Safe

How can we feel safe when no one is safe?

The past several weeks have been rough. Without going into detail on what’s happening in my little family, I’d rather focus on what this time period has evoked:

FEELINGS: FEAR. 

FACTS: SAFE.

Are we safe?


My daughters and I have openly discussed safety, identifying safe and unsafe scenarios and spaces, not compromising our safety, so that someone will like or accept us, and finally, how we practice self-soothing when we are afraid. Like any parent, my daughters’ safety and empowering them to know how to get/stay safe, are of the utmost importance.

While in the midst of walking through private issues over the past several weeks, epic mass shootings, scores of hate crimes and the disastrous fires in California, also plagued our country.

After the shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, PA, like so many of us, I was shocked. No matter how many times I hear about or experience anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc, the shock value never, ever lessens.

My daughter and I discussed the Pittsburgh tragedy after a few days had passed. I couldn’t believe how matter of fact she was about it.

I fervently exclaimed,

I absolutely refuse to let this be the new normal!

She responded to me very calmly,

Mom, we’ve been having lockdown drills for as long as I can remember. At first, when I was little, they were really scary, but now, this IS our normal.

My mouth was agape. I felt like I couldn’t breathe…

I had the “aha” moment I have never wanted to have.

I went on to validate what she’d said to me. I told her that her response made me sad and then, she said,

It is sad, but it just is. Mom, we have to live with what is.

A part of me wanted to argue against what she was saying, but I didn’t. The truth is, I was in awe of my daughter’s composure and graceful example of how to live life on life’s terms.

Just this past week, I came home from work and as I prepped dinner, I shared with my daughters that ORT’s Kfar Silver Youth Village had to be evacuated because there weren’t enough (or close enough) shelters, for the kids to be safe.

Kfar Silver Youth Village is located just outside of Ashkelon, Israel. Hundreds of rockets were launched from Gaza and it was a terrifyingly unsafe situation for these kids and all who live there.

At dinner, my daughters were wide-eyed and glued to everything about Kfar Silver. They wanted to learn more about the “really cool” place the Kfar Silver Youth Village is.

My daughters asked so many questions:

How can these kids ever feel safe with rockets being launched nearby? How can they not have enough shelters? Do adults help them feel safe? Who helps the adults feel safe? How can the world be this scary?

And then, the same daughter who told me about needing to “live with what is” said,

WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!

My (amazing) daughters just finished raising funds for ORT America, for its #GivingTuesday campaign. (Yep, they raised their funds well before #GivingTuesday!)

Jand c GT GOAL
Of course I’m proud of them!

Next, my eldest daughter has expressed interest in helping the kids at Kfar Silver Youth Village to get safe, feel safe and stay safe.

So, the moral of this story is,

we can live with what is, but we can must also take action.

We may feel afraid, but in this very moment, in the here and now,

we are safe.

Thou shalt not

The Santa, Jesus, & Allah Loving Jew

Wait. If you find yourself gasping, maybe hang tight for a moment or two. It’s just,

I’m a believer.

I believe in love and goodness. I believe in looking toward joy rather than seeking dissonance. I love dissonance in music, but to choose dissonance where it doesn’t belong, is a kooky individual and sociological habit in my opinion. Continue reading “The Santa, Jesus, & Allah Loving Jew”

Jewish or Bust: Who Will Make the Cut?

You’d think through my many years of working professionally to combat anti-Semitism in the nonprofit sector and Jewish philanthropy, I’d have come to certain realizations much sooner than I have. Continue reading “Jewish or Bust: Who Will Make the Cut?”

TERRORIST.

This morning, some media outlets reported, “No known connection to terrorism or terror groups…”

Stop it. Name it. Today, it’s likely WHITE, MALE, CHRISTIAN, NRA/GUN LOVING TERRORIST with a “President” and accompanying government that is failing its people with such enormity, I don’t yet know a word appropriate for their action, inaction and crimes against humankind. Continue reading “TERRORIST.”

Slamming on the Brakes, Taking a Break, Breaking the Fast & Breaking It Off

I slept right through the breaking of the fast. I had hoped that after breaking the fast this evening, I would have the answer as to whether or not I need to take a break from a man I’ve been seeing for about one month. While I mentioned “breaking it off” in the title of this post, I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m considering “breaking up.” We’ve only been dating a month for crying out loud. We are still in the “getting to know you” stage. While I like this man very much, and for reasons I will not include in this post, I have decided to abruptly slam on the brakes and move forward in a different direction than where I was heading. Continue reading “Slamming on the Brakes, Taking a Break, Breaking the Fast & Breaking It Off”

The Jew Who Wasn’t a Jew Until She Was

This is hard for me to write but less hard for me to make right.

I have recently gotten hooked on long bicycle rides. 20 miles may not be much for a cyclist who wears super cute Lycra clothes that say things like, “Shimano.” For me, 20 miles is as far as my Day-Glo white legs wish to take me. Like many cyclists, I work up a pretty good shvitz. Continue reading “The Jew Who Wasn’t a Jew Until She Was”

A Fear of Peaks (and Valleys)

As I stand at the base of the highest mountain I have ever seen, I squint to view its highest peak. I try to appraise what it will take to reach its top. How can anyone possibly live through this painful and dangerous climb? I try to count all of its jagged edges above the timberline, but there are too many to track. I panic. I don’t know anything about the other side of the mountain. I acknowledge that my understanding of this risky venture can only be accurately evaluated by walking to the other side of the mountain along its base. Continue reading “A Fear of Peaks (and Valleys)”