|January 04, 2012||Jesus Was A Jew||no comments|
|January 02, 2012||It’s Over For Another Year||no comments|
|December 30, 2011||The Personal Is Still Political||no comments|
|December 28, 2011||Finally, It's Time To Shop||no comments|
|December 26, 2011||Joy To The World||no comments|
|December 23, 2011||Breathe||no comments|
|December 21, 2011||Bubbe’s Bah Humbug Alternatives||no comments|
|December 19, 2011||Water Huggers Unite!||no comments|
|December 15, 2011||Sing A Song||1 comments|
|December 14, 2011||How To Win Friends and Influence People||no comments|
If you bring forth what is within you, what is within you will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is within you, what is within you will destroy you.
Jews and Christians alike will benefit from watching "From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians" in the PBS Archives. It’s actually a very quick four hours exploring the life and death of Jesus and the people whose belief, conviction, and martyrdom created the religion we now know as Christianity.
For Jews, there are the most up-to-date findings on the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, The Temple and its destruction, Masada, The Bar Kokhba rebellion.
Christians will understand Jesus’s life and death, the diverse fifty-two gospel texts, and how the division between Jews, early Christians, and pagans developed.
It is a fascinating picture of Rome’s rich stew of gods, spirits, and magic that allowed for the existence of both.
Writing the title of this entry makes me realize that I have been blogging for more than a year. This is the second time It’s Over For Another Year.
Three times every week, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I have been true to my commitment to be a Jewish Chronicle blogger. Writing a blog takes time. I feel like I’m at the top of my game if I can have a particular entry written and posted before lunch. It’s not always that easy.
I have developed a system to keep me going. I write on a word document and start a new one each month. I keep a separate file for photos. In addition, I keep an accessible dropbox document that is an ideas folder- topics worthy of discussion that I might use when I am empty-headed but mostly the subjects of each entry come from my everyday activities of simply living in the world.
I’ve learned from blogging that there is lots to talk about and surprisingly, I have lots to say. It’s an interesting record of my life- like a scrapbook or a memory quilt.
Blogging has forced me to better informed on all of the issues of the day, to be more engaged in the world, clear about my opinions, and open about my experiences. I take the word Wisdom very seriously and try my best to synthesize the information to glean something useful.
The writing puts me in touch with distant friends and family and in communication with many different people who offer additional opinions and points of view. I’m always grateful to know that you are out there and to hear from you!
It marks a point in time, like a birthday or an anniversary, as the testament of a life lived.
Don't wait for a Gandhi, don't wait for a King, and don't wait for a Mandela. You are your own Mandela, you are your own Gandhi and you are your own King. Leymah Gbowee
The personal is political was popularized in the late 60s by Robin Morgan in her classic book Sisterhood is Powerful. Before this women suffered in silence having no idea that the inequality in their personal lives stemmed from larger political issues.
The genius of feminism was to connect these marginalized women into a broad-based, inclusive network of action that alleviated personal suffering and encouraged battles with the male-controlled power base.
The revolution opened the doors to the feminine sources of spirituality, creativity, and intuition connected to heads, hearts, and bodies that finally would give humanity the capacity to balance of all its parts into a new paradigm of co-existing wellness and healing.
And so the movement goes for here we are today with this 2010 US Congressional report: 25 Years Of Progress But Challenges Remain. Here we find white women earned 77.4% of the amount a white man received for the same position. Compared to white men, black women earned only 67.7% of that figure and for Hispanic women, that figure dropped to 58.7%.
It’s not much better in government. The United States is ranked 90th in the number of women in our national legislature. Women hold 17% of the seats in Congress and 22% of all statewide elective executive office positions. State Legislatures are only 24% women and 6 out of 50 states have a female governor. Women constituted 54% of voters in the 2008 elections, but only 24% of state legislators.
While Occupy Wall Street calls attention to the widening economic gaps, it neglects to include a feminist vantage point. In response, women created Occupy Patriarchy to confront the patriarchal system that depends on the exploitation, disempowerment, and subjugation of women both on Wall Street but also occurring regularly at Occupy events.
With so much work still to be accomplished, women are organizing with more consciousness and power. The Feminist Majority Foundation engages in policy development, education, grassroots organizing, and leadership training in issues of women’s equality and empowerment. Their sister organization, the Feminist Majority, engages in lobbying and other direct political action, pursuing equality between women and men through legislative avenues.
