TGIF


Three years, seven weeks, and five days after I was first told I had cancer, I am cancer free. I feel happy and relieved, but will forever feel nervous every time I don’t feel good, that it is cancer. That said, at the end of the day I am a rock star, and cancer is my bitch. My son came home to celebrate last night, and having him stay the night and sleep in his old room filled my heart with joy. Less than a month after cancer stole a dear friend, I feel blessed and am counting my blessings.

As I waited for test results, while marking the anniversary of the passing of my beloved dad who died from cancer, I thought about my life and my place in the world. I watched the painful news out of Florida and cried as I watched a mother beg for the government to keep our kids safe. It left me with a need to say a few things, about a few things. This may piss people off, and that is okay. God Bless America that I am able to not only have an opinion, but share it freely.

  • The murders in Florida this week must not be blamed on mental illness, but rather blamed on the fact that a teenager can legally buy an AR-15 firearm in America. The President of the United States is a moron and anyone who thinks prayer is the answer to this problem, is mentally deficient. I am a woman of faith and I believe in prayer, but I have had enough. The NRA can shove all the prayers up their asses and fire them into space. We need to get a hold of the guns and stop making senseless murders so easy.
  • Aziz Ansari is a pig, he is not however a sexual deviant who needs to lose his career, just because he was a loser on a date. Dear Lord. The woman “Grace”, who wrote about her date with Mr. Ansari did more harm than good to a movement that is trying so hard to do good. There is a witch hunt mentality happening, which I suppose is to be expected under the circumstances, but as women we have a responsibility to each other to be honest and fair so that appropriate action can be taken against those who deserve it.
  • I have written that the last two men I dated were lovely and it simply did not work out. Here’s the thing though, they were not lovely, I was lovely. They are assholes and I am tired of taking the high road when it comes to my dating life. I am far too nice, and the truth is that I was kind to both of these people, and they were dicks. At the end of the day I am a great girl who is worthy of a great man, and if you voted for Trump or are 53 and never married, you’ve got too many problems for me to take you on.
  • I cried when I read that Amy Schumer got married. I don’t know her, but I like her and respect how she uses the platform fame has given her, so I found myself inexplicably happy for her. She was a beautiful bride and I hope she has a loving and wonderful marriage. I’m not really the fangirl type, except for Celine Dion of course, but there is something about Ms. Schumer that puts me squarely on her side. She makes me laugh and has the gift of bringing light to darkness. Mazel Tov Amy. Thank you for you. #totalfangirl.
  • It turns out that I was correct when I shared with you all long ago that I am the only person who knows how to drive in Los Angeles. I was rear ended this week by a young man with no car insurance. He was texting on his phone and I saw him getting closer, but had nowhere to go so I just waited for the hit. We were not going fast and the damage was only cosmetic, but it pissed me off. I felt bad for the kid for about 30 seconds. He could have cared less about what he did and texted the entire time we were talking. Whatever.

I am very happy it is Friday. I am welcoming in Shabbat with an open heart and a tired mind. It has been a stressful, yet joyous week and I am going to have a couple Cosmos tonight. I know they will be delicious because I’m going to make them myself. I plan to order in Chinese food, put on my fluffiest pajamas, and enjoy the Olympics. I will undoubtedly go back and forth between the excitement of Korea and the news, struggling to make sense of things that will never make sense. I feel stuck. I am unsure what to think or feel when I am so happy, and so sad.

To the families in Florida who are experiencing unimaginable pain, you are on my mind and I send you love. May your loved ones rest in peace, and may you know I will join my voice to yours until somebody listens and gets the guns. I am sorry for your losses. Shabbat Shalom. Be safe out there everyone. We live in a scary place and the only way we will ever survive is if we start to take care of each other. Be kind to one another, use your vote for good, and scream as loud as you can that you want change. Be brave, be hopeful, and remember to keep the faith.

 

 

Miss You Dad


February 13th is the day my father passed away. It is a day of sadness and reflection, but also joyous memories of a man I loved very much. My dad was a wonderful human being and I miss him. He was my go to person for everything, and it is impossible to understand he has been gone for 17 years. I wonder what he would be like if he were alive today, and turning 80 this year.

This is always a strange day. I started with a few tears, lit a candle, said some prayers, and headed to work. On the way in I received an email from a man online. I decided to reply since he wrote on this day, and perhaps my dad had a hand in it. We exchanged numbers and by the end of the afternoon we spoke on the phone. He didn’t seem like a match, but I tried to find common ground.

He is Jewish, divorced, 53, and felt compelled to tell me he does not like blow jobs, so I can date him with the comfort of knowing I don’t have to worry about that. As I listened to this truly tragic man spend five minutes explaining his sexual do and don’ts, and how they would make my life better, I started to laugh. Not a chuckle, but hysterical laughing that made my stomach hurt. Perfect.

My dad totally had a hand in that. I ended the conversation with the man and thanked my dad for the laugh on a sad day. By ended the conversation of course I mean I hung up on him when he got to his thoughts on anal sex. Oy vey. My dad sent a true idiot my way, to make me laugh on a truly sad day. I am now having a Cosmo, sitting on the couch with the cat, thankful for many things.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and I will have dinner with the love of my life, my son. We will raise a glass to my dad and hold the memories of him close on a day that shines a light on love. I will look across the table and see my father in the eyes of my son, and count my blessings. Thank you for the laugh today Dad. We all love you and know you are watching over us. You are missed and we are all keeping the faith.

Sadness to Happiness


I have a friend who is feeling sad. They’re not exactly sure why, but there is real sadness. I’m not sure how to help, so all I can do is tell them I love them, and things will be okay. Sadness is tricky because it can easily turn to depression. I embrace sadness when it comes my way, knowing it will pass. That knowledge took me a long time to learn, but I know it will pass, and that gives me the strength to ride it out. My heart is heavy for those who seek the same kind of strength.

I am blessed sadness leads me to gratitude. I imagine it is exhausting when sadness leads you to darkness. I don’t want my friend to be in the dark. I want them to hold onto my hand and allow me to lead them to the light. It may be a long walk, but we will get there. There is nothing wrong with sadness. I have been dealing with sadness since a dear and close friend passed away. I miss her in ways I wasn’t expecting and find exhausting.

When my friend passed away I was sad and lost. I hung onto my son a little tighter and he led me away from sadness. He was my sunshine on a cloudy day, and I hope I can be the sunshine on my friend’s sad day. Life is good and we are blessed. Carl Jung said “The word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.” I hope my friend can appreciate the importance of sadness in one’s happiness. They’re going to be fine and this too shall pass. I know it.

I know this person well. I know their family, job, joys, and sorrows. I know they are a wonderful human being and destined for greatness. These are things I know, and while I appreciate sadness plays an important role in our lives, it is not in charge. To my darling friend, I love you. Know it. You are going to be fine. Know it. This too shall pass. Know it. You have been my sunshine, and I will be yours. Know it. It will make it easier to keep the faith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rest in Peace Cookie


Last week my remarkable friend Alli passed away. She was a mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, Hollywood superstar, and wonderful human being. I loved her very much and haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of how much I am going to miss her. We knew each other for almost a decade and there is no aspect of my life she did not touch and make better. She was an inspiration to all who were blessed to know her.

Alli taught me patience. She bided her time and waited things to be as she wanted, rather than accept something that was less than she deserved. She taught me forgiveness. She forgave me for things I may not have been able to forgive her for, because she knew it would bring peace. She taught me self-kindness. She would not allow me to punish myself when things out of my control went wrong.

She was an entertainment powerhouse who left her mark on Hollywood. Every person reading this blog loved at least one of her movies. From American Pie to The Bourne Identity, The Hunger Games to Cinderella, Rogue One and the upcoming Han Solo, Alli loved the movies and it was an absolute privilege to have a front row seat to watch her work her magic. She was a truly brilliant producer.

Allison Shearmur was a lot of different things to me. She was my boss, friend, confidant, therapist, life coach, mentor, sister, mother, and sparring partner. We laughed and cried, got along and butted heads. She was my go-to person for absolutely everything. She knew every single thing about me. We kept each other’s secrets and never judged our choices. She was my family.

I worked for Alli for many years, and when I decided to move on to a new job, she said she would not accept my letter of resignation because there was a typo in it, and so it did not count. When I told her I was looking for a husband, she told not to find a husband, but to find an Ed, who was her beloved. When I questioned myself as a mother, she assured me I was doing great and my son proved that daily.

She taught me the importance of spending money on good bedding and pillows. She made me buy something just for me once a month. She valued honesty, kindness, and faith. We shared a Jewish worldview and spent the high holidays together. She respected and encouraged the role Judaism played in my life, and we often talked about our religion. We spoke of wanting to pass our faith onto our children in ways that would inspire them to embrace it.

Alli loved her children, husband, family, home, and career. Allison Shearmur also loved me, which makes me a very lucky girl. I will spend the rest of my life looking forward to seeing her again. I will talk to her often and have her in my prayers always. Our last words to each other were I love you, and she will continue to guide me. I love you Alli, and until we see each other again, I will be keeping the faith.

Religion in an Uber


I love a cocktail, and because I am a complete lightweight, I use Uber. It is easy and inexpensive, as long as they don’t nail you with their bogus surge pricing. Important to note that if you book an Uber and it cancels on you, then you rebook it 30 seconds later and there is surge pricing, complain to them because that is both lame and unethical. This however is not a blog about Uber pricing, but rather about my recent Uber driver.

