Upon returning to California after almost seven years living in Israel, navigating the waters of change and the tides of time.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Turning an Emotional Allergy into an Immunity

Adaptation is the key to survival. Those who cannot adapt are winnowed out, as time and nature teach us.

Biology demonstrates that both allergy and immunity originate from the same events, but one will allow survival and the other will cause a reaction that ranges from painful to deadly.

It is now quite obvious that instead of having developed an emotional immunity to shock, loss and grief, I've developed an emotional allergy.

In nature, the difference between an allergy and an immunity isn't clear. They both develop from the same mechanisms, only in one person an antigen will produce an immunity, and in another person the antigen will become an allergen, producing a hypersensitive response that might in fact kill them.

The emotional inflammation I experience each time an unexpected shock/change/loss comes around has now reached the potentially toxic level. It just occurred to me only yesterday, when news of another friend's death over Shabbat reached me - the second death in a week of a strong, spiritual warrior woman in Israel - that this just isn't going to stop.

I need an emotional anti-inflammatory that I can use when feelings get out of control. Because this doesn't look like it's going to ever stop - I'm going to keep losing people I love. Not necessarily every week as it's been lately, but intermittendly and with regularity  for the rest of my life, until either there's nobody else left, or I myself am the one who leaves others behind.

 I've reached the tipping point where denial no longer works to keep this reality at bay. Denial itself creates an invisible and yet completely tangible shadow that looms over everything, and the more the denial the more the shadow grows, until it engulfs everything.

Denial is also what manages the emotional inflammation, the hypersensitive response to grief and loss, denial is what has worked for me for a long time but now the side effects have in fact cancelled out whatever usefulness denial ever had as a way to circumvent emotional anaphalaxis.

Seeking the secret to turning emotional allergies into immunities for the sake of survivial!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Everybody's Got Something, Nelson Mandela Included

While discussing an otherwise perfectly pleasant and wonderful mutual friend, someone said: "If she would only..." (fill in the blank) and I replied: "It's her Something. Everybody's got Something."

Today's Something on display in the world of Social Media is a world view that elevates a complete, unquestioning and limitless loyalty to everything remotely and/or specifically Israeli above ALL other values.

Not just SOME other values, or MOST other values - but ALL other values.

It's some people's Something. Everyone's got Something. This one just hits too close to home.

Nelson Mandela died yesterday, and the general reaction on Facebook was divided into two camps - those who expressed grief, and those who judged the grief of others as wrongful and misinformed.

The latter group brought both images and quotations of Nelson Mandela's support for the PLO and a photo-opp with Yasser Arafat (y'mach s'hmo) as proof-texts for their stance. A summary of the worst of the charges against Nelson Mandela's relationship with terrorists can be found at this link (click on it if you want to read).

I examined the charges and I can't disagree with the documented fact that Nelson Mandela did in fact meet with a number of world leaders who I personally wouldn't invite to my Shabbos table - people like Fidel Castro, Desmond Tutu, Arafat (y"s), and that those same leaders and the propaganda artists whose job it was/is to create symbolic alliances to strengthen their cause didn't hesitate to use Mandela's near-martyr status (deserving as it was) to bolster their own prestige. His presence both enobled and legitimized those who deserved neither nobility nor legitimization. Amongst other harms done - the truly illegitimate co-opting of the word "Apartheid" into the vocabulary of the PLO was a direct result of these associations.

With that being said (and I do believe it needs to be said, and there, I said it!) - Nelson Mandela WAS BIGGER THAN THAT.

Bigger than his political allies, who burned for revenge and hoped he would call for violence upon his release from prison.
Bigger than those who hated and feared him, knowing when he emerged from prison he might have seized the opportunity to call down the hellfire of genocide upon the White population of an entire Continent, if not beyond.

Bigger than the ideologues who revered him, bigger than the celebrities that fawned over him, bigger than the posturing pundits who editorialized him.

A single man. A single moment in time. 27 years in prison at the hand of a racist oppressor. Millions of followers who, with only a word, would with rocks and knives and guns and their bare hands have torn to bits those whose skin color had dominated and oppressed every aspect of their lives for generations.

Instead ...

Instead of hatred, he chose love.
Instead of violence, he chose peace.
Instead of intragience, he chose dialogue.
Instead of rejection, he chose recondiliation.
Instead of polarization, he chose cooperation.

