Sunday, 28 February 2010

A Lovely Mess

Shalom:
I know everyone understands why I haven't been blogging the past few days :)
After a few days of much needed sleep and food, we got many errands out of the way; including laundry and Mark replacing light bubles
Right now there is a trail of iron poles, plastic wrap, nails, tools and such leading from the Livingroom to the WaterCloset.
Why?
Because I am getting new bathroom selves.
My beloved decided to put up the selves he has been promising to do.
But every time he starts, there is this little thing called a deployment that pops up.
It won't really take that long.
But it is a huge mess. With lots of banging and crashes and Mark checking his languge.
And I love it.
Why?
Because it means my big guy is home.

It means not just his presence, but his body, his scent, his voice, fills the air.
The mess means my beloved is working on a project that will make my homemaking easier and our home nicer.

Friday evening, Ere Shabbat was wonderful. To share the wine and the Challah with my beloved after months apart, I can't begin to find the words to express how I felt.
Except pure bliss.
Yes, after Shabbat there were dishes to wash and put away. But then it was something we did together. We brought in and rejoice in Shabbat together, resting in G-d and each other.
I guess I could complain about the mess in my home right now.
But that mess means my beloved is home.
And for me, it is a lovely sight.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

A Note From Mark

I figure I need to write this note so that those who have been praying for me, would have a better idea of what it is like in a war zone.

I live on a very large Forward Operating Base called FOB SHANK. Currently, I work in an office as a Program Manager for projects that are paid for using Commander's Emergency Relief Program (CERP) funds.
I also work with the Brigade S9, the staff officer that counsels the Commander on Civil-military operations, helping him to craft guidance for units so that they can more effectively consider civilian effects when they conduct their operations. If you have read the book, "Three Cups of Tea," my job is like the author's, except I carry a weapon.
The days are often very long as I work from 0900 to 2100, 2200 hours daily. The hardest thing for me is the separation from my wife and the grueling days. Often I try and get out and exercise, but often I get so busy, I forget. I try and celebrate Shabbat, but usually that means going to Friday night services and maybe taking some time off on Saturady. Other than that, I am constantly working, working, working.

I hope this gives you a better idea of what my days are like. I always pray that what I am doing is ultimately going to help improve the life of the average Afghan civilian. Thank you for your prayers. Please continue praying for me, my unit (173d Airborne and 405th CA), and the Afghan people.
Mark

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Coffee With My Beloved

Boker Tov;
Well Mark has been home for a few days now. There have been errands to run of course, but also lots of cuddling time.
How good it is to be held in the arms of my beloved again. To feel his warmth and to hear his heartbeat.  To look into those beautiful blue-green eyes of his and see his love for me. To hear his voice, his laugh and to enjoy cups of coffee only Mark could make. This week we have a few projects we wish to finish up and then next week, we are taking off.


Like my new t-shirt? Mark brought it back from Afghanistan and it has the unit's logo on it.


Mark looks goods. Yes, tired when he came home, but after pizza and a hot shower, he was fine. There has been no stress, other than family dealings and that he took care of quick and in a hurry.
We are so blessed with Mom and Dad Reel who not only understands, but encourages our enjoying each other and being together.
As Mom herself said: "not everyone is going to agree or understand. But it is your marriage and you have the right to tell folks to back off."
And we have had to do that .
Sometimes, you just have to remind people to keep their nose out of your busniess and their paws off your marriage.
I also have a new copier which Mark is going to hook up for me. I have old family pictures I wish to scan and save, as well as a few crosstitch patterns  I would like to scan and print out. But it does other stuff too.
It's been cool the past few evenings, but I have my beloved to keep me warm.
As he finishes up the laundry, I will be making his favorite stew; lamb, beef and goat.
Then after supper, cuddle on the sofa, watch a movie and then......
Have a wonderful day everyone.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

International Day To Fight Cancer

Today is the International Day for the Fight Against Cancer. In memory of those who lost the battle against cancer, and those who continue fighting. I pray for a cure.
It is a battle that strikes too close to home.
I was a hospic LPN for many years, caring for those who were in the final stages of cancer.
I lost a grandfather to lung cancer and several good friends to breast cancer.
And as many who have followed this blog know, in 2004, Mark came home from Iraq and learned he had cancer. Because it was caught in the early stages, he had a 90% chance of making a full recovery. He has since returned returned to the service he loves.
Today it is rare to find anyone who has not been touched in some form or fashion through this disease and I do believe that we can, G-d willing find a cure for this disease.
I pray not just for those who have care, but for the family and loved ones.
And say thank to doctors, nurses and others who work hard caring for those ill and working towards a cure,
May that Day come soon.

