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A Tribute to E in the name of Judaism.

Yesterday I had a really emotional day, and I think it was because I adopted 3 more hermit crabs on a purposeful whim Sunday evening. I started thinking about Eisenhower, how I lost him in November, and that I didn’t really have a true-to-heart closure. His death was so unexpected. There were a couple of times wherein I was alone yesterday, and I just let the river of tears fall with the sound of my porcelain heart just breaking into pieces. Over the past year, Judaism has really taught me something about life and death, and by writing this, I’m working through some major inner feelings that I’ve just needed to clear for some time now, since they’ve literally been pent up since November of 2018.

Sir Eisenhower officially entered the death process on 11/16/18, the day of my writer’s group dress rehearsal. I had noticed E went into a molt a couple days beforehand; which kind of made me upset, because I really wanted to smuggle him into our second show like I did for our first one. I kept talking to him, telling him to hurry up with the molt, checking on him everyday. He was moving and doing well, until I felt something had turned for the worst on the 16th. So here I am, at dress rehearsal, an absolute mess because I just knew this was not going to be a happy ending.

On the 17th–our performance night–I checked on E before I left home, and I just knew (and again, confirmed what I already knew). Any bit of liveliness was gone, he officially left Earth on the 17th. I was in pure denial. Since I had the performance to worry about, I completely covered up my feelings and buried myself into the work while I was absolutely melting inside. When the show was over, I was still very much in denial, praying he was just in a terrible molt and he would come out of it just like always…but, he didn’t. I didn’t bury him until Thanksgiving….nearly a week later. Other than being in denial that my “emotional peacock” had crossed the rainbow bridge, I had no other reason to wait. And it wasn’t ethical in Jewish standard to wait to bury, but I unintentionally waited for the day of thanks. Thankful he was in my life for 3 years, and we celebrated 3 beautiful birthdays together. Thankful he was my perfect spirit animal. Thankful for all of our moments and memories together.

The other day I wrote an entry about what I regret from this year (talking about overlook of the year for R/H) and the last statement was about E…Sometimes true feelings are revealed unconsciously in the moment…I didn’t even really think about writing it when I wrote it. Then, when I looked at my statement, I was like wait a minute. What? Is that what I’m actually feeling? Ever since that day of losing E, I attached the writer’s group performance along with the tragic moment. And the truth is, since November, I’ve had such a hard time getting back into the groove of creative writing and writing with purpose and for shows and even getting into my own writer’s group… because, mentally and unconsciously, I automatically connect E’s death with our group. So I literally fear the day, or fear something that should be exciting and fun, because of a tragic moment. And, because I also blame myself for his death, and I could have prevented it from happening.

Eisenhower was extremely stubborn (ha, look at who was raising him) and he loved his original home – a smallish green shell with a superman character – the shell that he probably lived in since birth. When he got comfortable enough to the point where I could catch him: I’d see he would change into another shell for a minute, hate it, so he’d go back to his original where he felt safe and comfortable….and trust me, he was a super spoiled crab, so he had all the shells in the world to choose from. He was growing and getting bigger, even more perfect, and his skin/claws/large purple pincher were glowing beautifully. That last time he changed into a bigger shell — I wanted to take his old one out — gut instinct told me to do it but I didn’t. After 3 years, it was really the time for him to take a risk out of his comfort zone and move on to something bigger and better. I didn’t take the shell out, because I didn’t want him to panic and have something happen to him. (You should have seen the way he would act when I cleaned his aquarium out. He was also super OCD and would freak out about me moving things around.)

But, in the end, my fears were realized and I completely blame myself for his death. He had definitely outgrown his original home. We both knew it. I know that he understood when I told him ‘you should really think about moving into a bigger shell, you’re a growing boy’ because that’s when actually started changing shells, even if it were for a few hours at a time. I should have taken the shell out when I had the chance. When he went into the final molt–being too big for the shell–it looked like he had, well, you can imagine how he died. It’s sincerely so tragic to think that I could have prevented this from happening, and I would have been able to celebrate another year and many more years to come with him, my emotional peacock, my perfect spirit animal, my E with a big huuuuuuuuuuuuuuge personality.

