Wednesday, May 28, 2008

(Black?) Jewish Meditation

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I was reading a book on meditation. And I found an interesting old Jewish meditation. It consist of repeating the first word in "Hear O Israel, Hashem is our God, Hashem is One."

The first word there in Hebrew is "Shema".

In the meditation process, the meditator focuses first on the first sounds "shhhh" while exhaling, inhale, then focuses on the "mmmmmmmm" sound. Inhale and repeat. According to this method the eventual goal is to just focus on the "mmmmmmmm" sound.

I thought about that.

Many countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and many African Americans I know -when they have hard times to deal with and must distract themselves, they hum.

A humming sound like "mmmmmmmm"

Sometimes I wonder, perhaps it never really mattered what music was being hummed it was just the humming itself that had the power to lift us up from whatever hardship we were going through, whatever pain we were enduring at the moment, etc.

The Apology



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A hard part about living in Israel is that after being so accustomed to the ways of America, its hard to be in a place where people don't sue for things, there's no Afirmative Action type things, etc. One simply must rely on God and themselves.

Yesterday, as I was minding my own business walking home. Some two girls about ten years old or so said some racial slurs. "cushi, cushi!" (That word, in of itself is not a racial slur, but when said with a particular tone, its a slur). At first I thought to just ignore it. but they said it again. Then I thought, you know, for the sake of my kids, another black person who'll pass by here, my sister, etc., this just can't go. So I turned around to rebuke them.

They ran into their apartment. As fast as I could take my big ole self, I followed them, but didn't see which apartment they entered. Nevermind, I doggedly knocked on every door. Amazing what hormones can do. Finally I found the house and spoke firmly to the mother.


Without achdut /togetherness the Jews will fall. We are ever dependent on the rope tied by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob together. We need every able bodied person to hold hands with one another and form a strong bond before Hashem /our God. It doesn't mean we have to agree on things, but to grow up jeering a fellow Jew based on... nothing, that is a great divide, a great separation, a great breach of national security. Yes, this may seem exaggerated to the non-religious eyes, I understand. But that is where we stand. Every religious Jew knows this.

So, I gave her a piece of my mind about how I think she's raising her children. And left it at that.

The next day, I finally told my husband. He, too, was upset about it and went to speak to the parent. They got our address and said she wanted her daughter to come and apologize. My husband came back with the news. Oh brother. Now I have to be the gracious one and forgive?! lol. But yes, I, too, must play my part in the achdut / togetherness.

It was funny. All day, I tried to imagine how I would receive them. Will I give them the rest of what I wanted to say, but held back? Should I listen dryly then slam the door on their faces as they ask for forgiveness? Should I truly clear my heart and accept their repentance? Wouldn't I want God to forgive me -or my children- for any wrong they should do intentionally or not? I tried to swallow. I MUST forgive completely.

Judaism does not teach that one should forgive AND FORGET. Just forgive.

I can do it.

The evening came and I heard the knock on the door. Sigh. I can do it. I opened up and there she was with two of her daughters. She asked for forgiveness and her children apologized. She even offered bamba (a favorite Israeli treat) to the children -but they were too shy to come and get it.

In the end of it all, I forgave them. This was easy. It was only children -albeit old enough to know better, but still children none the less. I wonder how it will be should I have to stand up to an adult. So far I haven't had to deal with that. Thank God -as in, thank God, the adults somewhat keep it in check.

Book Meme

Okay, I got tagged by Liz from Los Angelista's Guide to the Pursuit of Happiness, and so here goes. This meme doesn't seem too difficult.
This meme is book related and the rules are:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

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Alrighty then:

(1) Nearest book is Andre Walker Talks Hair.

Yep. As a black girl I am having a difficult time NOT putting hair grease on my kids hair. NOT putting their hair in braids all the time. I am just not used to white or semi-white type hair. But Andre keeps me in check.

But that is copyrighted so I don't know if that's okay. So, if its okay to cheat a bit, I'll pick the next closest book which is my prayer book.

(2) Page 123 -Got it.

(3) and (4) Next three sentences AFTER the fifth spills over to page 124 and it is:

For forgiveness is solely with You so that You may be feared.

I place my hope in (God's name) my soul places its hope and I await His word.

My soul yearns for (God's name) among those who long for the dawn, those who long for the dawn.


