I still think one of the Mystery Dates should have been in church or synagogue but that really wasn’t PC in a Milton Bradley game, circa 1965. Enjoy, apples and honey, sweetness – L’shana tovah to all (and happy anniversary to my husband, who was my mystery date on Kol Nidre in Park Synagogue 22 years ago).
I’ve been writing this series of blog posts since the beginning, in 2005, and am pleased to say that I’ve progressed (aka gotten OLDER) to the point where my husband is making the meal, we have guests bringing the salad, I only have to make the apple pie and order my kids around to do everything else – and pick up the phone to get help for our afternoon brunch celebration. I am lucky – very lucky. And I’m grateful to that husband and those kids who make my luck possible and more plentiful everyday.
I can’t even think about how this past year, 5771, has been – full of an incredibly wide variety of activities, highs and lows. But really? I think I am getting that affliction my parents used to say was only for older folks (aka my Nana in particular, my father’s mother): you only remember the good – because I just don’t remember that much bad. Maybe there really wasn’t that much bad – certainly compared to the challenges of many I know, there wasn’t. But could it be that I simply don’t remember the bad so much anymore?
I’m choosing to enter 5772 with the belief that there actually is less bad. For all the distrust in government (just read that the public’s trust in Washington, DC is down to 15%), just this morning a fellow elected called me with enormous glee at the reality that we are in fact having an impact – that those of us who chose to extricate politics from governing can be heard and agreed with and set a tone, and we’re not alone. There is a place for politics – I love politics. But I don’t like politics when they mess negatively with governing or the public’s trust. And that’s a big part of what we’re getting year-round, every year, because there is no such thing as an off-year.
And so I’m going to keep working so that there is less bad all around. My kids are in demanding stages – rewarding stages, but demanding stages. My work in my writing, at Council and now at The Civic Commons continues to be incredibly rewarding. I feel I’ve earned these opportunities but I never forget that that’s what they are and I must treat them that way to keep earning them.
And so I see 5772 as an opportunity – it’s a new year, I’ll be turning 50, I’ll be married 20 years, my oldest will graduate from high school (baruch ha Shem as we say).
Seriously – I can’t be heard to complain. Or, as Connie Schultz’ sign says, No Whining.
Totally no whining.
L’shanah Tovah and thank you to everyone who has supported me – you don’t even know.
You can read President Obama’s greeting to those of us who start the Passover holiday this evening here. No word yet on the guest list for this third annual event, but the menu is said to include brisket, noodle kugel and macaroons. This historical review of how the Obama’s seder began says the group that attends “…is limited to those that attended the first year.”
I do question the noodle kugel, not because you can’t find Kosher for Passover noodles (or make your own) but usually? They taste…not so good. Maybe I should send Michele and Barack my mom’s apple farfel kugel and potato kugel recipes.
Here’s evidence of the Maxwell House haggadah being in the House. We’ll have to wait word for what they use this year.
For those who’ve been reading my blog for the last seven years, you may recall my What Do Jews Do series (since then there’s been Purim 2009, Tisha B’av 2009, Passover 2010). I haven’t added to it much lately, but then my prolific blogging has become far less prolific overall.
But today, I started to post a Facebook update that was just too long and decided to return to the blog to share the sentiments.
So – Passover cooking. It’s in a league of its own. But Passover baking is yet another category unto itself. And then, there’s the ultimate challenge: Passover baking for someone whose birthday is during Passover. Ah yes.
Here’s what happened the last time these events – a birthday in my house and Passover – coincided, in 2005: Read more
Last week, I participated in the day-long Appreciative Inquiry Summit for Women’s Leadership. The Jewish Federation of Cleveland convened the event with the following aspirations in mind:
Strengthening our Jewish community, building meaningful connections, and creating valuable experiences through opportunities that utilize the unique strengths and resources of women and maximize our personal growth and leadership potential.
Now, I’d like to offer a few thoughts, looking back but also acknowledging that it is way too soon to fully appreciate – no pun intended – the ramifications of this unique and dare I say breakthrough gathering.
