My teenage son was called a “goddamn Jew” yesterday. The words were just words to the utterer; likely just one of many curses they swore with on a daily basis. But they were more than words to my son, who had never been on the receiving end of hate before. Continue reading
Some journeys take you forward along the path of life, while others take you back, helping to form a different and better version of yourself, now somehow forever changed. The three days in Atlanta, whether reading my poem or just spending time with my mom and cousin Linda, did both: moving me forward, while at the same time circling me back upon myself. The experience helped blunt the edges of some painful memories, overlaying them with better ones. Continue reading
Death was no stranger to me in childhood. It’s a simple truth, yet so much more lurks behind it. Attending my Great-Aunt Francie’s funeral is one of my earliest memories, and I’m pretty sure I went to about a funeral a year through high school, with Grandpa Phil dying my sophomore year and Grandma Esther my junior. By the time I met Doug, in the summer before senior year, I had no living grandparents. I dreaded funerals and took no comfort in the Mourner’s Kaddish, which I’d learned by heart when I was far, far too young. Continue reading
Unless you know
what it is to look
at black & white proof
at lambs led to slaughter
at herds of the lost
at ghosts of a people
And know they were yours
And know they are you Continue reading
I’m willing to bet that most of you knew Hanukkah was over, even if you couldn’t pinpoint the exact day that it ended “sometime last week.” However, if you’re slightly confused because, although you don’t celebrate the Festival of Lights, you’re still seeing lit-up menorahs (or more accurately, Hanukkiahs) in your everyday travels, I couldn’t blame you. But I do blame the people who have not taken those menorahs down. Or, at the very least, turned them off. Continue reading
What Judaism, and specifically my Judaism, means to me has been something I’ve grappled with my entire life. I think it’s harder because Judaism isn’t just a religion, it’s a culture and heritage too. You’re never just from a country as other people would define their heritage—i.e., I’m Polish. No, for us, it’s always more specific—”my grandparents were Polish Jews”—because being Polish and descending from Jews who lived in Poland are not nearly the same thing. So many Jews living in the U.S. today share this duality and I think it makes it harder to figure out for ourselves what an “observant Jew” looks or acts like. Continue reading
It’s easy to dismiss so much that’s inexplicable in this world if you refuse to acknowledge that something has actually happened or that you even saw it. Those of you who know me know that I’m one of the least gullible, most grounded people around. But yet… There’s so much in this world that’s extraordinary, so why shut our eyes to it?
I’d love to tell you definitively that I don’t believe in things like ghosts and spirits and strange phenomena because I don’t want to be perceived as one of “those” people. But yet… How else can you explain this?
Wow! Tuesdays’s post (See “In Case You Didn’t Know: I’m Jewish“) led to some interesting and thought-provoking conversations, via email, text, Facebook DM, and in person. My mind is still processing it all. I didn’t realize when I was writing it what an incredibly personal thing it would turn out to be and hitting “Publish” was hard. After all, with a nod to Billy Joel, I only reveal what I want you to see, and this blog is the most personal public place I have. Typically, only a handful of people read it, but sometimes it goes places and distances I never imagined. So, I took a deep breath, hit “publish” and then left. I took the dog and went on a walk and didn’t know what reactions I’d find upon my return.
I’m Jewish. That shouldn’t come as any big surprise to anybody that knows me, or reads my blog. But sometimes I just feel the need to say it–to make sure that there are no misunderstandings on either side of the aisle. After all, my last name is Scottish and so you might be fooled.
It’s my husband’s family that carries the Scottish heritage, but I’ve embraced it, having always been a fan of the country. Now that I’ve been there multiple times, it’s actually become one of my favorite places on earth. So there’s haggis – my Scottish side, and challa – my Jewish side. (Challa is actually a nod to “Rachallah” – my Yiddish name used by my father as a term of endearment my entire life, and later adopted by my husband. It is not the bread.)
Back to the fact that I’m Jewish. Continue reading
There’s a blessing in forgetting. It’s a strange thought to express on this day of all days, when we change our Facebook profile images to ones of patriotism and use the hashtag NeverForget on Twitter, but bear with me. Continue reading