If you are interested in people’s stories, talk to your Uber driver. I have met some wonderful people while riding in their cars. I’ve been driven by a Drake lookalike who was so handsome I stuttered when we spoke. There was a grandmother making extra money to help her single mom daughter, who was so great I moved to the front seat. There was a woman who is raising 9 children and drives to get a break from her kids. Uber is great.

Saturday night I went out for dinner with a friend. He drove to my place and we took an Uber to sushi. When we got in the car there was something in Arabic playing and didn’t sound like music, as much as chanting, so I asked if he was listening to prayers, because that is what it sounded like. He told me it actually was prayers, I told him they were beautiful, and somehow we went from prayers to not all Muslim’s being extremists.

I’m not sure if my positive reaction to the prayers made him open up, but he felt compelled to say not all Muslim’s were bad, and many speak out against extremists who are bringing harm to their faith. He wanted me to explain to him why the media never talks about the brave few who are willing to speak out. I didn’t have an answer, which I think made him sad. I appreciated that he wanted to be heard, and felt bad the ride was so short.

We live in a time when it is difficult to be a lot of things. Life has levels of complication when you are gay, black, Jewish, or transgender, to name just a few. It makes me happy when people are proud of who and what they are, so it was great that this man was comfortable enough to play prayers for strangers. He asked me at one point if I was Muslim, and I said no. I didn’t tell him I was Jewish, which I am ashamed of.

I’m not sure why I didn’t say I was a Jew when he asked me if I was Muslim. I’m not sure why I would even have said I was Jewish in that moment. I am proudly and openly Jewish. I say openly because I have many Jewish friends who are quiet about their faith.  It struck me as odd that I would choose this moment to be quiet and not share. I respect his bravery, but am sad for thinking it requires bravery to speak of religion.

Religion has always been something we need to be careful with I suppose. It brings people together, and tears them apart. If fuels love and hate on both small and epic levels. At the end of the day I’ll continue talking to Uber drivers, because connecting to a fellow human being matters, and exchanges about religion can be enlightening if we allow them to be. Sometimes talking to a stranger inspires you to keep the faith.

 

Dating 101 – Bring on the rain


I started dating someone late last year and even though I totally thought we would be a thing, in the end we are not the thing I had hoped for. I really like him and we are friends, but it is a shame it didn’t become more. The simple truth is that at this stage of my life, I want to be with someone who is ready for a relationship. I have a wonderful life to share, and I am a wonderful human being, so there is no energy or point in spending time convincing someone to be brave.

If I don’t value myself, then how can I expect someone else to value me? I have had my heart broken, more than once, but I have never let that pain stop me from trying.  Love is grand and I am not going to let hurt influence my happiness. The memories of heartache certainly shape my heart, but they do not have the power to change what I want and what I believe I am worthy of. I hope this man gets to a place where he knows he is worthy of a good woman who values him.

Dating is not fun, but if you view it with the knowledge that even a misstep gets you one step closer to love, you’ll be okay. I had a date this weekend with a man a friend set me up with. I was told he would make me laugh, so we made a plan to meet for breakfast. He was handsome, on time, had a job, and fantastic green eyes. We said hello, settled in for the dance, and it was going well. Then he decided that he was going to call the waitress a bitch. Not once, but twice, to her face. We were done in just under ten minutes.

There is no world in which I am going to be okay with this behavior, so I went in. I started by apologizing to the waitress. She was lovely, which made his treatment of her even more disturbing. I told him he was rude and I was not only not interested in staying on our date, but he needed to apologize to the waitress. It was then that he told me I was, wait for it, a bitch. I got up, “accidentally” spilled my iced tea on his lap, and headed home.

I was sad for about five minutes, then it was just another step in my journey.  There is someone for everyone. The man I met for breakfast will meet a woman to spend his life with, and I’m hoping she ends being a total bitch. The man I was dating will also meet someone, and she will inspire him to risk getting his heart broken again. He will see her worth and that he is better beside her. I will be that woman for someone one day. Just not today, and that is okay.

It is Monday morning and raining in in Los Angeles, which is a great thing. The universe is washing away the weekend and allowing the week to begin fresh. I will keep trying because that is half the battle. You can’t be sad that you are alone if you are not trying to meet someone. How we try is not important, as long as we try. We are all worthy of love and if you want a relationship, you will have one. Be brave, take a risk, know your worth, believe in love, and keep the faith.

 

 

Make a Diffference


I wake up every morning and check the news. I do it with caution of course, because I never know what I’m going see, but I still look. I want to be informed about not only what is going on in Los Angeles, but the world. We are all in this together, and I want to be involved. I am curious by nature, and feel it is my obligation as someone who gets to share this earth, to be aware and help make the world better. We can all make a difference and seemingly little efforts still matter.

As I listen to what is going on in the world, and specifically in my own country, I can’t help but worry about the future. Things are a mess and we live in a political environment where we are also in danger. The unknown is scary and this administration worries me. I worry about what the future looks like for my son, who is about to turn 22, and is just starting his adult life. I worry about what the world will look like for the kids he will have one day. It is all very depressing, but needs to be thought about.

I am comforted and inspired by people who want to make thing better for all of us. I read something bad, then read about someone who is trying to make it better. I read about people doing bad things, then make sure to read about someone doing good things. I have to balance out the information I take in myself because I can’t rely on the media to do it. When we are surrounded by bad news, we owe it to ourselves to seek out good news. It makes life better when we are able to see both.

When I listen to my son talk about the world I feel better about things. He is a good man and is determined to not live his life on the sidelines. He is passionate about a lot of things and it makes me proud that he is making a difference. He is an inherently kind human being who cares about who he shares the planet with. On the darkest of days, I have hope because I know this young man will stand up for what is right and help those who need it. The good news is he is not a lone soldier.

I have a new assistant at work who is the same generation as my son. When we talk about things that are going on in the world, his view gives me hope. He sees the future in much the same way as my son and that makes me happy. This generation is frustrated and annoyed by what is happening in the world, and that is a great thing. They worry about their futures, but it is with determination to use their voices and talents to make things better. I am certain these young people will make things better.

I am going into Shabbat today with a sense of calm. I listen to the news and know there are people who will fight along side me for change. Our voices will join together and make ourselves heard. We can make things better if we the choice to do something, rather than just read the news and sit back and do nothing. We’ve got this people! Everything is going to be okay, just know it will get better, quicker, if we all step up. Have a great weekend. Think positive, be hopeful, do something, and remember to keep the faith.

 

 

 

Writing Out Loud


I’m not one to make resolutions because they set us up for disappointment. Rather than put all my eggs in one basket on January 1st, I simply try to do my best each day. I say a prayer, cross my fingers, and try to be brave enough to take leaps of faith. It is easier said than done of course, but as long as I try I am proud of myself. It doesn’t matter if I accomplish everything I set out to, but it does matter that I put myself out there.

The past year was full of challenges and blessings for me. I have no complaints because everything led me to blessings. I am thankful for the life I have and grateful to have this platform to share myself with all of you. I have discovered over the many years I have been writing for the Jewish Journal that my life is better when my readers relate to my words and share theirs in return. We are all in this together and I value your input.

In 2018 I will write about my always entertaining yet pathetic dating life, my lack of a sex life, my empty nest, my weight, my fascination with the train wreck that is Leann Rimes, my faith, my religion, (faith and religion are not the same thing), becoming a vegan, my son, my cat, my hopes, my fears, my cancer, and everything else that comes along because there is nothing I won’t share with an open heart and a shot of tequila.

I am going to write more often, and not only about what is going on in my life, but what is going on in the world. There is a lot to say and while I have always been open and honest, I’m going to take things to a whole new level and really blog out loud with no fear and no filters. I am excited about a lot of things and sharing them with you is a blessing that continues to inspire me to keep the faith.

 

 

Dating is Intense


I went out for a drink last night with a gentleman friend. He is funny, smart, handsome, educated, and kind. We have been dating for a few weeks and I enjoy his company. He makes me laugh and I find myself wanting to write down some of the things he says because they are so clever. He’s a writer, so technically that would be stealing, but I think about it. He is the first man in a while that I have been on a second date with. I may date a lot, but it is with purpose. I don’t date just to date, and I don’t want to waste anyone’s time, including my own.

I suppose one could say my dating life is somewhat intimidating, particularly if you don’t date much, but I am simply trying. It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to keep trying, and when you add a blog into the mix, it can be a lot for someone to handle. I write about what is going on in my life, and I can’t not include something, because that would make me a fraud. I date, think Trump is an ass, am starting to love my empty nest, and have made a choice to pay attention to other people’s stories. That’s what is going on, and so that is what I write about.

I haven’t really been dating much lately because my heart is still a little stunned from the last go round, but I found myself feeling lonely and wanting to try again. I am the most optimistic person I know when it comes to love. If you look at my dating history it would make more sense for me to get a bunch of cats and let go of that part of my life, but at the end of the day love is grand, touch is important, and so I keep trying. Praying and trying, but mostly praying. Praying and vodka. Even amounts of prayer and vodka.

I care about people’s feelings and always appreciate when someone is interested in me. Dating is hard, and exhausting, but it takes someone special for me to invest in for longer than a drink. I like this man I’m dating for many reasons, and some of those reasons are new to me, which is wonderful. I think that perhaps my hopeful, unfiltered, and grown up perspective may have freaked him out because last night he told me I was intense.

I would prefer to be viewed as difficult rather than intense, and it hurt my feelings. In a rather unfortunate turn of events, it made me cry. It was of course mortifying, but it is what it is, and luckily I look pretty when I cry. I would call myself a lot of things, but not intense. I simply do not see that about myself. I am an advanced communicator, and not afraid to say what I think or feel, but that makes me a grown up. I suppose it can be perceived as intense, so I guess I’m going to die alone, with 18 cats.

