October 30th, 2010

I have neglected this blog for a very long time. I am doubtful that there are any of you left still checking in, my once-faithful readers.

I agreed to take on more work this fall. I love the work, but my new timetable does not leave me any time for blogging. It doesn’t leave me any time for dishes, laundry, cleaning… or even sanity, either. I am working on correcting that, and I will keep you posted. Forgive the pun. In the meantime, this blog is just part of this long neglected list.

I am able to post now because I decided to neglect a portion of my family and take off for Massachusetts this weekend.  Driving all day Friday meant neglecting my work for the most part as well.  I am in Cape Cod,  by my parents with two of  my children. The men are all at home alone, no doubt playing endless amounts of baseball, eating raw meat and leaving socks all over the house.

I am attending – and co-presenting at – LimmudBoston, a conference on Jewish education.  This is to pursue a love of mine that is a cause I believe in deeply, but is not directly related to my family or my career. I am working with two other fantastic women on the creation of an Early Childhood Jewish Music curriculum. I will have to write a separate post to fully explain, but the gist is that little children can learn about music, and can do so with Jewish music.

I got up here after a week of insane intensity; of non-stop running. My children spent the week letting me know I was neglecting them, running to meetings, charity events and appointments all week.  I was supposed to drive to the conference this evening… and I neglected to do so, writing this post instead.

Something happened on Friday when I finally stopped. Just simply stopped. Having someone else make and serve the Shabbat food, not running after my kids all weekend, curling up with a book, I just  slowed down. I guess I couldn’t rev back up this evening enough to drive 90 minutes in the dark and I put it off until tomorrow.

The conference is an indulgence, albeit an important one. I believe this curriculum needs to be created, and that eventually someone with money will be convinced as well, and that it will happen. Sitting with so few responsibilities feels medicinal, but indulgent as well.

Since starting to work full-time, I cannot say that I have yet struck the appropriate balance between all of my activities, responsibilities and self-maintenance, but I know that this weekend is a very long overdue correction of major neglect… of the latter.

I was all set to publish this (brief) post, and was blessedly interrupted by a small child urine emergency, involving a quick change of bedding as well as comfort and kisses very late at night. So, I no longer need to worry about any guilt at all over a) being here (to deal with it) instead of in Boston at the conference, or b) neglecting my parenting * other responsibilities  so I can sit and blog…. at least until the next time.

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Hareidim in the Israeli Army

January 7th, 2010

The Jerusalem Post has an article today by Matthew Wagner, “Sharp rise in haredi IDF enlistment in 2009” .

The article points out that only a small number of the overall “ultra-orthodox” population is serving in the army. However, it also points out the drastic change from only ten years ago. The reality is that their population is exploding compared to the secular Israeli community,  and every year it will slowly continue to have a change on every aspect of Israel; the politics, education, real estate, the economy, and even the army.

I am not Hareidi — what I am is up for dispute. I am a Jew. I am sure I will end up blogging about my lack of label one day. But I think this is great news.  I am pleased with diversity in the Jewish people, and I am sure that Hashem is just waiting for us to get it right and love all Jews just as they are, really love them in our hearts, so he can send Moshiach our way already.

It isn’t that I want Israel to be a Hareidi country. Nor do I think the increase in the hareidi population percentage is coming without problems. There are plenty of problems.  For one, the infrastructure adjustments are being made so much more slowly than the population growth rate. There is clearly a lack of cooperation and interaction and knowledge to deal with some of the challenges. Most of the problems are a result of Israel’s big government and socialism. Again, for another blog post…..

These are some of the reasons I hail this as really good news:

1. Israel has had a deep need to reconcile its secular beginnings and its religious “fan base” for a very long time. The greater the population of active, participating religious Jews in Israel, the closer we will be to this reconciliation being forced into being.

2. The only population committed to growing at the same rate is the Palestinian population.

3. The lines of “who is what” in Israel are blurring. “Hardal” (Hareidi Dati Leumi) didn’t exist as a concept 10 years ago. The blurring is how we get to loving every Jew, no matter what. I hope. Which is how we get to Moshiach… see above.

4. Hareidim from Jerusalem and secular Jews from Haifa have less in common by far than I do with non-Jewish neighbors who live down my street in the US. The army, while a challenging and volatile environment in which it happens, forces people to learn to live together, to learn about each other, and learn to be responsible for each other.

I don’t think the seeming never-ending changes to Israel’s population makeup are easy. I think they are difficult, painful growing pains that are helping us become the nation we need to be. So really good news.

Related Reading:

If you haven’t signed up for a free trial at, then I hope you are already a subscriber. There isn’t any other excuse. And now, while you need the kids to have something to do on their days off before the relatives come over to entertain them (and after you have cleaned the house of course), is the best time. Math, Science, Literature, you name it. They get to go on line, and learn stuff. And the “lessons” are really short and very interesting. Seriously, stop reading and go sign up right now.

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