Jew in the suburbs


A Gift Ring

 

On my 18th birthday my mother and grandmother wanted to give me a gift which I could hold onto for years to come.  They asked me what I wanted and suggested jewelry. I agreed, it may surprise you that I didn’t choose anything with peals since peal is my birth stone. I have always loved Sapphires, I find them to be just as beautiful as peal and I told my mother if she had her heart set on buying me jewelry I wanted to pick a sapphire ring. I have very small hands and fingers so after the ring was chosen I had to leave it at the store to get sized.  On my birthday I went to pick up the ring. I was so excited about it. Now the ring has more sentimental value to me than I expected.

 

You see I was standing at the jewelry counter waiting for the ring when I felt eyes on me. I turned slightly and found myself looking at a man in a wheelchair. “Getting yourself something today?” He asked me, I answered that it was my 18th birthday today and my mother and grandmother wanted to get me something special.

 

He continued to look at me without saying anything for a while and then suddenly he said. “I know sometimes you feel like no one will ever love you and that you will be alone. You are a beautiful girl; always remember that you will find someone.”

I was speechless for a few moments as he went on. I wondered why he came up to me and how he knew that sometimes these thoughts ran through my head.  He began to wheel away from me. He said again you are a beautiful girl, it will happen for you. As he said this he looked at the woman who was his wife, smiled and moved towards her. She waited for him and smiled at me. Moments later she was walking beside him.

 

I tried on my birthday ring, it fits perfectly. It is a ring for only special occasions, but every once in a while when there is no special occasion I take it out, look at it, and place it on my finger. Every time I look at it I remember what the man said, I smile, and I think about what it will be like when with G-d’s help I am married to and living with my soul mate. I know in my heart because of my emonia that the man is right, that I have a soul mate that I will be with and this person will love me as deeply and profoundly as I will love him.



I Am Woman
January 15, 2009, 4:32 am
Filed under: disabillity, Frum, Hashem, I am a Woman, Jewish, Jewish, Judaism, Orthodox, women | Tags: , , , ,

 

 

About six months ago I decided to change hairdressers, I got my hair cut by a different hairdresser and loved it when I got used to it. However, I didn’t like the way I was treated as a person, and tried to tell myself that the woman who cut my hair didn’t mean it. Let me explain what happened. I went in with another person and she spoke to that person about me instead of directly to me. My believe is, she saw I didn’t walk perfectly and thought I lacked intelligence. I was nice to her but didn’t like the way she made me feel. I find that I have to get my hair cut a lot because it grows so unbelievably fast. The next time I went back was about a month later. Being an Orthodox Jewish woman, I always wear long skirts or dresses. When I walked in to the hairdresser’s place of business I noticed the way she looked at me. I began to talk to her and as the conversion progressed the look didn’t fade. It was a look of bewilderment.  I had a gut feeling and I went with it. I started to talk with the person I came with, the same person I came with the first time I went to this hairdresser. It was small talk. I revealed nothing too personal about myself and nothing personal about others. I used the words in the community and in my community. Finally, my fairly new hairdresser said “What do you mean when you say your community?” I told her “I’m an Orthodox Jewish woman, that’s why I always wear long skirts and long sleeves. She responded very innocently “Oh I thought you were a cripple.” My gut feeling had been confirmed. The person who came with me was in shock, her eyes went wide and she looked as though she was holding her tongue waiting for my reply after hearing the word cripple, a word which I hate, a word which as far as I am concerned should be struck from the English language or should be considered a curse word. My response came calmly. “No I’m not a cripple. I just dress modestly. It makes me feel more comfortable.” She told me she thought it was became my legs looked deformed and I did not want people to see them. I told her honestly my legs don’t look deformed.

 

I must explain that this woman, who was not close to my grandmother’s age meant me no harm. I could see that she thought there was nothing wrong with her attitude or the word she used. Some people have told me she would have made them angry and hurt by her thinking and her use of such a terrible and untrue word. Getting angry would have been easy, what she said was hurtful, but I decided not to be hurt, to take it from where it came. The statements came from a sweet woman who didn’t realize she was saying or doing anything hurtful. I made a choice to educate instead of getting angry or allowing anger to cloud me.

