23 March, 2011


The murders in Itamar have been haunting me. It is a personal nightmare for me, the possibility that I could go to sleep in my supposedly safe home only to be attacked in the middle of the night. To know that there are people out there who would actually murder children, not just children, but sleeping infants. To have it reaffirmed that my children's innocence is no protection for them. I can't understand this, I cannot, how any human being could take a child and end them. These people have lost their humanity, and that is truly a tragedy, for they are not animals, no, animals do not kill in order to bring suffering. These individuals have given up their humanity to become monsters. There is absolutely no justification for this, none. In our modern age murder has become distant; our terrible weapons of war allow us to kill from a distance, to never connect with our victims, to preserve what little bits of our soul is left after knowing that we have murdered another, for whatever reason, with the blood on our hearts, but not on our hands. To kill in this way, so intimately, with one's own hand, that takes a soul that has been utterly scarred and sealed. I don't know what will happen to these people, but I don't think there is anything that anyone can do to redeem them in this lifetime. It is tearing me apart, those poor children, that loss. The pain of the surviving children. It's just so hard.

Then added to this is the silence of the media. I search for reports of Itamar, and what pops up? So far only Jewish news broadcasts and Glen Beck. Really? Written coverage is limited and tries desperately to downplay exactly what happened. In contrast, there are full reports on how Israel wants to expand settlements after “the murder of 5 people in nearby Itamar.” Oh, the word choices. For shame, those word choices, to distance the audience from what happened. Compare that with the reaction if it had been instead “the murder of 5 family members in nearby Itamar.” To really drive the point home, imagine if US news reported “the murder of two parents and three young children in their beds”. No, instead they are faceless, identity-less, no connection, just statistics, just some bodies, “5 people in nearby Itamar.”

I understand why they have chosen these words, to report the facts without stirring up bias, to leave intact the compassion for Palestinians. You think I don't have compassion for these people? What turmoil it must be, to live in a country that is not a country, to have opposing violent forces constantly speaking for you and in your name, to not know if your home will stay your home, your government your government, when or if there will be peace in your lifetime. What they live through is terrible, and I can only hope that this whole mess gets resolved soon. But to 'protect' them by downplaying this murder? That doesn't help anyone. What happened should never have happened, and any populace should be called on to root out such sickness from among them, that they do not become poisoned. For truly, how does this reflect back onto the Palestinian people, the majority of whom, I believe, just want peace? What these monsters did only hurts their cause, and for the rest of the world to hide it only gives impetus for more attacks, more of this. Do we wait for all of Palestine to be condemned through an atrocity too big to ignore, or do we work to find some measure of justice now?

I don't know. This whole thing is just so awful. That one of us could do this to another; the whole world should be weeping.

13 March, 2011

global conspiracy?

With all the natural disasters happening in the past few months, I have noticed an interesting similarity: in all of them, agricultural areas were hit hard. The ice storms that hit the US went through our main agricultural centers, the Midwest and the South, as well as slamming the Northeast. The torrential rains and hurricane that hit Australia wiped out their agriculture as well, although they were quite realistic about just how bad this looks for Australia's food security this year, while the US was not. Now this massive earthquake and tsunami has hit Japan's northeast, a rural, agricultural area of the country. I think it's a far-fetched idea that there is a connection, but it is eerily consistent that the industry with the highest fuel inputs, the food industry, is being hit the hardest.
What it does mean is that we have even more of a catalyst for encouraging and supporting not only local food but home-grown food, as well as food preservation, as these disasters are clearly demonstrating that our food supply is not safe, it is as vulnerable as it ever was, even more so now that we as a nation do not truly understand our own food, and to rely on it completely is folly. So now the question for me is, how can I help my neighborhood become more self-sufficient when it comes to food supply? I think removing the HOA poultry ban would be a good first step ;) Adding in a provision for goats would be great too, but maybe I can organize a planting day; a neighborhood plant-in. It would be awesome!


09 March, 2011

the politics of it all

I've been paying attention to the goings-on in Wisconsin and the repercussions around the country, and several things have come to my attention.
First, we are in a time of incredible political upheaval; with all the riots and overthrows going on worldwide,with the domino effect of political destabilization occurring in Africa and the Middle East, we should be thankful and, I think, somewhat confused as to why, that is not happening here.
Second, we need to grow up. All this came into sharp focus for me when an acquaintance of mine reposted a link calling what the Wisconsin democratic senators are doing “a temper tantrum”. I posted in response that I disagreed, and gave a brief rundown of why, as I figured he simply didn't have the whole picture of what is going on. Less than a week later, he posts a link about the arrest warrants going out and this time he himself calls their actions a temper tantrum.
I was honestly angry, and it took me a bit to figure out why. It isn't because we are on opposite sides of this issue, it is because of the words he used: belittling, disrespectful, and polarizing. I realise we have had a lot of polarizing in our country, and it does not seem to be slowing down. Both sides are defensive and offensive, refusing to 'back down' or 'give in'. The problem is that we have lost sight of an important fact: these people represent us. All of us. They all represent the same people: the American people. The reason for the mass amnesia regarding this can, I believe, be summed up quite simply: we have lost respect.
This is easy to see on an individual level; when a society is so fragmented that any type of authority (parents, police, etc) are seen as the enemy, rather than people from whom we can learn and who protect and guide us, we lose our anchors. We lose our connections, and our ability to see ourselves in each other. When we can no longer relate to one another respect falls away. It is this lack of respect that dissolves honest political debate into mudslinging campaigns, where anyone who disagrees or stands up for their beliefs can be mocked and ridiculed, and have this belittling language taken and spread by people whose only contribution or involvement seems to be participating in 'winning' this pointless game.
For that is what politics currently seem to be: a game. For all that each 'side' is fighting to keep the other 'side' from getting anything done, we are all losing. When the poor and the needy in our country are denigrated and abused, we all lose. When any segment of our population can be pushed aside and branded as the enemy, we all lose. For then we are not healing our body public; for a tourniquet does not heal the wound, and amputation leaves us forever scarred. In both, the gangrene sets in and soon we are all feeling the sickness and decay, however much we can pretend we are not all part of the same societal organism.
We should be working together, to heal what is clearly a weak and sickened system. The first step toward that healing, I believe, is to regain and reestablish respect. Respect does not mean liking each other; it does mean setting aside personal feelings when they are irrelevant. To respect does not mean to unthinkingly agree; in fact it's even fun to say: “I see, and I respectfully disagree.” Respect does mean listening to each other, fully examining the issue at hand, and working together to come to a workable solution. Respect means keeping the insults out of the public discourse, and remembering that these people are elected by us, for us, and we must work through them and with them, and with each other, to continue this country.
So please, do not cheapen debate by relying on insulting and fearful language to sway those around you to join 'your side'. Rely on the truth, on insightful, honest discussion, and on your regard for your fellow person to reclaim your role as a citizen and a loving member of a vast, vast family. We need each other; I would that we all regain sight of that.

