The “right” chance

I often struggle as anyone who writes must, in that it often goes unnoticed, unread. So when the moment comes and someone wants to use it or publish it the excitement is wonderful. But sometimes I think the fog of the excitement clouds my better judgment.

I have recently given away a wonderful story to be used as promotional material for a MAJOR car company. No royalties or even recognition. Quite honestly I didn’t even ask.

So this week when the Huffington post asked to publish something I wrote as part of their ongoing blog series, I was super flattered even if my dad says they are too liberal. But stepping back for a moment and talking to my ever prudent big sister, she pointed out while there was no gain to be had from the story it could also be to my detriment. How and why all this is won’t make sense and I feel no need to explain more. But she was right, not every chance that comes along is worth taking.

I often feel that if I don’t take this chance, another one won’t be by soon. Opportunity in life isn’t like a cross town bus, it wont be by every five minutes. But I was so eager for THAT bus, I was willing to step in front of it in order to not miss it.

I suppose it is in a way heartbreaking that I sent off an email saying they couldn’t run it or they would at least have to do so without my name, they never wrote back. I guess this was one chance that I wasn’t supposed to take. So heres hoping another one will be along soon.

The problem isn’t an abudance of guns, but a lack of hope.

On any given day there is a news report on the “gun violence” in America. Quite frankly it sounds like a miracle that any of us make it through the night. But while I support the right to bear arms, I do think that guns are in fact too easy to come by, but I don’t think that is the problem. I don’t think the problem is an abundance of guns, but a lack of hope. Not in a greeting card, chin up kiddo sort of way. But for what can arguably be the first time in our nation’s history, the younger generation (those under 30) no longer believe the future is going to be better than the past. The American dream is all but unattainable, and the smartest hardest working among us are lucky to find jobs beneath us. Our student loans have crippled us, and all this buying into the American dream has lead us down a path we cannot find our way off of. And a man with nothing to lose, is a dangerous one.

I make no excuses for those who use violence to act out their frustration, but ask yourself why all these “mass shooters” are young people? They often seem to have no target or at best a misguided one. It is like punching at air. Eventually you are going to want to hit something or someone. And the tools to hit back at the world were too easy to come by. Especially for those who are mentally unstable. It is never fair or right that people living their lives to best of their ability are often “in the wrong place, at the wrong time.”

And I don’t know what or even if there is a solution to this. At this point guns are so abundant, there is no way to really keep someone from getting one. And I don’t have a plan to fix the economy, to create jobs or to pay off student loans. I look back in time and know that we aren’t the first generation to face great adversity, nor will we be the last. You can feel very free to disagree with me, guns are a highly flammable topic. And it is the easiest thing to point at and say there is the problem. Yet, without having the American Dream to aim for all we are left with is a nightmare.

The karma circle

I am often told I have bad luck, which sets me off on a rant on why this isnt true and that if you believe this then you clearly have no idea the things that truly matter in this life, but that isa different rant for a different day. Today was about karma, no litterally today.

Heres the story, at least the shortened version. I won a writing contest through work that came with a prize, not a win the loterry and rent out Disneyland type of prize, but a monetery prize. And when I won it the money came directly to me, despite the fact I work with several people. I found the contest, entered the contest, wrote the story…ect. But in receiving the prize, that unlce sam took 42% of, I felt that horrible nagging feeling. And in that I knew I had to give something, anything, to one of the service advisors I work with. The money came out of my own pocket, and no one told me or made me do it.Nor did he ask (like those who shall remian nameless) I just knew it was right. So I did i, and was promtly accused of being insane, a fool or having an alterrior motive…So much for doing the right thing?! But it was the right thing despite my detractors. You’d thought the money had come from their pocket.

Do the right thing and leave the rest up to karma or fate. And I know
we try to be good people and a lot of times life doesn’t reflect that for us. We think karma/fate moves in a steady straight line, do good thing, good thing happens in return. Do bad, bad thing follows directly after. But this isn’t how it works. It is more like a circle, we do something good and then…something terrible happens! WTF life? Forgetting that karma or whatever you call it isn’t a linear thing.