(5) okay, this is always the hard part. Tagging five people:

Siditty from Angry and Black since 1976
Tania from My It List
Soila from Unecessary Noize
(Hey Soila, I love the pics on your recent post!)
La from Tribute for your Thought
And finally, **gulp** Torrence from Raw Dawg Buffalo.

Yay! I did it!!!!

The "Promotion" Revisited

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I went into Daily Kos's blog to read more in depth what is going on, because it appears he REGRETS taking that horrible picture down.

I read this statement:

"But hey, for all the comments about how "disgusting" and despicable" the image is, the Lolly Gagging Fubars are the ones posting it on their website. LOL."

I'm not sure what to think. I think I'm tired. lol. I think I should not get involved in politics. This guy is laughing because though folks say the pic. is disgusting, many are still posting it up.

Why must it take me so long to figure out a matter?! I want all the answers right here and right now. lol.

Just kidding. But its very hard for me to figure what's the right action to be taking. My current guess (haha) would be that we should let him battle it out against his elitists and GOPers and then when the smoke is cleared, give a warning as to how insensitive such a despicable image is- in whatever manner one deems necessary to insure that it doesn't happen again.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Little Things Matter

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Today the installer came to set up a new bed for little Avi. His old bed was so broken, it was held up by a bin on one side and hubby's tool box on the other side. It was basically a board and a mattress on top.

Anyway, I warned him that I didn't have money to pay him when he came. But the installer said he would just come back later on tonight to get the money. Okay. But I had to give him some kind of a thank you. Since I was making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Avi, I made an extra one for Mr. Installer.

When he was done setting up the bed, I handed him the sandwich on his way out. "Oh no no, its okay" he said.

"Why no?" I asked, "its a sandwich." I said in my best Israeli mother voice.

So he smiled and took the sandwich. I don't know who felt better he or I. Little things matter, I think.

Blogging Blahs

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These days its so hard to have a coherent thought. The last thing I want to do is blog about how thinking and blogging is difficult. Does every mother go through this?

So I'll try to focus on something else.

Want to meet the Ultimate African Jewish Prince? Meet Natan Gamedze. A true prince from Swaziland turned Orthodox Rabbi.

He's wonderful! And brilliant! But very hard to get a hold of. lol. Wait, does that make his wife a real J.A.P (Jewish American Princess)?


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I've added Black Women Vote! Podcast onto my side bar! Great talk show.

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I've also added some news sound bites at the bottom side bar of the screen. News (hopefully good) about what's effecting the African American community and also for the Jewish community as well.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Pause

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Most times I'm not too too concerned with what others think. I mean, I don't want to offend people, but I usually stick with my own opinions. But today for some reason I had a pause.

Yes, I am black. Yes, I am Jewish. But what impact does this have in the blogosphere? Are there those who are waiting, just hoping for a valid reason to hate me -to use as a logical pretext for their hidden anti-semitism? Are there those who feel threatened at the things I believe in -or more precisely, the thing I don't believe in? Are there those who just can't believe that black and Jewish can dwell in the same body /space/ time/ whatever?

I never really explored this. Not sure why this thought came today. Hmmmmmm....

A Promotion by Any Other Name...

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There is an interesting picture circulating in the black blogosphere. I'm sure you've all seen it. Michelle Obama about to get lynched by KKKs. I have no intention of promoting it such an image.

I don't understand why this image is being circulated. Yes, I'm sure those who love it will say, "because its true!!!" Those who hate it will say, "because its disgusting" But I guess everyone seems to agree that it should be in everyone's mind for whatever reason they have. Everyone seems to agree that it should be propagated. The image should go into everyone's mind, to be crunched later by their own thoughts, biases, and ideas later --because regardless of what we write above or beneath or around that picture, in the end, folks will process it through their own filters.

This reminds me of long ago. When I was a teenager, I used to hear actors blasting other actors. Saying things like, "oh his acting! Makes me scoff for days." Or some such thing; which even though I used to think they were "bashing" the other actor; in hindsight, I think they were backhandedly PROMOTING that actor without it looking like promotion -lest they appear clannish.

A promotion is a promotion. Public visibility always serve its own purpose. Now what is the purpose here? Why did the Daily kos put it out? What made him recant? Can that be used as a model for future "wars" against BW imagery by those who profess to be on our side (for those who are against BW, of course, another strategy would be needed).