Monday, 22 February 2010

My Cousin Michelle: A Step Into Where We Come From

Shalom:
It is the second week in. My cousin Michelle is on a month's trip of a life time.
Africa.
Her first stop was Morocco. Having lived in Morocco for two months, I know she is had a wonderful time. Already she's had Henna, enjoy Moroccan tea with the local and sampled many of the dishes she's heard me speak about preparing.
Now she is in Niger.
On her face book page this morning, Michelle wrote about staying in a mud hut and slepping under a mosquito net.  Of taking a bucket bath outside and used the bathroom outside. Of sitting on the floor and enjoying her meal with her hands.
In her words: "it was fantastic.."
 She is having the best time of my life. Knowing what type of life ourpeople had before being enslaved and brought to America:, we were ,extended families all living, working together.

We worked the land, taught our children respect for the land, their elders and each other. Everyone looked after the other family's needs. The tribe's needs were always considered.
Michelle is living and walking that which we read in history books. A life that hasn't changed.
A simplier life.
My time in North Africa changed my life life forever.
And I know Michelle's has changed too.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Guess Who's Coming For Dinner?

LoveFromIraq: Beanie Baby Poker#links

LoveFromIraq: Beanie Baby Poker#links

Mark once told me about a pile of Beanie Beabies, met to be given out to the children (and they were) got grabbed up for a friendly game of Beanie Baby Poker. The picutres are on this blog.
Laini

Harvey Clark

 A name not well known in Black History is that of Harvey E. Clark Jr.
Harvey E. Clark Jr., a man whose move to Cicero, formerly a predominately White suburban city west of Chicago, sparked racial riots in 1951,  died at his home in Swannanoa, NC, at age 75 in 1998.

In 1951, Clark a veteran, who was then a bus driver, moved his family into an apartment building in Cicero to show them a better life than on Chicago's South Side where they lived.
What he found waiting for him was a neighor filled with racial hatred and not ready for change.

In 1951,  Harvey E. Clark Jr. a veteran, who was then a bus driver, moved his family into an apartment building in Cicero to show them a better life than on Chicago's South Side where they lived.
When the family moved in, youths broke into the apartment and destroyed Clark's possessions while others damaged the building. A mob of about 3,000 gathered and a riot broke out until450 National Guardmen and and about two hundred Cicero and Cook County cmae and brought back order.
Later, theNAACP annonced they brought the building and it would be home to both black and white veterans.
Little is known (at least) to me of what began of of Mr. Clark.
But I admire his spirit and courage, for wanting a better life for himself and his family, having to fight to have the right to live where he choses, but his actions was the beginning of change for Chicago's South Side.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

LoveFromIraq: Finished#links

LoveFromIraq: Finished#links

I have been meaning to create this quiet place for myself for awhile. I finish broke down and did it. Feels good already.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Update

Many of my readers may remember that last April the four synagogues in our area were slapped with anti-Semitic messages and our neighorhood was covered with these messages along with anti-gay and racist statements.
It turns out that one of the sygnagogues' video captured several white men places stickers. Their fingerprints were lifted off the stickers.
Yesterday one of the men, 29 years old pleaded guilty to two counts of injuring a church and conspiring to commit a felony.
Arrested in July, it seems this man is a member of a white sumpremacist group known as Volksfront. He will be sentenced in May. A second man was charged last month and his trial is upcoming.
The good news. These men have been caught and justice will be served.
The bad news. These people are like rats: for every one you see, there are 50 you don't.
I am aware that most Americans don't feel as Volksfront and other groups  like them do. And we have come a long way baby in terms of respect and understanding our differences.
But sadly, dispite our great strives, there are those who still hate fellow human beings because of the colour of their skin, their religion or politial views.
For me as a Hebrew, it will not be until the return of Messiah that men and women will finally be able to dwell with one another in peace and harmony.
But until He returns, I am going to do my part to show forth the love of Messiah and His Torah.
Whether it is returned or not.
No one can make me hate them.

CarePackages and Other Stuff

Boker Tov;
I spoke to Mark last night; he finally recieved the box we send from Montana.
I couldn't state what was in it lest Mark read the blog first, but it included:
A huge red monkee from cousin Jaylene and a note.
Monkee Butt Talic powder from Carson, Angela and Jaylene, with a note from each.
Chocolate, big jar of mixed nuts, several bags of dried fruits, Huckaberry Taffy and love notes from me.
And from Aunt Michael and Uncle Jim, four pack of TP, Baby wipes and a sheet of Mr. Obama compassion-sand paper.
Because the unit was reciving a guest on post, Mark could only look at his gifts. The letters will have to wait until later.
There is always comings and goings where Mark is stationed. New units coming in, old ones going home. Lots of paperwork along with getting the new units up to speed with the projects being worked on.
He still enjoys getting out to meet the locals, but of course it is still dangerous and we keep praying for not just Mark, but for all those who serve.
In fact, recently, I was taken to task for my "lack of faith" on fackbook and Mark had a comment about that. "Those who are your friends or think they are should remember your beloved is half way around the world in a dangerous area and should give you some slack."
Even in Afghanistan, he's got my back.
Mark's coming home on Leave soon, so I went to the after Valentine's Day sales. The above candle is amoung the things I found for 50%.
I do have a red tablecloth, so with the extra little things and gifts I found, I hope to make his Home Come a nice one.
This little heart shaped bottle is one I shall fill with a love note for my beloved.
I couldn't resist. He sings, 'I'm Too Sexy.'
No explaintion needed, though the candles are rose scented.
Hey Laini! I thought you were a frum?
Yeah, I am.  And I make being a frum fun :)

