December 12th, 2011

I must stop working/typing/writing, and go to sleep. It seems however, that I have to choose between remaining a lapsed blogger or losing some sleep. At least until I can clear a few things off of my plate. (I am working on it.)

As you might have read, I recently had a chance to meet a “rock star” – one whose music I really enjoy. (I think I have said that once or twice.) What I am passionate about however isn’t the rock star …. but music. I don’t always get to spend the time involved with music that I would like, and when I do it is always restorative.

I have been working on a project “on the back burner” for years now that combines my love for children with my love for Judaism and my love for music. Truly three of my passions. I hope to be able to share more of this project with you… but in a later post.

I won tickets to a Mama Doni concert this coming Sunday (!), and I am really looking forward to it. Not only will I get to enjoy some real “ima time” with the little ones, but I also plan to meet Mama herself and speak to her briefly about this project.  More to follow on the contest, the tickets, the concert and the encounter.

I am also working on another project “on the back burner” which involves my other passion – zionism. I am truly excited to see that this may also be moving forward, however slowly.

I consider myself very blessed to work in a career that touches on all of these loves. But my “back burner” projects are my own. They may take longer to see the light of day, but they are being nurtured by my heart and soul.

I have spent the better part of the last decade being responsible for small children and primarily occupied with diapers crisis management and household maintenance. It feels good – and right – to now be refocusing some of my energies on my passions. Doing so is good for me, I know, but I believe it is also good for my family.  I see that my involvement in these passions engages my family in them as well. Children, zionism, music and Judaism are all wonderful things for us to be involved in together.

What are your passions, and what are you doing to involve yourself in them? 



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Meeting David Cook

December 6th, 2011

I met David Cook last night. And I got to talk to him. For real.  

What a strange way to come back to a blog I haven’t written in – wait I have to check – two months.  I tried to gain some balance between my blogging and the rest of my life as a part of Elul. Clearly the pendulum just swung all the way in the other direction instead of finding a good midpoint.

My focus on family at holiday time and the transition into a regular post-holiday schedule was a good thing. If you are back checking-in despite my absence, well, thank you. I hope I am back to stay, and that this exciting weekend was just the kick I needed.

I met David Cook prior to his concert last night. For those of you who don’t know, he was the winner on American Idol in 2008.  I don’t usually watch the show. (We don’t own a TV at all anymore.) He was the clear winner from the first week, and watching him rise way above every other contestant every week wasn’t even that fun after a while. I only watched because he is a really good musician, and I wanted to hear him play and sing regardless of the rest of the competitors.  So I guess that means I like his singing a lot.

I have a background in classical music, and I would like to think that my taste in music is eclectic but all good.  His music has depth, and is quality, classic rock and roll without any unnecessary and inappropriate ridiculousness.

I don’t know if it is more celebration of being in ‘phase II‘ (i.e. I could actually make arrangements to leave the kids for a looong time), the fact that this is the year I turn 40, or whether perhaps this is the year I am destined to turn into a groupie, (even though I have already declared here that I wouldn’t!) – but my husband bought me the “VIP package”, and off I went. Sound check, vip pass, t-shirt, ‘gift’ and a chance to MEET THE BAND.

I was late. They told us the night before – the night before – that we had to be there 3 HOURS before the concert was scheduled to start. They told an ima to seven little ones this minor detail only 24 hours before. One of the many signs that this whole enterprise wasn’t designed for people like me.  I was actually quite proud of myself that I was only 20 minutes late. Until the woman at the ticket counter told me I couldn’t come in. Too late. I wasn’t there on time.

Well, I told her the truth which is that I HAVE SEVEN CHILDREN AND IT WAS A MIRACLE I GOT THERE AT ALL AND IT BETTER COUNT FOR SOMETHING AND THEY BETTER MAKE AN EXCEPTION! I asked her to pleeeeease ask in the back. Down the hall behind the closed double theater doors I hear a very good singing voice improvising a tune about how “none of this would happen if we came on time, on time…” Then a young man with a strikingly familiar beard comes out and hears my tale of woe, asks my name and presents me with my golden ticket. But, he says, “They are almost done with the sound check so you better run”. As I do, it occurs to me that this must be David’s brother (Andrew*). Turns out I failed groupie 101 because all of the other women knew “of course’ that it was Andrew. Silly me.

