Friday, October 20, 2006

Hey You! Change Your Links!

And come on over...many exciting topics await your input, wisdom, humor and insight...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Moving Day

Blogger is so five minutes ago. What's new and now? Wordpress, or at least that's what my web team tells me. Don't get me wrong, Blogger's ok for beginners. But it's time to take this whole thing to the next level. So, effective today, I'm switching over--having purchased a huge can of "Blogspot remover," I'm heading over to Easier to remember, and hopefully a cleaner look that will enable me to do many new and exciting blogthings. After this post, all future JDaters Anonymous posts will be on the new site. Please join me over there, and don't forget to update your links. Want to get me a homepagewarming present? Comments always help to decorate a new place. :) Catch y'all on the flip side...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

National Singles Week Recap

As you all may know, September held a week dedicated to us, all the singles out there... was it as fun for you as it was for me? I believe I met a few deadlines, earned a few theoretical checks that haven't arrived yet, attended a wedding where I was the only single person there, and looked in the mirror every morning, saying "Hey you. You're single. But it doesn't matter. Because you're good enough, smart enough, and goshdarnit, people like you." How did you celebrate? I also started a top five list of the best things about National Singles Week, and only came up with three. 1. No one knows about it, so no one will know if you don't have a date for it. 2. No cards or flowers necessary--all you need to celebrate is your own overwhelming sense of solitude! Just curl up in your bed alone and cry...hey, you've just celebrated National Singles Week! 3. It's the only weeklong holiday that doesn't require you to change your routine at all--just continue to register for online dating sites that you have no intention of paying to become a member of, sit around the house with your two favorite men (Ben & Jerry), and watch TiVoed episodes of Grey's Anatomy. Anyone else?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

"Recommitment Ceremony" (JW-First Person Singular)

Wishing all my readers a shanah tovah u'metukah--may this year be one of health, creativity, peace and happiness for us all.

Recommitment Ceremony (Jewish Week–First Person Singular) by Esther D. Kustanowitz (09/29/2006)

To err is human, clearly. And during the High Holy Day season, even those of us who acknowledge our errant ways and engage in the process of repentance with a pure heart still possess the fatal flaw of our humanity. As soon as the hunger pangs from the Yom Kippur fast wane, we’re back on stage in our tragicomedy of errors, slinging gossip over bagels and lox, and likely violating any Rosh HaShanah resolutions before sunrise on the 11th of Tishrei. Another year goes by, and we’re back in our synagogues, proclaiming our guilt all over again in an endless annual loop—it’s like an episode of “The Twilight Zone.”

What’s the point in persisting in this annual dance of repentance?

In the literal realm of human marital relationships, some couples, after five, 10, 20 years or so, decide to proclaim to the world that the person they’ve found is the person they still want to spend their lives with. They hold “second weddings” or “vow renewals” or “recommitment ceremonies,” inviting friends to witness the re-consecration of their partnership. But often, such ceremonies are prompted by the discovery of a breach in confidence or respect or another violation of the rules of sanctified relationships. Or perhaps the pair has survived a trauma and feels the need to reaffirm—not just for the sake of celebrating love in the public eye, but to put their own souls at ease—that despite all that has happened, their mate is still the One.

So the two stand there, opposite each other, looking into the eyes of their beloved and looking for a trust and commitment that they may not find. A partner may admit that he or she has made mistakes, and may swear before you and a group of people that from here on in, it’s all faith and devotion. But there’s a part of you that’s unsure: can people really change?

The relationship between God and the Jewish people is often cushioned in the metaphorical language of marital commitment. In Genesis, God made a covenant — sealed in flesh in the form of a brit milah (circumcision), which promised the Land of Israel to Abraham and his children. The terms of the agreement — God gives the land of Israel to the people, and the people will worship God — are reiterated at Mount Sinai. The term that God uses to refer to the people is segulah, which indicates a special, sanctified relationship like marriage.

And a midrash on the Mount Sinai narrative interprets that when the text says that the people stood b’tahteet ha’har, literally “in the bottom of the mountain,” that the mountain was suspended, chupah-like, over the heads of the assembled people — were they to try to end the relationship with God, they would have been crushed. And some suggest that Song of Songs, which describes a physically passionate affair — seemingly between a man and a woman — is a metaphor for the relationship between God and the Jews.

When it comes to actual marriage, something I admittedly don’t know anything about, I imagine that certain violations are forgivable and that others are not. At some point the two people who make up the zug (the couple) have to assess whether the relationship is worth it. But in the relationship with God, in which we have no way of really knowing whether God has forgiven us, the best we can do is see this annual assessment as a state of the union between the Jews and God.

The High Holy Day season is a chance to renew our relationship with Jewish life. Every year, we stand with our metaphorically wedded partner under a canopy of recommitment, and promise to marry each other all over again. As our Creator, surely God knows not to expect perfection — our entire relationship has been a bumpy cycle of imperfection: We violate our contract of commitment with God, and God rebukes but quickly forgives.

Still, we do what we can to make positive changes in our lives, to increase our commitment to living as nobly and morally as human beings can. We critically assess our actions and hopefully forgive ourselves as we attempt to curb evil inclinations, in the pursuit of more permanent partnerships, with other people and with God.

Shanah tovah!