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Jan 10 2014

Torah MOMentary: Take it From Moses & Ask For Help Once in a While

By at 10:03 am

moses

This post is part of our Torah commentary series through the perspective of a new mom. This Shabbat we read Parashat B’shalah. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

I once went to a “New Agey” Passover retreat deep in the Israeli desert. The woman leading it was a kind of hippie Jewish priestess: long hair, flowy dresses, batik. To end the retreat, she had us all perform this birth ritual she made up based on the crossing of the Sea of Reeds, which we read about in B’shalah, this week’s Torah portion.

The Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt, she explained, was actually a birth narrative; they passed through the narrow canal made by the waters standing apart, and were transformed from Egyptian slaves to free Israelites, servants of God. And we were going to re-enact this.

So we all divided into pairs and stood in a line, made a giant tunnel by joining our hands overhead, and participants volunteered to be “birthed” one after the other by crossing the Sea of Reeds, which in this case meant being carried on their backs through the tunnel of arms overhead. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 28 2012

How I Learned to Clean

By at 10:23 am

Even now, I can't handle a messy room like this.

When I was growing up, any item of mine not put away in its place was, more likely than not, tossed out the window by my mother. At the time, my parents and I were living within an 18-square-meter room (“A very good size by USSR standards,” my father assures me. “Usually it was 4 meters per person.”) in a 1970s Soviet communal apartment (i.e. a single family dwelling crammed with as many people as the government felt like cramming there, with a shared bathroom and kitchen). There wasn’t exactly a lot of space for clutter.

As a result, this was how I learned to clean. Something not in its proper place? Out it goes.

My husband, on the other hand, likes his stuff. He likes his stuff a lot. His love for his stuff extends to a transitive love for all stuff, especially our kids’ stuff. Read the rest of this entry →

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