Sunday, November 22, 2009

The trial of G-d

I was waiting in a doctor's office this week (so what else is new?) and I came upon this story in a yoga magazine. It fascinated me. I found a version of the story online, and I copied excerpts of it here. Turns out the original story is actually a play by Elie Wiesel. The article that I read was very close to the version I've copied here.
Three rabbis, all prisoners in Auschwitz and witnesses to the daily death machine of the Nazis, decided that it was time to place G-d on trial.

They formed a rabbinic court (Bet Din), and conducted the trial completely in accordance with Halakha (Jewish Law). They gathered evidence against G-d, building a strong case against the “Holy One Blessed Be He.” The trial lasted several days, with the judges giving all those who wished a chance to speak their minds. Witnesses were heard, painful personal testimonies were given, and in the end, none of the witnesses even remotely defended God.

It was time to issue a ruling, and the rabbinic court pronounced a unanimous verdict: “The Lord God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth – guilty of crimes against creation, against humanity and against His own Chosen People of Israel.”

Soon after this painful judgment was pronounced, the rabbi presiding over the rabbinic court looked up to the sky, saw that the sun had set, and that the darkness of night was upon the world. This rabbi, who had just indicted G-d and pronounced Him guilty of crimes, looked towards the silenced crowd and said “Come, my friends, we have a minyan – it is time to pray Maariv (the evening prayer service).” The other members of the rabbinic court, together with the witnesses and the onlookers, all gathered around the rabbi to join in their evening prayers to G-d.
This story appeals to me, in all my not-knowingness and all my frustration. The idea of a group of people realizing that G-d has really not done a very good job in the situation of the Holocaust, yet praying to G-d anyway; it's just fascinating, and well, just so Jewish.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Memories and divorces

I've been humming a song sung by Achinoam Nini, better know as the Israeli singer Noa, for the past few days. What's strange is, humming Noa's songs reminds me of going to a few of her concerts in years past with my friend and her husband. What's even stranger, is that my friend and her husband recently announced that they are getting a divorce. I'm not going to get into the divorce here, but rather on how it affects people on the outside.

So I have this memory of going to this concert with A and this friend and her husband, and loving, loving the music, and now this memory is kind of...well...ruined because I was with my friend and her husband and now I'm kind of pissed off at her soon-to-be-ex-husband and he's in my damn memory! How do I get him out?

The same thing happened a few years ago when another friend had to divorce her husband because of a whole bunch of issues. A and I had socialized with this friend and her husband in better times, and I have a memory of an amazing dinner that we had prepared in A's old condo by a real chef. We had invited this friend and her husband (I don't think they were married at the time) and the chef brought all the ingredients and prepared an amazing dinner for us (I think we'd won it in an auction). I remember enjoying it so much. And again, this memory is sullied by the ex-husband who turned out to be a jerk, but there he is, in my old memory of that day.

Ugh.

I guess it goes to show you that relationships really do have far reaching effects, and the formation and maintenance and dissolution of relationships affect many people: even ones you don't expect.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New mammography guidelines

This is the best analysis I've seen on the new mammography guidelines and what went wrong:
A tone-deaf message on mammograms by Ellen Goodman

and you've just got to love Barbara Ehrenreich's view:
Not So Pretty in Pink: The Uproar Over New Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines

Here are some other excellent articles on the topic:

Does Mammography Screening Save Lives? Let's Talk About It by Barbara Brenner of Breast Cancer Action

The New Guidelines for Mammography by Susan Love, MD, of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation

Making Sense of the New Mammography Recommendations, Breast Cancer News, Susan G. Komen for the Cure

New Mammogram Guidelines Are Causing Confusion, But Here’s Why They Make Sense by Our Bodies, Ourselves

I keep adding articles as I see them.

Monday, November 16, 2009

More on Stupack

As I'd anticipated, health care reform is really in turmoil now. Either you side for health care, or you side for women's reproductive rights. The Stupack amendment is even worse than I feared. It makes it illegal to pay for abortion from any money that the government touches, which of course, includes a lot of the new health care programs (the public option and the health care exchange). This, of course, will affect primarily poor women. Sound familiar?

