Saturday, March 31, 2012

Keep on dreaming

Whenever I hit a dry spell dating (yep, happens from time to time), there is that one guy who I dream about over and over again. It's been years. He is still there, on my mind, in my heart.
We don't see each other much. He is far away. I am far away. Facebook does not count; not for meaningful communication anyway.
Those blue eyes, his masculinity, strong, tall. He is grounded, serious, playful at times. Tall, broad, so handsome. Makes me feel safe and protected. His voice gets excited when I call.
No idea how he feels about me, but I get happy every time I am about to see him.
He is a lot younger than me, yet as the years go by, and we are both still 'available', that age gap becomes less and less relevant.
Thinking about him today, tonight.
I want to say something, but I am scared.
What if he says no? That he's not interested? There goes my fantasy, my fall-back guy.
And then what?
So is it better to keep on dreaming?
For how long must I dream?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

10 Lessons my little sister taught me

My little sister is actually getting married pretty soon. I won't be there to celebrate her bridal shower with her, so I wrote this up, hoping her best friend will present it to her...



1. Dedicate yourself to people you love.

R. is an amazing friend, and she is an amazing sister. She dedicates herself to the people she loves by going out of her way to make those people happy. R. has taught me that it is important to treat the people you love kindly, and not to worry about putting on a show or bragging. The people you love are the most important people in your life. And the people who love you will love you no matter what.

2. Take your time to find your path.

So… in case you didn’t realize, R. and I are very different, but we’re also quite similar in many ways. R.’s more laid back than I am in many respects, and I admire that about her. She has taught me that it takes time to figure out your path in life! No need to make yourself crazy overachieving and pushing yourself too much because you know what? It will all work out.

3. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!

For such a young woman, R has overcome a lot of challenges in her life. I think many of these challenges have shaped her into the wonderful, caring, intuitive person she is today. I have learned that even when life gets challenging, you have to look for the good, and keep going. She also knows how to laugh – even at some tough things. That is SO important because a) she has a great laugh and b) it’s so much better to LAUGH than to CRY!

4. When you leave the house in the morning, be sure to look g-o-o-d.

R always looks G-O-O-D. I really don’t know where she gets her sense of style from… ST? E.? M.? It isn’t really trait that we share in the family, but man, do I appreciate the times she’s saved me from walking out looking like a shlump. Thanks for teaching me some fashion & makeup skills!

5. Wait. You made that?!

So…. Cooking isn’t really our forte in our family (in case you didn’t know). Thank G-d R. has changed that and has taught me that even home-prepared foods can be delectable and healthy! We might just starve now that you’re not going to be at Mom’s house anymore, but I think the whole neighborhood will celebrate your visits from now on!

6. Kids with special needs deserve (and give) lots of love.

I was never really involved with children with special needs. But R.’s passion for working with these kids is really admirable and inspiring. Her enthusiasm for kids with special needs has changed the way I see them. I look forward to the day that R. is running her own facility for kids with special needs because they deserve someone as dedicated and caring as R. is with them.

7. When communication fails to work with Israeli Morrocan women, stay FAR AWAY.

[to be read in a high pitched voice]: “R! Get back in there!” All I’ll say is that our repulsion from Israeli Moroccan women proves, more than anything, that we are sisters. Us girls + Moroccan Israelis DO NOT MIX! STAY AWAYYYY

8. Do good deeds for people…even strangers.

I remained in wonderment how much good R. does for people…even people she doesn’t really know. One time, a close friend of mine in Israel was really feeling sick. She needed help cooking and cleaning before Shabbos, and no one was able to help her because they were all busy with their own homes. Rachel went over there Erev Shabbos, and sorted everything out for her. I was in shock that she agreed to do such a tedious, time-consuming task. But she did it happily (or so I thought!) I am in awe of you R.

9. Life ain’t always easy, but it all works out.

I think above all, R. has taught me to keep a positive perspective. Even when she was really young, I was stunned how intuitive she was, how perceptive she was of our family members, of her teachers, her classmates, etc. She does the BEST impressions, by the way! Things that took me AGES to deal with, she managed to deal with, process , overcome & move on. ..without going nuts about it! That is a priceless lesson to learn!

10. If you want to look good, get your butt to the G-Y-M.

R., I know I’m becoming an old lady, but thanks to your encouragement and motivation, I FEEL GREAT! Thanks for getting my butt (which is shaping up nicely, by the way!) to the gym!

See, these are all really priceless lessons that no one else in my life, except for my little sister, R has taught me. I am so grateful to have you as my sister, and I hope, even though you’ll be a married woman soon, we will still grow closer together.

I love you, I love your fiance, I love you together. You guys make each other shine, and I hope you stay that way forever!


Monday, March 19, 2012

When Will the Hatred End?

About ten years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Russia to teach Judaism to Jewish university students from around the FSU in a two-week winter camp program. Shortly after I left Moscow, there were a string of terror attacks in the train system which killed massed of people. Another time long ago, I spent a summer advancing my Spanish in a small town in Spain. Every weekend before shabbat, I would get on the Cercanías train from Alcalá de Henares en route to Madrid for shabbat. A few months after returning to New York, a series of coordinated bombs went off in the train system killing about 191 people.

