Me First!

New Year, new attitude. Let’s see if we can do this.

I need to start putting myself on my priority list. I need to do things to take care of ME so that I can take care of others. I need to stop allowing what other people think or say to influence or affect me negatively. I need to stop caring about what the neighbours will say, and concentrate fully on the family I love so much.

I want to live a real life. A life based on who I am, and the people with whom I share my life. A life of truth and of respect. Of passion and compassion. A life both spiritual and practical. A life that encompasses all of the world’s gifts – and embraces individual differences.

I want to start living my own personal truth so that my children can learn there is no shame in being themselves, no need to apologize for being individuals. Not that my own personal truth is something huge. It isn’t. But I need to stop doing things because others expect it, and do the things that make sense to me.

I don’t want to get to 120 and wonder where on earth I dropped my sense of self.

What are you working on this year? How much time / effort do you spend worried about what other’s think of you?

Abuse in the Yeshiva System

This story Surviving Bais Mikroh happened in a yeshiva in Monsey, where I live. I personally cannot vouch for the veracity of this story, but having heard many similar stories about this and other yeshivot – nothing in it surprised me. None of my children attend or have attended Bais Mikroh.

When my children were younger it was brought to my attention that one of the Kindergarden rebbeim was hitting the kids at the yeshiva my boys attended. One of my kids had made an offhand remark “Chaim Yankel didn’t sing the tune right so Rebbe hit him, and then he cried, and then the bell rang for recess….”

I stopped him, and asked if Rebbe often hit the kids. He told me yes, that’s what happens in big boy school. I was floored. I tried to explain to my 6 year old that NO REBBE has the right to hit a child – and he hit these kids across the face!!

I knew what I had to do, and I suffered for doing the right thing. I called the school social worker, letting him know what was going on, and telling him I was headed up to the school to take them to task. The social worker did not work for the school, but answered to a local agency. Getting them involved was paramount – if it had been just me, one parent, lodging a complaint at the school, the problem would have been swept under the rug.

Oh did I forget to tell you? NONE of the other parents in the class, including the parents of the boys that had been hit, were willing to stand with me. No one was willing to stand up for their kids. My kid had not been hit, and I was willing to stand up. I was disgusted. I had parents calling me, thanking me for doing this, because their kid had been hit too – but when I asked to put their name forward, for them to make a phonecall to the social worker, they refused.

I spoke with the principal and the social worker at length. I was not willing to be brushed off. Soon after I received threatening phonecalls, that I need to stop my personal vendetta (!!) against the rebbe and drop my complaint. He has mouths to feed, responsibilities – how dare I try to take that away from him?

How dare he hit our kids? How dare they blame ME for complaining?

“We’ll chase you out of town, your name will be mud here” – if it saves one kid, it would have been worth it. They were full of BS anyway – push came to shove they had to shut up because it was all TRUE.

Because it wasn’t MY kid that was hit, and none of the other parents came forward, there was little that I could push to be done. It was frustrating. They got the teacher into anger management classes, and upon my insistence, never left the rebbe alone with the kids. There was always another adult present. They never, not for one moment, denied that he hit the kids.

My kid was transferred to a parallel class, and my younger kid(s) were not assigned to his kindergarten class.

What horrified me the most were the parents. Your child was hit. Across the face. Some more than once. And you are willing to sit there and take it? And you are willing to allow him to continue to hit other children? Because you are afraid of making waves?

Our children are worth everything – if we do not protect them, who will?

Don’t Forget These Fasting Tips

Tips to Ensure an Easier Fast. [Originally posted in 2009]

Gmar Chatimah Tovah!

Shanah Tovah!

Rosh Hashana Menus

We’re out for the two day meals, but that still leaves two evening meals to cook for. Here are my menus:

Rosh Hashana Night 1

Challah
Apples and Honey plus All Simanim
Gefilte Fish w/ Tomato mushroom sauce
Hearty Vegetable Soup
Roast Turkey with Cranberry Sage & Chestnut stuffing
Homemade cranberry sauce
Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows
Roast potatoes
Steamed Green beans
Sorbet / lemon cake / fruit pie / cinnamon buns …..

Night 2

Challah
Gefilte Fish
Minestrone Soup
Meatloaf
Mashed Potatoes
Chicken Nuggets
Tzimmes
Fresh Garden Salad
Sorbet / lemon cake / fruit pie….

A Year Ago Today

A year ago today I was in abject pain and misery, with a left arm and leg that didn’t want to work properly and a neck that screamed in agony.

A year ago today I had a disc in my neck pressing on my spinal cord and compromising it.

A year ago today I was being wheeled in to the operating theatre.

A year ago today I woke up from surgery feeling a tremendous improvement and knowing I was going to be ok.

I still have pain, and I still get those tingles and sharp pains down my arm and leg BUT I am mobile and fully functional. A little bit of pain here and there is a small price to pay for full mobility.

Now I just have to keep going to the gym and building my strength back up. I’ll be doing cartwheels in no time!! 🙂

Sadly though, no roller coasters or skydiving in my future. Sadsies! 🙂

Read these posts on my surgery:

I’m a Pain in the Neck – Surgery Needed

How a pain in the neck led to surgery

My Surgical Experience – Part One

My Surgical Experience – Part Two

My Surgical Experience – Part Three

So fed up….whining at this early hour

Dr Slice and Dice Says I am Structurally Sound

He Who Believes Is Not Afraid

Latma have released the song below for Rosh Hashanah. This song really strikes a chord with me, especially the chorus “He who believes is not afraid”.

Isn’t that what faith is supposed to be? Complete belief in God that everything works out for the best. I wish, I really wish, I had such a deep faith that I would never be afraid. I wish I could embrace the idea completely that everything that happens is for the best – gam zu letovah.

That is one of the main things I will be working on in the next year – my faith. What will you be working on?

Ketivah veChatimah Tovah! May you be written in the Book of Life!

Woman’s Day Magazine – October 2012 issue

Page 157 has my photo and a quote. Of course I wrote a lot more, but I guess this was all that made the final cut – not bad though, to be in a national magazine wearing a TICHEL!! Headcoverers of the world represent!!

Shabbat Shalom!!

HSM is Guest Blogging over on Kosher Eye

Click on image to be taken to the site.