Jew in the suburbs


The Glow of Rabbi Holzberg and his Wife
December 11, 2008, 11:51 pm
Filed under: Hashem, Jewish blogs, Judaism, Shabbat, Shabbos, Shul, women | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

 

 

Dear blog Readers,

 

The Saturday morning of the long Thanksgiving weekend, I sat in Shul wondering what the rabbi would say about the events of that past week in India. My month hung open slightly as he spoke abut the senseless murder of Rabbi Gavriel Holzberg, and his wife, Rebbetzin Rivka Holzberg. It was the first time I heard it. Don’t get me wrong I had been following reports but events were still unfolding when I left for Shabbos Friday afternoon. When I got home from my Shabbos trip I was able to find more information. I found some Memorial videos, I read some blogs, but I was still at a loss for words. What can one say? When I was searching for information about Rabbi Holzberg, and his wife I was surprised about how many people had already written blogs about them, and I thought to myself. Wow I have to write about this, I will be expected to write about this, and I should write about it as a way of processing it myself. But again, what could I say, how could I find the words to describe the horror and sadness that I felt and feel? Then I thought about the poem I posted hours before my Shabbos trip. The poem is called Glow. It is not only a poem about lighting Shabbos candles, although that is what is being described. It is a poem about bringing light into this world and watching it glow. Bringing light into this world is bringing goodness The Rabbi and his wife glowed. They did things for others selflessly, and they brought light into this world. The light that they brought is not all extinguished. They touched the lives of so many, who in turn, I am sure, have touched the lives of others, and will continue to touch the lives of others that they meet. Thank G-d their children are here. All we can do is fellow the example of Gavriel, and Rivka Holzberg by creating more light, taking every opportunity to do so, and watch it glow creating goodness to fight off darkness.

 

For more information go to http://www.chabad.org/  Ladies also go to www.Fridaylight.org

       

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Glow Shabbat Shalom
November 28, 2008, 6:11 pm
Filed under: Hashem, Judaism, Shabbos, Torah | Tags: , , ,

 

 

My dear blog readers,

I am back, here is a poem from a short story which I wrote. No part can be coppied or used without my concent. I hope you like it. Have a wonderful Shabbos!!

Glow

See the candles flicker; see the candles glow, another Friday, another Shabbat Shalom. Watch the candles flicker, watch the candles glow, lighting up the darkness, lighting up the world on this Shabbat Shalom. HASHEM shelter us in your Shabbat Shalom, for six days we have labored for six days we have worked. Let us feel Shalom in your house we call home. HASHEM shelter us in your Shabbat lift our spirits high, rejuvenate our lives. We are tired but as we watch the candles glow all of our troubles melt away and we are filled with Shabbat Shalom. HASHEM we thank-you for our blessing of Shabbat Shalom as we watch the candles glow.

 

 



Shabbos Dinner Debate
November 17, 2008, 3:03 am
Filed under: Books, Hashem, Jewish, Judaism, Shabbat, Shabbos, Torah | Tags: , ,

 

 

 

Dear Blog Readers,

 

Is unity a negative or a positive thing? This question was the subject of debate at Friday night’s Shabbat dinner.  You see, a friend of mine’s son is reading a book in which the characters in the society are all groomed to be the same.  They do not have the luxury of choice.  They are told where to live, what career they must take, and exactly who they should marry (I gather that who they marry in the society of the book is not based on compatibility).  Decisions are given to one person to make and the memory of the whole community is held by this person, the community calls a receiver.  The receiver holds all the memories of the community and when the receiver can no longer do the job, another is trained.  If a person cannot handle the sameness of the community, that person is kicked out.  I believe that the point the author of this book is making is that unity is bad and individuality is good.

 

I don’t think the answer is that simple.  Judaism teaches us that the house of Yisrael   should be unified; it teaches us that the actions of one Jew affect the entire House of Yisrael   and yet we all have differences.  Differences in interests, differences in politics, differences in taste, and differences in the kind of person we choose for a mate. 