And while I"m at it, how do people decided what is the motive of things without asking the actual players themselves? Things can take like wild fire around here! For example, with the Bill O'Reilly foolish comment about lynching Michelle Obama, everyone was in an uproar that Barack did not defend his wife. But what if it was at the request of his wife? Does anybody know that???? Does anybody care? Are we so stuck on our own agenda that we are not looking at bigger pictures and possibilities? Am I wrong perhaps??

Hubby's (opposing)take on the matter: It seems that what's getting people upset is the callousness involved in putting this image together. It doesn't have to do so much with the picture itself as it does with the act of taking the "raw material" of the picture and putting it all together. That's why people can circulate the picture and not feel that they're promoting something distateful; rather they feel they're pointing out how crude and callous the act of putting it together was, how callous its very creation was. And provoking conversations about that, and the context behind it. Thus it's about bringing up issues, not spreading around a disgusting picture.

On the other hand, I understand those who would rather not see the picture posted at all. In fact, my wife told me about the picture, and I didn't look at it.


Ok, Hubby. I'll have to rethink on that one.

The Africa You'll Never see on TV

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Friday, May 23, 2008

A Story Blog

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The last time I decided to write a story, I left it as a cliff hanger and couldn't continue for some reason.

Well, I'm revving up the engine again and will attempt to write another story. Hopefully, this will go on until its end.

If anyone is interested -its mainly meant for teens and tweens. Its on the blog called Jumping In!

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Is This Wrong?



There is a bully in my kids NURSERY! She is said to terrorize many of the children there and I"m not sure why the teachers haven't dealt with it yet. Not that I know what they ought to do really.

So, I don't know what else to do, so I am teaching my kids to fight. We take a cushion from the sofa and use it as target practice. Then we watch some Youtube Jackie Chan just to add to the fun. lol.

Seriously though, what's a mother to do?

Imagine the Ultimate Satellite

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I was reading up on the pineal gland. This is a pea size gland in the very center of the brain. Its function deals with light and darkness and vision. The hormones this gland secretes is called MELATONINE.

This gland also has mystical attachments to it. Many people believe that it is the "third eye" the window to the spiritual world. Interestingly enough, to get working, it uses its melatonine when the body needs to relax ....or supposedly when one is in meditation mode.

Hmmmmm...Now, melatonine is also what causes pigmentation. The melanin in the skins comes from there.

Hmmmm...just thinking out loud here, but if the chemical melatonine is what's used to tap into the spiritual world -the the pineal gland is full of it- what of the melatonine made melanin that all over someone's body?

Could that be the ultimate satellite to the spiritual world?


This reminds me of a study done by Rabbi Akiva Tatz, from his book Anatomy of a Search. From his studies, he mapped out that South African Jews, British, etc Jewish Baalei Teshuvahs -returnees to the faith- had a hard time "just accepting" the existence of God. Much logic and reasoning had to be put forth, etc. Whereas for Sephardic Jews (many of which are darker skinned) it didn't take much for them to start living more religiously than before. Could that be because something was unknowingly tapped into or awaken via that satellite?

This also reminds me of a true story of a religious Jew who expressed to his rabbi his interest in kabbalah. The rabbi then told him that its better for him to marry a Sephardi girl. Wassup with that? (Just joking, but was he marrying a woman or just getting a bigger antenae for his Torah studies?)

(This is NOT to say that someone who is white can not tap into a gut knowledge of God. Everyone has melatonine in their system, everyone has a pineal gland, etc etc etc)

Shockers and Chagrins

Alright, I guess I'm back. This blogging is too addictive.

SHOCKER

This may not be news to some, but I just got a shocker a few weeks ago. I'm still reeling from it. I posted on someone's blog and got a response. The response was something like: good luck trying to convince black folks that they have a big part in God's plan. That many will SAY that God is colorless, but are stuck on a sistine chapel picture.

That really saddened me. More particularly the first part I mentioned.

I guess it would take a hammer to just keep bashing at 'em until folks understand how important they are?

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CHAGRIN

Much to my chagrin, I have been doing A LOT of research, reading, studying, questioning before coming to alot of the conclusions I've come up with. Thank God, its all been from Jewish sources.

