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Namaste, Full of Grace...

Updated: 2018-03-05T12:08:59.078-05:00


Broken Eulogy


My father wasn't particularly good at life. But if I am being honest, I should also say that life wasn't always particularly good to him. Within hours of his death, I plucked away at a eulogy for him. The words came, and I liked them enough to share with the immediate circle of folks who needed the finality of the announcement just as much as I did. It has now been six weeks since he died, and

Tuesday's Child is Full of Grace (and Girlhood)


When I was a child, my mother kept a journal for me in which she documented and divulged some of her darker moments as parent to better explain herself in the event of her untimely death. Knowing my mother's acute propensity for self-absorption and her vampire-like ability to inflict emotional hurt in others as a mode of sustanence, I have not yet been able to bring myself to fully read it,

We Did


To start at the beginning, I think it would we wise to tell you what we didn't do: We didn't play foolish, immature games of the heart and mind that quickly obliterate trust. We didn't communicate via text messages and emails that quickly obfuscate strong communication. We didn't jump into the sack right away. Nope. Not us. Our Wedding Day We didn't pretend to be anyone other than

Alpha and Omega


It occurred to me this evening that I don't know where this story ends. Perhaps I thought I did? I thought this story ended when I came out of the Middle East in 2009. Perhaps I felt that I had shared enough and bared enough to last me for a while. Yes, I took a step back from public writing, but I dare say that the act of doing so did not render me more silently contemplative. If anything I

Beit Mikveh


"It was a time in my life when many things bored me deeply and I hungered for beauty and those realms of pure elation granted to those who had the imagination to know what to look for and how to find it."--Pat Conroy, Beach MusicWritten well over a year ago, my last blog post culminated the end of an era while serving as a commencement ceremony of sorts to this present tense.Three months

They Say You Can't Go Back


It bothers me that I have not yet managed to find out who "They" are. Always ambitious, it is my preference to imagine this dubious "They" as a highly classified group of individuals who must certainly exist in a black box somewhere at the End of The Rainbow. Go up the grassy hill and make a left. When the yellow brick road appears beneath your feet and you begin skipping uncontrollably, you

Sheik Jarrah


Under the olive tree with the Hanoun Family of the Sheik Jarrah neighborhood, August 2009Jerusalem."Hey, let's go on a treasure hunt to see if we can find the Arab family in the news who is being evacuated from their house!," Recovering Orthodox Guy (ROG) said to me during a class break one day."Which Arab family?," I said dryly. My personal thoughts--on the matter of the Israeli government

This Jerusalem


Jerusalem.I was thinking today that there must be a Jerusalem in each of us--a wry, complex, winding place full of mystery and surprises. Regularly, I have wondered if this Jerusalem, this dark and whimsical place in the middle of the desert was a part of me long before I came to realize it? I have very distinct memories of the mildly precocious child version of myself, the one who used to crawl

The Deep Cover of Humanity


Bethlehem.I practically swallowed my sweet mint tea the wrong way the other day while paying a visit to Noora, my elderly Arabic tutor in Bethlehem. In the two years I have known her, I have never once claimed to be Jewish. It was certainly no lie to say that I come from good Christian folks and that I was raised as a Catholic. Though the words "raised" and "Catholic" may be a little bit of a

How to Nearly Start A Riot at Al-Aqsa Mosque


Jerusalem.It was hot. Very hot. Knowing exactly where I intended to go that afternoon, I decided not to dress the part. My destination was certain, and the truth is that I was uncertain of my social and religious boundaries. In large part, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock is not exactly the place to wear the costume of a Muslim woman when one is, in fact, not Muslim at all. And for



Jerusalem.Sometimes the Universe decides to tweek. Perhaps on purpose, perhaps not. Either way, the system sneezes, and Murphy's Law prevails.The bicycle built for one cannot bear the weight of two. Or can it? Maybe it is possible, but the place is not reserved for you no matter how well you travel. Ashes, ashes...and we all fall down.But just like the childhood game, life dictates that we



Barukh atah Adonai, hamav'dil bein kodesh l'chol (Amein). Blessed are You, Lord, who separates between sacred and secular. (Amen)For those who keep time the Jewish way, there are, of course, seemingly endless amounts of rituals involved in doing so. While there are many I could write about, Havdallah is perhaps my favorite because of its contemplative qualities. Havdallah is

