Happy Easter to all those who celebrate!

Husband and I do not yet have children, but are quickly approaching a time when we expect to expand our family. I may be in the minority of Southern Jews in that I don’t feel the pressure of “The December Dilemma,” that is how do we as (future) Jewish parents explain to our (future) children the value of Hanukkah in the midst of the heavy cultural influences of Christmas. How to be Jewish in a month filled with Christmas carols, Christmas movies, Christmas cookies, and – in our house and I suspect many of your households – Christmas Chinese Food, feels intuitive to me after so many years of celebrating this way. However, Easter presents quite a different dilemma for this Jewish household. Allow me to introduce you to the two reasons why:

IMAG0115 Meet Sally and Linus, our two beloved rabbits. The tan lop-eared bunny who – I’m just guessing – is the cutest thing you’ve ever seen in your life, is Sally. The brown and white bunny is Linus, the sweetest and most timid soul you’ll ever know.

Poor grammar aside, our home abides by this belief:

whorescuedwhoOur rabbits are in many ways the sunshine of our lives, hence the nickname Bunshine (and if you think that’s the only rabbit-related pun I have up my sleeve, stick around this blog awhile because you’re in for some good ones). Sally and Linus are house rabbits who roam the house freely, but prefer to stay on carpet. The house we are currently renting has all hardwood floors, so they are bound to one room by their own choosing. Nonetheless, the house still runs around them. I could go on (and on and on), but I think you’ve got the idea.

So please tell me how I will explain to my future-children that an Easter Bunny is visiting the homes of their Christian friends, but not our home? How will I drag my children away from the display of rabbit paraphernalia in Target, while explaining that the rabbit candy, rabbit decor, and rabbit toys are meant for other children and not for “us?” How could I stop myself from buy my children a card that reads, “Happy Bunny Day?” Rabbits are at the literal and theoretical center of our home for 355 days of the year, so how do we justify to our children that rabbits are verboten on this one day of the year – on Bunny Day, no less!

And let’s be clear, rabbits have nothing to do with Jesus.

Of course, fir trees don’t have anything to do with Jesus either, but my husband and I have made the choice not to bring one into our home in December. For us, the lines are clearly drawn where the December holidays are concerned. But while we don’t feel the need for a Hanukkah Bush, our home will surely receive an annual visit from the Passover Bunny.

None of this is to take away from the spiritual significance of Easter to Christians. To those who celebrate, I wish you all a very Happy Easter! To those who celebrate Easter AND those who don’t, I wish you all a very Happy Bunny Day!

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It’s Friday, y’all!

No, really it’s Thursday. However, I work Sunday through Thursday, so Thursday is the end of my work week. So in lieu of TGIF, I say TGIT! It has been a short week (I had a day off for the 1st day of Pesach), but I’m still really thankful for Thursday. Maybe I should start a series on this blog called Thankful Thursday.

Why am I so ready for the weekend? Mostly because I can’t keep eating this much matzah and butter. I have invested so much time and energy into planning and preparing delicious KFP dinners this week that I completely neglected to make breakfast or lunch for myself all week. I could have made egg salad or tuna salad or a salad-salad. But I didn’t. Nope, I just grabbed a stick of butter and a box of matzah. Who does that?! This girl! And you know what, it’s delicious. But I need to eat real food. And that unripe banana I had for breakfast doesn’t count.

Also, we have a problem with people using our street parking who are visiting nearby businesses. The police are working with us to ticket those car, while not ticketing our members who are using the parking spaces for their intended purpose. This morning there is a car parked outside of our building with out-of-state plates that received a parking ticket.   I have had no fewer than 10 separate conversations with 10 different individuals about this car. We are a vigilant group! Sigh …

Add to that a lot of end-of-the-month bookkeeping and I am beyond ready for 5 o’clock! Also, tonight, I will start making our favorite brisket. It takes 36 hours or so to prepare and man, oh, man is it worth every hour. Husband and I go crazy for this brisket. It should be made with a side of butternut squash over which you can pour the extra sauce. So what am I thankful for this Thursday: brisket.