So I run down the aisle of the now lit theater and I am REALLY close to the David Cook himself. He looks out and sees me running down the very long aisle and sings in the middle of the sound check “welcome to the party”…………..…. so let’s just go on record that this technically means David was singing directly to me…..right?

The sound check ends about one minute later and we get in a line to meet the band. And the line is incredibly long. It wasn’t feeling so “VIP” at that moment, more like “cattle“.

We had a wait, so I got a chance to speak to the women near me. I had no idea I was such an amateur. Not only was it my first VIP pass at a David Cook concert, but my first concert! They had each been to at least 3 or 4, and paid for this VIP privilege in the past. I really was shocked. While perhaps it may seem a tad obvious to you out there, it appears that there are a lot of people in the world with a lot more free time than me. 

The women ahead of me in line (yes, it was almost exclusively women) were FAR more prepared than I; they had come up with interesting poses for their photo with the band, brought presents, etc. Wanting a conversation? Clearly I had it all wrong. The point apparently was to see how many hugs you can acquire. I simply didn’t know.

Rather than feel excited, I sort of felt sorry for the band. I am always a nervous wreck before going on stage. I wouldn’t want to have to spend that time connecting with strangers and hugging them all and pretending it was where I want to be. And David was fidgeting… he was nervous. Or anxious. At least I think so. I wouldn’t want to have had to do that before a concert. Even for all of that money.

It was finally my turn. I got to meet the band. I told them I was an Orthodox Jew and that I didn’t want to shake their hands or hug them and why; that they shouldn’t take it personally. They looked completely shocked. Apparently there aren’t a lot of women frum enough to say such a thing to a rock star and yet still come to their concert AND pay for the VIP package.

Apparently there aren’t any.

Then I met them all; I shouldn’t have done that. I only had a minute or two, and the band didn’t have any interest in anyone pretending they were interested in them. But I did get to watch David Cook try to explain to his keyboardist that I am an Orthodox Jew when he went to shake my hand!  I got an autograph, a hasty photo, and video of the meet on my camera to prove it happened. (If you want a link to the video, send me a message)… but here is the pic:


Andy, who told us we couldn’t take his picture.

I then went over to Andrew to get my “VIP gifts” and be gently told to leave until the concert started. Andrew apologized that he was ‘caught” singing about being on time. I actually feel very privileged to have gotten to hear him sing.*

The rest of the evening was actually the best part. I got to have a hasty but elegant and delicious dinner with my husband at Max & David’s restaurant, and enjoy a great David Cook concert – with great seats I didn’t use because we were down near the front and I got to stand close enough to really watch the performance.

He was really good. He sings well, and he is an artist. A clean, non-offensive, not trying-too-hard, not over-the-top artist. I truly enjoyed the music, and I also really enjoyed that my husband enjoyed being there with me, and could embrace that this makes me happy. The show was great, and worth more to me than the “VIP gifts” or the sound check. I wish I could have met David Cook after the concert instead, just so I could tell him how much I appreciated it.

Not stock photos, my photos.

Of course today, the day after, I thought of all the things I wish I had said to him. This happens to me all of the time. The things that I couldn’t think of in the rush and the crowd and the nerves. I gave Andrew my blog address. The likelihood he will read this is pretty non-existent, right, but hey, if Mayim Bialik could come and read about my meeting her at my blog and then re-post it, it sort of makes anything possible, right? So Andrew, or David, if you are out there, this is what I wish I could have said:

  • I really appreciate your music. I appreciate what it is, and what it isn’t.
  • I am glad that you can make serious rock music without having to stoop to depravity, it means a lot to some of us out there.
  • I think your job is hard and I hope you stick at it, because you are good. I hope it isn’t always lonely and that you are enjoying the ride.
  • Why did you name your song Circadian? I get the sleep theme of the album but please explain it to me more; I really want to know.
  • The acoustic piece you played was amazing; the best part of the show. Please give an acoustic-only concert some time. And invite me.
  • Let me know when you want to play in Israel, because I will get you the gig and an awesome tour of the country. Just tell me when.

… Okay, that’s my list. I will have it to remember should I ever happen to meet him again. Or perhaps one of you could just pass it along to him the next time you see him.

What have I learned?

