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

I believe in God.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Super Sabbath (!!!)

This coming Sabbath (yes, I'm aware that it's Sunday, and there are six days to go; I do start anticipating the Sabbath this far in advance...but then, so do the psalms we say each day at the end of morning prayers) is going to be just spectacular, and that is for two reasons.

The more important/exciting reason is that "Shoshana" is finally coming to visit.  She is extremely curious about everything Jewish, and we decided together that the best way to satisfy her curiosity is just to have her come watch and/or participate in a Sabbath. She will witness all Friday night ceremonies; I will translate shorter blessings, and find longer ones in a prayer book with translation for her to read.  While I am praying, I will loan her the most basic work of Jewish theology I own, for her to flip through and pass the time.  Saturday, I am taking her to my wonderful synagogue.  It's going to be great; we're going to have fun.

The other reason is that this Saturday is Rosh Hodesh Elul, the beginning of the Hebrew month of Elul, leading up to the High Holidays in the following month.  You may recall that I found a wonderful Youtube recording of U'N'Taneh Tokef, by the Gevatron.  I have blogged multiple times about U'N'Taneh Tokef, so I will not go into detail; I will say, however, that to me, this prayer is the most special/important part of Rosh HaShanah services, and the second most important/special prayer on Yom Kippur.  I only allow myself to listen to the Gevatron recording from Rosh Hodesh Elul through Yom Kippur; I look forward to it every year.

So that is why I'm so excited for this coming Sabbath.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Sewing Project Plans

(I started graduate school yesterday; so far it seems a lot like college, only harder.  I will talk more about it in another post.)

My father brings me fabric when I need it, because it is cheaper and easier to get where he lives.  He has a Wal-Mart super center accessible; I do not.  I give him color, and sometimes pattern, ideas and let him loose.  He usually picks out something wonderful.

My current sewing project is a really big wall hanging, several feet long, to hang over my dining table.  It is the final thing I need hanging; after it's done I will go around the room taking pictures of everything on the walls, except my diploma because it shows my last name, and then I will blog the pictures.  This wall hanging is much the biggest I've made, and it's also the first to be an actual picture.  It will be a garden scene with purple flowers; my grandmother let me pick out fun buttons for the flowers' centers, and they will add just the right touch.  I planned this project so that each phase would be more interesting than the last; first a hem, then the grass, then the stems and flowers, then the button centers.

When my father brought me the fabric for the project described above, he also brought me the ultimate fun fabric: purple background with pink, purple, blue, and yellow elephants and pink polka dots.  I cannot use it for the wall hanging because the print is too big.  I would never get a full elephant showing, and it's a waste of perfectly good elephants to chop them up.  I decided, however, that what I need to do with that fabric is make another tallit katan; the width is perfect, and it is even a little too long.  I will hem the border and the head hole in purple; each hole for the fringes will be done in an elephant color.

The plans for the new tallit katan started me thinking, and I decided I needed to phase out the plain white men's kind I wear during the week.  (I will keep the ladies' kind I wear when I dress up; they work for that better than anything I could make, and they are already special.)  Therefore, I now have a new Hannukah gift idea: four or five sets of strings (if the budget allows five I will get five, but I haven't priced it out yet) and the material to make the garments (fabric is so cheap I'm sure my parents will let me max  out the budget on strings).

I need to think about, and decide on, colors for the garments.  I instantly chose brown and pink, because they are my favorite colors after purple.  (I go back and forth on which I like better.)  Then I chose blue, because if I had to pick a color to represent Judaism, it would be blue.  Finally, a while later, I settled on yellow.  I love yellow, and I really can't wear it anywhere that shows; this way, I can.  If I get a fifth, I'm thinking orange or green, for the same reason as the yellow.

Now that I'm in school again, my sewing time is limited.  I've decided to set aside ten minutes before bed as craft project time.  That way, I won't stray away when I'm supposed to be working on schoolwork, because I'll know my sewing time is coming to me later.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Lessons from my Grandfather's Funeral

My grandfather passed away Friday evening, and the funeral was yesterday afternoon.  It was my first funeral, and it really affected me in a way I didn't expect.  I felt a whole lot of grief, for which I simply was not prepared.  Judaism teaches that we don't speak badly of the dead, and I really do want my grandfather to rest peacefully because goodness only knows he had a hard life and he's earned it, but I will say we really didn't have the easiest relationship and I wasn't particularly expecting to feel anything.

Throughout the ceremony, I broke down in silent, shoulder-shaking sobs multiple times.  No one else had any way of getting to me and helping me (my mother snuggled me in the car on the way back), nor would it have been appropriate if they did, but there was one person who really helped without being aware of it.

My grandfather had been a Marine, so there were two active duty Marines present to do the flag ceremony.  One was positioned close to me, with his back to me, and the other was positioned on the opposite side of the grave, facing me.  Most likely, they were only a few years older than I am.  (They didn't know that, because I look so young.)  Most of their job at funerals consists of standing still and expressionless.  However, every single time I looked up, the one opposite me made eye contact; every single time I broke down, I could see the corner of his mouth twitch in sympathy.  I don't know why, but somehow his sympathy really helped.

Before yesterday, I didn't know that Psalm 91 is read at Jewish funerals.  91 is my psalm (I named this blog after it), and then yesterday, all of a sudden it was my grandfather's psalm, and then all of a sudden we were connected in a way we never could have been when he was alive.  I wanted to do something for him, so when it came time to shovel dirt on top of the casket, I did so...twice, just for good measure.

I think it shows my strength of character that I was able to cry for the man who hurt me growing up, but the moment of which I am most proud is actually not about my feelings at all.  My father, a mourner under Jewish law, also served as the Rabbi conducting the service.  He was doing just fine until he started reading his eulogy, and then he started breaking down.  I had one very clear thought: "Whatever happens, he CANNOT break down."  I stopped my own breaking down so that I could slip over and comfort him.

In a way, though, all of this was good, or at least, something good came out of it.  Judaism teaches that the greatest good a person can do is to serve on a Hevra Kedisha, the committee that prepares a dead body for burial.  (Every synagogue has one.)  This is considered the greatest good because the dead person can never pay you back.  Needless to say, it's been my dream to serve on one for a long time, but it was always a "when I'm ready...and I'm not yet" kind of thing.

The grief I felt at my grandfather's funeral yesterday showed me something.  I will feel very strong feelings of grief and possibly more the first time I do Hevra Kedisha work, and that's OK.  I will push past them, and I will be a stronger person for it.  I'm ready now.  My mother wants me to get settled into school first; I think that's sensible.  My program either allows one grade below B or no grades below B the first semester, so for this semester, I'll just focus on school.  However, next semester, better believe I'm starting to serve on a Hevra Kedisha.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Miracles, Miracles...Miracles!