Adopting Eisenhower was one of the best things I had ever done in my life that was so superbly life-changing. It’s kind of funny how–without saying a word–animals can actually teach you things, and he sure taught me a lot in the 3 years we spent together. Looking back, it’s so crazy to think that I had to spend time thinking about adopting a hermit crab on my birthday, all the while I decide to go and kiss an alligator (and yes, on the lips) because…..that sure was the safer bet. Ha. A couple days later, a decision was made, and I adopted E.

Sir E was raised a whole lot more differently than any other land hermit crabs are raised. He was smuggled several times into the CH and placed backstage in the wing to watch a our shows, he went to several of my work places with me as well as rehearsals, I took him to the beach for music nights, we celebrated at restaurants for our birthday, he watched Spongebob, listened to Tom Jones, he was pretty well known around town, he got to meet at least 100 different people and they all loved him. I kept telling stories to everyone about him understanding, and they would be like, “you’re crazy” until it actually happened to them. I’m like, “Uh huh. See. Yep. He really does this stuff. Do you believe me now?” My favorite memory is him being so loud that he’d wake me up out of a deep sleep at 3am or something and I’d be like, “EISENHOWER HOUDINI CRABAPPLE you better go to sleep right now or you’re going to be in trouble!” and he’d literally walk back down his pineapple house into the sand, and to his ship where he slept. It was hilarious and I knew this happened because I would quietly get up and watch. I could go on and on with our memories and funny moments, but I need to get to my point of writing this.

Shortly after adopting E, I started to realize that I had found my perfect spirit animal: the crab. They are very, very social creatures, but when they’ve had enough, they retreat into their shell. Trust is a big issue for them and to earn trust with a hermit crab takes a lot of patience and really truly earning it. When they are irritated, they snap, and they are very territorial and can carry an attitude. They also wear their homes on their back, so they are literally home just about any where. Home is more of a spiritual thing….as it should be. Home within the self, maybe, so to speak. All the things relate to me and how I feel.

The philosophy of a Hermit Crab in relation to us humans: Their growth is as big as their shell. When they move to a different shell, they are changing their life, their home, their world and stepping outside of what they’ve known for x amount of time. They are creatures who love to explore, but sometimes do step back in caution. What I failed with E: it seemed he too was scared to try something new (a new shell), and when he finally did, he went back to what he was comfortable with. That’s not how life is really supposed to go. We aren’t here just to settle or become comfortable, and stay. When you do that, you’re stunting your own growth spiritually and on a level of living to your fullest of capability. We’re here to live, to explore, to change shells every once in a while….you know, stepping outside of what’s comfortable, putting yourself out there, making new and exciting changes… everything that helps a person grow and become better in life. By “changing shells” you’re redirecting your life and taking risks for a potential better life. And–even though crabs change shells for the nature part of it–there’s definitely something to learn here from them, because G-d’s creatures are smart. I should know this after being a crabby mom for a few years now, they know what they’re doing, and in relation to life’s philosophy.

Over the past several months of my studying Judaism and understanding the way hermit crabs are – it’s kind of going hand in hand with my thoughts moving forward. I’m learning so much that can help my life become better and for me, personally, to become a better person to the world around me. And so, with that, I am going to take this concept and apply it to my new Hermit Crab babies and teach them in the name of all things Judaism. I will also keep Eisenhower’s spirit alive and celebrate his life, instead of his death, and my new babies and I will say Kaddish for him on Nov 17th.

I haven’t been able to do an official naming ceremony yet, but here are the names I’ve picked out: the baby’s name will be Adirae (adi – meaning jewel/ornament, pronounced ada-ray), the lighter green shell will be Lashir (shir – meaning song/poem, pronounced la-shure), the darker green shell will be Chailah (chai- meaning life, pronounced hi-la) and of course my Havali I’ve had since Hanukkah. And also in the Jewish spirit, I have always believed that one’s name makes a person… so I really hope my babes live up to be every bit of their names.

