Exactly two years ago, at the close of 2014, I wrote a post about that year. It was a gut-wrenching year full of bad news and sad moods. Since that time, I find myself getting especially reflective this time of year, looking back on the year and deciding what I want to say about it.
In my neighborhood, there used to be four large Orthodox congregations: Heights Jewish Center, Young Israel, Green Rd. Synagogue, and Chabad. There was also an ad hoc congregation that had begun in a home, called “Zichron Chaim.” It was commonly referred to as “the shteeble,” which is a Yiddish word for “little house” and refers to a small, organic, grass roots congregation, loosely formed and typically without a rabbi, that meets in a home and then sometimes, if it grows, migrates to a more spacious space.
I’ve been doing more traveling, speaking, teaching. Selling my book. I love to travel and I love to see new places and meet new people. I also love to sniff out new communities and get a feel for the similarities and differences each Jewish community has.
But there’s one thing that is constant. Jewish women.
So Donald Trump is president and half of America is mourning. And plenty are elated. My Facebook feed, mostly non-Orthodox Jews, is dominated by mourning. People lamenting the loss of normalcy, of values, of shattering the glass ceiling once and for all. People describing the emotions like losing a loved one.
There’s a certain anxiety when you haven’t blogged in awhile, like your next post better have been worth the wait. I recently switched from Blogger to WordPress and I’m still adjusting to this new relationship, but today I downloaded the WordPress app on my phone, and it’s waaay more lovable than the actual site. So here I am blogging on my phone, deciding to just be casual and conversational and not let the blogger bogeyman get me down.
Elyse Goldstein, in her recent piece, “Why I’m Not Fasting on Tisha B’Av,” makes a number of thoughtful points regarding the upcoming national day of Jewish mourning. I commend her for her principled and intentional living and would like to respond with my own take on some of her themes. She says: