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Thursday, April 19, 2012

God as our Guest and Holocaust Remembrance Day

Firstly, the other day I had a new idea about God. When we pray, we are inviting God in, creating an environment for interaction, inviting God to meet with us as much as the other way around (us meeting with God). In my humble experience, encounters with God can happen both in this world and the Other. In Hallel, the songs of praise recited on holidays, we say "Hashamaim shamaim l'Adonai, v'ha'aretz natan lv'nai Adam." This means "The Heavens, the Heavens belong to God, and the Land He has given to people." In other words, when we pray while inside our physical bodies, GOD IS OUR GUEST!

This being the case, it is important to find or create the right environment for prayer. Open a window; clean up your floor; go outside to a forest, creek, or meadow during nice weather. Also, pick up litter throughout your day. Go the extra mile to make God welcome in our world!

On a more sober note, today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. I honestly had forgotten until I saw my facebook friends' statuses. Some say "never again" means building memorials. I say "never again" means speaking out against injustice, wherever we see it.

On this day, I especially remember the Dafners, 20-something relatives of mine from Wolbrum, Poland who were murdered by the Nazis. I mourn by Baron/Baran/Barron/etc. relatives as well, but I saw so many Baron/Baran/Barron/etc.s on the Warsaw ghetto records that it is truly impossible to know who were my relatives and who were not...and that's Warsaw alone.

The college in my hometown holds a 24-hour, nonstop, out loud name-reading vigil. (I'm fairly sure they use the Auschwitz death lists but I'm not certain.) My elementary/middle school always took the middle school students to that vigil to take their turn reading names. When I was in seventh or eighth grade, I peeked over the shoulder of the reader before me and saw a name: Ruth Dafner. I use her full name here because she deserves to be remembered and because it just feels right. So Ruth Dafner, wherever, whenever, whatever you currently are, I am thinking of you today and hold you in loving memory!

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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!