Don’t be late if you have a VIP pass to a concert, because they probably won’t let you in. If you can’t get in, use the “momma to seven children” card if necessary. I learned that I have this quirky thing about me where I think of all famous people as just people. I want to meet them, but then I just want to have coffee and learn about their lives, not swoon. I learned that hitting 39 and getting into a bucket-list mentality isn’t all bad. We have to live while we can. I learned that one should go to a meet and greet after their first concert or before their second, so they don’t have to blog all of the stuff they never got a chance to say.

Most importantly, I learned that it is really important to be married to someone who gets you, and can understand the passionate Torah teacher who wants to go to a ‘meet and greet’ for a rock star and sing along to the songs in his concert. 



[*The story as I understand it is that Andrew Cook went to the American Idol auditions and his brother David came along. Andy didn’t make the cut, and the producers convinced David to audition. I find Andy’s story and his decision to manage David’s band and to go on the tour fascinating. I just don’t understand the dynamic. I wish I did. I am certain he is happy for his brother but the story reminds me of Aharon and Moshe, and I find it a curious fascination.]


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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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Tu B’Av Meme

July 27th, 2010

I have been on hiatus for too long, especially since my last post was the Jewish blog carnival. I apologize. My eldest daughter is leaving for Camp Sternberg in the morning, (with me driving the three hours,)and it has had me quite hyperfocused for a while.

Amy Meltzer has tagged me in a fun meme for Tu B’av on her wonderful Homeshuling blog.

She gives a great explanation of the Jewish “love holiday” Tu B’av: “…a traditional festival dating back to the time of the mishnah,  when young women dressed in white would sing and dance in the vineyards, while the single men would look on, hoping to find their basherte.”

Amy asks what is our favorite Jewish love song. The variety of songs that fall into such a broad category must be huge.

For me, I think it has to be “Dodi Li” (My beloved is mine), to the tune taught to me, and often performed by Cantor Debbie Katchko Gray. My oldest, deepest and most genuine connection to G-d is through music. This was fostered and developed by “Cantor Debbie” for many years, for which I am very, very grateful.  Now I sing this song with my husband.

This is a nice version of the tune I like that I could find on line:

I hope Cantor Debbie will read this and send me a link to her singing it.  Turns out, Ima on (and off) the Bima picked this one as well. What can I say? Great minds….?

… Now that no one is most likely reading this anymore, I found a file of me singing this song for a friend so she could learn it. Dodi Li.

What about you? I tag Immahlady and In The Pink, but I would love to hear from the rest of you too!

What’s your favorite Jewish love song?

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Last week our local library invited Yosi, a childrens’ performer, to give a Chanukah concert. We don’t live in a large Jewish community, and the greater community does very little to acknowledge Jewish holidays. I was thrilled.

But Yosi got sick, and the event was cancelled. I called the library and offered to “fill in” and run a Chanukah Musical Party (as opposed to a concert) this week instead. After all, I reasoned, it is actually Chanukah this week. The children will  have something instead of nothing, however lame it may be. It will be great marketing for my Jewish Mommy and Me program. And who knows? Maybe one more Jewish family will leave wanting to know more about their Judaism. …

I didn’t think it through, and I didn’t consider at the time how much I was setting myself up to flop, fail; embarrass me and my family.

The local outreach Rabbi was so pleased that I “think on my feet”, and jumped into the void quickly enough for it to work out. The library is thrilled! My kids are excited (the almost 10 year old is embarrassed in anticipation, I think).

I learned the word impetuous at a very early age from my father – about me. I have made very quick decisions much larger than whether or not to perform without an instrument or musicians – or a clue – in a small local library before.

After 18 months of college searching, 8 applications, etc, I decided to blow it all off, “defer” and go to Israel for the year. It was one of the best, and most pivotal decisions of my life.

I dated my husband for 8 months. Some considered that very short; for me it was far longer than I felt was necessary.

I suppose that some enjoy the comfort of  safety. This isn’t a feeling I can relate to very much. It isn’t learned, it is an innate personality trait that I enjoy taking risks, knowing that I will sometimes fail.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t come with an innate ability to deal with said failure.

The dictionary uses the term “rash” to somehow differentiate between impetuous and hasty. So are my decisions rash? Or just “thinking on my feet”?

Perhaps the only way to know is with that wonderful clarifier hindsight.

My first singing teacher taught me the trite phrase “life isn’t a dress rehearsal”. It resonated with me. I think more often than not I have been happy with the hasty decisions I have made.

I hope today’s performance is one of them. I have already expended a lot of energy with thoughts of “what was I thinking”.

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