Thursday, April 29, 2010

the finality of death

the thing about death is that it is so final. one cant go back and change what happened. they are still going to be deceased. you cant ever ask the deceased a question about anything. they are dead. you cant work on or change your relationship with the the deceased because , again, they are dead. the worst part is that it takes a long time to sink in . one knows these principles, but they are hard to internalize.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

define feminism

feminism as with all labels is subject to interpretation. to me feminism means equal pay for equal work. i work very hard at my job. i deserve to be paid as much as a man would if he had my job. i believe that even if a woman eventually becomes a stay at home mother, she should be able to support herself financially. preferably a woman should live on her own and have a job that supports herself before marrying. she doesn't have to have a high paying job to do this. its just important to be able to know one can be self sufficient. of course , even saying such a notion makes me seem dated. most women do work to support themselves before they marry unless they marry very young (at 18-21) . even if one does marry this young one should know what its like to work even if its part time. it gives one confidence and makes one realize that money doesn't grow on trees.
some feminists believe that a woman shouldn't need men. i suppose what they mean is that one should be comfortable enough with ones self that one doesn't have to always be in a relationship to feel complete. its good to feel satisfied with who one is and where one is in life regardless of ones marital status. i also think that feeling empowered as a woman does not cancel out the need to get married or have a boyfriend. just because one wants to get married and have a family does not mean you are not being a feminist. to me feminism is all about the choices. one should be able to be a married with children career woman or a stay at home mom. everyone does not need to be a clone.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


when i think about people who are really strict about their year of avelus for a parent i think that its a miracle that we don't hear about more suicides . some people wont get together in large groups . they wont watch tv or listen to recorded music at home. now if one doesnt watch tv or recorded music anyway its no big deal. if one is anti-social ,then being completely withdrawing from society is a welcome mitzvah.
according to maurice lamm in the jewish way in death and mourning the prohibition of joining in joyful occasions during avelus really refers to going to the meal at a religious event such as a wedding, bar mitzvah or bris. some people have extended this to all public get togethers and according to him this is what people have accepted upon themselves. well, i wonder who provides the prozac(oh thats assur too) ? not attending a wedding , bris or bar mitzvah isn't as bad of a restriction. there are ways to get around this as well. one can even get around this restriction by having a job at the simchah. weddings , a bar mitzvah or a bris are very public expressions of simchah so i understand why they are prohibited. not getting together in groups for any social occasion is another issue. im single. i live by myself. when im sad i NEED to be with others to help me get out of my sadness. to prohibit me from being social is like saying " you are sad and you dare not feel better for a year". it may take a year to feel better after losing a parent . one also might not feel so social anyway. my problem is mandating these "rules" instead of letting a person see how it goes. the depth of feelings one feels after losing a parent is more intense than one can imagine. if i would feel as intensely sad as i did during shivah it would be dangerous to my health. now that i am back in new york and have gotten together with my friends i feel alot better. just because one is trying to get out of deep pain and loss doesn't mean one has forgotten what has happened. it just means one is not a suicide risk.
the biggest issur during avelus is live music, because it has such a power to uplift someone. great. again , just push me over the edge of a cliff why dont you ? truthfully, i dont really go to so many concerts . i go to the jewish music cafe in park slope a few times a year and the summer concerts in brighton beach. the summer concerts in brighton beach are amazing. i will miss them this year if i have the strength to resist. we will see.
when one is single one is allowed to attend singles functions, parties, date , etc. even if there is live music. so i guess if i really want to be creative i could consider the concerts in brighton beach a singles event. LOTS of singles are there. i may be pushing the envelope , but my need for things being normal again is great. true singles events aren't that enjoyable anyway.
if i were a man i would be saying kaddish everyday for eleven months. though it is a pain to do im sure, i can see its function. it is also an action one is doing to memorialize the deceased as opposed to another restriction. some people take on another mitzvah to remember the deceased . this is more meaningful to me. i have to think of a mitzvah to take on that i think i will be able to be consistent about.
in my opinion remembering the deceased, reconciling the fact that one's relationship with them is now in the past. being able to return to living in the present is the idea of avelus. being able to move on and not being paralyzed by the pain is an important part of mourning. from what i can see this is not a part of the jewish tradition of avelus. too bad. it should be.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

earth day

april 22 was the fortieth anniversary of earth day. earth day was instituted to promote ecology. this is a lofty ideal, but i when i think of earth day i think that it should be honoring world peace as well as the ecological factor. we don't want to ruin the planet by not recycling , pollution, smoking , etc, and we don't want to ruin the world with an atom bomb or scud missiles.
promoting ecology without mentioning world peace for earth day is akin to just blaming tsnius issues for the delay of mashiach but avoiding the fact that we are in galus due to sinas chinum.

Monday, April 19, 2010

going it alone

would you ever go to the movie's by yourself? would you ever go to a museum by yourself? would you ever dine solo at a sit down restaurant? i have done all of these things alone. in new york city there are so many people everywhere that even when you are by yourself you aren't really alone. though i am far from being a loner, i actually like the pleasure of my own company .
when my father passed away i realized that in addition to ceasing to be a father he ceased being a husband. having never been married i don't usually think about what would be like to not be married anymore due to a spouse passing on.
as much as i enjoy being alone and being able to do what i want when i want , i see the value of sharing one's life with a spouse no matter how long or short that joined life might last. life is meant to be shared with others, even when its "just" with good friends. its is important to be able to be comfortable alone. sometimes one gets to choose to be alone, other times its imposed upon a person due to the cycle of life.

Friday, April 16, 2010

more grieving....

the death of a parent really hits a person by surprise. here you are going about your business and then boom, it happens. my dad had some health issues , but i didn't think that he would pass away at the age he was. both of my dad's parents lived until their late eighties. if you would have met my dad you would have never thought that he was the age that he was. he was so full of strength.
when a parent dies it not only makes you confront their mortality but one's own. it also makes you realize that no matter how much you wished your relationship could have been more ____ (fill in the blank however you wish) you still miss them and wish they would still be on this earth.
the death of a parent means your nuclear family is never going to be the same. you have become part of a club that you never wanted to join in the first place. the club of those who have lost a parent.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

baruch dayan emes

i dont know where to begin so i will just start here. my father passed away during pesach. he had recently had surgery and even more recently came home from the hospital. he passed away on april 2, which was during pesach. his funeral was last sunday which was still pesach. we couldn't even sit shivah until after pesach. shivah ended today. i have become an expert on death during a jewish holiday which is something i never wanted to be an expert of.
previously when i went to shivah houses and would say "im so sorry for your loss" or just "im so sorry" i would feel as if i wasn't saying enough , but i did not know what more to say. well, turns out that's all someone needs to say. now i know.
the weather in my hometown in the midwest has been beautiful. the day of the funeral was a perfect spring day. it was very comforting. the cemetery looked so peaceful. it exuded rest in peace.
i have tons to write, but have not yet organized my thoughts. this will have to do for now.