Some harsh realities.

I wrote this blog a few months back in November 2013.  I was not sure if I should post it due to the title I gave it.  I don’t like to put in anyones mind that conversion is something you should not do.  I feel if a person is “called” who am I to say don’t.

I’ve honored Sabbath all my life but during my conversion process I’m finding it hard, financially, to keep up. My husband serves in the US Army and I’m a full-time student. We are currently spending an extra $400 a month to have two “lavish” Sabbath meals. This month has been especially hard on us. We are now faced with many of our bills falling behind due to this extra expense. This has caused Sabbath to become a burden instead of a joy for us. This does not feel right to me. Sabbath should be a time of joy. Before we made this choice we enjoyed Sabbath. We had a nice meal with family and friends and I did not spend 8 hours cooking on Friday to get it ready. Now I feel more pressure to get all the house work done, all the cooking done, and still have time to shower and dress up for our meal on Shabbat. By the time we eat dinner, I am exhausted. The joy I once had is overshadowed by all the work.

Then there is the cost for all the items you need to have. A challah board, (they are not cheap), a special knife for cutting the challah, a Kiddush cup and some small ones to serve others, silver tray for Kiddush cup and challah bowl, mayim acharonim, grape juice (this cost $8.00 each week), wine, matches and so on….you get the point. I’m not complaining but I do wonder if this is really what Sabbath is all about? I feel often that the love of Sabbath is missing for us due to trying so hard to fulfill all the “requirements” of Sabbath. We honored Sabbath before we knew that you “needed” all the things we now have to buy.  More than that, my cooking was only a few hours at the most. I was able to enjoy our guests because I did not feel the need to serve a 3- or 4-course meal.  Most of the meals were buffet style.  Now it is always a sit-down meal and I am up and down like a jack-rabbit serving each course.  I really want to find that joy I once had on Sabbath……. I must ask myself, “Why am I going into debt trying to have all this food?”  Most of it we don’t even eat.   Then there is the fact that I was told by some friends you must eat Jewish food. Well, we’ve done that but we don’t like most of it. We are African-American and we have a very different way of cooking our food.   Moreover, the type of food we eat is almost never sweet. Most everything I cook from a Jewish cookbook has honey. So after spending all that extra money and cooking for hours, we don’t even get to enjoy the food. Often the best things on the table are the salads and the Challah. This just can’t be right.  I really need help and understanding on this.

 

UPDATE:  Well, here I am 7 months later and I have come to understand a lot.  One, Shabbat is not all about having the best of things you can’t afford.  One should not allow all the “hype” they read on the internet to confuse them about what Shabbat is all about.  I’ve come to understand that Shabbat can and is a joy for me.  I don’t try so hard to fulfill others expectations of what Shabbat “for me” should be like.  The joy I once had has returned.  Why?  I now understand what Shabbat really means and what it is all about.  It was never about things.  I still cook a wonderful meal.  Now I stay within my budget.  I enjoy so of the Jewish food but I’ve also understood that “Jewish” food is relative.  You see, it is all about which type of Jew you interact with.  I’ve found I like some of the Sephardi traditions but yet, I still enjoy some of the Modern Ashkenazic ways.   I don’t think there is anything wrong with finding the sect that you fit in best.

So for my “harsh realities” I’ll say this: lesson learned, for me that is.  🙂

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Classic Pony with Layers Tutorial!

If you’ve ever thought about covering for what every reason allow me to introduce you all to one of my favorite wrappers. Wrapunzel has many tutorial that help you learn how to cover.

The Wrapunzel Blog

Can anyone come up with a better name for this wrap??  I’m not a fan of the one I came up with above…

Here is the tutorial that you have all been waiting for!  This particular wrap is a match makers dream!  I know it’s sometimes hard to match tichels… but keep trying and don’t be afraid to incorporate something new into your wrap!

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The Next Big Thing! Hanukah

As many of you know, I’m in the process of converting to Judaism.  Part of that process is learning and understanding things that I’ve never known before.  Well, here we are at yet another holiday.  Yes, I said yet another.  If you understood Judaism you would understand that there are many, many holidays throughout the year.  There are prayers you say on these special occasions, among other things.  I don’t know enough to tell you what the significance of this holiday is but I have a friend I would like to introduce who can better explain.  She has made many videos on youtube that you should check out.  Her name is Andrea Grinberg.

 

 

Let me know what you think?  Enjoy!

 

Our Latest Lady Wrap Star – Tiona!

I’ve been following Wrapunzel for a long time. It is one of the very first videos I watched to learn how to wrap my hair. She is featuring some of the wonderful ladies that wrap and just had to share this lady. Tiona, I love your wraps and all the colors you blend.

The Wrapunzel Blog

When Tiona sent in her gorgeous photo with a sweet note for the “Wrapunzel Ladies do the Zig-Zag Criss Cross” post, I was immediately captivated by her smile and wrapping skills.   Turns out that her beautiful wraps only give a hint to the person she is on the inside!  Here she is as a Lady Wrap Star!  Read on…

wrapunzel wrap star tiona andrea grinberg

Hi Tiona! Can you tell us a little about yourself? What are you all about, some likes/dislikes, how do you choose to spend your time?
Yes. Hi my name is Tiona Reed, I am a mother of four blessings and married to my wonderful husband Roderick Reed. I run my own bakery and absolutely love baking and decorating cakes. There is a fulfillment there when I see the smile on someones face because Ive added to their life memories. I spend all of my time raising…

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Things missed…….

Since being on this journey I’ve notice many things I am not able to do anymore.  They’ve never bothered me but for some reason today they seem to cloud my thoughts.

I spend hours cooking for Shabbat only to have that wonderful meal either dried up from over heating with dry heat, or cold.  Either way, by the time we eat it is not as pleasant as it would have been when I first cooked it.  Our Friday night Shabbat meal is the best.  Every thing is hot out of the oven and fresh.  We really enjoy all the wonderful things I’ve spent the whole day cooking.  But on Sabbath afternoon, that is not the case.  Most of the food, with the exception of what’s int he crock-pot, is cold, or over cooked.  I’m able to keep rice nice and warm because I have a rice cooker and it has a warm setting.  But sometimes even that is hard on the bottom.  All in all, the Sabbath afternoon meal, which should be special, is far to often unpleasant.

I’ve done my research on the internet looking for ways to keep food warm.  There is something known in the Jewish community as a Bleach (click to view).  I have not tried it due to the cost.  I plan to get one soon in hopes it will solve this issue.  There is also something known as a Warming Tray,  (click to view).  I’m sure many outside the community know about this tray.  I plan on getting one soon as well.

I visited a friend recently in Baltimore, most of you know her from http://rivkamalka.com/, and found that all her food was wonderful, delicious and surprisingly warm (something I’ve yet to master).  As many of you know I don’t eat meat but the chicken looked really good on her table.  If I was a meat eater, I would have tried it.  🙂  I wanted to ask her how she was able to keep all her food so fresh and warm for that long, alas, I did not ask.

I did , however notice that she had this amazing contraction on her stove.  It looked homemade and was metal, I think.  It seemed to span from the top of the stove to the oven.  It seemed to me that with this one could have the oven on warm and the metal would heat up causing the items on it to stay warm.  I often find that making things yourself can save lots of money but also last a lot longer.  I need to ask her one day because these are only my observations and I could be wrong.

I also miss……wow, trying to think of something and there is nothing I can think of.  As you can see there is not a lot I’ve missed after all and in-spite of my food issue, I have faith it will work out once I learn and understand better how it is all done by the masters like many of my friends are able to do.  Well, until next time, keep smiling and enjoying your journey in Judaism!