I thought about several titles for this post; in the end I went with the one I went with because it seemed much the simplest.  I wish to write about three "miracles" that have all happened in the last 24 hours.  I put "miracles" in quotation marks because they weren't like God splitting the Red Sea, or taking Israel out of Egypt with "a mighty hand and an outstretched arm."  Still, if you look carefully, I do believe you'll see God in these events.

--First: I CAN WEAR THE ARM THINGY AGAIN!!! I am writing about this one first because it really does feel like the most miraculous of the three.  Let me tell you the story.  My pain has gotten just the tiniest bit better recently; each day as I prayed with the head thingy and my prayer shawl, I had a sort of nagging feeling that I should be wearing the arm thingy, too.  In response to that feeling, I kept saying, "One day.  One day soon I'll try and see."  Finally, I decided I couldn't put it off any longer, so I tried.  And you know what? I could! It hurts--bothers me a lot, not going to lie--but not so much that I want to scream, and more importantly, not so much that I cannot focus on my prayers.

--Second: THERE IS SOMEONE WHO CAN HELP MY VISION PROBLEMS (at least we think so) AND I AM SEEING HIM TOMORROW!!! My grandparents have a physical trainer, who works mainly with nerve problems.  Yesterday, my father suggested I give him a call, so I did.  He thinks he can help; I didn't want to miss more school than I had to, so I asked--not really expecting him to say yes--if he could get me in tomorrow.  He answered in the affirmative.  Not only that, when I asked what time, he said any time I could get there.  (He's in Massachusetts.)  Wow.  All the glory for this one goes to God.

Now, in order for the above arrangement to work, I do have to stay with my grandparents overnight. My grandfather kind of terrorized me when I was a kid.  Last night, I found myself starting to be scared...and then I said, "Self, that's ridiculous.  You are an adult; you don't have to let him."  He is very uncomfortable with displays of religion...and I am, well, very religious.  So I decided I will compromise on a few things; no point starting unnecessary arguments.

I am still going to wear a kippah, but I picked out one of my smallest.  (I have 13 in that size, so that's still a lot to choose from; the one I finally went with is the kippah s'rugah with the big flower, the second one I ever got, if anyone is interested.)  I am going to pray in my room, and pray silently.  I made sure I will not be wearing a shirt with Hebrew on it.  I refuse, however, to tuck in my tzitziot.  They make my legs itch, and it's a pain in the neck to make sure they're hidden all the time.

--Third: "MY FRIEND 'SHOSHANA' IS COMING TO SPEND THE SABBATH WITH  ME!!!" My friend "Shoshana" (I gave her that code name years ago, when I was still code naming everyone) is very, very Christian.  (Yes, I appreciate the irony of the Hebrew code name.)  We talked on the phone for over an hour yesterday, and had some really good interfaith dialogue.  I was trying to describe my synagogue (the Conservative one 16 blocks away, the only one I go to now) and explain why it is so special...and then I had an inspiration.  I invited her for the Sabbath.  I didn't really expect her to say yes, but she did, and she's coming next week!

I must check with my father (he's a Rabbi--ordained Conservative--he'll know) whether blessings carry the same status in other languages that they do in the original Hebrew.  I want to include "Shoshana" and make her feel comfortable, and I'm willing to bet she doesn't speak or understand a word of Hebrew.  However, I have to fulfill my obligation to perform these commandments; if I need to do them in Hebrew, it's just going to have to be Hebrew.

I'm reminded by these plans that God really does know all.  Years ago--my sophomore year, her senior--"Shosahna" (Protestant), her boyfriend (Catholic), and I (Jewish) were in the dining hall on campus together, having interfaith dialogue, because that's what we most loved to do.  On a random whim, I invited "Shoshana" for the Sabbath...to some random home I didn't have yet, wouldn't have for a few years, and whose location I certainly didn't know.  And now, about three and a half years after that lunch/dinner (I think it was dinner, but I really don't remember) she really is coming to my home for the Sabbath!

Friday evening, "Shoshana" and I will spend a relaxed Sabbath evening at home.  (I can't really walk sixteen blocks twice, and besides, I want to spend the time with her.)  I will have to cook each piece of chicken separately, both because the oven is so small (toaster oven) and because that's how I know the timing, but if I back up the cooking time two hours and 40 minutes, and start the first piece at 3:50, I should finish the second one just in time to light candles at 6:30.  I am getting green beans in place of my usual brussel sprouts because I am peculiar in terms of vegetable tastes, but pretty much everyone is OK with green beans.  Saturday morning, "Shoshana" and I will go to my wonderful synagogue.  She can't be counted in the minyan (prayer quorum of ten adults) because she isn't Jewish; if we actually get there on time/early and it isn't a Bar or Bat Mitzvah week, I may have to make that clear to someone.  We'll see.

So those are my miracles! I wrap up with a movie quotation; see if you know it!

"There can be miracles when you believe; though hope is frail, it's hard to kill."

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Back-to-School Clothes

It's been a long, long time since I put together a special back-to-school outfit.  However, I am starting GRADUATE SCHOOL next week.  (NEXT WEEK!!!) That calls for something of a celebration, don't you think? Below is a picture of the outfit I have chosen, and then I will explain each piece.  (Please ignore bed to the left and rug to the right.)

  1. Skirt: The skirt was chosen first.  I wanted to be a little "dressed up;" one doesn't start graduate school every day, you know.  I have two casual-but-dressy skirts.  This one, my "medium denim," is more versatile, meaning I could choose from a broader selection of shirts to go with it.
  2. Shirt: I wanted to be a little "dressed up" in terms of which shirt I would wear, too.  All my other Summer weekday shirts are t-shirts, so this pink polo was the natural option.
  3. Kippah: Obviously, with a pink shirt and denim skirt, one needs to wear a pink kippah.  You may recall that I had the following options: pink suede from my Bat Mitzvah, the pink crocheted from my friend Sami, or two different machine embroidered pink silk by designer Yair Emanuel.  As you can see in the picture above, I chose the second, the one made by Sami...objectively, it is probably the most special kippah I own.  And just in case anyone was wondering, I will wear plain black clips with it; they are bigger, and can hold the thickness better.
  4. Shoes: Yes, I am branching out from sneakers all the time! I am allowing myself to do this for three reasons.  First: let's be realistic, my feet are going to hurt no matter what shoes I wear.  Second: I have a podiatrist's OK that these really are almost as supportive as my sneakers.  Third: I am female, and feminine; that means that sometimes I need pretty shoes.