So, imagine my flabberghastedness (lol) when my new favorite blogger Domino introduced me to this website that basically said alot of what I had discovered. That, plus, hearing what kabbalists are saying, what i've got is nothing new! Well, why didn't anybody just up and tell me these things? Why did I have to do so much research to get to it?! lol.

At any rate, I do come with a different angle. And so, I suppose that is my purpose.

If you don't know what I"m talking about, skip it.

I'm chagrined about because, on the negative side, my ego was slightly blunted when I realized, I wasn't the first to discover these things. But at the same time, my interest and joy was peaked because I felt somewhat validated.
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At any rate, I hope I make sense.

More importantly, I hope that commentor was wrong and that there are many black folks who know that they have worth and that God loves them like all his other creations. Wouldn't it be weird to have a racist God?! Goodness gracious!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Light Stuff and Thoughts

Technically, I am still on hiatus. Really. Just once in a while I have that urge again.

Light Stuff:

I love it! These days, one thing I love in the morning is when hubby blows balloons for all the kids and they all play about with their balloons. Throwing them up in the air and catching them. Just love it!

Thoughts:

My mind is just running with the idea about the specialness of the four different hair color. I also learned that the garden of Eden was located in the place of the "four rivers". (One around Cush =which is in Africa, another is the Niles..another said to be Euphrates...and I forgot the fourth one) Hmmmmm.... four and four... I wonder if the "place" of the garden of Eden could also be where /when the women (blond, white, black, and red haired) unit! Dancing thoughts in my head.

There is also the interesting concept of women dancing. When women surround each other as in a circle and hold hands and dance -as Miriam and the Hebrew women did when they were exiting from Egypt- they are said to transcend womanness, the moon is complete!

There is no conclusions at this moment. My mind is just floating from place to place. Hence, my recognition for the need for a blog hiatus. lol.

Its almost the weekend. Make it a joyful one! In Hebrew there are different ways of saying "Joy" Gila, Rina, ditza, and Hedvah, Sasson and Simcha... One joy is the burst (Rina) of a shout when you "just can't hide it!" and you want to scream with sheer happiness. Another is a quiet joy the soul feels, Let's see how many different types of joy we can experience.....

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Blog Hiatus

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Hey everyone,

I am taking a blog hiatus for a while. Things are getting difficult here. I just can never do trimesters well. Anyway, I'll most likely read other blogs, but to sit down and actually THINK and post on my own blog, I don't know.

So, til next time, Take care! Only good for all!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Meditation Simulation?

While strolling over to The First Domino's blog, The Secret Place I saw this incredible YouTube. The lady is describing her experience during a stroke, however, its almost event for event exactly what I've read that deep meditation brings on.

First the storm wind -fight through the static of voices and distractions

Then the calm

Then the great impact of all the senses feeling everything to an incredibly high decibel level. Any meditator want to input in this?

Here is the YouTube:
(You can read more about it at The Secret Place)

Greed and Carcenogenic

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I'm not a scientist or doctor, so I hope someone scientific can weigh in (preferably someone with faith as well). But I was talking to my friend about BPA.

Its Bisphenal-A, a product put in lots of plastic plates, bowls, containers, bottles -including baby bottles- but it causes cancer among other things.

It just kinda made me think; in an effort to sell sell sell and faster and make yet more profits, are they infecting the world with this greed at the cellular level? (in greed for money folks just want more and more, they are never satisfied. In cancer, the cells just multiply more and more relentlessly.)

Just wondering out loud. The weekend is approaching and I hope to leave with a more positive post....

(word to the wise, those plastic products with recycle number 3,6 and 7, usually has BPA)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Tears for Humanity

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Yet another heavy story about a young black girl -described as a nerdy type from Guyana- was kidnapped, tortured, raped, and killed. I first got the story from WAOD. The mother went to the police but got admonished "she's 21" and not much was done for her. The mother finally went to her own private investigator who uncovered the case before the police did. But, alas, it was too late. Ramona Moore was already dead.

And then there's the story of the cyclone in Burma. About 60,000 human beings are missing and gone.

These types of stories hit me too hard. I don't mean to be a wuss, but a part of me needs to do something to help, but I feel helpless. On the one hand, I applaud the mother for NOT going to the NAACP, who would just hold her hand and make sure to be seen in whatever news shot she's in. (Or maybe they'd do more????) I am glad she went to a private investigator. But still, I am so so saddened that such hate can exist in the world that a person should be tortured, raped repeatedly and killed. Where's the corresponding equivalent of good?!

