Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Has anyone else had it with three day yom tovs??

I feel like my life has been non stop insanity the past few weeks. Yom Tov/Chol/Yom Tov/Chol/yom Tov/Chol Hamoed/Yom Tov,  it's just crazy! As much as I love the Jewish Holidays I really wish they would be spaced out better. It's so hard on everyone, especially the kids. I don't know about everyone's kids, but most like routines and it's hard to maintain them during the chagim. No matter how hard we try the routines are just not the same. Especially if you go away for any part of Yom Tov, that just adds to the mess. I will be really glad when we can get back to normal!
But until then, I will blog about how our yom tov's are going. RH was a little nuts as my oldest daughter was sick for most of it, which made things that much more exciting :). YK was fairly standard, my husband went to shul and took older daughte with him. I stayed home with the baby, which was not too bad, considering the weather was ok and she was in a good mood. First days Sukkot we went to my parents which is always exciting. My husband, baby and I stayed at a friend's house, while my oldest stayed at my parents. (hmm there is an interesting post idea, going to parents for shabbat and yom tov). Now we are home preparing for the final hurrah of the season, AKA Simchat Torah, which i think will be a lot of fun as my daughter is old enough to appreciate it. I really love watching her grow up and enjoying doing all the Jewish things. It's just so nice to hang up her first Sukkah decoration or hear her sing the Mah Nishtana for the first time. Those are the times I realize that it is all worth it, the sacrifices we make it and what we do so that our kids can have a real Jewish education, so I guess I just answered my own question, yes Jewish education is worth the price, because raising a Jewish neshama is priceless! (But I still believe it should be more affordable!!)
I am looking forward to getting back to normal and back into our routine, but I am glad we have these chagim to nourish our spirituality and warm our souls, and I am glad we have friends and family to share them with!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rosh hashana

So I just spent RH NOT in shul. This happened for a number of reasons:
1: it is more economical to buy just one seat
2: I have small children, even with the groups/babysitting (which did not necessarily cover babies), it did not provide enough time that it was worth it for me to run to shul with all my gear, go in for ten minute increments while i would certainly be called up to the groups for one thing or another.
3: I am not particularly good at sitting in shul.
4: My daughter decided to continue the family tradition of getting sick on Rosh Hashana.
I basically spent Rosh Hashana taking care of a sick child, preparing meals and cleaning up after said child and meals. While to some this may sound like drudgery (and i admit caring for a sick child is not fun), for me it was actually a blessing (again, not the sick child part). I spent most of my adolescence dreading the high holy days because my parents would force me to sit in shul for hours, and while I did appreciate the beauty of the service and the awesomeness of the day, I hated sitting in shul. Granted most kids do not want to sit in shul, but in my case it went beyond the standard I don't feel like sitting in shul, for me it was pure torture. Why am I telling you this? Aha, because I feel this is very important for parents to realize, that not every child will be capable of sitting in shul and forcing them to do so will only cause more issues down the line. So often parents feel that forcing a child (or teen) to sit in shul and daven will help them be a better Jew. The truth is, if they resent it, it will actually backfire and they will want to have less to do with Judaism. Of course this is not only true of davening, this is true of most things, the more you fight with your child about doing something, the less likely they are to do it.
The High Holy Days are a time of reflection and forgiveness, perhaps we should reflect on ourselves and our relationships with our parents and children. We should realize that our families are who they are and we can not change them, but we must accept them for who they are. I feel this is especially true of children, so often parents want their children to be a certain way that they forget that every child is different. Instead of cajoling/forcing/fighting with your child, let go, allow them to be who they are, if sitting in shul for hours on end is beyond them, don't force it, give your child the time he or she needs to figure out what way works for them. As long as they are not doing something dangerous or illegal give them the opportunity to understand their own spirituality and allow them to connect to God on their own personal level.  I know that for me baking challah, preparing the meals and the house for the Holiday was how I connect spiritually, I need the physical aspects of the Holiday rather than the metaphysical to connect to God.
On that note. I wish you all a Shana Tova and a Happy Healthy New year!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hair Covering

I've been thinking a lot lately about hair covering. I personally do it and i cover all of it with a scarf or kerchief. some of my friends cover, some don't, some wear sheitels, some wear hats some wear scarves and some are all over the place. really this post is not about my own feelings, but rather your feelings. where do people stand with head covering? i sit a struggle? a joy? do you cover your hair? why or why not? I do it because my mother does, my MIL does and both my sisters in law do. My sisters are not married but will most likely cover their hair when they do. For some reason this topic seems to be one that come up a lot and has become a status symbol. "I wear a sheitel so I'm frummer than you" or "I cover all my hair so I'm frummer than you". So really i want to know what people (especially my women friends) think about head/hair covering. Why is it important (or not) to you? Why do you or don't you? For me hair covering was never a question or a struggle, I do it because it is something I feel I should do for myself, because it helps me to define who I am. As many people know, i rarely do things because OTHER people tell me to do them or because EVERYBODY does it. As long as I can remember i have defied the norm and done things my own way. I cover my hair and wear pants (ok, not so much since my second daughter was born because they don't fit and I'm too lazy to go shopping :) ) I keep a kosher home (which for me is much harder than head covering) because I want everyone to feel comfortable in my house and my kids to be able to have all their friends over. I keep Shabbos because I think it is a beautiful mitzvah and I love the concept of no technology for 25 hours. These are all things I have struggled with as a teen and young adult, but ultimately decided I want to live a certain way and in a certain type of community.
So if you would like to comment on the subject of head covering (or any religious struggles you have), I would totally love to hear about them. i find that talking to others about these struggles is a great way to get through them and be inspired. So please comment away!