Thursday, March 22, 2007


By the way, this is my Precious girl :)
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It was that kind of day

So, can I kvetch for a moment?

First of all, I have had NO HEAT for a few days now. Meaning, of course, that as time goes on, the apartment only gets colder and colder. And it has been a balmy 40 degrees outside. But, on my precious day off, I had to stay alert and by the phone to wait for the plumber.
Who took three hours to complete his work.
And who had to leave and come back three times.
And, today, it was probably warmer outside than it was inside.

But, wait, there's more:
I ordered groceries to be delivered by Freshdirect, who I usually worship for their wonderful products and customer service. And any time that I've had a problem (like the dreaded mashed potato incident - let me know if want to know about that debacle), they have kindly refunded my money. However, this time they took it too far. At least one third of my order was missing. No whole wheat fusilli! No low-fat granola! And where is the other container of kitty litter (hush, little Precious, it will be alright)???

So, I called, and they are going to refund my money. But THAT IS NOT THE POINT! Now, I must be without my cream of mushroom soup for another week.

Oh, wait, I guess I could always actually walk into a grocery store....

Oh yeah.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Precious Cat Strut

Oy, I am melting in the midst of overwhelming cuteness right now. I am watching the Daily Show and Precious insists on sitting on my lap. She is purring softly and seems to be totally and perfectly content. She is just the cutest, most wonderful calico in all the world!

Had a great dinner with a college friend tonight (Sarene). We went to this super-hip Mexican restaurant in the Village. I very much enjoyed catching up with her. In fact, neither of us could believe that it has been at least seven years since we last saw each other. CRAZY! How does time pass this fast? On one hand, it doesn't feel that long since we were in college. On the other hand, it is impossible to quickly summarize all that has taken place since then. So much has changed; I have grown so much.

I think about this bumper sticker that I once saw at Chicago Botanic Gardens - "Not another learning experience!" I definitely feel that way sometimes. I certainly wish that things were easier and went more smoothly often. Yet, in all actuality, things would get pretty boring. I really do love feeling like I am always evolving and learning. And I love surrounding myself with people who also find this important. YAY!

So, here's to ascending, growing, learning and changing!

What's YOUR favorite bumper sticker?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Back - huh - stronger than ever!

Anyone know where the title comes from? 10 points to the first person to identify it correctly (and my utmost respect, natch).

Chicago was a blast - what a great trip home it was! Ricky was great in his play, and I had a chance to meet his girlfriend. I also had some wonderful quality time with my brother, Adam. Nice talks, lots of laughs, and some yummy breakfasts out about the town.

Well, I am back at work today, catching up on emails, correspondence, and the like. Although my morning became quite hectic, I had a chance to "make a Jew" today - one of my students converted to Judaism. She is a wonderful woman who has worked hard, and has really embraced her Judaism both internally and externally. I am so proud of her. She will be getting married in April, so I look forward to working with her and fiance for a few more weeks. The icing on the cake was that Lindsay, my sister, got to sit on the Beit Din with me and helped with the process. Yay for Lindsay!

Last week's snowfall continues to confuse those who have the job of cleaning up after it. It is still SO hard to get around the city. Everything is slow and delayed, and nothing starts on time. Thus, with this as inspiration, here's your quote for the day:

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.
(Albert Einstein)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

And All That Jazz...

HOORAY! I am actually going back to Chicago tomorrow. When was the last time I was home? I can barely remember...aha, my cousin, Eric's, wedding in November. My brother, as I mentioned, is in a play, so it will be great to see him perform in a drama.

So, what's YOUR favorite quote about Chicago?

I figured that I would ask you all to name your favorite Chicago reference - song, movie quote, poem, etc. What's it gonna be? I can't wait to read your responses. FYI - Chicago suburban references count, too.

For your edification, I am posting one of Carl Sandburg's poems about the Windy City (thanks to


I ASKED the professors who teach the meaning of life to tell
me what is happiness.
And I went to famous executives who boss the work of
thousands of men.
They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though
I was trying to fool with them
And then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along
the Desplaines river
And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with
their women and children and a keg of beer and an

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Hot-lanta, check it and see

Hello from Atlanta - I am surrounded by the nation's reform rabbis, and we are already having a wonderful time. I arrived around 1pm, had a bite to eat, and rested for a few minutes. I then attended a fascinating lecture, by Dr. Laurie L. Patton, about the influence of Eastern Religions on Judaism and the Jewish community. We discussed what is so enticing about Hinduism and Buddhism to today's Jews, and what we can learn from this. Apparently, Jews are drawn to Eastern religions for two main reasons: 1) the aesthetic qualities inherent in them (beautiful gardens, garb, etc.), and 2) what they think Judaism doesn't provide, such as a greater sense of spirituality and meditation practices. It looks like it is our job as rabbis to make sure to appreciate what other religions have to offer, and also to educate our congregants about what Judaism does indeed teach about meditation and the spirit.

