26 July 2007

Parnasah Update

For those of you who know me "in the real world", I have been having job tzarot for some time. After a rather stormy transition of directors, I decided to walk away from the Talmud Torah I have called home for eight years. In a nutshell: Reform rabbi who rents space in the school for her congregation led a campaign to have me removed for my "influence" over the students. With no just cause to not renew my contract at all, I was transferred to another branch. Received contract in mail, but returned a resignation. Later on, a former supervisor, "Oketz", (in the midst of her own rumored scandal) has been named as the assistant director of the Talmud Torah. [I had considered asking to withdraw my resignation until I found out that she was going to be there.]

I am taking graduate classes at the local Judaics studies college. They have a cooperative relationship with the local bureau of Jewish education to cover 2/3 of the tuition for each teacher enrolled in a class there. The future of grad school hinges on my having a teaching position in a bureau school. Last week, I told them that I can't continue studying if I don't have a position (they also rely on Jewish Federation dollars connected to enrollment numbers). Today, I made a tally of all the places that I contacted and what happened (identifying details have been changed, of course):

4/26/2007 Large Conservative Congregation (S) [replied right away]
not looking for anyone right now
Position desired: teacher, tutor, or aide (cold contact)

4/26/2007 Other Large Conservative Congregation (T) [last e-mail from her: 6/20; last correspondence: 7/18]
she attempted to set up meeting in June but nothing materialized; I repeatedly attempted to reach her without reply
Position desired: teacher, tutor, or aide (cold contact)

4/26/2007 Chabad Hebrew School (M) [interview: 5/21]
interested in talking to me when she saw that I was from Talmud Torah (her strongest competitor), but told me in the interview that she has "two married ladies" already and "only" hires "seminary girls" for the teaching
Position desired: teacher (cold contact)

5/31/2007 "Congregation Sinat Chinam" (R C) [reply: 6/xx]
keeping me on file should anything come up
Position desired: teacher (cold contact)

6/19/2007 Community Day School (L) [reply: 7/20]
does not have any openings
Position desired: tutor or aide (cold contact)

6/19/2007 CYM's school (RJ) [reply: 6/20]
"already filled the aide position"
Position desired: aide (response to e-mail that he sent out)

6/29/2007 Jewish/multicultural school (S) [notified: 7/18]
got called in for interview right away, references checked out, but job went to someone else ("not enough experience")
Position desired: teacher (response to ad in paper)

7/19/2007 Haredi school (C)
calling her tomorrow
Position desired: early childhood aide (received a lead from former teacher)

7/26/2007 Small Reform Congregation (R M) [gave me my first teaching job]
just sent him an e-mail today and awaiting further information
Position desired: teacher (cold contact)

7/26/07 Another Small Reform Congregation (D)
sent resume today
Position desired: teacher (referred by former academic advisor)

I also had a job interview today with an insurance agency, not my ideal line of work, but it fits one of my "nine rules": Be humble.

[What does that refer to? In the spring, I found a book at the library whose title intrigued me, 9 Things You Simply Must Do. In some future posts, I will talk about these rules. Right now, here's the synopsis. The author (a psychologist) has noticed nine "deja vu" traits that repeat in successful people.

He also wrote a series of books about setting boundaries in personal relationships, aptly named, Boundaries. At first, I shied away from this book because he uses a lot of quotes from the Christian Bible (he happens to be a devout Christian). Then someone suggested that I read what he has to say and substitute wisdom from TaNaKh or rabbinic literature that runs along the same theme. (Easy considering that 1st century Christians were essentially Jewish except for that whole "Yeshke is Messiah" thing.)

Will keep the blog world updated as things progress.

25 July 2007

This tag was from Barak, who got it from DovBear. It was about Tisha B'Av. Here are my answers:

Fast: While I am not “small” and do have ample reserves, I find this fast to be the hardest (see Insights).


· “I’m a ‘bad Jew’ because I find it hard to be sad about Beit Ha-Mikdash being destroyed. Like any tragedy, it resonates the most with one who experienced it firsthand and fizzles out the more removed one is from it. For example, when I explained 9/11 to cool yiddishe maidel, although I 1) was not connected to anyone who died that day and 2) had at the time never even been to New York, it was easier for me to describe the history that I experienced. However, when cym kept asking why the grown-ups had to fast yesterday, I had to simplify it to that we are “sad” that we don’t have the Beit Ha-Mikdash and told her that it was destroyed because people were too busy doing avodah zarah (bayit rishon) or hating each other for stupid reasons (bayit sheni).

· This might get me labeled an apikoros but, oh well… Due to my non-Orthodox origins, I can acknowledge Beit Ha-Mikdash as being important to us (and do strongly consider the kotel to be the holiest spot for Jewry), but to mourn this for thousands of years simply because this event had the strongest impact to ChaTZaL? In my “warped” logic (or maybe an early teaching that has stuck in my head), daavening is an “evolved” form of avodat Hashem. The korbanot needed to be done in those days as that was how people understood G-d.

· With the above being said, I still fasted because it has been commanded, but I used the time to reflect on the tragedies that affect modern Jews (and could potentially destroy us): continual sinat hinam, constant “out-frumming” your neighbor, and the death of spirituality.

· Why is it always easier to fast on Yom Kippur? Amongst the reasons I came up with: we’re in an atmosphere where more people are fasting (as opposed to work), “life” stops (since it is a Shabbat Shabbaton), etc.


· Another day in the life of a SAHM with children. Fast day or no, life goes on for them. Had CYM’s BF over for playdate and dinner.

· Cool Yiddish Papa collapsing in bed before nine o’clock, so he missed going to Eikha. [He was up until 3:30 AM the previous night finishing HP7 because he had borrowed a friend’s copy.]