Turning to God

These days, I literally have quadruple vision: I see double, both up-and-down and side-to-side.  If I close my left eye--specifically the left--and squint, the side-to-side stays the same, but the up-and-down compresses just the tiniest bit.  In this position, and in this position only, I can do things such as read a book I have never read before, or walk down the street without bumping into people.

School starts in a week and a bit, and I was really hoping to fix this before that.  I saw an opthalmologist yesterday; not only can he not fix it, he doesn't even know what it is.  So now I have an appointment with a neuro-opthalmologist...for October 26th, because that was the soonest they could get me in.  That means I'll be doing a good two months of school--and the major Fall Jewish holidays--like this.

As usual when I am scared, I have been writing to God.  This time, I am so scared that we are simplifying the titles.  God gets to be "my Mother" or "my Father," alternating gender with each letter.  I pray for a miracle: vision restored to single; really, however, I am just hoping to learn to manage this gracefully.

So help me, God.

EDITED TO ADD: Side Note: When my graduation gift arrives, I plan to start using the candelabrum at earliest opportunity (can't really wait to start using a full-size thing for my candles).  The kippah, however, I plan to save for second night Rosh Hashanah, so I have something new to make the blessing on.  We say the blessing on a new day both nights of the holiday; there's an Orthodox custom to have a tangible something new, such as a new item of clothing or a food that hasn't been eaten in a certain amount of time (I forget how long) to make the blessing on, on the second night.  I think it's a beautiful tradition; I started keeping it last year by saving my new winter dress skirt (caramel suede) that I had just bought, and wearing it that night.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Graduation Gift--Ordered!

(I still officially have four minutes, so I'm going to blog, and then leave--slightly late--for my opthalmologist appointment.)

Finally, my graduation gift is ordered, and should shortly be on its way to me, if it is not already! The website even gave me a coupon code for ten percent off my next order; it's good through the end of this year, and I think my Hannukah gift is going to be expensive enough to merit using it.

My graduation gift will arrive in two to three weeks; yes, that is a long time to wait, but shipping from that site (they are based in Israel) is so expensive, that's the only option that makes sense.

I luxuriated in spending more on this gift than I've spent at once in a very long time.  I spent exactly 110 dollars (which happens to be exactly what I budgeted): 54 dollars on the candelabrum and 29 dollars on the kippah makes 83 dollars on the actual gift, and the remaining 27 dollars went for shipping.

That kippah is the making of a dream come true: I've literally wanted it for more than a year and a half.

Oh--and the best part? I should have these items before the High Holidays in October.  (I'm lucky that they're late this year, to give my gift a little extra time to get to me.)  I want to light my New Year and Day of Atonement candles in a full-height candelabrum; I want two really nice, hand embroidered, hat size kippot to wear to evening services for the New Year.  (I wear my white brocade hat size on the Day of Atonement, when we are supposed to wear white.)

And now I'm running late for my appointment.  See you later!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

An Appalling Deal-Breaker, and Tisha B'Av 2016

Friday night, at dinner at the Rabbi's house, one of his sons mixed up the definitions of rape victim and prostitute...in English.  I know that in Hebrew, they are the same word.  (Anyone who has sex with a non-Jew gets called by that word.)  I get that if you only have one word, you can only have one legal category.  Here's the thing, though: I refuse to be part of a world where I am reduced to a legal category...outright refuse.

Yes, Friday evening, better believe I leaned across the table and shouted at the guy who said those things.  I was the only one in the room protesting, and at least one person (the Rabbi) looked surprised that I would.  It may not have been socially acceptable, but I was so angry, I didn't care.  I remember that I had to do it twice.

It's taken me a long time to piece that memory back together.  Friday night, when it happened, I was just about literally blinded by anger; I got the first inklings of memory on the walk home.  I only remembered today which person actually said what made me so angry.

Refusing to travel in that world does require some sacrifices on my part.  I am majorly cutting down my synagogue attendance because I can't walk 16 blocks every time I feel like it, the way I could five blocks.  Also, I will have to go back to eating Friday night dinner alone.  Still, alone is better than in that household...anything's better than in that household.

New topic: today we observe Tisha B'Av (it was really yesterday, but except for Yom Kippur, we don't fast on the Sabbath), the day of national mourning for the destruction of the Temples.  I am having a very meaningful day, though a very difficult fast.  In order to observe the day, I am doing the following:

  • Fasting, except for water (and, in this weather, gatorade as needed), which I need because of my medications
  • Putting on tallit katan without the blessing this morning, and deferring tallis and tefillin till this afternoon
  • Not studying cheerful Jewish texts (I read Lamentations--which was read in synagogue last night--this morning, and this afternoon, when fasting gets hardest and I need something to do, I will read Job)
  • Wearing my special kippah saved for serious/sad days
There are all sorts of Tisha B'Av customs not on that list.  Here's the thing, though: in my entire life, I have not managed to keep Tisha B'Av two years running.  I figure I need to manage that before I take on more customs.

Friday, August 12, 2016

A Judaica Milestone (or: The Story of Sarah and Candles)

Last night I realized that, when I get my college graduation gift, I will be passing a milestone in my collection of judaica: I will have my first full height holder for Sabbath and holiday candles!

I  have been lighting a Sabbath candle since first grade or so, and a pair of Sabbath candles for about the last two years, though I did use electric candles in dorm rooms for a while.  I first lit a candle in a brass candlestick of which we bought three (because my brothers, growing up in an egalitarian household, wanted to do it if I was doing it).  Then my second grade teacher gave each of us a candlestick (it happened to be an all-girls class that year); I thought that one was prettier, so I switched which one I was using...by then, my brothers had lost interest.  I got a pair as a gift from the synagogue at my Bat Mitzvah, but they were rickety and didn't last very long.

Traditionally, a girl in her mother's home lights just one candle; she begins to light two when she has  her own home, after she is married.  Until the Summer that I was 21, so almost exactly two years ago, that is exactly what I was doing, using the candlestick I had been given in second grade; it just didn't occur to me to do anything else.  My mother gently pointed out that that candlestick looked a little childish, and that maybe I wanted to switch to using one of the brass ones, of which we had three.  Not only that, she also suggested that maybe it was time for me to  light two candles.

I pointed out that I was sort of still living in her home, and certainly far from married.  She responded that in the type of Judaism where that dictated how many candles one lit, I would have been married, possibly even with children of my own, already.

I decided that made sense, and that as an adult, I did want to light two candles.  I was still in college, however, and returning to dorm life (I lived off campus for two years); buying me candlesticks--or a candelabrum, or whatever--at that point did not make sense.  College graduation, on the other hand, seems the perfect opportunity.