(Sometimes I secretly wonder, when will BW get it? When are they going to stop relying on others? When is it going to click that they are not appreciated? When are they going to build their own infrastructure from good people and not corrupt people? I am probably talking out of anger right now.)

And as for the tidal waves and cyclone in Burma, I can only tremble. These things are so great. Surely there is a message for the survivors, a spiritual message. Anyway, I'm not about to bog you all down with sadness. I spent enough of my morning shedding tears.

Well, today is Yom Ha'atzmaut in Israel. Independence day. Perhaps I'll take the kids to the Western Wall. It will probably be packed.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Life in Israel (4) Conclusion

"Six months!" He said, "by six months you should all be under the wedding canopy!!!"

Those were the words of the Iraqi rabbi. My friends and I held on tight to his every words, hoping and praying that he was righteous enough that God would grant him (and us) this blessing!

And so we began our footwork. We also made a pact to pray for each other each day. Each of us going our separate ways to various matchmakers hoping to get lucky. It didn't take long before my former room mate was engaged!

That was great news. For us, it meant she would need a shomeret -someone to "protect" her and be with her throughout her engagement. Usually, it is said, that such a person gets blessed to be the next bride.

This was pretty much when things started going downhill for me. My room mate couldn't choose between the former buddhist (from here on, I'll call her Jane) and I and so she asked both of us at various stages to be her shomeret. However, the level of jealousy that I felt at the all girls seminary by some of the girls scared me. I realize that the girls there all wanted to get married. That was the "graduation ceremony" basically. Also, because it was a school to help girls become religious, I knew that many had not worked on themselves to the level of combating a jealous feeling.

Okay, she got married off. So now it was just Jane and I. Jane was a talker. Whenever we went places together, she was the star of the show. I almost always became the background -but that was a good thing, because I didn't really like talking much. However, for visiting matchmakers I figured I'd better branch off alone.

I went to one. From her southern accent, I was already on my guard. One thing I learned was that the majority of Israelis seem to accept me more completely than some English speakers. I think some of the English speakers maybe carried baggage from their previous countries. Or maybe it was just that they could really communicate it better because we both spoke English. lol.

Anyway, usually I could tell if a social encounter was doomed early on. This one was. I think the minute she saw me, she gave up all hope LOL! Normally, matchmakers have a pad, pencils, index cards something to show they are jotting down notes about you. She had none. Finally, in a burst of exasperation she said, "You're black and you're how old?! And you want me to find you a guy???!!!"

Crushing.

I regret that I didn't respond back to her at the time. I was just so surprised at her treatment I could only run out of there.

From that moment I began to really wonder about things. Its easy to have faith and hope when things all go well, but when the going gets tough....

I started looking at religious life with disdain. (My love for Torah, good deeds, God, etc. remained intact, thank goodness). How can people live this life anyway? To be constantly living life consciously? When does one relax? How is it possible to control one's emotions? And I didn't like that all Hareidim -ultra orthodox Jews- all wore the same type of outfit. Suits didn't go well with me and I wasn't sure I wanted to limited to it.

Furthermore, it seemed the secular were a bit more accepting. The Sephardi were also more accepting of me. I don't know why, but it was always endearing to see the secular (sometimes Sephardic) cab drivers with their falafel sandwiches on the passenger side seat, calling their mom or their girlfriend to pass the time away as they drove customers from place to place. Or even bus drivers and their interactions with the customers.

It seemed that as my attitude got sour, so did the situations. I remember once I was placed by a family for a Sabbath meal. When I got there and they took a look at me and didn't even let me in! They asked me questions upon questions and then asked if I could come back a few minutes later. I said okay and never returned.

Still, it was confusing. Another time, I decided to avoid the whole Sabbbath meal business and a friend and I decided to have our very own Sabbath picnic meal. We sat outside with our blankets and layed the food out. This was great! No stranger to interrogate us, no small talk necessary, just me, my buddy and FOOD!

A synagogue near by had ended its service and the men were streaming out of there. We faked an attitude and watch them all pass. None of them looked at us. Good. But an older Hareidi (ultra Orthodox)man in the back started look. We put up even more of a closed attitude. He still looked. Finally, he came up to us and said, "What? you have no place to eat? Please come to my house, my wife and I love having guests!" We were so touched! It was so confusing. Sometimes I wanted to hate, just hate everything, but there was always something that won my heart back.

