In the Minority- timely repost!

In the Minority

 ~ AROSEBYANYOTHERNAME2016 ~ 

The room was comfortably full, not packed. The A/C offered a Brrr so any remnant of heat left over from Indian Summer was left outside our “four walls.”Rabbi Lookstein walked up to the podium with his particular cadence I’ve come to know through the years. I was appropriately clad in the “right” length skirt. And so the stage was set, the evening began.

I was at KJ Synagogue to hear Dr. Rabbi Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University speak. The write up about the evening caught my eye and the kids set me up to gain entrance. He spoke on Sin, Self Perception and the Art of Living. 

The timing for me to hear this was propitious. Yes, G-d offers no coincidences. I walked away from the evening a little more fine tuned on some immediate issues that have been dealt to my extended family.

He touched on the distinction between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. He detailed the difference in prayer between looking at and embracing your sins, your misgivings and your wrongdoings. He was light on the emphasis of sins necessarily being terrible shandas worthy of punishments and more on ways we have wronged others. He moved on to the meaning of wearing white on Yom Kippur and praying for the forgiveness of the past year’s behaviors that we feel we can better. He was straightforward, his words flowed with a pleasant melody and his sincerity offered comfort. We, as Jewish people are factually in the minority. 

Our importance and roles in society however, quite the contrary. What was in the minority last night as well, were cells phones beeping, ringing or being accessed. We were there to listen, perhaps learn and be respectful of a very busy man sharing his knowledge and wisdom about keeping the peace pipe moving. L’dor V’dor. 

I left the Rabbi’s sermon feeling comfortable, embraced and that my well being was cared about by a virtual stranger, an ordained man.

In the love your neighbor category and a look after your own way, I question why it is often easier to be more kind to strangers than intimates. As a divine order play out, we are placed in positions, in families and situations that because we are “just humans” will inevitably offer conflict and need for repair. So perhaps just for today, four days short of wearing a white outfit and maybe even sneakers why not look to our left, glance to our right and say we are sorry to an intimate we may have wronged. Perhaps if we begin to own our piece of behavior we can move on in a healthy way to the sounds of cell phones ringing and beeps of texts coming in. Amen!

Shemoneh Esreh

We are living through a chapter in time where some days bare minimums fall short of being met. Where judgments are hopefully leveled and helping hands and legs up are the norm. 

If our heart displays it is always in the right place, then we can only hope cutting each other slack is practiced. We are made up of qualities of good and foibles that deem us human. Making it easier for one another when we can is optimum and listed high on our list of priorities. This is no time to bemoan our fate, but Avinu Malkenu, please give us a sign that one foot in front of the other, well intended, will soon deliver us to safety. On September 18, 2008 we said good-bye to our Sophie-our Mother with Grace. On September 18, 2020 we said good-bye to the Mother of Country RBG. Sophie took our Sunshine away. Justice Ginsburg’s passing takes our breath away. Avinu Malkenu is the divine number “18”- chai designated to women of valor? Chet and Yud adding up to 18 in the Hebrew alphabet. An eternal plan-no coincidence.

No Hell Below Us, Above Us Only Sky!

Whistleblower Claims women in ICE custody are being Coerced into Hysterectomies. The Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia is being investigated for performing hysterectomies for organ experimentation. They are said to have coerced Spanish speaking prisoners into doing this and not really explaining why it was being done. Ok, so they basically said get up on the table we are going to remove your dignity, humane rights to make decisions about Your bodies and eradicate your ability to procreate and bear children. These nefarious activities occurred all the while living in a covid-19 riddled and unsafe cell. As we enter the New Year and light yahrzeit candles for our parents we sigh a split second of relief as our protective instincts kick in. Thank G-d you were spared this moment in time when all your dreams for us had to be put on hold while we dodge bullets, run from rabid dogs, so to speak running around the streets and anxiously wait for when this demonic despot is no longer holding our health card in his hands. L’shana tova tikatevu.

Reboot

5781 you can’t come soon enough. We will usher you down the aisle to a picture show smacking of our days before using lysol or drinking it was a choice. We are done dreaming in turkish about episode 1,025 and impatiently waiting till we can take toothpicks on the way out from a restaurant. We will pray to Hashem on zoom and make certain he knows now more than ever how serious we are about Sacrificial and Tashlich. So it feels like fall as we move our white jeans and tee shirts to the back of our closet and make room for sweaters, flannel slacks and blazers. As we have done for umpteen years we will figure out our temple outfits. Our ritual for holiday mode frames our picture of leaves falling and noodle pudding scents wafting through our homes. This year we ask 92 Street “why not.” In addition to our lectures, lyric and lyricists series and grandchildren’s nursery school the “Y” serves as our house of worship. This year we will add extra usage on our “ memory battery.” We will recreate a picture in our mind’s eye as we sit in our apartment, put on a holiday blouse and get ready to zoom the service from the waist up. In an article in the Times this week they interviewed young children and asked them to express a thought on what “love” means to them. 4 year old Billy said and I quote, when someone loves you the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth. From his mouth to Hashem’s ears.

5781

5781 can’t come soon enough. Sept. 19 we will usher you down the aisle to a picture show smacking of our days before using lysol or drinking it was a choice. We are up to dreaming in turkish about episode 1,025 and waiting patiently till we can take toothpicks on the way out of a restaurant. We will pray to Hashem on zoom and make certain he knows now, more than ever, we were never more serious about Sacrifice and Tashlich.