Good Shabbos, everyone!

The sun is shining!

OK, so this post is going to be super cheesy (and now I’m wondering to myself how many blog posts are going to start with, “Ok, so …”).

The Seder last nice was lovely and a lot of fun, but I woke up with a big ‘ole chip on my shoulder about something that happened at the Seder. One of my synagogue-employee pet peeves is that when I am at a holiday celebration with the congregation and, it never fails, someone comes up to me to talk about business – synagogue finances, upcoming scheduling, the number of trash bags remaining before in our supply closet. I have heard of other Jewish professionals who wear t-shirts that say, “REMEMBER: It’s my Shabbat too,” or something to that effect. I’m not so bold/passive-aggressive to wear a t-shirt to express these feelings, but I definitely share in the sentiment! So I woke up this morning still stewing about those folks who wanted to talk business last night during the Seder meal.

Yesterday, I was all like, “I’m not going to blog because it’s Pesach and the synagogue is closed and I’m not going to turn on my computer because that’s work and I don’t have to work tomorrow so I’m not going to work tomorrow.” (And now I’m pondering my overuse of run-on sentences). And then when I woke up with this annoying chip on my shoulder, I thought “Well, you should definitely not blog about this.”

And then I went out on a quick errand this morning in the early a.m. and was so very pleasantly surprised to find out that … the sun is shining! Most of the country has been experiencing a longer than average Winter. Poor Punxsutawney Phil has been on the receiving end of a lot of complaints. Many of us in the South, who expect Winter to end in late February, were treated to some snow three days after the Spring Equinox. I prefer my temperatures in the high 80s and Summer is easily my favorite season, so this snow storm was most unwelcome. Yesterday was rainy and cold. But today, the sun is shining. Really, this weather is gorgeous. I wouldn’t mind if it were about 30 degrees warmer, but I’m going to take what I can get.

And as my attitude improves to match the lovely weather, I’m making plans to get outside and take some portraits. Because such a pretty day should not go to waste AND when you are doing the things you love, it just doesn’t seem like it’s work. And it occurred to me that this blog is quickly becoming one of those things that I love. So I turned on my computer and here I am writing this post.

As I was driving home, I was rethinking through some of the #blogExodus posts and what sticks with me is this quote from the Velveteen Rabbi:
“That’s part of the gift of the Exodus. Once we were slaves, unable to bless, unable to access blessing in our own lives or to articulate it for others. The spiritual constriction of slavery precludes blessing. But now we understand ourselves to be freed from that constriction. We are free to enter into relationship with the Holy Blessed One — to sanctify every moment of our lives — and to channel divine blessing for those we meet.”

Yes, indeed.

I hope that wherever you are, you are enjoying some sunshine and divine blessings too!

Chag Kasher v’Sameach!

Tonight, Jews all over the United States – all over the World – will sit down together to a Seder to celebrate the first night of Pesach.

This is unquestionably my favorite night of the year. I love this holiday. Last night, my husband and I watched Prince of Egypt, a tradition in our home to kick-off the holiday. The beautiful soundtrack really gets us excited for the Seder, particularly the Maggid section – the Telling of the Exodus Story. Tonight, my husband and I will join the congregation at the community Seder. Singing Dayenu with 100 other Jews is a particularly wonderful experience. I miss the small family gatherings of my childhood, but am thankful for the chance to celebrate with a congregation that has become like family.

If you need any help getting into the holiday spirit at the last minute, I highly recommend you check out the Velveteen Rabbi’s daily posts from the past two weeks for #blogExodus.  During these past two weeks there has been a lot of busy work getting ready for Pesach. I find that I can easily get caught up in the chaos and lose sight of why I am doing all of this hard work. #blogExodus has been a wonderful daily reminder of blessing in and of the Passover story.

Chag Sameach, everyone!