Brooker T Washington

  Booker T. Washington.  Born April 5, 1856 in Hale's Ford, Virginia, U.S. Mr. Washington died November 14, 1915 at age 59 in Tuskegee, Alabama, U.S.
He was known as an Occupation Educator, Author, and African American Civil Rights Leader
and today several schools are named after him, my son attended the one here in Virginia

He was born into slavery to a white father and a slave mother in a rural area in southwestern Virginia.
After emancipation, he worked in West Virginia in a variety of manual labor jobs before making his way to Hampton Roads seeking an education. He worked his way through Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (now Hampton University) and attended college at Wayland Seminary. After returning to Hampton as a teacher, in 1881 he was named as the first leader of the new Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
It wasn't until high school that I learned the T stood for Taliaferro.
Booker Taliaferro Washington was an American political leader, educator, orator and author. He was the dominant figure in the African American community in the United States from 1890 to 1915. Representing the last generation of black leaders born in slavery, and speaking for those blacks who had remained in the New South in an uneasy modus vivendi with the white southerners, Washington was able throughout the final 25 years of his life to maintain his standing as the black leader because of the sponsorship of powerful whites, substantial support within the black community, his ability to raise educational funds from both groups, and his skillful accommodation to the social realities of the age of segregation.
Mr. Washington received national prominence for his Atlanta Address of 1895, attracting the attention of politicians and the public as a popular spokesperson for African American citizens. He built a nationwide network of supporters in many black communities, with black ministers, educators, and businessmen composing his core supporters. He played a dominant role in black politics, winning wide support in the black community and among more liberal whites (especially rich northern whites). He gained access to top national leaders in politics, philanthropy and education. His efforts included cooperating with white people and enlisting the support of wealthy philanthropists, which helped raise funds to establish and operate thousands of small community schools and institutions of higher education for the betterment of blacks throughout the South, work which continued for many years after his death.
Northern critics called Dr. Washington's followers the "Tuskegee Machine." After 1909, Washington was criticized by the leaders of the new NAACP, especially W.E.B. DuBois, who demanded a harder line on civil rights protests.  Mr. Washington replied that confrontation would lead to disaster for the outnumbered blacks, and that cooperation with supportive whites was the only way to overcome pervasive racism in the long run. Some of his civil rights work was secret, such as funding court cases.
In addition to the substantial contributions in the field of education, Dr. Washington was the author of 14 books; his autobiography, Up From Slavery, first published in 1901, is still widely read today. During a difficult period of transition for the United States, he did much to improve the overall friendship and working relationship between the races. His work greatly helped lay the foundation for the increased access of blacks to higher education, financial power, and understanding of the U.S. legal system led to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and adoption of important federal civil rights laws.
Mr. Washington is an example of one little boy of colour, born and raised of a single mother, who went on to change the world and make it a better place.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Happy Valentine's Day, Beloved.




This is my first hand @ making a video. Hope it came out ok.

Happy Birthday, Mummie

On this day on Black History month, 76 years ago today Maggie Lee Prude, youngest daughter of Callie and Pink Prude was born.
Finishing high school at age seven-teen, she went on to business school and has worked as an office account and later become a legal secretary for the Boston law firm Hill and Barrow.
As a young woman, mummie would change her name to Margaret and outside the family, few got away with calling her Maggie.
She had and raised two daughters, Elayne and Eileen. Both proved in her words to be: "a delight and a challenge."


Mummie was a mum to every child in whatever neighorhood we lived in, even to my cousin Renee who is still dear to her heart.
After my sister and I were on our own, mum recieved an offer to move to Virginia Beach and work at CBN. Later, she would go to work at it's TV station and retired as the Human Resource director.
During this time she served at her home church in many areas, including President of the Women's Group, teaching High School Sunday School and as a Missionary.
After retirement, Mummie would return to CNB as a Phone Counselor, first part-time and then full time, until her stroke ten years ago.
Still going strong, Mummie has had the joy of seeing both her girls marry the loves of their lives, see  five grandchildren and soon five great-grandchildren.
To this day, I still meet people who tell me how my mother touched their lives; encouraging to become doctors, lawyers and even servicemen and women, missioniares and teachers. I would hear about those she prayed for and how The Holy One answered her prayers. The delight she brings the staff of where she lives, the love her sons-in-law have for her, 


and the pure joy she brings to all who know her. Even retired ministers often call upon her for chats and to be uplifted.

