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

I believe in God.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

L'khod Shabbat, l'khod Shabbat, Shabbat ha'Malkah

(The title of this post is corrupted from a piece of a song I learned in kindergarten or so.  It means: "To honor the Sabbath, to honor the Sabbath, the Sabbath, the Queen.")

I have been thinking hard recently about how to better honor the Sabbath in my dorm room this coming semester.  One major thing I plan to do is start preparing for the Sabbath an hour earlier on Friday afternoons and spend that time cleaning my room.  I also found a beautiful piece of fabric--the most beautiful fabric I could possibly imagine--and hemmed it into a runner to go under my electric Sabbath candles.  I finished that project today, and here are pictures:

Monday, June 29, 2015

For Ritual Purification

Today my official, gorgeous hand washing cup arrived in the mail.  I was so glad it did not come on the Sabbath, so I could actually sign for the package.  Here it is in all its glory:

And here is the hand washing towel that goes with it.  I've had the towel for a while (I got it last Hannukah), but I decided now was a good time to show it off again:

And here is a close-up shot of the embroidery on the towel.  The Hebrew writing says "...on the lifting of the hands"; those words are the end of the blessing we say upon completing the ritual washing:

Sunday, June 28, 2015

In Exactly One Week...

In exactly one week comes Sh'va Asar b'Tammuz, the seventeenth of the Hebrew month of Tammuz, a fast day commemorating the breach of the walls of Jerusalem by Babylonian forces three weeks before the destruction of the first Temple.  Even if this event did not happen on this day, and some have argued that it did not, I feel the need to mourn the collective tragedy, and this day of the year is as good as any other.

The complication? I am the only member of my family who keeps this day, and my parents forgot about it when they planned our vacation.  On Sh'va Asar b'Tammuz, my parents and I will be on a road trip to Northern Vermont.  Getting me food after the end of the fast will be, well, interesting, to say the least.  We'll manage somehow, I'm sure.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Observing my Hebrew Birthday

I had a dream last night that made me start thinking, and I have decided that if it is OK with my parents, starting this year I would like to observe and celebrate my Hebrew birthday, not my secular birthday.  Jewish people in America observe two calendars--the Gregorian and the Hebrew--but all other important dates come from the Hebrew calendar.

The Hebrew calendar is a lunar calendar; therefore, a Hebrew date that stays the same year to year moves around on the Gregorian calendar.  In 1993, February 8th--my birthday--corresponded to the 17th of the month of Shevat, just two days after the holiday of Tu B'Shevat.  This should be easy to remember.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

My Precious, Holy Books

I have several books that are considered holy in Judaism, and I am proud to own them.  Here they are:

Friday, June 12, 2015

Bought With my Own Hard-Earned Money

When my parents gave me permission to spend my baby-sitting money on my main, and only big, fun purchase of the summer (I also purchased one dollhouse miniature last week or the week before, but these two are it and the rest of the money gets saved for school) I knew exactly what I wanted: my long awaited hand washing cup designed by Yair Emanuel.

In Judaism there is a concept called hiddur mitzvah, literally "beautifying the commandment."  In this picture you can see the hand washing cup I've used every morning I've remembered to perform this ritual since the day I started.  There's nothing wrong with this cup--it is functional and durable--but it is certainly not beautiful:

Below is a picture of the cup I picked out on the Yair Emanuel site (with crazy shipping because it is coming from Israel):

Yair Emanuel Anodize Aluminum Nitilat Yadaim Cup Violet
This cup is purple, my favorite color; and I just happened to fall in love with their design of medium size (six inches high) and price (35 dollars).  My cup should arrive in the mail within the next two to three weeks, and I am excited!

