Sunday, July 24, 2011

What's keeping me here?

It is early morning, the sweet and quiet moments before my children wake up, and I am standing in front of my bedroom mirror. On the wall next to me hangs a collection of colorful scarves. I study my outfit and select a coordinating scarf: intricate patterns of flowers and vines. My father bought it for me when his band was touring in Italy. I wrap it carefully around my head, covering my hair entirely.

I choose another scarf from the wall: black and grey swirls with silver threads shot through. I bought this one for myself. A friend returned from Israel with a selection of headcoverings to resell, and I chose it and wore it happily while living in New Jersey. In that community, where many women cover their hair with beautiful wigs, wearing that artsy-looking scarf made me feel pleasantly unique but a little conspicuous. Now that I have returned to Israel and settled in a more eclectic neighborhood, I fit right in with the funky scarf. Now I wear it and remember how I longed to go back to my homeland, and how I finally made the trip.

The patterns of the scarves clash and complement each other at once. They pick up the colors of my outfit, and I complete the picture with matching jewelry. I like what I see in the mirror, and then the thought arises in my mind.

I love covering my hair.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hey, look at this!

The afternoon walk home from gan. How I loathe it. Shuffling two preschoolers and a toddler the few short blocks to our home under the unforgiving midday sun seems to take forever. It’s right at B.A.’s naptime, so he’s cranky. But at least he’s in a stroller. The girls dawdle, insist on stopping to climb everything.  And the hour grows later and the day gets hotter.

Last week, Y.B. just stopped and refused to walk. She was tired. It was hot. This wasn’t the first time one of them tried this. On this particular afternoon, I dug in my heels and found myself engaged in a game of chicken with a four-year-old.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

When the soul moves on

I recently acquired new Shabbat candlesticks. It took a long time to find them. I wanted something specific: colorful, not traditional. But not kitschy and touristy, either. I had something in mind, but I couldn’t find what I was imagining.

And then my mother came to visit. My mother has a kind of magic around her that even my narrowed, rationalist gaze must take in. With my mother here, my everyday Jerusalem unfolded with strange coincidences, unlikely stories, and best of all, unusual pieces of art that seemed like they weren’t there, couldn’t have existed before my mother walked into the store.

So we found my candlesticks. Here’s a picture.

Aren't they pretty?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Why All Victories, Part II: where credit is due

The inspiration (and the nudging) for All Victories came from Jenny of The idea for the blog’s subject came from an amazing telecourse I took with the parenting educator Perl Abramovitz. Mrs. Abramovitz’s organization is called Kulam Giborim, which means “all heroes” or “all victorious.”

The mishna in Pirkei Avot says, “Eizeh hu gibor? Hakovesh et yitzro” Who is a hero, who is a warrior? A person who conquers his will. The idea of being a gibor is that I strive to live in accordance with my values, to do God’s will, even when it would be easier to do something else, even when every desire in my body is crying out to do something else.