Friday, March 31, 2006

Happy Soon to be Pesach!

I know I've seen this before but I don't think I've posted it. If I have Please forgive me, and enjoy reading it again. Thanks Shira!!!


Shmulik, a religious Jew as well as a financial genius, left Brooklyn for a job as CFO of a well known brokerage firm in Utah (which is known as the Mormon state).

The pressure on the company president from the directors was immense: "We can't have a Jew running the business - we're religious Mormons here," they said.

The president took Shmulik aside for a talk and explained unequivocally that he would have to convert if he wanted to hold on to his honorable (not to mention 6-figure-earning) position. Shmulik had no choice. However difficult it might be to convert, it was less difficult than losing this great job. He went home and told his wife, "It's simple. From this Sunday on we'll be going to church with the kids".

So passed a good few months, but his wife wouldn't stop nagging him, saying, "It's so difficult for me, I miss Sabbath, lighting candles, kiddush, know money isn't everything, Shmulik"

The more she nagged him, the more Shmulik's conscience bothered him too. Finally, he'd had enough. He went back to the president of the company and said "Listen, I can't go on like this, my guilt is eating me up inside. Money isn't everything. I can't even sleep at night, and neither can my wife. It's too much for me - I was born a Jew, and I want to die a Jew. If you want me to quit, I'll leave without making a fuss."

The president looked at him in amazement and said "Listen Samuel, [that's what they called him in Utah], I had no idea it was so tough for you. I figured changing religions would be a simple thing. You've been a great asset to the company. We need you here. Stay Jewish as you wish. Don't worry, I'll take care of the rest".

Shmulik went home with a thrill in his heart and a spring in his step. He ran to his wife (who was on the couch watching Ricki Lake) and said "Tzipporah, you won't believe it, a miracle happened! We're going back to being Jews, and it's OK! I talked to my boss and he's letting me keep my job!"

Tzippy (that's what they called her in Brooklyn) looked at him with eyes spitting fire and said "Tell me, ARE YOU NUTS!!!!!

Shmuel looked at her in shock. But...but I thought that was what you wanted all along, what you were crying to me about day and night. What? You don't want to go back to being Jewish?"

Tzippy looked even more upset and said "Of course I do - BUT NOW?!?!?! TWO WEEKS BEFORE PESACH?!?!?!?"

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Hebrew Frustrations

I think I’d consider myself a fairly observant Jew. I don’t follow every single observance to the letter, but I think I do more than the average person. I keep Kosher, go to shul, and try to learn and do as much as I can in my life. And I’ve been doing this for pretty much 10 years or so or maybe even a few years longer. And sometimes I feel like there’s so much I’ve learned. And sometimes I feel like a complete ignoramus.

This Shabbat, I felt SO upset. So behind. So dumb. The problem? My Hebrew. My Hebrew is AWFUL. I know the letters, and I can read it, veeeeeeeery sllllooowwwllllyyyy, syllable by slooooowwwww syllable. And I have no clue as to what I’m reading either. So during services I run into a problem. English? Or Hebrew?

I’ve usually done the English thing. I’ve always wanted my prayer to be meaningful. And it’s a lot easier for it to be meaningful when you can understand what you’re reading in English, and not meaningless stuttered Hebrew syllables strung together over an extended periods of time. And I’ve always been ok with the English. Gd hears and understands every language. And isn't it more important for prayer to be meaningful than in it's original language? And yet I've still always wanted to do it all in Hebrew. But I've always had so much trouble with it that I never really did it. And I suppose I give the impression in shul that I "know" more than I actually do. I know all the out loud Hebrew, because it’s out loud and usually sung, so I’ve been able to learn it more easily. And I understand a small amount of it. Thought it's more often meaningless sounds unless I read a long with the Engligh while I'm singing the Hebrew. And I do all the silent stuff very passionately; I usually feel such a spiritual release with my prayer, even with the double minded language problem. But today all I felt was frustration.