I was so lost. Even the classes at the seminary lost its taste. I wondered, in a world where women deal mostly with other women (something this old tom boy was definitely NOT used to) how in the world do I by-pass the female matchmakers to meet Mr. right?

One thing I loved to do was take a bus all the way to the end of the line. Just so I can think and be by myself. It was very pleasant. Sometimes riders would talk and say hello to me, sometimes not. It felt good there. Especially when I had my headset with me. But now, with my rosy tinted glasses off, I realized what risky business this was. It was the height of the intifada. Buses were being blown up left and right so frequently, it was just plain risky to be taking them -much less to the end of a line.

I was somewhat cautious in that I -and everyone else- scrutinized anyone who came on the bus. Were they sweaty? With that 'this is it' look. Really, there was no way to tell. Once, someone did leave an unclaimed bag in the bus. The alarms -i.e. all the old sephardic watchful old ladies screeched like sirens!

When a suspicious object is found, the police quarantine the place and the bomb squad comes. If they can detonate the bomb, they do; if not they bring it elsewhere and explode it. It doesn't matter if it was a real backpack bomb left by a terrorist or someone's forgotten overnight bag of pajamas and sleep items. If its unidentifiable, it's blown to bits.

The silver lining is when the crowd cheers the detonator when he does a good job. Why they still hang around is beyond me. I'd be miles away from that place.

A short bus story: once I took a bus to the end of the line, as usual. This time the young bus driver thought perhaps he could take advantage of me. When we were the only ones on the bus, he parked the bus somewhere -I got nervous. Then he came over to me and sat on the seat next to mine. I wondered how would I get myself out of this one?! He asked if I wanted to kiss him. I swallowed hard and took out my psalms book. I was banking on the usual fact that every Jew -especially the sephardic ones in Israel- are usually just one or two generations away from a religious family member.

I showed him the book, Psalms 121 and asked if he knows how to sing it. He said his grandfather used to sing it. I asked him ever so sweetly if he could sing it to me. He looked at the words for a long time. I could see struggle in his face. Good! After a while, he slipped out of the seat and went back to driving the bus. That was the last time I rode to the end of the line.

Another problem I was struggling with. Poverty. It was very hard to see families struggling so much. Employment was hard to come by. Serious issues were not being faced -issues regarding school entrance. I didn't like the rift between Sephardic Jews (Jews from Moracco, other parts of North Africa) and the Ashkenazi Jews (Jews of European descent). Although within the Ashkenazi, there were more English speakers, but still, I tried to spend as much time with Sephardic families as well -me and my broken Hebrew (which was slowly getting better).

My sister described Israel like this: It was a place that if she walked down the sidewalk and tripped, she wouldn't feel embarrassed. Its like nobody's perfect and nobody looks with snide attitudes at others.

Eventually, I toughened up. I decided to redouble my efforts. My fate was not dependent on man (er- female matchmakers) It was between me and God! I went to a teacher in my school and asked him for help. He said he would talk me to a "big" rabbi.

The next day we went to him. (Rabbi Shternbuch). He was quite a presence! His white fiery hair danced around his head and his bright eyes seemed as if it could peer right down my very soul! I was nervous. We came and sat down. He raised his head from his books and asked Jewish quintessential question:

"Nu?"

My teacher cleared his throat. "she needs a blessing for getting married."

Rav. Shternbuch: "A blessing?! What's the problem?"
(meaning why not go to a matchmaker, why a special blessing from him.)

We shuffled our feet. I wasn't sure how to bring up the color issue to ....another white man! lol

"Nu?" he prompted impatiently.

"We think people are not suggesting anybody for her because she's black."

The rabbi finally turned and looked at me. Then in his typical stern voice he booms, "It shouldn't be a problem! The next guy she meets through the proper channels, she should marry!"

That was that. He was back to studying his books. We shuffled out of there. In my skeptical mood, I thought he thought I was desperate. The next guy I should meet?! Well, I'll just go to the nearby convenience store and marry the cashier!

Time went by. No guy. I even signed up on JDate (an Jewish internet dating service) for crying out loud!

Then one day a matchmaker did call me. But this was the same one who tried to match me with someone who didn't have all his marbles. I was VERY skeptical.