Important to note I know the definition of intense and while one could say it is good to be intense in some situations, it takes on a different note when said in the context of dating. Unless you are referring to your sex life, intense is not a good word to describe a person in a relationship. I’m not even sure it works in terms of sex. At the end of the day I guess i just think it is an unkind word to use when speaking to someone in a personal exchange because whether or not someone is intense, calling them intense is personal.

He was not trying to be unkind. He is actually never unkind, and was surprised by my reaction, which I felt bad about. I suppose it boils down to being tired. Tired of the dating dance, and while I can certainly cut a rug with the best of them, in this particular dance I have two left feet. Last night made me wonder not only if I had gotten it wrong, but what was wrong with me? How can I be so certain I am being one way, when I am being perceived as something completely different? It must be because I’m so intense!

This man is wise and I value his opinion, so I am left wondering if he was right, and I am intense. It has left me sad, which is sad, because what it means is that in my attempt to be brave in how I approach my relationships, I ended up being someone I am not, which has been interpreted in a certain kind of way, which is horrible. Perhaps I am more embarrassed than sad, but sadness is winning right now, and so I cried and then had a restless sleep. It’s not the end of world, and life goes on, but it is a drag.

As someone who dates, it is hard to face the fact I suck at it. One would think I’d be used to it by now, but I’m not. I’m still trying to navigate the waters of dating, and just when I think I have a handle on it, an intense wave knocks me on my ass. I will recover of course, because I always do, but I wish it wasn’t so hard. It would be a pleasant surprise if bravery could be met with bravery. How refreshing it would be if instead of getting spooked, one would be inspired to also be brave.

I’m not one who thinks “bad timing” plays a role in relationships, but I do think time helps figure things out. It would be nice if we figured this out together because he makes sense to me. We make sense to me. It’s all a crap shoot, and there are no guarantees, so all I can do is live and learn. Every step I take gets me one step closer to where I am going. As for where that is, I have absolutely no idea. I really need to be done trying to figure that out. I just need to walk forward, with my focus on keeping the faith.

A Little Perspective


When I was driving to work yesterday I saw a car pulled over on the onramp to the freeway. I noticed the car as I started on the onramp because there was a lot of traffic and we were moving slowly. As I started on the loop I could see them at the other end right before the entrance to the 405 freeway. The man was in the driver’s seat and looking frantically from the freeway to the woman he was who was leaning out of the car to vomit.

I wasn’t sure what to do as I watched people looking and slowing down, but nobody stopped, until me. I made the decision to pull up behind them and see if I could help. I climbed out the passenger door of my car because I was scared of the cars on my side, and went to the woman. She was initially startled, then said she was fine and didn’t need help. I looked at her, looked at him, and told her I wasn’t there for her, but him.

She smiled, laughed for a second, and vomited. I rubbed her back as he said thank you and looked so tired. I simply smiled, told him it was going to be okay, and nothing else was said. The woman was better after a few minutes and when she was well enough to sit up and get settled back in the car, she introduced herself. She is 37 years old, has two kids, he is her wonderful husband, and she is having chemotherapy for breast cancer.

We chatted for a minute, exchanged information, and this weekend I am going to go visit her for a cup of tea. She and her husband are special people and I feel blessed to have crossed their path. I’m looking forward to spending time with them. Sometimes it takes a chance meeting with a stranger to give a little perspective. It is very important for us to not get so wound up in our own lives that we stop noticing the lives going on around us.

Interaction matters. We are all in this together and when you open your eyes and see people, rather than just glance past them, good things can happen and you can make a difference. Kindness matters and the simple acknowledgment of another human being can impact not only them, but you. I am looking forward to spending time with my new friends. It will be good to step out of my life to embrace new people and experiences.

I crave humanity and want to connect in different ways. I’ve been looking for something, and meeting these people makes me feel like I am on the path to finding it. They opened my eyes in a profound way, which is strange seeing as our interaction was brief, but I’m opening my eyes and my heart. I am open to love, purpose, kindness, and connection. We are surrounded by blessings and we owe it to ourselves to try and see them.

I am someone who is always searching for something. Not because I’m not satisfied, or need anything, but more because I like learning, and meeting new people. I like stories and when you are able to not only write your own, but be a part of someone else’s, that is very special. I am going to pay more attention to what is happening around me because when I do, I discover things about me that make it really easy to keep the faith.

Five orange pumpkins sit in a row in front of a distressed, wooden background.

Happy Thanksgiving Jose Cuervo


This time of year inspires people to reflect on their lives. We take the time to say thank you and count our blessings, even if it is just for a day. Thanksgiving is a lovely holiday, but as a woman who gives thanks each and every day, saying thanks is just a small piece of the pie. In the spirit of the holiday however, each year I like to pick one thing or one person in my life that has gone unappreciated, and say thank you. This year’s selection happens to be both a person and a thing.

My son has moved into his own apartment and it’s been hard. Even though we talk all day and I see him regularly, I miss him so much it aches. I am not ashamed to share I have cried every day since he left. I have also slept in his room twice, and sat in the middle of the floor weeping. By sitting, of course I mean I was in the fetal position while looking at baby pictures with my boyfriend. By boyfriend, of course I mean Jose Cuervo, which leads me to my special thank you for 2017.

Thank you to Jose for helping me through this difficult transition in my life. I have spent almost 22 years preparing my son for this moment, but sadly forgot to prepare myself. The truth is that even if I had prepared myself, I still wouldn’t have been ready. He stayed at home longer I did when I was young, but I could have used a little more. Another five years would have been nice. Pathetic to be sure, but still nice. It has been him and me for so long it feels strange when he tells me he is going home after dinner, but it is not our home.

He was six months old when I got divorced and so our bond is special. It has been him and me against the world so long, I guess I’m just scared about how I will do it on my own. It would keep me up at night if it weren’t for Jose. He relaxes me so I can stop thinking and get some sleep. I love him. Important to clarify I don’t love him so much that we are together all day, but I do love him some evenings and imagine it will be a couple more weeks before me and my tequila boyfriend cool off.

Being a mother is the highlight of my life and most important job I will ever have. I am proud of my son for taking this milestone step in his life, and proud of myself for raising such a wonderful human being. He is living his best life and his successes are mine. I respect and admire him. I also trust him. He makes good choices and that is because of me. He is fearless, compassionate, aware, and kind. In the interest of full disclosure, it has not been all bad. There are blessings.

My home is always clean! There are no clothes on the floor, there are no dishes in the sink, and there is something quite liberating about walking around your home naked, just because you can. I am actually writing this while naked on the couch with Jose. I’m not sure I will ever get used to my empty nest, but with Jose by side I will learn to embrace it. Happy Thanksgiving! Count your blessings, acknowledge someone worthy, and raise a glass to keeping the faith.

Happy Birthday Dad


Today, November 22, 2017, marks what would have been my father’s 79th birthday. He passed away when he was only 63, and I often wonder what he would have been like had he been blessed with old age. I wonder how my life would be different had he been here to guide me, and how different my son would be, had he had his influence for longer. It makes me sad and I feel cheated by his dying so young.

Robert Angel was an amazing man and I loved him very much. He took care of me not only when I was a child, but when I was an adult and had a child of my own. He and was the kind of dad who always had a story, or an answer, or a solution, and a joke. It did not matter what was going on in my life, he was able to help me, even if it was just to listen and offer quiet support. I miss my dad more every day.

My son reminds me of my dad. They have similar mannerisms, the same sense of humor, and the same full head of fabulous hair. I can look at my boy and see my dad, which is a blessing. I am thankful my father got to meet my son and get to know him a little bit. He has eight fantastic grandchildren, but sadly didn’t get to meet them all, so I am lucky I have memories of my dad and son together.

My father loved my son and they had a lot of special little things together. He would have been close to my boy had he lived to see him grow up. He would have been the grandpa with pictures on his phone, ready to show anyone who wanted to see his grandchildren. I am certain that just like me, he would have watched my son on television and cried. He was strong, bold, and brave. A wonderful human being.

I will go out tonight and raise a glass in my father’s honor. I will say his name out loud, and thank him for watching over me. I will talk about him with my son so he never forgets him. I will be happy to have had such an amazing dad, and sad to have lost him too early. Happy Birthday Robert Angel. You are loved, and missed, and still the head of our family. I will see you again, so I am keeping the faith.

Letters to the Editor: New Journal Layout, Prayer, and Israel


New Look, New Content

I cannot adequately express how impressed I am with the new “Back and Forth” feature. Civil but serious, it sharply helps amplify and elucidate the perspectives of the quality voices that participate and teaches us stiff-necked readers things we would otherwise be unlikely listen to. A Kiddush HaShem to the fullest — what a wonderful way to model meaningful engagement between parts of our community and beyond. Thank you, thank you, thank you for embodying a core Jewish value with such deep, universal worth.

Kol hakavod!

Michael Feldman via email

Kudos on the new layout and typeface of the Journal. Big improvement. But as a boomer feminist, I found two recent columns written by women personally disturbing. The first was about flirting, which I at first dismissed simply as a “fluff” piece (“Why I Miss Flirting,” Nov. 10). In the second column, a mother proudly says she encourages her son to be “strong enough to be kind” (“My Son, the Maccabee,” Nov. 10). My alarm bells went off. I personally have seen men who were attracted to a damsel in distress become physically aggressive when that same woman becomes assertive. I also know of college football players (arguably men’s men) who have been convicted of rape.

