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."

I believe in God.

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Week and a Day

In exactly one week and one day will come the three year mark of my being "Jacob's" Prayer Warrior.  He is the child on Reece's Rainbow for whom I have prayed longest.  I had "Isabella" for a matter of weeks, "Grady" for a matter of months, and "Rheann" for abotu a year and a half.  I feel very attached to "Jacob" because I've had him for so long.

"Jacob" is turning six in June.  His chances for adoption are against him.  He is older.  He is a boy.  He is disabled.  His pictures are not cute, and his description is not encouraging.  Despite all this, I have faith that one day--hopefully soon--a family will come for him.

"I believe, with perfect faith, in the coming of the Messiah.  And even though he be delayed, with all this, I will wait for him."  One day, when the Messiah comes but hopefully before, my "Jacob" will have a family.

I end this post with whispered prayers for "Jacob," and rather than with pictures of an Aging-Out child, "Jacob's" pictures will conclude this post.


JacobJacob sm

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzMa'ut 2016

I got the dates when Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzMa'ut are observed this year wrong.  I had the correct dates, but because Yom HaAtzma'ut would fall on a Friday, everything is backed up a day so nobody is frolicking on into the Sabbath.   So I missed wearing the special kippah yesterday...but I still have my chance to wear blue and white and recite "Hallel" today.  If the weather is as warm as it's been recently (short sleeve weather), I am going to wear my royal blue stretchy skirt and a puffed sleeve blouse in navy and white.  I will top the outfit off with jewelry and my special kippah clips, and wear my royal blue suede kippah, which matches the skirt perfectly.  If the weather is cooler than that, I will wear the same outfit, except I will substitute a denim button down for the blouse and add black tights.

It's hard for me to get excited about these two days because I feel very little connection to Israel.  I don't want to say no connection because I went there and enjoyed myself, but certainly very little connection.  On Yom HaZikaron I feel nothing at all.  On Yom HaAtzMa'ut I feel more connected, probably because wearing blue and white and saying "Hallel" are such strong customs, whereas I made up the one about wearing the special kippah.

And here is this post's Reece's Rainbow child! A girl this time, this is "WINNIE," again from my "Jacob's" country.  The picture shows her at age eight, in a new coat.  Her special need is MILD HUMPBACK; she ages out in DECEMBER.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Good News and Bad News

--The Good News: I have reached a milestone.  Last night, I finally used up the last sheet of the five-color cardstock I got for my letters to God.  The beautiful stationery I ordered in February is unwrapped and in the back pocket of my "prayer portfolio", ready for use.  I intend to start using it today.  At my current letter rate (one per day), this stationery should last me just a little under three months, which puts me picking out and ordering whatever I get next in early August.  I think I will be very satisfied using this stationery for that long; it's absolutely gorgeous.  So that you all don't have to scroll back through the blog to find the entry with the picture, I will describe the paper for you.  It is pinkish-purple in color with a beautiful flower (an Easter lily, to be specific, which I only found out was a Christian symbol after I ordered the stationery...and I'm not about to waste 80 sheets of paper just for that.  I will absolutely use it anyway.)  in the upper left-hand corner.  The flower looks handpainted; I know it isn't, but I adore the look.  For an affordable price, I have something special for my letters to God...it should last me a long time, too, which is nice.

--The Bad News: The very first Reece's Rainbow "Aging-Out" child whose picture I ever posted here in an effort to find her a home...has aged out.  So have several others I posted here, actually, and I feel a twinge of pain in my heart for each one because s/he becomes special to me when I post his/her picture, but this girl is even more special than that because she was the first.  Her name on Reece's Rainbow (not her real name) was "Veronica," and I think I chose her because she has brown hair and brown eyes, just like me.  Her only special need was "mild cerebral palsy," so mild that in the pictures she was standing up unsupported, and she was described as able to walk.  She could have made such a wonderful daughter to someone if they would just overlook her age (yes, I understand it can be scary to adopt a fifteen-year-old, but still, someone has to do it)...and now she's gone, probably to a mental institution.  I've talked about Eastern European mental institutions here before, and this post is not the place to do so again for various reasons (among other reasons, I literally get sick to my stomach and have trouble breathing just thinking about those places, let alone writing about them, and there are limits to my bravery), but suffice to say they are NOT good places, and it  literally hurts me to think of "Veronica" there.

--What's coming up in the next few days? Today and tomorrow are Rosh Hodesh, the start of a new Hebrew month, specifically the month of Iyyar.  We celebrate by adding extra prayers tacked on to our morning prayers: a series of psalms and praises known as "Hallel" and an additional central standing prayer known as "Musaf."  I also celebrate by wearing a ladies' tallit katan, jewelry, and, if  possible, my special kippah clips.  (It's not always possible; for instance, right now I am wearing the kippah Sami recently made me, and it is too thick for those clips...they simply will not open far enough.)  I also have to check with my father; I'm not sure one is allowed to do laundry on Rosh Hodesh.  I usually do my two loads of laundry Monday and Tuesday...this week they might get bumped to Tuesday and Wednesday, or even Tuesday and Thursday.