"Oh do I have a match for you!!!"

"Oh really. (dryly) Let's here it."

"He's soft spoken, a good learner, loves music....."

He sounded pretty nice. I reasoned I'd have to meet him to see the REAL faulty offer he was trying to give me. I said okay. But I asked a whole team of girls and rabbis to dig up some dirt on this guy's name. Who was he? Is he really so nice? etc etc.

Everything checked out and we made plans to meet via the matchmaker.

We met at the Dan Pearl hotel. (Was that foreshadowing? I didn't know Dan Pearl -may he RIP- was married to a biracial girl) He was standing on a balcony and saw me come in the front door of the hotel. (first dates are usually done at hotel lobbies. Sit drink, talk. etc.)

He waved and called my name. That was so sweet! The way he said Miriam. But I tried not to let my guard down. Besides, I reasoned, I could easily tumble down the stairs and make a big fool out of myself and the date would end right there.

I carefully went up the stairs, praying at every step not to trip.

When I got up I saw it was an almost empty restaurant. "Look!" He said gleefully, "I saved a seat for you!"

I burst out laughing. This guy is funny. As the date went on, I was too nervous to say much. To be honest, I think we did everything wrong on the date -or atypical, I should say. He was so nervous he was sweating bullets. I didn't know what to say so I exclaimed, "You're sweating!" He denied it. "Yes, you are. I see it!" I protested...

It was very pleasant. And I did go through the proper channels as the rabbi said.

On one of our dates, he brought his guitar and we went to the zoo. I don't know if I was the most embarrassed girl on the planet or the most happiest, but I listened as he sang his music while we sat on the grass. Can this be? Can a black girl from Chicago, who comes from such hardship abusive background -can this be me here? I shut my mind. I didn't want the storm winds -the distracting, "you don't deserve it" static -messing up this moment.

We went on a total of six dates (plus lots of background checking) and we were engaged!!!

Okay, so it took seven months instead of six, but I think I can live with that. :0)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Great News: Black News Television Network!

hat tip to Anxious Black Woman and Black Women Vote!

While strolling along the black blogosphere, I found at ABW's blog news about a new upcoming television channel.

According to its own advertisement, political analyst, JC Watts, says the goal of this channel is to education, empower, and inform the African American community.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Life in Israel (3)

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I was finally in! There was much to learn about, so many dynamics to understand and manuoever through. Firstly, the landscape. The first time I've ever been to a place as mountainous as Israel was in the caribbean. The only difference was instead of coconut trees, there were palm trees; instead of black folks, there was a mixture of all sorts of brown.

Everywhere was Hebrew scripts. I don't know why that amazed me, I mean, it is Israel after all. But still for some reason that amazed me. I think the cool word at the time was "super!" and so every advertisement had that word in it. Super drink! and super store, etc.

I already mentioned the Old City and its stoney countenance.

Next was the people. At the seminary there were all types of English speakers. I had never met a South African before (I wasn't sure how to react when i did. It was a bit disturbing because of S.Africa's history), I also met for the first time Australians, British, Irish, not to mention the run of the mill Canadiana, South Americans, etc. Basically -if you could speak English, you were there.

The seminary was also interesting because I had never really dealt with "kiruv" rabbis before. Kiruv Rabbis are rabbis who's task was to bring back the secular Jews into religious life. (I guess, kinda like proselytizers but for their own. Judaism does not promote conversion). I've always dealt with pulpit rabbis. So, this new rabbinical way of talking -combining science, math, etc, was very refreshing. Also, the Rebbetzins, the ladies, were impressive with their knowledge.

Nevertheless, I had already gotten a taste of the 'outside' world and after classes, I longed to explore that more. The Israelis! Now that was something I had to chew on much more slowly.

They seem to wear their emotions on their sleeves. If they were upset at someone, it came out -right then and there! But then afterwards when its all out, they seemed friends again. It was too weird. But I appreciated the straightforwardness of it all. I just didn't do so well when it came to holding my own. I realized what a mouse I was. I barely raised my voice about anything (now I do), if I felt wronged, I'd just leave (now I stand up and argue!). This helped me to realize how it came that that Rosh Yeshiva -who by the way was a short man of about 5 feet or less and about 70 years old- could have been so feisty with me on the phone!