What a blessing it is to still pick up the phone and hear her voice, to recieve her counsel and support. To laugh with her and even still be able to cry on her shoulder as I did when I was a child.


So happy birthday, Mummy. Thanks for being not only the greatest mum on earth, but just for the honour of being your eldesst daughter.
Blessed Are You, O L-rd, King of the World, Who Blesses us with such good gifts.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

It's Still Hard.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day.
I have so enjoyed looking upon the flowers Mark send, reading the little notes, hugging the little bear and enjoying the chocolate.
But it is just isn't the same without his being here.
This night has always been special. After a special meal and the exchanging of gifts, by the glow of candle light we would dance, remembering how Mark came to ask me to be his wife. Remembering the weeks that led up to the wedding and other events in our lives.
I would open the family Bible and look upon the rose he gave me the night Mark asked me to be his wife.
Now, I inhale the roses and hug the bear, waiting for my beloved to return to me.
It is part of being a military wife. Waiting.
It is still hard.
But having task at hand and having the love of Mark gets me through it.

This afternoon, I watched a Hebrew gentleman and his sons shopping (his kippah gave it away). He was was looking for just the right roses for his wife.
One of the sons asked why his abba was being so pickly, imma would love whatever she was given.
But the older boy pointed out to his younger brother: Imma loves yellow roses.
This father taught his sons well. By taking the time to find just the right coloured roses and making her favorite meal, he was teaching his boys how to love their wives. A good husband doesn't just provides and pays the bills; he knows the little things that makes her happy and willing to go out of his way to amke sure he finds that would delight her heart.
Even if it's yellow roses.
I couldn't help but smile, for I could see my Mark in this man, the same loving, caring, serving heart.
It is men that this man shopping for roses and my Mark that can make every day Valentine's Day.
Though to be honest, I wish Mark was here to give me the flowers himself.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Love From Afghanistan

Lialia Tov:
This morning I recieved a wondeful surprise; my beloved called.
I had spoken to him last night and to hear his voice first time this morning was a delight.
He asked: "have you got them yet?"
Got what?
It seems that my beloved send me special gifts for our special day. It was Valentine's Weekend that he asked me to be his wife.
And being the romantic he is, Mark didn't forget.
This arrived first, Happy Valentine's Day.
And then for our anniversary:


What was really touching was the woman who delievered the flowers and the gifts.
"I pray he gets to come home to you soon."
So do I.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

LoveFromIraq: Priceless#links

LoveFromIraq: Priceless#links

I often hear: I don't know how you do it. Simply: knowing my husband loves me, the Love and support of G-d, plus the building of a good support group, I take one moment at a time.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Ahavah

When two people sincerely love one another, the Holy One reigns between them. This is alluded to by the Hebrew word for love (i.e., ahavah, אהבה), the gematria of which is thirteen, but when shared with another it is multiplied: 13 x 2 = 26 - the same value for the Name of the LORD (יהוה).

Army Wive's Prayer

Army wives prayer Dear L-rd,



Give me the greatness of heart to see the difference between duty and his love for me. Give me understanding that I may know, when duty calls him he must go. Give me a task to do each day, to fill the time when he's away. And Lord, when he's in a foreign land, keep him safe in your loving hand. And Lord, when duty is in the field, please protect him and be his shield. And Lord, when deployment is so long, please stay with me and keep me strong. Amen.

Writing On The Palm of My Hand

Boker Tov;
It was an early morning for me. I awoke thinking about Mark this morning, wondering how he's doing. If he recieved the carepackage from the family in Montana yet. If it's still snowing in Afghanistan. Or just cold. It has been a few days since I'd spoken to him, and that included telling him about the death of someone we knew.

I also thought about Val and her family this morning. Today is Bill's funernal. And with the snow coming down as hard as it is, I won't be able to attend. I will keep Val and her family in my prayers.

I do have a confession to make: I write in the palm of my hand. I always have.
Since I was a child, I could be found drawing along the lines of my palms. Or praticing my spelling or math. Later, I would go on to make little notes to myself and even make list.
People thought me strange. Until it was learned that my former Pastor, Nate Atwood, one of the smartest men I know, also wrote in the palm of his hand.
Like the twisitng of our locks when studying Torah or chewing on a pencil when trying to figure out a math problem, we all have our little habits that get us through the day.
Like blogging.
There are those who think I am crackers to keep a blog, putting my inner most thoughts (for the most part) for all the world to see.
But then, since when did I care what people thought of me?

Shoshanna Johnson: American hero

I remember the afternoon the news broke: of the soldiers captured, wounded and killed. I well rmemeber Shoshanna, her strenght dispite the fear in her eyes (who wouldn't be) A woman I have great respect for and look forward to reading her book.