I knew immediately  that I wanted something by my favorite judaica designer, Yair Emanuel.  Initially I picked a pair of pink metal candlesticks, because everything's better if it's pink or purple.  Then I saw the candelabrum I ultimately decided to order.  I love the design--so modern, yet so graceful--and the color perfectly matches my runner.

I made that runner before my last semester of college.  (I had a last semester, not a last year, because I graduated one semester late.)  All I did was hem a quarter yard of fabric, with my neatest stitches, all the way around.  I knew I would just sense when I had the right fabric.  I thought we might have to go to the tremendously expensive craft store, but I was willing to look in Wal-Mart first, especially as we had other fabric to buy there.  I thought I wanted something blue with flowers.  The actual runner is bluish-purplish with butterflies; however, I knew instantly that it was exactly what I needed.  I used it under electric candles first; now that I light real candles, I spread some foil between it and them.

So that's the full story: Sarah and the Sabbath Candles.  Hmm.  Sounds a bit like a children's book.  Most unfortunately, I don't have a picture to go with this entry,  but I get to order my graduation gift on Monday! Super excited.  Also, for the moment, I also need to stop my efforts to get the aging-out kids seen.  This sounds selfish, but right now, I just need to focus on me.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Complicated Emotions (Yes, Two Posts Today, Too)

I know, I know...I'm trying to get out of the habit of posting more than once in a day.  But I'm home and I'm sick and there's nothing to do; and I do need to sort through these feelings.

Ever since I found out about my "Jacob" dying slowly of starvation, I've been denying myself the chance to feel about it.  I've been telling myself I have no right to these feelings, that they take away from his experience.

Here's the thing, though: a child who's been part of my daily spiritual--and often emotional--life is dying a totally senseless and preventable death, and I can't do anything to help.  All I can do is feel; how can I help but feel?

So I think it's all right to feel about this.

And I would share an aging-out kid--and I know I forgot on my last post--but I am feeling very sick and need to get back to bed.

Hannukah Kippot

My current Hannukah-gift-from-my-parents request is four kippot--that's as many as the gift budget will allow, once you factor in shipping--by the same designer who designed my graduation gifts. (Yes, I know this is August and Hannukah's in December, more than four months away; I start planning early so I can change my mind a lot.  That way, when it comes time to actually order my gift, I know for sure what I want.)  I thought it would be nice if I shared the website pictures of those, as well.  First though, some facts about this group:

  • Materials: Two are painted silk, one is embroidered silk (or at least I think it's silk; it looks like it, and when that website doesn't specify, it's usually silk), and one is embroidered velvet.
  • Themes: Two (one of the painted silk ones, and the velvet one) have a Jerusalem scene border, one (the embroidered silk one) has a border of geometric shapes, and the last one (the other painted silk one) is called "tribes" but looks more abstract to me.
  • Colors: Two ("Jerusalem" silk and the velvet one) will be numbers 13 and 14 in my blue stack; "tribes" will be number five in my red stack; and the last one will get stacked in one of my miscellaneous stacks.  I have two miscellaneous stacks; I can't quite tell how I divided them, so I don't know which one this new kippah will get stacked into.
  • Other:
    •  The white one with the border of gray geometric shapes I've wanted since forever; I just don't have random money to throw around.  Also, it doesn't pay to get one kippah from that site; shipping is almost as much as the kippah, but doesn't start going up till you're buying three or four.  I'm glad to finally be getting it, though, because I traded my other white silk one (with gold and silver branches) to Sami; I do not regret doing it, but I need a white kippah again.
    • It does not surprise me at all that half the ones I settled on are painted silk; I adore that look, and currently only have one.  The one I have came from that site, and has the wrong color background (which actually made me like it more)...let's hope that doesn't happen again.
    • It does surprise me that half the ones I picked are Jerusalem scenes! Until very, very recently, I really resisted Jerusalem-scene kippot.  Then I made "just one exception" for my college graduation gift, and I think that softened me towards other Jerusalem-scene kippot, as well.
    • The velvet one I am getting will be my first non-black velvet one.  I have a black velvet from my younger brother's Bar Mitzvah, and one of the ultra-Orthodox kind that I basically got so I could thumb my nose at them...that one is now my Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israel's Memorial Day, and fast days kippah.
  • And now, the pictures!
Yair Emanuel Silk Painted Kippah Tribes redThis one is "tribes, red."  You can see why I think of this more as an abstract scene.

Yair Emanuel Silk Painted Kippah Jerusalem TurquoiseAnd this one is "Jerusalem turquoise."  I may be adding Jerusalem scenes to my kippah collection, but I think I am doing so in a very tasteful manner!
Yair Emanuel Embroidered Kippah Geometrical Pieces GrayThis is the one I've wanted since forever.  I am not adding it to my college graduation gift because I don't want to get so many things at once (somehow whatever I was getting would feel less special that way), but better believe I am getting it for Hannukah! It's also the only one I knew I wanted at the start of putting together this Hannukah gift idea.  For all the others, I decided to just look at the website until I found the three more that I liked best.
Yair Emanuel Velvet Embroidered Kippah Jerusalem BlueAnd this is the blue velvet with Jerusalem scene border! This is a very traditional-looking kippah, much more traditional-looking than I normally allow into my collection.  I don't know what drew me to it...maybe I liked it because it's so traditional, and I therefore don't have any like it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Getting Too Excited

I decided I am simply getting too excited about my graduation gift to leave you with nothing more than vague descriptions, especially as I probably won't have it for about another month.  (Assuming the money transfer happens today, I will have the money Monday...and it can take three weeks for things from that site to arrive.)  Therefore, I am now going to the Emanuel Judaica site to copy and paste pictures for you.

Except it won't let me, and I am feeling feverish, so forget it.  Sorry!

EDITED TO ADD: I think I figured it out.  Let's see.  This is the candelabrum:

Yair Emanuel Aluminum Spiral candlesticks Blue

(Sorry the picture's so big, I have no control over that.)  Notice the graceful yet unique shape, and as explained before, the color matches my runner.

This is the graduation gift kippah:
Yair Emanuel Hand Embroiderey Hat Jerusalem in blue
As explained, I have wanted this one ever since I first saw it, about a year and a half, maybe two years, ago.  It will be my first one with a Jerusalem scene.

Three-Part Post: Morning Rituals, Graduation Gift Update, and Facing Facts

[I decided this morning I wanted to get all my ideas out in one post.  This is going to be a very long post, because I have a lot to say about each idea, and there are three ideas.  You have been warned.]