I’ve reached the point where I really want to do it all in Hebrew. But I’m just too slow. And I feel so meaningless and helpless when I do it that way. And the English is meaningful but somehow not enough. I’m ALWAYS the last one to finish davening the long silent prayer, the Amidah. Even when I do it in English I finish late because I try to say each word fully and make it meaningful, as I learned it should be done properly. And it always meant something so special doing it that way. And recently I’ve been trying the Hebrew. And I’m finishing even later, and the whole congregation starts with the out loud repetition and I’m only a third of the way into the silent part. And I get distracted and frustrated and revert back to English and then feel rushed to finish so I lose the meaning still again. In one congregation I have frequented, the Rabbi ALWAYS waits for the last person to be done before he starts the repetition. And part of me likes that. But the other part of me hates being the only one standing and finishing while everyone else is sitting and staring at me, waiting for me to finally finish. And I feel upset and rushed again. I feel like I can’t win. People have commented to me how they love to watch me in shul because I’m always so engaged with my prayer and appear so concentrated and spiritual and moved and all that. And often I am. But just as often I’m concentrating so hard on simply saying those disjointed Hebrew syllables.

I do want to learn it and make it meaningful, and I’ve tried on many occasions to learn more Hebrew, but to tell you the truth I’m really bad with languages. I have a very hard time learning them. And I find it extremely difficult and frustrating and I often forget what I have learned soon after I learn it. I look at little children being brought up learning Hebrew and prayer and I feel like an idiot when I see a two year old that knows more than I do. I know it’s not my fault that I wasn’t taught these things when I was that young, and I don’t want to say I regret my non-traditional, not-so-observant background, because it’s given me so many other things to learn and compare to in my Jewish spirituality and learning. But I still feel bothered by my lack of Hebrew.

So not so long ago I made up my mind I would spend time learning as much more Hebrew prayer as I can on my own. I decided to start with the Shema. It’s something basic that’s said every day. And there are a few paragraphs that always follow it. When I was a kid I learned only a shortened version of it; the first paragraph and the last couple of sentences. I never learned the rest. And when I knew enough to start doing the rest I still never learned the Hebrew. I read the English. So now I decided to say it every morning and night, as one would do anyway, but not just for religious reasons. I want to learn it. Really learn it. So for the past few days I’ve been struggling through it twice a day. And I’m slow, and I feel meaningless and I’m frustrated. And when I try it in shul I’m barely halfway through when the congregation is like 3 pages ahead of me. I was very upset this morning at services. I couldn’t concentrate on my prayer because I was so far behind in the things I’ve been trying to learn, and everyone else singing the out loud stuff is really distracting.

I just don’t understand how they can all get through it all so quickly! No one is THAT good at saying it so thoroughly so quickly. I do it in English and I’m still running behind. Maybe I’m just taking it all too long and too literally. Either way, I was behind in the Shema and behind in the Amidah. FAR behind. And I was so upset and discouraged and sad that I felt so behind. And it just puts me off to the whole thing. And then there’s that desire to do it in the Hebrew again, to learn and know more.

I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. I want more from my prayer but when I try to make it so, things become meaningless and frustrating and I become upset. I’m really not sure what to do. I know it won’t happen overnight. I know I won’t learn it all in one day. But I’m still not sure where I fit and where I should be. And I still don’t know how to make it more and still make it meaningful. After 10 years of Jewish observance and learning you’d think I’d have learned more. But I still feel like I don’t get it, and I don’t know how to deal with it, how to compromise it. Because the only compromise I’ve come up with continues to frustrate and discourage me. So in the meantime I guess I’ll just keep plowing along. But I truly wish I knew of a better way, it would make it all so much more meaningful and so much more complete. It would just plain be a lot nicer that way.

Catch Up

Well, I've been lax again... But I promised a catch up on some stores, so I'll tell some of them.

I had a very cute patient not so long ago. A little old lady, of course. She saw the Star of David I was wearing, and got all excited. "Are you Jewish?!?!?!" I told her I was and she told me that her daughter had married a Jewish man, and he was wonderful. "Everyone should have a Jewish Son-in-Law!" she said happily. And then "Are you married?" I told her I was getting married in October. "Is he Jewish?" I told her he was. "Your mother must be SO HAPPY!!!!" It was VERY cute. :)