 

During the debate, at the dinner table, my friend told a story about an Orthodox woman with her five children in a store, the woman was looking at some items in an isle, her children were nearby, a man in seeing them shouted at her something like “all of you Jews”.  Yes, this man is an anti-Semite; he is an anti-Semite who sees us Jews all as one people.  The bottom line is that every one of us is an individual blessed with certain talents and different obstacles to contend with.  We are all individuals; our individuality is something to be proud of.  We are also all family and that unity should be acknowledged, respected and celebrated just as much as our individuality.  When I go into the workplace, or in another public arena, I am very much aware that I am a representative of the Jewish people.  I am a Bas Yisrael   and I need to try to behave correctly at all times.  My behavior, I realize has an affect on the way others in the world perceive other Jews.  I want to live Kiddush Hashem, for the sanctification of G-d’s name.  I don’t want any of my actions to reflect badly on the Jewish people as a whole. I would love to hear what you have to say. What do you think?  Is unity a bad thing, is individuality a bad thing or are both unity and individuality good in moderation



FYI Kever Rachel: Remember Mother Rachel
November 6, 2008, 11:52 pm
Filed under: Hashem, Jewish, Judaism, Shabbos, Torah | Tags: , ,

 

 

 

Dear Blog Readers,

 

Today I was reminded by an e-mail to honor Mother Rachel, please if you are awake join me.

 

Honor Mother Rachel by going to http://www.keverrachel.com/default.asp?lang=en on her Yehrtzeit, Chesvan 11 after Shabbos from midnight to 2AM Eastern time for a special web cast



Sleepy, lazy Shabbat
October 13, 2008, 3:35 am
Filed under: Hashem, Jewish, Judaism, Shabbat, Shabbos, Shul, Sukkot | Tags: , , , , ,

 

 

Dear Blog Readers,

 

This past Shabbat was quiet and lazy for me here is the suburbs.  I was feeling very much under the weather. It may have been due to the Yom Kippur fast coupled with the freezing   temperature of the upstairs room I davened in.  Most if not all of the women were cold in that room.  I point to the many, many winter coats, gloves and sweatshirts I saw being whipped out as evidence.  We women had cold hands yet warm hearts as we Davened to Hashem for forgiveness and for blessing.  The men whose hearts and souls I’m sure were just as full, were not cold.  Men never seem to be cold during davening. 

 

Of course, my feeling under the weather could have been just because there is something going around.  Either way, I felt under the weather.  I gave myself permission not go to Shul, instead I davened at home, rested, and slept.  I love the interactions of Shabbat. So, determined to feel the Shabbat mood come over me despite my under the weather feeling about thirty minutes before candle lighting time, I put on a Miami Boys Choir CD and dressed in Shabbat clothes to ready myself for candle lighting.  When I shut the music off, I had about ten minutes before candle lighting but the melodies of what I heard stayed in my head and helped me to feel the contentment that is Shabbat.  Now, Thank G-d I feel much better and Sukkot begins tomorrow night.  I am so excited!  Have a good Yom Tov!!



Hectic Friday, Blessed Shabbat
October 8, 2008, 1:35 am
Filed under: Jewish, Judaism, Shabbat, Shabbos, Shul, Torah | Tags: , ,

 

 

Dear Blog Readers,

 

This past Friday afternoon I did my usual Shabbat preparations.  I was able to leisurely get dressed and get last minute things in order because I had been preparing since the night before.  I was ready to leave my house early and expected to be at my Shabbat destination in plenty of time before candle lighting.  The problem was I arranged for transportation to pick me up and that transportation was at least a half hour late.  Then, I was informed that the driver had to drop someone else off before me, and then he got lost.  I sat in my seat quietly and nervously glancing at my watch.  I called someone on my cell phone to check and see when candle lighting was ( I always like to double check things) The person on the other end of the phone told me that candle lighting was at least a half and hour earlier than I thought it was.  You see, only about a week ago I got my new Jewish calendar, and the problem was that when I looked up candle lighting, I accidentally looked at candle lighting for the first Shabbat in September instead of the first Shabbat candle lighting in October.  I hung up the phone quickly and said to the driver, “I hate to complain, and would not normally do so but, I have to get somewhere for religious reasons.  He turned to me and said “What do you want me to do?”  I said, I don’t mean to be disrespectful to you in any way, and I don’t want you to leave anyone stranded.  I really need to get there before the sun goes down.  He again asked me what I wanted him to do and said “give me 5 minutes.”  I said all right but he either needed to get me to my planned destination or take me back home.  We were still closer to my home than my planned destination and I was confident I could make it home and light candles there.  I wasn’t confident that I could reach my planned destination which was at least 20 minutes away.  I said again, I don’t mean to come off as disrespectful in any way but if you don’t get me there I can’t fulfill my obligations, and I am in the wrong.  I have to get there for religious reasons.  I have to light candles.  When I said I had to light candles, he said, I understand and I will do the best that I can.  He got on the highway instead of taking the streets and went as fast as he could safely.  I kept looking at my watch; the sun seemed to be mocking me.  It was in my eyes and getting lower and lower.  My stomach was in knots; I said please G-d let me get there on time.  I was filled with stress.  The driver did get me to the place I needed to be and, helped me with my suitcase.  I thanked him and said G-d bless you.  The knots in my stomach were subsiding.  I knew I still had minutes left and I wasn’t quite into the extra 18.  I went into the house, lit, said the blessing, and went to Shul filled with such relief and such gratitude.  I was calm again.  