Pre-existing notions – is the condition!

To remove healthy breasts or not? As we walked over to 69th Street from 72nd street early one June morning 10 years ago, I remember the sense of certainty as familiar as the iced coffee I just drank this morning.
We were entering an outpatient facility that was going to shortly be discarding, albeit healthy, breasts that were a vehicle for a potentially
deadly, deleterious genetic mutation
BRCA 1. The “founder” gene increases the risk for growing breast cancer up to 87 per cent. “If you opt for a double mastectomy you lower the risk to under 5 per cent.” Words my doctor said to me 6 years prior to my having the procedure. One in 400 people in the general population in the United States and 1 in 40 woman of Jewish Ashkenazi decent carry this mutation. A piece of mine and my families bad luck presented itself this way.
Fast forward to last eve and Kayleigh Mcenany (press secretary’s) speech. She revealed in a much less peripatetic way than her Barbie Doll, speed talking style, that she was also a carrier of a mutation. She carries the BRCA 2, different distinctions. We were prepared to hear more noisy rhetoric supporting the demonic despot at the helm of our United States of America. Mic drop, we listened carefully. Our beloved country is no longer recognizable compared to our childhood days of playing hopscotch and hide and go seek on the “safe haven” of our block. We knew the street’s as extensions of our homes. Our playgrounds outside our front doors. A far scream and shout out loud please G-d, from the street where an innocent man, father of three was brutally shot 7 times in his back, on his streets. Because why? We are segregated in ways that are as far from being resolved as ever.
Genetic mutations cross barriers of race and religion. Bigotry, hate and violence do now, more than ever. When we back up our prayers on i cloud let us beg that November 3 will be a beginning to redefine our Land of the Free Because of the Brave!

Children of a Lesser G-d

It is June 2025 and I am getting ready for my high school graduation. I am graduating with honors and excelled at the top of my class in creative writing. I was bestowed the honor of delivering a speech on my take away of the Covid-19 virus that plagued the world in 2020. It is 5 years later and although it took the better part of 2 years until the eye of the storm subsided, we were left with a brave new world. The last five years have defined our world and my youth in ways that could never have been believed with no preparation in site. We were human shock absorbers. In guinea pig fashion we were isolated in our own boats navigating a storm flooded with fear, rage and no real answers. The virus knew no limits and left it’s mark on millions of innocent bystanders. We never knew if it was our turn to suffer on the front line of battle. We spent time dodging bullets, while baking blueberry pound cake with our siblings in lockdown mode. There were months on end where no expiration date was just that. As 13 year olds while forming friendship’s was top of mind, we were concurrently learning to fight an enemy that could come from around any corner, on any block. The streets crowded with people wearing masks was a clear visual of the enemy at hand. As lucky kids, the worst we knew was strep or a wrist sling from breaking a fall on the basketball court. Yet, we came to understand we were now dealing with deregulating the rules of the health cards as we knew them. Belly aches, scrapped knees and irritated gums from braces were mere annoyances compared to what we were up against. Fast forward and with no braces in sight, I am dressing in a new suit and sporting a tie decorated with happy faces. We survived and are thriving as a vaccine and maintenance program is in place. While overcoming an act of G-d, and a human disaster that has left us with emotional scars, I will address my graduating class today with honor. I will look in the eyes of my friends and know we developed strong friendships in spite of the scariest of times. My take away dear friends is if anyone one of us falls a little behind, we will wait till you catch up. We all started behind the starting line and emerged stronger and knowing together is “hashtag” better.

On the Precipice of…

”Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” Harry S.Truman
Cut to “Disclosure – soon to be the tell all published by Michael Cohen. A.K.A. Donald Trump’s previous friend/lawyer, now on house arrest.

“From golden showers in a sex club in Vegas, to tax fraud, to deals with corrupt officials from the former Soviet Union, to catch and kill conspiracies to silence Trump’s clandestine lovers, I wasn’t just a witness to the president’s rise—I was an active and eager participant.”

A favorite quote of ours is: When you completely trust a person, without a doubt, you’ll automatically get one of two results- a Friend for life or a Lesson for life.”
When the most disconcerting of sounds clamored through our grade school and we were told to get under our desks and practice taking shelter in case of war, we never quite understood the enormity. Well, we are no longer practicing and we are hiding big. In pen pal fashion we would walk to the corner, mail our letter and wait eagerly on our front stoop for the postman to see whether our new BFF wrote back. The theft of time has fast forwarded 60 years and we are mirred in the depths of danger. Nightmares realized, and how, just how do you explain to a grandchild what a golden shower is. Come out, come out wherever you are, sign your name with a Blue Pen, swear to tell the truth. This time there are no pinkies involved, we are at the Emis of life.

Baby Steps to Victory!

Relief in a “don’t let the door hit you in the butt way,” was our reaction to Kamala Harris becoming Joe Biden’s running mate. In a minute and for the first time since Jan 20, 2017- (yes Donald, you schmuck,) the year was 2017 not 2018- we sighed, cried and felt possibility. There is no magic fix for the tragic mistakes in judgement by our misanthropic despot, however “Hope” is the elixir we prayed for and it feels magical. Just for today, let’s embrace possiblity with the huge hugs we have missed for 6 months. Take your baton out of storage, shine your penny loafers and gear up to walk over to the post office for your mail in vote for Biden/ Harris 2020.