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

I believe in God.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

הקול (HaKol) or The Voice

Tonight I am experiencing God as The Voice. God speaks through me via my actions, thoughts, etc.; yet I speak for Her and through Her also via my actions etc. (If you don't understand this it's fine; I don't either.) Also, Man is made from God's earth; Woman from His rib. If A implies B and B implies C, then we are physically part of God.

It feels cool to be a God-bit, doesn't it?

A Thought

This is a thought that occurred to me today:

Every person is given one name because s/he is human; a living creature is entitled to a name. But no matter how much a person creates or alters his/her name, s/he still only has one. Yet God is One with Many Faces; there are infinitely many names for God.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

"Seek My Face, Speak My Name"

I am currently working my way through a book called Seek My Face, Speak my Name by Rabbi Arthur Green. As far as I can tell, it is a book entirely about the first line of the Shema prayer. (Most often translated "Hear O Israel, the LORD is God, the LORD is one.") It is divided into units corresponding to the four letters of the Unpronounceable Name. (Think Jehovah's Witnesses; Jews simply say "Adonai", meaning "My Master", when we hit this name while praying.)

As usual, this book is slightly above my level of comprehension. I believe that if one really wants to learn a subject--not just understand, but really learn--one must read books that are too hard in order to broaden one's horizons and open one's mind. Books should not be too hard, of course; that was my problem with a Lawrence Kushner book I read in Israel. But a little too hard is good.

Today I finished the introduction to Seek My Face, Speak My Name. There were two parts I particularly liked. One is where Green said that God is not a conclusion we make about where wonder comes from; God is the name we give to that wonder. Green also said that he wants to have a hand in shaping what will be considered tradition by those who come after it. I never found those words for this idea before, but in my opinion it is so true: tradition must be always changing or the whole system will collapse.

Random Threads of Thoughts on Judaism

The incident last night with the man who thought Jews didn't speak English caused me to realize, all over again, that I have made a conscious choice to live as an obvious Jew. It isn't really an inevitable choice, when you come to think of it. I don't have to wear a kippah in public. I don't have to wear a tallis, wrap tefillin (picture below), and say my morning prayers in an airport. I don't have to read Jewish philosophy on a plane, nor do I have to tell people I go to a Jewish high school. Being openly Jewish is a choice I made and one of which I am quite proud; I usually forget about it until something like last night gives me a metaphorical electric shock of awareness.

And speaking of metaphorical shocks of awareness...

Just now, I was moving my laundry from the washer to the dryer. This is a job I hate, so I was singing a song by Jewish singer and song writer Debbie Friedman. This particular song is based on the Torah portion "Lech L'cha" (ch is throat clearing noise), in which God tells Abraham to leave everything he knows and go to Israel. I've known the story for years; I've known the translation of the words "Lech L'cha" as well. Today, however, I had a complete epiphany.

Lech L'cha means go for you. God is telling Abrahm to leave everything he knows; yet His first words to Abraham are go for you. I am not quite sure how to interpret this yet, but right now I take it to mean that we can only grow into ourselves by following God.

*These are tefillin:

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Weird Encounters with Others Part One

[See bottom of post for glossary.]

Tonight my friend "Mike" and I went to do some necessary shopping. While we were outside waiting for the shuttle back to campus, a man passed us, saying "SHA-LOM. SHA-LOM," very loudly and clearly. Shortly after this, we got cold and went inside.

About ten minutes later, the man and his wife walked out and began pacing back and forth. In the meantime, the shuttle arrived. Since they clearly didn't think we spoke English, I decided to have fun and called out "Shalom, mah nishmah?" except without the spaces between words.

At this point, the man said, "SHA-LOM. A-LEI-KEM. MY. GOOD. FRIEND. BE. CARE-FUL."

I kind of don't want to know what else he thinks about Jews.

Shalom: hello and good-bye. Literal translation: peace.

A-Lei-Kem: Actually aleikhem (kh is a clear your throat noise), meaning "on you" or "about you." (Eleikhem is "to you" or "for you".)

Mah Nishmah: How are you? or What's up?

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Visiting Rabbi

Currently, our campus has no Conservative Rabbi. This week, a potential candidate for the job is visiting campus.

At least in my opinion, our minyan needs a Rabbi. We really, really do. We need someone who can read a significant chunk of Torah every week (taking the pressure off me and approximately two and a half other kids), and preach a sermon, and, and, and...you get the idea.

Wish us luck! We really need a Rabbi!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


A picture is worth a thousand words...here are pictures of some of the Judaica mentioned on my blog. All pictures from Google Images.




Siddur: (This actually is the one I have.)

Back in Touch

I am now saying required prayers twice a day, (My mental health is too fragile for me to get up early to catch that third time before school.) as well as improvising my own prayers when I get in bed at night. Both types of prayer feel sweet and meaningful, in two very different ways. I have promised myself that if I really keep this up all through the week, I get to go back to wearing a kippah. It's custom, not law, anyway, but I feel as though a kippah signifies a certain level of religious commitment and I don't want to wear one until I'm there.

I'm now faced with a very practical problem. In order to daven mincha (afternoon prayers) on time, I bring my siddur (prayer book) with me to school and catch a few minutes in the chapel between school and working out. My problem is how to carry my siddur. It's a holy book; I can't put it in a pocket with sweaty gym clothes or dirty shoes, but it gets crushed in my laptop case. I think I'll just make a small cloth bag for it and decide that's enough of a barrier and I can pack it in my backpack with the clothes.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Role of Religion

For those who do not read my other blog, I am currently caught up in a rapid cycling bipolar episode again and have been for two weeks.

During a four day weekend when I felt much better (because life was so quiet), I added afternoon and evening daily prayers back into my life.

What a difference set prayer times make! I still feel extremely depressed right now, but having something set in stone like that gives me an anchor to reach and hold onto as I reach for the next one.

Also, praying for Grady (see my bipolar life blog for details) gives me something on which to focus other than myself, which is always nice.

Monday, March 1, 2010

I Feel Compelled to Write This

I have it from a trusted source that people who know me in real life are talking behind my back about my blog(s), claiming that what I post is too private or personal and I should keep it more to myself.

I hardly know how to respond to that. I do have a journal for the really private stuff. Obviously, if I post something on this blog I don't mind the public knowing. That should be the only criterion for what gets posted and what does not, because guess what? This is my blog.

My entire purpose for blogging is to be honest about my life and thorough in my story telling in order to give the world an accurate picture of me. What is the point of providing that picture if it is only a partial picture?

I will continue to be honest, open, and up front on my blog. It is my blog and I choose what gets posted. To all those who know me in real life: if you feel my blog is too personal and none of your business, I propose a very simple solution: stop reading.

Thank you.


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About Me

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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!