Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Remove Your Mask!

Mishenichnat Adar Marbim Besimcha..as we enter the month of Adar we are supposed to increase our Simcha..and as we approach Purim the joy should be contagious, palpable in the air..unless you don't have any kids in school and do not work in a Jewish environment. I have been working in the ER for the past few weeks so the purim spirit has not been pervading theme.

The one thing that I do keep hearing about are these amazing, fantastic purim bashes happening all over the city. OPEN BAR! DELICIOUS FOOD they boast.

Purim is one of those holidays when it is so easy to get lost in the details and forget what the day is actually about.

We forget that purim is the holiest day of the year.
We forget that it was on Purim that the Jews reaffirmed their acceptance of the Torah- this time without the threat of a mountain hovering over their heads were they to refuse.
We forget that the prayers with tears on this day have more power than on Yom Kippur.

I see all these parties and I understand that they have a place and the importance of making Judaism fun and enjoyable. I get that we must strengthen Jewish identity. Yet, it still leaves me shaking my head.

Purim is the holiday of my people (being Persian) I feel more connected to this day. Its one of those holidays when we feel like its more of a man's day. We, as women, have no mitzvah to get drunk and somehow that seems to become the highest regarded activity of the day.

I forget who i heard it from. But I once heard that the reasons for the masks and costumes is to remind us that nothing is as it seems. The name of Gd is not mentioned once in the Megillah. The miracle of Purim is a hidden one. We have to look for the Hand of Gd in everything that we do. In every encounter. What looks like a terrible Haman is just a mask. Look behind the mask and its just a cute little kid. He's not scary at all :)

Its too easy to blame this politician, this friend, that parent, the biker you almost killed that made you miss your light...the promotion you didn't get, the shidduch you did not yet find (i couldn't resist), the slow Internet...etc etc etc

Purim is the day when we get to ask G-d to pull off the Mask. Ask Him to show us His face. Lets be open. Straight up. No more hide 'n seek. G-d its You and me. Lets have a conversation. Let me tell you whats been going up with me. You show me Your hand. Lets be close. Lets have a connection. Not because I'm petrified of being crushed to death by Har Sinai but because I love You and I choose You! I choose Your will to be my will. I'm not gonna lie G-d its difficult. I'm telling you right now I am going to mess up, multiple times. But thats because I am human,,thats the way You made me. I need You to support me when I fall. I need to know that You will be there clapping and cheering as I try again for the umpteenth time.  I want to be connected no matter how much my past behavior says otherwise.

The key element of all the mitzvot is Bein Adam L'chavairo. So lets take of our masks when it comes to our friends too. Lets have real conversations. Discuss whats been bothering you. Let it come out. Be honest. Be open. Connect. Don't hide behind anything facades. Be brave like Ester. Be who you are...be proud and be you and connect.

This purim lets be Real! with G-d, with our peeps, and with ourselves.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Party Hardy

So I generally like trying new things, and I don't mind checking out a new scene, because honestly, why not? You never know right? So when my roommate suggested going to a singles event in the meat packing district..i figured what the heck? whats the worst that can happen right?

So we went, and despite our efforts to be fashionably late we still managed to be the first ones in. Turns out this event is basically is just a bunch of people socializing at a bar. We all had name tags, and that was as far as the planning went. The music was too loud, the lighting non-existent. This was one of the few times in my life I was actually happy that I date via the shidduch system.

I suck at the whole socializing thing. No matter how much I try to psyche myself up and tell myself that I can do it..and that its not that big of deal..I just cant bring myself to do it. I cannot bring myself to walk up to a stranger and introduce myself. So I ended up just sitting in the corner..and that's how the night went...talk about crushing to the ego...

You ever experience anything like this? Do guys hate these things also?

Thursday, January 15, 2015


I would like to humbly suggest a new phrase into the dating lexicon. We are painfully intimate with the infamous "one and done." Those dates when you come home shaking your head, wondering what the heck the shadchan was thinking. How does this person ties his own shoes in the morning? Does he know that its 2015? Does he hear himself talk? Has he heard of deodorant? etc etc etc...

But I would like to dare suggest something for the dates when you just cant get home fast enough...introducing the " One and Run." For those dates that are just so terrible, so mind numbing, soul sucking, epic fails...for those when "one and done" does not suffice...ONE AND RUN!

I was just talking to my dad, explaining to him about the special kind of hell that is dating. I have many a friend who tell me that the best part of being engaged/married is that you never have to go on a first date ever again! What a mechaya! But then again, what else would we talk about? Some of my best stories are from my dates. My most horrifying moments, my most embarrassing times, and my frankest ( having to break up is not for the faint-hearted).

But I would be remiss if I ignored the good times, the good steaks, the prizes won at Dave and Busters...the excuse to shop...all good things i guess...can't wait to look back it all fondly and say..THANK GD THATS OVER!

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


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
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 

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) 

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


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!