Happy 5772 from Oy!

Repent, reflect, repeat 


It's been a difficult and busy couple of months, with an intense work schedule and a death in the family after long-term illness. Without boring you or falling into shameless self-indulgence, I'm merely a bit tired.

I'm a "Type-A" girl and sometimes find myself off kilter when it comes to a work-life balance. As such, I'm particularly looking forward to the High Holidays this year. As a child with a limited attention span, I dreaded the seemingly endless hours spent in services, broken up by hallway breaks with my sisters and snatches of hard candy and gum from my mom's purse.

As I've gotten older, the High Holidays have become a valuable opportunity in which I can sit still, and actually think about my life. The New Year reminds me of the chance to start fresh—whether it's contemplating adjusting my daily schedule, or reconnecting with loved ones. In many ways, I think the Jewish New Year leaves room for reflection in ways New Year's Day in January falls short. We have one life on this earth, and as we're reminded with the Book of Life, we best be living it.

The kindness of strangers 


I never had a bat mitzvah. Growing up, I did not belong to a synagogue. My family did nothing religiously organized. I married into a heavily community-affiliated Jewish family. I was married in their synagogue. My husband's father was eulogized there. My children had their namings there and have attended the temple's preschool. Our oldest is in Hebrew school and all but my youngest go to Sunday school there. Over the years, we have regularly attended Shabbat services for the kids and High Holy Day services there. I have made some friends and I have met some good people. But truth be told, after over 14 years, a connection to, or a soulful belonging within temple walls, has eluded me. Then one month ago, I found my connection to my Temple community. It was through the heart of the North Shore all the way to the South Side, in Englewood.

Being alone to make friends  


Gretchen Rubin, in her Secrets of Adulthood, says that "the opposite of a great truth is also true." (As it turns out, she borrowed this from physicist Niels Bohr, but let us not pretend that I am caught up on the work of physicists. In fact, I opted out of physics in high school.) Examples, for Rubin, include: "Control and mastery are key elements of happiness; so are novelty and challenge;" "The days are long, but the years are short;" "Happiness doesn't always make me feel happier."

I've always loved these truthful contradictions, because I believe in this "secret" wholeheartedly. I've gotten in many a tiff with my husband where he will say, "You're contradicting yourself!" and I'll say, "But I'm telling the truth!" It may not be logical, but it's real.

When it comes to friend-making here's my revelatory discovery, two truisms that contradict: "To make friends, you must be okay with being alone."

Did I just blow your mind?

Ten most compelling Jewish NFL stories for 2011 season  


Gabe Carimi  

Before the NFL Season starts, The Great Rabbino wants to look at the most compelling Jewish NFL stories for fans to follow over the season. Here are the top 10 stories.

A taste of what’s going on at Oy!Chicago, an online community for Jews in the Loop!... Read More

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