Dance, Vol. 2


water heater closet & fan under carpet

Yesterday morning I wrote: 

…whatever life throws at you, for the love of Gd, DANCE!!!

So, G-d, the Universe, karma, the Unity, (whatever name you prefer), decided to “test” my resolve to keep dancing!! 

Last night at 9:30, I arrived home to a massive water heater leak and a few hundred square feet of carpet that was so sopping wet that water splashed when I walked across the carpet.   Maintenance arrived at 11:00 pm to deal with the water heater.  A carpet cleaner arrived at 11:30 pm to start removing the water from the carpet.  And now there’s a very large fan blowing air under the carpet and padding, and someone is to install a powerful dehumidifier this morning.  

As you might imagine, I didn’t get much sleep, and I’m pretty tired.  I need to have a productive day at work, go to the grocery, be a mom, and then figure out how many more days it’ll be until the bookshelves (and all the books, toys, and games that lived on them) can return to that wall between the closet and stairs.   

Between being tired and knowing part of my house is in disarray, I’m not feeling especially relaxed.   I’m tense.  And I could focus on that feeling and worry about the carpet and the disorder.  I could let that feeling spiral into a grumpy mood that would result in less than ideal interactions with others, and increased frustration.  


I can accept that I cannot fix the house or carpet today, because carpet dries when it dries, and I can let go of the worry about if, when, and how I’m going to get my house back in order.  And instead I can focus on NOW —  the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and my life is filled with blessings!!!!

I’m tired, but the choice where to focus remains mine .  . . 

Let’s see if I can pass today’s test!!!

And the message is??? 



I took that picture last weekend in Florida, and I’ve been drawn back to it nearly every day this week, almost as if I’m waiting for it to tell me… something…

But every day that I look, the picture seems to bring me a slightly different message about Life — about the cycle of life and death, about the interconnection of all existence, about finite matter “standing” at the edge of infinity and eternity, about the holiness and beauty inherent in moments of transition… 

So I decided that, this Shabbat, instead of telling you what I see, I’d post the picture and invite all of you to tell me what you see in it.   I’d love to hear what messages you see — please leave a comment and let me know!!   🙂  Thanks!

Praying Shabbat brings more shalom to all, jen 

How old am I?? 


This week we return in the Torah to “my portion” — B’har/B’chukotai — the portion of my conversion to Judaism and of my bat mitzvah.  It’s been 12 years since my conversion and 9 years since my bat mitzvah.   Each of those events feels simultaneously like they happened yesterday and a hundred years ago. 

May is also the month of my physical birth — 47 years ago, which I find really hard to believe because I remain a total kid at heart.  I find great joy in playing with my sons, whether building Legos, playing video games, racing cars, jumping on trampolines, or battling with Nerf guns.   

In a video I posted here a few weeks ago, Rabbi Rami Shapiro reminded his audience that whatever we think our age is, we have to add at least 13.8 BILLION years to it, because the pure soul that we were given is a piece of Hashem and has existed at least since The Big Bang.  

And, yet, each day, as we say in the morning prayer Yotzer Or, Gd renews Creation . . . including each of us!!   Because of this, Rabbi Nachman taught we need to take full advantage of each day for the unique opportunities that it offers. Who knows how we might be different today from yesterday, what  new talent or skill or interest we might find within ourselves . . . and maybe that also means that this version of me is here only today, so today, and every day, is Day 1 of an amazingly miraculous adventure!! 

I don’t know what number best describes my age, but I know I’m going to keep embracing each day and the opportunities Hashem gives me to live, to laugh, and to love.  And I pray you’ll do the same.  

Shabbat shalom to all — may you feel young and excited to be alive!!  jen

the richest person in this world


What could have more value, at any moment in time, than the light and love of others who see the truth of who we are and who encourage us to climb, so that we might reach the potential Gd planted deep within?

When I stop and remember to measure my life by that standard, I’ve no doubt that I must be the richest person in this world!!! 

Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter: whoever finds one has found a treasure.  Faithful friends are beyond price; no amount can balance their worth.
Apocrypha: Ben Sira 6:14-15.

 with a heart full of gratitude, jen 

Riding the waves


This past week, had a relaxing four-day weekend at the beach with family. I spent a lot of time in swimming pools with my boys, but I also stole a little time alone to search for shells and enjoy the surf. In the process, I did something that, until recently, I would never have done — I went out into the ocean alone!

I stood on a sandbar in chest deep water. As waves came in, I jumped to keep my head above the water, and then I’d float back down as each wave passed. I played like this in the waves for a long time, feeling the strength and power of the Ocean, having a healthy respect for it without letting my fear keep me from enjoying the extent to which I could “become one” with the water and the waves. I even allowed myself to laugh after I got splashed with spray from breaking waves, lost my footing and fell momentarily, or mis-timed a wave and got my head filled with salt water.

As I’ve thought over the last few days about my moments with the Ocean, I’ve realized it provides quite an analogy for life in the modern world . . . a world in which many of us sometimes feel we might drown in the unending onslaught of tasks, chores, and electronic communication alerts. 

The key to “survival,” it seems to me, is to find a way to let the onslaught flow past us without drowning us — to time our energy bursts to propel us over the waves without losing our footing when we land.

Of course we will get splashed in the face, and most likely we will occasionally fall — but we have to learn to laugh through those moments!! And sometimes, yes, it might seem we are going to drown in the onslaught — but we can sputter in the trough and regroup before the next crest hits us!  We just have to remember to work with, not against, the flow of Life that surrounds us…

This Shabbat, may we each find moments to pause and regroup before next week’s wave of activity.

And may Shavuot (beginning Saturday night), at which we recall the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai, remind us that our Faith Traditions can help us learn to sift life’s possibilities, so that we focus on the activities and options that truly matter.

shabbat shalom, jen

What a Love this is




What a Love this is that springs up within me, to flood the arid landscape of my soul.  It washes away the pain of my past, fills the cracks, and makes me again whole.

What a gift this is, this Love I was shown, by a rabbi who set my tears free, she assured me I’d find my way back to Gd, if I struggled to dig deep inside me.

What a treasure this is, this well that I dug, amidst a desert like Abraham my father. It releases the Love that sustains all life and lets me see Gd in all others.

What a miracle it is that I met that rabbi, at the height of my internal strife. She saw Gd in me, taught me how to dig, and now truly I have a new life.

What an honor it is to feel this Love, as it springs up from deep in my soul. May Gd help me learn to share it with others, so that they too can make themselves whole.


praying Shabbat brings shalom, jen