Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Four Years Later

On September 28, 2000, Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount. This was used (IMO) by Israel's enemies as an excuse to start the second Intifada. Thousands of lives have been lost in the ensuing four years. The official count of Jewish lives lost is 1,017. I don't even know how many wounded there have been. Or how many of those wounds are permanent. Nor do I know how many Arabs have been killed or wounded.

Four years of bombings, rocket launches, rock throwings, shootings and a vicious media campaign to delegitimize the only Jewish state in the entire world. Four years of trying to destroy a nation whose only true "crime" was daring to breathe. Naturally, to their logic, their own dead and wounded are our fault as well. If we'd been more obliging, and simply let ourselves be killed off, then the past four years wouldn't have been necessary.

Only a few days ago, we spent 25 hours focusing on, and trying to atone for, all that we'd done, both as individuals and as a collective community/nation, in the past year. Today, on this 4th "anniversary" of the start of the second Intifada, I can't help but reflect back on the past 4 years: what they've done to us, and how we've responded.

I can't claim that everything we've had to do has been good or wise. I can't say that I've always agreed with the government's policy, either the US government or the Israeli. But I can honestly say that I think, for the most part, we've done what we can to protect Jewish lives and Israel's existence, with as much regard for the wellbeing of the Arabs living on Israeli land as possible. Can they claim that they've done the same for us?

May the new year bring peace for Israel and the Jews around the world. Let this be the last "anniversary" of such efforts to delegitimize and destroy us.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

The Morning After

I'm always surprised by how many people seem to dread Yom Kippur. I look forward to it, to be honest. Sure, I miss the whole eating thing, but I don't think one day of fasting is really that big of a deal. I don't even mind all the many hours of davening. The only thing that really bothers me about being in shul for the majority of the day is the inability to get away from all those people. They're everywhere. Behind me. In front of me. Next to me. After a while, I start to feel a bit claustrophobic.

Despite the fact that Yom Kippur sort of requires davening with a minyan, I've always thought of it as the most intensely personal of all the chagim. So I don't really want to be surrounded by people (particularly people who are talking to one another. One memorable year, the three ladies behind me insisted on talking about banana bread.). I just want to be able to have my own conversations with Hashem.

Somehow, every year, on Yom Kippur I manage to come to terms with issues that have been bothering me, whether they're emotional, logical, whatever. Feelings towards other people, towards specific events or situations...they all seem to make more sense to me. Or, at least, I gain an acceptance of whatever it is I'm feeling. This year was no different.

Now Yom Kippur is over. Despite all my intentions and resolutions to the contrary, I know it will not be all that long before I start to fall back into my usual patterns of behaviour, and my world becomes muddled and confusing once more. But for right now, everything still makes sense. It's a pretty spectacular feeling.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

My New Quest for Computer Independence

I thought I bought a laptop this morning. Not only that, but I thought I'd managed to get myself one helluva good deal, being the magical creature than I am. I found someone who was selling a new, in-the-box 12" Apple ibook for $850. We emailed, I got prompt answers to my questions, and all seemed well. I was very proud of me.

And then the good people at Amazon.com send me a notification that my order has been cancelled. The seller is "temporarily unable to receive payments." After frantically calling my bank to make sure that I haven't just lost $850 (IM"H, my account should be corrected by midnight), I contact the seller, wondering if he/she/it will be fixing this problem and reposting the item on Amazon once again.

The gist of the very prompt response: Possibly, but in the meantime, here's a special offer just for you. You send me the money by Western Union (the seller is in the UK), and I'll send you the computer. If you're not satisfied, contact me within 2-3 days. I'll send back the $$, and you send back the computer.

Is it me, or does this sound a bit dodgy? I have a feeling I should look about for another laptop.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

And So It Begins...

It's erev Rosh Hashana, my challah is rising for the second time, and I find myself with a little bit of down time before I must leave for the office. So I sit here, with my new and extremely adorable kitty Calvin on my lap, and I do what I do best...think.

It's been one hell of a year here in Cara's World. I know that there were times when life didn't seem so great. There were obviously periods of "Meh" because I know that I blogged about them. Yet now, as I try to recall the past year, I can't think of what those negative times were all about. All that comes to mind are my family and my friends, both new and old, which reminds me of what I've already realized: Life is about the people in it.

As 5764 comes to a close, and we all look ahead to 5765, I find myself looking beyond that to 5766. Where will Cara be then? B'li neder, Cara will be in Israel. While many decisions are not yet made, I've managed to make up my mind about one. I will not be applying to graduate school this year.

