Monday, January 26, 2009

Jenny Mini-Update

In the craziness of last week, I didn't get to update you on my Jenny progress. I was so overjoyed about the new administration, so I forgot to post my weekly update.

This is a mini-update about a mini-loss :)

0.4 lbs

for a total of

21.0 pounds lost!

Hooray!! Can't wait to see how it goes this week!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lindsay is Graduating!

Hello, all! I hope you are having a great weekend, and that you are feeling refreshed and renewed before the new week begins tomorrow.

Please join me in wishing a big CONGRATULATIONS to my sister, Lindsay! She is graduating tomorrow night from her Massage Therapy Program at Swedish Institute in New York City.

For the past two and a half years, Lindsay has been attending school part-time, while still working full time. She seems to have a true gift for the healing professions, and I am so proud of her for pursuing something that she felt so drawn to. She has a real sense of the body, and inherently understands both western and eastern approaches to health. Lindsay is very intuitive about where you might be hurting, and how to best help you. If it hadn't been for her and her wisdom, I don't know how I would have made it through my years of pain.

She took her licensing exam last Thursday, and now we are waiting the 6-8 weeks until she receives her score. Then she will figure out what is next for her massage career.

Our parents are arriving in town tonight, and one of my brothers is flying in tomorrow morning. It's gonna be a great time, celebrating Lindsay and her amazing accomplishment.

Mazel tov, Lindsay!!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Happy Inauguration Day!!!
Hooray for Obama!!!
Hooray for America!!!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thursday Thirteen: 13 Things I Love About Israel

The situation in Israel and Gaza is so difficult and painful right now. In solidarity with and support of Israel, I decided to dedicate a Thursday Thirteen post to the State and People of Israel.

13 Things I Love about Israel:

  1. Landing at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport, walking off of the El Al airplane, and knowing that I am standing on holy ground. There is nothing like that first moment back in the country.
  2. My first falafel sandwich in Jerusalem. Yes, I eat Middle Eastern food the rest of the time, but nothing ever tastes quite as good as the falafel in Jerusalem.
  3. A visit to the Western Wall, in Jerusalem's Old City. I walk up to the wall, knowing that myriads have stood there before me, and I gently lay my forehead onto the cool bricks. I feel closer to God there, and I feel that my prayers reach God differently as I stand at the holy site.
  4. Laying on the beach in Tel Aviv. You rent a lounge chair, set up an umbrella, and soak in the rays on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. There is nothing like the feeling of the sun in the Middle East - I got freckles there for the first time (I know, not necessarily a good thing).
  5. Visiting the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, especially the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit. The Israel Museum contains a beautiful mix of antiquities, art, sculpture, history, and fun. I try to visit every time I am in the country.
  6. I love putting on my sandals and my bathing-suit, then slowly walking into the healing waters of the Dead Sea. The deepest part of the Dead Sea is over 2300 feet below sea level! Why is it called the Dead Sea? Well, the water is so high in salt and minerals that virtually nothing can survive in it. It is not deadly to us, though, if we want to float in it and enjoy the minerals and mud!
  7. There are few places as incredible as Masada, a desert fortress atop a mountain near the Dead Sea. According to legend, a Jewish community fled from Roman conquerors around the year 70 CE to the top of the mountain, survived for a short time, then decided to commit suicide rather than be captured. Though the story is bleak, the site now represents survival and bravery. Many Jewish teens climb the mountain in the middle of the night, and then watch the sunrise from the top.
  8. There is a great water park (yeah, I love these things) in Tiberias, right on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Hof Gai, as the park is called, is one of many fun places to visit in the city of Tiberias. Tiberias is a holy site to both Jews and Christians, and there is much to do there. But, yes, I love the water park!
  9. I love taking my time on Saturday afternoons, part of the Jewish sabbath. In Israel, for some reason, I am able to observe Shabbat more easily. I find it easier to take the time I need for myself, for friends and family, and for a closer connection with the Divine all around me. My friends and I used to go to a park, bring a picnic and a frisbee, and we would spend the whole day playing, resting, and chatting. What could be better?
  10. Wanna have the best milkshake in your life? Visit Yotvata, a restaurant in Tel Aviv that carries, by far, the best dairy products you will ever taste. Kibbutz Yotvata, in the Negev Desert, sells its dairy all over the country, but dining at the restaurant provides a fun way to enjoy it. Once seated, everyone gets a free taste of the fruit smoothie of your choice. Once you taste it, there is no going back! Ice cream, milkshakes, cheese - nothing compares anywhere else in the world.
  11. As difficult as a visit is, I find it crucial to visit Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial museum. Nearly every step is gut-wrenching, and you find yourself near tears throughout, but you are also inspired by tales of bravery, courage, and endurance. Somehow, the Jewish people survived, and visitors to Yad Vashem exit the museum and find themselves standing overlooking a lush, green Jerusalem forest. There are, indeed, miracles.
  12. Deep in the Old City, in Jerusalem, is one of my most favorite sites: the Arab Shuk. Through twisting sidewalks and alleys, you wander through shops and storefronts of every shape, size, and scent. You can find pretty much anything on these streets, you can make new friends, eat delicious foods, get invited for tea, or get a GREAT bargain. Some of my most beloved scarves and jewelry pieces are from my excursions to the Arab Shuk.
  13. Last, but certainly not least, I love that Israel is my home. I knew it the very first moment I landed there - my soul was returning to its source. There are parts of my heart that are forever in the East, in Jerusalem, with my Israeli brothers and sisters.
And, you? If you have been there, what do you love? If you haven't, what do you most wish to see?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Oh My Goodness - Jenny Update!!