Here, it seemed like my second name was "motek". I found out afterwards "motek" meant "sweetheart". Even big burly cab drivers would call others motek. At times, I would go on a bus and assume my "bus look" so sure that nobody talks on the bus. But people would turn and talk to me. Unfortunately, I couldn't hold my end of the conversation so well back then because of my poor Hebrew.

Still I had my insecurities. Baggage from a racist society that I came from. So, I was always self conscious. I noticed Israel was not racist like in America. In Israel, it seemed, it wasn't money that made one feel great, but rather chutzpah! (boldness). Without some serious boldness I realize I could not accomplish much in this country. (Not to say there isn't any prejudice. Its just not from the same root as in America). Sometimes, I would take an elevator presuming no one else would come on. After all, a strange black girl in an elevator -I might steal a purse, no? Nothing doing, folks piled into that elevator and made the best of the space available. They'd even push if there wasn't enough space!

But I must say,inequivocolly, that I absolutely hated the beaurocracy there. Hated it and still detest it to this day. The clerks seems to work very hard at coming up with ways NOT to help. Whenever they could, they would hand you a slip stating you needed to make a new appointment. Hardly anything could get done with out shouting and tears. What a bother!

Israel felt like a third world country made up of first world citizens. Once I went to get a blood test. All the workers there had the white coats, etc. but many also had open toe sandals. I don't know, that seemed a bit odd to me.

But there were fun parts too. Once some other travellers and I missed our bus. There were no more buses leaving where we were (Ramat Beit Shemesh) to go to Jerusalem. We didn't know what to do. Should we try to share an expensive cab ride. We were all strangers to each other. Should we each try to hitchhike (which is pretty common here) Suddenly, an off duty bus passed us by and we all waved at it for help. Hooray, It stopped! We explained our situation and he promptly offered to take us all back to Jerusalem. This driver was in a very good mood. So much so that he opened up his glove compartment, took out a bottle of pepsi and some cups and passed drinks all around. Everyone and sat around the front seats chatting.

Another time, I returned back to the Western Wall in the Old City to pray where the Holy Temple once stood. Usually the place is packed and I can never make it too the actual wall. This time I made it. However, everytime I opened my mouth to pray, the lady next to me would wail! She would cry out with such depth and pain that I had to wait until she calmed down so I can concentrate on my own prayer. Calmness again. I opened my mouth again -and there she went. Wailing! After a few more episodes of this, the only prayer I could muster up was, "Dear God, please help this poor women with whatever she needs!"

I began to change from the inside. Materialism was not as strongly emphasized. Spirituality was more the norm. Now, instead of shopping sprees, I now started going on 'blessing' sprees. Going from rabbis to rabbis getting blessings for x,y, and z.

Well, a few months into it all a bunch of friends decided its time to get married. The black girl, the former bhuddist, and my former room mate. Of course, we went to a sephardi rabbi from Iraq for his blessing. And then began the hard work. Going from matchmaker to matchmaker putting our best foot forward, etc. In my previously blissful self-indulging, I failed to see any of the negatives of Israel. But as the search for my bashert (destined) dragged on, my eyes also began to open to the not so good sides of things...

To be continued...
(this series will conclude on number 4)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Things are Heating Up: USA vs Iran

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I must thank Raw Dawg Buffalo for this piece of info.

Turns out Iran is wanting to switch the Oil price marker to Euros. That can easily switch an already shaking US economy to take a turn for the worse! This guy is playing on the greed of two potentially very greedy entities. This is an amazing chess game. I'd whip out some popcorn if the ramifications weren't so dire for US citizens.

William R. Clark, author of Petroeuro Warfare writes:

"It is now obvious the invasion of Iraq had less to do with any threat from Saddam’s long-gone WMD program and certainly less to do to do with fighting International terrorism than it has to do with gaining control over Iraq’s hydrocarbon reserves and in doing so maintaining the U.S. dollar as the monopoly currency for the critical international oil market. ..."



(this from an old online article. Here)

Now my question is: If that was the whole purpose of the war, why be covert about it? If the intent was to save the American Empire and its money, why weren't they more open about this problem and offer the OPECians extra bonus, or special treatment to entice them to stay with the American dollar? Also, didn't they think US citizens would understand what this situation would bring and thus back the US for whatever efforts they used to keep America's standard of living where it's at?

Help me out here.

(for an easy read, check out this site.)