Carried in His Hands

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"Don't tell God how big your storm is; tell your storm how big your God is."

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Reclaimng my Jewish Identity

Ever since I met Shepard, I have been lukewarm as a Jew, trying to meet his non-observant Judaism halfway.  I also hoped that if I became passionate about Judaism again, he would follow.  Last night I had two conversations with him that changed my view on things.

The first was me telling Shepard how much I had given up Jewishly for him, with examples.  He gave me permission to take some of these things back and start doing them again if I wanted to.  The second was him looking at how much work, and therefore money, he would miss if he took time off for Rosh HaShanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), the two most important holidays, by far, on the Jewish calendar.  When he looked at the finances, he didn't want to take any time off.  Yom Kippur day is on a Saturday this year, and Shepard in general doesn't work Saturdays, so he can come to shul with me then; and I talked him into coming the first day of Rosh Hashanah, which falls on one of his shorter work days, as well.  However, this whole conversation showed me where Shepard lies versus where I lie on the spectrum of Jewish observance.

Based on all of the above, I am starting four Jewish practices again, some of which will affect Shepard more than others.

The first is daily, weekday morning prayers.  This does not affect Shepard because half the mornings of the week he is at work by the time I wake up anyway; and on the days he is not, he can do his  computer stuff, which he already does while I get ready, for a little bit of extra time.  This was the first one I thought to reclaim because I am already reading Psalm 91 as a prayer for someone I care about to recover from Leukemia, and reading a Bible chapter, every morning; might as well pray too.  Also, we are going into the holiest time of the year leading up to the High Holidays, and I want to be in touch with my spiritual side.

The second is Shabbat evening prayers.  This one affects Shepard in that it delays dinner after candle lighting on Friday nights.  To me the Shabbat evening service is the most beautiful of all the week; I miss it, and I want it back.

The third is ritual hand washing before the prayer over bread on Friday nights.  I told Shepard that I can totally just do this one myself if he does not want to participate.  This one is important to me because I spent a lot of money on a gorgeous, special cup and towel just for this purpose; it seems stupid not to use them.

Finally, I want to add back the Grace after Meals on Friday nights.  I grew up doing this on Shabbat evening, and it never seemed right to me to end a Shabbat evening meal without it.  Shepard says he can follow along for the first paragraph.  Therefore, we will do the "prologue for Shabbat" paragraph, and the first paragraph of the actual thing, together out loud; I will finish the rest silently.

So there you have it! My "new" Jewish life! I feel excited, and more alive than I have in a long time.  It's a good thing.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Kippah Collection: Photo Update

It has been a long time since I posted photos of my kippah collection, so here are some I just took.  A number of new kippot have been added, and I have also changed how I organize the collection.  Now there is one stack of "business" kippot: my smaller ones, which I consider OK for work settings.  The remainder of the collection is stacked by materials: satins, velvets, silks, and other.

 





Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tzitziot: The Bad and The Good

So it seems that we have entered summer weather.  (I don't care that it's still the first half of June; 90+ degrees outside is summer weather.)  This is the time of year when I question my sanity regarding my commitment to tzitziot.  They are, after all, an extra layer; and even the cotton ones (I'm not crazy enough to wear wool) get all sweaty and heavy.

And then I glance down, and I see the strings dangling right by my hip bones: two sets in front and two in back.  And I remember what a trailblazer I am at all, as a woman outwardly wearing them.  And I smile to myself, and it's all worth it.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Recent Tzedakah Activity

Just last week I donated my third-ever tzedakah box full of money--$46.90--to the Lev Lalev orphanage in Israel.  I donated to their Bridal Fund, in honor of my still-new relationship with Shepard (which PS is going beautifully).  I received an email back, thanking me for my donation, with some pictures of the girls.

Next donation goes to Heifer International.  This time, my goal is forty dollars.  Last time, I donated thirty and was able to "purchase" honeybees; this time, with forty dollars, I can "purchase" two small animals, such as ducks and chickens, or a "share" or two of a larger animal.  I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Meeting the Boyfriend's Parents Tonight

Tonight, after work, Shepard is picking up his parents at their house, and the three of them are coming to my neighborhood, so that I can finally meet The Parents! We are all four going out to dinner at the only certified kosher restaurant in town.

It really is time for me to meet them.  It really is.  Shepard has met mine already, and it goes both ways.  But for various reasons I can't put my finger on, I am quite nervous.

I based an outfit around the kippah they gave me, which is pink and black.  I thought it would be nice if I wore it for them.  I am in a long skirt because that is how I feel comfortable; but I have tucked in my tzitziot because there is no good reason they should have to deal with that when meeting me for the first time.  Maybe later.

Anyway.  Wish me luck tonight!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Provocative?

I have been thinking about how very provocative it is that I, as a woman, wear a kippah and tzitziot: measured by the number of questions I get from people I know, and even people I don't.  (Sometimes I don't understand: there is no way anybody would stop a stranger on a street to ask any other question, but for this, they do.)  Sometimes I feel like answering; most of the time I don't.

It used to be different.  For years and years, I loved the attention my Judaica got me.  That's just not where I am now, though.

I do not dress the way I dress in order to field questions about Judaism.  Far from it! Most of the time these days, I hate the attention, and would do anything I could to stop it...anything except not wear my kippah and tzitziot.

For you see, I firmly believe, with the deepest depths of my heart and soul, that what I am doing is right and even mandatory.  I do believe all Jewish women should do this.  We are adults, equal to men.

That is all.

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I am a bipolar, Jewish young adult (had my Hebrew birthday, the one I count, and turned 23 this past January) who also suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. I love life and I live for my best friends: they are my purpose and my reason for trying so hard. I remain passionately devoted to those I love; I will not let my disorders make me totally self-centered. I like to read, write, and sew. My Rabbinical school plans did not work out, and I am now hoping to go into the field of Early Childhood Education. Please note: I am currently maintaining only Carried in His Hands. Enjoy!