From the moment I walked in the room where we were to work from 9am through 4pm, the power was palpable. The mere numbers of us present provided a baseline buzz, with tables set for six often accommodating more, especially later in the day as we moved through the process. Read more
Since lunch, 170+ women have been working hard at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Appreciative Inquiry Summit. We’re imagining the community we want to see and how to get there. It’s not easy to herd so many minds and bodies but we’re managing.
Similar themes of a future are emerging with just enough panache to spark laughs and awed silence. Through mock-ups of Facebook pages, newspaper headlines and other visuals (rainbows, growth, umbrellas), expectations affirm a confidence that we will reach a pinnacle, that we can reach a pinnacle – and stay there. My favorite slogan/headline to foreshadow the future is a future tweet that says, “No more money needed – all needs met.”
The effort, however, is not without its challenges. One I see is making sure that in every idea we consider, we consider how to be sure that we neither overshoot and be so ambitious that achievement is illusive, nor underestimate the challenges. For example, some well-known concepts (mentoring, conferences, mission trips) appear repeatedly, but why? Have they not been effective in the past – if not, how can we make them more effective when we implement them? Or should we be thinking more out of the box? Read more
How do you get 180 Jewish women in one room for a full day? Hmm – I could say – tell them they can talk and there’ll be coffee. But the busy women of NE Ohio can figure out how and when to do that on their own.
Instead, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Appreciative Inquiry Summit is about making us feel like there’s something bigger than ourselves that we’re going to create, contribute to and implement in a way that enriches the community. And not just the Jewish community, but the women’s Jewish community, the overall community and the overall women’s community.
We are 27 tables with six women at each (some more), being led by Ron Fry, Chair of the CWRU Weatherhead School’s Organizational Behavior department in the AI process. We’ve introduced each other and been given a chance to both listen to the accomplishments and strengths and personalities of each other but also a chance to hear ourselves work to describe the same in ourselves – for some of us, an unique and new experience. Read more
A few weeks ago, I received an email that included the following invitation:
“The Jewish Federation of Cleveland has enlisted CWRU’s Weatherhead School of Management to help design the future of women’s leadership in our community. We want your voice to be heard during this community-wide conversation.”
How could I say no? Women’s leadership. Community. Jewish. Hello?
I couldn’t – and didn’t.
And so tomorrow, for several hours, I will be in a room with more than 150 women doing this very thing called Appreciative Inquiry.
What is it, really, you wonder? I have to confess, just hearing and seeing the words “appreciative” and “inquiry” next to each other were enough for me to say, yes! Luckily, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland has a page for the Summit and on it, some explanation: Read more
Great article, better video.
I’ve written before about my state rep’s assertions regarding his electoral success as it relates to his being Jewish. The Cleveland Jewish News now has a lengthy article with quotes from a well-known Democratic political consultant, among others, that directly contradicts Josh Mandel’s previous suggestion that identity politics plays little if any role in his career.
Marilyn Karfeld does a nice job with a subject that many won’t even tackle and some pundits want to say doesn’t really matter (identity politics). Just one excerpt to indicate otherwise:
Mandel has also raised large amounts of money from out-of-state Jews, particularly ones from heavily Jewish regions of New York and California. “Why? Because he’s good looking? No. Because he’s Jewish” and a strong potential candidate some day for governor or U.S. senator, says Austin. “Jews, even liberal Jews, see Josh’s potential. His positions don’t matter. There are no issues in the treasurer’s race. It’s about (his) being Jewish. They want to see Jews promoted.” [emphasis mine]
Haveil Havalim #275: The “I’m so busy that putting together this blog carnival is actually what substitutes for taking a break” Edition
Filed Under anti-semitism, Barack Obama, Civil Rights, conservatives, Culture, democracy, Education, Foreign Affairs, Gaza, George Bush, Government, Holidays, intolerance, Israel, Jewish, Judaism, leadership, Military, palestinians, peace, Politics, Recipes, Religion, Sexism, Social Issues, Sports, war, Women, Writing, Youth | 13 Comments
Welcome to this week’s edition of Haveil Havalim #275: The “I’m so busy that putting together this blog carnival is actually what substitutes for taking a break” Edition.
Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs — a weekly collection of Jewish and Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It’s hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by the formidable Jack.
No enthusiastic experiments this week like last week’s edition, but I’ll see what I can do to keep it flowing:
Batya presents If I Were To Wear A Wig… posted at me-ander. Side-note: my daughter is into anime/manga and desperately wanted to wear her character’s wig. Did not work out so well, but maybe if I wore one, she’d have been conditioned? FYI, here’s a fascinating post on Jews in Anime and Manga.
Izgad offers a book review in An Anthropologist Does ArtScroll: A Review of Orthodox by Design posted at Izgad.
Mordechai Torczyner speculates in Why does Cleveland hate LeBron James? posted at The Rebbetzin’s Husband. But I can tell you, having just driven past the famous “Witness” wall last night on my way to a friend’s 40th birthday party in downtown Cleveland that, as a parent, LeBron’s decision just sends a bad message – if it doesn’t have to be about money, then it can be about winning. And that seems to make it not be about life.
Shira sounds a theme I’ve read in other posts regarding Segregation in Israeli Schools Today posted at Table Poetry. It’s posts like this one and Mottel’s that make me ache for us to have ever-larger audiences though, so the nuances of such situations can be known and acknowledged.
Joel Katz’s weekly podcasts can be listened to here, Religion and State in Israel – July 5, 2010 (Section 1) and here, Religion and State in Israel – July 5, 2010 (Section 2) (both posted at Religion and State in Israel).
Finally, Harry looks at just how frequently all-things-Israel get mentioned in How Kagan’s hearing turned into an Israeli focus, you know where it’s posted.
Batya highlights PM Binyamin Netanyahu and Larry King “Fencing” Around The Chess Board complete with video and a link to the show’s transcript, posted at Shiloh Musings.
Batya argues, “It’s not enough to feel the spirit” in Torah Judaism, Is It Enough to Be Spiritual Without Keeping The Laws? posted at Shiloh Musings. A very provocative topic indeed.
(I love the name of this blog): Homeshuling presents What’s Jewish about competitive eating? – Homeshuling posted at Home-shuling.
Mottel’s lengthy but absolutely worth the full-read, A Fire Burns in Crown Heights: An Essay on Religion, Modernity and Pizza, has implications, imo, for all kinds of situations, religious and non. It’s posted at Letters of Thought.
Kissmeimshomer examines religion and happiness in Killing Babies and Understanding Brad Pitt’s Depression at Kissmeimshomer.
Ben-Yehudah gives some technical advice with illustrative illustrations in Do You Pay Attention To The Google Ads On Your Site? posted at Esser Agaroth.
I don’t know whether or not I’d recommend this to someone consider being a rabbi but Mordechai Torczyner’s entry, Why Rabbis Stop Believing, posted at The Rebbetzin’s Husband, sure raises a lot of good conversation points.
The title of Joshua Waxman’s entry faked me out so it’s a good thing he included what category Anisakis worms and peshat in Kukyanei, according to Rashi and Rabbenu Tam belonged to (posted at parshablog).
The title of Chaviva’s entry, Once Upon a Time, I Was Agnostic. posted at Just call me Chaviva, reminds me of when I was a freshman at Georgetown and we had to pick a second mandatory theology class (the one all frosh have to take is called The Problem of God), and I first encountered the word, “gnosticism.”
I can’t even pretend I know what he’s talking about given my insufficient education in this area, but I bet a lot of you will enjoy Joshua Waxman’s Demonic messages between Sura and Pumbedita, posted at parshablog.
That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Haveil Havalim using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the blog carnival index page.
Thank you all for your submissions – they make me sad for all the time I have not had or made to read and keep up on often gripping and always real thoughts on these subjects.