The Women in the World Foundation, supported by Newsweek & The Daily Beast, highlights and drives solutions for advancing women and girls through collaboration between organizations and strategic donors.
The Women's Media Center founded by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem works to directly engage with the media at all levels to ensure that a diverse group of women is present in newsrooms, on air, in print and online, as sources and subjects.
If you’re hungry, keep walking. If you are thirsty, keep walking. If you want a taste of freedom, keep walking. For us, women of Liberia, this award is a call that we will keep walking until peace, justice and the rights of women is not a dream, but is a thing of the present. Leymah Gbowee
In general, I love to shop at Gabriel’s but not at this time of the year. After Christmas is the best time to try all of your favorite high-end stores for deals comparable to a normal day at Gabe’s.
If you want to be prepared before you go, try http://www.dealio.com/ who does all the work for you by dividing products into categories.
Or simply select your favorite and head out. My daughter and I had a grand time at Urban Outfitters where everything on sale was an additional 50% off and I’m always a fan of Macy’s when everything finally looks appealing.
This is the moment to splurge on that something you’ve been denying yourself and stay in the black!
Joy is not incidental to the spiritual experience. It is vital. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
For Jews, celebrations like Simchat Torah, prescribe joy making it easy to achieve. But how can we bring joy into our lives on a daily basis?
Joy comes to us when we our actions are true to our higher life purpose.
Joy radiates from the center of our beings when we are calm, open and generous.
Joy is cultivated with awareness and intention.
Joy comes from the simple moments that happen throughout each day.
Resistance to joy pushes it away. Embrace it!
Joy comes with self-love and appreciation.
Accept and release the past roots of problems, conflicts and guilt.
Choose and do things based on the joy they bring.
Hone gifts and talents and share these generously with others.
Develop new habits and skillful means that naturally incline the mind to joy.
Cultivate imagination as the doorway to joy.
Build a new vision aligned with intentional and continual joy.
I was with two yoga aficionados this week while they discussed the importance of breathing. They had example after example of how our unawareness of our breathe’s value hampers our ability to function.
In normal sedentary life we use about one tenth of our total lung capacity. In stressful situations it’s worse. We tense our bodies and reduce our oxygen supply further causing all sorts of nasty situations such as fatigue, sleep disorders, anxiety, stomach upsets, heartburn, gas, muscle cramps, dizziness, visual problems, chest pain and heart palpitations.
Yoga breathing, Pranayama, is the science of increasing the capacity of the lungs and bringing more oxygen supply to the body. Pranayama develops concentration and focus enabling serenity, peace of mind, reducing toxins and aiding digestion. Pranayama goes hand in hand with the Asanas, body poses, with the goal of controlling Prana, our vital life energy to purify both the mind and body.
The Ancient Yogis developed techniques that begin with breathing through the nose and deep diaphragmatic belly breathing. Become aware of your breath. Practice bringing the breath through the nose and deep into the diaphragm and try a yoga class or two to learn directly from the experts.
Following the Breath By Thich Nhat Hanh
Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment!
Breathing in, I know I’m breathing in.
Breathing out, I know
as the in-breath grows deep,
the out-breath grows slow.
Breathing in makes me calm.
Breathing out brings me ease.
With the in-breath, I smile.
With the out breath, I release.
Breathing in, there is only the present moment.
Breathing out, it is a wonderful moment.
I am not a big Hanukkah fan. Here in American it gets a little to close to Christmas like with Chabbad menorahs along side Christmas trees and the dreidels in the holiday section in target. In my own self-interest, I seek new views for the holiday.
Here is an interesting Hanukkah Music Mix by the Idelsohn Society, dedicated to the musicology of great old Jewish music.
Here is a short video on the historical changes of the holiday from OurJewishCommunity.org that reaches out to progressive Jews through the Internet.
It’s important that everyone includes the brave role of Judith in the story of the Maccabees and their Hanukkah narrative.
Look to Occupy WallStreet for Chanukah and Christmas for some alternatives for turning miracles into significant acts of love and justice.
Discover the nuances of preparing kosher food by following the experience of preparing for the White House Hannukah party.
Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink. Samuel Taylor Coleridge
In a new report, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officially blamed the drilling company EnCana for contaminating groundwater outside Pavillion, Wyoming using the natural gas drilling method known as fracking. The process involves pumping a mixture of sand, water, and chemicals deep into the ground to crack the bedrock and release pockets of methane.
