Tuesday, August 27, 2013

...But I'll gladly care for your newborn baby.




I’m not good at it, I don’t enjoy it.
I can’t cook.

Now, my children, my husband, none of us are starving. We’re doing OK. But, when I get an email from TakeThemAMeal.com, I don’t groan inwardly. I whine. Audibly. And then I close my email.


I belong to the Bayit. And with that elite membership comes an exclusive responsibility. One taught in this space and modeled in the sweetest way.
One member of our clergy has been known to stock up on cereal bars to hand out to the homeless. One has coordinated meals for congregants who had a new baby or a sick child.
One…well…the week Rami was born, I got a call from a telemarketer. I knew it was a telemarketer because the caller i.d. showed a long string of digits. My mother ran to the hallway to listen to the answering machine and I called after her “Ignore it! It’s a telemarketer!” Then the machine picked up...“ohohohsimansimantov, ohohoomazalmazaltov…” “ANN! IT’S NOT A TELEMARKETER! IT’S THE RABBI!! HE’S CALLING FROM ROMANIA!!!”

Our children haven’t learned about those who came before them through yahrzeit plaques on the walls of our sanctuary; rather, they’ve learned to know and love members young and old through the intergenerational services of our spiritual home. Our pulpit doesn’t have ornate chairs to allow our clergy and board members places to sit throughout the service because we have clergy and board members who sit among us, willing to give up their seats to welcome newcomers. We have a membership that ‘s made a name for itself by carrying mattresses and residents down the stairs of a local home during a power outage, for opening our homes to guests of all kinds, for caring for children when their parents are unavailable, for donating platelets, visiting the sick, comforting the mourner, and easing the sometimes difficult first few days of new parents.

I belong to the Bayit. And with that elite membership comes an exclusive responsibility. One taught in this space and modeled in the sweetest way.

So, when I reopen my email at the end of the day, resigned to making one easy meal for that family in need, I am, of course, too late. All the slots have been taken, all the meals provided for. The sign of a lesson learned—a lesson taught by all of you who teach: Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh LaZeh.—All Israel is responsible one for another. Which is a good thing.
Because I.
Can’t cook.

The folks usually responsible for my Rosh HaShanah meals.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Last year's "Prayer for You" (Don't you love reruns?)

May your heart know the warmth of love, may your mind remain sharp, and may your body cooperate. 
May you find “the one” and the strength to be “the one.” 
May you get enough sleep and enjoy sleepless nights. 
May your boss be understanding and your children forgiving. 
May you delight in your loved ones and in their memories. 
May your layovers be brief, may your audience be enthusiastic, and may the floodwaters quickly recede. 
May your food be locally grown, organic, and in season and may your food servers be legal, ethically treated, and kind. May your separation be gentle, may your follow-up scans be clear, and may your unemployment check last you until the end of the month. 
May your couponing prove beneficial, may your child’s foreign embassy be free of strife, and may the best man win.

And may we all be inscribed for good, for life, and for peace.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

This year...

 May we follow the map to new destinations and may we follow our hearts safely home.
May our presence be necessary and may we go where we are needed.
 May we try new things, eat new foods, and find comfort in asking for help.

May we commit for the long haul and find the fortitude to quit mid-task.
May we nap in the arms of the ones we love and have enough room to sleep diagonal in our beds.
May we fight, may we scream, may we give in and give up. May we know peace.

May we brave the storm and know when NOT to tweet.
May the bus stop kiss be not "goodbye" but "I'll see you when you come home."
May we run not from fear but straight through the finish line.

May we arrive early and be gracious. May we do something about that tendency to roll our eyes.
May we repair that which is broken and may we love that which we cannot fix.
May we have the faith to fall down and the strength to get back up.

May we listen and, this year, hear the sound of the shofar.

May we wake up.