Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Back to Chometz

      I am sad that Pesach and my vacation is over. Fortunately it still will not be a full week of work. Its those after Pessch blues.

Sunday, April 20, 2014


      During chol hamoed I visited an elderly friend who is recovering from a broken hip. The saddest part is how she is lamenting the prospect of not being able to walk without a cane or a walker.  As a younger person it is easy to just brush her off. Thats just part of aging. Or is it? What if it was you? It does not really matter how old someone is. The loss of independence can be jarring. It may be expected to lose a little bit of independence with age but its no less distressing. In a way its worse. Imagine being fully independent for 95 years and then suddenly being in an accident and not being able to live alone or need to walk with a cane or walker. Imagine getting a driver's license at 16 in a city without public transportation and being told at 86 you can't drive anymore. Its devastating.  You may be old but you are still you.
      My grandmother accepted extra help with dignity. She took it matter of factly . She didn't let it get her down. It can't be easy but its a necessary quality for quality of life when one's body is not as strong as it used to be. I wish she was around now to talk to my elderly friend. She would have known just what to say. It would be easier for her to hear encouragement from someone of her generation who has gone through what she is going through.

Friday, April 18, 2014

On Being Present

      Ever have a day off of work and all you can think about is office politics and about how there is so little time to do errands? Do you spend Sunday evenings dreading going back to work on Monday? Thankfully this does not describe myself but sometimes it can be challenging to be fully in the moment. Even when this can be a challenge  it does help to even just try to put concerns on the back burner and try to be in the moment.
        To be present is kind of like taking a good picture. You look in the frame and disregard everything else that you rationally are aware surrounds the frame. The only way a photo can be fully created is if you only regard what is in that box. There will be plenty of other time to think outside the box.
          If you really want to enjoy downtime one needs to designate chunks of time to focus on the serious stuff as well as chunks of time to focus on friends, family , hobbies and relaxation instead of jumbling it all together and never being able to do any of them well.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

In Loving Memory

      Time passes quicker  than one can even believe. Today is my father's fourth yartzeit. Although a lot has happened since then it is still hard to believe that it is already four years. Four years later two friends of mine have  also lost their fathers on Pesach.
       I think that the biggest lesson I have learned from the passing of my father is probably also the biggest cliche. You never fully appreciate someone until they are gone and its so important to tell loved ones how much you love and appreciate them while they are alive. It seems so obvious but easy to be lax about. Don't be.

Monday, April 14, 2014

In memory

Thinking of the grandfather and grandson who were murdered in the parking lot at the JCC and the woman who was murdered on the parking lot of Village Shalom retirement home in Overland  Park , Kansas. As we are getting ready for Pesach it is sad to hear that anti semitism is still so strong that someone would go to parking lots of Jewish organizations and use firearms. I mourn for those who were murdered, their families as well as the Jewish community of Overland Park . I have visited Kansas a few times and the Jewish community there is very kind and special. It is indeed sad for all compassionate people of the world.

Passover Reflections

     Because Pesach is in the spring and because I always take vacation on Pesach I always look at Pesach as a time to reflect and re-evaluate life. A time for new beginnings. Its a little easier to contemplate life when I'm not in my usual surroundings.
       Wishing everyone a chag kasher v'sameach.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Naomi Ragen

     Before  the recent explosion  off the derech "memoirs" there was Naomi Ragen.  She began writing her realistic controversial fictional accounts of charedi life in 1989. Everyone seemed to grumble about her feminist anti charedi stance but at least she was a good writer. Since she was writing fiction her words were a little more palatable. At least in my humble opinion. This past week I have been reading Naomi Ragen's most recent installment THE SISTER'S WEISS . What I have realized is that I would prefer to read her books than the exaggerated and not very well written "memoirs" that are available as of late.I would also prefer to read Belva Plain's book EVERGREEN or any book by Chaim Potok for that matter.They say that truth is stranger than fiction but in this case fiction is way better written. I am sure that I will continue to read the "memoirs" of the up and coming amateurs but when I really want a good read I will stick with the professionals.