Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Blogging Elul

Today is the first of Elul, the beginning of the month that precedes the High Holy Days.  Traditionally it is a time of introspection, reflection, preparation, and, for some, a prompt to blog daily or nearly so.

You can check out some of these daily blogs here and here.   And, don’t forget The Jewels of Elul, which isn’t a blog, but does provide lots of food for thought during this special time of year.

Me?  No, I’ve got quite enough on my plate at the moment, thanks.  If I were to blog Elul, though, I’d definitely rerun this post from 2008 whose lesson is as timely today as it was back then.

Good luck to the Elul bloggers out there and happy reading to the rest of us!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Winning Combination: People, Blessings and Pleasures

Three years ago today, three friends and I spent the day at Coney Island.  I remember the exact date because while we waited in line to order Nathan’s famous hot dogs, we sang “Happy Birthday” to David Berkman over the phone.

Although a lot has changed for me (and for Berkman) in the years since that Coney Island adventure, many things—the important things—remain the same.  I still try to acknowledge and appreciate the many people, blessings and pleasures in my life.  Today these include:
Angela, the visiting nurse who’s already been and gone this morning, leaving me with a well cleaned and dressed wound, as well as reassurance that with time it will heal.

Maryellen, one of the many terrific nurses in the plastic surgeon’s office, who tells me the same thing, answers my endless questions, and wonders why I don’t just move in to the office there at 53rd and Third.

Aunt Claire, who’s headed into New York City for an impromptu visit this afternoon.

My many Facebook friends who, with comments and messages continue to boost my spirits, make me laugh and help my healing.

Countless others who have sent food, flowers and treats, and who continue to accompany me to doctors’ appointments, call, check in, and stop by to visit.

The Dunkin’ Donuts on the southwest corner of 33rd and Second, where many of my recent outings have ended with a medium iced coconut coffee with a lot of milk.  Of course it’s not chicken soup, but it too cures what ails you.
With this incredible team in my corner, I look forward to additional healing in the weeks ahead and to enjoying continued blessings and simple pleasures together with the people in my life.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Facebook: Promoting Connections One Friend at a Time

Rabbi Michael Melchior
I know this will come as a shock to many of you, but this post isn’t about genetic mutations, surgery, recovery, or, indeed, anything medical.  No, it’s about one of my other favorite topics:  Facebook…and the way it promotes connection and community.  Here’s the latest…

Back in early July, distracted and looking for an easy escape from everything on my plate at the moment, I absently began scrolling through my “People You May Know” list on Facebook.  In fact, through my work I was familiar with many of the names and faces, but because I’m a “ghostwriter,” most of these folks don’t know me from Adam, and so I just kept on scrolling.

Until I got to Michael Melchior.  I clicked on “Add Friend” and quickly added this note:
Although we have never met personally, I've heard you speak on several occasions. Most impressive.  Shavua tov
In fact, here's what I wrote in my travel journal after hearing Rabbi Melchior speak in Jerusalem during my first visit there in January of 2004:
A quick check-in at the David Citadel Hotel, a change of clothes, a bite to eat in the hotel restaurant and we were off again to hear from MK Michael Melchior.  A Reform Jew trapped in the body of an Orthodox man, he is progressive, passionate and quite the visionary.  Politics aside, he champions the cause of organ donation, explaining that if God can resurrect the dead, surely God can replace an eye or a kidney then. 
Almost immediately, Rabbi Melchior accepted my friend request and just yesterday, sent this follow-up message:
Dear Jane,

Thank you for writing to me, and I'm glad that you have enjoyed some of my talks. Please stay in touch, it's best to reach me at the following email address:

Best regards,
Rabbi Michael Melchior
Thanks, Rabbi Melchior, for your visionary leadership and your accessibility.  And thanks again, Facebook, for making these connections possible.