--Morning Rituals: I am not sure that people who read this blog appreciate how much Judaism completely rules my life when I am in a "Jewish phase"...not that I would have it any other way. Each morning, as I hop out of bed, I grab my "pajamas kippah" and put it on, singing "Modah Ani" ( a hymn about God returning souls to bodies in the morning; there's a legend that God takes them overnight) as I rush to turn the light on and ritually wash hands.  For hand washing, I use the set pictured below.

Both cup and towel were from the Emanuel Judaica site.  The towel I tacked on a Hannukah gift years ago, I think the year I got my menorah; my parents usually let me tack on something little to something big that they are paying for.  The embroidery on the towel is of two grape clusters, with the last words of the hand washing blessing in between.

--Graduation Gift Update: Finally, finally, finally my parents are sending me the money for my graduation gift! It's going to be a bit different from what I last described here.  Instead of the pink candle sticks, I have chosen a one-piece candelabrum.  It sort of swoops like a roller coaster (it's also very hard to describe in words), and the color matches the runner I always put underneath my Sabbath and holiday candles.

Along with the candelabrum, I am getting my 37th kippah! (I said I had 37 in my last entry, but I was wrong; I currently have 36.)  This one is going to be every bit as special as my high school graduation gift kippah, and then those two will be the most special in the whole collection.  Like that one, the one I am anticipating getting is hat-size and hand embroidered; The color scheme of this one will be blue and purple.

The kippah/hat I am getting as part of my college graduation gift will also be my first Jerusalem scene.  From the time I first started wearing a kippah full time (a little before high school) till about a year and a half ago (so figure about eight years), I was adamantly opposed to "putting Jerusalem on my head."  Then I fell in love with the kippah I just described, and decided to make "just one exception."  Well, you all know how that goes...half the kippot I picked out for my Hannukah gift are Jerusalem scenes!

--Facing Facts: In my last letter to God, I faced the fact that my "Jacob" is slowly dying, and I explored what that might mean for me.  (It's selfish to think of myself that way, but it will mean something for me.)  Every year, on Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) services, at the U'N'taneh Tokef prayer, I think about my "Jacob."  U'N'taneh Tokef is really about consequences of sin, and it talks in detail about various kinds of death. As strongly suggested, I do think about my own sins/behavior during this point in the service, but I also think about my "Jacob."  Most unfortunately, his life hangs in the balance in a much more tangible way than mine...he did nothing to deserve that.

Now, an Aging-Out child, a girl this time.  Here is "PAIGE," aging out within the nest EIGHTEEN MONTHS, diagnosed with DOWN SYNDROME, SEVERE MENTAL DELAY, and HYDROCEPHALUS.  
Paige 568

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


I am worried, frightened, terrified...in a word, yes, frantic, about the well being of my "Jacob."  And I know I posted all this two days ago, and again yesterday, but this is my blog where I record feelings; I'm still feeling the feelings about him today, so I am going to post them again.

First of all, for years and years--ever since I first started praying for him, May 28th 2013--I assumed that the pictures on Reece's Rainbow were baby pictures, and that Jacob happened to be a thin baby.  I assumed that not because it was impossible that things would be otherwise (yes I know orphanages regularly starve children), but because it was too impossible to contemplate things being otherwise. No other child for whom I'd prayed looked that thin, that little, that lost.  A couple days ago, however, I realized something: to the best of my knowledge, Reece's Rainbow gets their pictures around the time when they list the kids.  That's no baby in that photo..."Jacob" would have been very nearly three years old.

Second of all, I no longer have any idea what-all is wrong with him, and that frightens me.  I have written here, all along, that he has Down Syndrome and a heart condition.  I believe he has the heart condition, which is now described as much more complex and serious than it was before this update. However, the website does not say he has Down Syndrome; the direct quote is "Jacob's tests suggest Down Syndrome."  Here's the thing: a test can't "suggest" Down Syndrome.  All you need to do is test for an extra chromosome: the child either has it or s/he doesn't.

Even if "Jacob" does have Down Syndrome, at this point I'm convinced that's not all he has.  (That was my mother's suggestion first, actually, but it makes too much sense to ignore.)  At the age of six, SIX, "Jacob" can roll over, but not sit or crawl; and he can throw toys and track them with his eyes. I have perused updates of kids on that site for years.  They always point out the kids' best skills and attributes.  "Jacob's" description pointing out that he can track objects with his eyes means that's the best he can do.  Does anyone need reminding that he's SIX YEARS OLD?

Over the years, I have really come to care about "Jacob"...or at least the little I know of him over the internet.  Every time I think, talk, or write about his current situation, my eyes burn and I have to wink back tears.  That never happened with any other child for whom I have been Prayer Warrior.

But then, I haven't actively "prayed home" any other child for nearly as long.  The child for whom I prayed longest, other than "Jacob," was "Rheann," whom I gave up on after her country outlawed American adoptions and Reece's Rainbow reallocated the kids' grant money.  "Rheann" had been "mine" for about a year and a half at that point.  My first child, "Grady," found a home in a matter of months after I started praying for him, and my third, "Isabella," in a matter of weeks.

I have no idea if what I do does any good.  It's not that I have no idea if God listens--I know God too intimately for that, and I can tell you all right now, for a fact, that God listens--it's that I'm not sure what God does with the listening.  Certainly God doesn't save every starving, disabled child on the planet just because s/he has someone praying for him/her; but whether God can't, or just doesn't, or what or why, I'm not sure.

So I have to keep trying to get God to work a miracle on "Jacob's" behalf.  And I do try.  (I write this paragraph not trying to get anyone's approval of me, but just because I am recording thoughts.)  I pray for "Jacob" in the Personal Prayers section of the Central Standing Prayer every time I pray it during the week, currently three times daily, as required.  I also talk to God a little bit about "Jacob" right before I go to sleep at night.  "Jacob's" picture is on my computer screen; I whisper prayers for him every time I see it.  I also write letters to God...many letters to God...about him.  I counted the other day; I have more than 30 letters to God just about "Jacob!"

So in the end, that's all I can do: "storm Heaven," as my Christian compatriots would say, trying to make a difference.  This new information isn't new to "Jacob's" life, or to the All-Knowing God.  It's only new to me.

It's only new to me.  Nothing has changed.

And I will end the post with "Jacob's" pictures.

 Jacob smJacob

Monday, August 8, 2016

Second Entry Today: So Sweet, and Kippah Collection

[Please note that this is the second entry today.  I wanted to ensure both entries got seen, because both are tremendously important...and they're on nearly opposite topics, so it didn't make conceptual sense to do them as one entry, anyway.  Still, do please scroll down and see the first.]

