Thursday, December 31, 2009
So today I had a date with my best friend Leeba. We ordered the lunch specials at Le Sushi* restaurant - sesame chicken for her, teriyaki chicken for me. And yes, we did share our meals. But more than that, we shared laughter, secrets, funny stories and all the things women do together when they're called girls. Leeba and I had a great time. It healed a lousy morning and made for a great afternoon.
A clothing designer by profession, the new year looks full for Leeba. As for me, school starts in a few days and it's a solid wall of studying for the next 10 weeks. But week 11, well, I'm already planning my next hot date with my favorite gal.
*Located in the San Fernando Valley. Check this space for a video food review in the next few months.
Truth be told, I think I would have preferred a space alien close encounter to what I ended up with. When it was over, it wasn't over for me. I felt sick to my stomach, the kind of sick you feel after nearly getting into a car accident. I had failed myself. Technically, I needed a score 30 points higher than before and I got it. So I didn't actually fail completely. But I wanted a higher score. This is the part where you have to say, let go, let G-d. The One Above knows the plan. Unfortunately, I had to say let go, let G-d twice today about the same thing - once before it started and now afterwards. Oy. It's a good thing G-d knows the plan. I just hope it works!
*Graduate Record Examination
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Having lost both my parents, I know how important it is to share their lives with people who never knew them. Every time I talk about my mother or father, it brings them closer to me.
This woman and I, our lives couldn't be more different. Or so I thought. Yet, the more I asked about her father, the more I heard about my own father. Is it possible that generations of people are the same - with similar moral codes, work ethics and belief systems? There were definitely differences, but also surprising similarities.
What I learned today is, just when you think you know something, be prepared for a revelation. Thank you Creator, for making it all open to interpretation. Thank you for giving me a few minutes with my Dad today, too.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
As any victim of alternate street cleaning days will attest, street parking can be a nightmare. Your choices are: leave the house for half the day; find a parking spot the night before and don't use your car for half the day; find safe parking close to public transport so you can take the bus back and forth to your car; rely on G-d to find you a space.
Okay, the last option is kinda weird and sometimes doesn't work, but when it does, you can feel the G-dliness. You are certain that the only way you got that spot (besides putting your car in crawl mode as you case up and down the block) is because G-d wanted you to have it. That makes you feel so special.
Obviously, that happened to me today. For the first two hours, I parked some distance from the house. But after two hours, the car had to be moved, and still no spots where available. So I drove around and around and finally ended up on my street, right behind a young man walking to his car. Right in front of my house. And I knew then and there that G-d was with me.
Here's to feeling that way 24/7!
Monday, December 21, 2009
But the concept of "Victory is Ours" goes further than books and libraries. It goes to the very essence of who we are. We are holy creations of the ultimate Creator, and Hey Teves is a day imbued with the spiritual capacity to connect with the Holy One, Blessed Be He. Today, the Heavens open up, and He hears our pleas, our complaints, and indeed, our demands. It's a day when the Creator truly belongs to all of us. So human race, it's time. Call Home.
* The photo above is entitled The Opening Sky by Armand Belakow.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Those who knew my grandmother said she was beautiful. As I look at these photos, she does look beautiful. However, the untimely death of her firstborn at age 7, and the death by his own hand of her husband took its toll on her. But here, she's appears young, happy and open to life's adventures. What happened to change all that is a story untold, as the cast is long gone and those who remain don't know the script.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
As I sat staring at my grades on my friend's computer, I thought, thank you G-d for making this possible. Thank you for giving me the strength to survive another onslaught of information digestion in a short amount of time. Thank you G-d for bringing me to this day. As we say in Hebrew, She-heh-che-yonu, Viki-ye-monu, Ve-he-ge-onu, Lezman Hazeh.
In terms of peace, think global, but act local. I'm not saying forget about world peace. But I think world peace can only come about when there's peace everywhere. It's got to start to each of us individually.
As hard as it will be, I pledge to my Creator that I will work to bring peace to my loved ones. Care to join me by bringing peace to yours?
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
On Friday, October 23, my fellow NTRS 312 Cultural Cuisine classmates and I went to Rahel's Vegan Ethiopian Restaurant on Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles (Little Ethiopia) and made this movie, with the help of cinematographer Daniel Savitt. We played it for our classmates during our report on Subsaharan Africa. Instant celebrity. Enjoy!!!
The 19th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev is celebrated as the "Rosh Hashanah of Chassidism." It was on this date, in the year 1798, that the founder of Chabad Chassidism, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812), was freed from his imprisonment in Czarist Russia. More than a personal liberation, this was a watershed event in the history of Chassidism, heralding a new era in the revelation of the "inner soul" of Torah.
The public dissemination of teachings of Chassidism had in fact begun two generations earlier. The founder of the Chassidic movement, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), revealed to his disciples gleanings from the mystical soul of Torah which had previously been the sole province of select Kabbalists in each generation. This work was continued by the Baal Shem Tov's disciple, Rabbi DovBer, the "Maggid of Mezeritch"--who is also deeply connected with the date of "Kislev 19": on this day in 1772, 26 years before Rabbi Schneur Zalman's release from prison, the Maggid returned his soul to his Maker. Before his passing, he said to his disciple, Rabbi Schneur Zalman: "this day is our yomtov (festival)."
Rabbi Schneur Zalman went much farther than his predecessors, bringing these teachings to broader segments of the Jewish population of Eastern Europe. More significantly, Rabbi Schneur Zalman founded the "Chabad" approach -- a philosophy and system of study, meditation, and character refinement that made these abstract concepts rationally comprehensible and practically applicable in daily life.
In its formative years, the Chassidic movement was the object of strong, and often venomous, opposition from establishment rabbis and laymen. Even within the Chassidic community, a number of Rabbi Schneur Zalman's contemporaries and colleagues felt that he had "gone too far" in tangibalizing and popularizing the hitherto hidden soul of Torah.
In the fall of 1798, Rabbi Schneur Zalman was arrested on charges that his teachings and activities threatened the imperial authority of the Czar, and was imprisoned in an island fortress in the Neva River in Petersburg. In his interrogations, he was compelled to present to the Czar's ministers the basic tenets of Judaism and explain various points of Chassidic philosophy and practice. After 53 days, he was exonerated of all charges and released.
Rabbi Schneur Zalman saw these events as a reflection of what was transpiring Above. He regarded his arrest as but the earthly echo of a Heavenly indictment against his revelation of the most intimate secrets of the Torah. And he saw his release as signifying his vindication in the Heavenly court. Following his liberation on Kislev 19, he redoubled his efforts, disseminating his teachings on a far broader scale, and with more detailed and "down to earth" explanations, than before.
Kislev 19 therefore marks the "birth" of Chassidism: the point at which it was allowed to emerge from the womb of "mysticism" into the light of day, to grow and develop as an integral part of Torah and Jewish life.