Friday, December 19, 2014

an oldie..but a goodie

I know this is an oldie..but a goodie! I love things like this 


Light the Flame and Watch it Glow


Happy Shabbat Chanuka! 

I went to the lighting of the "biggest Menorah in the world!" by Central Park on Tuesday night. 

It was quite the sight to be seen. 

We were standing there among the crowd and my sister and I were wondering how many of the people there where actually Jewish and how many just stopped to watch the spectacle. 

Its at events like this that you just feel proud to be Jewish and Chabad is at its best.
It is heartwarming to walk down the dirty streets of Manhattan and see men in black hats and peyot handing out Menorahs and literally spreading light. 

That is the nature of light. It only takes a little bit to dispel vast amounts of darkness. It follows then that as Jews, one of the smallest (perhaps the loudest) but still one of the smallest of the world's minorities it is our job to be a light onto the nations. 

I was recently at The Brooklyn Museum ( now that I have loads of time) and was looking at some pretty dark looking art. Paintings depicting the heart of the woods or stormy seas...but there is always some light shining in...some sparks of inspiration midst the gloom and doom. 

I was talking to someone about how insane the world is these days. Ferguson, Israel, Pakistan, Australia...Philli...it just seems to be never ending...and the truth is that this is not new.  HIstory is riddled with calamity. The world is really a depressing place and history shows what a terrible place Earth can be.,.Yet at the same time, there is always the light that ultimately shines through...We can choose to focus on the light or the dark..the choice is up to us...



My sister and I were talking and she mentioned how really it is incredible what a smile can do. I try to smile at people as much as possible.. your face is reshut Harabin public property...The Mishnah in Avot (1:15) states, "Greet every person b'sever panim yafot (with a pleasant countenance). 

It makes such a difference to others and even in yourself. Studies show that you really can fake it till you make it. Smiling when you are in a bad mood really does make you feel better...(granted we don't always want to feel better and want to wallow in our gloom) 


Such an easy way to bring light to the world i think...just smile :) 


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

First Night

In honor of the Festival Lights and the tradition of  8 days of gift giving...here is the gift i would love to receive :P


Obviously there is more to Chanukah than gifts..and Gd willing I will get to the inspiration part my namesake not just the AM part 

In the meantime..if you are in the NYC area..

Lighting of the world's largest hanukkah menorah

December 16 – December 23, 2014

Grand Army Plaza

Fifth Avenue and 59th Street
Manhattan, NY 10019

description/

NYCGO LogoGather around the 32-foot-high, gold-colored, 4,000-pound steel holiday icon at Grand Army Plaza (Fifth Avenue and West 59th Street, across the street from The Plaza hotel) to kick off the annual Jewish Festival of Lights. Lightings generally take place at 5:30pm,

Friday, December 5, 2014

Not Waiting


I think that just sums it up perfectly.

It is such a hard line. To balance between hope and expectation. I personally am constantly grappling with it. 

To go back to shidduchim..because it always comes back to shidduchim...

look forward but never wait..

How many girls do we all know that have put their lives on hold waiting to get married?
How many of our friends don't go on trips, don't make career moves...wont buy themselves jewelry, Wont spring for that nice linen...because they are waiting for when they are married? 

I cannot even begin to count how many times people have told me..."wait, you'll do that with your husband."  

I want to go backpacking across Europe- wait and do it with your husband
Skydiving- ditto 
highlighting my hair even- wait till your married (don't want to Gd forbid screw up my chances of getting married with the wrong color streaks) 
I book a ticket a few months in advance...but what if you are dating someone then? 

We all have that friend who is just sitting, waiting, doing nothing with their lives..whiling away the time till prince charming shows up. I had one such friend who BH got married this past year. I have  never been happier for anyone. She was 28..and had done nothing...literally nothing...working here and there as a preschool sub. A lot of TV a lot of the kardashians and say yes to the dress... but nothing to better herself, Her whole life she was waiting to be the doting wife and homemaker. She was waiting for someone to come rescue her from herself. To love her and protect her and take care of her...because she really is fragile and incapable. 