So, yes, everybody's got SOMETHING. Nelson Mandela's "Something" was a political association with the PLO, the sworn enemy of Israel. But his OTHER "Something" was the fact that he saved MILLIONS OF LIVES WORLD-WIDE, many of them JEWISH, when he emerged from 27 years in prison preaching peace instead of war, looking for cooperation instead of feeding conflict.


That's why Nelson Mandela's "Something" is, in my humble opinion, distasteful to me both as a Jew and an Israeli, but overlookable because of EVERYTHING ELSE.

Just the way I overlook the "Something" in so many people whom I know and love, because EVERYTHING ELSE tips the scales.

Probably just the way others overlook the "Something" in me as well.

Perhaps even this truth about me that might be uncomfortable: Although I do value complete, unquestioning and limitless loyalty to everything remotely and/or specifically Israeli VERY VERY VERY highly, I don't value it EXCLUSIVELY ABOVE ALL things. There's one thing I value above that - it's MY SOMETHING.

My "Something" is I can't stand to be told what to think by other people, and unless I've come to a conclusion for myself and by myself, I refuse to think (and do) something I don't believe in. It's my whole personal integrity thing - very annoying, but so much a part of who I am it can't be disabled, even when it comes to other things I hold dear, as dear as I hold my own life.

Everybody's got SOMETHING. What's your Something?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Breaking Badfinger, Baby Blue

So I finally finished binge-watching all of "Breaking Bad" and I'm so conflicted. Brilliant acting, awesome action, great writing - but all around a substance I can't wrap my head around. "Weeds" was one thing, crystal blue persuasion is another. I didn't judge Nancy Botwin for selling pot because I don't think pot is bad, I did judge Walter "Heisenberg" White for cooking Meth because of Meth's intrinsically destructive nature. Destructive to body, mind and soul - why couldn't the brilliant chemist have made the world's greatest LSD instead? Because there's no LSD "industry," per se (it's basically a specialty boutique item kept in stock for the relatively small customer base), there's no margin in it, while the Meth industry is a booming cash business. Different drugs for different times, the epoch we're living in isn't just churning out long-haired hippies who cook brown rice, listen to the Grateful Dead, eat all the food in your fridge and fall asleep on your couch drooling on your favorite pillow anymore. The epoch we're living in is fast, hard, bright, bloody and stacatto-edited informational overload where death is trivialized or idolized and turns our scabby walking ghosts whose souls have been sucked out and live only to scratch that scab bloody, day after day. 

So other than that - "Baby Blue" was the perfect ending.
 I'm also impressed with how Brian Cranston transformed Walt's meekness, his powerlessness, his life-long fearful and cautious nature each into their extreme counterparts - powerful, dominating, cunning, reckless. How even his good attributes - love and loyalty to family - became so distorted by what was happening on the other side of his personality that he found himself creating a falsely incriminating video naming DEA brother in law Hank as the Meth Mastermind, and insisting that Jesse be treated "like family" during the execution Walt was ordering for him. Was it power that corrupted him, or the intoxication of tasting all the power he'd ever repressed in his 50 years all at once? What if Walt had possessed a reasonable amount of power along the way - what if he had not sold his share of Gray Matter for only $5K, what if he had been more ambitious in his academic career and taught at a University level, or gone into research, R&D, etc,. in other words, if Walt had been on the other side of successful, with some history of relatively small but important positions of power under his belt, would he have been so susceptible to the taste of power when it finally came?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

My Gay Puerto Rico

It's a known and documented fact that I spent the majority of my time, energy and resources (material, emotional and spiritual) on the quest to convince any and all of my four adult children to move to Israel when I made Aliyah in 2007.

At the time, they were 20, 22, 24 and 26 - and all of them thought my Aliyah would be a passing fancy, a mid-life crisis, a shiny toy that would soon lose my interest. None of them took me up on the offer to relocate them at my expense when I first moved there.

Over the years, one by one, they all eventually visited. Some for a short time - two weeks, in the case of my daughter, four years in the case of one of my sons, 2 months another, etc. - but none of them wanted to LIVE there.

I cried. I prayed. I lit candles, gave tzedakah, did tshuva, learned Torah, prayed more, did hibbodidut, offered cash and prizes, attempted trickery and bribes, prayed some more, cried some more.
And still they refused to fall in love with the Land of Israel and desire to live there.