First Black Female Prisoner of War Tells Harrowing Tale



By Lynette Holloway on Feb 9th 2010 11:46AM










Filed under: Black History Month
Much like the powerful images of Tuskegee airmen in full regalia sidled next to their planes during World War II, the image of Shoshana Johnson being escorted to safety after her captivity in Iraq is indelibly imprinted in the minds of television viewers across the world.
It was especially poignant for African Americans, who saw it as a fleeting moment of vindication for a time when blacks in the military were not acknowledged for their service.
Now, years later, Johnson, a former U.S. Army cook has helped change history again for blacks in the military. She was thrust into the spotlight when, in the early days of the Iraq War, she was shot in both ankles as her convoy of mechanics, cooks and disabled vehicles wandered into the city of Nasiriyah, Johnson writes in her newly released memoir, 'I'm Still Standing: From Captive U. S. Soldier to Free Citizen--My Journey Home.'
The wandering convoy touched off a bloody battle that left 11 U.S. soldiers dead and six abducted and held as prisoners of war, including Johnson and her friend, Jessica Lynch, she writes in the gripping memoir released just in time for Black History Month.
"I was shaking,'' she writes. "I was saying the Lord's Prayer to myself...when someone grabbed my legs and pulled me from my shelter. And like that, I became a prisoner of war.''
She became the first female prisoner of war in Operation Iraqi Freedom and the first black female prisoner of war in U.S. history. But the Pentagon peddled Lynch's story, saying she went down fighting. Lynch later wrote a book correcting the story, saying she never fired a shot before being critically injured.
While Johnson's ordeal received less media attention, she was treated like a star on her home base at Fort Bliss, Texas. She was given light duties to allow her wounds to heal and was assigned by ranking officers and supervisors to represent the Army at high-profile events, which drew grumblings and rancor from some of her fellow soldiers.
"Being a POW was horrible, but some of the comments I received from fellow soldiers felt just as bad,'' she said in an interview with BV on Books. "I had a lot of support from the African American community, but it's like someone once said, 'Not every black person is your friend, and not every white person is your enemy. A black male was upset because I went to an Oscar De La Hoya fight. He was like, 'I was in the same Army and I didn't get to go.' I was like, 'did you get shot? We had totally different experiences. That hurt my heart. There was another white officer who accused me of housing fraud and said I wasn't living with my child.''
Johnson was rescued in April 2003, but by late August, she was severely depressed, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and at risk of endangering her relationship with her daughter. She requested a medical discharge.
"I wrote my story to set the record straight,'' she said in the interview. "There is so much out there that happened to me from people who were not there. I just wanted to tell my story and let it be known. I'm not naïve. There are people who will still say that is not what happened, but I know in my heart what is true.''
She is critical of the nation's military efforts in Iraq. "I never understood the politics of what's going into Iraq. I want my fellow soldiers to come home. It's not something I can watch on the news. It's very tender.''
Johnson said she still suffers from the aftereffects of combat. "It's going to be a long, hard road to get better,'' she said. "I take medication. It won't ease up as long as these conflicts are going on in the Middle East. I just have to get over the guilt of living when good people died. It's hard, but each day gets easier.''
'I'm Still Standing' is a riveting piece of black history that should be read for generations. It also is a compelling story of a woman's courage to survive against all odds.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

The Black Hebrews of Harlem


The Black Jews of Harlem are a minority ethnic group in New York who first appeared in the early 1900s. By 1930 there were at least four groups of Black Jews in Harlem. The most important of these groups was The Commandment Keepers Holy Church of the Living God. Commandment Keepers' founder, Rabbi Matthew, described the natural link between people of African descent and Judaism which he claimed extended from Abraham through King Solomon of Israel and Queen Sheba of Ethiopia who founded the line of kings who ruled Ethiopia. He affirmed that the “original” Jews were black people, or at least people of non-European descent who inhabited northeastern Africa and the Arabian peninsula. Yet, the Black Jews of Harlem were typically West Indian, East African, or South American in origin.
The specific origins of the Jewish faith among the blacks are obscure. Some observers trace it to West Africa where a number of ethnic groups have customs so similar to Judaism that an ancient connection may have been established. More recently Jewish slaveholders in the Carribbean may have influenced their bondspeople and in isolated situations such as intermarriage or conversions, thus introducing the faith to black West Indians. These Black Jews and their descendants gradually embraced the Orthodox religious and cultural traditions most Jews see as common practice today. By the 1930s Commandment Keepers observed all Jewish holidays, ate only kosher foods, performed bar mitzvahs and circumcisions, and separated men’s and women’s seats at the synagogue with a mechitza. Rabbi Matthew, who recognized that many Jewish traditions were European in origin, tried to incorporate African, Caribbean, and other American traditions into his community with little success.
The existence of the Black Jews of Harlem challenged prevailing ideas about race and religion during this period in which most observers considered blacks and Jews as separate racial categories. Moreover, although most Jews had historically described themselves as a race, by the 1930s, many of the descendants of the 19th Century immigrants from Europe were beginning to claim "white status" and thus refused to accept "black" Jews. White Jews in Harlem often argued that being a Jew had many social and economic challenges of its own without the perceived potential challenge of being associated with black people in a society which embraced white supremacy.
The Black Jews of Harlem were and continue to be a relatively small sect. They were typically poor, and maintained a very marginal status. Their existence consistently called into question the nature of Jewishness, as both white and black Jews defined the Black Jews groups differently, never finding consensus.