My point of this is actually not to avoid the train system. No, no.

The lesson I've learned from not being involved these occurrences is that you can plan all you want; when G-d wants you, He takes you.

What happened today at the Jewish school in Toulousse makes me extremely distraught for many reasons. I simply cannot comprehend where the justice lays for a young man who left Jerusalem, a former hotbed of terror activity, to teach Judaism to schoolchildren in the 'enlightened', civil, democratic country of France, only to meet his fate by a bullet as he walked his own two sons into their classroom.

The evil that the savage barbarian took out on innocent people (schoolchildren!) is just mind-boggling. Regardless of whether this was an act of blatant anti-semitism, for whatever reason, as this heartless criminal was driving down the road, he decided to open fire on a Jewish school during its opening hours.

I am usually not one to start cheerleading for everyone to make aliyah. And let's face it, it's not like good, ol' Eretz Yisrael is the safest place in the world, but we need to protect ourselves. Period. Educators/principals: make sure you have top security at your schools. Everyone: Don't cross the street unless you have a green indicator, stay alert while using public transportation, don't open your front door to strangers, and the list goes on.

But at the end of the day, when G-d wants you, He takes you. No matter where in the world you are.

The lesson I take away from the events of today is to stay alert at all times, do an act or two of kindness today -- everyday-- and live life to the fullest.

There are no words to explain why this happened to the Ozar HaTorah school or to the Sandler family, but hopefully, they will find comfort knowing that the Jewish people, the French nation and the civilized world is thinking of them, sharing in their pain (as the Hebrew saying says). May we pray that humanity moves forward to be a bit more civilized.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

On working

After years of working in the non-profit world, I wanted to get a taste of working in a business. I sent out many resumes and got interviews in some of the top companies around the country. In the end, I accepted a position working for a company literally a 5 minute walk away from my house that produces products that I'm actually interested in.

Going from a Director position to an Associate Director was not a big deal for me because I figured I'd be getting experience in a field otherwise unfamiliar to me.

The pros of such a situation are that I am close to home, close to the gym, I don't have much responsibility, it's a flexible schedule (somewhat), and I can leave at 4pm everyday. In addition, I enjoy the people I work with in my immediate surroundings.

The cons are that I don't have as much responsibility as I'm used to, my work is not as challenging as I was expecting and in short, I feel like my skills are not being utilized maximally. I don't have much of a say in the decision-making process because after all, I'm not a senior level anything there and I'm the new person. In addition, the management style is very different than what I'd expect in a successful business (hmmm, maybe that's where I go wrong: what defines 'successful'?!) There's hardly any teamwork or interaction with each other and hardly any inter-departmental collaboration which is hard for me because I thrive on those elements in a workplace!

I suppose I'm getting the true taste of what it's like to work in a company because given these cons (which really do carry a lot of weight for me), I really don't mind that much. I am not 'married' to the cause, as I was used to in the non-profit world, I'm not out there carrying the world on my own shoulders. I simply do my work and go home at the end of the day.

Being able to leave at a reasonable hour without stressing out about the success of a campaign, or worrying about a donor or saving people's lives is actual quite enjoyable. I have been going to the gym, doing things after work, enjoying Jerusalem's nightlife (yes, there is one!) and enjoying my LIFE. Wait, there's a life outside the office! Revolutionary!

So maybe I should just accept that this is way it's going to be for a while; doing my job, leaving at 4, not being stressed. It's not really my nature to be complacent, I am truly activating my patience given the situation... and maybe it's paving the way to something else really amazing.

I hope that amazing comes knocking on my door some point down the road. Preferably one that will make me millions.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Laws of Attraction

Just got off of a 25 minute bus ride with a huge smile on my face. What I experience literally feels like I just lived through a movie. See, a friend of mine has been helping me work on attracting different kinds of men. At a certain point about 2 years ago, I was explaining my frustration to her that I tend to go out with guys who are needy; they see a motherly figure in me and they latch on. I turn, get frustrated because I too need to feel cared for and secure. So she explained a concept that The Surrendered Single discusses, namely, "She doesn't hunt for Mr. Right–she attracts him". This seemed completely foreign to me.

This friend (may she live, be well and continue to help many women out there!) explained that my behavior was attracting a particular kind of guy. Therefore, if I modified my behavior, starting out with simple changes, I'd start to attract different men.

One of the principles she has taught me, which I have difficult implementing, is to smile. Smile at every guy you see. When you smile, people smile back, and a comfortable space is created which may, just may compel a guy to come over and start talking to me.

So, back to the bus.

As I sat on the bus, I was watching who got on. This is a habit I've developed due to being overly cautious about terrorists and bus bombings (what can I say... I live in a conflict area). A very cute guy got on the bus, we made eye contact. I was on the phone at the time, so nothing else happened.

As the bus approached my stop, I saw that this particular guy was really looking at me. We kept making eye contact, so I smiled, he smiled back and struck up a conversation. I was a bit embarrassed because we were riding in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood where mixed- gender conversations don't occur in public. So I leaned over and said, "I'm getting off at the next stop, but you are welcome to take my number if you'd like..."

Where this courage and boldness came from, I do not know... but I hope he calls. I cannot believe what a smile can do!