Love Always,
Karen Maeby (Ahava)

Two Months

It’s officially two months in (and 4 days if you really want to get technical) of me being Jewish. Or should I say–since my conversion–because it seems I’ve had a Jewish soul all along, it was just time for me to discover and do something about it. Either way, it’s time for a check-in and update on my feelings, and what’s changed. I know I still haven’t shared my full-full-full story, nor have I really shared what I felt while in the water. Still thinking about keeping that mostly private. But anyway, thoughts:

-The light is deeply rooted within me. Any negative thoughts (minus being slightly impatient while hangry, just a bit road-ragey while behind slow people on the road and very super grumpy while it’s raining because on a scale of 1-10 my body hurts over 500%) have practically been non-existent. I’ve been thinking and being 95% more positive than I’ve ever been. When I feel as if I would be dropping that, or even feeling sad, I’m like nope, I’ve been given this chance to become Jewish and I need to keep to the light and I turn it back around. Thankfully…that is what I do.

-My desire to learn has become even stronger. As you’ve read, I’m keeping up with new classes and attending new Jewish events. I am also reading/learning on my own.

-I’ve been letting go of anything negative in my life or things that I feel is a waste of time or something I don’t like doing. I’m changing my outlook. I’m cleaning, sorting, doing anything I can to make sure I keep positive and happy around me.

-I’m a little bit (or a whole lot) braver with trying and doing new things.

-The biggest issue I’m having right now is I’m struggling with finding a pattern of attending Shabbat and keeping to my tradition on Fridays. It’s because I never know what my schedule will look like due to what happens in the day or what I’ve got going on during the week that really messes with those plans. A lot of my plans are very, very, very sporadic or very last minute….and Fridays are usually the days that suffer. I am currently truly 100% trying to work on either writing it in that I take a half day or completely take it off and make up for it on Sunday. But if I’m working a show, that won’t work so much, so….I’m not sure what the solution will be. And now with the event planning part it’s going to be even harder.

-I’m becoming more and more myself every day. Finding Judaism has allowed me to find myself. And, when I converted, I literally really did become whole. I don’t feel like a chunk of me is missing. Now I just want to meet my beshert….but I’m assuming that won’t happen until I am fully aware of who I am. I still have karmic duties to work out and lessons to learn. That would be the perfect timing. And, by golly, it better be Tu B’Av.

-I’m still a mess but G-d loves me anyway. (I think that’s why he lets me look good in glitter, to make up for that mess part. Ha ha ha.)

-I’m STILL finding out things from my past that makes sense now, such as certain times of the year make me feel certain things. (Most recent was finding out my birthday was such a disastrous time to our people, and having felt guilty all this time for celebrating, it comes full circle.)

-I’m sincerely more in love with life than I’ve ever been, like, ever.

-I celebrate a whole lot more, even the small things.

So, JEWBELONG sent out a newsletter today with a personal roadmap for Rosh Hashanah. (Speaking of which, I need to find my goals from last year and see what I’ve actually accomplished.) I might just answer a few things here…. lucky number 3. I’ll answer 3 of their questions, then do the full thing at the new year.

We are looking at from Sept 9 of 2018 – until Rosh Hashanah at the end of Sept.

  1. What are my 3 most significant achievements in the past year? (1) CONVERTING! (2) putting on my own show in Nov 2018 (and doing everything that I did, including acting for the very first time) (3) stage managing the SOAs by myself
  2. What are my biggest mistakes in the past year? Letting winter depression get me so down which led me to everything happening in January. Potentially very much disappointing and unintentionally hurting a friend that I (still) deeply care about, and wrecking said friendship that meant so much to me. Wasting time. Not celebrating more. Not relaxing more. Not taking a vacation earlier until it was at the tipping point of snapping. Not taking care of me at the beginning of 2019. Not taking Eisenhower’s original shell out of his aquarium when he was in a bigger one, because it could have potentially saved his life and he might’ve lived to celebrate this year’s birthday with me.
  3. What is the most important decision I need to make this year? Vegas.

Love Always,
Karen Maeby (Ahava)

[Shabbat Edition 018 – Tu B’Av]

SHABBAT SHALOM! And, oh my. Do you see what number edition this is? No, it was not planned to be this way… but today is Tu B’Av – the day of Love (ahem, Ahava) … see what I did there???? and then this is edition #18… 18 meaning LIFE… so, love and life, two of my favorites. Since I didn’t do an entry last week, don’t ask me to remember what I did, just go look on my personal blog if you want to know. I can’t remember half the time of what I write the next day then I accidentally repeat it.