Sources:


Howard Brotz, The Black Jews of Harlem: Negro Nationalism and the Dilemmas of Negro Leadership (New York: The Free Press, 1964); Roberta S. Gold, “The Black Jew of Harlem: Representation, Identity, and Race,1920-1939,” American Quarterly 55: 2 (Jun. 2003). JSTOR. Retrieved 2009-03-8; Eric Herschthal, “Decline of A Black Synagogue,” The Jewish Week. (July 2007); http://joi.org/bloglinks/black%20synagogue%20Jewish%20Week.htm; Rabbi Sholomo Ben Levy, “The Black Jewish or Hebrew Israelite Community,” Jewish Virtual Library (The American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise: 2009), http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/blackjews.html

No Rain Yet

Boker Tov;
The promised rain hasn't come yet, so after my morning coffee, I am going for my morning walk.
One thing Montana did was get me moving again. The snow got to me. That one day walking in the snow made me realize how much I miss walking.
Since the snow cleared up here, I have been wearing my Montana hoodie (nice, big and roomie, great for walking) walking pants and sneakers and getting out.
Good thing too: I went to the doctors' yesterday and learned I gained five pounds!
To be honest, I did eat more fast food and richer foods in Montana than I'd use to and the lack of activity just didn't help.
My doctor told me no guilt: everyone gain two to five pounds during the winter months, my blood pressure is excellent and the stress on my face is gone. So, she's pleased.
So, with the coffee now brewed, I am off for my morning stretches and then walk.
And who knows, I might even find something worth taking a picture of.
Cheers.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Chilly Evening

It's chilly this evening.
We are to recieve more rain tomorrow and maybe more snow by the end of the week.
I just had a hotdog for supper this evening, not really feeling like I want to eat.
Just waiting for Mark to call.
He says they have indeed recived several inches of snow. We have been praying for it and he got it. The snow is needed for it is a major water supple as well as slows down the Taliban.
We do get to speak about three or four times a week unless he is in the field, checking on the various projects he has going. It is a relief to know that he is well guarded out there as well. Both by fellow soldiers and prayer.
I do believe G-d has His angels around Mark. No, not just Mark. But the Torah makes its clear that G-d does indeed sends His angels and gives them charge over His children.
And what if something happens to Mark? Did G-d blink? Did an angel fall asleep?
No, it was his time.
And knowing our lives are in His care gives me peace.

Going to bed early, with the phone beside me and the book I am reading right now, Amish Peace.. A very good book.
And you don't have to be Amish to partake of the wisdom here.
Evening all.

Don't Know What You've Got Til it's Gone.

It has been a bettersweet two weeks
The day before I came home from Montana, I learned of the passing of a dear friend, a woman who was very much a mum to all who knew her. Nairia had the same stroke my mum had over the summer and never really recovered.
I can still see her beautiful smile, her telling me she was praying for a husband for me and her dancing at our wedding. I remember how we were asked to help with her daughter's wedding. Our singing in the choir and those wondeful rolls she would always bring me.
Sometime, this pass friday, there was another death. I knew his wife better than he, but still it was a shock to us all.
I just read a tribute about what Val wrote about Bill; coming downstairs and seeing his flannel shirt over the chair ans thinking he was still there. Missing the scent of his brewed coffee....those little things.
I have those same moments in our home.
But G-d willing, my husband is coming to me.
Val will soon lay her beloved to rest.
I feel odd complaining about missing my beloved when another woman who just began a widow.
How we take the people in our lives for granted.
I called my mum today and told her I loved her, aware that there are four friends who can't do no longer.
I await Mark's call so I can hear him say "I love you," knowing another woman won't hear those words again this side of heaven.
May we each take a moment to emabrace those we love; for none of us knows what tomorrow will bring.
And to each of you who read this blog, who have deed me the honour of being a friend, I love you and thank you for the gift of your friendship.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Pizza, Coke and Star Trek the Next Gen


Lilai Tov;
Well I hope I shall be forgiven by my football loivng friends.
I will not be watching Super Ball 44 this evening.
I hate football.
Yes, I have gone to SuperBall parties in the past; I just like the food, fun and friends.
But since I hadn't been invited to a party this evening, it is Coke, pizza Star Trek the Next Gen and maybe a movie thrown in for good measure.
I know it is one of the great amercia past times. And I am letting it past by.
So have fun everyone; I hope your team wins and remember; it's just a game.
Until we chat again.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

More Snow.


