The big boy with Tatty!

The big boy with Tatty!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Israel the Consolation Prize

I cannot escape wanting to spend the entire day waiting for updates on Israel. Have they gone in by foot, are they going to? What about rockets, are my friends safe? I cannot stop thinking about the war and the constant anti-Israel propaganda like somehow we are supposed to stop everything and show restraint while rockets are hailed down on our civilians. Undoubtedly whenever these thoughts cross my mind, I drift back to the 1940’s and what accelerated the declaration of the state of Israel.
            The Holocaust.
            It is common knowledge and recently declassified information that yes, all of the governments knew about the Holocaust and the Death Camps in Germany and Poland. They knew that millions of Jews were being sent to these camps and exterminated and yet, America, England, France, Poland, every did nothing. They didn’t get into the war sooner, they didn’t unarm Germany before it became a roaring monster, no one did anything except for those that were willing to stand against the Nazi’s and hide Yidden, oh and Denmark. Denmark saved nearly it’s entire Jewish population.
            Right after the war ended, the movement to create the state of Israel increased. The need increased, we needed a land that would not turn us away, that would not in the face of our doom send boat loads of women and children to their deaths, this was the state of Israel. At that time it was under Brittish mandate and no the “state of Palestine” did not exist either. But my brain still wonders, why didn’t the US and England make a larger push to open their own boarders? I mean take in all those broken and sad immigrants? Why? I believe because once again we were saying, “well…we sort of let you all die horrible deaths…but we still don’t want that many of you in our borders so do us a favor and here, have your land, make your own government, and by the way, can you deal with our Palestinian issue?”
            Thus Israel was born again in 1948, a new and wonderful nation, full of people with hopes and dreams for peace, only to be attacked by the Arabs a day after the state was born. And over and over again, we have shown that the Guardian of Israel neither slumbers or sleeps and that Hashem is with us.
            And somehow we are once again the bad ones. First we were bad because hey, we “let the Nazis take us like sheep to the slaughter,” and now that we are fighting back we are criminals. I don’t understand world, what do you want? Do you want us to allow ourselves to be slaughtered by the nations, or do you want  us to live. In order to live we have to fight, not by becoming animals but by protecting our women and children.

            If you haven’t noticed, Iran gave lots and lots of weapons to Gaza, they also have some of the most advanced building designs in the world meant to withhold earthquakes and rocket attacks. If Palestine cared so much about it’s citizens, why not smuggle that in eh? Bomb shelters could save lives, actually, you know, creating a government could save lives…world why do you decide to remain blind to the plight of others until it’s too late by about 6,000,000 lives? Oh wait, excuse me 60,000,000 lives? 14 million in the camps and many others, soldiers, civilians, literally one third of the earth’s population at the time…don’t be silent world…don’t be silent Yidden this time we will not accept a consolation prize. We will prevail with Hashem’s help.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Stay Positive While You Mourn

I do not remember when was the last time I have cried such bitter and unbearable tears. My whole body was quivering and my heart sunk…I stared at my own beautiful boy, who just turned one and felt guilty that my day with my family started off in celebration. Yosef Yitzchak has brought us more joy this year than we could possibly dream of. The gift of this little baby has brought out the hero in his older brother, who only for the most part wants to share, and be the caretaker to his little brother. And with all this, came the most tragic news, the death of three very young Jewish teenagers. I felt ashamed, embarrassed that I wanted to celebrate the day of my son’s birth, while the mothers in Israel are wailing, bemoaning the fate of their sons.
            And then came the news feeds online…we are raging, as a nation, we want war, we want to punish the people responsible, and this drive always scares me. It scares me because when we lose sight of what we are supposed to be doing with our lives, it can lead to the kind of hatred that annihilated millions in the holocaust, to the same hatred that steals lives like Gilad, Eyal and Naftali. It leads down a path we are not meant to walk as a Jewish nation.
            In his book, “Baalam’s Prophecy,” Naftali Lau-Lavie, who experienced indescribable hardship, starting as young boy of fifteen when he was taken his father’s place to Auschwitz, before it was the slaughter factory it became, escaped and returned to his parents only to once again board a train this time to Buchenwald with his young brother. At the end of the war, Naftali is asked by some of his friends, why isn’t murdering the officers that were caught, why isn’t raiding the houses and stealing from the Germans and looting, and all he could answer was, “it just wasn’t right.”

            We are a nation in mourning, and we seek vengeance. But may the vengeance for this despicable act of abducting and murdering three Jewish boys on their way home from school be an act that brings an eternal peace not a fateful war. We are not tormentors, animals or God forbid depraved of humanity…please remember this as you grieve these boys and do something good, use your words to give someone a bracha (blessing) instead of words that are to be honest, not even helpful. Light Shabbos candles if you don’t already, study more Torah, do another Mitzvah, make one even more beautiful than you did it before, let their life legacy be, that they brought more people closer to Hashem and us closer to Mashiach. My heart aches and I am broken, no parent should ever have to experience the death of their child.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Nurturing the Father