This caused me much anguish and frustration, until finally, only a few short months ago after years of this conflict, my oldest son Jesse explained it to me this way:

"Mom, you know how Cameron is all out-there about being bisexual, right? Well, what if President Obama declared that Puerto Rico was America's new 51st State, and that all the GLBT people in the USA were encouraged to move there, in fact they were given financial aid and tax breaks to move there, and what if Cameron moved there and wanted us to move there with him? What would we do?"

"I guess we'd go to visit him there, but we wouldn't move there," I replied.

"Why not, Mom? Why wouldn't we move there?"

"Because we're not gay."

"Exactly, Mom. And that's why we're not moving to Israel. Because to us, your children, Israel is your Gay Puerto Rico."

It was at that moment that any hope I had ever had - hope that was strong, hope that was strengthened in prayer, hope that was held on by nothing more than sheer will, completely collapsed. In fact, imploded.

I saw in that moment that I could indeed spend the rest of my life living in Israel, and praying my heart out, crying my eyes out and beseeching the heavens, but that unless my children suddenly turn into committed Zionists, they're not going to all pick up and move to Israel. Not now. Not that they are 32, 30 (married with twins), 28 and 26. Because Israel IS Gay Puerto Rico to them - a place to visit their Zionist (read: totally committed to something we're not that interested in for ourselves although we acknowledge it's right for you and we don't have anything against it in principle, it's just not for us) mother.

I lost my hope. In a moment. And I saw my future in Israel - alone, working myself into exhaustion just to get enough money to come visit them once a year for a few weeks at a time. And I saw there was another choice - I could go to California, be on the ground to be a part of their real everyday lives, get economically stabilized and make Israel my vacation place, my go-to place instead.

The landslide towards realizing this relocation was coming began with my daughter giving birth to my first grandchildren, fraternal twin boys, a year ago, and it was solidified with the hiddush of Gay Puerto Rico.

So, here it is, and here I am - far away from Gay Puerto Rico, land that I love, living in Golus to be close to my family. After 3 1/2 weeks (including 4 Shabboses) here I can say the following with complete assurance:

The six days of the week in America are easy, and Shabbos is very, very hard here.  The six days of the week in Israel are hard, and Shabbos in Israel makes up for everything else that happened during the week.

Will it ever get easier? SHOULD it ever get easier? I don't know. It almost doesn't matter. Because I did it for love - and in the end (Zionist Dream or Gay Puerto Rico aside) that's all we take with us in the end - the love.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Signature of All Things - Signed, Sealed and Delivered

I finished reading "The Signature of All Things" by Elizabeth Gilbert last night. I haven't been able to stop weeping. I wept until I fell asleep, I woke up at 1:40am to cry myself back to sleep, and all morning tears have watered my cheeks. I want to stop crying, but I can't.

I can't stop crying, because the relationship between Alma and Ambrose hit the Mother of All Nerves. 

Upon first meeting of the character of Ambrose, I immediately began to cry. I knew what was coming, because I lived it in the weirdest and most painful way with the man to whom I was recently married,  and then suddenly divorced 11 months later, after a humiliating scandal.

The half-mad man-child, the one whose spiritual longing took him outside the norms, the one whose own G*d-given human longings became subsumed to the habit of polarizing extremes, the one whose horror of impurity extended to his own natural physicality. 

As I read the book, I was initially thrilled for Alma to have found a true friend, someone as extreme as she in both intellect and imagination, someone who demonstrated the highest excellence and originality in his own chosen (and extremely esoteric) work, someone who took delight in her presence and could soar with her and she with him.

I was hoping they'd be the best of friends forever, but alas, each their own frail humanity, unfulfilled passions and long-overdue urgent need for communion created a moment where both of them felt, indeed, SUPERNATURALLY ARTICULATED and understood that they were for each other.

In such a way, in such a time and culture (and how ironic that the society my ex-husband and I lived in, that of Orthodox Judaism in modern-day Israel, was and is in much ways identical to the 19th Century, wherein the story of Alma and Ambrose took place) they had no choice but to marry.
What happens next, dear readers, I shall not spoil for you, nor is this post meant as a book review, simply a jumping-off point to the fountain of grief that was triggered by reading how Alma and Ambrose alas, could not simply have left it at glorious friendship of two distinctly unique individuals.

Because of the impossibility of basic, honest communication between two people so completely caught up in their own internal worlds, a great misunderstanding occurred - one that would have life-altering repercussions.

Alma felt fundamentally rejected and socially humiliated, and banished her husband - who, like mine, was incapable of initiating his own destiny but instead reacted or adapted to what was put in front of him by those with stronger wills - to the other side of the world than herself.

As for me, feeling fundamentally betrayed, socially humiliated AND responsible for harm that came to others because I not only sanctioned but promoted him to the world, in the course of banishing my former husband to the outermost limits of the outermost limits, both socially and psychically, I've lost the friend I used to have - my weird, quirky and sweet friend who used to come over to my house every week for two years to record Torah programming for my Internet Radio Station that reflected how his original mind and my original mind could riff and soar together.

"Like Angels," Ambrose would have said with a dazzling smile. But my former husband alas, was no angel - although he desperately wanted to be. 

What happens to Ambrose, what happens to Alma subsequent to that, the role that sexual frustration, unexpressed desire, the subsuming of healthy human connectivity to the neo-pagan conceit that flesh and spirit are essentially incompatible, and the suffering that occurs when the natural progression of human relationships is thwarted by philosophies, fears and conventions - no, I shall not spoil for you, dear reader.

But, like the character of Alma, I MUST understand. I cannot rest until I KNOW, no matter the cost to my serenity, peace of mind, health or happiness. So my search to uncover and understand WHAT, WHY and HOW this bit of airy fluff caught me and swung me about and sent me flying in another direction altogether, when I find clues, I must follow them.

Because it's not the airy fluff, or the lost friend that I'm weeping for. It's the utter destruction of my dearest dream, the one I invested everything into, the one closest to my heart, that I waited a lifetime to realize - a marriage/partnership with a spiritual mate / mentor / partner / participant. Because the weight of mere airy fluff was enough to crush and destroy that for which I saved an entire lifetime.

Shall I continue to weep for what, at the end of all things, may simply have turned out to be a bit of airy fluff that passed through my life, nothing more? No, 'tis not that for which I weep, for I am in fact a woman of substance, and women of substance don't weep for fluff.

The tears come from the fundamental fear that after this last debacle, I may never rebuild enough trust in MYSELF, ever again, to be able to share an intimate relationship with another person, or to have a life-partner.  

Tears dry when dead dreams crumble into dust and blow away.
Light comes when that which casts a shadow is removed.
Dreams come when fear hibernates like a bear in his wintery cave.
Newness comes through the birth canal of hope, wet and squalling to be soothed.

Apparently, it is quite the biological and spiritual fact that one must die to the old to be born to the new. And since I'm not even halfway done with my life, I'm not ready to give up on the hope of newness.

Thanks Elizabeth Gilbert, for inadvertently writing the book that gave me the illumination I needed to take this battle for my life to a higher level.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Pharaoh's Poop Shyness and The Process of Elimination

I woke up a little after 4am (adjusted for last night's time change), or should I say, the New Moon/Solar Eclipse in Scorpio woke me up, Rosh Chodesh Kislev actually hasn't let me sleep much at all which is ironic, considering Kislev is the Hebrew Month associated with dreams and sleep.

Another thing impeding my sleep cycle (aside from jet lag and general freaked-outedness of being Chutz l'Eretz) is my digestive cycle. How to put this delicately, in a way my over-sensitive Libra Rising can cope with? I'm living in a house with 3 other adults, 1 teenager and 3 mid-sized (ages 6, 7 and 8) children. There's only one bathroom.

I have a major case of poop shyness.

Now, many of you dear readers will not have a clue as to what that is - and I'm sure those of you who are clueless are also the types of people who can cheerfully empty their bowels in public places, at the home of friends or even heaven forfend behind a bush in a nature-y kind of place. That's so nice for you. Obviously you were not toilet-trained by my mother.

So now that we've eliminated (forgive the pun) most of the world, I'll address the rest of you, those who have a hard time RELAXING enough to process your waste products when there are other people around, especially other people whom you barely know. This is poop shyness, a malady some believe 50% of the world suffers from. How can that statistic be true? And yet when I Googled "poop shyness" I saw postings and articles that made that claim. 

Now, what does all this have to do with the Eclipse? Well, it's in the Sign of Scorpio - and not only the Sun and Moon, but Mercury, Saturn and the North Node are meeting up into one gigantic cosmic dog pile (really, REALLY no pun intended) Happens also that this Eclipse conjuncts MY Natal North Node at 9 Degrees Scorpio in my First House.