Yet, today it was!!! I gave awaya portion of the prize money today, and then my dad shows up at work with a cordless apple keyboard for me which I am typing on right now, A subtle reminder that sometimes karma works but sometimes karma needs a hand. My dad saw me do something nice and he did something nice for me in return. So what if I correlate the two, sometimes you need to believe the world is a good place.
with that I will say goodnight from my brand new keyboards and head that will sleep well tonight knowing that doing the right thing, the classy thing never goes out of style.

The un-aliyah??

The un-aliyah??

So I am sure there is an actual name for it, people who make aliyah only to choose a couple of years later to return to their home country. The retention rates for those coming from western countries is awful. This is not to say that is cannot be done but rather it must be a whole lot harder than anyone lets on. I have often thought about it but I feel like I am watching a plague take place, where people just fall one by one.

When I did the kibbutz program, there were people from several countries, I think 14 in fact. But really it could be split into two groups, those from “Western” countries, that being the Americas, Western Europe, South Africa and the non-western countries, mostly former Soviet Union states, Poland, Russia , Belarus. And even on the kibbutz program it was clear, those from Western countries had a super hard time. I even had a harder time then this blog let on to. The kibbutz is a about the greater good, and that is not something many of us, Americans especially, understand or agree with. By the end of the program there was less than a fourth of the westerners who started. Those who did stay had made aliyah.

Yet, it is nearly three years later, and I see facebook postings and twitter feeds declaring they are going “home.” This is astounding to me, as I also considered those who made aliyah to be stronger or braver or simply to have a better reason to do it. It never occurred to me that it would be any other way. And here is the kicker, the non-westerners seem to be doing just fine. Settled in, learned the language and living life in Israel. The westerners are returning home. There are of course one or two exceptions but I would say 75%-85% didn’t make it. It is wrong to label it a failure, they clearly did better than I even dared to try. So what is the problem??

I am reading “My Promised Land” by Ari Shavit, and while I won’t give my review of this book right now, it is very clear that Israel was made out of necessity. A safe haven, and let be honest Westerners as a whole don’t need that. Not only are we safe but we are pretty darn comfortable. Those who were on the kibbutz with me who were from former Soviet Union states, were part of the last generation to be born under communism and old enough to remember it. A from what I read it wasn’t safe or comfortable. And from everything I have seen and heard aliyah is hard, maybe too hard for those used to comfort.

I don’t really know what to make of all this, it saddens me that so many are returning to their home countries. I don’t know how much time it takes to make Israel “home.” Maybe we aren’t all cut out for it but it makes you wonder what does this mean for the future, both Israel’s and that of Jews in the West…

Why it is bad that things come easily to me

.

I am smart. Not like crazy genius smart, but people often tell me I am one of the smartest people they know. To which I tell them they need to meet more people. Yay right? Well yes sometimes it is nice being intelligent, other times like when you break your computer not so much. I joke but it is true being the smartest person in the room means that you are surrounded by morons. Yet, it really is hard sometimes, don’t get me wrong I am not complaining but rather acknowledging every advantage has some disadvantages. My book budget is a good percentage of my annual income. I still have no idea to learn who any of the House Wives are. I get impatient with people who don’t catch on to things as quickly.. But more than anything I get bored easily if I am not challenged but since things usually come so easily to me, I cannot comprehend when something doesn’t just click. Clearly I don’t understand what it is I am supposed to be learning, but I don’t understand why I don’t understand it. If I am smart as people say, why should anything seem hard?? Yes, this is the problem with having things come easily, when they don’t the world doesn’t seem right…

A great example of this is music. My dad is an excellent guitar player, like pretty amazing actually. And when I was young he tried to teach me. But it always felt like taking painting lessons from Picasso. He is just so good, it felt like why bother?? And though I gave it go, I quickly resigned my guitar to a permanent fixture in the corner. Plus I didn’t see amazing virtuoso progress in my attempts to play. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand it, it was that I didn’t understand and master it with lightning speed. Even recently when I received a violin, I somewhat expected to be able to pick it up and just play. Yes, I know this is unrealistic, but it goes back to me not understanding why something should be hard… And this is where I get super frustrated with myself, and cue the tears.