08 March, 2011


Asher wore his tzitzit for the first time to shul on Shabbat, at his request. It was awesome. I made him a tallit katan and we tied the tzitzit earlier in the week, so they would be ready for him. He was so excited! We said the blessing, he put them on, and was very proud of himself all day.
I have another set waiting; I am debating trimming (before or after) since I did have to cut off quite a bit. We'll see; since it isn't daily for him yet I have time to figure it out.

07 March, 2011

even more direction

I have been in a bit of a tizzy since Wednesday night. Every Wednesday I go to a women's Torah study at the local Chabad; it's been a very nice time, a time for me to slow down and breathe midweek, interact, really think and listen carefully.
I've been working on just listening, as I have a tendency to dominate a conversation once I get going, and I think that connecting with and really getting to know other people through their own words and perspectives is something I should be doing, rather than just spouting off what I think/know. I have met some really wonderful ladies through this class, each week a slightly different grouping, depending on who can come. This past week one of the ladies was discussing her son's upcoming Bar Mitzvah, and their farm, and somehow (I have no idea; there goes my mouth again) I wound up saying flippantly that I dream of living on a communal farm, but that's sometime in the future. Now, I don't know why I said this; I think it was only tangentially
connected to the subject at hand (if at all), but in this case their was a reason.
See, she and her husband own a farm, a nice-sized one, and after my remark she turned to me in all serious and started “well, actually...”. They have the permits in hand to build just such a community, and have just been waiting for the right time to get started.

Now, I do believe in fate. I do believe in and try to have G-d guide me in my life. People kept asking me, why are you moving to Portland? I couldn't really answer except to say that I love Portland. I do, even though I hadn't been here in over 15 years, but I do very much love this area,and have felt drawn here since that brief visit. When we couldn't find a place in the Jewish area of Portland we wound up 'settling' on our current place, which is nice, walking distance to everything we need, etc. Milt wound up getting hired an hour away from here, and has been unable to find a new position anywhere closer. Here's the thing; by coming here we became involved in the local Chabad, and that is where I met this lovely woman. Milt's job, while far from here, in only 30 minutes (tops) from their farm. Everything is coming together, faster and faster and faster, more clearly each step we take, that it is hard for me to not get giddily excited despite the fact that hey, this might not happen.

We are currently in the position that this can happen, at least for us, and frankly if we can get it going right it WILL happen. I am thrilled. Beyond thrilled. I can't stop thinking about it. We are visiting the farm within the next 5 days, and we will go from there. Wow.


02 March, 2011

etsy feature

Last night I received a message from the etsylawst blog asking to feature my etsy shop. I panicked a bit. The timing was amazing as I had just refocused as well as spending almost 2 hours on the phone with Yohki during which we discussed, among other things, marketing my shop. I was not ready, but close. However, these things don't wait for me to be ready, especially when I've thrown away my prep time, so I said yes and got to work.
I made a blog for the shop, a banner for the blog and an avatar for my shop, both of which I will be posting tonight when I go to the library before Torah study, and have been figuring out what to do next. Well, the feature is already up, so I am racing against time here, but I am very very thankful for the publicity. At least now I'll be better prepared, yes?


01 March, 2011


I've been in a bit of a mental muddle lately, I believe I lost my way for a bit, my focus. Thing is, I hadn't really acknowledged what my focus should be, what my overarching purpose seems to be, and so distraction added to distraction and soon I was wandering in daydreams. I got a wake-up call last night, well, actually a second one. The first was a reminder of what I am and what I should be doing, and really lifted my spirits, but it wasn't quite enough, evidently, since the second was a warning as to what would come about from spending my life in my head. 2am is as good a time as any for a reevaluation, and since I had no one physical to talk to I got to have a bit of a conversation with myself and the One Upstairs. So here I am, refocused and I am going to try to get to where I need to be. Another help was the (coincidental?) mention of another blog by a fellow I respect very much, so influences and directions are coming thick and fast. ( Sometimes I do need very very clear directions handed to me, clearly!) The point is I am going to stop compartmentalising, since I am very much a web-of-connections thinker, and I'm going to get back on track.my track. Hopefully I'll also be clearer in sharing this, since that is part of my 'track' as well.
obtuse? I often am, Things may get clearer, or not, but I needed to write this and get on with things.