 

This past Shabbat was Shabbat Shuva, the last Shabbat before Yom Kipper, and the women’s section seemed more packed than it usually is on a Friday night.  I sat down with my Siddur as the sound of the Shabbat evening service melodies floated to my ears.  I felt so inspired and so loved and so part of something.  I was so grateful that I hadn’t missed one moment.  I was so grateful to feel so connected and all my worries disappeared.  I thought to myself this is where I am and this is where I should be.  I thought about how I may not have appreciated the candle lighting and Shabbat service as much if it were not for that hectic rush to be there on time.  If it weren’t for that rush, maybe I wouldn’t have noticed the calm, maybe I would not have felt as connected to the people around me who also came to Shul.  Shabbat allows us to slow down I also think that a rush before Shabbat comes in, shows us that the slow down is needed in our lives.  May you all be sealed in the book of life for a good life and a year full of only blessing.

 

 



High Holy Days: self-improvement and HASHEM’s Love

 

 

Hello Blog Readers,

 

I was so disappointed to miss Selichot services after Shabbos this week.  Simply put Selichot are special prayers for forgiveness as the month of Elul begins to close.  The time period of these services usually begins the Sunday very early morning hours before Rosh Hashanah.  These prayers are about committing to do better and be better in the upcoming year.  I know I have been talking about self improvement all month.  So, what sets the time period for selichot apart from the rest of the month of Elul?  I believe the answer lies in urgency.  Yes, it’s true we should use all of the days in the month of Elul to prepare for the High Holy Days but I believe that Selichot is a warning, a signal, a reminder that Rosh Hashanah.  is quickly approaching and Yom Kippur is not far behind it.  These prayers serve as yet another opportunity for forgiveness and personal growth. 

 

I was sitting in Shul, Synagogue Saturday morning, listening to the rabbi speak when I realized that  after midnight Selichot services would  begin.  My breath caught and I thought to myself, I have a problem. Depending on how you look at it these services are either very late into the night or very early in the morning.  This particular service was scheduled for 1 AM.  Of course, another service was scheduled later in the morning for those who would be sleeping through this service.  I knew I could not be at Shul at 1AM in the morning and that I had conflicts later in the morning making it impossible for me to make it to the second service.  I really didn’t want to miss this; after all, I have been writing about self improvement and digging deep in my own Teshuvah, repentance process.  What was I to do?  I asked a rabbi who understood there was no way for me to make it to either Selichot service.  He told me that I didn’t have to be there, I told him, I know that but I really want to be there.  I wanted to know what a person like me who knew she could not be at a service could do to make up for it.  The idea that I didn’t have to attend these services and I would still be all right should have made me feel a lot better, but it didn’t. I felt terrible I knew that this rabbi was right but I still chose to look up the subject in a very handy and user friendly book entitled Halichos Bas Yisrael   A Woman’s Guide to Jewish Observance Volume II published by Feldheim. 

 

All week I felt as if I did something terrible by not attending these services, then yesterday I was writing something on a different subject matter, I got frustrated because the word count wasn’t exactly as it should have been.  For a brief moment, I thought to myself, I failed, I can do nothing right but then, thank G-d, the knowledge that Hashem loves me and all human beings, and all the creatures He created, hit me once again, like a lightning bolt, at exactly the right time.  Preparation for the High Holy Days, self improvement, and personal growth are of extreme importance.  However, yesterday when I was writing and it wasn’t going the way I wanted it to, I lost sight of the fact that if I make a mistake, or a project I am working on doesn’t come out exactly they way I want it to, It doesn’t mean that I am a failure.  Yes, I missed the service last week and even though I was told that I was free from the obligation, I felt it was a mistake but I am trying, I am working on my Teshuvah process and Hashem knows it.  Hashem wants us to come close to Him, we should never forget the reason He wants us to come close to Him is because He loves us.

He knows that we can do better and wants us to have faith that we can. He is aware we are imperfect and loves us despite our imperfections.

May the New Year bring you all blessing upon blessing!