Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Comfortably Numb VS. Uncomfortably Frum

Some 40+ hours after breaking (and dislocating!) my left arm's Radius bone, Dr. Percoset finally arrived on the scene, thank G-d.

Now that pain management is possible I'm balancing my need to be Comfortably Numb with the necessity of being Uncomfortably Frum.

That is: I'm considering the halachic necessity of bringing a lawsuit against the owners of the bakery/cafe where this accident occurred on Friday afternoon because their illegal  (poorly  built, utterly unmarked and unrailed ) sidewalk extension is 99% the cause of my injury. I accept 1% of the blame for not having eyes in the back of my head.

So, what do I need now - an Orthopedist, a lawyer and a rabbi - and in what order???

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Humering the Radius, Depending on the Kindness of Strangers

This may be my first-ever 1-handed blog entry as I fell backwards off a porch on Friday and broke my  left Radius - displaced it as well - and after 2 trips to the Emergency Room in Tzfat sandwiched between Shabbos Parsha Vayishlach - I have to say this isn't what I meant by road TRIP, Lord!

I came to Tzvat to have adventures with my friends Andy and Nili Alpern - but instead Andy became my schlepping, sitting, translating and do-it-yourself gurney-pusher ER pal and Nili became my shower-aide. NOT what we had planned!

 Israeli doctors opinion on issuing narcotic or at least interesting pain meds "to go" differ wildly with Jewish American Princesses from Woodland Hills. "Bite the bullet" is never a comforting phrase.

"Oh you should be just fine. You don't need anything stronger than Tylenol"  

"Excuse me doctor but do I look like someone who would break their own arm just for a Vicodin?"
"You look like an intelligent woman" he said, "Here, have a Traumadex." This after 40 hours of excruciating pain and precious little pain relief.

But, B"H, I'm among friends (who else but Virgo Nili get into the shower with me to help wash my hair and under my right arm?) and I'm getting a ride back to Jerusalem this afternoon ... I've always depended on the kindness of strangers. That's how I met Andy and Nili in2006 - and that's how strangers turn into friends and friends turn into family...thank G-d! Because who else but family would get into the shower with you and help you wash your aching, bruised-up and traumatized body?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Road Goes Ever On and On...

Bat Ayin - a beautiful, natural, organic, glowy-flowy enclave of the Eco-Torah hippie lifestyle located in the beautiful Gush area southeast of Jerusalem.

Staying in the home of Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum, who is the head of the Midreshet B'erot Bat Ayin, an educational program for women and the author of "Women at the Crossroads,"  a woman's perspective on the weekly Torah portions. Her home is just as glowy-flowy and beautiful as one would expect of the woman who singlehandedly defined the "Bat Ayin Woman" look, lifestyle and (if I can be so bold to say) the actual nusach of the Orthodox "Natural Woman," in her own image and the image of her vision of the modern (as in modern-day, not in modern attitudes) Orthodox (but not Haredi) woman.

When I say "glowy/flowy" I'm NOT denigrating the look OR the lifestyle, believe me! The Bat Ayin woman dresses modestly and gloriously - long flowing skirts and dresses, many light layers of cotton, wool (in Winter - that is, if we ever HAVE a winter again) and natural fabrics - colorful, feminine, lovely, and 100% Kosher - i.e. you won't see a married woman here without her hair covered (in the Bat Ayin Style which looks best on women whose hair resembles Marge Simpson's conical "do" - and if you don't have a tower of hair to wrap up in a colorful shawl or tichel you can BUILD volume with more scarves!), you won't see a young lady here in pants, you won't see (thankfully) women in dark, thick polyester suits and cable-knit stockings on a day where temperatures top 100 degrees. Simply for having solved - in a creative, beautiful way - what I've been calling "The Frum Fashion Problem" - Chana Bracha deserves a medal. For having created an entire culture of learning, growth and positive reinforcement of women, she deserves much more.

Yesterday (although I arrived late) I got to visit the Bat Ayin OUTLET store and scored on some much-needed clothing (the prices were CRIMINALLY LOW, come here for the shopping if nothing else!) and then had a leisurely & delicious dinner (home-made chicken soup, wine and sauteed vegetables with meat/pea patties ... ummmm!) with my old friend Sara Talia Webb, who LITERALLY lives in a Hobbit-Hole in Bat Ayin - a very charming machsan (storage shed) built into a hillside which is only accessible by following a narrow rocky path down, down, down until you think you're about to hit the riverbed - and then: voila! Instant coziness created by Sara Talia's warm and welcoming, loving spirit. Such nachas! After dinner she took me to visit another old friend, Shaul Judelman and his new kallah Shayna Liebe (Ashley Greenspoon), who live out literally - LITERALLY - at the edge of nowhere. A perfect place for honeymooners to create their own nest!