My friends, I just got back from weighing in, and I have HUGE news:

I am down

-6.2 lbs

for an incredibly amazing total loss of

-20.6 lbs!!!

I can't believe that I have hit the 20 pound mark - I don't think I have ever done anything like this before. Hooray!!

I was up last week, but then it was "that time of the month," so I am learning that my weight goes up near my period. Thus, this week's loss reflects, more accurately, whatever loss I might have had last week that was covered up by water-weight.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Blogosphere Extravaganza, Part II

While I was in Chicago, I had a chance to spend time with another wonderful friend, both in the blogosphere and out, Rabbi Phyllis Sommer at Ima on (and off) the Bima: Real-life Jewish Parenting. Though we weren't at the same campus for rabbinical school (our seminary has three US locations - New York, Cincinnati, and Los Angeles), we first met as students at a national conference on conversion (held in beautiful Denver, Colorado).

When she was ordained in 2003, she wound up at a synagogue in the Chicago area. I was ordained in 2004 and stayed in New York City for my first pulpit. Through the joys of the world wide web, we have been able to stay in touch. Plus, my brothers have both worked as songleaders at her synagogue over the past few years, so most of my mishpachah (Hebrew for "family") knows her and her family.

So good to see you, Phyllis! Hope to see you again soon!!!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Chanukah in Chicago 2008 - A Blogosphere Extravaganza, Part I

Hi, all!

I have lots to tell you, and some more fun pictures to share. I had such a wonderful time in Chicago, visiting friends and family, and I had a chance to visit with some good friends from the blogosphere!

First up - a Chanukah party! I was home for such a relatively short time, and I wanted to see so many lovely people, so why not throw a party?!? I invited a bunch of friends from high school and from my days at Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute camp (the best Jewish overnight camp in the world, if I do say so myself). Unfortunately, my school friends weren't able to come, so it turned into a mini-camp reunion, with a sing-a-long, grab bag present exchange, and lots of yummy food. AND, one of my camp friends happens to be a blogger, too - your friend and mine, Bradley Egel from The Egel Nest.

Here's Bradley, with his sister, Susan. They are both SO GREAT - I feel like our families are cut from the same cloth. I wish we could all hang out more often - darn that 700 miles between Chicago and New York!

My brother, Ricky, and me - we had such a fun time preparing for the party, and he was in charge of the "artistic vision" of the shindig :)

My adorable parents - they were so thrilled to be with everyone, and they sang along with every song. Thanks for being so wonderful, Mom and Dad!!

A shot of the song session - we sang camp songs, Indigo Girls ("Galileo" and "Closer to Fine," of course!). Bradley's son, Sammy, was shaking a tail feather in the middle.

A marvelous time was had by all - hooray!!

Mayan Adventure Waterpark - Fun with My Brothers!

As I mentioned in my last post, I had such a good time visiting the Mayan Adventure Indoor Waterpark in Elmhurst, Illinois. I had been to plenty of outdoor waterparks, but never an indoor one. My brothers and I decided to go and spend the day, and we took plenty of pictures along the way!! (God knows why I am posting pictures of myself in a bathing suit on the interwebs, but... why not???)

Apparently, I was sharing a story about how the waterslide was "THIS BIG!"

My brother, Adam, and me - I didn't know that we were supposed to make political statements, unless I am supporting the "blue and white flower" party...

My brother, Ricky, and me. Adam says that Ricky looks like my bodyguard in this pic - no problem with that, here! Both my brothers are younger than I am, yet they both tower over me. I really should call them my "big" brothers!

Good time was had by all! I highly recommend a day at the waterpark to all of you, especially when it is so cold and snowy outside - go find some sunshine inside!!