Sunday, October 29, 2006

My Long Awaited Erev Shabbat Present

Thirty-three years ago my family returned to the States from living in Bankok, Thailand after almost four years. While living there I had begun to collect dolls from all over southest Asia.

Very soon it became a hobby. Not a serious one, really. But whenever any of my relatives or friends would travel to another country, I would ask for a doll. When my Auntie Doe passed away (or maybe it was before, because she never had any boys), I inherited all her storybook dolls. Collectors items, for sure.

While in Thailand, my parents had a beautiful teak wood doll cabinet made for my dolls and shipped it to the states with the rest of our Thai furniture. (I am sure there is a great story behind the making of the doll cabinet, but I'll have to ask my parents for that one.)

The cabinet was glass on three sides, with bamboo looking wood. The only part I never liked was that it was painted yellow. It made its way from Thailand to Maryland - three moves there, then to Boston - three or four moves there, and then onto Israel. Glass still in tact and only small peices of paint chipped off.

In our rental home here in Israel, I used the cabinet for office storage, never unpacking my dolls. When we moved to our new home, we called an old high school friend of Ari's, who now lives in Israel and calls himself "The Furniture Doctor," to take the cabinet and finally have it stripped of the ugly yellow paint and refinish to it's natural wood. It was not going to be a cheap process, but I couldn't keep the yellow on it any longer.

The last time I saw it was four months ago.

On Erev Shabbat this past week, they finally brought it back. I turned my head as they took it out of the truck and brought it inside. The cabinet had made it this far, I couldn't bare to watch! I had vacuumed and washed the floor where it would be placed. I had been waiting a long time to finally be able to display my dolls.

The best Erev Shabbat present in a very long time!

The cabinet is beautiful! I am so pleased with how it turned out. It's a dark stain, but you can still see the wood grain. DB quickly put the shelves in and found one single doll to place inside until I unpack the rest. The cabinet is in a prominent place, right inside the front entry way to the house.

Like my Grandma Rose's china cabinet, my doll cabinet has made it to it's final resting place!

After I unpack my winter clothes, I will do the same for my dolls.

It will be a reunion of sorts.

You are all invited to come see!

WInter is here

In Israel we skip Autumn. No leaves turning beautiful yellows or reds. Barely any crisp sunny days. The rain begins, and it's cold. Our stone homes collect the cold from the outside and stay that way until May or June.

The rain started on Friday and continued throughout Shabbat day.

So this morning, I have begun the arduous task of digging out the winter clothes from our new storage room in the attic. We have containers full of sweaters and coats. And supposedly, I planned spaces for them in the new coat and clothing closets. We'll see if it all really works.

Ely demanded wearing her purple winter coat this morning - which we bought for her three years ago, and still fits! - and her gloves and scarve.

To our old Bostonian friends, it still feels like spring. But to my kids, who welcome any sign of winter, it is freezing outside!

I love the layers.

Ari left this morning for his Alyn Hospital bike ride from Jerusalem to Eilat. I hope the weather is kind to them.

I'm off to find my winter clothes and start my busy work day--

Shavuah Tov, Good Week

Monday, October 23, 2006

I’ve got a story to tell you…

This is the long version, but it’s worth the read – I promise!

It started about 20 years ago. When I returned from 2 years of learning in Israel and entered as a junior at Touro College in Manhattan. I realized very quickly that I needed to decide on a major, though I had no idea what specifically I wanted to do.

One night I was speaking to one of my Rabbis and explaining my confusion of what to do with my life. He asked a very important question, one that I still ask kids and clients today: “If you could do anything all day, what would you do? (In fact I think I asked that question here a while back.)

My answer was easy. “I would color. Just give me a coloring book and crayons and I would color.”

With that, I made an appointment to meet the guidance counselor at Touro, Dr. Marian Stoitz-Loike, a woman who I now realize I owe all the thanks to, but have lost touch with…

As I explained my interest in the brain and how it worked, but knew I couldn’t do biology because of the chemistry and physics, I knew I wanted to study psychology. And, of course, I now knew I wanted to color. She asked if I had heard of art therapy.

My first introduction to the field of expressive therapies.

She told me she knew of an internship available at the Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, or maybe she knew there was an art therapist there already, this part is still unclear how it all came together – after all, why would a locked psychiatric ward want to take an unqualified college student without any background who was only interested in art therapy?!? That would never happen today!

Dr. Stiotz-Loike put me in touch with the art therapist there named Devorah Gotthold, who just happened to be Israeli.

I met with Devorah; she welcomed me onboard, and there began my introduction to art therapy. I stayed there 1 or 2 semesters, decided I wanted to be an art therapist, although also knew I wouldn‘t want to work in a psychiatric ward (why, is for another time.)

Fast-forward 10 years. I graduate from Lesley College in 1997 with my Masters in Expressive Arts Therapy. I thought it would be great to be in touch with Devorah again to thank her and let her know what I was doing. But searches on Google and other places were unsuccessful and I never found her.

When I made aliyah, I thought of Devorah again, and thought she had probably come back to Israel. But searches here were also unsuccessful.

As I began my private practice last year, I knew I needed a private supervisor. When I began working with the therapists at the Oasis center, one of the art therapists referred me to a supervisor in Tel Aviv. I met with her several times, but something about our work together did not feel right, so I stopped meeting with her. At our first meeting, though, she had already given me a name of an art therapist in Jerusalem for me to call to locate some office space.

When as recently as last week, I received a referral for a client with very traumatic issues, I knew I could no longer put off finding a supervisor. I called Ofra who gave me the number for a Devorah Slipkin. Devorah and I played phone tag for over 4 weeks (with the holidays in between), but finally found a day to make an appointment.

