Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Thinking about it....

Why have I been so obsessed today with the news about the hurricane in New Orleans, but last week I couldn't read anything about the disengagement?

Monday, August 29, 2005

trying to post

I wrote a whole week's overview and then microsoft word crashed before I could paste it here.
It's too late to rewrite it now.
It's been a busy week.
This week will be no different.
School starts.
A new routine will start.
Ari returns...reentry occurs.
Our Jewish homeland is in turmoil.
We must continue to pray...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

My Monday

I have so many thoughts about today; I’m not real sure where to start.

It began as a rather regular day:
Woke up late – 8:30 ish
Thought I had water aerobics at 10 am
Found no milk for breakfast.
Threw Ely in the car and drove up the street to the makolet (market) for milk. On the way, I saw the cars of the women I usually swim with and realized I was supposed to be in the pool.
Brought the milk and Ely home, set her up with a bowl of cereal, jostled MB to let her know I was leaving and ran to swim. I got there late, so I stayed later into the next class. But I got to swim, so that was good!

At 11:15 the Culligan Man came to sell me a water softening system. I look forward to having suds in my wash and softer water to clean and cook with in our new home.

I cleaned my room. I changed my sheets, and made my bed.

Ely had a friend play over for almost 4 hours so they were very busy. NED went to Modiin with a friend. MB hung around the house.

Ely and I took a nap at 3. I awoke at 5pm.

I had made plans to go into Jerusalem with Dovid (a friend staying with us for the summer) for dinner and to the kotel to see DB at his final camp ceremony there.

After a yummy dinner and intense conversation at OLIVE on Kanfei Nesharim, Dovid and I made our way by car towards the Old City. I forgot about the arts and crafts festival and assumed that was why there was so much traffic. We were not permitted to drive into the Old City so we drove around until we found a parking spot hidden within the back streets of Jerusalem!

We walked to the kotel. It was about a 30-minute walk. I almost wanted to forget it and come home, but I wanted to see DB if I could and take Dovid to the kotel before he left for the states next week.

After seeing DB and walking down the steps, we saw a lot of people dancing and singing with flags and drums and megaphones. I figured it was another group showing support. I wasn’t sure.
After I daavened and prayed my private prayers to Hashem, I found Dovid who told me that this group was in fact waiting for the people from Netzarim, the last of the Gaza settlements to be taken out today, to come to the kotel.

So we waited…and waited...and sang and danced…. and waited.
At about 11:15, they came. Hundreds of people with the torah scrolls from the synagogue and the menorah from atop the synagogue. The people had walked from the entrance of Jerusalem into the Old City and down to the kotel.

I was there. I was in Netzarim. Spent Shabbat there with my family. I daavened in the shul. And now it will be no more. It won’t exist. A beautiful Torah community will be gone. These people are brave. They came to the kotel. To pray to Hashem.

I can’t say I understand all of this. It is so painful. Seeing little children, walking with their fathers and mothers. Homeless. Nowhere to go. No more home. Taken out of their homes for what? A political game? A sick giving of land for peace?

I just don’t understand the plan.

It is so painful. I don’t really want to feel it. I just don’t want to.

Sometimes I wonder what kind of world we live in? And will it be okay for my children to grow up in.

I think it’s going to take some time to make sense of this.


I guess that’s what we all need when there is horrible loss.

Time. And tears.

Hashem Y’rachem.

Seeing DB

I met up with DB as he was coming up the steps leaving the kotel.

This is what I wrote in my notebook after saying goodbye to him and sitting by the kotel:

Walking down to the kotel
Hoping to catch the final ceremony
Delayed by traffic
Passed many American boys – only one familiar face from Boston
Waited for DB at the top of the steps
He came up alone
Gave me a hug
This was my son
He gave ME a kiss too
This is my son
All these boys coming up the steps
They could’ve been my sons
I’m old enough to be their mom
I’m old enough
My son is one of THOSE kids.
In NCSY, getting inspired
He looked sad
“Miss the guys,” he said trying not to cry
This is my son
Gives me hope.

I thought about it some more. I have a deeply sensitive son. He wants to cry, but the man in him tells him he’s not allowed. He only cries with me. He must have felt something this summer. I pick him up this morning (it is already past 2 am!). I hope he will talk to me. Tell me what he felt. What he learned. What he thought about.
My son likes to be inspired. I hope this summer inspired him.

That was my son. He’s one of the boys…

Monday, August 22, 2005

Ari is off…

To America

And I have a very busy week planned.

I’ll be okay, though.

