the ship, he was occupied all day and night with feeding the animals. One day he was late in feeding the lion and he got injured to the point where he was limping for the rest of his life. The question is why, if Noach was going to be the leader of Am Yisrael- the seed from which the whole nation came from, why he was feeding the animals all day? Shouldn’t he have been sitting and learning Torah? Davening? This is where the midrash says, “Olam chessed  yibaneh.” The foundation of the world is chessed (charity). I really saw this in my neighborhood and I hope I can implement it in my own life.

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