Wednesday, August 29, 2012
I have been working on some crafts for my classroom, since educational stores seem to sell a lot of expensive classroom items that can really be made by hand. The other reason is that there is really not a lot of space in my classroom, especially since I'm sharing it, and there is simply no room for all the pocket charts and such that are being sold.
I'm really excited to be teaching fourth grade, and at the same time I'm pretty nervous. Any readers who have any words of advice for the first few days in the classroom, they would be much appreciated!
Maybe I will post pictures of my crafts when they are finished.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
I still remember my conceptions of married people while I was single, and, having been married for a year now, I have learned some things I did not realize or think about before I was married.
1. Regarding Nidda. I knew what Nidda was, of course, and I knew it involved things like no touching and no passing. However, there are several elements of Nidda I did not know about before I explicitly learned them prior to getting married, such as not being able to eat off the same plate, not sitting on the same bench or couch cushion, etc. That last one sometimes makes things awkward when you're at someone else's house and they make room for both of you to sit on the couch and it's on one big cushion, and you're like, errrrr, thanks but I don't feel like sitting....
Interestingly, the two harchakos of Nidda I was most familiar with (touching and passing) were the two I made the most discoveries about after marriage.
A. No touching. It is amazing how one can intellectually be aware that, at times, married couples cannot touch, and yet also assume married couples can always touch each other. I find this paradox to be the case often when people are, for instance, organizing group pictures (even really small group pictures). There are other random times, as well, when a married couple will be part of a group of people who cannot touch each other, and the marrieds are assumed to be the bridge between the members of that group. It is then extremely awkward when the married couple does NOT act as the bridge, basically announcing that they cannot touch each other, and are therefore in nidda. Though I knew, while I was single, that there were times when married people could not touch each other, I did not internalize this fact until after I was married and went through it myself. Now, I find myself much more sensitive to the idea regarding other couples and their possible not-being-able-to-touch-ness.
B. No passing to each other. I did not realize the power of this particular harchaka until I experienced it. Before I was married, I never thought twice about passing things to people. It was something I did automatically, as second nature, not requiring any thought, and certainly not having any particular meaning. Now that I am sometimes not allowed to pass things to JH, the act of passing something has taken on a whole new meaning. It suddenly seems like an act of intimacy to hand something to a male someone else--even during times when I am not in nidda. If the person is a Rabbi or a yeshiva guy, I often feel as though I am violating something by passing to that person; that person is too frum for passing! Isn't it incredible how not allowing something gives that thing so much more power?
Other times not being allowed to pass to each other becomes slightly awkward: when you're at a shabbos meal with a table full of big plates of food and they're all being passed around and there is nowhere really for you to put the plate down so as not to pass it directly to your spouse, at havdala when the b'samim is being passed around (and that's another issue too, because the guy is not allowed to smell b'samim out of the girl's hand), whenever you leave a place, to make sure you're each holding the things you want to be holding, because it is more difficult to switch who is holding what once you're out in public.
2. Regarding sheitels. So many people comment how sheitels are so fancy, they make your hair look perfect all the time, they never get frizzy, etc. etc. etc. I would like to give everyone a reality check. Sheitels get frizzy. They are only fancy if you constantly get them done (or do them yourself), much like anyone's natural hair. And they are much more expensive to wash than your natural hair. They pull on your hair when you wear them, kind of like the way braces pull on your teeth, though I've gotten used to that feeling, and your natural hair is always in the way somehow, usually in too big of a bump underneath. I am still trying to figure out how people wear hats with their falls, since my hair underneath always prevents the hat from going all the way on.
A small piece of advice for anyone who wears a fall or will be wearing one in the future--always carry an extra headband with you when you go out. You never know what could happen. For instance, on Shavuos, I was wearing a mitpachat on top of my fall in that pirate look you sometimes see. It was my first time wearing that look out in public. I was wearing a wig grip headband underneath and everything. Well, walking home after our meal at night, I suddenly felt something funny. I reached up and the mitpachat had slipped off my head, onto my shoulders. The wig grip had fallen off, too. Why? I have no idea. Luckily, I had a spare headband in my pocket, so instead of trying to put the mitpachat back on in the middle of the sidewalk, I just put on a headband and was all good.
These are just some of the many things I have learned since being married. Most importantly, though, I have learned that despite all the logistics and hurdles that come with marriage, I love being married to JH and cannot wait for our second year of marriage to begin!
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Pharaoh the Mitzri was king for a while.
A bustling land. It was rich. It was neat.
The water was warm. There was plenty to eat.
The Mitzrim had everything Mitzrim might need.
And they were all happy. Quite happy indeed.
They were… until Pharaoh, the king of this plenty,
Decided the Jews in his land were too many.
“I’m ruler,” said Pharaoh, “I stand at the helm.