This is a step in the right direction, but the ruling is specific to Pavillion and does not apply to Pennsylvania’s more than 1,600 Marcellus wells. Here are some things you can do today to help fight fracking and create clean water in Pennsylvania.
Of course, if your water is contaminated by fracking, you have no choice but to use bottled water. The production of water bottles uses 17 million barrels of oil a year, and it takes three times the water to make the bottle as it does to fill it. To drink the recommended eight glasses of water a day from a tap costs about $.49 per year; while the same amount of bottled water costs about $1,400 and creates tons of plastic waste.
The Grand Canyon National Park, which contains pure untainted water, almost, but not quite, implemented a ban on the sale of disposable water bottles, the biggest culprit of trash in the park. Coca-Cola, donator of more than $13 million to the National Park Foundation stepped in and bottles of water are still being sold throughout the park.
In developing countries, approximately one in eight people lack access to safe water supplies and sanitation. Our American five-minute shower uses more water than a poor person in a developing country uses in a whole day. Water.org is a U.S. nonprofit organization committed to providing safe drinking water and sanitation to people in developing countries and check out this list of other organizations working on water and sanitation issues in countries around the world.
If a child hears fine music from the day of his birth and learns to play it himself, he develops sensitivity, discipline and endurance. He gets a beautiful heart. Shin'ichi Suzuki
While I write this blog, I’m listening to Kids Public Radio, the ad free, commercial-free audio network for kids. I found it while I was looking for a birthday present for my granddaughter, Maya, who is turning four this Sunday.
Maya and I have always enjoyed music together. I had a basic repertoire for her from “Oh, what a beautiful morning” for getting her dressed in the morning to “Hush Little Baby” to put her to bed.
When I asked Maya what she wanted for her birthday, without missing a beat she replied, “a guitar”. It happens there are many dusty gathering guitars in my family and I remember distinctly when I asked my mother for a sewing machine and she retorted, “I hope this won’t be a waste like the piano and the guitar.”
But of course, Maya is my granddaughter and we share our love of music, so it Maya wants a guitar, a guitar it is. I found The Herb David Guitar Studio in Michigan where she lives and asked Herb about giving Maya lessons. Here is his reply:
I spoke with Chuck about your granddaughter, and he feels that she may be just a bit too young for lessons yet. The youngest student he has ever taught was 6 years old, and in his opinion, any sort of lesson program might be too demanding and difficult for her to understand at the moment.
For what it's worth, I started taking lessons when I was 5, and I did quite well. My advice would be to go ahead and get her a guitar now if she wants one, because that means she's interested and I think it's great to encourage her. Let her play around with it for a year or so, just have fun with it and see what it's all about. Maybe pick up an instructional book or DVD geared toward beginners or young kids and have an adult help her out with it. That way she can learn some basic songs, but without the expense or time commitment of formal weekly lessons. Then see where she's at in a year or so. If it's something she wants to keep doing, look into lessons then. If not, maybe at least the musical seeds have been planted and it'll be something she comes back to a few years down the road. I took lessons from age 5 to age 12, then dropped the guitar completely and didn't pick it up again until my junior year of high school. Now I'm in my 30s, in three bands, working in a guitar shop and playing four different instruments. So it can work out.
Hope that helps!
This weekend Maya becomes the proud owner of a ¾ nylon string guitar with a teaching CD and Video. Happy Birthday Maya!
If you want to conquer fear, don't sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. Dale Carnegie
Walking through the library, I spied an updated version of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. Carnegie wrote the book during the depression and ended up with a profitable business giving well thought out advise on effective communication.
The new version was a huge disappointment, but the original is as good as new when it comes to common sense instruction on social skills. So in no particular order, my favorites:
You are the creator of your own emotions. Want enthusiasm? Act enthusiastic.
People are creatures of emotion not creatures of logic.
Always think about what feelings your actions will cause. Be understanding and forgiving. Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.
Instead of worrying about what people say of you, spend time accomplishing something they will admire.
There are four ways in which we have contact: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.
Be in honest and sincere appreciation of the importance of others. Everyone wants the opportunity to prove his or her worth and to excel.
Be a good listener and try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view. How would I feel and react in his/her shoes? Give the person hope and incentive to improve.
Praise is like sunlight to the warm human spirit. Smile.
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