I've had a new student for a couple of weeks. She's pretty good. I was VERY spoiled by my first student, she was really great. It helped that she had been a PTA in a hospital for 15 years... :) But we got along well, she meshed well with my personality and teaching style. :) So I was really worried that I would have a bad student. But this one's pretty good. She's REALLY cute too. A tiny little thing with curly red hair and freckles. And we all know how much I LOVE red hair... :) But we get along ok, she works well with me, she's very conscientious, and is getting the swing of things nicely. She's only got 2 more weeks with me and then she does 4 weeks with one of the outpatient therapists. So she's caught along well, is great with the patients, and fits with my teaching. I'm a pretty hands on person, and I talk A LOT, if you haven't already noticed given the length of some of my posts... I do a lot of explaining and conversing with my students, I encourage questions, practice hands on techniques and transfers with them, jump in a lot with just plain STUFF, love to ask them, and I love feedback from my students. This way I can be betterer CI. I do like having students around though. Things are slower and it's work to be so on top of things all the time, but I really like teaching clinically. It's very fun. So I have 2 more weeks with her, and then I have Dorinn's student for a few weeks in May, and then I get another one full time in July for 8 weeks. We take a lot of students. As soon as one leaves, another starts. Which I think is great anyway. Students are fun. :)

Wedding is going well, we've got all the major vendors down. We gave a down payment to the DJ and Videographer last week. They were the last two to get done. All I need now is flowers and an invitation and a Ketubah and Chuppah. And Stoofie needs a dress. :) And I know that there's a lot of little things that will need to be done. But I'm happy all the major things are squared away. And I'm REALLY enjoying working on the invitation. It's coming out beautifully. :) I'm ALMOST finished, and I hope I don't screw the last part up, because I don't want to have to do it all over again! It's come out so nicely I'm afraid it won't turn out so nicely if I had to try it again. But it really has been fun working on it. I'm not sure exactly how to get it all printed, or if it'll cost more or less or be more trouble to do it like this, but I really wanted to personalize it, and I thought this would be a nice way to do that. And then I can frame the actual painting and that would be really special too.

And so, there you have it, a little bit of my catch-up. :)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Chag Sameach!!!

Happy Purim everyone!!!!! YAY!!!! For Purim! Purim is a very fun, very festive holiday where we dress in costume, give gifts of food, ESPECIALLY Hamantaschen, read the Megillah or Book of Esther, and have a good ole party time! It's a great holiday for kids, with carnivals and costume parades etc, and it's a great holiday for adults to dress up and be a kid again, make a lot of noise and have a great excuse to randomly have a party. Here are some links for more detailed info on Purim!

Judiasm 101


Purim Starts tonight, and as long as I get out of work on time, I'm heading over to shul for the Megilla and fun! And the HAMENTASCHEN!!!

I am going to dress in a simple, yet fun costume.
I am going to be an Identity Crisis, and I figure if I'm going to have an identity crisis, I may as well have a big one. SO... I am going to be many fun and famous people tonight, including, in no particular order....Myself, Rob, Mickey Mouse, Bernedette Peters, Charlie Chaplin, Elanor Roosevelt, Mozart, Elizabeth Taylor, Bilbo Baggins, Julie Andrews, She-Ra Princess of Power, Wonder Woman, Cleopatra, Queen Esther, Socrates, Mother Theresa, Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise, Picasso, John Lennon, Albus Dumbledore, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Pinky & The Brain, and Punky Brewster.

This is fun! :) I like Purim! :) Happy Purim!!!!! :) Chag Sameach Everyone!!! :)

Friday, March 10, 2006


I really haven't been updating lately, as per the obvious. I haven't had the head for writing much lately. There's been a lot to tell, a lot of little funny stories from work: the little old lady who told me that "Everyone should have a Jewish Son-In-Law" when she saw my Star of David, my safety fair presentation board, my having a new student coming, the Diet Coke cupcakes I made for a co-workers birthday (We're all in a "Biggest Loser" contest. Did I BLOG about that? I can't remember).... a lot of fun things going on: more wedding planning, designing my invitation, painting class starting again, taking dance classes with Rob, watching old home movies from when I was a little kid, my save the date magnets... I'll have to make up for lost time one day and actually write all those posts.

For now, I'll leave you with these 2 links. Both to VERY cute movies people have sent me in the recent past. First is a commercial from I think Thailand, something for low fat tuna. It circulated around the therapists and we were laughing all day at it, everytime someone else saw it we all broke out laughing. Ahhh the things that circulate at work..... I think of it as How long can YOU hold your breath??? Second is a Jewish Mother thing, something that made me laugh the other day which I thought others of you might appreciate.

And on that note, TGIF, I am SO TIRED and VERY MUCH looking forward to Shabbat.
Shabbat Shalom all!!!!