Not bad for a fat girl

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I Need a Little Shabbat

Last Friday night at this time I was sitting in a synagogue breathing out the stress of the week and breathing in the peace of the Sabbath. It was calming and energizing at the same time. It gave me a fresh perspective and a positive outlook. I was able to enjoy my family and count my blessings, while I offered gratitude for both.shabbat-candles2

Fast forward a week and I’ve just walked in the door from an eleven hour workday at the end of a busy week. I could have easily stayed another three hours, but frankly I’m hungry and tired and not good for much more work today. Still, I have the work to do, so I lugged it all home in my full-to-overflowing L.L.Bean canvas tote bag. That thing is a workhorse.

I don’t feel the peace of the Sabbath tonight. I feel the stress of too much work, and I don’t like it. I have a writing deadline to meet, some lessons to plan, an important document to deliver, and a suitcase to unpack (from last week!) in my immediate future. Throw in some laundry, a trip to the credit union, a trip to the grocery store, and a couple of chapters of manuscripts to read and review, and there goes the weekend.

I think I have to make a choice. I think I have to prioritize. I think I can send off my work, light my Sabbath candles, and take some time for reflection. It’s not perfect. It’s not even technically correct, but I think it just might work for me. I’m pretty sure that it’s okay. Even a little bit of Shabbat is better than none.


Bar Mitzvah Dancing – Salsa Meets Horah

I had the wonderful privilege of celebrating my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah with him last weekend, and it was a ball. Oh sure, there were a few tense moments as I muddled through the Hebrew blessing during the actual service, but he did great, and after all, he was the one everyone was there to see, so no worries.

I love a good Bar Mitzvah. Extended family members and close family friends from all over the place come together to celebrate this milestone, and we do it with gusto. There are luncheons, dinners, and brunches thrown for these events, and of course there are parties.

My brother and his wife went through this wonderful celebration a little over a year ago with their daughter. They are pros by now. Their son’s events were every bit as enjoyable, but different and unique to him and his preferences. For example, the kid doesn’t eat real food. Somehow he has survived all these years on scrambled eggs, grilled cheese, white rice, and air. At the luncheon there was an entire table devoted to “his” foods, which proved to be surprisingly popular with many of the guests.

The big event, aside from the actual ceremony, was the evening party, and oh what a party! The kids started off in the ballroom of the venue, but we adults gathered in the lakeside bar to enjoy cocktails and a beautiful sunset. We joined the kids later for a fabulous dinner followed by dancing, and more cocktails. Open bar, you say? Yes, please.

There was traditional Jewish dancing, including a rousing Horah where my son joined the men in lifting celebrants high overhead as they sat in a chair. Even my mother was hoisted to the sky, gripping the chair for dear life! Then there was the real dancing. My sister-in-law is Puerto Rican, and the girl can dance! She does a smooth Salsa, and she’s managed to teach my brother. I have two left feet, but when they married they gave me a crash course, so I could dance at their wedding. Apparently my feet remembered, because when I was escorted onto the dance floor (by her equally smooth brother) I didn’t crush any toes.

I loved getting up to dance, it reminded me of my college years, when dancing was a part of every weekend party. Of course, as I said, I’m not a real dancer, but honestly nobody cares as long as you’re moving and having fun. My mother learned that long ago. She’s been doing the same little locomotive arm movements for as long as I can remember, but she loves to dance! I won’t reveal her age (because she would be mortified, as if people believe her when she says she’s 29) but she’s been dancing a long time. I want to get up and dance when I’m her age. I want to be invited to celebrations, and I want to shake it to whatever that generation’s Ke$ha and Pitt Bull have to offer. I owe it to my family and future generations.

This video is for weddings, but really, it’s the same thing.

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In Honor of the Sabbath

Jewish food is not for everyone. A lot of it is seriously lacking in flavor, and seasoning? Well, let’s just say we don’t really go for that sort of thing. This video of people trying various Jewish staples is quite funny, especially to me, since I have plenty of experience will all of those foods. I love the use of the word, “compressed.” If you aren’t careful that’s how your stomach can feel afterward. Now lift a glass of Manischewitz and say, “L’chiam!” as you enjoy this fun clip.

Have you tried any of these? What did you like or dislike?