Yesterday, I was chatting with my rabbi on facebook when I mentioned this, and he reminded me not to be so hard on myself. We all learn things in different way, and different speeds. But surely some things I am just slow at right?? Yes, there are some things I am just slow at, we all are. Some things cannot be learned overnight , some things require time and practice. And like everyone else I need to grasp this fact as hard as it may be. I am not superwoman or a savant, smart yes but human. And so while I am grateful that I learn most things quickly, I need to not let it deter the things that are hard. And while there are many virtuosos who play there, the best way to get to Carnegie Hall….practice.

Why my morning Starbucks makes me feel like a success.

This may by far be the shallowest post you will ever read on this blog. But let’s be honest we all have our moments of shallowness. So here is mine. Every morning I stop at starbucks, they know me and my drink without me even asking. And I know them, since I see them everyday it was only right to get to know their names. But not the point. So walking into work someone asked me why I get starbucks every morning. To this I shrugged my shoulders and mumbled something. It was 7 am , and clearly since my coffee was still in my hand I hadn’t drank it yet, way too early for questions. But I did give it some thought, and while it is yummy and the caffeine is a necessary evil, the real reason I get starbucks every morning is because it makes me feel like a success. There I said it.

Growing up, while we were never poor we did live on a budget, and starbucks was not in that budget. Plus who can really blame either of my parents for not giving two teenage girls caffeine and sugar in high doeses. Even till this day you don’t want to be around me when I am on a “high.” I remember being around 13 and asking to go, and the answer was no. And I promised myself some day when I was a successful adult, that the answer would never be no, not just for starbucks but for anything that I wanted!! Ha!

As an adult I have learned that there are a lot of “no’s”, and even though I am the one saying it to myself it doesn’t make it any easier. It is still hard to feel like you are too “poor,” for something that you want. And to be honest I cannot afford most of the material objects that people measure success by. I don’t own expensive shoes, and while my purse is a designer, it is the ONLY BAG I own, and have carried it everyday for over 2 years now. Shocking I know a woman who only owns one purse. But my starbucks cup in hand every morning is my luxury to me, it is my little symbol of being that adult who can have anything her heart desires. So yeah it makes me feel successful. It is a nod to the 13 year old me, saying we can’t have everything but we can have some things.

To be honest, I am not the only one who does this. But maybe it isn’t starbucks for everyone else. Maybe it is that manicure, or the newest app. The little things that we buy for ourselves just because we can. None of this has anything to do with need, but I did warn this was a shallow post.

Anti-Semitism is alive and well in Indiana

Anti-Semitism is alive and well in Indiana

What?? Yeah you read that right. Believe it or not Indiana is not immune. It seems so strange to even fathom that there are still those who believe and propagate this kind of hatred. And that is all that it is, hatred. Sure you can have your “reasons” or “facts” but it is based on the belief that without a certain people your life would be better off. That is super scary.

Refer to my previous post, Chubby Baby, Holocaust survivor. I kept telling this old man that I simply didn’t understand how the holocaust could happen and he told me “kiddo there is no understanding hatred.” And maybe he is right, maybe it cannot be understood. But in the face of that he reminded me that it should never be ignored. So that is what I am doing I am not ignoring it.

Purdue University, a well established university recently invited a speaker who was blatantly anti-Semitic. And then went on the advertise this man as an expert on the Middle East. Ignoring the fact that Mr. Bruzonsky’s blog is filled with classic anti-Semitic pictures. I will post the link to these, as I am not comfortable reposting them on this blog.

This man has the right to say what he thinks, to display caricatures as he sees fit, and to speak any crowd that wishes to gather. Yet, the problem I have is that a public institution such as Purdue University supported what can only be described as hate speech while denying the right of what is considered a pro-Israel group to speak. Standwithus was deemed too controversial.

Either Purdue did not properly review this mans history, which is negligent at best or they do not care that they invited an anti-Semite to speak to its students which is unacceptable. So which is it?

So I ask of you, not to condemn free speech but to make a stand against hatred and anti-Semitism being endorsed by one of Indiana’s public universities. There is a petition to sign, please do so. And if you are an Indiana resident (which isn’t that likely) please contact your legislators to tell them that you are not willing to be silent that antisemistim is alive and well in Indiana

The images can be seen here

http://speakingtruthtopower.blogs.com/hoosiers_comical_higher_e/

And the petition here

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/never-forget-a-petition-against-purdues/