A small synopsis 

It’s been a weird week: lots of meetings, lots of calls, emails, planning, new classes, new planning for future endeavors, and so much crazy rain it’s almost come to the point where we have to build an ark again.

I am trying my best to change my schedule around, and due to the last two weeks of events and new things and work things, I haven’t been able to….but it’s going to happen.

Music of the week: La Bamba (Medium Allegro) off David Plumpton’s Modern Melodies for Ballet.

Lessons Learned 

I have now started a new Jewish class with my Rabbi and a bunch of other people from CBI. The book we’ll be reading over the next year is The Observant Life. Our first chapter we went over was about re-introducing prayer and why we do things. It saddens me to see people who are born Jewish and they don’t know why we are supposed to do things. like… it really shouldn’t be that way. We ask “why” a million times, why wasn’t this clarified years ago? Nothing should ever be shoved down someone’s throat without being told why. I want to become fluent enough in this to help others to the next level, so those questions are answered.

Last night, I joined Jews & Brews for the first time ever. I think it’s so cool to be able to go and have a drink and then discuss the Torah. So not only are you learning something, but we also get the experience of trying new drinks and new brewery locations. Which is hella useful for me considering I always need new places to go and write.

Between both of those classes, my old class, going to Shabbat and certain events–boy I get to see a various amount of different people and I see who is interested in what. I love how I’m just diving my face into everything. I love this Jewish life so much, I just can’t stop expressing my love, and these events… and things to do… and always discussing and reading and doing and being… ahhh. It’s so refreshing. Now I just need to figure out how I can get to coffee with Rabbi and then the next day lunch discussion for TOL so I can join that group too.

Just because I haven’t done it before doesn’t make me any less capable, or deserving of an opinion or to be able to help in the process.

There should just be a stopping point for going back for seconds. No. Just… no.

Rain is not a good look for me. I need sunlight or else I’m going to implode.

Events / Special Moments 

Today is Tu B’Av. The day of Love “Valentine’s Day” in our Jewish world. I think if I had to choose between that and the real Vday, I’d choose this. It’s a whole lot less retail “spend all the money” crap and more about what it is supposed to be about: love, celebration. I’m writing on my dream board that I hope that this is one very special day for me in the future. (I also have a story in mind that I might sit down and write. If so, it’ll be something else included in ‘Becoming Ahava’ … here’s the random thought that led me to want to write——Tu B’Av is when all the single girls would wear white and go out and search for guys to marry. But, but… what if… just what if, a couple of those girls just wanted another girl to love and be loved? My heart is with them.)

I had a special meeting yesterday with the group I’m going to be doing event planning with. Suddenly, it went from me just indirectly working with them (early spring) to being invited to be a part of the board and their event decisions, and now, I’m a part of the decorating committee. Which means, there are a few things I’ve never done before, so it will be very interesting learning and doing. I am looking forward to this. (Especially since the theme is “casino” which is yet a second hint towards Vegas this week.)

Randomly meeting a nice lady who knew Elvis and knows all about his life and people in his life…. while having our writer’s group meeting… (cue in first hint about Vegas)

What am I looking forward to this week? 

Let’s see… things at work will be getting back to normal since the guys are coming back bearing good news. We are going to be restructuring a bunch of things in the company (I really hope), and then, I have to talk to them about the meeting I was in because it sort of involves them too.

There’s a few more meetings but not as crazy as this week. No classes or anything like that. I don’t think. Might be finally starting some new projects I’ve talked about: like reopening my sellers account on eBay and Etsy just to start selling things that need to be gone. I might even break those fake earrings I wrote about on my diary (since I obv can’t wear them anymore) and make magnets out of them. If I do that, and it turns out good, I bet I can make some profit off those. They are cute enough to do that.

Still working on the usual: cleaning, sorting, catching up on reading (we’re going to try this oneeeeee more time), catching up on emails, to-lists. All that.

Anyway, I guess that about wraps up this week. Thank goodness I blog things more frequently now, even if it is rubbish most of the time, because I cannot seem to remember anything these days. Oy.

HAPPY TU B’AV. I love you.

