I feel like everything I’ve eaten in the last several days is sitting in my stomach in one sodden, undigested lump. If my gastrointestinal tract were a toilet, it would be clogged at the U-bend right now.

Apparently my body’s not taking to this vegan+fish diet regime very well…



Boy.  So much has happened since January.  I’ve nearly completed apparently all of my rabbi’s conversion course curriculum (already?!) — we are just finishing kashrut now and we’ll be moving on to Shabbat shortly, probably, which is bringing with it its own set of challenges and problems…not least of which is that I only just got another job about a month ago, and it’s only a contract job (at least it’s still here in town), and my contract is up in August, so I’m — still — reluctant to move closer to the shul…

I did my first holidays “on the books,” as it were — Ta’anit Esther (the Fast of Esther) and Purim.

I discovered that I like sweet(ened) Concord wine.  I may be the only person in the world who likes “yayin patish,” but to me it tastes like what wine should taste like, that is, alcoholic grape juice, instead of, say, chewing on a teabag.  (I don’t like tanniny flavours.)

I SURVIVED PESACH!  This is not as uncomplicated as it sounds, as the rabbi wanted me to make a “dry run” at kashering my kitchen, and I can’t eat dairy products, so giving up pretty much all grain products (chametz) as well as pulses (legumes and seeds) and rice (kitniyot) on top of my already not eating dairy products, and I was in a world of hurt.  Then I came down with bronchitis in the wee hours after my very first seder, resulting in my making the decision to break Shabbat in a big way and go to the hospital, because I wasn’t breathing well.  The lack of oxygen in my system meant approximately zero energy, and an unwillingness to cook much of the lovely meats and vegetables I’d laid in to tide me over.  Net result, I lost several pounds in the most unhealthy way possible.  Let’s not do that again this year…

On the upside, I think I’m doing relatively well.  I hope.  As my friend RH reminds me, in a timely manner, practice matters.

Christmanniversakkah…pant pant pant…

Thank G-d that’s over.

I’m still nominally doing Christmas things because I’m still furtive for the moment (that’s about to change soon, B”H, more later) and it’s a matter of shalom habayit right now. I don’t need to be brogez with the folks any sooner than I have to be. (It won’t be the first, or last, time.)

Christmas Eve (“Erev Xmas”) I went to a friend’s house for a very subdued party, which was nice, even if one of the attendees was recovering from food poisoning and another one was just feeling out of sorts and the rest of us were exhausted. (I did almost all my Christmas shopping — except for wrapping, the only part I truly enjoy — in two days, Monday and Tuesday. Lots of running around.)

It was also my parents’ 48th wedding anniversary on the 24th. They claim that it was the only time they could both get off work and they could get a hall; I think at least part of it is that my mother thought a Christmas wedding would be romantic, since she is about the World’s Biggest Christmas Freak. (This is where I see some friction coming in.) I didn’t do anything with them because they don’t really do anything with family outside of the big milestone anniversaries anymore. Which reminds me, I’d better become employed soon and start putting away a pot of money, because Guess Who is probably going to have to organise the 50th anniversary party. If you said, “You are, Sara-Elisheva!”, you’d be right!

I also observed Hanukkah as best as I was able, given that I once again couldn’t find the skinny candles that fit in my hanukiyah and I don’t have oil pots for it, so I had to improvise. I will either replace the thing or get oil pots for it for next year. Doubtless I’ll be in Toronto between now and then, and I can make it to a Judaica store. I love Hanukkah and what it represents, although less the miracle aspect of it than the “let Jews be Jews” aspect. (Apparently, given some of my hate mail, that’s a controversial position in some quarters.)

And on Boxing Day, I spent most of the day either sleeping or frantically prepping for Shabbat. And then it was Shabbat.

Shabbat Recap to come, but that’s quite enough for now.


I have to hand it to Chabad from time to time (although they wouldn’t take it directly from me) — they’re very, very slick about promoting Judaism, and whoever comes up with a lot of their campaigns is very sharp and very adroit.

Their latest thing is sukkot on bicycles. They are pedaling these things around in cities around the world, and inviting Jews in to pray and eat. There isn’t much room, but they are apparently kosher (fit for use), as you would expect.

The pictures are priceless.

Bike sukkot

Sukkot on bikes in New York City, courtesy of Chabad’s outreach movement. The large text says “Your sukkah has arrived!”

Notes on a First Successful Yom Kippur Fast

  • Drink more water the day before.
  • Contrariwise, don’t break your fast by chugging an entire big glass of water. (The results weren’t pleasant, but they also weren’t what you’d think. Further, deponent saith not.)
  • I forgot you’re not supposed to eat meat during the Yamim Noraim. Whoops. That one’s going to be difficult, as I don’t eat dairy.

Maybe I should have called this blog “Judaism in Progress.” Loading, please wait.

Hellooooooo, Motzei!

Boy, I know I haven’t been doing this Shabbat thing very long, but I have never been so glad to see the back side of it. That last couple of hours were really tough, which is I suppose the point, but still, tough is tough. I didn’t even go to shul, which would have involved a lot of walking. (As I’m still not technically even in the process of converting, I don’t feel it’s appropriate.)

I’m breaking my fast with soup with chicken and rice, and hummus with vegetables. At the point in the Havdala where you’re supposed to drink the wine, I drank most of a 16oz glass of water (lehavdil, and HaShem forgive me, but it might well have been expensive wine!) — best water I ever had.

Shavua tov, folks! We made it!

Pre-Yom Kippur Tuneage

I really like this track, in part because I can read the subtitles in real time, and because I like the cool thing the root מ-ל-ך (m-l-ch) does when it changes in the lyrics from “melech” (king) to “malach” (rules) to “imloch” (will rule). It’s just like the practice we do with Hebrew word roots in class! ^_^

G’mar chatima tova, le’kulam, and have an easy and/or meaningful fast, and I’ll see you all on the flipside.