Friday, January 25, 2019

Plugging along

 For a while now, I had this cotton white and green ticking sitting on top of my sewing machine.  When I worked at the computer, I looked at it, and thought about making more napkins for our household.

Then I realized, well, it won't get done this way, and I like doing I scraped together enough time to make one napkin at a time.  This resulted in--2 napkins, done after I'd gotten work between other writing and household jobs.
On Wednesday, I felt a big need to make and do something for myself, for the household, something tangible and real.  I did 2 napkins.  All done, a set of four (all the matching fabric I had!) is complete.  These napkins have already been used, well decorated with chocolate, blueberries and bread pudding (we're messy eaters!) and washed once.

Meanwhile, I've been trying to boost my work productivity when I can.  One article was rejected this week, several more are being considered, turns out two were published when I wasn't looking!
Here are a couple from the Vancouver Jewish Independent:
1) Complexity and Perspective: This one is about the challenges of loving friends with serious illness and --along the way--acknowledging that Jewish tradition has always taught that we can respect, love and care about others who may not be "like us." (They may not share religious traditions, customs, physical characteristics, etc.)

2) Some things better in person--This piece is about the recent decision to close Kutz Camp, a Jewish summer camp for teenagers with international reach in Warwick, NY.  While technology has allowed us to make many more connections online and closer to home, sometimes it is worth travelling to see new ideas, people and geography....  The image, borrowed from,  captures only some of the magic this place had for me as a young adult.
Finally, I am home with a sick kid (this is what January is for, right?  It's -40 windchill, why not stay home?) and while he sniffles through his virus, I've been reading some interesting articles online about race and religious identity. Even though Jewish people come from all over the world and some are very definitely People of Color, I was recently asked, during a discussion about inclusion and diversity, to "check my white privilege" by another person who says she is of "Jewish extraction."  It forced me to realize that no matter how often I try to be an ally, to do tikkun olam (efforts to fix the world) make connections with other minorities--to some, I will never have tried hard enough.
Yet, being Jews these days is pretty fraught--there is a lot of hate out there.  There was hate on the streets in Anacostia when I did my year of student teaching in inner-city DC.  There was hate and a swastika on the playground here just after the killings in Pittsburgh.  There was hate in my classrooms as a kid, and when someone shot at the windows of my childhood synagogue and vandalized it. There's a lot of hate to go around.
 Here are pieces from the AtlanticThe American ProspectThe Yale Daily News and  There's more out there.  What did I google?  "Are Jews white?" 
This person told me it wasn't "time" for me to bring up Jewish issues when discussing issues for Black and Indigenous People of Color.  I told her my Jewish community members, friends and family who were Black or Indigenous might think otherwise.  Anyway, I was reminded--January 27th is International Holocaust Remembrance Day That seems as good a time as any to think about hate, prejudice, discrimination, and race.  
This is stuff I think about... you know, while making napkins.

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