That means that I have this coming year, 5765, to decide how to get myself to Israel, and what to do with myself once I get there. More than that, it means I need to make sure that I appreciate everything and everyone that I'll be leaving in the United States. Though I deeply envy my friends who have just made aliyah, or who will soon be leaving for the Holy Land, I know that this isn't my time yet. The desire is there, but I'm not ready. So I have a year to get myself ready, in every possible way.

But before I can leave 5764 behind me, there is something that I ask from all of you, whomever and wherever you may be. I've written a great many things since I created my little world here, some serious, some sarcastic, and some just downright silly. If anything I have written, whether on my blog or on yours, has offended you, shamed you, or hurt you in any way, I sincerely ask for your forgiveness.

May 5765 be a year of bracha, simcha, chazuk and shalom for you all, and for your loved ones. A year of blessing, of joy, of strength, and of peace.

And as for me? L'shana haba b'Yerushalayim!

Monday, September 13, 2004


Not only has my own blog posting time been limited lately, but so too has my blog reading time. For this reason, I did not know until a few minutes ago that one of my favorite blogs is shutting down.

Mo-C is retiring. Or at least taking a sabbatical from his MoChassid blog. He'll still have others, but this one will be no more. And this saddens me.

I first came across Mo-C's blog through Velvel, earlier in my blogging career. While he and I may not always agree (particularly on matters pertaining to men, women, and friendships between the two), his blog and his comments have always been worth reading. Unlike yours truly, Mo-C wrote about issues that actually matter. I'm just another ego-centric blogger who decided that other people need to know what I'm thinking. He actually wanted to make other people think.

To Mo-C, I hope this is merely a respite from blogging. I, for one, will miss your perspective on the Jewish world.

To the rest of us in the blogosphere, I hope we can somehow fill the void left by Mo-C's absence. Maybe the time has come for us to rise to the challenge, and to use our blogging powers for good instead of evil.

Tomboy In Lace

Frank Sinatra sang a song called 'Nancy' that had a line somewhere in it about a 'tomboy in lace'. That's kind of how I've been feeling the past few days. Over shabbos I wore what may be my girliest outfit- fragile, pink, and flowy. Very feminine, and something I would not have dreamt of trying on, let alone buying, a year ago. Or six months ago, for that matter.

And then Becky and I went shopping yesterday, because we both needed new clothes for yontif. Well, she needed new clothes. I just like buying something new, because my wonderful grandmother, a"h, always wanted me to have something new for Rosh Hashana and Pesach. One of Becky's outfits was a very snazzy, stylish red, black and cream number...three of the colors I wear most. My purchases? Pastel. Both of them.

One lilac, one pink, both flowery. And you know what? I like it that way!

I Need A Weather Vane

Last week felt long. It should have been a very fast week, since I didn't have to work on Monday. Yet instead it dragged and dragged. There are two reasons for this: my best friend's mother was in the hospital (now recovering nicely, baruch Hashem), and I'm trying to decide the course of my life.

It a rather pathetic epiphany, I realized that I haven't had to make many major life decisions thus far. True, I'm still a little pischer. But my past decisions, even the ones that seemed huge at the time, weren't such a big deal. For example: I had to choose which college to attend. Obviously my choice shaped who I became in those oh-so-formative years, and I believe that I made the right choice, but the really crucial aspect of that decision was made by my parents. The decision was not whether or not to go to college, but simply which college I wanted to go to. They chose my path- I only decided how I was going to travel.

And now I'm trying to decide what to do next fall. Do I follow the path that my parents, and Big Brother, chose, and go to grad school? Or do I pick my own path, and go to Israel to do I-don't-know-what? I'm leaning heavily towards Israel. In fact, I've almost decided to not apply to grad school at all. And earlier today, I filled out and submitted an online application for Livnot U'Lehibanot. (Not sure it's the perfect program for me, but that's a different subject altogether) But it's definitely keeping me up at nights, among other things.

I'm a thinker and a planner. I map things out, and try to figure out all the angles before hand. I suppose that makes me a very cautious person. I don't like taking risks in my personal life, and I'm rarely capricious. Part of me wants to, very uncharacteristically, just see where the wind takes me. Get myself to Israel, and figure everything else out when I get there. But the rest of me wouldn't mind a 5-day forecast...just so I have a better idea of what to expect and what to pack. So any of you psychics (but not psychos) or meterologists out there: your advice is most appreciated.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Love In The Fast Food Industry

Around Mother's Day, KFC was advertising a special promotional "Bucket O'Love" as an ideal way to show Mom how much you care. Because nothing says love like a bucket of dead, deep-fried poultry, right?

