Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Leaving (for) Las Vegas!!

Yep, folks, I'm leaving for Las Vegas tomorrow morning. It's so strange - I really never had any desire to go, but, here we are!

My youngest brother, Ricky, turned 21 this year (hooray!), and my other brother, Adam, wanted to take him on a trip to celebrate. After doing some research, they chose Las Vegas.

A few weeks ago, Adam was telling me about their plans to go. All of the sudden, he stops himself and says, "Wait - why aren't you and Lindsay joining us?!?!"

Lindsay and I checked our calendars and we realized that we could totally go - we could plan the first sibling vacation!!

So, now, all four of us are going to Las Vegas, and we are absolutely thrilled. We got tickets to see Penn & Teller (YAY!!!). We've gotten lots of good suggestions of places to go, things to see, and buffets to patronize.

Do you have any suggestions? Any memories of a trip to Vegas that stand out?

Wish us luck - we'll be back $1,000,000 richer!! :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Miracle of Karaoke

So, you know that I am, and have been for some time, a karaoke addict. During rabbinical school, I would often go out for karaoke at least twice a week, and I became good friends with the DJ and other regulars. It was a huge part of my life for years. Now, I still try to go every few months.

However, last night, I witnessed the MIRACLE OF KARAOKE!!

What miracle? Well, I had dinner at a congregant families' home, and it turns out that the husband and wife met at a karaoke bar. They told me the story of how she sang, "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," and how he was totally smitten from that moment on.

At that point, their son called out: "I wouldn't be here if it weren't for karaoke!"

Yes, folks, karaoke can truly be a miracle, and can bring about life. No, really!

After dinner, we all sat around and sang some karaoke songs ("Torn," "I Gotta Feeling," "I Feel Fine," "Crazy," "Before He Cheats," and more).

Now, I believe in the power of karaoke even more than before. Hallelujah!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day of Action for Reproductive Choice!

From the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism....

Ask Congress to Protect Reproductive Health Care!

Today, pro-choice advocates come together for a National Day of Action to stop the anti-choice Stupak-Pitts Amendment and ensure access to reproductive health care in the Senate's health care reform bill. The House-passed health care bill was diminished by the inclusion of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, which, if included in the final bill, would deny coverage for abortion services to women covered by the new federal health care plan. We must fight to ensure the Senate bill and final legislation do not restrict access to reproductive health care.

Take Action: Urge your Senators to oppose anti-choice amendments like the Stupak amendment and support comprehensive health care reform. The Capitol switchboard can be reached at (202) 224-3121 or you can send an email. Please forward this email to pro-choice friends and family! For more information, visit our Day of Action page or contact Legislative Assistant Samuel Lehman at 202.387.2800.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

World AIDS Day Blog-a-Thon

Our generation has never known a world without HIV and AIDS. The deadly disease can’t be cured and can be prevented. Yet in the United States and worldwide, young people may not always have the tools they need to protect themselves, including information about and access to health care, condoms and contraception.

Did You Know?

  • Worldwide, almost half of all new infections occur in young people under age 25.
  • In the United States, the rate of new infections among young men of color who have sex with men has almost doubled since 2001.
  • Of the 11.8 million HIV-infected youth worldwide, over seven million are female.
  • Less than one-third of young people worldwide know how to protect themselves from HIV.
Stigma and shame about sex lead to fear of honest conversations about the virus. And poverty, lack of education, sexual violence, stigma, and gender inequality all make young people more vulnerable to HIV infection. Read more about the roles racism, sexism, homophobia, and poverty all play in the HIV epidemic and how ignoring prisoners, sex workers and intravenous drug users only helps perpetuate the HIV epidemic.

After almost three decades researchers still have not found a cure for the virus. While the benefits of both abstinence and condoms are scientifically proven, scientists are still exploring an HIV vaccine, microbicides, and male circumcision as ways to prevent HIV.

Yet meanwhile, through abstinence-only programs politicians and far right activists continue to deny young people in the United States and overseas information about proven effective HIV prevention. In the United States, abstinence-only-until-marriage programs censor information about condoms and exclude GLBTQ youth. In developing countries, U.S. policies distort the proven-effective ABC approach to meet an ideological agenda.

We are committed to fighting this epidemic at all levels – by demanding resources from our governments; by working to change social stigma that creates barriers to prevention; by being responsible in our own personal behaviors; and by breaking the silence.

This year for World AIDS Day, Advocates for Youth, the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and SIECUS have organized a petition campaign and blog-a-thon on the Amplify website.

From now through December 6th, you can sign the online petition asking President Obama to create an Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief that provide the best and most comprehensive services and information to young people worldwide. Our country's HIV/AIDS policy must respect the inherent worth and dignity of those who receive our support by giving them the resources they need to lead whole and healthy lives.

Sign the petition, and check out the blog-a-thon today!

There are many ways that you can commemorate World AIDS Day, including learning more about HIV/AIDS issues in your area and around the world. Unitarian Universalists across the United States and Canada are powerful advocates and educators with the UU Global AIDS Coalition.

Find out what's happening in your own community for World AIDS Day here.