Friday, June 27, 2014

Small, Small Jewish World

This afternoon I spent time wandering leisurely through the Mel Bochner: Strong Language exhibit at The Jewish Museum. Bochner's word art spoke to me.  The bright colors, the straight lines the perfectly painted letters, the messy lines, the slanted, paint-dripping-from-them letters, the Yiddishisms, the blah, blah, blah, blah, blahs...I loved each piece more than the one before it.

On my way out, I stopped to browse in the small gift shop, where I couldn't help overhearing this conversation among three Canadians who previously had discovered their shared nationality:  an older couple from Montreal and the young Torontonian saleswoman who was helping them:
Couple:  "How do you like living in New York?"
Saleswoman:  "I love it!"
Couple:  "Do you know Holy Blossom Temple?"
Saleswoman:  "Yes."
Couple:  "Is Elyse Goldstein still the rabbi there?"
Saleswoman: "No, I don't think so.  It's Yael Splansky now, I think."
As I walked past them on my way out, I considered chiming in to tell her that she was correct, but it didn't seem worth the effort.  I'm neither a Torontonian nor a Montrealer, and, heck, I'm not even Canadian.  There would just be too much explaining to do.  Instead, I walked out of the shop and out of the building.

Small, small Jewish world.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Where's JanetheWriter?

Today, I'm blogging over here, where I've put myself "out there" in an intensely personal way.  I'm a tad nervous about what may get posted in the comments section of the piece, but hopeful, too, that people will be respectful of the tough choices faced by those of us affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) -- and the decisions we make to preserve our health and save our own lives.

As I always say, if the post raises awareness about BRCA mutations in even one family where they weren't considered before, my "out-there-ness" will have been worth the effort.  For more information about these genetic defects, visit the FORCE website or be in touch with me directly.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Divine Wink

Last Thursday, I received an email from a colleague/friend, the subject line of which said, "I'm sweet talking you..."

The message itself said this:
I was just asked to speak at Rabbi Ploni's good-bye Shabbat tomorrow night.  I’d love to have a letter from the president with me.  Is this at all possible? If I knew the date earlier, I would have asked. Thanks for considering it, Your friend
After a bit of back and forth about some details for the content of the letter, I was able to get it written and arrange to have the final version sent to her the next day, when I'd be out of the office.  She was grateful and our conversation continued:
My friend:  Jane, thank you so much! Enjoy your day off tomorrow.
Me:  Thanks.  It’s my mom’s yahrzeit…and I’ve got lots of odds and ends to do around the house.  Not a great day, but a vacation day, nonetheless.
My friend:  I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow.  Yahrzeits are a tough, sometimes lonely affair.
Me:  Thanks…it’s been a tough few weeks, and I will be glad when the actual day is past…until next year.
And then on Monday, how touched I was to receive this message from my friend:
How was the weekend (especially Friday)?
Me:  It was surprisingly lovely.  I had an unexpected visit from a friend who was in town from Florida for 36 hours and because I was home with not much on the agenda, she and the friend she was traveling with were able to come and hang out for a few hours.  Ironically, the last time I saw her was during shiva for my mom when she also was in town for a wedding.  Bashert!  Thanks for checking in…hope you had a good weekend!
My friend:  Jane, I am happy to hear this!  What a nice divine wink.
I love the idea that God can wink at us...and that God winked at me last week. Thanks, God.

I'll be looking for Your next one, and I hope I catch it when it happens.