Always,
Karen Maeby (Ahava)

Some more Jewish News

A couple of things… I haven’t been able to do any reading, studying, writing on what I’ve read due to all my extra activities at night or my cleaning phase. One day. Also, my new class with my Rabbi starts tonight and I’m also waiting my Jewish Planner that I helped back several months ago, it finally shipped out, and I cannot wait until I get it. You’ll be the first to know… but probably on Instagram.

This is the most chilling thing I’ve read in a really long time:

“This is the new tax in America — our death tax. It might even be called a death lottery. For the privilege of living in the United States, from time to time, its residents — both citizens and aliens — will be slaughtered in packs of dozens. Sometimes randomly. Sometimes because they are of a type,” writes Marshall Weiss of the Dayton Jewish Observer.

In fact, it reminds me of this movie I watched as a child called The Lottery. Where you would choose a number and if your number won then you were stoned to death. That’s why–even as an adult–I don’t like playing the lottery. That movie scared me so badly. I had terror nightmares after watching that. For many years.

In a small theatre in New Jersey ….

What the Success of “Mikva the Musical” Says about Orthodox Judaism Today. By and for Orthodox women, Mikva, which has affinities with The Vagina Monologues, opens up a once-secretive ritual while staying firmly in line with tradition.

Oh, how I would love to see that.

I’m seeing a lot of controversy about how Tisha B’av is celebrated today — either not at all because some Jews are so far away from what happened or they’re bringing today into it. I think that we need to understand the true meaning of (I mean, I still have a lot to learn, because I’m sure I didn’t properly mourn) but also maybe if it’s related to today, today’s Jews will understand better. Maybe?

Kveller has a really cool article – 11 facts about why the Addams Family movie is Jewish. (Once again, no wonder I was always drawn to this…)

Tisha B’av

The night before Tisha B’av, I received an email newsletter from the Nevada Jewish Federation that a 23 year old male was arrested. He had a huge amount of guns, ammunition and bomb making materials. He also had a target hit list. Who was on that list? A gay nightclub, a synagogue, and the ADL Nevada office, all in Las Vegas. Luckily, they caught him before he did anything, and they are keeping an eye on everything there now with more security.

When I read it… my heart sank all the way down. Those would definitely be three places I’d frequent if I were already living there. I wholeheartedly accepted my fate when I became Jewish. I chose this life. (Sometimes I still wonder if didn’t choose me.) Becoming a higher target through antisemitism and how I was personally going to deal with it was one of the areas of concern from the beit din. Putting myself at risk. This is my fate.

Does it make me question whether I want to go there or not? Things can happen anywhere. People are evil just about anywhere, just like people are good just about anywhere. I’ve seen enough true crime shows that 99% of the ones are targeting someone they knew over anger/revenge, or if it’s a high profile mass shooting, then it’s an act of hate towards a certain group of people. I don’t know how to make it stop. I don’t like guns or weapons of any kind. I don’t think we should completely ban them (due to security for those who actually use them for the better good for protection) but take a look at some of the countries that don’t have this problem… hardly any unnecessary and crazy murders there. But, I digress. As long as there’s hate in the world (and people of power who expel it), we will have to deal with it in unfortunate manners. I wish people would understand one thing: it has always been “this bad” as far as crime goes…there were plenty of opportunities to cover things up or never hearing about it because of lack of communication, but now that we have constant media…..and the copy cats are learning where to copy from. Sadly. Anyway, I digress.

Tisha B’av. I did fast, but ended up having to eat during the last like 3 hours… I got extremely dizzy and shaking really bad. I read some. I didn’t really do anything enjoyable. I did chores I hated. Those things.

I started looking at the dates of Tisha B’av when the terrible events occurred and the dates always fell from middle of July to middle of August. One event happened on my birthday (Germany entered World War I on August 1–2, 1914 (Av 9–10, AM 5674), which caused massive upheaval in European Jewry and whose aftermath led to the Holocaust.) No wonder July and August are hard for me emotionally.

With the exception of the last 3 years, I have always had a hard time with my birthday (other than the part of never getting to celebrate while in school with friends or classmates because I was a summer baby). I get so excited to celebrate, then kind of back off, because I feel so guilty for celebrating. Well, at least I now understand why. My people were being destroyed… and not just once, but over and over again, during this time. How can you feel good about celebrating when something like that happened?