Since these Journal columns have been published, more and more influential men have been outed for their alleged inappropriate sexual behavior with young men and women. Actor Richard Dreyfuss, when recently confronted, actually tried to excuse his alleged behavior by issuing a statement of direct relevance to both of these Journal  columns. He writes: “I value and respect women. … I became … the kind of performative masculine man my father had modeled for me to be. … I flirted with all women. … But I am not an assaulter. … I remember trying to kiss [his accuser] as part of what I thought was a consensual seduction ritual. … I am horrified and bewildered to discover that it wasn’t consensual. I didn’t get it.”

Women have worked too hard and too long in the fight to gain equality and independence. I hope we aren’t being asked to start all over again.

Sharon Alexander, Torrance


Building Bridges in a Time of Chaos

Thank you, Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn and the Jews United for Democracy and Justice, for your inspiring compilation “After Charlottesville” (advertising supplement, Oct. 20). Not only do you bring together teachings from the vast spectrum of Jewish leaders, sages and religious persuasions, but you also include teachings from non-Jewish leaders and traditions. By doing this, you are helping us to realize the relevancy and importance of striving to sing all four songs as written by Rabbi A.Y. Kook: the song of the individual, the song of the nation, the song of humanity, and the song of all existence. In this time of chaos, we must push ourselves beyond our ordinary boundaries, build bridges and learn from each other. It is only with an open, probing mind that we can elevate our community as well as our nation.

Also, thank you, David Suissa, for creating a forum where spirituality and practical matters can attain the perfect balance!

Mina Friedler via email


Prayers Alone Won’t Cure Society’s Ills

Ben Shapiro wrote a recent column about the power of prayer in the aftermath of the recent mass shooting in Texas (“Don’t Dismiss the Power of Prayer,” Nov. 10). One of the purposes of prayer in such cases is to provide comfort and consolation to the relatives of the victims because absolutely nothing can bring victims back to life. No human action can do that.

The unprecedented number of mass shootings during past several years shows there is a serious problem in society. Both sides agree on that. It’s obvious from Shapiro’s words that he doesn’t understand what is causing “a tsunami of rage,” neither has he the slightest idea where to look for the root causes of those events. Mr. Shapiro, with political power and authority comes the huge responsibility of providing peace and security to millions of people. The inability to fulfill that responsibility is what is causing the tsunami of rage. Such tragic events are not part of God’s plan. Period. They’re part of society, designed by humans. One thing I know in my profession: When there’s a problem with a building, we architects and civil engineers roll up our sleeves and begin to look for what’s causing the problem. And if we find out it is in the foundation, the last thing we would do is to offer a prayer. Even the most thoughtful prayer cannot do the job. Only hard work by experienced people can.

Svetlozar Garmidolov, Los Angeles


Inappropriate Topic in Torah Portion

Rather than commenting on the parsha, the extremist Open Orthodox rabbi unleashed a screed against the Orthodox Union (OU) for not aiding and abetting his agenda to promote practices that all halachic leadership of Modern Orthodoxy agrees is out of bounds (“Parsha: Chayei Sara,” Nov. 10). May the OU find the strength to remove these heretical congregations from their midst.

Saul Newman via email


Historic Evidence of Israel’s Roots 

Thank you for Judea Pearl’s story (“The Balfour Declaration at 100 and How It Redefined Indigenous People,” Nov. 10) lauding the declaration’s tacit recognition of the Jewish people’s status as the indigenous population of Eretz Israel.

It bears emphasis that the Jewish claim to indigenous status in Israel is not just a matter not of faith, but of historical fact confirmed by archaeology and science. The Merneptah Stele, inscribed on behalf of the eponymous Egyptian pharaoh (and son of Ramses II) around 1208 B.C.E., attests to the presence of a people called “Israel” in Canaan. The Tel Dan Stele, which celebrates an Aramean victory over Israel in the 800s B.C.E., mentions Judah’s royal “House of David.” Assyrian sculptures dating from 841 B.C. and 701 B.C.E., respectively, both on display in the British Museum in London, depict the Israelite King Jehu and the Assyrian siege of Lachish in ancient Judah. The Assyrian royal annals’ account of the siege declares Judah’s king Hezekiah trapped “like a caged bird” in Jerusalem, paralleling the biblical account. And population genetics studies confirm the connection of present-day Jews to an ancestral home in the Levant and the continuity of the Jewish people from ancient to present times.

Rome eventually destroyed the Jewish kingdom in a war from 66-73 C.E. and dispersed its people, but Jews never forfeited the right to return home or to reconstitute a Jewish state.

Stephen A. Silver, San Francisco


Israelis Trying to Do the Right Thing

I am a 15-year-old freshman at YULA Boys High School. I was thrilled to see “Teaching Math to Israel’s ‘Invisibles’ ” (Oct. 27) in the Journal because this story shows that Israel helps every race and religion — even Arabs — who constantly try to eradicate the Jewish state. This is also one of the many proofs that if any race or religion is in need of help, Israel is the first to offer its help. People who are not Jewish who read this story can see how the people of Israel care about everyone and are trying to be peaceful with everyone, even groups of people that try to terrorize the world. This story really has inspired me to be more involved in defending Israel when people accuse Israel of treating Arabs poorly. It especially bothers me when the media publish negative and untrue information about Israel. I love that this newspaper published very positive things about Israel. I hope other people get inspired like I did.

Daniel Dallal, Los Angeles

I strongly agree with what Shai Gul does and it will inspire others to reach out to people who need help. When most people run into situations like Shai Gul did, they most likely will run away from these problems. However, Shai did just the opposite, helping to educate people in that poor city. He conveyed kindness and empathy. He taught the “invisibles” to not be so invisible and to take a leap forward in life. By giving them this push, he managed to give them jobs and a basic education to build on. Shai Gul is an inspiration for people around the world. He should keep up what he does so others can be influenced and follow his tracks.

Eitan Ulitzky via email

Knocking


There’s a pounding within my chest

from the depths of my mortal flesh.

The Lord, He knocks upon the door.

His hand is hard — I want no more!

A painful pulse: “Let! Me! In!

It’s cold out here in all your sin!”

My God, I’ve all but lost the key

in the mess of my selfish greed.

These concrete walls I’ve put in place

blinded by desire. I need Your Grace!

So knock, Hashem, as hard as you must

to turn these walls back to dust.

I’ll take all the aches and all the pain

if I might be held in Your arms again.


Hannah Arin is a junior at Pitzer College pursuing a double major in religious studies and philosophy.

Friendship Goals


I am blessed to have wonderful friendships. People I care about in profound ways, who have become family. Some I’ve known for decades, and others for a short time, but they are all people I love, admire, respect, value, and depend on. They are an eclectic group and truly matter to me. They know who they are, and what they mean to me. This blog is about one woman in particular, who will be beside me for the rest of my life. I am blessed by my friendship with Gamble Breaux.

I met Gamble online about three years ago. She read my blog and sent me an email. We started corresponding, and a friendship began. In the beginning I was dealing with cancer, and Gamble was going through some stress at work. For some reason we found each other and without having met in person, became a support system to each other. I was sad, and sick, and Gamble saved me. With no hesitation, reservation, or exaggeration, I can tell you she swept into my life and saved me.

We had been writing for a few months when Gamble got engaged and was planning her wedding. I had been through surgery, was feeling nervous, and had lost my way a little bit, but Gamble would not let me feel sorry for myself and insisted I come to her wedding. It was a big decision not only because I was dealing with medical stuff, but because I live in Los Angeles and Gamble lives in Melbourne, Australia. It was a long way to travel and I wasn’t sure I could make the trip, but Gamble was.

She kicked me in the ass and would not allow me to miss it, so in an attempt to be brave, I agreed to go. I was going to fly to the other side of the world, to the wedding of a woman I had never met before. I got the blessing of my son and my oncologist, and I was going. I have never done something so spontaneous, but I felt inspired and supported by Gamble, so it was happening. From the moment I met Gamble in person and we embraced, it made sense. We were bashert.

I don’t know how it happened, but our connection was instant and our friendship goes deep. We spent five days together celebrating her wedding, then I went back to Australia to celebrate her son’s 21st birthday. When I was nominated for Blog of the Year by the LA Press Club, she came to LA to be my date to the awards ceremony. Then when my son was moving out, she came back to LA to hold my hand and wipe my tears. She is one of my best friends and I love her.

She eases my sorrow. She makes me feel better. She makes me laugh. She gives me clarity. She believes in me. She nurtures our friendship. She is like a sister to me. There is no time of day that I could not call her and she would not pick up the phone. She is my knight in shining armor and my hero. She is the kind of friend everyone deserves to a have. Thank you for always making things better Gamble. I love you very much. You are the kind of blessing that comes from keeping the faith.

 

 

Motherhood 101 – Growing Up


I survived week one in my empty nest. It was really hard, but I did it. The simple truth is I really miss my son. We talk several times a day, and I saw him during the week, but I miss having him at home. Not only do I miss him, but so does Fiddles the cat. When he came over today she about lost her mind. She followed him around like a dog and could not get close enough to him. When he left we both cried. Literally. We sat together on the couch and cried like a couple of babies.

When he said he was coming over I started to cook. I cooked as if I was having a dozen people over for dinner, even though it was just us. He walked in with a load of dirty laundry and I was so happy I thought I would burst. I did his laundry, fed him, watched Fiddles snuggle up, and stared at my grown up baby. He is a wonderful human being and I am proud of him. There is a piece of my heart that will always wish he was still with me, but a larger piece that is happy he has gone out on his own.

