Monday, October 12, 2009

Stray Thoughts

  • Funny lines heard over yom tov:
    Little boy to his father: "We're luckier than the goyim. They only have one day of nosh, and we have two - Purim and Simchas Torah."

    Sis-in-law to nephew, balancing on a chair he placed on a couch, who already lost a couple teeth in a fall recently: "Don't do that, if you lose any more teeth you won't be able to eat anything anymore!"
    Nephew (5): "It's okay, we can turn everything into slush and I can drink it."
  • Fun meetup: ~Sarah~, Holy Hyrax, and myself at Le Sushi (which is excellent) in North Hollywood, CA. Talk about bringing a big world together and making it tiny.
  • Elianna & Kayla are super cute. Too many stories to tell, but a good one just now - Serach moved Elianna's head, which was off her pillow, back onto it, and gave her a kiss. In her sleep, she says "Princess kiss!"
  • At a family we ate at, the mother commented how she found Koheles so uplifting (which started off a whole series of interesting discussions). Ironically, I had noticed myself feeling something along those lines, albeit a mix of uplifting and despondence, when reading through it during the kriah. In really short, I think its acknowledgement of what is or can be so frustrating/depressing in life is comforting, and its subtle refocusing of one's approach to life is fantastic and therefore incredibly uplifting.
  • Pobody's Nerfect's baby is super cute - and so big, it barely fits into a 9x13. :)
  • Cleveland is pretty gray. LA is pretty sunny. The Empire State Building doesn't let me notice the weather in NYC.
  • Great friends are the best. To be able to crash at midnight at friends after driving 7 hours from Cleveland to Akron to Teaneck is nice - B & JB, y'all rock.
  • AirTran, its employees, and its passengers all get huge thanks. After spending first days in Cleveland, Serach flew to LA with the girls from Akron, via Atlanta, while I drove back to work for a couple of days. The pilot held Kayla while Serach folded/set up the stroller coming on and off the plane. A nice man insisted on assisting Serach while she walked to the gate even though she had a good system going with the girls and stroller and carry-ons. The man next to them on the plane objected to the idea that he should remove Elianna's sleeping head from him, noting that children are a huge blessing, and who prayed when the plane took off noting it's a manmade object under God's control. There's apparently a law barring more than two people in a bathroom (parent/child), since there are only two masks in case of an emergency. When Serach needed to take Elianna to the bathroom, the steward volunteered and carried Kayla with him as he made his rounds. The stewardess offered to get hot water so she could clean Kayla's bottle. A woman getting off the plane ended up being the last person off because she insisted on holding Kayla while Serach got their stuff together.
  • I flew JetBlue direct from JFK to Burbank with a lulav as my carry-on. I got a few stares. I'm sure it was just as hard as what Serach went through. :)
  • A month ago, I drove 19 hours and 1,200+ miles in one weekend when my grandmother passed away. Then came Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Over Sukkos, I'm driving about 1,000, flying about 6,000, worked until midnight both erev yom tov before driving to Cleveland at 630am the next morning on 3 hours sleep and over Chol Hamoed for two nights before packing up and driving to JFK at 6am on two hours sleep, then spending most day hours e-mailing and calling the office. It will be amazing to finally have a normal rhythm starting sometime this week... after our red-eye flight back, followed by a full day of work, and a wedding in Lakewood that night. ZZZZZZ....
  • Finally, a postscript of sorts: Unfortunately, there's a ton of crap that goes on in various frum communities or in the frum community at large. We are in the unfortunate position of knowing all too many of these stories on a personal level, and the sickening approaches people take to them, whether covering them up, denying them, fighting those who try to effect positive change, and the like. At the same time, however, it is wonderful to know that despite all the politics, all the pressure, all the dirty games, that many, or most, of the people who are stuck in those games at least have a sense of what is and is not right - even if sadly, they still feel they cannot "fight the system". More importantly, it is heartwarming to know of those who do do whatever they can to battle on behalf of those who are placed into horrible situations, who themselves are horrified at what does and does not happen. And it is incumbent on the rest of us to consistently pressure our leadership to always do what is right, and not to get caught in the traps of politics and messy relationships. While changes will not happen overnight, the more pressure that is placed on people to own up to doing what is right the faster we can untangle the mess that is Jewish community leadership and re-establish it as the respected force it should be to help the community.
Hope everyone had a wonderful chag!