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Spirituality on Sale
by Lieba_Rudolph
 How I Got This Way
Aug 29, 2014 | 424 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

BH

I always share my blog posts with my husband Zev and friend Blumi before I “publish” anything.

Blumi’s email back to me last Thursday said, “Beautiful!” and Zev didn’t object to anything I wrote, so I figured I was good to go. But, somehow, I didn’t feel my usual sense of exhilarated relief on Friday morning. I was second-guessing myself; vacations are supposed to be private and personal and maybe I shouldn’t have written about mine.

Not that I was able to think much at all last Friday morning. The day started at 4:30 AM so we could get from Nantucket to Pittsburgh for Shabbos. Thank G-d, the trip home was seamless–there was even time to visit the grandmothers on Friday afternoon. At around four in the afternoon, my daughter Mushkie and I stopped in at my mother’s house.

I’m not sure what made me answer Blumi’s phone call while I was there. Maybe, because I was having doubts, I needed to hear her tell me how much she liked the post. That was when she apologized for not critiquing it better before I published it.

“What are you saying?” I asked nervously. This was the first time Blumi had ever said anything like that.

“You just don’t want to sound like a spoiled brat,” Blumi explained.  “And when I looked at it again last night, I thought someone might just read this post and think that about you.”

“Should I just delete the whole thing?” I asked.  I suddenly felt awful about everything.

I tried not to sound too distracted as I rushed out of my mother’s house. When I got home, I parked myself in front of my computer and called Blumi. We quickly tried to patch up the post; Shabbos was fast approaching.

I was feeling agitated, but reminded myself that these events were not tragic. Embarrassing maybe, but not tragic. So I pulled myself together and went with Zev for a quick visit to his mother. Minutes after we got there, Zev’s cousin Rochel walked in.

“Did you like my post?” I asked her.

“You have to be careful,” she answered. She went on to explain what I already knew.

The second I got home, I called two friends, Shelly and SaraRivka, asking them both what they thought of the post. I could tell that neither loved it, but they weren’t embarrassed to be my friend either.

So the post stayed up, both on the Jewish Chronicle’s web site and on my blog site. And every time I looked at either site, I found another mistake. Big ones, too.

So, I apologize for any failing in my blog’s form or content, and I thank you for giving me another chance.

Writing is a lot like life; it’s hard to get everything right all the time. But, if ever there’s a time to write about making mistakes, it’s now, in the month of Elul.

Elul is when spirituality goes on sale. To help us prepare for the High Holidays next month in Tishrei, G-d fills the world this month with a compassionate quality known as the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy.  He permeates Elul with a unique spiritual kindness that makes it easier for each and every Jew to be aroused to do teshuvah, to truly desire to be closer to G-d and Torah. In Elul, even a fleeting thought of teshuvah is rewarded with tremendous spiritual clarity–the ability to see where and how to improve ourselves and our relationship with G-d.

What to add, what to change, what to delete altogether. And, of course, what to apologize for. 

I may have gotten an early start on the process, but if teshuvah is G-d’s gift to the world and it’s more freely available in Elul, I would be wise to take advantage of every opportunity.

 
 


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How I Got Spent on My Summer Vacation
by Lieba_Rudolph
 How I Got This Way
Aug 29, 2014 | 737 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

BH

It's hard to describe Nantucket to someone who's never seen it, but it's sort of like an enchanted island. Everything indigenous is either quaint or pretty, or both: the beaches, the stores, the greenery, and especially, the descendants of the original vacationers. These people are the real WASPs who pull off the preppie look with unaffected authenticity, providing America with its impossibly high standard of good looks.

What my family was doing in a place like this I didn't know. My first time here, I felt like a Jewish caricature. And that was just for starters. As a kid, beaches meant swimming, and as a glasses-wearer, swimming meant not seeing. I tried to go along with everyone and find the fun in being knocked over by a merciless ocean, but I couldn't. (I still remember the first time I got salt water in my mouth and thinking it was the worst thing I had ever tasted.) Then there were events like getting so sunburned I couldn't move, being bitten by some sea creature or another that caused my entire foot to swell, and, of course, "Jaws."