By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:20 am July 11th, 2010 in anti-semitism, Barack Obama, Civil Rights, conservatives, Culture, democracy, Education, Foreign Affairs, Gaza, George Bush, Government, Holidays, intolerance, Israel, Jewish, Judaism, leadership, Military, palestinians, peace, Politics, Recipes, Religion, Sexism, Social Issues, Sports, war, Women, Writing, Youth | 13 Comments
Who called just as our seder was starting:
We make the same foods over and over because repeating a good menu is a lot easier than coming up with a new one each year. Just change the people around.
Aw – just kidding. Here are my three favorite kosher for Passover recipes but pretty much everything we make I would recommend:
Because there simply is not enough challenge in Pepper Pike, or my freelance writing work, or raising my three kids, and I am addicted to multi-tasking (unlike some of our Congressional members who insist on doing only one thing at one time), I’ve decided, on this Purim 2010, to pull petitions and run as a member of the newly formed Coffee Party for:
Cuyahoga County Executive: Vote Zimon – She’s No Retread
B’nai Jeshurun Synaogogue President: Vote Zimon – Enough With This Predetermined Stuff
American Jewish Committee: Vote Zimon – She Tells Scott What To Do Anyway
Ohio Bar: Vote Zimon – She’s Married To A Practicing Lawyer And That’s Good Enough For Us
National Association of Social Workers: Vote Zimon – Talk About Talk Therapy!
Last year, my slogan was, Don’t Get Mad, Get Elected. But now, on Purim, I want to make it clear that my newest mantra is: Don’t Get Elected, Get Overextended!
And if my enthusiasm for simultaneously running for multiple top spots sounds a little circumspect, at a minimum, do check out the Coffee Party. It actually sounds kinda cool:
MISSION: The Coffee Party Movement gives voice to Americans who want to see cooperation in government. We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges that we face as Americans. As voters and grassroots volunteers, we will support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them.
And for those who didn’t know, one Purim tradition is parody. Although note that I did not say I’d also run as an Independent for Ohio Treasurer or my state rep’s seat.
From the national Jewish publication, The Forward, and its article, “Political Hopefuls from Both Parties Run “Independent”:
Coming from a community that voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama and that is strongly aligned with the Democratic Party, Jewish Democrats are nevertheless seeking to strike a new tone this year. This means taking a step away from the party and the president and using the term “independent” as much as possible on the campaign stump. And for Jewish Republicans running for statewide offices, hopes are high that they can cash in on public disappointment with the conduct of leaders in Washington.
Republican Jewish political candidates — none of whom are known to be in serious contention for Congress this cycle — expect that public frustration with the Democrats will work to their party’s benefit.
“There is definitely a new momentum,” said Josh Mandel, a Republican running for the post of Ohio state treasurer. “I think it will have more of an impact in states with bigger Jewish populations.” Jewish Republicans have high hopes for Mandel, a Marine veteran who served in Iraq, and view him as a potential future player on the national level. [emphasis added]
As an interesting footnote, during Mandel’s 2008 re-election campaign, he stated that he’d never met a Jew who supported him blindly because he was Jewish:
Asked if he thinks he’ll receive Jewish votes for being Jewish himself, Mr. Mandel answered, “Maybe my opponent has met people who blindly support me because I’m Jewish, but I certainly haven’t.
The political reality of identity politics in Ohio – like it or not, agree with it or not – does involve the sizeable Jewish population on Cleveland’s east side as a factual situation. No one I’ve ever met has disputed that and in fact, I was told by a non-Jew in Pepper Pike that he would not help me get on the ballot because, as he told me, there already are too many Jews in Pepper Pike. Honestly, I’m not sure why anyone involved in politics would try to dispute this very well-known, acknowledged information.
