Faith, family, and self-reflection ~ Kitsap Peninsula, Washington
Wife, proud Jew, full-time career woman, writer, blogger, avid RVer, reader, crafter, dog mom, amateur historian. Dream of climbing Mt. Rainier. Although a Hoosier by birth, the Pacific Northwest is my home.
I’m not going to lie – this Christmas season was hellish for me. For one, I obviously don’t celebrate the holiday and when it’s shoved down my throat everywhere, I get irritated. Anyone who says there’s a “war on Christmas” and that people don’t say “Merry Christmas” anymore has never been a Jew in December. I used to respond with, “Thanks, I don’t celebrate it,” but now I just smile, nod, and walk away. It’s not my holiday, it’s not something I believe in, but I know people are just trying to be kind and spread holiday cheer so I move on. It’s not a battle I feel like fighting.
But mostly, this season was horrendous because I used to celebrate Christmas and so many of my childhood memories are wrapped up in the holiday. Now, when I think about those memories, I think of my father and my younger brother and the spike of pain that stabs me through the heart is almost unbearable. At every turn, I’m reminded of loss this time of year. It makes for dark times during a dark period on the calendar (at least in the Pacific Northwest!)Continue reading “On grief and Jewishness during the holiday season”→
My husband and I are not preppers. We don’t prescribe to that way of life or the belief systems that are usually associated with it. (Let’s be honest here – I don’t know a lot of Jewish preppers.) That being said, we still believe in food storage. Along with the regular, off-the-shelf items we keep, we have a three(ish) month supply of meat in our freezers. We also keep six-month supply of emergency food from The Ready Store. Half of that is kept here at home, while the other half is in our travel trailer. Additionally, we keep a fair amount of emergency supplies in both places.
Why do we do this, even if we don’t prescribe to the prepper lifestyle?
Services start at 10am and they end around 6pm (this is for our shul (synagogue), many others will have different schedules), with small breaks in between. Those who are able should also fast from sundown the night before until the fast is “broken” after Havdalah (the service that ends “holy time” celebrated at the end of Shabbat and holidays) at the “end” of Yom Kippur. This means that a person is sitting through hours of services while thirsty and hungry. (Full disclosure: I was unable to fast this year because my blood sugar is very wonky right now, and I’ve had far too many issues/episodes lately. So, I ate lightly and small to regulate my blood sugar.)
Yom Kippur is also beautiful. It is edifying to come together as a community, pray with other Jews the same prayers being said throughout the Jewish world. The sanctuary is packed to the gills, familiar and new faces both plentiful. We start at the beginning of the Machzor (our prayer book used for High Holy Days) and at the end of the day, we will have reached the end, some 600+ pages later.
I am always filled with a sense of renewal and excitement during the Days of Awe*. Granted, the High Holy Days* usually occur in early fall, when the temperatures are dropping, the rains are returning, and the leaves are beginning their transition. Considering Fall is my favorite season here in the Pacific Northwest, when it’s combined with the High Holy Days, it brings an unbeatable combination of rejuvenation, hope, and purpose into my life.
I’ve been really terrible about blogging lately. To be honest, I’m not sure anyone cares about anything I have to say, so I wonder why I continue to maintain this blog. Granted, I’ve had it for ten years, and I always hope my life will suddenly become insanely interesting and I’ll have no choice but to chronicle my life on here.
But, alas…right now, I’m quite boring. And I keep the blog alive because… well… because.
We have now had this beautiful campsite for a year. In that time, we’ve had a crash-course in camping. We’ve learned how to deal with full tanks, refilling of water and propane, and all the other basics of camping.
We also learned that, while we adored camping, our motorhome was the wrong rig for us, so we traded her in for our our current travel trailer.
And as much as we love camping and intend to keep camping here, we’re planning phase two of our camping adventures.