Great Advice


I was attempting to find a quote to use for my next post. It was about living in New York until it "makes you hard", and I thought it would be useful to replace it with: "Live in Jerusalem until it makes you hard, crazy...or both." At the moment, I am swimming through a mixture of things. Perhaps I can blame it on too much time on Jerusalem city buses. It's enough to make anyone completely

Far Too Tame


Jerusalem.As it is rarely done, I received an email from my mother this morning from her sickbed. This is otherwise known as her self-designed "sanctuary" amid all of the self-designed inventions, which she has artfully created over the decades in her fervent (and equally eccentric) insistence on what she calls "independent living". Of course, it is no matter to my mother that her sanctuary is



Thanks to Anais Nin, this little lovely is from Post Secret this week:India.More to come... But let me assure my gentle readers that good things are brewing in these parts.The light switch finally turned on in my dense little brain, and I suddenly began to think of all of the amazing opportunities that are ahead of me this year in India. All of my doubt, angst, and feelings of discouragement

What Would Hashem Do?


Jerusalem/Yerushalayim.For the past couple of weeks, Jerusalem residents have been bombarded with news about a certain parking lot that was opened in the Old City on Shabbat (or Saturday, aka. the Jewish Sabbath).Secular residents in town have hailed the parking lot as a sign that the mayor is serving the interests of the progressive folks who prefer to drive on the day of rest, because driving

Suspended in Prayer


Bethlehem on A Friday in Manger SquareBethlehem.I found myself in the West Bank at a very inauspicious time last week, and in a most inauspicious manner.Shortly before midday on Friday I agreed to accompany an American friend of mine to see the place where the Baby Jesus was born in Bethlehem. We spontaneously made the last minute decision to go. To save time, we drove in her Israeli boyfriend's

Bikini Line


Valencia/Jerusalem. Given my choice of spending a sober morning on the Valencia beach or getting drunk at 9am with my friend from college while she discussed her alarmingly unhappy married life, I opted for the former and cheerily offered a compromise."Why don't we go to the beach and get some beers on the water? My treat!??"She took the bait, but hesitated and sighed."Oh, but I haven't shaved

Like Riding a Bike


(Car of a Cave Dweller-- in front of Granada's Old City Wall)Jerusalem.Even as it began, Spain was illuminating.Three days prior to my departure, I found myself contemplating good and bad karma as I sat with an IV tube for fluid rehydration hastily stuck in my arm by a religious nurse with a dirty wig. Despite the wig, and the nurse's hormonal imbalance (as evidenced by the coarse hair growing

Foto Alegria


Granada. If the gypsy wasn't already in full force, Spain just added music.I spent the day in my "home town" of Granada, wandering and letting my creativity take over.(Because I am always working.)(The Arab tiles of the Alhambra, also because I am always working.)(Political graffiti in the Albaycin soothes the soul.)(More amazing Albacin art. So inspiring!It is so good to be here.More to come...

Sleepless in Espana


Valencia. I had to stop myself from nearly weeping at the sight of Spain below me today. From my window seat, I choked back tears as the formations of windmills and orange trees began to take shape while my flight from Tel Aviv brought me closer to the place where so much of where my life has taken me all began.Spain!Still hovering in flight, my thoughts seemed to be dictated by my bodily



Jerusalem. Always the resilient type, my stomach is firm again, and I am leaving tomorrow for a few days in Spain. When I booked the ticket two months ago, I had no way of anticipating how I would be feeling after 4 months of living in Jerusalem again. With certainty, I can now say that the timing of the trip could not be better planned. If a rough ride through gastro-intestinal hell this

Free Juice


Jerusalem. For the past few days I have been in an out of health. I woke up in a state of serious gastrointestonal discomfort on Tuesday evening. The discomfort quickly became a state of high fever and cold sweats, which then developed into several hours of intensive bodily dysfunction. By the time I reached the doctor the following afternoon, I could barely hold myself together long enough

Mama Always Said


Jerusalem. My mother always said that male hairdressers were the best because they knew what it took to make a woman look and feel her best. I imagine that she took this from my grandmother, who has been going to the same man named "Anthony" to do her little grandma style blow out every week for the past 30 years.I have been in need of a haircut for about 3 months, but holding off until I could



My Kabbalah teacher advises against the use of astrology. According to him, the use of astrology as a way of guiding our actions and choices actually mitigates the choices that we can allow ourselves to make more creatively in our interactions with the tangible world. He does not deny that astrology is "real" (because it is determined by G-d), but he adds that the sense of finite determinism