Sunday, September 30, 2012

SUKKOT! Living in Tabernacles versus Booths

When I read of Sukkot, I come across many words:
Feast, Festival, Day.
Tabernacles, Shelters, Booths.
To me, so of these words seem to be more favorable than others.

Would you rather dwell in a tabernacle, a shelter, or a booth?
A tabernacle seems quite grand and beautiful, a shelter seems neutral and it can go either way. A booth does not seem all that cool. Would you want to tell your friends: "Hey! I live in a tabernacle. Come check it out!" Or rather, "Come see this booth I live in!"

Would you rather celebrate with a feast? Or a festival?

A feast seems more intimate. You would invite family and friends and people you love. A festival seems like a community gathering during which everyone celebrates the same event but in their own unique way.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Universal Unitarian= WOW!!!

I found this to be incredibly impressive!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Yom Kippur Entry
"Tremble, and do not sin.
Search your heart as you lie on your bed, and be silent. Selah."
-Excerpt from Ma'ariv for weekdays (part "Rigzu," taken from from Psalm 4, Koren Sach's Siddur)


Sin is anything that is not loving towards ourselves and others.
It is easy to forget and neglect quiet time for reflection.
This is one of the few ways to promote growth.
Deep concentration on our good and bad sides.

The Jewish New Year has officially rolled in. With the new calendar comes Yom Kippur, a time of reflection from the previous cycle up until this new cycle. New beginnings can be bitter sweet and scary. Change is stressful due to the unknown.

During Yom Kippur (Leviticus 23.26) we are instructed by some DOs and DON'Ts
Completely rest

From sundown of the 9th day-10th day of the same month of the Festival of Trumpets
(the 7th month)

Don't work
Don't work at all (EXCLAMATION MARK!)

Enjoy yourselves!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

More Multitasking

My Sample Schedule
Studies show that we are great at doing just one thing at a time.

I have noticed that the more work I do on the computer, the more likely I am to attempt multitasking.

If I am writing an article or researching a topic, in the process I tend to check my emails, browse other categories, google search any interest that pops into my mind...


It becomes a problem for me when I feel as if I have worked all week on tasks and I see little results.

For myself, I have found that it works to write down the tasks I want to do in order, including breaks for eating, bathroom breaks, and breaks to relax my mind.

See the sample of how I may choose to organize a day.

The Strategy of Success 1 
"Set yourselves to work with a determination to get one [an education].

Do not wait for an opening; make one for yourselves.

Take hold of any small way that opens before you.

Be thorough and faithful in whatever you take in hand, however small it may be."


(From "Our Higher Calling").

Learn about KLLP Kendall Life Languages Profile.
and learn about successful communication.

The Strategy of Success 2
See Walking young lives out of poverty.

The wording in the previous quote explains the many aspects of success.

Determination includes motivation, drive, and action. Sometimes we want things but we may not be willing to put in the work. There may not seem to be a benefit to it all. The END may not justify the MEANS.

With a determined mindset we first WANT something and we then DRIVE as a means of GETTING what we WANT.

Making an Opening
I recently did some woodworking on a small project of my own. Part of the project involved a power drill.

For a first-timer, drilling can be a challenge. Sometimes the drilled holes will be crooked. Sometimes the holes are too small. Other times the holes are too large for what you may need. You don't want a screw to fall through the hole. You need the ridges of the screw to catch the border of the wood so that whatever it is holding will stay in place.

I learned to make a PILOT HOLE with a smaller drill bit. This helped to guide the larger bit. And once the hole I needed was in place, I could then use the OPENING for whatever I intended to do with that area of the wood. [I could insert a string, a screw, or use the opening as just one small area to create a larger effect (such as a gear or mechanical portion of the project)].

But without that hole, without the opening, you cannot move forward. The opening must be there for either small plans (such as a simple screw) or large plans (such as a proposed movable part).

Get it? The same is true in life. Without the opening, we cannot do what we want. If there is no position available, we must make a PILOT HOLE. Make a very small route. Create a path for the direction we wish to pursue.

IT IS OF COURSE A LARGE TASK OVERALL. But no one can expect for something to come out of nothing.

Thorough and Faithful
Doing work is one thing.
Doing work RIGHT is something completely different.
Have you ever helped someone move a large piece of furniture?
We all know what it feels like to KNOW that we are the one doing all the hard work!

WHY IS MY END SOOOOO HEAVY? We have 4 people carrying this large couch... I FEEL LIKE I AM CARRYING THIS THING ALL BY MYSELF!!!

...being present, taking your load, being meticulous and paying close attention to detail, fixing even minor glitches. This is being thorough. Not just making "face time" but also doing the amount of work you are responsible for, taking responsibility for your own tasks, predicting possible outcomes and preventing errors before they happen, editing and fixing the work before it is turned in,

... being truthful, honest, and reliable... this is being faithful. Not doing "dirty dealings," no ripping people off, telling the truth about a product, showing up when you should and not making excuses.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Punk Torah: Friendly Online Indie Jewish Temple- CHECK EM OUT!
Here is a very great open minded view of a reading, for anyone interested. It is from Parshah Devarim (the beginning of Deuteronomy).