Ultimately I think that makes all the difference...between the ones who are single and depressed and the ones who are not. Of course, I cannot ever judge someone else and I myself have clearly had those moments when it all just seems so hopeless. But if you are living your life, doing the things that you love...Yes, we are looking forward to the day when we will have a home of our own...but till then I am not waiting around for some guy to come rescue me from my fate. 

I choose to live today and everyday...with hope not expectation; looking forward but never waiting. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Please Bring Honor to Us All

One of my favorite Disney movies is Mulan. Probably has something to do with the fact that its one of the first Disney movies where the girl takes her destiny in her own hands..she does the rescuing. she is awesome and fierce and strong..She is everything I want. Plus she gets the guy in the end..whats not to like?

The scene where she goes to meet the matchmaker is epic just because it strikes a chord.

Here are the lyrics...you'll see what i mean.

This is what you give me to work with?
Well, honey, I've seen worse
We're going to turn this sow's ear
into a silk purse 

We'll have you washed and dried
Primped and polished
till you glow with pride
Trust me recipe for instant bride
You'll bring honor to us all 

Wait and see
When we're through
Boys will gladly go to war for you
With good fortune
And a great hairdo
You'll bring honor to us all 

A girl can bring her family
great honor in one way
By striking a good match
And this could be the day

Men want girls with good taste
Calm
Obedient
Who work fast-paced
With good breeding
And a tiny waist
You'll bring honor to us all 

We all must serve our Emperor
Who guards us from the Huns
A man by bearing arms
A girl by bearing sons 

When we're through
You can't fail
Like a lotus blossom
Soft and pale
How could any fellow
Say "No Sale"
You'll bring honor to us all 

There - you're ready
Not yet
An apple for serenity
A pendant for balance
Beads of jade for beauty
You must proudly show it
Now add a cricket just for luck
And even you can't blow it 

Ancestors
Hear my plea
Help me not to make a
fool of me
And to not uproot
my family tree
Keep my father standing tall 

Scarier than the undertaker
We are meeting our matchmaker (my favorite line) 

Destiny
Guard our girls
And our future
as it fast unfurls
Please look kindly on
these cultured pearls
Each a perfect porcelain doll 

Please bring honor to us
Please bring honor to us
Please bring honor to us
Please bring honor to us
Please bring honor to us all

Its all comes down to externals. It all comes down to duty. This is what is expected of us. The only way to be useful to society, the only way it seems we can serve our Creator is to be married. Or so that's what "they" say. 


it is not about what we want, but about bringing honor to the family. 
Anyone else relate? 

Monday, December 1, 2014

The real deal

I was having this conversation over Shabbat. A lot of us have a false sense of security. We say things like never again and it could never happen here. But unfortunately, that just is not true. We have become too comfortable in Galut and G-d is doing what He always does when we get too accustomed to our cushy lives. He shakes things up. He makes us wake up and notice. There is  no city, state, country we are safe. There is no where we our protected from our enemies. The people that hate us...they are everywhere. Some are better at hiding it than others. The worst of it is the ones that our indoctrinated, and brainwashed. The school children who are raised with hate in their hearts.They really believe that we are evil and it is their duty to destroy us. If we saw the propaganda that they saw...who knows what we would be compelled to do? 

I was discussing with a friend about what would happen if Gd forbid we have a repeat of the holocaust in our times. It isn't so far fetched. Would our generation be able to survive it? Is our emunah strong enough? It seems to be a recurring theme, that the majority of the "ultra" religious community seems to have taken a superficial take on Judaism. You can seem very frum  on the outside and that is all that matters. 

I went to Bnos Chava for seminary. While on the surface that seems to be a huge mistake on so many levels...There definitely were a lot of challenging moments. But I am so glad  I went. I learned so much about the world outside of my small community. I learned what it meant to go to a Bais Yaakov in Brooklyn. I learned really fast that wearing my hair in pigtail braids= not good, two days later wear a pony tail, some pearls an argyle sweater everyday and i had the staff gushing at how much I've grown and changed. It is all about the externals. Nothing about who I am, how I connect to Gd, what my middot are. This was and is not unique to that one school. This is happening everywhere. 

