How Do You Jew An educational, informational, conversational blog and (someday) podcast about Judaism, Jewish practices, customs, and rituals, Israel, and whatever else we decide to talk about.

October 26, 2006

True to myself.

Filed under: Commentary — howdoyoujew @ 21:57

I’ve been conflicted about limiting or editing the content of this blog, thinking from the beginning about “keeping politics/conflict/etc.” out of it, but I recognize that would be ultimately disingenuous. What jarred me out of the illusion that I could/should keep my opinions about some things to myself was this quote, from last Sunday’s AWAD:

Seven blunders of the world that lead to violence: wealth without work,
pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without
morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics
without principle.
-Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
I found myself checking if any of the blunders could be applied to our current President (and many of the people in leadership positions around him), and I was dismayed to find myself able to name specific examples of almost all of them in his known public life (I leave it to you to research each of these; if I run across good links I will post them):
Wealth without work: Obvious; his inherited family fortune.
Pleasure without conscience: His adolescence, which extended into his 40s (coke, booze, etc.).
Knowledge without character: Oh, I don’t know…. Maybe, “Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job.”?
Commerce without morality: The continued relationship with the Saudis, for one.
Science without humanity: His absolutist position on abortion, stem cell research, and other issues.
Workship without sacrifice: I don’t know about his personal spiritual life beyond what he parades in public, obvisouly, but my impression is that this applies in his relationship with the evangelical base.
Politics without principle: Pretty much all of the above play into this one, and they’re played out in his support of the ban on gay marriage, the ban on flag burning, and countless other idiotic things he stands for that distract from the incompetence and possible criminality of his administration.

So there it is. I hope this is the beginning of a long stretch of intelligent discussion. Really.

October 22, 2006

At first I was afraid, I was petrified.

Filed under: Family,Good News,life cycle — howdoyoujew @ 23:11

Leave it to my 80s-infested brain to relate the most important event of my life to Gloria Gaynor’s biggest hit. But there you have it. That’s the first line that popped into my head moments ago, when I observed the two most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen, sleeping in our bedroom.

Get your minds out of the gutter. I’m talking about my wife and my newborn daughter.

Perhaps I should explain. As of Oct. 7, 2006 at this hour, Jenn and I were still childless. We’ve been trying to start a family for a couple of years, but my biology wasn’t cooperating (I’ll maybe go in to those details another time). Long story short, we decided to start down the path to adoption via the County of San Diego while we were working on recharging my ammunition. We completed the preparation for that in late March, and have been waiting for a phone call informing us of a match ever since. The wait has been excruciating, but we are surrounded by a loving, warm community of people who wanted to see us be parents just about as much as we did.

A couple of members of this community know a local OB/GYN (we’ll call her Dr. X) who had matched birth moms with adoptive families no less than 3 times in the last 6 months, and they shared our story with her. We finally spoke with her directly a couple of weeks before the High Holy Days (about a month ago), and she told us we were “next on her list.” The thing is, there was no guarantee of timing here either (as with the county), since Dr. X couldn’t predict when a birth mom who couldn’t/wouldn’t keep her baby would come into the hospital on one of Dr. X’s occasional overnight shifts.

So it was quite a surprise when she called us on the morning of the 8th and told us “I have a baby for you.” Less than three hours after that first phone call, we were in a delivery room in a hospital less than 10 minutes from our house, watching and listening to our daughter being born (Jenn was at the bedside, I was behind a curtain near the door for modesty’s sake). The baby needed to stay in the hospital for a 10-day course of antibiotics, so in between visits to feed and change and hang out with her and introduce her to our immediate family and some close friends, we rushed around like crazy people to Babies R Us, Target, and some friends’ homes for clothing, furniture, and accessories for our beautiful little girl.

Pertinent details:

DOB: 1117 PST 8 October 2006 (16 Tishrei 5767 – 2nd day of Sukkot)
Weight: 6 lb 10 oz (3030 gr)
Length: 19.5 in (49.5 cm)
Name: Hadarya Tali Levy

Then, on Wednesday, October 18, she came home. Which brings me back to the title of this post. We brought her home amid great fanfare and pomp and circumstance (I think it was only a matter of scheduling conflicts that prevented the UCLA Marching Band from accompanying us), attended by Jenn’s folks and sister, my mom, my sister and nephew, and a couple of friends who came over later. Eventually, we were left to ourselves, and got to bed around 10. I reassured Jenn after she worried aloud about something happening to our child and us not hearing anything. Then I proceeded to weep uncontrollably for a few moments in the midst of the most abject terror I’ve ever felt in my life. I was frightened to the core of my being, more scared than I’d ever been in my life. Not over what might happen to Hadarya overnight while we slept – I wasn’t too worried about that; she was safely laid out on her back, with cushions at either side to prevent her from rolling over, and I knew she’d make herself known if she was hungry or otherwise distressed. I was petrified by the overwhelming weight that her tiny 7-pound body represented – the responsibility for her every need, want and desire, now and forever. Being the sensitive metrosexual dude that I am, I shared this feeling with my wife, got over it, and fell asleep. And upon awakening the following morning and recalling that terrifying feeling, the thought process went like this:

Man, that was a sobering moment –> I have GOT to start blogging this –> I need a title for this post –> of course: “At first I was afraid, I was petrified”!

October 11, 2006

Chag sameach

Filed under: Israel,Jewish holidays,video — howdoyoujew @ 11:16

It’s the holiday of Sukkot, sometimes referred to in English as the Feast of Tabernacles. There’s a whole long story behind why these people are shaking a bunch of vegetation around, which I’ll explain another time, but watch the video and enjoy.

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