As always when this happens, I have slipped easily and seamlessly back into being the "most Jewish Jew," for lack of a better term, that I can possibly be...and I don't know how I possibly managed to stay away for the months and months that I did.  Yesterday I prayed all three times, and I did it again this morning; wearing the arm thingy makes me want to scream from pain, but I can wear the head thingy, and my prayer shawl, and pray; and that is either two and a half commandments out of three, or three commandments out of four, fulfilled.

This morning, after springing out of bed singing the hymn one sings at that moment, I washed my hands ritually, using my gorgeous, expensive cup and towel I got from the Emanuel Judaica site.  The cup is brushed metal (purple, my favorite color), a nice sleek design; the towel is cream colored, embroidered with the end words of the blessing for hand washing surrounded by grape clusters.  I hadn't used that set in far too long...and it's too beautiful (and too expensive) not to use.

I've also gotten back into writing letters to God.  I am limiting myself to two a day because stationery is expensive, but I feel a real connection.  Of course actually writing the letter is not praying the letter; I have to read it out loud for God to "hear."  I do not think of God this concretely, but lately I've noticed that God and I connect just the tiniest bit before I write, and God "tells me what name to use" for Him/Her in order to foster and nurture further connection.

For a long time after I switched how I signed the letters (I used to sign "Love, Your Girl" but I realized a while back that I am no longer a girl so I switched to "Love from a Young Jewish Woman") I needed to use traditional, Hebrew, masculine names for God.  It was as if only one of us could pivot at a time; while I was whirling, God needed to stay still.  I'm back on my feet now, with the new signature, and I am now once again addressing God with mystical, feminine titles--and not always Hebrew.

I have decided that I would like four more kippot, all from the Emanuel Judaica site, as my Hannukah gift.  (Yes, Hannukah is five months away.  I plan in advance and change my mind fifty times.)  I think all of the ones I picked out were designed by Yair Emanuel himself.  I will post my own picture of them when I get them, but posting their website pictures is a pain, so I will just describe them in the paragraph below.

The first two that I picked out--meaning half the ones I am getting--are painted silk, which doesn't surprise me at all.  My very favorite of my "week day" (meaning not gigantic hat size) kippot is painted silk; I adore the look, and only have one.  One of the ones I plan to get for Hannukah is called "tribes red," and the other is "Jerusalem turquoise."  The other two are embroidered, one silk and one velvet.  The silk one is white, with a border of embroidered gray geometric shapes; I've wanted that one for a while now, and I need another white "week day" one (both because white goes with anything and to wear on Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement) since I gave mine to Sami.  The last one I picked out, the velvet one, is midnight blue with an ice blue Jerusalem scene border.

The only thing that surprised me about this group of kippot as my favorites right now is that half of them are Jerusalem scenes.  There was a time--and it lasted for years--when I always said "I'm not putting Jerusalem on my head.  It's fine if you like that look; I don't."  Then I fell in love with the Friday-and-holiday-evening size blue and purple embroidered Jerusalem scene kippah that I am getting as part of my college graduation gift, and I decided to make an exception for that one.  Then I got something from the Emanuel Judaica site (don't remember what at this point; I've gotten a lot of things from there) and it came with a tag that has--you guessed it--a Jerusalem scene on it.  I am using that tag as book mark in my Psalms.

Next, I got a tzedakah box with a Jerusalem scene on it, primarily because it locked and I liked that, but I will admit I enjoyed the traditional motif.  If I go through with this Hannukah gift plan--and I really think I will, as it feels so right--I will have five Jewish items with Jerusalem scenes: three kippot, a tzedakah box, and a book mark.

And speaking of kippot, I really want my friend Brian to see my collection.  The best way is for me to photograph each one.  So I will do that now, and post the photographs below.  (PS I couldn't photograph the one on my head, obviously.  It's the rust brown one with white menorah border, from Uganda.) (PPS Apparently I lost count...I thought I had 36, but I actually have 37.)

Pink suede, from my Bat Mitzvah.  I really don't like the suede ones, and would never choose them now, but at the time I wasn't yet collecting (or even wearing one regularly...) and didn't have style opinions.  I did have color opinions--pink and purple--which my parents abided by.  Even though they were suede, I saved one of each color (you'll see the purple one farther down), first because they came from my Bat Mitzvah, and second because I plan to only wear suede ones to work once I start teaching; I think they are more business like.

Hand crocheted by my good friend Sami.  I paid him a visit to collect the first one he made me (you'll see that farther down too), and as he finished he asked me to pick four colors for another one.  I suggested he wait till my birthday so he had a reason.  He said: "C'mon, I like crocheting projects! Pick four colors."  So I picked out two pinks and two purples; looking at this, I think he actually got in three of each.  I wore this kippah every day of my last Ketamine treatment, and it helped tremendously to have something tangible reminding me of a good friend.

Machine embroidered silk by designer Yair Emanuel.  The website calls this one "pink with pomegranates."

Machine embroidered silk by designer Yair Emanuel.  The website calls this one "geometric shapes magenta," though that background looks more like burgundy to me.

Red dragon! Handmade, bought from an Etsy seller.  There were several dragons available, but I specifically needed the red one to go with undergrad university t-shirts.  I don't wear this one very often; when I do, I use strong clips, because it is prone to flipping inside out.

(Please excuse blurriness of photo; my hands shake, especially in the morning, and sometimes that affects my photography.)  Machine embroidered silk by designer Yair Emanuel.  This is actually the first one I got specifically to go with undergrad university t-shirts.  The website calls it "flowers magenta," but again, to me that background is more of a burgundy.

"Family heirloom," meaning I found it in the drawer and asked if I could keep it.  I think my mother may have worn it at some point when she was briefly trying out wearing a kippah.  This one is the "hat size" that I wear, always and only, on Friday nights and holiday nights.

Another "hat size" one, this one machine embroidered silk by designer Yair Emanuel.  I actually had to buy it twice.  The first time, they said they didn't have it, and they would refund me if I gave them my information.  I refused.  Next time I had money, I tried again, and that time it worked.  The only other thing to tell you about this one is that somewhere that looks like part of the embroidery is a tiny burn hole.  I was carrying what I thought were dead matches, and reached up to scratch my head...yeah, well, apparently they were not dead.

Now we start the blue ones, Brian's favorite color! I have more blue ones than any other color; in fact, I have...ten daytime blue ones, and 11 if you count my "pajamas kippah."  (I will explain that later.)  Anyway, this one is navy blue suede, from my high school graduation.

Newer navy blue suede, with notched blue and silver border, from random Bar Mitzvah at synagogue I attend in the city.  (I will always take a free kippah...always.)