It feels fulfilling to buy things with one's very truly own money, rather than with money bequeathed to one by one's parents, no?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

My Collection of Kippot (Yarmulkes)

A long time back, I think a couple of years ago, I took a group picture of my kippot/yarmulkes, which then numbered 12.  I now have 26.  I wanted to give each one its own moment to shine, so to speak: its own photograph, its own introduction.  In this post, I do just that.  With the exception of three which are not stacked with the others today, and two whose pictures would not load in the proper order, and which are therefore introduced at the end, the kippot/yarmulkes get bigger as the post goes on and I stack them one on top of the others.  Enjoy!


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Habitat for Humanity Day One

I had an absolute blast on the construction site today! The house we were working on was mostly finished, needing things such as touch-up painting and the tightening of cabinet handles.  When I got there, I told the site boss I was good at painting.  The problem was that I meant covering large areas with rollers, and he meant touch-up detailing with a paint brush.  I did manage to do the job successfully, but only after someone came behind me saying things such as, "You missed this spot, you missed that spot, you're dripping..."

The youngest person there besides me was probably old enough to be my mother, and there were some people most likely old enough to be my grandparents.  I think everyone was really tickled that this was what a college student wanted to be doing with her summer; regardless, they were all infinitely patient with showing me how to do things I didn't know how to do, yet they also knew to back off when I (politely) told them to.  And I never gave up on a task until it was done.  I asked for advice, help, even demonstrations, but I never gave up.

I can't wait to go back next week!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

My Special Habitat for Humanity Pants

Yesterday, I went shopping with my father for a special pair of pants to wear on the worksite tomorrow.  Though I really do feel more "myself" in skirts, I had been told I would be safer in pants, and the word "safety" can convince me to do almost anything.  Besides, on a worksite it's good not to mind getting dirty, and I treasure each and every one of my weekday skirts (I think I have nine, which is not a lot) and would not like to get dirty in them.

I could not buy women's pants because I needed deep pockets that closed, so that I could carry a house key, cab fare, and my cell phone without worrying about them falling out and/or being stolen.  Because I would wear boys' pants in length, we started there in width, too.  I tried on a size 12 Husky, a size 14, a size 14 Husky, a size 16, and a size 16 Husky before we gave up and moved on to mens' pants.  In mens', I tried on a size 29 waist and a size 32 waist, before I finally found a pair that fit.  I fit a size 36 waist.  Good to know.

These wonderful pants are made even more wonderful by their camouflage pattern.  I can't wait to wear them--along with an old (Habitat for Humanity) t-shirt, my work boots, and a suede kippah.  (My suede kippot are most durable, and therefore best for a worksite; also I have never liked suede kippot, plus mine were all freebies, so it doesn't matter what happens to them.)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Super Excited!

In  two more days, just TWO MORE DAYS, I start my weekly volunteering with Habitat for Humanity! I will be out on a construction site from 8 am to 2 pm, and I am so excited! I've built with them before, and I ended up being the official nail-picker-upper.  Someone has to do that job, and it requires neither strength nor dexterity, so it was perfect for me.  Maybe--who knows?--I'll get to do that again.  Regardless, I am so glad, relieved, and excited to be doing something worthwhile with my summer.  I'll post again after my first day.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Musings on "Jacob's" Birth-Month

"My" "Jacob" turns five sometime this month.  I do not know the exact day; Reece's Rainbow never reveals that.  His profile, however, tells me he was born in June of 2010, which puts him turning five this month.

The older "Jacob" gets, the less likely it becomes that he will get adopted.  Parents tend to want younger children: statistically more often girls, but certainly more often younger children.

I often stop to think about how long I have been praying for "Jacob."  I jumped into this before he turned three, and now he is turning five.  That makes it more than two years.  In all that time, his pictures have not been updated, and nothing has been added to his description.

Without an update between then and now, it is impossible for adoptive parents to know what they are getting into.  For example, his description says that he is restless and stubborn.  A true temperament issue, or just a bad day the day he was observed? Additionally, it is written that he cannot talk, but in the intervening time he might have learned how to do this.

Please join me in praying for "Jacob"!


Jacob sm


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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!