I did a little research on my own last night about abortion. Turns out that a first trimester abortion costs about $350-900, depending on where you live. For some of us, that amount of money seems trivial. To others, it's rent or food money, and it's absolutely out of the question. I found many websites that help women pay for abortions. So clearly, there is a need out there.

The other thing that I discovered is that when you put the words "abortion" and a place name into a search engine, a lot of anti-abortion sites come up immediately. Which says something else about the times that we live in.

Take a look at what Dr. Nancy Snyderman has to say about this: awesome!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It's beginning to look at lot like....NOT

Went to a local mall yesterday, and I was horrified to discover that it was completely decked out in Christmas, including Christmas carols over the loud-speakers. Only problem: it doesn't feel at all like Christmas yet. We are having unusually warm weather, which is not entirely unwelcome, but it makes it difficult to get into the Christmas/Chanukah/winter holiday, or even the Thanksgiving, mood.

Most of the leaves have fallen, but there is still some beautiful fall color in the yard. Here's a sample:







Friday, November 13, 2009

My online life

It's occurred to me recently, as my time has been literally sucked up by the computer and the Internet, that sometimes my online life is out of control. It is very easy to spend one's whole day on the internet: checking Facebook to see if anyone posted anything interesting, checking the blogs I follow to see if anyone wrote any interesting articles, checking the news, checking my email, checking, checking, checking...And before I realize it, hours have passed, the laundry isn't done, the carpets haven't been vacuumed, the groceries haven't been bought...

It's so easy to become consumed by the Internet. You never know what you are going to find, but you always find something. Thinking back to my intro psych course, this is called a variable schedule of reinforcement (scroll down a bit for the definition). And it maintains a behavior beautifully...

Now I must get off the computer.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Health care or abortion?

So now it seems that health care reform is going to hang on the issue of abortion. The bill, which just passed the House, now has an amendment (aptly named the Stupak amendment) which excludes the use of any federal monies for abortion.

Now this situation puts people in the difficult position of supporting the bill as a whole (which is a good thing) or not supporting the bill (and remaining pro-choice). It is a tough, tough decision.

You really can't single out one legal medical procedure and say that federal money won't pay for it. In my opinion. We'll see what happens...

Friday, November 06, 2009

Busy

Life has been so busy lately that I just haven't had the time or focus to post anything here. I miss writing, and I miss having time to reflect. Things are a bit too hectic for my taste.

Here's a sample:
  • Work has been insane. There are ongoing issues that I don't feel comfortable getting into here, as well as planning for and executing an important training earlier this week. I am very relieved that the training is over, and after all my angst, it went well.
  • Thanksgiving is in 3 weeks (!) and it looks like we are hosting this year. I'm trying to clean up our messy house, and I'm finding it very depressing. No matter how much I clean or remove things, it just seems like there is an endless amount of dust and clutter.
  • Fourth grade means much more homework for J, in addition to soccer (which is ending) and basketball (which is just beginning). And keeping him fed is a full time job. He eats a lot!
  • Temple commitments: for some reason I joined the Ritual Committee this year, which I don't really have time for, in addition to my regular Sisterhood commitment, and Sisterhood Shabbat needs to be planned.
  • Everyone else I know is equally crazed. No one has had time to get together. I managed to get together with my friend B for about 1/2 an hour last week for coffee and a bagel. Is that crazy, or what?
  • We are having a joint 10th birthday party for J three months late with another friend. Since he and his friend basically have the same friends, it kind of works out well. But still need to finalize a few plans for the party.
  • We don't have plans for winter vacation. Yet.
  • They are already showing Christmas and Chanukah candy, etc. in the stores. I am not ready to even think about the holidays!
I guess I'll stop there. This will give you a sense of what's been going on. I will try to post more regularly. It is NaBloPoMo after all!