There are a number of excellent blogs penned by young men and women out there in the J-blogosphere, and lately I've been discovering even more - whether because they've come to visit us, they plan to come to visit us, whether people have pointed them out to me, or because I've stumbled across them. Over the last 12 hours or so, I've been wowed, impressed, inspired, or made to think by a number of their posts, so here we go: (again, hit expand for excerpts)
- 8) Badforshidduchim - via SaraK and others, I just spent some time perusing the archives. Switching between hilarious and serious discussions about the difficulties and stupidities within the shidduch "system".
- 7) The MaddHatter on the idea of "double-dipping" with dates.
This well-meaning mother had a thing or two to say in favor of double-dating. Her casual "It's either raining or a draught when it comes to shidduchim" along with "I find it's better to catch hold of what you can during the rainy season because, let's face it, it's not exactly easy to get dates" really hit home in an uncomfortable way. I don't have an easy time getting dates. And this boy sounds really great. Then again, so does the one who's supposed to call me. I know what I'm going to do. That's not the issue. The issue is how easily this woman was able to shake my faith.
- 6) Chana on the historical prejudices in commentaries.
That's probably not what the author of the text intended and one is biased, one is injecting their own historical point of view into the characters of the Bible. It feels somehow human to me, very limited, almost problematic. I brought the question up to Rabbi Kanarfogel, but you see, he has such reverence for the commentaries that the way he answered was to say, "You think that they are unmasking the supermen? But that's the thing, when the masks are pulled off, they're still supermen!" He explained that if these commentaries couldn't stand up to the criticism, as it were; if they simply fell apart after one took out the historical remarks, then sure, that would be problematic. It would be someone writing a polemical diatribe and couching it within the text of a commentary to the Torah. But in these cases, brilliant analysis is still involved; it is only that it is sometimes reflective of historical time periods.
- 5) Erachet on heroism.
I am a regular girl from a regular town and a regular family and I don't possess any special talents or abilities or strengths.
So how can I be a hero? A real hero? Who has adventures and saves the whole world?
Because I really believe that I can. I really believe that I will, one day. But some little voice inside of me is trying to make me see, the world is not that simple. It's not that black and white. And you are not that special.
But I want to be.
- 4) SJ on throwing herself into her writing.
Until now, that is. Almost entirely inadvertently, I’ve found out what it feels like to lose myself in my writing, to be consumed by it. Last night, I decided to try something new. I was inspired to attempt a writing style that is extremely ambitious and different than my norm. For once, instead of waiting ‘til the urge passed, as I usually do (because I am lazy or decide that I should be focusing on dull school essays instead), I went with the instinct and started to write. And wrote and wrote. I had to come up for air occasionally, pacing around my room (or rather, taking the two steps between my desk and the door repeatedly—my room isn’t exactly spacious) and reminding myself of the world I’m really in. But then I’d submerge myself again, back into my writing.
- 3) The Apple on building confidence.
The key is to (a) realize that you're not unusual in your struggles and (b) equip yourself with the tools to bring yourself to a correct mindset. I think (b) is something that needs to come from within more than without - having others around to be the ones to reassure you that you're not as bad as you think you are is great, but in the possible absence of having others to build you back up from those insecure moments, you need to be able to achieve it on your own.
Basically, you need to believe in yourself. You have to have a strong sense of yourself so that you can bounce back from those moments of insecurity. You need to have confidence.
- 2) The Madd Hatter on how much you can learn from painting an orange.
At the moment, the focus of my art is an orange. I have spent the last two weeks painting oranges and I'm not even close to finishing the second one. I've found it to be a lesson in observation, patience, and focus. Painting has actually taught me a lot so far besides which colors make the shadow and which the shine of an orange.
1.It's okay to erase something I've worked hard on and start from scratch.
2.It's okay to just stand and look for a while.
3.It's the process and not the finished product that's important.
4.I'm never really finished; it can always be improved.
- 1) And finally, I absolutely loved [and teared up at] this post by The Corner Point called Human Becomings.
Maybe it's just because as unappreciated and bashed the teaching profession is, there is still something glorious about saying you teach 10th grade Chumash, or 12th grade Bio, or even 6th grade Tefilla. But when you tell people you teach Kindergarten, most look at you, almost struggle to conceal the sympathy in their eyes, and comment, "Oh really? Ah...do you enjoy it?"
Are you kidding? Do I enjoy it?
It's my inspiration. My air. My life right now. I may be an overly passionate soul in most aspects of my life, but when I talk about my job, I feel such a pride, such a wonder, such a privilege to be able to carry out this amazing responsibility.
So many people consider early childhood education as a babysitting service. Parents drop their little ones off at school, run errands, go to work, take care of the real world while some Morahs keep an eye on the kids that "can't even read yet so how can they be learning...?" Our children are more than just learning--they're drinking up every word that's uttered within their earshot, putting words to things they're not even able to consciously understand yet, growing in self-awareness and self-worth, and building the foundations of love for learning that will be the cornerstone of every other lesson they'll ever learn for the rest of their lives.
The thrill of watching a little girl finally realize that the little black characters on the pages of books really mean something is simply breathtaking...As is watching from afar as a child with behavioral difficulties finally works out her own problem without resorting to hitting...As is hearing the exclamation of delight from the little one who runs by in the playground, legs pumping, heart soaring, flying by with nothing to anchor her to the ground...As is the glow on the face of the child who proudly holds up her clay masterpiece, explaining, "Morah, I made this for you..."