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religion

A LIGHTER SOUL

A LIGHTER SOUL

I walked into my friend’s classroom just the other day at about two in the afternoon and I sat down at the desk across from him with a great big sigh.

“Michael,” I stated solemnly, “I am experiencing a spiritual crisis.”

To be clear, that’s a pretty shocking expression coming from me.  Spirituality has never even been close to defining the essence of who I am.  I am opinionated.  I am steadfastly loyal.  I believe strongly that a good sense of humor is often an indication of a sharp intelligence.  I am brimming with joy on the outside while I am questioning everything on the inside, but rarely is spirituality part of what I’m questioning and maybe that explains why Michael looked at me with the same shocked expression he might have worn had I just declared that I was going off the grid to train for a marathon where I had to run up mountains while shoeless.

“Why?” he asked me.  He even looked up from his computer, a thing that only happens when he’s really interested or puzzled by something. 

“Do you fast for Yom Kippur?” I responded, my question answering his question. 

“No,” he said with a short laugh.  And then, almost astonished, he asked, “Wait – do you?”

THE BAR MITZVAH

THE BAR MITZVAH

“So what should I expect?” he asked me.  

We had just gotten into the car after he came to pick me up at my house and he was programming the address into his GPS while I buckled my seatbelt beside him and tried not to get the chiffon of my strapless dress caught.

“What do you mean?” I replied.

“From today,” he said.

“Have you never been to a Bar Mitzvah?” I asked him – and I didn’t mean to sound quite so shocked because, after all, I know that it’s not something that everybody has experienced, but the guy was raised on Long Island!  

DESTINY

DESTINY

It was that moment during my lesson on the mythic hero’s journey when it was time to talk philosophically:

Some potential heroes are reluctant to answer the call to adventure.  There are reasons to feel that way – sometimes really good reasons.  Perhaps they don’t feel prepared to go slay the shark in Jaws.  Maybe they believe that there are other far more qualified scientists who can destroy the asteroid that’s hurtling towards Earth in Armageddon.  Sometimes they feel comfortable in the complacency of their ordinary world, like Billy Madison.  But part of being a hero is that it is that person’s destiny to answer that call and to go take that journey and achieve that quest.  How many of you believe that our lives are in some manner preordained and that everything actually happens for a reason?

The entire room was suddenly filled with hands raised far into the air – and my entire mind was suddenly filled with the realization that I am just not like everybody else.

WHEN CHRISTMAS CHANGED FOR A JEWISH GIRL LIKE ME

WHEN CHRISTMAS CHANGED FOR A JEWISH GIRL LIKE ME

“I was just outside walking Brandy and I heard sleigh bells overhead,” said my father, his voice almost thundering in excitement.

I was downstairs in our finished basement playing on the rust-colored shag carpeting, and it was getting late.  I looked up at him – he was big; I always looked up at him – and as I listened carefully to the words he was saying to me, I felt my face grow very pale.

“I have to go to sleep!  I have to go to sleep!”