We are so focused on looking the part, that we forget to work on the real issues. We don't discuss emunah. We don't ask our questions because Gd forbid we won't get good shidduchim. It all just becomes superficial. Another accessory to help us fit into our communities. Judaism becomes a very expensive habit. So much so, that once it is no longer affordable, or cool...you can just drop it and move on to the next fad because what is holding you to this one? If there is no deeper connection, no love, no emunah in the power of the Creator of the World...why bother? Indeed we see this too often, that our people are just living this life because its convenient and what they have grown up with and all their friends are Jewish...but does it mean anything? I would venture to say not. 

This teenage girl I was talking to was complaining...I didn't ask to be born into this! No one asked me if I wanted this..and she is right, we weren't asked to be privileged to have this incredible gift and responsibility. 

you were born to privilege and with that comes specific obligations

We have to teach Judaism as just that: both a responsibility and privilege. Instead it has become a set of rules that we have to follow, A game of keeping up appearances. Kids are remarkably good at picking up at the insincerity of it. The ingenuity that seems to pervade most of our communities. Why give up so much when its not even real? and honestly, its hard to answer because they are right. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Life is Lovely

GOOD MORNING! 


What a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Call it global warming, call it climate change...I love these days that are nothing short of presents, gift wrapped with love from our Father above. It does help that I didn't have school this morning ;)




I was lucky to get outside semi-early (830ish) and get a jog/walk in. It was so comforting to just walk in the sunshine. It really is amazing how different we feel when the sun is shining and the sky is clear.

Vacation is winding down and the cloud of school and work is looming in the not to far distance. So many people asked me what my plans where for this vacation and for once in my life, i was just happy to stay home. In the past I have whined and complained saying how badly I want to get out of town and do something fun and adventurous. But this holiday season my plan was to enjoy simple pleasures. I stayed home and enjoyed my solitude. I read. Drank. Ate. Slept. It was lovely.

and today is the perfect ending. Gorgeous.

I just wanted to say thanks Gd!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

IMYH by you

So...recently in my life...

My best-friend got engaged! yes, yes lots of  Mazal Tovs and IMYH by yous...But frankly i am not taking it well. I am not behaving the way a best friend should. It doesn't help that shes miles and miles away so I feel so separated from the whole situation as it is. I wont be there for the lchaim the vort the dress shopping, the shower, the wedding planning, the pre-wedding jitters..I am going to miss all that..not that gives me any excuse.

I am simply being a bad friend. I am being unkind, not understanding, selfish, passive aggressive..simply put..I am jealous. not of her...of him. That he gets to be with her and I have to give up my best friend. Yes, she's not ceasing to exist, she's getting married but experience has taught me that a lot of the time there is very little difference between the two.

Obviously, this engagement is not about me. Its about her. and its so exciting and so overwhelming all at the same time. Or so I'm told, not having any personal experience in the matter. But this is my blog, so here my feelings have credence. But, I am overwhelmed. I feel lost. I feel like i don't know how to act. I don't know what am i allowed to say? What am i not allowed to say? What used to be OK and is no longer? What is my role any more? How do I fit into her life anymore? She assures me that she will always have a special place in her life for me...but frankly that sounds like a platitude more than anything.

Its always been hard to get past her walls and get her to open up to me about anything that is even in the slightest way personal...does this mean that I am about be to be shown to the gate? Its all so hard for me to deal with but your not allowed to tell anyone this because I am just supposed to be SOOO HAPPY OMG! I CANT BELIEVE IT THIS IS SO EXCITING!!! there is no room for the tears, for the sadness of knowing that our friendship that is so precious to me will never be the same again.

And yes I am aware how i sound. I sound bitter, selfish, jealous and just overall awful. Like someone you never wish to have as a friend. I hoped that when the time came, i would be better than this, turns out I'm not.