Then, U.S. Senator Russ Feingold spoke for about 2 hours. WOW! He is an incredible, visionary leader. I was so inspired by his tenacity and willingness to take a stand for what he believes in. It turns out that he was raised an observant Reform Jew, and his children have gone to OSRUI. His sister is a rabbi! He spoke about our mandate as Jews to care for the stranger in our midst (illegal immigration policies), and for those made to feel like the stranger (African Americans, GLBTs, Latinos, Arab Americans). He spoke about accountability for the Iraq war, and our immediate need to create a course of action so that we can finally pull our troops out. We gave him at least three standing ovations!

Dinner was delightful (yummy peach cobbler!), as was the opportunity to catch up with classmates. I am now getting ready for bed, since we have a long shacharit service in the morning. Unfortunately, the hotel is under renovation, so there is no pool - the horror, the horror! I have been fantasizing about going in the hot tub for weeks - I am so disappointed. Darn you, Atlanta Marriott Marquis!

Okay, I shall update you more tomorrow. Good night!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Pooper Scooper - lights are gonna find me

Shalom, y'all! Can you tell that I am trying to get ready for my trip south? On Sunday, I am flying to Hot-lanta for this year's CCAR (Central Conference of American Rabbis) Convention. I have never been to Atlanta, nor Georgia, so this is another state to add to my list! I will be there until Thursday, and I am really looking forward to running into classmates and other rabbi friends that I rarely get to see. Wouldn't you like to be a rabbi, too?

Then, and this is very exciting, I am flying to Chicago to see my brother, Ricky's, latest play at his high school. he has the lead in this little-known Tennessee Williams play. I am so proud of him. Next year, he is going to be attending University of Illinois' Theatre School. Let's wish him luck! One day, he is going to be a superstar.

Lindsay and I are going to the opera tonight - doesn't that sound all posh and everything? Hooray for The Magic Flute! It is Julie Taymor's production at the Met, so it should be fabulous.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Laryngitis...Can Be Fun....

Alas, I've lost my voice. I woke up, tried to wish Precious a "good morning," and nothing came out. Guess I won't be belting out "And I'm Telling You..." tonight during the Purim Spiel. Luckily, I'm co-leading Shabbat services this morning, so I won't have to figure out what to do at the last minute.

Thinking about voice reminded me of this silly warm-up we used to do in high school with our theatre teacher, Tim Ortmann. I found it online (YAY!), and wanted to share it here. Ah, the memories.:

When Sir Beelzebub called for his syllabub
in the hotel in Hell
Where Proserpine first fell,
Blue as the gendarmerie were the waves of the sea,
(Rocking and shocking the barmaid).

Nobody comes to give him his rum but the
Rim of the sky hippopotamus-glum
Enhances the chances to bless with a benison
Alfred Lord Tennyson crossing the bar laid
With cold vegetation from pale deputations
Of temperance workers (all signed In Memoriam)
Hoping with glory to trip up the Laureate's feet,
(Moving in classical metres)

... Like Balaclava, the lava came down from the Roof,
and the sea's blue wooden gendarmerie
Took them in charge while Beelzebub roared for his rum.
... None of them come!

(Edith Sitwell)

Friday, March 2, 2007

Shabbat Zachor

It's almost Shabbat here in NYC. I have developed a nice ritual here at the synagogue. About an hour before services begin, I turn off my big overhead flourescent light, and I turn on a gentler lamp in the corner. Ahhh - much more relaxing, and it helps me get into the right headspace. The room is dimmer, I feel more calm, and it helps me welcome the Shabbat bride before I go downstairs to facilitate it for others.

Tonight is a special Shabbat known as Shabbat Zachor - the "Shabbat of Remembering." This Shabbat always falls before the holiday of Purim. According to the WRJ Art Calendar, "Shabbat Zachor fulfills the biblical command to remember all those who have tried to wipe out our people, especially Amalek, who attacked the Israelites fleeing from Egypt."

There may be some of you out there who ask, "What does Amalek have to do with Purim," at which point I remind you that Haman (boooooo!!!!) was supposedly a descendant of Amalek. Thus, we remember that Amalekites are our enemies, going back thousands of years, and we must continue to be cautious of the Amalek currently in our midst (who could it be??).

Purim itself is tomorrow evening. We have such an exciting evening planned for our congregants. Events for all ages, concluded with a Purim Spiel for adults and older children. Our theme: Dreamgirls. It will be absolutely FABULOUS!! Wigs, heels, fake eyelashes.... the whole thing.

Until then, Shabbat Shalom and Chag Purim Sameach!