We are both out on our own for the first time and it has been bonding. We are going through the same changes and emotions. If you want to gage who is handling this time in our lives better, and make that decision based on the number of tears shed, I lose. He is thrilled about being on his own and I don’t think he has cried. I on the other hand still cry a lot, but for different reasons. I cried in the beginning because I was sad, and now I cry because I am so proud and excited for him.

I also cry because I am proud of myself. I have raised a good man. He is very much like my beloved father, and has all the good parts of his own dad, but at the end of the day this kid is just like his mom. I don’t have to worry about him because like me, he will always land on his feet. Maybe that is why I love Fiddles so much, we share that skill. My son is going to be fine and I am quickly realizing that so will I. My life is blessed and this time is important for a variety of reasons.

Life changes when you are not cleaning up after someone. I don’t have to pick up clothes off the floor, because I never throw my clothes on the floor. I never find dishes in my sink, because I put them straight into the dishwasher. I don’t have meat in my fridge, which as a vegetarian matters. Important to note I cooked a vegetarian feast for my boy on Sunday and he loved it. This are all really good things. Plus, there is the joy of walking around naked, simply because I can.

I am ready to shake things up. It is time to live my life out loud in new and different ways. I am going to slow things down so I can properly enjoy everything that is happening. My Rabbi taught me to meditate and I am going to implement her teachings into my everyday life rather than just my religious life. It is time to not only take a deep breathe, but listen to the air going in and coming out. I want to live a purposeful life, all the way down to my breathing. Listening to not only people, but things, matters.

The truth is I am lucky my son stayed at home as long as he did. He was ready to move out a long time ago, and only stayed to take care of me when I got sick. He did more than was required or expected, and I will be forever grateful. His leaving means not only have I done my job, but I have kicked cancer’s ass. I look forward to seeing my boy embrace all life has to offer. We are both growing up. It is time to count our blessings and focus on keeping the faith.

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Naked in an Empty Nest


After living together for almost twenty-two years, my son has moved out of our home. The countdown to his leaving was long, and though I tried to write this blog every day for two weeks, I couldn’t bring myself to finish it as I felt that if I didn’t post a blog about it, it wasn’t true, and therefore he wouldn’t leave. Genius thinking really. It has been very difficult for me to accept he was leaving, and even harder to understand why he would want to. I cried more in the past month than my entire life.

I am not ashamed to tell you I would spontaneously burst into tears daily since he started to pack. I would start crying for no apparent reason. I didn’t have to be talking to him, or even thinking about him, I just started crying. Not a pretty or ladylike cry either. A snot pouring out of my red nose while I was heaving cry. It wasn’t cute. I’m sure people thought I was not well as I looked truly horrible. If I saw myself on the street I would cross to the other side. I was scary and found myself talking out loud to myself quite often.

I was 18 when I left home, and beyond ready to go. I cannot imagine what my mother thought sending her baby away, and she did it with four children. It has just been my son and me so there is the additional bond of being a single mother to an only child. We are connected in special and important ways. We take care of each other and his fear and nerves are the same as mine. He was nervous to leave home and worried a lot about how I would be on my own. He is a wonderful human being and I am a lblessed mom.

In anticipation of his leaving, I purged my home. For every box he packed, I got rid of two. Each day I would take a load to Goodwill and they’d ask me how I was doing since I turned up with swollen, red eyes. It was rough and an aching I had not ever experienced before. I love this young man more than anyone or anything, and aside from knowing I would miss him being in my home, I have never lived alone in my entire life. It is the beginning of a new and unchartered life for me, which is both exciting and scary.

When he left last weekend I cried like a baby, but each day since Saturday has been a little bit easier. I find myself wondering where he is, and if he is home safe, so I haven’t been sleeping very well. Yesterday was a turning point for me. As I was sitting in his empty room, wondering if I would ever get used to his not living with me, my girlfriend called to check on me. Before I told her what I was doing, she asked if I was sitting in my son’s room crying. She knows me well.

I told her I was whimpering not crying, which was a big step. She told me I needed to snap out of it and the first step to embracing this stage in my life was to get naked. She pointed out I had a child in my home for over two decades and with him out on his own, it was time to be a grown up in new and exciting ways. She insisted I take all my clothes off and walk around my home naked. I told her she was nuts, but I did as instructed, mostly to be able to mock her stupid idea. I was suddenly crying and naked.

I then spent the next hour walking around naked. I made a cup of tea, straightened up, had a chat with the cat, organized my closet, and chose a new paint color for my room to brighten things up a bit. There was something very liberating about being naked in the comfort of my own home. I felt like a grown up in a whole new way. It was great. Really, really, great. It was also the moment I stopped crying and started to appreciate what an important time in my life this is. Stripping down put things into perspective.

I have raised a man all by myself. He is funny, smart, rooted in his faith, compassionate, empathetic, and supporting himself financially. He is almost 22 years old, working, pursuing his passion, finding his way, and unaware that the last three times we spoke on the phone, his mom was naked. My nest may be empty, by I’m naked, and it is all very exciting. I am embracing being alone. By embracing, of course I mean I am trying really hard to embrace being alone. Change has begun.

I will worry about him every minute of every day, but the truth is that I would worry the same way even if he still lived with me. That is how motherhood works. I love him and am blessed that he loves me back and left because he wanted to spread his wings, not flee the nest. We are close and his leaving will only make us closer. Important to note I did hire him to help me with something at work so I get to see him during the week. Don’t judge. I really needed the help and why not him?!

In the interest of full disclosure, I am writing this blog while naked. I am in my bed, naked, and it is fabulous. I put a chain on my front door so should my son come by unannounced, I can grab a robe. You think of these things when you begin a naked life. This has been the hardest two weeks of my life. I honestly did not think it would hurt so much to have him go. I have put all my energy into preparing him to leave, but never prepared myself for the day he would go. Motherhood is tricky like that, always throwing surprises your way.

This weekend I will paint, reorganize things, and turn his room into a guest room/office, rather than the shrine it has been since he left.  I will always have a room for him, and he will always know he can come back any time he wants. He just needs to call first because chances are I will be naked. I am happy today. Happy with my accomplishments as a mother, happy my boobs look so good at 51, and hopeful that one day I will have a great man here with me, naked, and keeping the faith.

Einstein and the Rabbi is a Must Read


I am a woman of faith and one of my favorite things about the religion I practice, is that my opinion is always okay. I am allowed to be Jewish at whatever level of observance I want. I do not feel judged by God or my faith, and can embrace Judaism in a way that makes me comfortable. I am Jewish, and that is enough. I don’t think about being more Jewish, or less Jewish, I am simply happy to be Jewish. It is good to be a Jew and I have found my true Jewish self, the part of me I love most, through the teachings of Rabbi Naomi Levy of Nashuva Temple in Los Angeles.

When I went through a traumatic time a few years ago, I reached out to Rabbi Levy for help. I didn’t know her well, and had only been going to her temple for a short time, but I was seeking help and turned to her with a desperate need to manage fear so I could sleep. Rabbi Levy taught me how to breathe and I found my soul through her teachings. I pray with her, meditate with her, am quiet with her, am happy with her, am sad with her, and most importantly I am never frightened with her. She is my safe place, teacher, and hero.

Rabbi Levy’s latest book, Einstein and the Rabbi, is a must read for anyone who is searching. Regardless of what you are searching for, you will find a path of understanding through this book. It is about finding your soul, which I don’t think we are even aware we are out of touch with. You don’t need to be Jewish to understand or appreciate this book. What you need is to be is open and searching for clarity. Listen to your heart, trust your gut, be quiet, speak up, know everything is going to be okay, and see that life is grand.

I have purchased 6 copies and given it to friends and family. I will also give it out for Hanukkah because it is a profound gift to anyone who reads it. You will learn something through reading everything Rabbi Levy is bravely sharing. You will laugh, cry, think, and feel her words. Read this book. I have read it twice and am excited to share it with you. It is a book I will turn to for the rest of my life to lift me up and light my way. I learn something new each and every time I pick it up. I love this Rabbi and cannot wait to hear from you when you read it. Let me know what touched you.

We all have things going on in our lives, and everyone has their own relationships with faith and God, but I cannot imagine there is anyone, of any faith, that will not benefit from the wisdom and stories Rabbi Levy has shared in this book. Be kind to yourself and read this book. It will change your life. I am certain of it. Thank you to the inspiring and remarkable Rabbi Naomi Levy for teaching me to see my soul and giving me the strength and desire to always keep the faith.

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish pilgrim blows a shofar, near the tomb of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov during the celebration of Rosh Hashanah holiday, the Jewish New Year, in Uman, Ukraine, Sept. 21, 2017. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

What I Learned From Rebbe Nachman and Mr. Miyagi


I thought I understood the power of prayer, until I went to Uman.

Long before I reconnected with Judaism, I felt connected to God. It made no sense to me that a whole universe popped into existence out of nothing for no reason. I wanted to know our Creator. I tried many paths: philosophy, meditation, endurance sports, trance music, martial arts.

Here and there I’d catch hints of the Divine, but prayer was rarely part of the picture.

Twenty years ago, I returned to observant Judaism. My connection to prayer grew more solid as I put on tefillin and prayed every morning. But the moments that most moved me came when I was part of a rowdy congregation, especially with groups that danced and sang in the style of Reb Shlomo Carlebach.

Then, this fall, I traveled to Uman, Ukraine, to pray at the grave of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. And I experienced another level.

Many people pray fervently, but the Breslovers, Rebbe Nachman’s Chasidic followers, add a personal component: hisbodedus. In short, they pour out their hearts as if they’re talking with a best friend. They do it out loud, every day, often with tears. Watching this, some people think they’re nuts. I don’t.