--Wednesday night through Thursday is Israel's Memorial Day, Yom HaZikaron.  Israelis take their Memorial Day much more seriously than we take ours; Yom HaZikaron services usually leave me with tears streaming down my face.  For that reason, I don't plan to go this year; I just don't want to embarrass myself.  I will, however, wear the black kippah I save for such occasions.

--Thursday night through Friday is Yom HaAtzMa'ut, Israel's Independence Day, and the mood instantly changes to one of joy and dancing.  On Yom HaAtzMa'ut, we wear blue and white clothing to match Israel's flag; I don't want to get all-out dressed up, so I will probably wear a denim skirt or my royal blue stretchy skirt, with my blue-and-white Sabbath blouse.  Once again, I will wear a ladies' tallit katan, jewelry, and my special bobby pins to pin my kippah in place.  Attitudes over prayer on Yom HaAtzMa'ut divide.  Orthodox Jews do not add anything extra; Conservative Jews (including me) see the existence of the State of Israel as evidence of God's miracles in modern times, and add Hallel just as it is added on Biblical holidays.

--So there you have it! A very long post with good news, bad news, and an overview of a very eventful Jewish week.  I will probably post on Yom HaZikaron, and almost definitely on Yom HaAtzMa'ut.  Enjoy!

--Now, a Reece's Rainbow Aging-Out child.  Even as some I have posted age out, I can never stop this project, because once in a while, a child I post finds a home, and I can never be absolutely sure that they would have if I hadn't posted.  Today's child is "BRANDON," diagnosed with DOWN SYNDROME, and aging out THIS JULY.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Judaica Tidbits


  1. The above picture shows a second very special gift from Sami.  This is a kippah handmade by him in my favorite colors (pink and purple, in case you couldn't tell).  It is larger than the yellow-and-green one, more the size I like to wear.  For all these reasons, I have decided that this is my official Ketamine treatment kippah, to be worn to every day of treatment.  (And I am doing more Ketamine May 23-27.)
  2. I want to get back into having more of a religious and spiritual life.  I want to read Jewish books, write letters to God, pray, and blog here.  I haven't done any of that in far too long...I am starting back up again.
  3. When I was in college, I knew a girl who, for the sake of this blog, shall be named "Shoshana."  "Shoshana" (Hebrew name, I know) is Protestant.  At the time (don't know if they're still together or not) she had a Catholic boyfriend; they used to like to argue religion.  Of course I was Facebook friends with "Shoshana," but you know how those things go...I hadn't spoken to her in years.  A few days ago she contacted me on Facebook.  We talked a bit there, and then, today, I decided to call her.  She couldn't talk long, but we had a brief, meaningful chat about where God is in suffering.  I hope this friendship continues: she is on fire for religion the way I am...I know very few other people like that, so I would love to have her back in my life.
EDITED TO ADD: I almost forgot this post's Reece's Rainbow child! This time, I am posting a girl.  Here is "TONI," from my "Jacob's" country (not at liberty to share countries).  She is diagnosed with VISION AND HEARING LOSS, and is aging out in OCTOBER.



Thursday, May 5, 2016

Holocaust Remembrance Day 2016

Today is Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.  (The only reason I did not put the Hebrew year is that I can never remember which Hebrew year it is!)  Last year, I decided I wanted to do more to observe the day.  I decided I wanted to fast, then learned that, paradoxically, Holocaust Remembrance Day falls in the one Hebrew month when one is actually forbidden to fast! So I set aside one of my black velvet kippot for this day.  I wanted to wear it more than one day a year, so I also wear it on Yom HaZikaron (Israel's Memorial Day for fallen soldiers), and on fast days; however, today is very special to me because it is the original reason I set aside this kippah, and this is the very first time I am wearing it for that reason.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record (assuming you have read my previous Yom HaShoah posts), I wish to reiterate my connection to the Holocaust.  I have the same connection as every other Ashkenazi Jew in America today (Ashkenazi Jews descend from Eastern Europe), but mine goes beyond that.  In the records room at the Holocaust museum in Washington, DC, I looked up two last names: my actual last name (censored from this post for internet safety reasons) and Dafner (relatives a couple generations back on my father's side).  In the Warsaw Ghetto alone were approximately three hundred people with my last name.  I would never say they were all related to me: among other reasons, there were several spellings.  Since those branches of my family who survived had the spelling of their name changed when they came through Ellis Island, I did not even know which name to be looking at first!

So honestly, with all that said, it should be no surprise that the Dafners hit me harder.  Dafner is an uncommon enough name that Every. Single. Dafner. who was killed was related to me.  They all came from a single town: Wolbrum (pronounced with a V sound, not a W), Poland.  It's not a long list--fifteen or so names--but again, that's fifteen relatives of mine who perished.

When I was in middle school, my local university always did a 24-hour vigil on Yom HaShoah, reading names aloud from the Auschwitz death lists.  My school used to take the middle school students in the afternoon, to take turns reading.  One year, I happened to be standing up, waiting for my turn to read, at a good angle to see over the shoulder of the person reading before me.  I  heard them hit the "D" section of the list, and I knew they were coming to Dafner.  (It was not a foregone conclusion that my relatives would have died in Auschwitz, but it was very possible, given how large Auschwitz was and the fact that it was in Poland.)  I peered over the shoulder of the reader.  I only managed to see one name, but so that she may never be forgotten, here it is: RUTH DAFNER.