       It was another rough nursing session. They’ve been happening on and off lately. My little one is a year old and although this is the season most women prefer to wean, the thought for me still feels like failure in a way. I nursed my first for 29 months, yes until he was two and a half years old. I can remember vividly the last time he nursed and so does he, and I want to share the same kind of bond with my second son. However, he is not the same child, he likes nursing for what it is, a yummy drink that once it runs out, why stay on? Or if it doesn’t come fast enough, why bother? I’ll get my sipee cup or just crawl away. So as I lay there half moping while YY decided whether or not he actually was going to nurse, and began thinking of all the things that would have made this experience different. I know I have issues and nursing doesn’t come easily, but there are all these blog posts written about what a woman needs when she is postpartum and how the world should bend down to her postpartum self and let her be pampered and sit on her tuffet.
            Don’t get me wrong, I agree, it’s hard recovering, but then I started thinking, I wonder what it was like for my husband? I wonder if he was given what he needed would by default I have what I need? But what do men need? Is the process of fathering a child the same emotional roller coaster as it is for a woman, just the world insists for some reason, we are the only part of the picture that matters. The answer to all of the above is yes, there are things men need and there are pieces of the puzzle missing for them that makes life even harder on women after having babies.
            Since I’m not a man, and to be honest, I’d rather just deal with my own shoes than be inside of someone else’s after having a baby, when YY was sleeping I went to the porch where my husband was playing with my three year old and asked him, “if you could have anything you wanted after having another baby, what would it be? What would make the transition easier for you?”

            His answer shocked me, “It would be nice if it was socially acceptable to be a father. Everyone gets excited if you get a raise, or make a lot of money, but no one cares when a man has a baby. I would like more than just one week off paternity leave, in fact, a month would be great. A month for everyone to adjust so I have more time to help you and everyone else adjust. And maybe a package like they have in Sweden, with diapers, and a few onesies, and a welcome to the parenthood thing. But in America, it’s just not acceptable for a man to be a father.”

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Let the Research Begin

            At some point in the last few weeks I have realized that Kindergarten starts in just two years. My goal is to homeschool my children through High School. I would hope by the time they are fourteen or so they would have the goals in mind of the kind of people and careers they want to hold. At that point if I had a child that wanted to be a Rabbi I would send him to a school that was capable of meeting his needs, if I have kids that want to do something different, my goal is to experiment with dual enrollment to alleviate what I believe are the wasted hours in High School. I remember my teachers telling me, that the classes were so hard to get us ready for college. The college classes I have taken have never been as difficult as High School, and the social scene in most high schools leaves much to be desired.
            I decided to start today. As soon as I started researching I feel like I just about overwhelmed myself. I understand the standards are there for a reason, but I still feel like to an extent it has the potential to overwhelm the children as well. Now that I have a general idea of the expectations of the school district and an idea of what I want my children to learn themselves, now I have to start working on what curriculum I will actually use starting when Menachem Mendel turns five. Thank God compulsory education doesn’t begin until age eight so I don’t actually have to state my intention to homeschool until he is in what would be the third grade. I know I want to focus more on Jewish studies during kindergarten and less on Chol, unless he really wants to start up with learning how to read. My only comfort is that for the first roughly three years of his education, he will really get to call the shots on what he learns until I do have standards I have to meet.
            But there are so many subjects! I think my next goal is going to be to sit down and write out what I liked about my school experiences and how these subjects were taught and ideas on how to integrate them into my home. I hated K-2, but I loved grades 3-5 and I don’t really want to talk about after that…Let’s just say, I lived secular education at its (not) so finest.
            Curriculum ideas anyone?
            Oh and here is my biggest question, how do you teach kids to read in Hebrew? When I taught Sunday school the children were much more engaged when they actually understood what the words meant that they were saying, so how would I go about teaching them vocabulary and not just nursery rhymes?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Voted Most Likely to Appear on a Talk Show

            Oh yes, I’m sucking it up the last two weeks staying off of Facebook…why is it so hard? Maybe it’s because I moved and there were a few things I needed to network about, or because I need an air conditioning unit that sits more up and down than side to side. It’s also because we are looking for a used Minivan and I don’t know anything about cars. I know they have cylinders, somewhere, the key turns the car on, gas means go and I also know how to drive stick shift, a lost art in this day and age. So I just like Facebook. I’ve also been catching up with a few friends and thank God one of my wonderful friends was able to find her bashert and now I’m looking forward to pictures and dates, and this is going to God willing be the first time I’m daring to drive to New York by myself with two kids! Suffice to say there have been good reasons to break.
            I did however take a good week off, where I didn’t look at all and the time away was very enlightening and relaxing. In fact it wasn’t just facebook I was giving myself a break from, it was the computer in general. I did it in our old house but started once again, to keep my laptop on the second floor in my bedroom. This way, it’s out of the way and I really have to think, is what I’m doing so important or am I just feeling the urge to connect with the computer instead of my children?
            The results have been astounding. Everyone is doing better.
            Of course, having a larger house has been helping immensely. Nothing beats having your three year old pass out each night around 6pm or 7pm and barely able to keep his eyes open, after a full day of cleaning and playing. I’m in heaven thank God! I’ve been waiting for this!
            All of these changes have also given me more time for introspection, something I’ve been missing.
            When I was in school, I was voted most likely to end up on a talk show, (sort of off topic, but on the topic of this post at the same time). I remember feeling very frustrated about it and my feelings were hurt. I felt like my classmates meant that I would be the one that would show up on Maury or Dr. Phil and I resented them for thinking about me in that way. Now that I keep a pretty open blog, maybe they saw something that I didn’t…maybe if I ever write and publish a book, I have many I want to write, maybe I will, but not because I’ve been a drama queen, maybe it’ll be so I can help people. But first…I have to learn to help myself first. But before that, I have to help the ones that are the smallest in my house and then I’ll be able to do more for myself. It’s like a circle, my kids come first, when they are settled and happy, so am I, so their needs must automatically come before mine. In most situations.

            Happy Shavuos everyone! A time when we renew our vows to Hashem and continue to bring goodness into this world that will eventually bring Mashiach! Amein!