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

I believe in God.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Yom HaShoah 2014

Tomorrow is Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.  This year the Holocaust is hitting home for me in a way that it never has before.  Oh, in the past I would cover my ears and run away screaming when people went into detail, while now I can sit through whole classes on the topic.  That's not what I mean.  I mean that I am better able to picture myself going through it.

I can see myself being forced into a ghetto, then a concentration camp, leaving the people and things that I loved behind.  I understand more now the tragedy of the death of a 21-year-old, let alone five-year-olds, whose lives were cut short with so much potential.  These thoughts and images do not scare me, for I know I am using my imagination to help me remember something I never experienced, but I have never felt this...heavy before.

In many places, there is a practice to have a 24-hour name-reading vigil on Yom HaShoah, at which names of victims are read aloud from death lists.  I only know one name, but I will write it here several times.  Please say it aloud when you see it:

Ruth Dafner.
Ruth Dafner.
Ruth Dafner.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

What Does It Mean?

Here we are coming up on the end days of Passover, and I just realized I haven't done anything for it.  Oh, I went to two Seders and attended synagogue on the requisite days and gave up eating leavened bread and other forbidden foods, all things I do every year, but I have done nothing to make the holiday mine.

So I sat back to reflect.  What does Passover mean to me? And almost immediately I had my answer: Passover, more than any other holiday, is the time when we give it all up to God.  It's the week when we say, "Here God--I trust You--take my life and mold it."

To be fair, it was my father who really got me thinking along these lines.  He pointed out that, if one looks at the diet of a Jew on Passover, one would never think that a person could survive by eating that way.  And yet every year--for eight whole days--we make it work.

Passover commemorates the Exodus from Egypt, a time when the Hebrews gave everything up to God.  Sure they were leaving slavery for redemption, but they were also leaving everything they knew behind.  They ran out of Egypt at night (or so the story goes), with unbaked dough that had not even had time to rise fastened to their backs.  They gave their everything to God.

Each year we celebrate their faith that led to freedom.  We remember the courage it took to go out.  May I also have the courage to leave my Egypt behind (working on that in therapy) and go where God leads me.  May my literal, radical diet change become a meaningful change in my spiritual lifestyle to last the whole year long.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

God is Good.

So many Reece's Rainbow children are being adopted recently! So many children from Reece's Rainbow's "At-risk of Aging Out" page are being adopted recently! God is good.  That is all.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Public Prayer for "Jacob"

First of all, here is "Jacob" himself, the focus of our prayers:

Jacob sm

Now then:

All I'm doing now is writing one of my usual letters to God, but this time I am going public, so you all can pray along with me.

Dear God,

How my heart aches for my "Jacob"! I truly worry about him, God; in his pictures he looks as if he's starving.  I beg of You to keep him comfortable as he waits for his Mommy and Daddy to see him and come.  As I prayed last night, please get him good food and nutrition, sunshine and fresh air, bouncy balls and bubbles, puzzles and building blocks, kind nannies and orphanage workers, friendships, the medical care he needs, and a warm bed at night.  In short, God, please grant my "Jacob" the basic quality of life every human deserves, and FIND HIM A FAMILY SOON!

Thank You, God, for listening, to my whispers, my pleas, and my shouts, for my "Jacob," "my" little boy, my everything.

Your Girl

(Now everybody reading this needs to jump on the bandwagon and pray too!)

And just in case you forgot what he looks like (haha), here is "Jacob" again:

Jacob sm

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Up Early!

Today I am up early to register for classes, because registration starts up at a weird time.  If all goes well, I will be taking Senior Departmental Honors (writing a thesis), Love and Romance in Modern Hebrew Literature, Islamic Mystical Literature, Introduction to Bible II, and Israeli Politics.

More importantly, I got myself out of my "life is horrible" funk all by myself! You're never going to believe how I did it.  Life wasn't worth living and life wasn't worth living and life wasn't worth living--for like a day and a half, two days.  It was horrible! So I asked myself, "What would make life worth living again?" Not even what would make me happy--I didn't believe that was possible--but what would give me meaning, and a sense of purpose.

Immediately I thought of a woman I'll call "Laura." "Laura" was heavily involved with Reece's Rainbow and also had a particularly vicious form of cancer, the exact name of which is escaping me at the moment.  Anyway, the point is, whenever "Laura" felt particularly sick or even just down, she would donate to a Reece's Rainbow kid.

All of a sudden, I knew that copying "Laura" and making a small donation to my "Jacob" would make my week worthwhile.  I started arguing with myself: "You're a college student, you don't have money to spare."  And then I firmly told myself, "For this, you have five dollars."

So I dropped five dollars in "Jacob's" grant account, and you know what? It worked! I am out of my funk, and life is worth living again! I can even say I'm happy.

And lastly, here is a picture of "Jacob" himself, the star of this blog post.  Just a quick reminder, I continue to post his picture in the hopes that the right people will come along and see it and adopt him.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

"My" Little Boy, My Everything

It's amazing how much one can bond with someone of whom one has only a couple of lousy pictures and a brief description.  "Jacob" really is my everything right now: if I can only pray for one thing/cause/person in a day I pray for him, and praying for him is keeping me connected to God and pulling me through my darkness.  Every day and night, multiple times, I pray for him to find a home and remain comfortable and happy while he waits.  It's so fulfilling! He really is my everything.

And here is his picture, again.  You knew it was coming, didn't you?

Jacob sm

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Rosh Hodesh Nissan...The Hard Way

Today is Rosh Hodesh Nissan, the beginning of the Hebrew month of Nissan, considered by some to be the most important of the months.  It is a day of joyous song and praise to God.  Even with and through all the big and scary stuff that's going on with me right now, I forced myself to make a simple lists of ten things for which I can thank God.  I thought it might be nice to post it publicly, as inspiration to anyone who thinks he/she cannot thank God.  It is possible!

The List:
  1. Good, close, dependable friends
  2. My Judaism and my faith in God--they really pull me through
  3. God and God's presence in the world
  4. Inspirational/comforting music
  5. The Conservative Rabbi at school (I have a very close relationship with her), and also the rabbinic intern
  6. Understanding professors who are willing to work with me
  7. Sunshine and rainbows
  8. My college--it's treating me well!
  9. Holidays and meaningful life-cycle events
  10. This list--I shall refer back to it in future
And closing with a picture of my "Jacob," and whispered prayers for good nutrition and healthcare, kind orphanage workers, and that he may know the love and caring of God--that God may stand in for his Mommy and Daddy--while he waits:



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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!