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.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"Disabled Sweetness"

I have been thinking for a while now about the best way to do this post, a post on what being disabled means to me.  I finally decided to just let a poem I wrote today, "Disabled Sweetness," speak for itself.

"Disabled Sweetness"
Bending to the forces of a disability,
To the hand that shoves you down
And will not let you back up.

Asking for the help you need,
Always scared that they'll say no.

Learning to fall with dignity,
And--tearless--rise up again.

Bending--
Asking--
Learning--
Sweet lessons of life.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sabbath Lamp

This nifty little contraption is a Sabbath lamp, designed for those who do not change the state of electronics on the Sabbath, but still wish to have the convenience of a light.  It is a system of two cylinders, one inside the other, with a fluorescent light bulb in the center of all that.  Each cylinder has a window, as shown.  Match up the windows, and the light shines through; twist the top so the windows do not match up, and the lamp goes dark.

 This lamp alone does not make it bright enough in my room for me to read on my bed--I need a bigger light on a timer for that--but it does ensure that I can get ready for bed with ease at whatever hour I choose. 

This adorable lamp (I feel like an advertisement) comes in about a dozen different colors--I have a blue one for my room at school--and costs around forty five dollars.  The price did make me cringe a little, but seeing this in person, I can honestly say it may be one of the best Judaica purchases I have ever made.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Penitnetial Season

Last night kicked off the "Penitential Season," as one of my prayer books calls it: The Hebrew month of Elul leading up to the New Year and Day of Atonement.  It is at this time of year that we as Jews really contemplate life: our deeds and our relationship with God, where we were this year and where we'd like to be next year, and the changes we must make in order to get there.

This is also the only time of year when I allow myself to play my favorite Youtube recording of U'n'taneh Tokef.  U'n'taneh Tokef is my favorite part of the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) liturgy.  It talks about how we are nothing but dust and ashes, how we never really know our fate, and how on this day we all pass before God so God can decide what will happen to us--perhaps even how we will die--in the coming year.  No one is exempt from God's judgement; but repentance, prayer, and charity can mitigate the evil decree.

This part of the service is so special to me that I save my favorite recording of it for this time of year, but for these few weeks, it becomes the background music to my life.  I have already played it once last night and three or four times today.

Somewhere in my house is a book about the New Year and Yom Kippur called "This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared."  I want to read it at some point.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Building my Jewish Home

I have recently decided to use every opportunity to acquire the things I need for my own Jewish home, which I just might have starting next year.  For Hannukah this year, I am getting my own fancy-but-usable (it's made of metal) menorah, and for my birthday I am probably getting full-size candlesticks.

Maybe I should explain about the candlesticks.  You see, for years now, whenever I light Sabbath or holiday candles, I have used little candlesticks, as befits a girl in her mother's home.  However, as my mother pointed out to me, in the societies where that is the norm, I would be married and in my own home, perhaps with children, by now.  I would definitely be lighting using full-size candlesticks.  I will be 22 this coming birthday; I'm fairly certain that that makes me an adult.  It is time for tall candlesticks.

The pair I want comes from the Emanuel Judaica site.  (Are you surprised?) They are made of metal, six-and-a-half inches tall, and they are pink! They cost $39.00 for the pair, which I think is a pretty good deal! Then, if I get money from my grandparents, which I usually do, I will buy a pretty hand washing cup and towel for when I do ritual hand washing in the morning.

So excited!

And posting "Jacob's" picture again, just in case:

Jacob sm

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Magical Sabbath

Without using electricity, I really felt that this past Sabbath was...magical is the best word, I think.  I truly felt as if I were floating in midair, with zero cares, concerns, or worries.  Time truly seemed to stop, if only for a day, and the result was...fantastic.

Things like a Sabbath lamp (http://www.kosherimage.com/kosherlampMAX.html; I have a blue one already for my dorm room and will be getting one in the cherry wood color for my room at home), a timer for another light (is what it sounds like; any old timer will do, and I might even have one somewhere if I search), and a Sabbath alarm clock (http://www.kosherimage.com/kosherclock3.html) will make all of this much easier, but what I did this Sabbath is doable even without these fancy gadgets.

Now, of course, I had to laugh when I realized when the holidays are this year.  The Jewish holidays all fall Thursday-Friday this year, and from there we go straight into the Sabbath.  I will be doing this no electricity gig, while I'm still fairly new at it, for THREE. STRAIGHT. DAYS.

Oh well.  As sacrifices go, this one is fairly minor.  I can do it.  I can do it.  I can do it.

Cool.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Big Jewish Step

There is a raging debate in the Jewish world over whether or not electricity equals fire as relates to use on the Sabbath.  In short, if it does, then I can't use it; if it doesn't, then I can.

Until this weekend, I was part of the "I can use it" camp.  Then I realized the following:

At home, I mark the beginning of the Sabbath by lighting a candle.  That candle is symbolic and significant because I go on to not use fire for the rest of the Sabbath.

At school, I will be using electric Sabbath candles.  Now, either electricity is not fire, in which case I can use it, but it doesn't count for my candles; or it is fire, in which case I can't use it, and it does count for my candles; but I cannot say that it is fire for my candles and not elsewhere as well.

So.  Deep breath, big step, here I go.

Monday, August 18, 2014

"Heather's" Visit

I just got done having the most fantastic visit with my friend "Heather" from school.  She came Friday, and we just dropped her off at the bus station to go home.

Friday afternoon, we hung out for a while, then joined my family for Sabbath dinner, complete with the singing of Hebrew songs and the grace after meals afterwards.  Saturday morning, we joined my parents for services; we then ate a picnic lunch in the back yard and headed off to the park.  At the park, we enjoyed the swings and slides, went on a walk, and made liberal use of the water fountains.

On Sunday afternoon, my parents drove us to a used book store, where we both found some very cool books.  Throughout the course of the visit, we played multiple games of backgammon, stratego, and blockus. 

We talked a ton, and I really enjoyed having a "prayer buddy": "Heather" wanted to do all the Jewish things I did! What a fabulous visit!

(At "Heather's" request, I took no pictures.)








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I am a bipolar, Jewish teen who also suffers from RND. 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. When I grow up, I think I might like to be a Rabbi. Scratch that; I AM going to be a Rabbi! Please note: I am currently maintaining only Carried in His Hands. Enjoy!