Remembering the victims is so important that I think you all should see her name a few more times.
RUTH DAFNER.
RUTH DAFNER.
RUTH DAFNER.

I wish to end this post with hope.  May we never forget the Holocaust, but may we also work to make this world a better place today.  That is what I am going to do now.  Here is a Reece's Rainbow child, "CULLEN."  (Forgive me if I've posted him before; I'm starting to lose track.)  "Cullen" is diagnosed with DOWN SYNDROME; he is aging out NEXT YEAR (maximum EIGHTEEN MONTHS.)

Cullen Apr 2014 (1)

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Very Special Gift



The above kippah was crocheted for me by my friend Sami, who did most of the work on it while I hung out and watched.  You may recall that we did a kippah trade: I gave him one of my embroidered silk ones (the white one with gold and silver branches), and he made me the one above.  I did not have a yellow one yet, nor a green.  Now I have both in one!

While I was with him, Sami asked me to pick four colors for another one.  I encouraged him to wait till my birthday, so he had a reason to make it.  He looked at me pleadingly, and said, "C'mon, I like crocheting projects!" So I picked out two shades of purple and two shades of pink, and he is going to make me another one.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

And...Purim!!!

--So today is Purim, a wonderfully fun, one day holiday.  Allow me to tell you more about it.  First I will summarize the story, which comes form the Biblical book of Esther; I have told it here before, but that was a couple years ago, and I don't expect everybody remembers.  After I tell the story, I will share how I personally am celebrating this year.

--The story:

  1. The Purim story takes place in the lands of Persia and Media.  King Ahashverosh (as I said yesterday, this is a transliteration of his Hebrew name, because I can't spell the English version) has a party which lasts for 180 days and nights.  After a while, he invites his queen, Vashti, to join him; legend has it he wants her to come naked.  For whatever reason, Vashti refuses to come, and the king has her banished or beheaded, depending whom you ask.
  2. After a while, the king is lonely and wants a new queen.  He decides to hold a beauty pageant.  A Jewish maiden named Esther is living with her uncle or cousin (the Hebrew wording is ambiguous) Mordecai, who encourages her to go try.  However, he also cautions her not to tell her Jewish identity.  Esther follows Mordecai's instructions faithfully, and wins the contest. She is now the queen.
  3. There is in the land a wicked man named Haman, an adviser to the king.  Haman wants all the people in the land to bow down to him, but Mordecai refuses because he is a Jew and bows only to God.  Haman's anger flares up until he wants to kill not only Mordecai but all the Jews of the land.  He gets the king to sign off on it, and a date is set for the massacre.
  4. Upon hearing this news, Mordecai turns to Esther and pleads with her to go before the king.  Esther at first responds that nobody can go before the king without an invitation.  Mordecai then tells her that perhaps she was placed in the palace just for this.  Moreover, if she does not help the Jewish people, help will arise for them from another corner and they will be saved, while Esther herself will perish.
  5. Esther responds "if I perish, I perish" and appears before the king uninvited.  The king grants her request for him and Haman to appear at a dinner party that evening.  At the party, Esther invites them to a second party, and at that party, she reveals Haman's plan to the king.
  6. Haman is hanged on the very gallows he built for Mordecai, along with his ten sons.  The Jews of Persia and Media are allowed to take up arms and fight back on the day of the "massacre"...and they win.
--How I personally celebrate:
  1. I went to synagogue last night to hear the reading of Esther.  One is obligated to hear every word, but I quickly gave up because there were so many children running around making noise. Sami came dressed as "the Broadway version of Peter Pan" because his costume was brown, not green.  Creative, Sami, very creative...so creative, in fact, that he won the synagogue's "most creative" award.  I went wearing my gay pride kippah...Purim is the only night/day I feel comfortable in it.
  2. Today when I get dressed (I let myself sleep late because I got home late, and now I'm doing this blog post) I will wear a ladies' tallit katan, my fancy bobby pins, my gay pride kippah, and my rainbow flowered skirt.
  3. I am taking a day off from graduate school applications and looking for work.
  4. Several people at the synagogue gave me mishloah manot, gifts of food items, mainly hamentaschen (special triangular cookies with various fillings) and candy.  I have been allowing myself to enjoy them, on the understanding that this is all the junk food I get this week.  During the reading of Esther, I ate all my hamentaschen (remember, I had been fasting all day) and most of Sami's.  Sami is vegan and doesn't eat sugar, and offered me whatever I wanted from his mishloah manot; I took the hamentaschen, and not much else.
  5. I plan to read the Book of Esther again, in English, as my Bible reading for the day.
--And...there you have it! That's Purim.

--And...please meet "BAYLEE," aging out in JUNE.  Her birth date says 2004 but that must be a misprint; they must mean 2002 or she wouldn't be on that page.  "Baylee" is dealing with meningocele.

Baylee (1)

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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!