Friday, January 29, 2010


And now for a Xmas leftover:

Christmas is coming
The goose is getting fat
Please put a penny in the old man's hat
If you haven't got a penny
Then a ha'penny will do
And if you haven't got a ha'penny
Then god bless you!

What I'd like to know is: Back then, did they use Cutco or Ginsu scissors to cut all those pennies in ha'?


An interesting issue came up during the "holiday season," when a coworker was Queen of Decorating for her group's seasonal party. She had put together a lovely Xmas tree, but was warned that some party attendees might be offended. The Queen turned to her trusty Jewish advisors, yours truly and mutual friend Hank Azaria, and asked what we thought of this predicament. Hank and I were in agreement that the tree would be fine.

The fact is, these parties are called something besides "Christmas" parties to be inclusive, and that's very nice. But Christmas parties are really what they are. That's fine; as non-Xmas-celebrators we're happy to celebrate with you. It would be virtually impossible to accommodate everyone's religious affiliation when planning such an event, and it's better not to try. Some Jews will hope that you will have some sort of Chanukah decorations as well, and could be offended if you don't, but since this is not a Chanukah party I see no reason to do this, and don't really find it appropriate. Keep it simple. In the same vein, I am not offended if you wish me a Merry Christmas. People get all embarrassed and apologize when they "slip" and wish a Jew a Merry Christmas. Why? We appreciate the good wishes. It's fine. I may not speak for all Jews when I say this, and if you feel differently, please comment below.


And now, on to the real nitty gritty.

I should be posting here more often, because I've succeeded in attracting a number of beautiful and intelligent readers (you!) who will abandon me if there's never anything new here. Not purposely, of course, it's just how things are out here.

It is mostly lack of time that's keeping me away, but there's something else. I have been wanting to dress up this blog with a new purpose.

I was brought up observant; a Conservative Jew. My father was our congregation's cantor. We kept kosher. When I was attending public school, my parents took me out of school on holidays. We went to synagogue on those holidays, and on many of the Sabbaths. I transferred to Jewish private school along with my sisters. I am fairly fluent in Hebrew. I spent a semester in Israel. I went to Jewish summer camps. I had truly memorable Shabbat (Sabbath) experiences at camp, in Israel, at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and at a Yeshiva University-sponsored program.

I didn't think this would ever change. At High Holidays, we would look around at all the "once-a-year" Jews and feel proud that we weren't like that. Nevertheless, quite a bit of this life slipped away from me slowly as I moved away from home, started making my own decisions, changing my priorities.

Love for my faith was always there. Whenever I was neglecting a mitzvah, or eating something forbidden, I was aware of it. But now, in trying to reenergize this part of my life, trying to make sure that my children love Judaism the way I do, and care about it, I've run into a number of obstacles; time, money, attitudes, and other impediments.

I have been looking for a way to share all this here, and to chronicle my efforts. I've seen many times how supportive the people inside the computer (now inside the phone too!) can be. But this issue is so emotionally charged for me, and I'm afraid of being judged. I don't care if you criticize my really hot showers or my questionable parenting. But about this, I care. I'm also worried about inadvertently offending someone else.

On the other hand, if I tell you about this, you'll hold me accountable. On Five Full Plates there are five bloggers each committing to losing 10 pounds in the first 10 weeks of 2010. If one or more of them don't, we'll all know about it. They will be that much more motivated because their readers are keeping watch.

This subject isn't really all that funny at first glance, but then, with inspiration, or good drugs, I might be able to work around that. I'll definitely go off on entertaining tangents.

I've already said too much. I need to go lie down, or eat chocolate, or something. Talk amongst yourselves while I'm gone.