Tuesday, October 18, 2005

It's Raining on Sukkah-night...

We haven't put it up yet. It has been raining since Sunday -- the day we had planned to build the sukkah.

Now my life is, at best, a hectic yet delightful mess! I often feel as though I am just one step ahead of things. Sometimes, I do try to get my act together and plan ahead. So I asked Beernut if he'd given any thought to what costume he might like for Halloween. His response: "I can't think about that now. All I can think about is when we can get the sukkah ready."

That was two days ago...

When we got home from school yesterday, Beernut wanted to know what would happen if we couldn't get the sukkah up before Sukkot began.

And when he woke up this morning, dismayed to find that it was still grey and pouring, he exclaimed, "Now we'll never have a sukkah!"

So, what to do?

I suppose I could wait for a respite from the rain, dash outside, and put up the darn thing as rapidly as possible. But what is the point here? We've always taken time to build and beautify the sukkah together as a family. Our decorations will surely get ruined in the rain.

Perhaps this is the year to just eat at my folks every night...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Someone Else's Story

Some months ago, our family went to dinner at a local restaurant and had a most amazing experience. It was a Saturday night and though we had intended to get out of the house in time to avoid the Saturday evening rush, somehow it took a bit longer than we had hoped. When we arrived at our location, the wait was about 25 minutes, there was no where even to sit while waiting, and both children were close to the brink of hysteria. As PC went in search of crackers, a young couple seated at a nearby booth motioned to me.

I went over and the woman said, “we want to give you our table. Your family is so beautiful and as a mother, I don’t want your kids to have to wait for dinner.” I was taken aback. I had never met this woman and she had no obligation to relinquish her table to our family. I thanked her, and made it clear that while we truly appreciated her kindness, it was not necessary. She insisted, and so we were able to be seated and calm the kids.

There are two lessons that I took from this experience. The first lesson is that the actions of a stranger can have a significant impact. We all have a tendency to view society with a hardened eye. Small gestures of kindness, such as this one, have the ability to renew our faith in the human spirit. The rest of our meal had a special overtone to it. Though we would have eventually been seated, this act of g’milut chasadim brought a sense of holiness to our dinner.

I initially had refused the woman’s offer because I couldn’t imagine displacing anyone in order to be seated more quickly. And then the second lesson dawned on me; by accepting the table, I was allowing this woman to perform a mitzvah. Sometimes we are so focused on being independent that we overlook the importance of giving another person the opportunity to do good. When I put the stranger’s kindness into this perspective, I felt as though I had an active role in her performance of a mitzvah rather than being a passive recipient.

Beernut and Poppyseed are too young to have noticed the look of appreciation that passed between the eyes of this thankful and relieved mother and the eyes of a knowing and kind stranger. But this experience will become part of our family story, as I recall the night that an act of kindness touched our lives. And it will become an example from which I pray they will learn.

How will you become part of a stranger’s family story?

Monday, October 10, 2005


They are welcomed!!

When I visit other blogs and see that no one has commented, I think, "how sad. No one is reading this poor person's work."

And then I realized that people who read my blog must think the same thing.

So, please -- if anyone is reading this, please comment. If I was writing solely for the sake of writing, I'd just keep a journal!!

Friday, October 07, 2005

A picture truly is worth a thousand words!

From the AP:

'Oy Vey' Traffic Sign Goes Up in Brooklyn

Wed Sep 28, 6:58 PM ET

"Leaving Brooklyn Oy vey!" That's what motorists now see as they cross the Williamsburg Bridge into Manhattan. The huge sign, affixed to a cross beam of the bridge high above the bustling traffic, is a sweet victory for Marty Markowitz, president of the borough, home to a large Jewish population.

When Markowitz first approached the Department of Transportation about the sign in January 2004, he was rebuffed because the agency felt it would be distracting to motorists.

After "revisiting" the issue, the DOT allowed the sign to go up two weeks ago, Markowitz said Wednesday. "I'm thrilled."

Markowitz said he is responsible for many other signs praising his great borough that are posted at every entrance into Brooklyn. The DOT, he said, "saw that those signs caused no problems, and that the 'Oy vey' sign would be fine."

A request for comment from the DOT was not immediately returned.

"Oy vey," Markowitz said, is an original Jewish "expression of dismay or hurt."

"The beauty is, every ethnic group knows it," he said, and motorists seeing it know it means "Dear me, I'm so sad you're leaving."

He also proudly recited from some of the other signs from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Belt Parkway that welcome motorists to the borough:

"Not Just A Borough, An Experience"; "Name It...We Got It"; "Like No Other Place in the World"; "Believe the Hype."

Will the "Oy Vey" sign stay up indefinitely?

"I think these things are up to the discretion of the borough president," said Markowitz, managing to sneak in a plug for his re-election bid.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

3 Tishrei 5766

It looks weird. It always takes me a few weeks to get adjusted to the new year when writing the date.

So RH was totally awesome! And I am really tired...but still in the musing phase.

Just before the holiday, in response to my annual HHD email, Pepgiraffe sent the following reply:

If you think about it, though, we have only been together for
one out of the past fifteen or so high holiday seasons. In about three more
years, it will be more often that we have not been together.

What a depressing thought! I mean, it's just not the same without family. And I never really thought that a time would come that there would be more years spent apart than together.

The Mighty Semi-Colon

So slender. Often overlooked. Misused. Or not used at all.

The semi-colon is typically regarded "only" as a mark of punctuation that indicates a degree of separation that is greater than that of a comma but less than that of a period.

In the world of email, however, it wields a much greater power.

It seems that many Jewish organizations were hit by what is referred to as a "reverse non-delivery report (NDR) attack." This is not a virus and would not have been detectable by any type of virus scanning etc., as it is an exploitation of one's email server's normal design and operation. As a result, the mail server at work was overloaded on 10/5/05 sometime during the early afternoon. In other words, this NDR overloaded our server with over 300,000 messages before stopping. It clogged things up for everyone, but I was one of the lucky three who were actually on the recipient list. If you ever see 13,000 emails in your inbox, chances are that you are not actually popular. Just that you were hit with an NDR.

While I was waiting for our awesome IT guy to clean out my queue, I took a look at the other addressees on the list. I saw that my dad was included on the list -- however, he was saved from the onslaught because the sender had inadvertantly left out the semi-colon that Outlook requires to separate email addresses.

We should all pay homage to the mighty semi-colon!!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Is it considered wasting time??

I have so much to do...and I'm not in the mood to accomplish anything. I'm just reading over my sermon and going over readings. Not really getting much done.

I don't know why I even came to work today. I keep forgetting that I like to take the day before the holiday begins to get in the mood. Budgets, programming strategies, attendance projections -- it can all wait. I've got a really important date to keep starting tonight -- and I don't want to keep the Big Guy waiting!!

L'shana Tovah T'kateivu
What shall I wish you for the
New Year besides health, happiness,
peace and prosperity?
I wish you the ability to choose
what is good for you.
I wish you the wisdom to distinguish
between what you
want and what you need.
I wish you the power of appreciating
what you already have.
I wish you the inner peace that
allows you to spend some time
each day doing nothing.
I wish you the self-esteem and
self-confidence that enable you
to witness the success of others
without envy.
I wish you dear ones who
respond to your love and at
least one person whom you
can trust unconditionally.
Joshua O.Haberman

Very best wishes for a happy and peaceful new year. May this be a sweet year for you and your loved ones!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Egalitarianism Gone Berserk

Is it any wonder that my name is Frume Sarah with a crazy dad like this?

Shavua tov!