Rather, the challenge with identity politics is to decide for yourself, as a candidate, how that reality informs your choices, as a candidate. For example, I never went out saying, “I’m the mom! We need a mom!” Read more
To further its grass-roots efforts, J Street [the Washington, D.C.-based organization that calls itself the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement] has merged nationally with Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, which has a chapter in Cleveland. Brit Tzedek’s mission, posted on its website, is “to educate and mobilize American Jews in support of a negotiated two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Coincidentally, at the same time that J Street is seeking to establish a local presence, AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, no longer has a permanent area director based in Cleveland. However, three full-time staffers in its Chicago office will continue to oversee efforts here, says Josh Block, AIPAC spokesman. Read more
Miep Gies was born a Roman Catholic in Vienna. She surely exemplified the highest values of Christianity. She was knighted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, honored by Yad Vashem, Israel’s official authority for the commemoration of the Holocaust, and the German government. Her heroic attempt to save eight Jews surely qualifies as miraculous, as does her preservation of her young Jewish friend’s diary. Why, then, has the Vatican not deemed fit to put her on the road to sainthood? Why and how is she any less worthy than Pope Pius XII whose record with respect to the annihilation of European Jewry during the Holocaust remains shrouded in controversy? And yet it is Pius, not Miep Gies, whom Pope Benedict XVI wants to fast-track to sainthood.
Might need to take a survey of college friends who’ve become Catholic priests to see what they think.
What do you think?
I always got a kick out of how Israeli pop radio didn’t call The Police “The Police” – Americanizing the name, but rather Ha’Mishtarah – or, “The Police” in Hebrew. Likewise, I got a kick out of the in-Hebrew Hannukah greeting posted (in pdf though) by the White House last week:
הבית הלבן משרד הדובר
לפרסום מידי 11 דצמבר 2009
הצהרת הנשיא אובאמה לרגל חג החנוכה
מישל ואנוכי שולחים את מיטב איחולינו לכל מי שחוגג בימים אלה את חג החנוכה ברחבי העולם. סיפור חנוכה של המכבים ושל הנסים שהם חוו מזכירים לנו שאמונה והתמדה הן כוחות עצומים המסוגלים לקיים אותנו בתקופות קשות ולעזור לנו לגבור על מכשולים כנגד כל הסיכויים.
חנוכה הוא העת לא רק לחגוג את אמונת העם היהודי ואת מנהגיו, אלא להעלות על נס את השאיפות המשותפות של בני כל הדתות. בשעה שבני משפחה, חברים ושכנים נאספים יחדיו כדי להדליק את הנרות, מי יתן והלקחים של חנוכה ישמשו השראה לכולנו להודות על החסד שנפל בחלקינו, למצוא מקור אור בתקופות אופל ולפעול יחדיו למען עתיד יותר מלא אורה ותקווה.
Let me tell you, after sitting through 90 minutes of a middle school band and orchestra concert during which each group played the same exact Chanuka medley (which is often the one played every year), I want to start a letter-writing campaign to have Hatch come and orchestrate his piece for adaptation to high school music curriculums. (More on how Hatch came to write the song here, from the New York Times, and from Tablet Magazine, which released the video, and written by The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, here.)
Chag Sameach everyone.
Rabbi Bonnie Koppell is the first female rabbi commissioned to the U.S. Army, which she has served since she began at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1978. In 2005 she was promoted to the rank of colonel, again the first female rabbi to achieve that rank. Most recently, Rabbi Koppel was appointed Command Chaplain of the 63rd Regional Support Command.
In her three decades of service to the army Koppel has received many awards, including two Meritorious Service and two Army Commendation medals. In addition to her other life as a pulpit rabbi and mother, Koppel has served two tours of duty in Iraq and two more in Afghanistan. On the subject of the role of chaplains in war, Koppel wrote:
Chaplains are noncombatants – we do not carry weapons, we are not trained to fight. We are there to minister to the religious needs of the troops and, as such, we are an essential part of the military force. No one likes war, no one wants war. No one prays for peace with more fervor than the soldier who stands ready to lay down his or her life for our country.
Yet, I am not a pacifist; I believe that there are times when war is justified. War is always a horrible tragedy, but it is not necessarily immoral. I am proud to consider among my many identities as wife, as mother, as rabbi, as teacher, as friend, yet another – as an American soldier. God forbid the need should arise, our Jewish soldiers deserve to have rabbis who are trained and ready to deploy alongside them, to be there to offer all the support they will need. I am proud to be among those who stand ready to go with them.
With the start of Chanuka just a couple of weeks away, the entire article is worth reading.