Wednesday, April 20, 2016

12 Spiritual Truths for Passover

Hi all,

I'm over on aish.com today with a spiritual prep for Passover - some ideas based on the Seder to share and savor.

The Seder is the vehicle to give the next generation our spiritual truths about being Jewish. That means we ourselves have to distill what those truths are. Based on the steps of the Seder, here are 12 ideas to help you spiritually prepare for Passover.

1. Kadesh
We say the special prayer over wine, "sanctifying" the day. The word literally means "make holy!" and this is my first spiritual truth: BE HOLY. RISE ABOVE.
God didn’t take us out of Egypt so that we could just do whatever we wanted. He took us out of Egypt so that we could be a holy nation. He gave us the Torah so that we could rise above our base instincts and rise above the lowest desires of humanity in order to be a light unto the nation and repair the world. A tall order, to be sure. How can we make this happen in our own lives? Read more...

Enjoy and have a wonderful holiday!
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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Why Don't They Teach Kids That Stuff

"I wish they would teach kids in college stuff like how to balance work with life."

The words were spoken by a smart, articulate, successful Jewish woman at our Federation's recent 3rd Annual "Women Leaning In" event. After the panel discussion, based on Sheryl Sandberg's best-seller Lean In, all about women maintaining a work-life balance, we had small table discussions. We lamented that young women were being told to get out there and achieve their dreams, but that honest conversation about what that might look like once they want kids is glaringly absent.

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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Tear Box

I have a box inside my heart
But it's too small to see
And when I have a hurt too big
It lives inside of me
A hurt that I can't fix or change
A hurt I cannot bear
I softly lay it in my box
And then it can't come near

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Parenting From Fear

cross posted from jfxramblings.blogspot.org

"Fear" is a big word in psychology today. It is one of the most primal, instinctive negative emotions, and it often masquerades as other things. Anger, sadness, and withdrawal can all be disguises for fear.


Very often I've noticed myself parenting out of fear that disguised itself as righteous indignation. I see my kid doing something wrong, and BOOM! Out comes the lecture! Down comes the consequence! Yes, indeed. I am a responsible parent.

But wait, what's that? My racing heart? Why, what's that about? What emotion is really underlying that virtuous parenting moment?

Fear, that's what.

What are we afraid of when we parent out of fear? We're afraid that our kids will slide down some slippery slope. We're afraid to lose control over their behavior. We're afraid others will think we don't have a handle on the situation. But I've seen that when I parent out of fear, 99% of the time I react wrongly. Too harsh, too shrill, bad timing. It's about me, not about my child.

About a week ago I got a very long private Facebook message describing behavior of one of my children that another person observed that was, let's just say, not a nachas note. My first reaction: anger. Which I then quickly diagnosed instead as fear. Of what was I afraid? I was afraid of my child's future. Is that a legitimate fear? When our kids do something wrong, isn't it correct to fear for their future? Well. Yes and no.

Fear that leads to thoughtful contemplation, that then leads to rational, calm decision making: good. Fear that leads to anger that leads to lashing out impulsively: bad. Fear that causes you to do things because of what others will think or not think: very bad.

Adon olam is one of my favorite songs. The last two words of it, slightly less famous than the first two, are: "V'lo ira" - I shall not fear. The entire phrase goes like this: "Hashem li, v'lo ira" - G-d is with me, so I shall not fear. For me the antidote to the primal fear is to strengthen my faith. Nothing bad can touch me while G-d is holding my hand. If something is destined to be, it will be, with or without my fear. Open your hand and release your fear and grasp onto something else instead, which is far more supportive: faith in G-d, faith in your ability to handle life, faith in the future.
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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

RELEASE OF MY BOOK: Conversations with God


I think it would be fairly accurate to say that I'm feeling exhilarated at the release of my book. I've been birthing it for two years. I wrote on Mondays and airplanes. I consulted, rewrote, added, and obsessed. And now it's out. It's weird how writing is such a solitary act (as opposed to blogging) and then BOOM! It hits the universe and all of a sudden it's not solitary anymore!
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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

When I Climbed Masada

cross-posted from jfxramblings.blogspot.com

The Israel experience I just had with 40-some other friends and family was unforgettable. There were many highs and many precious moments.

But I'm going to tell you about a low. The kind of thing I didn't post on Facebook. And that was the climbing of Masada.

The past few times I'd been to Masada we didn't have the option to climb it. Time was short, it was a large group, and we all just rode the cable car up. But this time around, Patrick, our indefatigable tour guide, offered us the option of the climb.

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Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: The Year of Healing and Dealing

If 2014 was the year of crying (often) and lying ("I'm fine"), then 2015 was the year of healing and dealing.

2014 was pretty much defined by autism, anxiety, Asperger's, failed attempts, shattered dreams, unrealistic expectations, appointments with doctors and therapists, emails from school, and buried hopes.

But in 2015 we learned to heal. We learned to give ourselves love. We learned to broaden the definitions of people and of labels. We learned, slowly, to love God again and to even, gingerly, seek meaning in our suffering.

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