Sunday, March 22, 2015

Asperger's Anniversary

I waffled for awhile over whether to blog periodically about our journey with Asperger's here. On the one hand, this is a blog about Orthodox Judaism. On the other hand, it's my blog and whatever I'm involved with makes sense here. This blog, as my friend Wendy once wisely said, is an organic thing that grows with me. I do not have a "special needs" blog, but this is the chronicle of me and my life, and truthfully everything I experience gets filtered through the prism of my faith.

Our son was diagnosed one year ago. It is the anniversary of our diagnosis. That means it took me nine months to open up about it to anyone other than our immediate circle. In December of 2014, I was ready.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Blog Roundup: Viral post, book, haircovering update, and more

Greetings, OOTOB readers!

Hope you've all been well.  Today's post will be a conglomeration of stuff I've been into.


Firstly, my post from a couple years ago on cleaning for Passover in one day appears to have gone viral this year.  That makes me both happy and sad.  Happy, that more people can understand that Passover is about joy and that God would never give us an unmanageable task, and sad that so many people are freaking out about Passover.  8,000 hits this week alone tells me that people are kinda into this topic.  Ya think?  It's gotten so that when I go grocery shopping, people stop me to say, "I hear you have this thing with cleaning for Pesach in one day...?"  Yeah, I'm that girl.  So check it out and pass it along.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Forty Is

Mazel tov!  My half-birthday was last week, on February 26th.  This means I now own forty, by virtue of being more than halfway through it.  Here's forty... so far.

Forty is
letting go
of old stuff
(if you haven't needed it yet, you probably won't).
So forty is

Forty is
learning to accept and love yourself
as is
whether you radically change or not
because this is the you God gave you
and it is the you you need to be.
So forty is
acceptance of self.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Chanie, Rivky, Estie, oh my!

If I had to make up a typical Jewish American couple, I'd call them Bryan and Michelle.  Or Julie. Or Lauren/Lori or some such form thereof.  But if I had to think of your typical Orthodox couple, I'd call them Miriam and Moishy.  Or Yaakov and Chanie.

From Mary to Lisa to Michelle and Jennifer, girls' names in America have gone through their trends. What about Orthodox girls?

When I was a kid going to the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland in the 80's, there were 20 girls in my class. Three of them were named Estie - which is also my sister's name.  I have two sisters-in-law named Rivky. Chanies are everywhere.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Chana's Question

My friend Rachael Rovner posted the following on Facebook last week about her daughter, Chana:

Chana is asking some pretty amazing questions lately. She is very torn about what religion is right. She asked me why I believe Judaism is right. I told her that my understanding is that all main religions stem from Judaism. She reminded me that "Avraham was the first Jew. He came from a family of idol worshippers. So the first religion was really idol worshippers."
I was stumped. So I told her I was proud of her for asking such great questions and I hope even if she doesn't find great answers, that she keeps asking such thoughtful questions.
Any ideas from my more learned friends???

I asked Rachael if it would be OK to use Chana's question here and she agreed.  So here's my response to Chana.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Book Review: With An Outstretched Arm

Miriam Yudelson Katz was one of my first and is one of my most loyal readers.  Plus, she lived in Cleveland AND we've met In Real Life.  That makes her a VIP around these parts.  So when she asked me to review her mother's new memoir, I made up my mind to put it at the top of my priority list.

I didn't need to worry.  From the moment I started reading it, I couldn't put it down.

Firstly, "knowing" the protagonists's daughter and some of her life's story, it was a sad and suspenseful journey to read about the backstory that led up the pivotal events of her life.

For me, it was also a precious insight into worlds I knew nothing about - the Reform community of the South in the 60s.  The Yudelson's journey toward greater observance and deeper religious connection was fascinating to me.  The way that journey was framed by the Passover seders was a haunting and beautiful literary technique as well as a powerful Jewish message - that the linkage of our faith from one generation to the next is what it's all about.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Different Kind of Other

never other
as a girl
in the in group
doing fine
happy in my class of 20
opportunities to shine were plenty

Hungarian grandmother to give me esteem
never experienced anything mean
approval, encouragement was mine for keeps
in the loop
in the heart
in the midst
of IT.