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.

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.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Israel Connection 5777

Allow me to preface this post with the statement that 363 days of the year, I feel very little connection to Israel, if any at all.  As a good Jewish girl in a "good" Jewish day school, I grew up on the rhetoric "Israel is home, Israel is home, Israel is home."  Well, then in 2009, I went on a class trip to Israel for two months, and I found that the rhetoric on which I had grown up simply was not true.  Israel is increasingly being dominated and run--even in government--by the ultra-Orthodox.  It is also possible to carve out a place for oneself if one is completely secular.  I am neither, somewhere in the middle; according to my experience, there is no place for me.

So why am I writing this post? I am writing this post because the above only applies to 363 days of the year; that leaves two days on which I feel different.

The first is Yom HaZikaron, Israel's memorial day for fallen soldiers and terror victims.  That was yesterday.  I no longer attend Yom HaZikaron events/ceremonies because I end up with tears rolling down my face, and that is just embarrassing.  However, I do mark the day by wearing my black velvet "sad and somber days" kippah; this year I specifically wore it with blue clips.

The second day on which I feel connected to Israel, perhaps even more than in the paragraph above, is Yom Ha'Atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day, today.  There is a controversy between the Conservative and Orthodox movements over whether or not to say Hallel, a set of psalms celebrating God's miracles, on this day.  Essentially, the argument is over whether or not the establishment of the modern State of Israel is a contemporary miracle.  Orthodox Jews say no; Conservative Jews say yes.  Because I am more Conservative than Orthodox, and because my Rabbinic authority is Conservative, I said Hallel today. 

I am also celebrating the day with the outfit I am wearing.  Except for my ladies' tallit katan, I am dressed casually; however, I made sure to wear blue and white (Israel colors).  My skirt looks denim, but is not, and flows more gently; it has a ruffle around the bottom.  It is mostly blue, and in fact would be all blue except for a purple flowered patch over a hole I made roller blading.  I have had it since middle school.  My t-shirt is one I almost never wear; however, all my blue ones are dirty, so I got this one out.  It is white, with turquoise and blue writing; I got it on my class Israel trip all those years ago.  In terms of accessories, I am wearing my fanciest blue kippah--embroidered silk, and the only blue one I purchased, rather than receiving free--with the blue flowered clips, as well as my blue glass Jewish star pendant.

So there you have it! My long winded post on my connection to Israel.  Thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Fresh Opportunities

I took the Reece's Rainbow children for whom I had been praying off my prayer list yesterday.  (See post below for reasons.)  This might seem really rough, and it was, but actually, there was good in it too.

I never give up praying for a person; they are in my prayers until whatever issue they are having clear up, or something worse happens.  I had been praying for "Jacob" for almost four years, and "Rheann" for about five, but basically I was banging my head against the wall trying to effect change for them. Their stories were pretty much hopeless.

Now I have two extra spots on my list, that could be filled with anybody.  It is exhilarating, and I am waiting for God to call.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

In Support No Longer

I needed to write about this tonight because it is such a major change to this blog.  As of now, I am done supporting Reece's Rainbow, and you will never see another post about them.  I have been reading a message board against large-family, Christian, international adoption.  On that board are allegations such as:

  • Reece's Rainbow has photo listings for kids from countries who do not allow them.  In Ukraine, one is not even allowed to plan to adopt a specific child--yet people do, through Reece's Rainbow.
  • Many of the donations given to help specific children or families never reach those children or families.
  • Many, many failed adoptions--disruptions and even deaths--happened on Reece's Rainbow's watch.  Reece's Rainbow removed all evidence.
I didn't want to believe this information.  I truly didn't.  As I continued over the message board, however, I realized: many people were saying these things, and the good I have heard about Reece's Rainbow has pretty much only come from the organization itself.

I feel grossly naive when I think about all of the efforts I put into helping Reece's Rainbow.  Here's the thing, though: when I first found out about Reece's Rainbow, I was, in fact, naive.  I was also a teenager.  Teenagers have a right to their naivety. 

I am, however, a teenager no longer.  I owe it to myself and to the world to act on the truth.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Mixed Up and Sad

Recently I have been feeling mixed up and sad about never having children.  It isn't Shepard's fault, and I still want him in my life; last night, he thought I was hinting that I no longer wanted to be with him, and I absolutely do not mean that.

Because here's the thing.  First of all, Shepard is in my life right now, obviously before any children.  He came first.  Secondly, if I told him to leave, I have no evidence I would find someone with whom to have children, or even another life partner.  Shepard's perfect, except for the children thing.

Also, I would need a partner who could 300% parent with me, not 100%.  I couldn't be up in the middle of the night with a child.  A child could physically hurt me very easily.  It's all too much...I would need protection from the other parent, who would essentially have to parent both the child and me.  I don't see that happening.

I definitely do need something to take care of.  There's a reason I plan to teach kindergarten, and I have told Shepard that one day, we are getting a cat: no ifs, ands, or buts.

Still, even having all that settled, I am grieving.  This isn't what I pictured for my life.

Yom HaShoah 5777 / Holocaust Remembrance Day 2017

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day.  I am NOT going to be telling stories of my family here, because I have already told them too many times.  Instead, I will be telling you how I am observing the day this year.

First of all, I am dressed head to toe to remember.  Except for my kippah clips and hair tie (I'll get to those in a second), all my clothes are gray: gray striped shirt, gray skort, gray tights.  I am wearing my somber, black velvet kippah I set aside especially for these occasions. 

Both my kippah clips and my hair tie are yellow, a subtle tribute to my relatives and what they experienced, a reminder of the yellow star badges they were forced to wear.  Originally I was going to wear black clips to match the kippah, along with whatever hair tie I happened to be using at the time I brushed my hair today.  (I think it was navy blue.)  Then I got this yellow accessories idea, and I think they have meaning.

Aside from clothes, I am also doing something more major, borrowed from Tisha B'Av: today I am not engaging in pleasurable Torah study.  I have interpreted this in an extended way, to mean Bible, Psalms, and theology.  This practice is meaningful to me because originally, I had wanted to fast on Yom HaShoah, as we do on Tisha B'Av.  Then I found out that Yom HaShoah is in the one month on the Jewish calendar when we are forbidden to fast.  Therefore, I am appropriating other practices, such as this Torah study one.

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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!