So I'm off to explore for a short time, then the next stage of my road trip will begin ... who knows where I'll end up? (OK, I think I know, but you know ... YOU NEVER KNOW!)

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
- Bilbo Baggins

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

When in Doubt, Take a Road Trip

It's time to go on Tiyule, as we say in (broken) Hebrew.

Provoked beyond mere vexation at the interminable "Endless Summer, Part 3" weather and unable to wait anymore - "Ain le ode savlanut, b'claal!"   I'm on my way to raise up holy sparks from below and liberate Heaven's blessings from above. The only way I know how to do that is to GO SOMEWHERE.

Combining (not to be confused with "The Combina", but that's another subject) expediency with necessity, or work with pleasure, or practicality with impulsiveness - whatever the alchemical mixture was, it came to me in a flash - first stop: BAT AYIN, the beautiful, secluded sort-of-hippie very frum/Baali Tshuva-ish Torah enclave to which I've NEVER (can you believe it?) been but which has produced some of the most AMAZING, holy Yidden I've ever known and loved.

I've been invited to bring RADIO FREE NACHLAOT out to Bat Ayin to do interviews, perhaps broadcast a live class in progress, and basically soak up the holy eco-Torah vibes in hopes I can transmit all that awesome natural organic Torah goodness to our world-wide listening audience. I hope to do so. I also hope to find a hammock somewhere and simply ... sway. At least for a little while.

Where will I go after Bat Ayin? Where will I be for Shabbos? Don't know yet - I only know "I'm on the road to find out..."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Why Should a Perfectly Good Blog Go Untended Just Because I'm So Damn Busy?

OK, so is it a crime to let a year and a half go by without writing on this blog? Has Facebook replaced blogging for me, am I totally absorbed with Radio Free Nachlaot to the exclusion of everything else, do I cringe a little at my own wide-eyed optimism and unwavering cheerfulness when I read through the history of this blog - begun when I first made Aliyah in the Spring of 2007, when my eyes could only see what was "Jerusalicious" about life in the Holy City, before some trauma and drama (3 robberies, one horrific 11-week marriage nightmare & subsequent divorce that took another 10 weeks - 9 weeks longer than it should have!!! - plus a year in exile from my neighborhood, illness, a dramatic plunge in my socio-economic status, the shocking and unexpected deaths of several friends, two hospitalizations, just to name a very FEW things that have happened along the way) took the wind out of my sails?

Well, screw all that. I want my Jerusalicous back!

Last night I had dinner with my old friend Estelleigh Franenberg, widow of my dear childhood pal Barry ("Uncle Barry") Franenberg, who is visiting the Holy Land for the very first time. We were so delighted to spend time with each other even though it's been many years since we were together in the flesh, so to speak. Our children are grown, our husbands (who were best friends from high school until their deaths, less than a year apart - 1999 and 2000) gone, but as I said to Estelleigh as we were hugging and squealing like schoolgirls: We're not old, we're simply deliciously ripe mature women who have been through hell and come out the other side - we're soul survivors!

Yeah, that's right. Soul Survivors - our souls have endured a lot of crap but we don't smell any worse for wear - in fact, we're downright FRAGRANT with the scent of triumph - triumph over loss, grief, fear, uncertainty, and all the other things that come crashing down upon one's head when your spouse dies leaving you holding the bag - or in our mutual cases, leaving behind children who need shoes, food, a roof over their head, education, braces, and all the other "normal" things one wants to bestow upon one's offspring for their own good.

We didn't crawl into the corner and die ourselves, oh no we didn't. Last night we celebrated as two fabulous friends, women of great accomplishment and strength, and looking into each other's eyes we saw reflected there the image of our own innate deliciousness - yes, it was a very JERUSALICOUS-worthy get-together, one I will treasure for years to come.

Give Thanks and Praise to the Lord and it WILL be alright! It just might take a little longer than you'd prefer, that's all.