Scorpio is concerned with the regenerative process - sex, death, reincarnation, as well as the process of decay and ultimate rebirth. It's no wonder that all this Scorpionic energy is converging in my digestive system - and I'm being forced to confront, on the most basic and fundamental level, my own fragile and very real humanity.
You know who else was poop-shy? PHARAOH. The Midrash says that Pharaoh went out to the Nile River every morning secretly, to do his biological business, because his people thought he was a god and gods don't poop. I've always considered this Midrash pure silliness, simply because HOW could Pharaoh go ANYWHERE undetected, out of the sight of his couriers, servants and slaves, for even a moment? One does not let one's royal master go unattended, even when he sleeps.

But today, during the Scorpio Eclipse, a little after 4 am when I was hoping the house was quiet and still and sleeping, I, like Pharaoh, crept out to the modern version of the Nile River (the bathroom upstairs that everyone shares) to confront my own humanity in silence and privacy.

Until a little knock on the door.

The 6 year old girl of the family, who fell asleep early still in her clothes from Shabbat, was awake and, most naturally, needed to use the bathroom!

I tensed. I whispered "I'll be out in a minute." And I was.

As I waited a few minutes for the bathroom to once again be free, I calculated that between the time the last grown-up had gone to bed and the first child awoke, there was only a two-hour "window of opportunity" for quiet and privacy. Those two house were from 2-4am.

"Really," I said to my digestive tract, "Is that how you want to live? Training yourself to only relax between 2 and 4am, California time?"

"NO," answered my Insides. "We want to be normal."

"Then you're going to have to accept the fact that you're human. And humans eliminate waste. And other humans not only know about it, but expect it to be a normal part of life."

The Pharaoh in me is silent. Suddenly I start to sing ... "Let my people go...." and start to laugh, uncontrollably, clutching my aching stomach and stifling my mouth as not to wake the household. Of course Moses told Pharaoh to "Let my people go." Because being a free person means you're free to be a PERSON, and a person is someone who owns their own body (as opposed to a slave, whose body is owned by his or her master).

Am I a slave to my weird craziness or am I a free person?

It's my body, I've got to own it.

Was Pharaoh really free, after all, or was he a slave of slaves - Master to a nation but slave to his own ego? The head of a great nation has to sneak out at the crack of dawn to poop in the Nile so nobody will know he's actually human.

Well, I'm human, and modern indoor plumbing is thankfully my culture's preferred way of dealing with the process of elimination. Modern indoor plumbing in a house full of people, all of whom also are human with bodily needs. We'll all take turns being human - including me.

If the Eclipse / New Moon can teach me anything at all, it might be the simple truth that nobody but me really CARES at ALL about my bodily functions, and that making friends with my frail humanity might be the healthiest choice given the circumstances.

So my first step towards emotional / digestive liberation is to write this blog entry - and anyone who knows me well will be sending me roses for my courage - As my best girlfriend who has known me since we were teenagers once said to me: "I've known you for over 30 years and you still can't even say the word 'poop'." 

Well - poop. There. I've said it - in writing. On the Internet!!!

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to use the bathroom. And then I have to rule the world.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Trick or Treat?

Yesterday was Halloween, a holiday I've given little or no thought to for the last 7 years of living in Israel. We don't do Halloween there, we have Purim - l'havdil, not that they're the same thing, but in terms of children (and adults) dressing up in costumes and giving each other gifts of yummy edibles, etc., some experiential parallels can be made.

Every year during the weeks before Purim, the streets of Jerusalem and Tzfat are covered with racks and rows of (re-purposed Halloween) costumes, and I always seem to give myself a silent chuckle as I walk by and laugh inwardly at the children's costume industry that has two markets twice a year - The entire Christianized world (particularly the USA) in November, and Israel (usually around March).
So here I am in California - yes, I've been here an entire WEEK now! - and it's Halloween night. My 13 1/2 month-old fraternal twin grand-sons are, of course, being dressed up for Halloween. Because their mother, my daughter, a Leo with a natural flair for the dramatic, was raised in California, in a home that was not religiously observant, a house that not only participated in Halloween to the uttermost, but highly valued creativity and art - both important components in creating Halloween costumes.
So it would be out of the question in any way, shape or form to expect my grand-sons to be off the grid for Halloween.