I don’t love that he travels, but sometimes distance makes the heart grow fonder.

I’m so proud of what he does and who he is.

I have my own work to do now…

Single parenting.


Friday, August 19, 2005


Counting doesn't really matter anymore. It's just a number.

But I still think it's cool.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Wednesday check-in

I woke up this morning at 4:30 am with a migraine that felt like my head was about to explode.

I couldn’t move – I tried everything.

I knew I had two couples to meet at the clinic this afternoon. I couldn’t cancel on them. So I pushed myself out the door, wishing I could just leave my head at home to stop pounding while I went on with my day.

Playing martyr paid off. By the time I was done meeting with couple #1, the headache was almost gone.

When couple #2 never showed up (this was to be their third session to which they showed up for none of them!), I realized the headache was gone. I wrote them down as “self-terminated” and left the office.

The best part about working in a clinic is that I don’t have to take the no-shows as a personal insult. I get assigned clients for the 3 hours I work. I take whomever the supervisor of the clinic gives me.

This was my first time working with a couple. It’ll take some time to figure out my own style, but it will come. I officially start my internship at the Family Clinic on Sept. 1.

Ari and I went into Mea Shearim to buy a shofar and bag for a bar mitzvah gift for a good friend, we then went into town for dinner. It was the first time we had said more than 3 sentences to each other all week.

I have decided, for the record, that I will not compete against his computer for attention! When he’s ready to give it to me, I’ll be happy to take it… (An after thought for those of you who will call me and tell me I should not write such things: I know that was a little side vent, but I’m keeping it in, thank you!)

The annual International Arts & Crafts Fair began tonight in Sultan’s Pool below the Old City walls. The last several years they have had it on Ben Yehuda Street in the city center for security reasons. This year it was back to the huge field with hundreds of amazing artists showing off their stuff. Security-wise, I didn’t see or feel such a huge difference, but Sultan’s Pool is much more spacious and fairground-like venue.

I love LOVE A&C fairs! I never buy anything, though. Why buy what you can make yourself?! Even though I never make the stuff. I appreciate the creativity and talent of different people from all over the world! I love the feeling of being amonst such artsy, fun, and creative people!

I didn’t feel guilty about being out and enjoying myself, because I feel I have to live. If everyone went down to Gush Katif, who would be left here to do the important things that need to be done here? I feel the heaviness, I feel the pain, but I cannot put myself in it and get stuck.

What I could not enjoy, and I thought it was unnecessary, were the very loud and colorful fireworks that were shot off and lit the sky above the Old City walls. THAT I could have done without…

So we had our date, Ari and I, and I appreciated the attention and time! We actaully relaxed and enjoyed walking around. Ari travels again next week, so this was our connection time before I single parent again…

Tomorrow I pray to wake up headache free, enjoy my morning water aerobics class and then take the girls to the pool for an all-girl’s swim day.

Can’t forget to bake a cake for DB. Ari will take it too him at camp before Shabbat.

I’ll try to check in again before Shabbat – no promises!

How is it that I share a 16 year old son with the same man I have been married to for 17 years?! Reality check...

Monday, August 15, 2005

A quick “Only in Israel”

During the 9 days leading up to the day we mourn the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, which was yesterday, there are several do’s and don’ts we must follow. Not doing laundry is one of them.

After 9 days of not doing any laundry, I found I had a lot more clothes to wash than detergent to wash them with!

So this morning, after dropping Ely off at camp, I ran to the super-grocery up the road in Kiryat Sefer. Kiryat Sefer is a 4-minute drive out of the yishuv and up the main road. The name of the store is “Zol Mehadrin”. Zol means cheap/inexpensive. Mehadrin is a word used to brand a food ultra-ultra kosher (to put it simply).

We have a local Makolet (small grocery) here on the yishuv, but shopping is done only in times of desperation, as the prices are sky high.

As I left Zol Mehadrin, I realized the guard was standing with the same man he was with when I walked in minutes before.

Only in Israel do you find the shomer (guard at the entrance of the grocery) learning Torah (bible) with another man, with bags loading him down. They were deeply entrenched in their discussion and, of course, that means he was not really guarding the door!

Only in Israel!

I love it!

And one more thing

Today is August 14th. Which means, that according to the solar calendar, my #1 and only son's English birthday is today.
16 years ago I was in labor forever and gave birth to the sweetest little boy a mother could ask for.
This Friday is his hebrew/lunar birthday, and although DB will still be at camp, I will send him a cake and really think about what it means for me to have a 16 year old son!

Happy Birthday little boy!