This talk I posted is from Punk Torah. You can view their website, blog, and YouTube channel which is an open service to anyone open and interested in the Jewish faith and learning Torah in a free environment, regardless of race, color, or creed, or identity. I like that they are accessible and non judgmental. They are there as a teaching and learning community especially for people who may feel like outsiders in a traditional synagogue/ shul/ temple. I would strongly recommend this site for those interested in Judaism and Jewish spirituality.

Punk Torah has many free seforim (books). You can get a siddur (prayer book) which is easy to read. You can find prayers, benchers for meals, and entire services for holy days and sabbaths.

VERY awesome learning tools.

I know of many LGBTQ and others who are interested in the Bible. This is one of the first religious and spiritually focused sites that I have come across that I would actually tell people that they should feel free to approach. They do not discriminate, and they are there for the good of spreading light and do not ignore the realities of life, but they are not focused on using knowledge of the Bible and standings to control people or to put them down.

I give them two thumbs up! I love that this site is approachable. So anyone who was interested in this, I said I would post it... HERE IT IS!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Approaching Life With PARDES

Okay, now I know most of you never attended rabbinical school, and neither did I! I would have loved to actually, but I was lead down a different path.

Sometimes I hear people say that they have no direction; they cannot find their path. To such people, I can recommend 2 things. 1) Constantly focus both on yourself and simultaneously on others. 2) Use PARDES in your life.

When you focus on yourself, you try to objectively look at the good and the bad, the strong and the weak points about yourself. Use your strengths a lot, but also work on your weaknesses. When you focus on others, do not focus on them to judge them, but focus on what they need, say, and want and then try to be a positive light in their lives.

PARDES, or PaRDeS is an acronym of Jewish exegesis... This means that this is a method of understanding Torah. What is Torah??? It is the instruction of God. Jews are taught that they must first learn, and then do these things that God instructs. (There is a book called "The Two, The Ten, and The Many" which refers to these instructions). There are 2 instructions, there are 10 instructions, and there are 613 instructions PLUS others! MANY paths here!

Regardless of your belief or unbelief in Torah, you still have instructions that you live by, even if these instructions are not written in Hebrew from God. Assuming everyone journals (everyone writes journals, right?!) assuming everyone journals, you likely have written down your beliefs somewhere. Someone has likely asked you. You likely have a moral code involving how you treat yourself and others.

The study of the instructions of how you live your life can be observed using
PaRDeS (P.R.D.S. since Hebrew technically contains no vowels).
Peshat: plain, simple, and direct meaning and interpretation. Literal.
Remez: hidden or symbolic meaning using hints or deep meaning related to the literal meaning.
Derash: study, interpretation, or story.
Sod: inspired, mystical, hidden meaning.

And I can leave things at just that. I would not want to tell people how they should live their lives. I only know what works for me, and my life is far from perfect. Just some ideas for some people who were asking.

Religiosity VERSUS Spirituality VERSUS Secularism VERUS Impartiality

Depending on how you "box" your views of life, these are the main headings under which the majority of us fall.

Usually referring to those who belong to a sect, denomination, religion, or belief system. We generally think of these people as worshiping a god or deity and having manuscripts that dictate how to live life and how to view life. But there are countless variations.

people are more or less LESS concerned with following the cultural norms of the religion and they tend to focus more on the philosophies and feelings and experiences more than the rules and details of practice.

do not usually follow religious beliefs (although this greatly depends on the definition of "religion.")

people usually believe that there is possibly a reason to accept religious view points but they may not adhere or choose the path of just one. Impartial people may not care at all for religion or they may not care to distinguish between religions as far as preferences.

In my opinion there are universal rules of how to treat others. There should always be love, respect, and understanding towards different cultures and different beliefs. As well as within similar groups.

The main issue here is that we tend to believe that the grass is always greener on our own side.

There are certain words that trigger automatic reactions from us. If you browse online and google certain words or terms, you will likely be inclined towards your own interests. But you will notice that if you are searching areas or topics that you don't believe in, you will likely read to try and DISPROVE or CATCH errors and think of any way to prove those postings wrong based on what you believe.

The strange thing is,
everyone believes in their own views.
But it is just as important to believe in your own views as it is to study the views of others.
Otherwise, who can you approach?
It seems to me to be almost a crime to have a purely homogenous group or friends, peers, and acquaintances.

People should be bonding and breaking down barriers!
No one should let their differences stand as a road block or a wall or fence. Especially when it comes to beliefs.

If people never choose to coexist, then things will never change.

How often is the "us versus them" mentality used to villainize a whole different group of people?
People who agree rarely fight.
People who have a mutual understanding have respect for one another.

If you have no similar ground and zero understanding, it will be extremely hard to see that "other" person as "us" rather than as "them."