Monday, August 30, 2010

Nothing to See Here

Sorry y'all, there's not much to post about that's entertaining.

Bad Cohen was in the hospital for a weekend. He's home now, and we still don't know what's wrong. The kid had a birthday (100 water balloons, 15 matchbox cars and 25 Smarties buried in the sandbox for a treasure hunt). The garden is growing like crazy. We now have 3 cats, and one of them wants to kill the other two. And in between all that, I'm having a hard time making any of this into stories.

Check back later.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Boycott Target, or Perform Sing-ins?

I'm a wuss. I actually believe that we SHOULD boycott any corporation that tries to take advantage of the awful, un-Constitutional ruling that corporate political donations are "free speech" (I'm pretty sure that only actual PEOPLE can speak, Fido and Hal notwithstanding).

But, Target! It's my fave!! Sigh. Guess I'll have to bite the bullet, or risk running into something like this next time I go:

Sign the Petition

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sukkot decorations. Get your ass in gear.

The holidays are REALLY freaking early this year, and last night the Toddler* and I were hanging out in the garden, watching rain clouds move in (must be time for the county fair!**). And it felt sort of like fall, which made me think of Sukkot, which made me think, "Hey! Let's make stuff for the Sukkah!" Which led to a discussion of why we couldn't just put a metal roof on the Sukkah to stay dry. I hate it when the kid makes more sense than me.

Anyway, I've been wracking my brain to think of fun sukkah decorations that:
  1. we can do together (he's almost 4, so nothing involving torches or melted glass)
  2. don't look tacky and horrible
  3. can stand up to a week of rain (because, hello, it's Oregon)

So far, all I've got is ribbon chains (like paper chains, only less likely to end up as soggy bits of colored crap spread out all over my deck).

I'm also seriously considering his idea of stringing up his Star Wars toys like they're flying through the Sukkah, if only because it would really make Bad Cohen happy.

Any suggestions?

*Actually the preschooler now. Maybe I'll just start calling him "The Kid." We do, after all, live in Oregon, although hippy-town isn't exactly the Wild West.

** It ALWAYS rains during the fair. Always.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Yes, Virginia, moms do kill themselves sometimes.

Yes, this is a true story. Yes, I knew her.

She was going off the deep end. She thought she was hiding it.

Katy* had always struggled with depression, and her husband knew this going into the marriage. What neither of them realized was how the isolation, tedium, and stress of stay-at-home parenting would push her over the edge.

She was a great mom - loving, devoted, returning early from a girls' night out to help bathe her son and put him to bed. She was a great friend - always there with a kind word, an offer of help.

She shot herself in the middle of the woods, on a day when their dad had custody.

They were already months into divorce proceedings, and the day before, she had suddenly walked into the lawyer's office, retracted everything bad she had ever said about him, and granted him full custody.

She took her dog with her, her best friend for a decade. She shot her dog first.

Towards the end, nobody was paying attention, because she had pushed them all away. When she decided that suicide was the only way left to end her pain, she quite deliberately started a campaign of antagonism to her friends. No, she didn't want to come over. And by the way, that thing you said the other day? That was really offensive. She's not sure she still wants to be friends with someone who could say that.

It's too bad, too. Because friends can see things, even when they tell themselves not to. And friends can step in and do something, even if they can't do it all. Now, two children are growing up without a mother. A family has lost a daughter, a sister. And a community of mothers is wondering how in the hell this could have happened, and why they couldn't stop it.

It doesn't have to be this way.

If you know someone like Katy, speak up. Ask her how she's doing. Make sure she's getting the help she needs. Depression sucks. Postpartum depression really sucks. And being a mom isn't easy. Let's help each other, ok?

*Not her real name, for obvious reasons

Where's MY rap video?

OK, we know mommy bloggers are really of interest only to other moms, but it gives me hope for glamorizing my rather unglamorous life to see that Elizabeth Warren, chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel, has been the subject of a loving new rap video.


Monday, August 09, 2010

Kol Isha and rabbinical hypocrisy

I've always been bothered by the Orthodox concept of "Kol Isha," that a woman's voice is inherently too sexy for your shul, too sexy to rule... ok, technically it's "ervah" or nakedness, meaning that a real Jewish guy hearing a woman sing will automatically become so horny he can't possibly concentrate on anything worthwhile and Torah True like saving orphans or oppressing stockbrokers or whatever.

Why am I bothered by this?

Well, for one thing, I'm a woman, and nobody ever asked me if I get too turned on by a guy singing and really want them to shut the hell up. (I guess it would depend on the guy. Barry White, for instance, should never chant the Shema.)

Also, it gets used as an excuse, among others, to prevent women from leading or even participating in communal worship and other activities that become the province of these same men who supposedly can't control themselves.

Seriously? You don't trust them to hear a woman sing, but you'll let them make halachic rulings? Way to go with the logic.

But the real clincher, for me, as to why this is a bogus argument when it comes to chanting or leading parts of a worship service, is embodied in the occasionally encountered tone-deaf Orthodox rabbi. Stay with me, here.

We pray, instead of offering up burnt offerings in the temple, because that's the substitute the rabbis came up with when the second temple was burned down.

Back when we had a temple, we had all sorts of rules about what offerings were acceptable, and who was qualified to make them. Left-handed kohens? Out. Cute little sheep with a twisted ankle? No way. No, really, people got KILLED (by GOD!) for bringing the wrong kinds of offerings.

So, if you accept that prayer is how WE make offerings, and that our prayers must be good enough to be considered proper offerings (who is this? Anyone who thinks you should have a gabbai, or who has ever argued about whether form or kavanah is more important), then prayer is, by definition, NOT singing - since you let someone who can't sing do it.

So, here's the deal. Either stop using Kol Isha as an excuse not to let women lead services, or ban tone-deaf rabbis. That's all I ask.

It will improve things for everyone either way.