By the way...

To Chaya, who left a comment for me after my MEN! post, I would be happy to reply to you privately, but I have no address with which to email you. You can email me by going to the sidebar and click on, "send me an Email". That way I can answer your questions about expressive therapies more privately.
Have a nice day!

It’s a sad day…

This is the saddest Tisha B’Av I ever remember feeling.

I drove this morning with a friend into Jerusalem to a morning of speeches sponsored by Shearim, an all-woman’s learning program.

There were three talks, all were phenomenal.

They got me thinking about my own responsibility in the bringing of Moshiach, in thoughts, speech and action. We all have to take responsibility.

The news here is heavy, the mood here is heavy.
The whole country feels heavy.
I can only pray.

Pray and be more responsible.

And trust. Trust that there is more going on than I understand.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


OK, This is not a "life in Israel" post, but I just could not resist.

What kind of guy doesn't REALLY realize his wife is missing after 6 hours? What happened to having uninterrupted time with your wife to talk while on the road?

I am sure a woman couldn't keep that quiet for that long in a car!

Maybe I'm projecting...

But, in my judgement, the guy is a looser and I would KILL him if he were my husband!!

Monday, August 08, 2005

What is an Expressive Arts Therapist?

Several people have emailed or left comments for me asking, “What exactly is an Expressive Arts Therapist?”

What I usually tell people in simplistic terms is that I am a psychotherapist who uses more creative ways for expression. I was trained in art, music, movement, psychodrama, journal writing, and any other kind of creative expression one can think of. I use a lot of visual imagery also.

I believe deeply in the power of the arts in healing. Any of you who like to draw or dance or write, (especially if you are a blog writer) know how therapeutic expressing yourself can be.

People get lost in speaking words. Using the arts as a process can be a much deeper, and a much more powerful experience.

It took me awhile to find my professional self. But now that I have been working more and more, it feels very natural and real for me.

What is interesting is that being an Expressive Therapist meant something very different in the United States than it does here in Israel. In the US, the mental health field was pretty much skeptical of the expressive arts. I had to constantly prove myself as a clinician and NOT as the in-house art teacher.

Here in Israel, mental health professionals are much more open to this type of therapy. I can even get licensed here as an expressive therapist, whereas in the US, I could only have had been licensed as an LMHC (licensed mental health counselor).

I am about to give my third workshop on the benefits of the expressive arts here in Israel. My last two workshops were very well received and because of them I have begun to earn myself a very nice reputation.

I can’t really explain why I think Israel is more open to this type of therapy, but lucky for me, it seems to be very accepting.

I don’t especially love the jokes people tell, like, “If you’re upset, just draw a picture.”

But I know most of it comes from ignorance about what I actually do or people’s own discomfort about the mental health field.

I look forward to being able to have a private office in my new home here in Israel, where I can run expressive arts groups for teens, writing groups for women, new mother’s groups, and psychodrama workshops for families.

I appreciate the talents G-d has granted me and hope that through these talents, I am able to help heal the pain and confusion so many people suffer from.

Any more questions?

I live in Israel

I had one of “those” moments this morning.

I was walking back from getting a very-needed massage this morning on the other side of the yishuv. Even with my exercising, I have been feeling the sciatic pinch again. I thought I would get it worked on before it got even worse.

There are many talented people on this yishuv. We’ve got all kinds of therapists – physical, occupational, psychological, and massage. I have had many massage therapists in my pregnant days, but Vivi (the name of my current one) is really good!

The other side of the yishuv is only about a 12-minute walk. Ari had the car today, and since I didn’t get up early enough to walk this morning, I decided to walk home.

As I was walking, “it” happened.

I could have been walking in the desert in Arizona. The beige sand, the clear blue sky, the strong sun shining down – all typical desert scenes.

And then I see the Jerusalem stone on each of the buildings, and more obvious, the Hebrew writing on the trucks and buildings.

I’m walking along and I think, “I’m just a public school girl from Frederick and I LIVE IN ISRAEL!!!”

Sometimes it just hits me…

Friday, August 05, 2005

Bag People

When MB was a little girl we used to call her a little bag lady. She would find a bag lying around the house – any size or material – and fill it with whatever else she found lying around. Then she would carry it around the house, with too big dress-up shoes on, as if she was going somewhere. We have picture after picture of her with these bag collections. And if we ever had to find our car keys, we only had to search one of her bags!

Quick tangent:
MB was named after my paternal great-aunt. I was the first girl on my father’s side of the family after this great aunt -50 years later. MB was the first girl on my father’s side after I was born - not as many years! So it was only fitting to name her after this great aunt.