Royal blue suede, notched red and silver border, from random Bar Mitzvah at synagogue I attend in the city.

Turquoise suede, from  random Bar Mitzvah, at synagogue I attend in the city.

Turquoise satin, from random Bat Mitzvah on my undergrad university campus.  This is not your average Bat Mitzvah kippah, however.  It was handmade by the family, and it has an internal clip.  (Not that I ever learned to use the internal clip--I just use regular clips on the outside--but I think the fact of its existence is cool.)

(Again, apologies for the blurry photo.)  Turquoise canvas, from random Bat Mitzvah at synagogue I attend in the city.  This was actually from the one when I was too sick (not chronic conditions, just sick) to stay in services, and went home...but I made sure to grab the Bat Mitzvah kippah.

When so many of my blue ones are from B'nei Mitzvah (correct plural of Bar-and-Bat-Mitzvahs), this one is the pride and joy of my blue stack.  It is--you guessed it--machine embroidered silk by designer Yair Emanuel.

Cheap satin, the kind of kippah my father calls a "Bar Mitzvah beanie" and refuses to wear, from a random Bar Mitzvah at the synagogue I attend in the city.  I do not refuse to wear this style, because I mostly refuse to wear the suede ones, and if a person is collecting kippot and wearing one every day, that person cannot afford to boycott two styles.

And another cheap satin "Bar Mitzvah beanie," from a random Bar Mitzvah at the synagogue I attend in the city.  If I remember correctly, my father was actually visiting that week, and explained to Sami why Bar Mitzvah beanies are bad.

[And I'll just put this note here: I do have another blue one, a navy blue crochet.  It is also from a random Bat Mitzvah at the synagogue I attend in the city...and no, it's not normally affordable to provide crocheted kippot for a Bat Mitzvah's worth of guests.  Anyway, I did photograph it, but somehow it wound up at the very end.  Oh well.  Now you know to look for it there.]

(Another blurry one, and again I apologize.  Still, even when the photo is blurry, you can get a general idea of what the kippah looks like.)  Kippah s'rugah, translates to crocheted kippah, from Kippah Man on Ben Yehudah street in Jerusalem.  I got three there: this one, one as a gift for my brother (and yes, I called him through a seven-hour time difference to discuss what he wanted), and my ultra-Orthodox "yeshiva bucher" one.  I originally bought that last one to thumb my nose at the ultra-Orthodox; now I have it for a more important reason, as will be discussed down below.

Lavender suede (and faded now) from college roommate's wedding.  That was the only Orthodox wedding I ever attended: long story short, it made me so angry I said to myself that I would only sit through it again for a very dear friend...and so far no very dear Orthodox friends have invited me to their weddings.

Purple suede, from my own Bat Mitzvah.  This is not the exact same one, just another one I grabbed for the collection, but for a while when I first started wearing a kippah all the time, I wore one of these.  In my passport photo, I am wearing one of these.  (I like to remember which kippah I am wearing in which legal photo...I don't know why.)

Hands down, my favorite of my "week day" size ones, second favorite in the entire collection! Hand painted silk by designer Yair Emanuel.  The figures are the right colors; the background was supposed to be blue, but somehow I ended up with this fuchsia/magenta instead.  At the time I was annoyed--I had specifically wanted another blue one, because at the time I only had one, and I wore a lot of blue--but now I like it better this way.  I have other blue ones, and this one is beautiful.

And this one is my favorite...out of 37, my favorite! A kippah as special as this doesn't happen every day.  this one is hat size, HAND embroidered...and it cost 35 dollars, which is the reason it doesn't happen every day.  This one was a high school graduation gift...I am getting one to rival it as part of my college graduation gift.

This is the first one Sami made for me! I asked for green, because I didn't have a green one yet; and he asked if he could mix yellow...and I pointed out that he was the one making it, so go ahead.  Subsequently I realized that I didn't have a yellow one yet either, so perfect.  This one was part of a swap: he made this one for me, and I gave him one from my collection.  I gave his to him because he was working on conversion, and I give all my friends who convert something Jewish of mine (kippot for the guys; I would give kippot to the women, too, but the only female friend of mine who ever converted said she wouldn't wear it, so I gave her a Star of David pendant).  I wanted the one I gave Sami to be a real gift; for that it had to be hard to part with, so I went for my machine embroidered silk Yair Emanuel ones.  I did give him the one I'd miss least out of those five (white with gold and silver branches)...I do miss it.  It was worth it, though, if this was the result.

Plain raw silk, gold.  A more muted tone than it looked to be on the website, but that's OK; just makes it more versatile.  Oh, and it's another Yair Emanuel, just in case that wasn't obvious.

Black velvet, from my younger brother's Bar Mitzvah.  (I don't have one from my older brother's bar Mitzvah because I wasn't collecting or wearing kippot then; if I remember correctly his were green corduroy.)  I had to stitch the lining back on to this one recently, but I used black thread and the stitches just disappeared into the nice plush velvet.

Came with my older brother's Bar Mitzvah prayer shawl, and therefore I know the designer to be Gabrieli.  I found this one in a laundry basket last Summer, brought it to my brother, and asked if I could have it.  He said I could!

Genuine US Army issue, not from the latest camouflage, but from the one before, which is being phased out.  I had to stitch part of the lining of this one back on, too, and the stitches did not disappear as well.  When Israel was at war with Gaza in 2012, and I was in the hospital in Philadelphia trying to rehab my RSD (and therefore cut off from the Jewish community), this was the only kippah I would wear...it was the best and only way I had to show my support.

Gay pride! Second most expensive kippah in the collection (24 dollars, though I forget if that was with or without shipping), and it's the smallest.  However, it is hand crocheted (found it on Etsy), and it was the cheapest gay pride kippah I could find...and being able to express my sexuality and my religion together was easily worth 24 dollars to me.  I'd pay it all over again.

My very first kippah, a gift from my father when I was eight! I don't know why, but I don't really like this one and seldom wear it.  Still, it has sentimental value, and I'll never part with it.

My second kippah, a gift from my father when I was ten! This one I like much better, and will often wear if I need a small one that is sturdier than the painted silk, but less rugged than the suede.

And this one came with my Bat Mitzvah prayer shawl.  It is very faded now; for example, the gray background (the reason it's with this group) was once purple.

Another "family heirloom;" see maroon velvet above for what that actually means.  This one is hard to deal with because it's too big for clips and too small to hug the wearer's head.  Still, I started a tradition last year, and will continue it this year, of wearing this kippah to Kol Nidre, the evening service opening the Day of Atonement.  On the Day of Atonement we are supposed to wear white.