 

I am not a cripple and I don’t believe cripples exist, that being the case as I said before, I believe with my whole heart that the word should be erased. It is a word that carries with in pain and untruth. I am not a cripple, I don’t walk perfectly but I am not a cripple.

 

I am a caring, understanding, compassionate, strong woman. I am a woman who is educated. I am a woman who has great faith in G-d. I am a woman who Thank-G-d has people who love and care about me. I am a woman with talents and a woman with so much love to give. I am a woman and I refuse to be defined nor should anyone else allow themselves to be defined as a cripple. I am a woman.              



Small act of Kindness
September 1, 2008, 11:58 pm
Filed under: disabillity, Jewish, Shabbos | Tags: , , , , , ,

 

 

 

Hello Blog Readers,

 

 

I don’t know about you, but I am afraid to ask for help on the occasions that I need it.

In short the reason is that I have a disability and feel people expect me to need help.  I thank G-d that I manage very well and don’t want people to think that I am helpless.  I don’t want people to think that others with disabilities are helpless just because of their situation.  At times, I will be writing about disabilities.  Now is not that time.  I just thought I needed to give you some insight into why what many would call a simple act of kindness touched me so deeply.

 

As I walked to Shul, Synagogue, Saturday morning, I thought about how nice it was to be away from the pressure of the week.  When I got to the door of the building, a man opened it for me, I said thank you, he said Shabbat Shalom; I returned his greeting wishing him a good Sabbath and began to walk toward the side of the women’s section closest to me. 

 

I heard the man ask me if I needed a Siddur, a prayer book.  I turned and answered yes quickly seeing that he was already removing a second Siddur from the large book case.  When I got to the Women’s section door, he opened that for me too.  And once again, I said thank you. He just nodded.  Truth be told, I am not sure that he heard me say thank you.   Instead of just handing me the Siddur, he stepped into the entrance of the women’s section.  I was surprised and saw that the seat I usually sit in was taken.  I turned back to him, told him I could take it from here, and took the Siddur from him.  He quickly left.  I found a seat and began to pray feeling so grateful for the kindnesses of G-d and the kindnesses of human beings.

 

Many people would say, he opened the door for you, that’s nice.  And yes it was kind, but what’s the big deal? (The big deal is that he made my life easier, since it is a struggle for me to open a heavy door, and carry a heavy book a long way.  But he did it without making me feel different from everybody else, or helpless.) I accepted this person’s help so happily because of the way it was offered.  When he opened the Shul door for me I felt that he would do that for anyone who needed the door opened.  He wished me a good Shabbos the way he would wish anyone a good Shabbos.  When he entered the women’s section, my prayer book in hand, I sensed that he expected and was perfectly happy to carry my Siddur to whatever seat I found.  He did this act of kindness with very few words and his expression conveyed to me that he would carry anyone’s Siddur if he found another person who needed it.  There was no pity in his voice or facial expression.  There was no urgency in his walk, as if he had to open the door for me and carry my Siddur because he saw that I had a disability.  He was not patronizing, there was no indication that he felt obligated to help me because he thought I was helpless.  I quickly took my Siddur while he was standing in the doorway of the women’s section because I did not want him to feel uncomfortable and I knew that  I did have the Siddur, that I could carry it to my seat but I truly was moved.

 

We human beings are taught to do acts of kindness; we are taught that an act of kindness is a Mitzvah, a commandment.   Most people think that opening a door for someone or helping someone carry a book or groceries is a small act of kindness.  People sometimes think that a small act of kindness doesn’t do much to help the world and that they need to do big things in order to help the world at all.  A small act of kindness isn’t so small and can make meaningful improvements.  I am almost positive, he didn’t think much, or at all about what he did to help me once the task was done.  He may not even remember opening the door for me next week, but he did and it made a big difference. It served as more evidence that there is human kindness and that is important to remember.