Aunt Mildred was never married and never had any children. But she would always shower us with gifts when we saw her. (Should I tell you the story of when she brought my younger brother, he had to be under 13, a jock strap?!) She was a very giving woman! The incredible thing is she was a bag lady! She was always carrying several bags at a time around with her. And she would always pull exciting things out of those bags!

Is it a coincidence that MB was named after her and she, too, was a bag “little girl”?

Tangent over:
Anyhow, I am a pack rat for bags (amongst other things!). I collect them because; well…do I need a reason? I like bags (maybe MB doesn’t get it after her name sake, after all?!) You can always use a bag for something!

And why use a plastic grocery bag if you have a nice black or pretty colored bag?

That brings me to the reason for this writing.

I am amazed at how many different ways people use bags in this country. EXCEPT, they only seem to use plastic grocery bags or ones from the local store. They carry them around as if they were fancy Gucci bags. Very elaborately dressed up women, carry plastic store bags with handles that are tearing. Old bent over rabbis with long white beards walk down the street with bags full of I-have-no-idea-what. Kids in a hurry somewhere with bags from the local clothing store. It’s as if the bags are a status symbol.

And now, my bag “little girl” insists, even though I have closets full of nice bags, to do-as-the-Israelis-do, and pack her sleepover clothes into a plastic bag! When she has to take materials to camp, she takes a plastic bag. There are 10 bags full of miscellaneous things lying around the house.

I admit, I have three bags right now in active use:
- My black Winnie-the-Pooh bag is to carry my Siddur (prayer book) and Chumash (bible) to synagogue every week.
- My black leather briefcase I bought when I started working in the States, with my present work files in it.
- Another black canvas briefcase with my ulpan notebook and workbook (which I could probably put away for now since ulpan is over for the summer.)

And just in case, I keep my very old, worn-out and most favorite fuchsia college backpack with the words “Art Heals” drawn on it, ready for the taking whenever I need it.

For some reason I can’t get MB to use one of the other 20 bags collected in the closet…

Does it mean that she has become a true Israeli?!

Responding to comments

There seems to be a whole culture/protocol/etiquette out there in blog land as to the proper way to respond, if at all, to comments left on someone’s blog.

There are those who respond in their comment box.

There are those who email their responses directly.

And there are those who respond in the text of their posts.

So far, I have basically NOT responded to people’s comments. Frankly, some of them (ED!!) are not worth responding to. And I’m not very good at come back lines.

Also, my blog, for me, is really a place for me to write and to express what is on my mind. The comments box is an extra place for nice people to let me know they are reading and have thoughts enough to send me a comment.

I’m just not nice enough to respond. YET.

I haven’t decided if I’m going to change that habit. But I wanted those of you who do leave me comments to know that I do read them, think about them, and sometimes respond.

From those of you who leave messages, I know I have regular readers. But since my counter keeps going up, I know there are so many more of you out there who read and don’t comment.

THAT’S almost spooky!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Over 13,000

And still writing...

Tell me, what would you like to read/hear about from me?!

Thanks for visiting...

P.S. Is it really August already?!?

I lost it!

I woke up Saturday morning with a headache – bad start!

The headache got progressively worse throughout the day. I couldn’t lie down because it hurt too much, but sitting up didn’t allow me to sleep.

So my Shabbat nap was compromised.

By the time Shabbat was over, it had grown into a very near migraine. Loud noises, light and the heat aggravated it even more.

At clean-up time, I got my crew to work, but felt guilty going to lie down.

I should have!

MB was washing dishes in one sink, NED was at the other. They were discussing MB’s taking the week off to go to Bnei Akiva camp and NED taking over for her at the backyard camp where she had been working. NED was arguing that she had made plans for the day and couldn’t do it. That’s when I chimed in.

I should have just gone to sleep!

In front of her friends and the rest of our guests, I lost my patience. I began with a raised voice and ended with yelling and a threat.

I am not proud of myself.

It’s one of those things that happens so fast, you can’t stop it. But when it’s over, you know you shouldn’t have said it!

True, she might have spoken a little disrespectfully, but I lost control and I never should have embarrassed her in front of her friends!

Too late, I retreated to my bedroom, rubbed some peppermint oil on my forehead and went to sleep.

I apologized this morning to NED. I explained that I should not have taken it out on her, but she also cannot speak to me the way she did.

We’re friends again, but I’m still embarrassed of my behavior.

I lost it…

And I am not perfect!!