I finally met with Devorah last week on Thursday. I found her cute little office in the basement of one of the buildings in the Katamon area of Jerusalem. She seemed nice enough as I sat down and began to introduce myself and tell my story. Nothing clicked immediately. I didn’t recognize her, nor did it occur to me that her first name should or could have any signficance.

As I spoke, her smile began to feel familiar, something about her seemed familiar. Then when she mentioned something about when she lived in NY, the energy in the room felt familiar. Something felt connected. So in the middle of a sentence I asked her. I figured I had nothing to lose.

“I know this is going to sound weird, but I feel like I know you. Did you ever live in NY?”


“Did you ever work at a hospital in the Bronx?”

“Yes, Montefiore Hospital.”

“Are you…by any chance… Devorah Gotthold?”

Her eyes widened, “Yes, I’m Devorah Gotthold Slipkin. I use both my names. Depending on who I am talking to.”

“I can’t believe it!” I raise my hands up to the ceiling. “Holy Mackeral! I have been looking for you for 20 years!”

She is now looking at me like I am crazy!

“I am Sarah Edelman. I was a student at Touro College in 1986/87. I was an intern at the hospital. You introduced me to art therapy. I am an expressive therapist today because of you. I can’t believe this!”

“You were very young then.”

“Uh, yeah! I was 19 or 20 years old. That was 20 years ago.”

“I learned so much from you. I am so thankful to you. This is crazy!”

We both continued to look at each, trying to remember each other’s faces and stories. The connection was there though. I felt it. We shared a little more of our personal lives since then. She returned to Israel in 1988. I shared that I was married with 4 kids, and made aliyah 3 years ago.

It knew it was the right match!

And there you have my story.

The same supervisor who introduced me to art therapy 20 years ago, and who I thought I would never find again; will now, hopefully, be my supervisor again, as I begin to build my private practice as a real professional woman and expressive arts therapist.

As Rabbi Kosman always says, there are no coincidences!

Great story, eh?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Shabbat and driving lessons

MB went to a friend in Neve Daniel for Shabbat.

So while Ely was in school, DB, NED and I went to our local take-out place and bought food for Shabbat. I never do that!

We cleaned the house, DB set up my candles.

No stress.

Friday night DB made kiddush and hamotzei (prayer over wine and challah). We sang. Ely told us the story of Bereshit (the story of Genesis) that she had learned (and understood!) in school. She said it mostly in Hebrew!

Ely had her usual Friday night melt down, fell asleep on the couch, and DB and NED and I talked.

This morning I went to synagogue. Haven't done that in a while.

Relaxed. Socialized.
Quiet lunch again with the three kids. Singing. Torah discussion. Enjoying.

Missing Ari.
and MB.

Tonight I took DB driving! I drove up to the grocery parking lot and we went in circles. Besides almost hitting a pole, being rear ended by a taxi, and parking on the curb, he did great for his first time behind the wheel.

Wasn't it just yesterday that my Dad took me driving in the FCC parking lot?! Yesterday. I could swear it was yesterday!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Workmen praying in my bedroom

I had workers in the house today.

Fixing tiles, replacing tiles.

Making a mess.

I kept watch. Didn't want my things stolen again.

One of the workers was in my bathroom, putting tile on the window sill. I walked back and forth between Ari's office and my bedroom to make sure he was still where he was supposed to be. (And basically got nothing done all day!)

Right before the workers were supposed to finish their work and leave - all Arab workers must be off the Yishuv by 3 PM. Don't know why, it's the rule on the yishuv -
I walked into my bedroom to find the worker on his knees on the floor of my bedroom, PRAYING TO ALLAH!!!

I was very disturbed by this! And although I was respectful enough not to tell him to stop right then, I said outloud in English, not to his face, but outloud as I paced the hall (which he, of course, could not understand), "Why are you praying in my bedroom? This is not okay with me. Please stop praying in my bedroom! This is bothering me!"

I can't get the image of this guy bowing up and down on my bedroom floor out of my mind.

I asked DB to pray the evening prayer in my room tonight.

I need different energy in there. I need incense. I need something.

Tomorrow I tell the head guy - NO PRAYING IN MY HOUSE BY WORKMEN!


Today is the big 7-0 for my Dad!

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Your #1 daughter

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I used to be an intelligent woman!

Today I was offered the opportunity to do something I have only dreamed about since becoming an Expressive Therapist 9 years ago.

I received a call this morning from an expressive therapist who specializes in psychodrama, graduated from Lesley (way before me), and led a workshop I participated in last year. He informed me that the Michlala (College for women) in Jerusalem was beginning a training program in Expressive Arts Therapy and he wanted to know if I would be interested in teaching a class.

Not just any class. The Core Group class - which is the foundation of any expressive arts program. It's practically like a groups dynamics course, but so much more involved therapeutically.

After he asked, he added, "And by the way, how is your hebrew?"

AAAHHHHHH! I laughed. I told him he had just handed me a perfect silver platter and I had to throw it right back at him. My hebrew is not strong enough to work with adults, I explained to him, and it would be unethical for me to try.

I used to be an intelligent person, I told him. I got here and suddenly I sound like an idiot when I'm trying to express myself to people.

It's horrible -

But so very flattering and exciting that he even considered me!

So proud of myself :)

Wanted to share that

Sunday, October 15, 2006

still alive...

Recovering from chag (holiday)

Dealing with teenagers and a 6 year old

Husband about to leave for the states again.

Anxiety about work

Dealing with the house - still

Feeling like I shouldn't complain