After we became observant, with all of the added issues of what to eat and what to wear, it became easier to just write off beach vacations altogether.

There was just one little problem. My husband Zev loved the water. Seeing it, hearing it, smelling it, boating in it, all take him to a happy place that makes me understand what vacations are supposed to do, even if they don't do it for me.

When our lifelong friend, Herb, celebrated his 85th birthday in Nantucket seven years ago, we decided to surprise him with a visit.

Since then, it has become our family vacation spot of choice.

When someone asks me if I like Nantucket, my answer is that I like it because people I love, love it. As observant Jews, there are challenges to family vacations and keeping the balance while keeping the faith is all part of the fun. But for me as the Mother, it involves a fair amount of work--what to promote, what to protest, what to ignore.

When it comes to family, there is no vacation for me.

The good news is that I have come to understand that there is a Jewish source for my feeling this way.

G-d is manifest in Creation through ten essential qualities, known as the sefiros. First, there are three intellectual qualities known as chochma, binah and daas (whose first letters comprise the acronym Chabad). The six emotional qualities that followincluding kindness, severity, and beauty, are considered masculine for what they "do" or "bring" to Creation. Jewish women are associated with the tenth Divine attribute of malchus, the only feminine quality. Malchus has no characteristic of its own; it represents the ability to synthesize the other qualities into the various functional forms in Creation. What exactly that means cosmically I'm not sure, but I know it's good news for me as a Jewish woman. It means that I am the source of blessings for my home and my family, no matter where we are.

From that perspective, I appreciate that there really is no vacation from my holy work, but then again, why would I want one?

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GOLDBERG-NADULEK
Aug 29, 2014 | 64 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print

GOLDBERG-NADULEK: Sheree Goldberg-Nadulek of Gibsonia passed away peacefully on August 29, 2014, of Gibsonia. Loving wife of 25 years to Stanley H. Nadulek; beloved mother of Ashley Nadulek; sister to Larry Goldberg and sister-in-law Sarah Lewis of Philadelphia, PA; niece to Sidney and Judy Goldberg, and Bill Smith of North Versailles. Services will be held on Sunday, August 31, 2014 at Chabad of Fox Chapel, 1343 Old Freeport Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15238. Interment  followed at Adath Jeshurun Cemetery. Arrangements by the Gesher HaChaim Jewish Burial Society of Pittsburgh. The family suggests contributions be made to the ALS Society of Western PA.

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Florence Shore
Aug 29, 2014 | 48 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print

SHORE: Age 85, on Friday, August 29, 2014, Florence Shore; Beloved wife of the late Rubin Shore, loving mother of Heidi (Steven) Winkler and Sandra (Michael) Schneider. Grandmother of Russ Schneider, Jennifer Copeland and Lauren Winkler. Great-grandmother of Ashlyn and Charlie Schneider and Adam and Sammy Copeland. Also survived by many nieces and nephews. Graveside Services and Interment were held at Beth Abraham Cemetery. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc. schugar.com.

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Barbara (Gazzo) Taback
Aug 28, 2014 | 89 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print

TABACK: On Monday, August 25, 2014, Barbara (Gazzo) Taback; Beloved wife of Mitchell Taback. Loving mother of Brad and Kathy Taback and Erin and Doug Hyman. Sister of Sally and George Rooney. Grandma of Ethan, Sarah, Ben and Kevin Taback and Lauren and Matthew Hyman. Aunt of Ron Roteman, Jill Harris, Beth Zeuli, Gregg Rooney, Wynne Fedele and Todd Rooney. Services were held at Temple Emanuel of South Hills. Interment Mt. Lebanon Cemetery/Temple Emanuel Section. Contributions may be made in Barbara's name to U.P.C.I. 5150 Centre Ave., Suite 1B, Pittsburgh, PA 15232. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc. schugar.com.

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