Lilai Tov;
This quiet Shabbat was and still is covered with snow.
I would guess about three incehs. Not enough to for a snow ball fight or and a snow man, but enough to blanket the city.
Which is fine because it was Shabbat and it just added another layer of silence.
It is chilly in the house so I am making coffee.
I happen to be one of those folks who can have coffee in the evening and it doesn't keep me awake. In fact, it helps to relax me.
Right now I am reading a book called Amish Peace.
And you don't have to be Amish to enjoy the book.
It speaks of that simple life that the Amish enjoy and how we can add some of it to our lives.
I see so much of my own life nad upbringing in the book: I can see areas in my life now. It isn't an easy life, but indeed worth it.
There is much to be said about slowing down, not spending beyond our needs, using what we have, not be wasteful
Might not be a bad idea to send our national leaders to live amoung the Amish for a few weeks.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Diary of A Angry Black Woman

Boker Tov:
While visiting my mum over the holidays, we watched Diary of an Angry Black Woman.
Now I have to confess, I had avoided the film because I feared the sterotypes that go along with so many black films.
But I was in for a huge surprise.
First Tyler Perry is a stitch as both grandmother Madea and the loving, suppotive cousin. It is a movie full of anger, laugher, tears, joy, the power of forgivness and hope.
The plot: Helen McCarter ( played byKimberly Elise) and Charles McCarter ( played by Steve Harris) had it all: money, success and a fine home. Helen wants to belive her life is perfect and fears at times, Charles doesn't love her. In public they seemed to tperfect, but it was all far from perfect behind closed doors. Helen is unemployed, having given up her family and friends for her hsuband, who strays, having multiple affairs.
 On their 18th wedding anniversary, Helen wakes up to find all of her belongings packed in a U-Haul truck with Charles kicking her out of the house in the presence of his young mistress - and mother of his two children - Brenda  played by (Lisa Marcos).
 An emotionally destroyed and penniless Helen turns to her sassy and loud grandmother Madea (Tyler Perry,( Which is Helen's mother mother, who Charles had placed in a Nursing Home). Madea takes her in and helps her get back on her feet. Brian (Tyler Perry),] Madea's nephew, acts as Madea and Helen's attorney at court after the two women were caught by Charles and Brenda for breaking into the mansion and vandalizing some of his and Brenda's belongings. (Madea rammed her car into the security gate of Charles' home, cut some of the furniture in half with a chainsaw and the two of them were ripping Brenda's clothes). He also acts as Helen's attorney for her in divorce court and during the court session. It is during this time that Helen begins to grow as a person, releasing her anger and even falling in love with the very man who moved her out of her home. Now able to stand on her own two feet, Helen decides to let Charles keep all the money and property provided he pays Brian's attorney fees and for her mother's ( Madea's daughter) stay in the nursing home (which he forced Helen to put her mother in during their marriage) which Charles happily agrees to do since Helen wants nothing else.
But you can't do folks dirty and get away with it.
Due to Madea being a repeat offender, Judge Mablean Ephriam places her under house arrest and set a $5,000 bond for Helen. Brian himself had some marital problems at home with his wife's (Debrah)(Tamara Taylor)  drug habits and addiction and kicks her out of the house after the last straw. Helen soon learns to grow through her pain, and is ready to move on from Charles and give love another chance with Orlando (Shemar Moore). Meanwhile, Charles is coerced by Jamison Milton Jackson (Gary Anthony Sturgisto) to be his attorney and possibly bribe the judge in his favor for his upcoming trial for shooting an undercover cop during a drug deal

Charles ends up losing the case when the jurors find Jamison guilty at the trial. As a disgruntled Jamison is being led out of the courtroom by the bailiff, he takes the bailiff's gun and ends up shooting Charles. Once Helen finds out about Charles on the news, she races over to the hospital with Brian (the two run into Brenda) and the doctor informs them that Charles was shot in the spine and could be paralyzed for life. Since Helen still was legally married to Charles, she was able to have Charles resuscitated, while Brenda couldn't (as the fiancee) and wanted the opposite.
After several torture tactics, Helen ends up tending to Charles as he recovered and as it turned out, she was the only one there for him. Brenda left him since she didn't want to take care of him and only wanted his money along with their maid Christina (after Brenda took all of Charles' money and had left none to pay her) and Charles' friends abandoned him. Helen at first bursts into rage and gets even with Charles, but then she ends up forgiving him and moving on. Charles ends up changing for the better, apologizing to Helen and realizing the error of his ways. Despite the doctor's prediction, he ends up being able to walk again (with a cane) after many visits in physical therapy. At church, while everyone witnesses Charles walk for the first time (with his cane), along with a newly clean and sober Deborah fresh from rehab. During a family dinner, Helen gives Charles the signed divorce papers, leaves the table to go to Orlando and finally gets her man in the end.
As long as Helen remained angry, the only person she hurt was herself. Unforgivness is what hardens the heart and keeps us imprisoned. Forgivness isn't just for the person's sake, but our own. It isn't just time that heals, but love.
Tyler Perry's movie was about love, forgivness and hope, the need of family love and support.. And yes, because he is a believer, faith.
Keep writing Tyler.

