Saturday, April 25, 2009

The adventures of a "Nebbach" - part 2

This is part 2, because I posted part 1 on my blog in December 2007.

Who is the "Nebbach"? Of course it is me. Not because I feel that I am really a Nebbach, but when "horrible" things happen to me I want to laugh about them afterwards, not cry.

So has nothing happened for over a year? Good question...

Episode 5 - winter was coming, and we were short of girls' clothes (and short of cash). So we decided to take up an offer of "amost new" 2nd hand clothes. However this involved making an evening trip into town. For me this is a big event. Getting kids in bed, getting the wheelchar in the van and being schlepped up 2 flights of stairs.

The clothes turned out to be a big disappointment, mainly baby clothes. So a bit fed up, my husband schlepped the wheelchair down the 2 flights of stairs in the dark. As we reached the bottom step, my wheechair got caught and I was tipped forward. Luckily I fell onto the small bag of clothes I was holding which cushioned the impact. But unluckily I fell into a puddle of sewage water!

I felt such a "Nebbach" that I couldn't stop crying. Thoughts of how lucky I was not to hurt myself didn't console me. Even thinking how funny this story was didn't stop the tears. Even knowing that this was probably the hand of G-d didn't help.

Now 6 months later I can laugh, and want to make others laugh at the story (not at me).

Episode 6 - a week before my Son's Bar Mitzvah last August, my foreign careworker left. The previous careworker had stolen all my expensive jewelery.

We then we had to wait another 5 months for a new foreign worker to arrive. She turned up in the middle of Chanukah. After 4 weeks she disappeared never to return.

A few days later, the agency, anxious to get their commission brought another lady. I thought it was just for an interview, but she had her bags with her. Not being in a position to be choosy - no one wants to work with a family - we hired her. Well, I don't know who is the Nebbach here, me or the worker.

The worker comes from a small village in Nepal, and up to now has had a very primitive 3rd World existence. No washing machine, no dryer, no oven, no microwave, no toaster, no hairdryer, no computer, no mobile phone, no MP3, no buses and even no supermarket. How spoilt we are today!

Apart from that, there are "cultural" differences, like eating with her hands, spitting in the street, not washing her hands after the bathroom...

She is still in our employment after 3 months, and can just about use my kitchen appliances. So who is the "Nebbach"?

The answer:
Neither her or me. Every person - Jew or non-Jew - is created in G-d's image (Be'tselem Elockim). This can be found in Genesis (Bereishit) in relation to the creation of Adam, the first human being.

Kabbalah takes this to an even higher level. Rabbi Moshe Corderovo in his book "The Palm Tree of Devorah" (Tomer Devorah) says that "one should not disparage any creature, for all of them were created with Wisdom (Chochmah). This extends to all of creation - inanimate objects, plants, animals and humans.

So, is the end of my "Nebbach" adventures?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What's so different about being a Jewish Parent?

What's so different about being a Jewish Parent?

What's so different about being Jewish?

Here, you can tell I'm Jewish as I have to answer a question with another question! Well is there a difference in Parenting between non-Jews and Jews?

I think so, and all the world's comedians will tell you a joke about Jewish Mothers so there must be a difference.

Here is my take on the differences I have noticed over the 13 years of parenting my five kids.

1. Expectations
Yes, we all have very high expectations for our children. "My Son the Lawyer", or in my circles "My Son the Talmud Scholar." Too high in practice as we all know "As long as they are happy"....

2. Advice from friends & family
We are never deprived of advice from friends and family on how to bring up our kids. "You need to give them more attention", "You need to take them to therapy", "You need to make them help at home" and so on. Great, but whose advice do we follow? Our own usually as of course we know best.

3. Choosing a school
A very difficult decision whatever type of Jew you are. Private or State? Local or in Town? Chassidish or Litvish? Bet Yaa'cov or Torani? In Israel the list is endless. But of course, whichever school you choose, you can be sure you have to fight to get your child in. Unless you have the Jewish weapon of "Protection".

4. Circle of friends
I am sure this is a concern for any Parent, but for affiliated Jews this is a big issue. So what that the friend is Jewish, but is the family suitable?

5. Marriage Partners
I am already worrying about who my 4-year old will marry! For non-Jews nowadays, I hear that "Marriage" is not even the slightest worry as no one bothers with this old-fashioned institution anymore.

6. Worrying
Say no more...

I will end my list now, but I'm sure everyone will point out major omissions. Please feel free to add your comments.

For now, I love being a Jewish Parent, and look forward to being a good "Bubbie".

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Joys of being a Jew in Jerusalem

In the last month 3 special events have made me appreciate being a Jew and living in Jerusalem (the holiest city in the world).

First of all, my oldest daughter became Bat Mitzvah 2 weeks ago. OK, so this happens to all women, but what was so special for me. This girl, my 2nd child was born with a very serious heart defect. As a baby, she was very sick and underwent a few operations. I never thought she would develop well.

But she turned into a beautiful 12-year old girl. Very clever and talented at drawing, playing the organ and school-work. So we celebrated her becoming a woman and taking on all the Mitzvahs. Together we went to the Western Wall and prayed together (me with tears and her with all her heart). Then at home she did her first Mitzvah of taking Challah. On the day of her party she sang a beautiful song thanking G-d and her family for everything in her life.

Secondly a few days ago, an acquaintance of mine from England called me to say she had converted to become a Jew. This made me appreciate being born a Jew, and having had all the opportunities for 48 years of my life to celebrate Jewish festivals. When it comes to performing Mitzvahs and being a good Jew, I guess I haven't taken all the chances I was given. But volutarily taking Judaism on, well that is something else... I also frequently take for granted that I live in the holiest city in the world - Jerusalem.

And today, a third really special event occurred. Blessing of the Sun - Birkat Hachama - only said once every 28 years. For me it was the first time in my life I have recited this blessing. And I had the opportunity to say it in Israel, in Jerusalem, in a religious neighbourhood. What a great feeling. This is only the 3rd time ever it has been said on Erev Passover, so today was really a special day.

So now I can truly appreciate "The Joys of being a Jew in Jerusalem".

Happy Passover!
Chag Kasher Ve'Sameach