How long was Shacharit:

· Barely daavened with children grabbing at my legs. “The big guy” understands.

Kinah for Gush Katif:

· HUH?????

Kinah for the Holocaust:

· To be honest, I have not sat with kinot since having children. Bli neder, will look at this one next year.

Break Fast:

· Rushed as I had other things to attend to (wink, nod to Esther). Drank a large glass of water and a protein drink (just started yet another diet). I also ate a piece of grilled salmon after returning home.

· I had made veggie burgers, tater tots, and corn for the kinder to eat earlier. CYP had vegetarian kielbasa and bell pepper sauté (with the remnants of the children’s dinner). I think at some point he also had some ice cream. (He doesn’t have to watch what he eats…)

22 July 2007

MEME part deux

The Rules:

Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves.The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged.


1. I AM ADDICTED TO THE WRITTEN WORD. I will read anything I can get my hands on. Currently, I am in the midst of several books: one in the car (in case kids fall asleep), one in the living room (for when I need down time), one in my totebag, and two stacked on my nightstand. Whenever I go to the library, I clean out the section that I need. I even picture words (with complete punctuation) over someone's head when they are talking to me. Someday I hope to funnel this passion into a writing career.

2. I BEAT DEAD HORSES. (No, not literally.) I am never satisfied with an answer I am given and will instead re-visit it whenever a new angle pops up in my head. For example, my friend Rivka's BF Golda, seems jealous of my friendship with Rivka. So, every time I notice it, I log it into my head to build evidence. I feel like telling Golda (who I had classified as a "coffee friend" a long time ago) that I have my own friends and don't need to steal others...

3. I AM A WELL-REPUTED "FOODIE". As a BT who has gone "both ways" on the kashrut thing, I actually remember how food is supposed to taste and try hard to replicate on a kosher level. I am frustrated by people who accept poor-quality food as the price of being closer to G-d. I own over 30 cookbooks but read them more to get ideas than to follow them.

4. GOOGLE IS BUSY BECAUSE OF ME. Want information found? I'm the person to do it. Need to stretch a paper with extra information? That's me, too. I found my father's widow who dropped out of sight several years ago just by typing her name into stuff.

5. [wil fill in later]

6. [wil fill in later]

7. [wil fill in later]

8. [wil fill in later]

Ok, I tag...Chana and Hila (sorry, but I think you are my only readers that weren't already tagged).

Book Tag

My friend Barak tagged me...

Look at the list of books below: Bold the ones you’ve read. Mark in blue the ones you want to read. Cross out the ones that you wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole (or use red coloring). Finally, italicize the ones you've never heard of.

I've read some of these, hated some, and wouldn't touch some, but there aren't any on the list I'm planning to read...See below to find out who's been tagged...

1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) loved the BBC version w/ Colin Furth; inspiration for Bridget Jones' Diary
To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) My 9th grade English teacher thought that we were too stupid to read so she showed us the movie.
Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell) Read it three times
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)

8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery) I liked the Little House books nas a child but sounds worse.
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)

11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling) [maybe when the hype dies down]
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
[maybe when the hype dies down]
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Rowling) [maybe when the hype dies down]
7. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald) [sounds like the name of some bad porn]
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
[maybe when the hype dies down]
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)

22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger) Read it in 10th grade when my brother wanted me to know what teenage angst was.
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott) Favorite book from childhood.
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)

26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte) 11th grade English after I got switched to the honors class
28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom) so that when I talk about someone's "Tuesdays with Morrie" friend, then I KNOW what it is.
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)

34. 1984 (Orwell) 12th grade reading project; too depressing
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant) One of my friends told me that its' poorly written feminist midrash.
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)

41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel) read after seeing the movie w/ Darryl Hannah on TV
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella) Aren't you sure that my mother-in-law didn't write this?
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom) looks interesting

45. The Bible read Christian version in a college religion course; and read Jewish one all the time
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) Hate Russian authors
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck) 12th grade English. You're right, Barak. Long-winded, depressing book. [Why would people voluntarily move to California?]
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb) another depressing book
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)

52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens) 11th grade English. Sealed the deal on my unabided hatred for Dickens. [I found out later that he was paid by the word, explains a lot.] Fondest memory of this book was when teacher accidentally called it A Tale of Two TITTIES. Entire class couldn't stop laughing.
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens) 11th grade English summer reading [see Dickens tirade at # 52.]
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald) 10th grade English
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling) [maybe when the hype dies down]
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood) Literature of Women class taught by A MAN
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)

61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky) brother bought it for me Chanukah 1993...still sitting in book case unread
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) Mostly rememered by its Spanish title that sounded so cool: Cien Anos de Soledad
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares) I sadly admit that I read the whole series last summer, loaned to me by a teenaged friend of mine.
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo) [rather see the update RENT]
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery) [will end up reading it when CYM sees a "prince" on the cover]
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding) Liked books better than movies, but some British guys are easy on the eyes...
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez) [can't Marquez write anything uplifting?]
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)...really, where?
78. The World According to Garp (John Irving) Movie w/ Robin Williams first, then book. Book much better, got more into back story.
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White) Read to us by teacher in 2nd grade but hope to re-read with CYM.
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck) Depressing book.
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)

85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley) 9th grade, read on own. Liked more than 1984 b/c of the decedance.
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)

90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding) Strange book, completely grossed out by the whole pig thing.
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd) [Maybe it should stay secret...]
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton) Does the movie count?
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)

100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Bonus: The Princess Bride (William Goldman)

I tag...Chana and Hila.

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