With much love and great care, Zachary became Eyore and Eliot became Tigger. We saddled up Bailey the dog (wearing his worn-out grey squirrel doggie Halloween outfit which has frankly seen better days), and put the boys into their little red wagon. We gave them plastic pumpkin bowls (which they continually tried to either drink from or wear on their heads as hats) and we pulled them around the block, while it was still the tail-end of daylight, arrived home, gave them each one piece of candy, threw them in the bathtub and then to nite-nite.

My first-time Savta anticipation of this cute but fairly innocuous evening was attacked on Facebook by several FB Friends as basically one step short of race betrayal. I was told that Halloween was a Pagan holiday (I already know that, and by the way one of my best friends from my years in Long Beach is a Wiccan Priestess, but I digress). I was told that by participating in it in any way I was giving tacit approval, and my participation was a sign of my quick descent into hell because of being disconnected physically from the Land of Israel (for a week, after living there almost 7 years).

If there's anything that will enrage me in this world, it's to be attacked (or even criticized) for anything having to do with my family. In the public life I've created for myself I can be challenged on politics, religion, economics, musical tastes, in fact ANY topic and I don't get crazy - in fact, I enjoy the challenge of a vigorous debate on any topic. But when it comes to my children, all bets are off. My mega-Mama Lion Moon in Leo comes roaring out of her den, ready to rip the throats out of whomever dares to criticize my offspring and their descendents. My Mars in Scorpio starts firing up the Thermal Nuclear Warhead. It's instant WAR.

OK, maybe I over-react. But really, considering the context and history of my life and the story of me and my four children, it's understandable. And it's not only understandable, it's one of my main PTSD triggers.

So it was with great relish that I de-friended two people (the two most abusive, who continued their rants into private messages) and in the aftermath of the whole thing I have to say: Trick, or Treat? Where was the trick here, what was the treat?

THE TRICK is, of course, not getting riled by judgmental, insensitive people. The trick is to demand respect at all times and when respect isn't given, to deliver clear and immediate consequences.

THE TREAT is - I got to walk around the block pulling my grand-sons in a red wagon while they were dressed up as Eyore and Tigger! Gevaldt! That was a treat indeed, one that makes flying 6,000 miles halfway around the world and living in a culture I'm not in the least bit interested in worthwhile for me on an emotional level. And it's the emotional level that I'm here for - so yeah, it was indeed a wonderful treat. 

Will my grand-sons get dressed up for Purim this coming year? I don't know yet! Only if their mother and father allow me to make Purim a part of their lives. I don't know yet if they will, but I do know one thing - there's ZERO CHANCE of being allowed to introduce Jewish holidays to my grandsons if I put my self-righteous, holier-than-thou nose up in the air and boycott their parent's chosen cultural observances, Halloween being the chief one.

From L to R: Carleigh, David and Jesse Kude, Halloween 1987.

I'd like to close with a Halloween memory from 1996. We were living in Long Beach, California and my kids were 15, 13, 11 and 9. I was convinced that Halloween was a Pagan Holiday and that my children didn't need the extra influx of sugar, nor the exposure to "pagan rituals." I declared that we were going to go roller skating at the local roller rink instead of trick-or-treating - a decision that was met with an uproar similar to the cry of an entire village being napalmed. They yelled, they wept, they begged, they threatened, they pouted, they carried on - but I held firm. At the roller rink I was sailing along on my roller skates, when I hit the TINIEST LITTLE METALLIC EYELET from another pair of skates and went FLYING into the air, landing on my arm and BREAKING IT.
Later at the Emergency Room hospital, after I had been X-Rayed, medicated, put into a cast and sent on my way, my 11 year old son David and 9 year old son Cameron looked at me and said very solemnly: "Mom, this happened because you wouldn't let us go trick or treating. You can't win Satan on Halloween."

Words to live by, and I have ever since. "You can't win Satan on Halloween." Just like we do "Mayim Achronim" after eating a meal (Kabbalistically we say it's giving the Sitra Acher (the "Evil Inclination") something to enjoy to distract it from our simcha and kedusha), HALLOWEEN IS TO POPULAR CULTURE WHAT MAYIM ACHRONIM IS TO A SEUDA. 

May the Sitra Acher be satisfied and leave us all alone for five minutes, and may my Facebook Friends who NEED me to be an unwavering poster girl for their vision of Jewish America looks like all de-friend me before I have to de-friend them. And let us all say "Amen."

In which I return to California after almost 7 years in Israel, because when the heart is in one place and the soul is in another, both the emotions and the body suffer.
Welcome to the chronicle of this phase of the long, strange, trippy story of my life ...