The gathering in Uman has been likened to a Jewish Burning Man festival. There’s certainly creativity, but the decadence and mind-altering substances are mostly limited to single-malt scotch. The Uman experience is intermittently loud, holy and contemplative.

Two moments stood out. Around the kever, the grave, of Rebbe Nachman, there’s a large synagogue where people pray around the clock, individually and in small groups. You hear cries of wrenching sincerity. I’ve visited the tombs of many holy figures in Israel. Each has its own energy. Rebbe Nachman’s was electric. At the tomb itself, I felt a rush of light coursing through me, and when I asked for guidance in knowing what to pray for, the answer came immediately.

As the Accidental Talmudist, I share what I love about Judaism with a large audience on a daily basis. So I prayed fervently that I should be a clean conduit for God’s light, neither obscuring it nor limiting it from a place of ego. This prayer now gives me strength before every live webcast.

The second moment was in a huge tent, singing a nigun (wordless prayer) with 2,500 guys in a tribal roar that must have pierced the firmament. It was ecstatic, rejuvenating, and I wanted it to go on forever. Every guy around me was my brother, and we were hugging strangers all day long.

Together, those moments aroused a sense of clarity.

In Uman, I didn’t just pray for life, health, love and success at work. Those blessings are crucial to everyone, and it’s good to ask for them, but all too often they are out of our control.

What I prayed for was clarity of purpose, strength to achieve it and open-minded humility in place of arrogant certainty. And as soon as I asked for help with those qualities, I felt the physical sensation of having my prayer answered.

In the 1984 film “The Karate Kid,” a bullied teenager asks a maintenance man and karate master, Mr. Miyagi, for a karate lesson, only to receive a can of car polish and a sponge.

“Wax on, wax off. Left hand, right hand,” Mr. Miyagi tells him.

The kid thinks he’s being bullied again, until those circular motions deflect an incoming punch. Then he realizes he’s been training all along, and that he can now protect himself with force and grace.

Prayer is like that. Our words and motions can easily become rote. We fulfill the commandment, but it’s only in moments of intensity that we feel its power. I experienced that intensity in Uman.

Alas, such heights are short-lived, and I have to pray regularly to keep developing those much-needed qualities. Yet, a trace of the Uman energy returned with me. I feel it now as I write these words. I feel it more when I pray.

That kind of prayer is action. It heals. It repairs. And it increases peace in the world.


Salvador Litvak shares his love of Judaism with his followers every day at facebook.com/accidentaltalmudist.

Dating 101: Don’t Give Up


If you saw the men who have been asking me out lately, you would understand why I have not been dating. I seem to be quite popular these days with crossdressing men. Bless them. When one dress wearing man asked me out I thought it was sweet because he said my profile made him feel safe to share. When the second man asked me out, I was fascinated because it was interesting two men in makeup would interpret my profile the same way. When the third man asked me out and suggested dating him would allow lingerie sharing, I was done.

It is hard to put yourself out there, and some days it is simply too exhausting to even bother with. I date because I want to meet someone to share life with. I am seeking companionship, intellectual conversation, and an active and healthy sex life. I like a man who is educated and articulate. He doesn’t need to have gone to school for his education either. I know many people who never went to college and are brilliant. I value opinions and am drawn to people who have faith. Not necessarily religion, but faith. I’d also like him to not wear dresses.

In an attempt to not visit an animal shelter, I decided I was going to write to someone online. It took me a while to find someone I thought sounded interesting, but I did. He had a good face and I felt drawn to him, so I sent him a note. My mom was visiting so I couldn’t make plans, but I decided to get the ball rolling. He responded, we texted for a quick minute, and made plans to meet for a drink. I met him last night and I was happy to see he looked like his pictures, knew how tall he is in real life, and was easy to talk to. It was a good start.

We met for drinks at 5:30, ordered food at 7:00, and were making out to like teenagers by 9:00. It was the kind of date you hope for every time you put yourself out there. He was charming, funny, handsome, and sweet. He is built like a linebacker and I felt like a ballerina when he embraced me. He is a great kisser and as soon as we started making out I regretted having three cocktails as I worried my judgment would be off. Oy vey with the vodka. I opted to not overthink things and enjoy myself because smooching is great.

I went home happy to have met a man who didn’t make my lower back spasm. There are times when I’d rather stick my hand down my throat and remove my own kidney over dating, but then something or someone comes along to show me I must not give up. When you have a bad date it is hard to get excited about dating again, but when you have a good date, it erases the disappointment of the bad ones, especially if he isn’t wearing a bra and panties under his clothes. (Yes, I checked.)

I am lucky girl. I am also 51 years old and dating, which is both sad and entertaining. It is what it is and I am here to tell you not to give up. For every ten nightmare dates you have, you will have one good one. In my case ten is more like fifty, but it just makes the good ones stand out more. Be brave and keep trying because life is meant to be shared. Go on a date! The only expectation to have is that good or bad, it will get you closer to a keeper. Value yourself, don’t overthink, open your heart, and keep the faith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Motherhood


I am blessed to the mother of a wonderful human being. My son is a remarkable young man and I love him very much. Every mother thinks she loves her kid more than every other mother on the planet, but I’m certain I do. I adore this kid and am proud of him on all levels. He makes me happy and I don’t remember what my life looked like before he was in it. He means the world to me and I love watching his life unfold and his dreams come true.

I am blessed to the daughter of two wonderful human beings. I lost my dad quite a few years ago and miss him a little bit more everyday. My mother is amazing and has been visiting from Canada for the past couple of weeks. She will be in LA for another 3 days and the thought of her leaving makes me cry. I literally start crying if I think about taking her to the airport. She makes me happy and loved in a very profound way. She is both fun and funny.

It is an interesting revelation when you realize your mother loves you in the same was you love your child. I have had many revelations about my relationship with both my mom and my son this week, and with the clarity comes deeper levels of love for my mother. My son is moving out of the home we have shared for almost 22 years in 17 days. I am anticipating his leaving with pride, fear, happiness, and sadness. The countdown has begun has put me on edge.

My mother had four children move away from her. I don’t know how her heart handled it. I feel sad about his going, and she felt that sadness four times. I feel worried about what his life will be like without me there. My mother felt that worry four times. I have actually never lived on my own in my whole life. I went from home, to school, to a roommate, to a husband, to my son. He has been my roommate for over two decades.

There is joy of course because this is the natural progression of life. I am blessed to have a healthy and accomplished child. I suppose one could look forward to walking around home naked, not having to do another person’s laundry, and not having to clean up after anyone but myself. I may get to a point where I enjoy those things, but all I can do now is cry at the thought of them. I don’t want him to go, but at the same time I am ready for him to go.

He is my only child and I raised him on my own, so there are multiple levels of connection between us, which makes it all just a little sadder and harder.I will be sad when my mother leaves this week, and sad when my son leaves at the end of the month. I will wonder around my home, probably sleep in his room for a little while, call him nonstop, worry nonstop, and call my mother for comfort as she has been through it all herself, four times. It will be a challenging couple of weeks.

I am emotional on a normal day, but every emotion is now on high alert. I am willing myself to not lose my mind when I get home and see moving boxes everywhere. I am praying that when he walks out the door I don’t grab onto his legs and beg him not to go. I am hopeful that not only will he spread his wings and fly, but so will I. Motherhood is my greatest blessing. Being a mother and loving my mother combine into true happiness. Everything will be okay if I just keep the faith.

 

 

"Prayer" is now part of the "Passage to Israel" international exhibition (passagetoIsrael.org).

ARTIST OF THE WEEK: Laura Ben-David


“Prayer,” Laura Ben-David

“On a photo tour of a community of recent Bnei Menashe immigrants from India, I happened upon an elderly woman who was absorbed in prayer. The lines in her weathered hands, perfectly in sync with the lines in the well-worn prayer book, were mesmerizing.” Laura Ben-David

“Prayer” is now part of the “Passage to Israel” international exhibition (passagetoIsrael.org).

Keeping the Faith


I am a regular temple goer throughout the year, but there is something about the high holidays that brings me peace I don’t know how to properly articulate. I love my faith and could listen to my Rabbi give a sermon all day, every day, but there is nothing better than Kol Nidre with Rabbi Naomi Levy.  It is a moving service and I feel like I am in the presence of God on this particular day. Perhaps it is because I am surrounded by such a large group and we are all in prayer together, or maybe it is just because my heart is completely open on this day. Open to joy and sorrow, happiness and heartache. It is a day that matters to me.

I am going into Kol Nidre this year with both relief and fear. Relief to unload the weight of so many things on my soul, and fear about what my life will look like without so many burdens pent up inside me. After a year with so many unanswered questions and trials and tribulations, I have no expectations, but real hope when I go to Kol Nidre services. I simply want to be free. Free of my demons, of which there are many, and free of the busyness in my mind that prevents me from sleeping. I want my choices to be unaffected by cancer, and I want my future to become clear. No guarantees, just clarity after foggy days.

I am not the type of person who looks for guarantees in life. Things happen, both good and bad, and I am a roll with the punches kind of girl. I will think about the last year, thank God for holding my hand through all of it, and pray for the strength to be always be brave, even when I don’t think I can. I shall search for forgiveness, knowing it will come. I shall search for clarity, knowing it will come. I shall ask for sleep, knowing it will find me. I shall envision all of our names being inscribed in the book of life, and I will focus on keeping the faith.