I call these my "special occasion" kippot.  The black one on the left is the one I originally got to thumb my nose at the ultra-Orthodox, which I now wear on especially solemn or sad days.  (It started as a thing to do on Holocaust Remembrance Day, but I wanted to wear it more than one day a year, so I expanded to Israel's Memorial Day and any fast day I'm observing...obviously except for the Day of Atonement, when we are supposed to wear white.)  The blue and pink chunky knit is my "pajamas kippah."  Everyone who hears that gets confused, and asks if I wear a kippah to sleep.  The answer is no--even according to the strictest opinions, kippot only need to be worn when moving around--but there is usually some time after I am in a nightgown and before I go to bed, or in the early morning the other way around, and I do need a kippah then.  Sometimes I do evening prayers in a nightgown; I definitely need a kippah then! So that is what the "pajamas kippah" is for.

This is the navy blue crochet that didn't load properly with the blue ones.  Again, I got it at a random Bat Mitzvah I attended in the city...and no, most families cannot afford to provide kippot that nice in bulk.

Now a Reece's Rainbow child...you should know by now that, whatever else I'm posting, I would not forget to do this! I believe I'm "supposed' to post a boy this time.  (My only rule for whom to post out of that age group is that I alternate gender.)  I think I'll see if I can find one from my "Jacob's" country, to honor him...this is "SAUL," aging out in DECEMBER, with NEPHRITIC SYNDROME, and POST-OP CLEFT LIP AND PALATE.

Saul updated picture2 feb2014

First Entry Today: Break. My. Heart.

[Please note that I have two topics to discuss today.  They are almost opposites, and I want to make sure they both get seen, so I am posting them as two separate posts.  This is the first.]

Please call to mind the picture of my "Jacob" that I always share second, that little tiny child in the baby seat.  That's a one-year-old, right? Two years old at the most.

It tears me up to say this, but I think that's wrong.  "Jacob" was listed on Reece's Rainbow--and therefore that's probably when the pictures were taken--just about a month shy of his third birthday. That's a three-year-old in those pictures.

Go back and look once more.  I know, it kills me too.  You see, over the years of praying for him, I have come to love my "Jacob."  How could it be any other way, when day in, day out, I mention him to God at least once? I care what happens to him; when I wrote to God about him yesterday, I was literally almost shedding tears.

I'll include the picture of "Jacob" in the seat here, just in case anyone needs it for reference:


And here is this post's aging-out kid, a girl this time, "CLARA." All it says about her age is that she was born in 2001, but remember, if she's listed on that page, she has at most EIGHTEEN MONTHS.  "Clara's" disabilities are: SENSORINEURAL BILATERAL HEARING LOSS, EXPRESSIVE LANGUAGE DISORDER.  However, her description specifies that she can talk.


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Alive and Kicking...and Bad News

Believe it or not, with everything through which I am am suffering, my spiritual life is alive and kicking.  Even in my downtime, when I was being "not religious," I really was still being religious. That is to say, I was still wearing a tallit katan and kippah each and every day...I really feel naked without those, so it was easy to remember.  I also still kept kosher and observed the Sabbath; I said appropriate blessings at the right opportunities, and every single day I read at least one psalm and at least one Bible chapter (in English)...sometimes more.  So I'm not sure you could call that religious downtime.

Regardless of whether what I described above could be counted as downtime or not, I am back to religion full force now.  I hadn't been praying ritually at all because I can't wear the arm piece of my tefillin without wanting to scream from the pain.  However, yesterday I woke up to the fact that I can still pray with prayer shawl and the head piece, fulfilling either two and a half commandments out of three, or three commandments out of four, depending on whose opinion you follow.  (The difference in numbers is about whether the teffillin are two separate commandments or one together.)   Armed with that knowledge, I could not stay away from prayer.

I am also writing to God again: yes, physical letters, by hand, on stationery. Until last night, I literally hadn't done that in months, not since the pain got bad again.  What I am discovering, however, is that in times of distress, I need God more, not less...that sounds obvious but believe me, nothing's obvious with health like mine. To make the whole process oversimplified and too concrete, when I write to God, God answers, and we spend time together.

Because writing to God has such powerful effects, I can only safely do it once a day.  Oh, and the interesting thing is that the "best" name I've found for God--the one that makes me feel safe, cozy, and protected; which is what I most need from God right now--is a masculine title.  This is so interesting only because, at least consciously, I always thought of God as feminine.  It is, however, also a traditional Hebrew title; there are precious few Hebrew feminine terms for God.

Having described my spiritual life in great detail, I now turn to the bad news I must share.  This news is so bad it literally makes my stomach flop.

You may remember that I am Prayer Warrior for a little boy listed on Reece's Rainbow.  "Jacob" turned six this past June, and his description had not been updated in the three years that I had been praying for him.  I thought it might help his chances for adoption if families knew, for example, whether or not he was talking.  (With Down syndrome, it is possible that he's still not talking at age six; however, with a three-year-old description it was also possible that now he is.)  This new description includes more information about his heart condition--stuff that makes me worry--and more about what he can and cannot do physically, also bad news.

I don't know what to do for "Jacob" except to keep shouting: to God in my daily prayers and to people through my blog.  So right below this paragraph, I am including "Jacob's" pictures (which have not been updated) and his new description.

Jacob smJacob


"Boy, born June 2010

"Jacob's tests suggest Down Syndrome.  An ultrasound dictation in his file also hints that he looks to have congenital heart disease and an interventricular septum membrane department tumor and defect. His heart has normal cardiac function.

"This little guy needs a mommy and some good nutrition!
He is not speaking yet but does understand the word "no".  He is restless and stubborn.  He does not like baths and cries during them but can be comforted with food or being held.  Jacob can roll but has poor muscle tone.  He is unable to sit or crawl.  He can hold objects and throw them and his eyes will follow objects.  Jacob does well playing alone but also gets along well with other children.

"Jacob is a very lovable little boy.  All of us like him very much.  We hope that he can find a home which loves him very much early in which he can enjoy the love of parents and owns a happy childhood, nice future.  We believe he will bring much happiness to your family."

Now, "Jacob" or no "Jacob", I must continue in my mission to post one of the oldest kinds with each blog post, the ones who have at most 18 months, and very often less, before they can no longer be adopted.  In this post, I cam sharing a boy.  So, please meet "MORRIS."  "Morris" was born in October 2001; that gives him FOURTEEN MONTHS for a family to get to him! "Morris's" disaiblities are: SIGNIFICANT MENTAL DELAYS, HYDROCEPHALY, SPASTIC PARESIS and INBORN PARTIAL OPTIC ATROPHY.

Morris pic


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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!