Boy, Did I Get letters :)


Boker Tov;
Well yesterday's entry hit a nerve.
A few folks left notes on my commnets, iniforming I was was wrong about the tea bagger slur, while others, who while didn't leave comments (I understand why) wrote me and told me I was quite correct.
Which gives me a giggle.
But the matter point about the entry wasn't about tea bags, but about someone I call friend. Someone who likes me, not because of who I am, but inspite of who I am. There are people who I have shared the faith, valves and if there is a disagreement, they have dropped me by The Biggest Loser drops pounds.
But a few days ago, Beth wrote me and there was something in her letter that gave me pause.
"Isn't blogging suppose to be fun?"
That's why I'd dropped a few myself. I find myself tired and stressed out from reading several and one just made me downright depress. And with Mark away, I don't need help. That's the purpose of LoveFromIraq blog, to get those feelings out.
So thanks for the letters; they were interesting to be sure.
And I shall work on getting the 'fun' bck into this blog.
But you are going to get history lessons this month: no getting around that.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

A Tea Bagger?

Shalom:
I just read an interesting entry on my friend Beth's blog.
Somehow this dear lady remains friends with me and I rather like her.
Yes, we have different views on many subjects. She supports Mr. Obama. I think he's the worst president since Mr. Carter. I love Sarah Palin and the very name makes Beth ill.
And yet, we can read each other's blogs, leave comments and remain friends.
That's how adults act; on the those things they agree, cool. On those things they don't, they agree to disagree.
My only suggestion is dropping the word "tea bagger." A cousin of my told me that the phrase is in England a vile slur concerning someone who is gay. Liken to the N-word or when the Romans and Nazis used Jew as the word for dog.
Not very nice.
I love you Beth, you do keep me on my toes.

A Jew With A View: Snow in Virginia

A Jew With A View: Snow in Virginia

As I stated in an earlier Blog, we got hit with a snow storm  over the weekend. So, I came home to over eight inches of snow and most of Norfolk and the surrounding cites shut down. No school for three days. So I pulled out the lamb stew I froze just before I left and slept in for a few days.
But as of today, most of the white stuff is gone the sun is once again shining.

Black History is Our History

Boker Tov:
I still remember the first time I celebrated Black History. I was in the sixth grade and it was Black History week. Up until this time I went to mostly white schools and black history wasn't taught there. It was only in the black and inner cities schools at the time.
Thankful, things have changed.
Up until then,  I didn't have a clear picture of how we as a people got here or what part we played in the building of America.
But then in sixth grade, that changed. I learned about Africa, slavery, and how we truly part of this country. I remember one teacher asking us to ask question of our families, because there is where much of the story laid.
I didn't learn a lot. It wasn't until I began researching my own family tree that I could get a better picture of the tapestry.
But I did learn that my grandfathers and uncles fought in the Spanish-American war, World Wars I and II, cousins who fought in Nam and later the Gulf war. That my great-grandfathers were farmers and that is where we get our green thumbs from.
My great-grandmother was a needleworker. A skill she passed onto my grandmother and she to her daughters. Mummie could sew, but didn't like to. But she would help me in my home ed classes. Aunt Lucille had three boys, but made my sister and my Sabbath dresses. And today, the worst sewing student in the whole school (me) is now a needleworker.
My sixth grade teacher was right: how often we look for heroes amoung the massives-Martin Luther King, George Washington Carver, etc., when they are really right there in the circle of our family.

Adjustments

A nearby park: yes, we had real snow in Virginia.
Boker Tov:

I arrived home from Montana Sunday evening after a long day of traveling. It has taken a few days to get caught up on my rest (nothing like sleeping in your own bed) and unpack. But I am still not adjusted to life back here in Norfolk.
Not don't get me wrong, I love my home, my neighorhood.
But I am use to looking out of the window and seeing mountains, not a redbrick buiding. I am use to seeing few cars on the road and not hearing traffic sounds. A night sky so crisp and clear you can touch the moon.  I miss the wolves, the dogs and chasing Maytag the cat out of my slippers.
It is an adjustment to being alone once again.
But I'll get there.