But the Jews overpopulate throughout my realm.
Perhaps they'd revolt in this land by the Nile.
What if they took over? How horribly vile!
Their ill-boding strength - it just cannot go down.
They ought to be fewer!” he said with a frown.
And Pharaoh, the Mitzri King, gave a command
To all of the midwives who worked in his land
That each Jewish baby, if it was a boy,
They throw in the Nile, to kill and destroy.
He made Jewish mothers get rid of each son
But Yocheved was smart and sent hers on the run.
She made him a teva and lined it with tar.
And sent him a'floating - though not very far.
Meanwhile, Pharaoh said, "Now I am strong!
My kingdom is safe. Not a thing can go wrong!
I’m the king of Mitzrayim! And I rule the Jews!
I’m the king of the Nile! I can never lose!
I’m Pharaoh the Mitzri! Oh, marvelous me!
For when I am ruler, there's nothing that's free!”
And for some time after, he sat up there high
Saying over and over, “A great king am I!”
Until ‘long about bathtime. Then Batya went out--
His daughter, to wash and to swim all about.
And she saw, in the Nile, a baby float by.
She stretched out her hand to console him his cry.
Looking up, she said, “Moshe shall be his name.
For I've drawn him from water. Who knows whence he came?
We'll have to adopt him - he seems rather tame.”
So Moshe grew up in the home of the king
And Pharaoh knew not what bad news this would bring.
Over time Pharaoh started to fear once again
For the Jews were not lacking some big and strong men
And so he declared, to assert his position,
His vision of slavery come to fruition.
"I'll give them hard labor!” his royal voice thundered,
"And then all will know I am king times a hundred!
“Hardship! More hardship!” he bellowed and brayed.
And the Jews in Mitzrayim were very afraid.
They trembled. They shook. But they came. They obeyed.
From all over the land, they came working by dozens.
Whole families of Jews, with uncles and cousins.
They did not have much choice, were too scared to revolt.
And they got no respite, not a moment to halt.
Meanwhile Moshe had run far away
For he killed a Mitzri and so could not stay
Thus he lived in Midian and he watched over sheep
When he saw something that would make anyone leap!
A bush! And on fire! But it did not burn!
Through it, God spoke to Moshe, said, "It's Pharaoh's turn.
Go down to Egypt and take out the Jews.
And Moshe went down, though he tried to refuse.
But Pharaoh the Mitzri who sat up on high,
Did not care one wit 'bout the Jews and their sighs.
“Begone!” shouted Pharaoh. “I’m the king of the trees!
I’m king of the birds! And I’m king of the bees!
I’m king of the butterflies! King of the air!
Ah, me! Do not whine 'cause I really don't care!
I’m Pharaoh the Mitzri! Oh, marvelous me!
And I'll make your work harder - that is my decree!”
Then again, from below, on the palace room floor,
Moshe and Aharon said one thing more.
“Your Majesty, please… we don’t like to complain,
But our Jewish brethren are feeling great pain.
If you won't let them go, we'll be frank, won't be vague,
Our God will come smite you - He'll bring you a plague!"
Though Pharaoh's magicians at first said, "Yeah? Bring it!"
With just a few proofs, knew God's finger was in it.
“You hush up your mouth!” howled the mighty King Pharaoh.
“The Jews can't go free! I will give them more sorrow!
I rule from the clouds! Over land! Over sea!
There’s nothing, no, NOTHING, that’s higher than me!”
And, while he was shouting, his heart was quite hardened
It seemed that the Jews might not ever be pardoned.
Until the plague of blood and the Nile was scarred-ened.
“What’s THAT?” snorted Pharaoh. “Say, what IS that thing
That dares to be higher than Pharaoh the King?
I shall not allow it! They'll work harder still!
I’ll keep myself higher! I can and I will!
My Jewish slaves shall not ever go free!
I'll keep them forever, now please let me be!"
But, as Pharaoh, the Mitzri King, lifted his hand
And gave out his orders and barked his command,
That bustling land that was rich and was neat
Where the water was warm, where there's plenty to eat
Was smote by God's hand, nine more plagues on the way
Frogs and then lice and wild animals -- nay
They weren't enough, the Jews still had to stay.
Then the animals of the Egyptians all died
Boils, and hail, even locusts, God tried!
Then thick, heavy darkness, which was not enough still
So God killed the first born of each Mitzri until--
Pharaoh, who thought he was king of the trees,
And king of the air and the birds and the bees,
Said, "Get out, you Jews! Go on out of here, please!"
For Pharaoh, the King of the land 'cross the Nile,
Was no match for Hashem, who beat Pharaoh with style.
And today we remember how God set us free,
How He saved us from Egypt, so His we may be.
We got our first Mitzvah after that escapade
For a nation we are now, and so long we have prayed
That next year in Jerusalem our seder'll be made.