Now Burger King has commercials advertising a CD with songs that will encourage you to "get your love on". Granted, I was only half paying attention to the commercial, so I don't know if it's in jest, or if this CD of "love" songs truly exists.

Either way, since when is there a correlation between love/romance/getting your groove on and fast food? There's nothing seductive about a Whopper. A Happy Meal, perhaps, but it really depends on whether or not you're getting something better than a miniature Barbie doll. As a rule, though, hamburgers just don't go all that well with candelit dinners. And fried chicken does not convey love and appreciation unless you actually take the time to make it yourself.

What's next? An ad campaign suggesting that men propose with onion rings?

Fog, Frankie, Farbrengiton and Friends

There's something very wrong with my brain. I think I broke it in Israel, because it's just not working properly. I can't remember what I was going to blog (after stupidly telling myself that I didn't need to write it down). I couldn't remember what I'd been working on when I was in the office on Friday. This morning, I put a mango in my purse to eat as a snack, and forgot about it entirely. Until I met Becky for coffee and, wondering why my purse felt so heavy, put my hand in and found the mango again. It's definitely the first time in my life I've been able to say with complete honesty, "I have a mango in my purse". My brain just seems wrapped in this nearly impervious fog.

Despite the fogginess, I can provide a bit of a Weekend Report. I spent the bulk of my weekend with a puppy. My friend Allie has the world's cutest 3 month old Cocker-Bijon named Frankie. (Big Brother correction: Allie is not just a friend. Allie is Big Brother's stupendous girlfriend. And Frankie is 'theirs' and not just 'hers') I fully expect Guinness to announce in the near future that Frankie is the holder of the new World Record for Cuteness (at which time I will, of course, gracefully relinquish the title). She's just adorably little and fluffy and cuddly and incredibly silly, and you can't help but smile when she's around. However, after spending my whole shabbos with Frankie for company, my conversational skills dropped to the level of "Good potty, Frankie!" The other downside was that I found myself with far, far too much time alone with my brain. Quiet time= Thinking time. Thinking can be dangerous. I definitely believe there should be times when I'm prohibited from thinking.

Other than enjoying the cuteness that is Frankie, I also enjoyed the musical talents of Farbrengiton, as well as the company of other Farbrengiton fans. Although it was slightly odd when a guy approached me and began the conversation with "You're Cara (insert last name here), right?" He was right, but I still don't know how he knew my last time. And since I also recently got a phone call from the local Chabad, wanting to "discuss a few things" because they know that I was active in my Hillel and generally like to be involved in the community, I'm really wondering how all these strangers suddenly know so much about me. When did I become so popular?

The highlight of my weekend (not that random phone calls and unknown men knowing my last name wasn't fantastic) was hands-down being able to spend time with my two best friends from high school. I honestly can't remember the last time all three of us were in the same room at the same time. Which could easily be a result of my brain fog, but I do know it's been a while. Other than the fact that one of them has since acquired a fiance (gasp! My first experience as a bridesmaid!), not much has really changed. Which is the best part of all.

So there you have it: Frankie, Farbrengiton, my wonderful friends, and a weather forecast of fog that shows no signs of lifting in the near future. I still can't remember what I was originally going to blog. But I do know that it was ironic.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


I've been meaning to post. Really, I have. But then I get home from work, and I can't remember any of the thoughts and random observations that I had intended to post. I need to start jotting down said thoughts and random observations. Or else I need to devise a telepathic blog, that reads my mind and posts my thoughts for me.

That would actually be pretty cool, now that I think of it. Dangerous, though. There are a lot of rather bizarre things that go through my head, which probably should not be unleashed and allowed into the Blogosphere.

I will try to do better with the blogging. So, for starters, I'll recap one of my favorite moments from my vacation...

My first weekend in Israel was spent in the Old City. Actually, both my weekends were spent there, but this story concerns the first one. It was Sunday night, and I was coming back from the Kotel. As I approached the Cardo, I could hear singing, and, being my normal inquisitive self, I went to go investigate.

The singing was coming from three guys, most likely yeshiva bochurs, but more of the crunchy guitar-playing variety than the black pants and white shirt variety. Indeed, one of them was playing a guitar, while one of his friends danced. Zemer after zemer they sang, and the one guy continued o play whil his friend continued to dance. At one point, a young haredi boy came to dance as well. Shortly after, a group of five or six yeshiva bochurs (this time, the black pants, white shirt kind) joined in the singing and dancing as well. All along the steps surrounding the Cardo, other men stood and clapped and sang along. The entire area was ringing with their voices and the echoes of the clapping. And the most beautiful part of all was that there was not blatant reason for the singing. The only simcha was that it was Sunday, and they were in the Old City.

And that was simcha enough.