 

 

New Year, New Everything


As I start writing this I am on a plane, flying from London to Los Angeles. After a sunny morning on the drive to Heathrow from Beckham Palace in Chigwell, clouds have rolled in and it would appear I am taking the sun back to California with me. I land in LA at 4:00 pm, home by 5:30, out the door for Rosh Hashana services by 6:00. I’m already tired so I will be exhausted by the time I get to shul, but I am looking forward to beginning a new year.

It has been a busy time with a lot of things going on personally and professionally. I am being forced to reevaluate things, and while I certainly feel pressure about a lot of things, I have decided to embrace it all and rather than stress out, enjoy a mid-life crisis and go a little crazy. If I can’t throw caution to the wind at age 51 and roll with it, when can I? I am diving into the new year with an almost desperate desire to be brave and bold.

When my son was born I began to worry about dying. I was terrified something would happen to me, so I became painfully cautious. So much so that in retrospect I think I limited how I lived. Of course one could attribute it to simply being a Jewish mom who worries too much, but the bigger truth is once you become a mother you live your life for someone else, and that causes fear to creep in. You want to be there for your child, so you live in fear.

When I was told I had cancer my fear became consuming. I was so scared of what it could possibly mean to have cancer, I didn’t pay attention to what it was doing to me emotionally. I was unsure what I was supposed to do and was paralyzed with fear because my father died of cancer. I wrote my own story and focused on things that didn’t matter and weren’t even necessarily true.  I was lost and stayed that way for a long time. I have finally cleared the fog.

A few weeks ago a transformation began and I can say with real conviction that my mid-life crisis is proving to be a great thing. After being at my day job for over 9 years and countless trips back and forth to London, I up and quit. I bought a new car, colored my hair, ended a relationship with a man I was certain I would love one day, but also certain I would never respect. I pre-ordered Hilary Clinton’s book, and found myself a new job. It is time to start living again.

This new year matters to me. It will be the year I listen to my own advice. I always say we need to be brave, not only follow our hearts, but not settle for the things we get because we believe they are what we deserve. Instead I am going into the year knowing I deserve it all. I am going to kick ass at my new job, and find a man I want more than I need. A man who gets how fantastic I am and is strong enough to let me be me and be himself.

I am now safely at home, reunited with my remarkable son, and ready to live out loud in ways I never have before. The new year has begun and I am hopeful, certain things will be great. I am also wise enough to know there will be bumps in the road, but I am a great driver so it will all be fine. I have a date this weekend and start my new job next week. I also have what appears to be the beginnings of a cold and jet lag, but I welcome all of it.

I wish you all a happy and healthy new year. I hope your challenges are few, but when you hit a bump, and you will, know I am there cheering you on. Be brave. This is your life and only you can live it. Do what makes sense to you and what feels good to you. Have some fun. Have more sex. Have really good sex. Laugh out loud. Resist. Make a difference. Inspire change. Speak out. Go out. Everything is possible if you believe, so keep the faith.

 

 

Keyes of Van Nuys Disappoints


Oy vey with these people already. I know I wrote about my unfortunate car salesman experience, then how Keyes stepped up to the plate and got me into the car I wanted with a great deal, but I simply have to write about them again because I’m angry and frustrated. In the grand scheme of things, it could be viewed as unimportant, but this is bad business and I am calling them out.

I have personalized plates on my car. I have for about twenty years. I love my plates and they matter to me. When I bought my new car, I told them a dozen times about the plates. They assured me it was not going to be a problem and they would be reassigned from the old car to the new one. I asked and nudged over and over again. I was assured each time the plates were taken care of.

When I was done with the paperwork and was being shown the car, I again asked about the plates. They showed me my personalized plates had been put on the new car, then covered with a Keyes sticker. I was instructed to keep them covered until the new registration arrived, then take the sticker off and enjoy my beloved plates on my beautiful new car. It was a done deal and I was very happy.

You can imagine my surprise when last week I received not only my new car registration, but new plates. Run of the mill, random numbers I will never remember, plates. I called the finance guy at Keyes who did the paperwork and he had the chutzpa to tell me he did not remember my having personalized plates. Really? I then called the sales manager and he said he’d call me right back.

When he called days later he told me he didn’t know how the mistake happened, but not to worry as he would fix it. Then I didn’t hear from him for days. Then he called and said there was nothing they could do, but If I went to a AAA office, they would fix it in five minutes. Really? I was annoyed. They screwed up, they lied, and I needed to fix it myself

I went to AAA and my five minute visit took over an hour. Why? Because my personalized plates, the ones I love so much, had been reported stolen to the DMV, who then reported them stolen to the police department, and if I were stopped for any reason with the plates on my car, I would be arrested for theft. Really? Yes, really. Keyes of Van Nuys is now officially back on my shit list and I’m over them.

Turns out that when I bought my new car, and they promised me up and down the plates were transferred over, they never actually did the paperwork. When they sold my old car, my personalized plates went with it. When the new owners of my old car drove went to the DMV, they were told my personalized plates were still registered to the car, and so the plates were reported stolen.

So……… the DMV lets the police know the plates have been stolen, and my new car is now cruising around with stolen plates, which are actually my plates, but still stolen. I leave AAA and go to the DMV thinking they will fix the problem quicker than AAA. Two hours later I was told I need to come back first thing in the morning so they can get Sacramento on the phone to unravel the mess. Dear Lord.

So after a day of running around, a week of chasing Keyes for some help, I have my stolen plates in the trunk of my car, the new plates I will never remember on my car, and will need to devote another couple of hours to trying to get my plates back. Important to note that the sales manager sent me an email that was bullshit, and the owner never bothered to reply to my emails at all. Fascinating.

At the end of the day it would appear that once I left the lot they stopped being concerned with customer service. It will take a investment of time to try and get back my plates. I’m on my own because Keyes of Van Nuys is nothing but a bunch of car salesmen who cannot be trusted. Take your business somewhere else, be sure they transfer your plates, and please pray the DMV gives me back my plates. I am keeping the faith.

High School the Second Time


High School is a tough time. Kids can be mean and it is stressful to be both a leader and a follower. When my son started high school I was a mess. I worried about him every day. My son attended Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. It is located on the campus of California State University, LA. That posed an entire new list of worries as he would be surrounded by college kids, but was my 14-year-old baby. On top of all that, it was miles from our home and he needed to carpool or take the subway. Oy vey with this school!

My son has wanted to be an actor since he was five years old. He never wavered. He went to a performing arts middle school, then LACHSA, and is now a working actor who has just produced and appeared in his first movie with his best friend since childhood. He is talented beyond measure and I am proud of him. He takes his job seriously and I support his pursuit of his chosen profession. It is not easy, but it is all he has ever done, or wanted, so it is what it is. My son looks back fondly on high school and I am blessed as his mom to say I do too.

LACHSA is a very special place. It fosters independence and individuality. It nurtures talent and builds confidence. They taught my son to keep his feet firmly on the ground while reaching for the stars. There are a lot of people there who deserve thanks for helping me raise my son. It takes a village and when you are a single parent, sending your child off for hours every day, the people at school become important on a lot of levels. My son has his favorite people at LACHSA, as do I. Mr. Chris Krambo made my second high school life a pleasure.

This remarkable man passed away this week and it is devastating to a lot of people. Chris was funny, smart, devoted, talented, and focused on his students in a way that made me grateful he was helping raise my son while he was at school. This is a man who worked hard, used his own money to make costumes, never complained about being tired, or unappreciated by kids who were too young and inexperienced to understand everything he did for them. He was a wonderful man and I will miss him, but always smile when I think of him, which I will often.

I am sad we had not spoken in so long. I am thankful however that he knew how important he was to me and that I loved him very much. Everyone has a story to tell and Chris had many. I send my heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. If you have a teacher in your life who is making your time in high school as a parent better, tell them thank you. If you love someone who you haven’t spoken to in a while, reach out and say hello. Rest in peace Chris. Know that you mattered to a lot of people. Thank you for always keeping the faith.

Online Dating 101 – Oh. My. God.


My dating life has always been interesting. From my first date with my ex-husband, to all the men who have wandered into my life since, it has always been… interesting. I don’t know if that’s because I’m interesting, because I really am, or perhaps it is simply because I am brave and willing to put myself out there. But interesting is a good thing.

Until it isn’t.

This week my dating life was interesting for a lot of reasons, but I am left exhausted and wanting to get another cat.

I went back online this week, because how else do you meet anyone? I looked around on Match.com and JDate, and was not even a little surprised to see it is all the same people, with all the same photos, saying all the same things. I updated my profile, and put up new pictures, because it has been several months since I was dating online. I don’t think the majority of men got the same memo. Would it kill them to change it up a bit? Ugh. I am back where I started. Whatever.

I got a notification on Wednesday that I received an email through one of the dating web sites. I was happy that he wrote a proper note and didn’t send a passive aggressive wink or simply “like” one of my pictures. I logged in to my account and found the following message, which I have read at least a dozen times to make sure I understood. Important to note I’ve blurred his picture and name, but he wears glasses, is losing his hair, and his name sounds like Barvey.

You really must read it a few times to get exactly how gross this email is. He is 66 years old and his photo is as creepy as his note is. I think it may be in my best interest to get another cat and call it a day on my dating life. I will never understand how someone could possibly think this email is cool to send to a stranger. In what world does this man think this is okay? He is repulsive, and I am offended by his note. It has also somehow managed to hurt my feelings.

Of course, that is silly, because I don’t know him, and he is just a freak on the internet, but it is sad to me. I suppose I could adjust my thinking, view it as funny, and wish this man luck on his search for the woman who will float his boat. But I can’t get there. There is no world where his note to a stranger is acceptable, and there is no world where I would find it funny. Dating is tough, but I am tougher. Usually. It is taking a minute however, to shake this one off. Barvey is a pig and now blocked.

