Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Rainbow Ride

Jewish tradition teaches that we should try to say 100 blessings every day. 

Sadly, today my work day started with this one:
Baruch ata Ado-nai Elo-heinu melech ha'olam, dyan ha-emet.
Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Sovereign of time and space, the true Judge.
Thankfully, it ended with this one:
Baruch ata Ado-nai Elo-heinu melech ha'olam, zocher ha'brit v'ne'eman bivrito v'kayam b'ma'amaro.
We praise You, Eternal God, Sovereign of the universe, who remembers, is faithful to, and fulfills Your covenant with and promise to creation.
What a rollercoaster day…sort of like riding the arc of a rainbow!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It’s That Time of Year Again

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last three weeks, you’re probably aware that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  By coincidence, it’s also the month in which my own mammogram appointment always falls.  Shortly after last year’s test, I wrote this short piece about my experience.

This year’s appointment is set for tomorrow morning, and, needless to say, things are a bit different for me now.  In addition to the usual mammogram, I’m also scheduled for a sonogram and an ultrasound.  Of course, I’m thankful for the technology that makes these tests possible, but I'm certainly no Pollyanna when it comes to this disease, even when a mammogram detects it early.

Nonetheless, if you’re between 35 and 40 and have never had a mammogram, schedule one today.  If you’re over 40 and it’s been more than a year since your last one, do the same thing.  Do not delay, do not pass go, and do not collect $200.  You owe it to yourself and the people you love.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Letter to My Blog

Dear Blog,

I know you probably think I’ve abandoned you, but, of course, that’s not the case.  And, I know, too, that it’s no excuse that life is, once again, getting in the way of my keeping in touch with you, but truly, that’s the story.

The semester’s back in full swing and I’ve been busy reading an over-the-top amount of material for class each week and, for the last few days, researching and writing the first paper, which is due in about 10 days.  (Thankfully, I picked an extremely timely topic related to the gubernatorial election and there's plenty of useful, easily accessible material available right from my laptop.  Citing the sources, however, is still as time consuming as ever.)  Factor in that a colleague’s been on vacation for the last two weeks, and that I’m trying to sort through a bunch of medical “stuff” related to recently having tested positive for the BRCA2 genetic mutation (increasing my lifetime risk of breast and ovarian cancer) and you’ll understand—I hope—why I’ve been somewhat out of touch. 

Although it’s fairly mundane, I can tell you that yesterday morning I used the MTA’s new Select Bus Service on the M15 for the first time.  Much to my amazement, I went from 34th and First all the way up to 79th and First in a matter of 15 minutes.  On Third Avenue, that same trip can take double or even triple the time, even on a Saturday morning, so I was pleasantly surprised to be able to duck into Starbucks for a tall iced green tea before the Shabbat minyan at Shaaray Tefila.  The sense of community during the service seemed especially evident yesterday, and the discussion of Lech L’cha that followed the service could have gone on for hours.  This parasha—Ma’s favorite—is so jam packed with material relevant to our own time, it could take weeks to unpack it fully.  Next week, though, we'll move on to Vayeira.

In any event, except for class on Tuesday night and the twice-yearly memorial service at Haven Hospice on Thursday night, this week promises to be a bit calmer than the last few.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to be in touch again soon so we can catch up.  In the meantime, please know that I think of you often and miss you lots.  Take care of yourself and I'll see you soon!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

How Little Things Have Changed…

Perusing the weekly Shabbat handout before the start of yesterday’s minyan at my congregation, I noticed the list of people whose memorial lamps had been lit in the sanctuary the night before.  As a still fairly new member in a synagogue of almost 1600 families, I was not familiar with most of the names.  I was, however, familiar with this one:  Leon Klinghoffer.

You remember him, too, I’m sure.  Wheelchair-bound following a series of strokes, he and his wife Marilyn cruised on the ill-fated Achille Lauro in 1985 to celebrate their 36th wedding anniversary.  While in the Mediterranean, the ship was hijacked by four members of the Palestine Liberation Front, and Klinghoffer was shot and his body thrown overboard.  Last year, Youssef Magied Al-Molqui, the terrorist convicted in the hijacking and shooting of Klinghoffer was released early from a Sicilian prison, having served 23 years of a 30-year sentence.

Ironically, this news item appears in today’s online edition of the New York Times. How little, it seems, things have changed in 25 years…