So for now, I'm trying to keep my snarky comments to myself. Its not easy.  I have all these feelings and thoughts that i would normally share with her building up in my head. Because I can't tell her. Not now. Probably not ever. she is going through an intense time and this is HER time...and i am supposed to smile and be available whenever she happens to grace me with a call because who knows when the heck i am going to have a chance to talk to her? Her time is so limited as it is and now I've been pushed down the totem pole. I always suspected that I was closer to the bottom and now I am definitely closer to the bottom.

Please, no one leave comments about how irrational I am being...because you know what? I know I am being freaking irrational. But feelings are not rational.

excuse me while i go cry about my best friend being engaged.

Mazal Tov
IMYH by you

am

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cliche

Hello, debbie downer here.

seeing as this is the closest thing to a diary I have...here it goes. Its happened. I am the cliche. I am that girl. That girl that is crying because she is 26 and single. I am that girl who looks at everyone else and wonder how it is possible that everybody's got somebody but me? I see these little teen-boppers..arms flung across each other, snuggling close and looking at each other with such ardor I know i should look away but i cannot. Its pathetic but I'm jealous.

I want someone to hold, Someone to hold me. I sound like a broken record but it just seems to get worse with very passing day. It doesn't help that every time I get together girls my age it always come back to the same topic.Dating sucks, there is no one good left...the double standard.. blah blah blah.

I was on the train today and it took everything in me not to breakdown into uncontrollable sobs. I am alone. Yes, I of little faith... but the evidence points more and more to the same fact... that I will probably spend most of my life alone. There are days when I say bring it on...days when its more challenging but today was the first time i became that girl I always swore i wouldn't be...sitting at home alone crying into my pillow because I am not wedded in blissful matrimony.

I was speaking to a friend and she was saying how she had written herself a bucket list and that she has basically gone through it...she's done doing all the fun stuff she wanted to do when she's single. She's ready. But she said, shes happy. She has a busy meaningful life and she's happy.

Therein lies the difference. I'm basically re-living the past two years of my life. granted school is a heck of a lot easier...G-d knows it better be otherwise i really am stupid. But I look around at the girls in school with me, they're little kids..22/23.

There is so much I haven't done, because i was in school, and then again because i am in school. its like my life is in limbo because i cant do anything A) because I have to study B) I have no freaking $$ because i have to pay for school...again!

Do I sound bitter? There is a good reason for that..I am bitter. I don't know what kinda game Gd is playing. Is this the point? Make me so miserable that I start crying...now that I'm crying it must mean that now i really want it? Do I have to be so brokenhearted? so dejected? So crushed that I cry out to G-d to bring me my soul mate?

I know that the Imahot were barren for "G-d loves the prayer of the righteous."  This cannot be the case here. I am not righteous. Far from it. I'm barely keeping it together these days. So what can it be? What is the Game Plan oh Omniscient Game Maker? What is happening here? How many more days, months, years do i have to walk about aimlessly trying to figure out what it is that you want from me?

I'm just tired, tired of the unknown. Tired of waiting for something, some mythical someone who everyone promises me is " out there somewhere" what is he playing peekaboo? Hide and seek?Dear G-d just give me some direction. Give me a small hint. Something. I am floundering...I can't tread water for that much longer..my legs and my will is just about to give out.

AM

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Its Not All Bad

I always post the gloom and doom of my life. Mostly because i just need to vent usually. But I wanted to share the good too. I'm not always a Debbie Downer.

I was really touched when a friend of mine who is known to go off the radar for weeks/months at a time called me early this week simply to tell me that she's going to be busy and that she won't be available and to tell me that she was thinking of me...I was truly touched.

I also just had a crazy 48 hours. I had to go out of town for a big work event. It was just cool to get outta town for 24 hours, stay at a fancy hotel, have car services picking me up...holding signs with my name on it. I know I know I sound like a country bumkin and I very well may be. It was crazy busy taking care of minutae and I barely got to see any of the hotel but it was awesome to be involved with something so big that impacted so many people. 

I managed to sneak away to get some gorgeous shots. 









I find these pictures awe-inspiring. Mah Rabu Maasecha Hashem! 

aight- back to studying I go.