My dating life is always interesting and occasionally sad, with just a pinch of pathetic thrown in this week for good measure. I told my son I was going to die alone with 18 cats. He told me if I have 18 cats I won’t be alone. Why stop at 18 is the bigger question.

I am going to services tonight to pray the stink of Barvey’s email off of my dating life. As we enter the month of Tu B’Av, the holiday of love, I remain hopeful. My remarkable Rabbi, Naomi Levy, will bless me, and that blessing will guide my search. I am blessed to have a lot of love in my life, and am certain I will meet a man to share my journey with. Anyone with the name Harvey is now sadly out of the running, but he is out there and there’s a chance our paths will cross, so I am keeping the faith.

 

 

 

 

Mind Blowing Sex – Muslim Style?


Sex is wonderful, and when you’re old enough to not only know what you like but empower yourself to be bold, it can be a great thing. When we are inexperienced we don’t know what good sex is. Considering how long I have been single, I have not had a large number partners. I got a relatively late start as I was 20 when I lost my virginity, but at 51 I now know what is good, what I like, and what I do well. Jewish men are my preference. They are known for girth, amen, but also known for their inability to tell the difference between 5 inches and 8 inches. Bless them.

I never had a heart to heart talk with my mother about sex. I watch porn and don’t read books on how to have good sex. I have spoken with my girlfriends about sex, but it more about how our partners are at it, then how we are. In our 50’s, my group of friends understand the importance of sex, the power it wields, and that most anything can be made better with a blow job. It’s not scientific, it is just one of those things we all know. Men like to receive oral pleasure, probably more than women, but only because women are better at it than men. Know it gentlemen.

I’m not writing about my own sex life right now, although I think you would find it both inspiring and depressing. Instead I am writing about a book that was sent my way called The Muslimah Sex Manual: A Halal Guide to Mind Blowing Sex. It struck me as interesting for a couple of reasons. 1) I was curious as I never really thought of Muslims as being particularly sexual, which I suppose is a stereotype, but still my truth. 2) What was most interesting about the book was not that it can guide me to mind blowing sex, but that it can do it in just 65 pages. Mazel Tov!

This book was written for Muslim women who are looking to have good sex lives with their husbands. It speaks of foreplay, which is a lost art to be sure. It covers kissing, which can immediately tell you whether you want to have sex with someone. It even discusses sexy texting, which is a sign of the times. There are chapters about positions and doing it in the shower. Bravo to author Umm Muladhat for putting it out there. Not only for Muslim women, but for all women. Umm is an American born Muslim woman who wants Muslim women be sexually satisfied.

Amen sister. Sex is nothing to be ashamed of. It should be enjoyed by all women and I applaud Umm for sharing the message that it does not have to be looked down upon. Muslim or not, sex can and should be enjoyed without fear or shame. I’m guessing many Muslin women are rocking it between the sheets. I think Jewish chicks are known to like sex. By like of course I mean as long as it doesn’t ruin our hair and there’s nothing good on TV. Again, stereotypes. Sorry. Not sorry. If you have great sex, and can help other women have the same, then you should.

I think there are a lot of women in the world who believe they are having great sex, but aren’t. Women who want to expand their horizons and get a little wild, but are too afraid of what their partners will think. That is not a Muslim thing, that is a chick thing. Umm is brave and I love her. From describing positions from Cowgirl to Amazon, she goes there. She also doesn’t shame anyone for sticking to the missionary position. There is nothing held back. She simply has a real desire to help the women of her culture with sex, but all women should be reading this book.

She does draw a line of course, because it is based on her faith. No anal, no porn, no period sex, and no sex outside of a marriage. Since writing and self-publishing her book, she has had a little push back from within her faith, which she knew was coming, and therefore why she made up a name to publish under. Her husband knows about the book of course, and even helped her with it, but nobody knows who the real writer is. To this woman, I say you did a lot of good for a lot of people. Her next book will be geared towards men, but I’ll be reading that one too.

I actually have a sex list. Things I’ve done, want to do, hope to do, and will never do. It was fun to make the list and I have been checking things off and adding new things for years. I recently took something off the list because having it there implied it could happen, and it is never happening, ever, so it’s gone. I might add couple new Muslim items to my list now. Inshallah they happen. Women must think outside the box we build for ourselves to make our sex lives better. We are glorious and sexual creatures, no matter how we are keeping the faith.

 

New car gift. Clipping path included.

My Mid-Life Crisis


A few weeks ago I decided to buy a new car.  I have had my car for 10 years and even with 115000 miles logged in, she had plenty of life left in her. I am not really a car person, but it was time for me to do something special for myself, so I went with a new car. I found the perfect little car and ordered it exactly how I wanted. I hit a rough patch with the first car salesman I met, but I was set on getting a new car, so when the dealership called to right his wrong, I appreciated the effort and listened.

After going back and forth on the car, I eventually decided against it. I figured the glitches were a sign I wasn’t supposed to get it. I was going to set the car aside for a bit and revisit it another time. Then on Thursday I went to see my doctor, and two and a half years after my cancer diagnosis, there is a little situation that needs to come out. I cried for five minutes, then I sent an email to the owner of Keyes of Van Nuys, Mr. Howard Tenenbaum, who had reached out the week before.

I let Howard know what I needed to be able to pull the trigger on the car. I heard back from him the same day, letting me know he took care of everything. The Sales Manager, Lewis Cook, went above and beyond for me. He worked with my schedule and budget, making it a priority to show me the customer service Keyes strives to provide. I was treated with respect and kindness, and left the lot on Saturday with my new baby. She is beautiful and made me happy on a sad day, which is good because I ain’t got time to be sad.

Louis Venegas the Finance Manager walked me through the process quickly and with expertise. Lewis Cook kept an eye on my signing of the papers and ensured I got VIP treatment. Even Howard came in to thank me for my business. It was a great experience and I will now remember the day because of the car, not because of the medical update. The gentlemen of Keyes were wonderful, having no idea what I was going through, simply wanting my experience to be a good one. Bravo.

Tomorrow I will hit the ground running on my medical situation and get it sorted. There will be tests, and surgery, and God willing many more anniversaries to celebrate. I am fine and my life is blessed. If you pray, throw my name in if you wouldn’t mind. I will keep you posted on what is happening. I am looking forward to driving to my appointment tomorrow in my fantastic new car. It is important to look cute while you kick some ass, and I look super cute in my super cute new car.

Please note I reserve the right to continue my midlife crisis after I deal with the current pain in my ass. Surely a new car won’t be the only thing I do. Maybe I’ll jet off to Australia for dinner. Again. Maybe I will change my hair color. Again. Maybe I will adopt a dog! Maybe I will find the man of dreams. Maybe I know him already! At the end of the day I feel good and my life is blessed. I am thankful, grateful, hopeful, and keeping the faith.

 

Brother can you spare a dime?


I give money to homeless people who ask me for it. Always have. I figure if someone has the courage to ask a stranger for help, I will help them. I always keep cash in both my glove compartment and my wallet. A day does not pass where I do not help someone. Sometimes I buy people food, or toiletries. One time I bought a lovely man a pair of shoes. I think kindness matters and when I give someone money and they offer me a blessing, it makes me happy every single time.

Last week I was asked for some help from a man on the street. I gave him a dollar and wished him well. He looked at the dollar and asked me, “Is that all you’ve got?” I was startled for a second and didn’t understand what he was saying. He looked me in the eyes and said, “Is that it?”. I told him to have a good day and left as my chin started to quiver and I burst into tears. It hurt my feelings and made me sad. It was as though the man felt disrespected, which wasn’t my intention.

I have had people ask me why I give money to those who are going to use to get high or drunk, but I never wonder what they’re going to do with the money. I can’t give them money with restrictions on what they can do with it. It is not personal, political, or judgmental. It is simple kindness. Who am I to judge anyone? I help when and how I can, so when this man asked if that was all I could do, it made me wonder if I should maybe stop giving money and instead just look away.

My friend George deals with homelessness every day as he works in law enforcement in an area of the city where there are a lot of homeless people. He has seen it all and helps save a lot of people. Not give them a dollar save, but actually get them off the street save. He thinks it is sweet I give everyone money, but feels it is only a matter of time before someone responded like this man. He never tells me not to do it, just to be aware not all people will appreciate it.

We view homelessness very differently. When I see a kid asking for money I want to invite them over to have a shower, get some clean clothes, and feed them a home cooked meal. George wants to find out why they’re there, investigate if they can go home, then give them tools to get off the street. For me, I want to put a Band-Aid on a gaping wound to fix it, while he wants to perform emergency surgery to stop the source of the bleeding. Both ways are valid to me.

How do I not help someone who asks? Even the guy who sits at the freeway off ramp wearing Beats headphones gets a dollar from me on occasion. He sits for hours in temperatures over 100 degrees, so why not give him a dollar? I am angry this one person could make me rethink giving money. He shouldn’t have that power over me. In all the times I have given out money, this is the first time I can remember experiencing something unpleasant in response.

I will continue to give money to people who ask me for it. Whether they spend it on food, a bottle of water, or drugs, if whatever they buy brings them a moment of happiness, or comfort, or quiet, then God bless them. There but for the grace of God go I. Everyone has a story to tell and everyone can appreciate a Band-Aid when it is offered to them. To the man who was unhappy with my gesture, I hope someone else gave you a bigger Band-Aid and you are keeping the faith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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