Always,
Karen Maeby (Ahava)

Catch up from Aish.com

Did I ever mention just how much I love Aish.com? They are truly feeding my soul with their emails. It’s funny how a lot of my personal feelings and things I’m going through has actually aligned with their email topics…. things like self improvement, goals, dreams. Lets take a look. (Please bare with me as there’s a lot of dates in here, as I’m just now catching up from July to now.)

August 4, 2019 / 3 Av 5779 #645 Our Potential for Self-Improvement

The Chazon Ish (20th century Israel) described the level a person is potentially capable of attaining if he has a long term goal for self-improvement: “If a person constantly strives to improve his character traits, it is possible he will eventually reach a level that he no longer gets angry, will not feel hatred or resentment, will not take revenge nor bear a grudge, will not have ambitions of seeking honor, and will not desire mundane pleasures.” 

Today, view every person you find difficult as your partner in character development. View every encounter as an opportunity to develop your positive qualities.

I think it’s true. The flaw you find in someone else, and you start to dislike them for it, you should look deep within your own because that’s the issue you need to work on.

At the end of their email’s “growing each day” lesson: Today I shall …do good deeds because they are the right thing to do, rather than to ingratiate myself. [My note: You should always do good deeds but with the right intention. Sometimes, it’s on good occasion (say, Mitzvah Day) to mention what you have done. Otherwise, do a good deed daily and just don’t share it. I’ve kept a lot to myself over the last year or two. It brings some sort of inside happiness to just do something good, walk away and never brag about it.]

Their AV 3 quote: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A GOAL AND DREAM IS A DEADLINE.

Quote from Tammuz 27: “The tragedy of life is not dead but what we let die inside of us while we live.” [My note: it is true, there’s a quote out there, ‘all people die but not everyone lives’ — upon hearing that quote for the first time several years ago, I knew I didn’t want to just purely exist. I wanted to live.]

On their July 29th Shabbat weekly catch up:

“Leave Room to Learn” – was part of their ‘daily lift’ (As I’ve mentioned, a Jew’s work is never done… we will and cannot ever stop learning.)

Tammuz 26 : They shall make for Me a Sanctuary and I shall dwell among them (Exodus 25:8). The Midrash notes that God did not say, “I shall dwell within it” (the Sanctuary), but “I shall dwell among them” (the Israelites), i.e. the Divine Presence will be within each person.

^ I was just thinking deeply about the Sanctuary song from Central Synagogue that I absolutely love. I played it the other day because I needed to hear it.

Would you like to be great? Our sages tell us that if we want to be great, we should do a nightly cheshbon hanefesh, an accounting of our deeds. Before you go to bed, sit for a few minutes in the quiet and ask yourself (and answer) four questions: 1) What am I living for? 2) What did I do towards my goal today? 3) What did I do counter to my goal today? 4) What is something that is more important to live for? Do that every night before you go to sleep and you have a guarantee of making more out of your life.

^ I challenge you to write those four questions somewhere nearby and answer them before bed. I am going to be doing the same, and maybe keeping them handy in my planner.

Questions to Help You Get in Touch With Your Life Goals:

You dreamed at 20 what you would like to do or be. Are you living that dream?

What would you want said at your eulogy?

Who is your hero? Why?

When do you feel most meaningful?

If you could make a difference, what would you do?

If we are serious about achieving a goal in our lives we must periodically take inventory. What have we accomplished? How can we better use our time?

The last two questions are important ones. Since I have no sense of time, that is my struggle, daily, and it is important for me to take a look at that every day.

From July 22 – Shabbat Weekly

According to Western ideology, there is no absolute purpose to life. God and evil, meaning and meaninglessness, are matters of personal taste. Yet with all the “freedoms” this philosophy embraces, it disposes of the one and only ingredient that gives life profound and lasting satisfaction: a transcendent purpose — the recognition of a Creator who cares about man’s actions. A Creator Who invests him with the ability to make choices that either further God’s purpose or undermine it.

However, despite the best efforts of distraction and rationalization, our souls long for meaning. And until the soul receives the nourishment (read: meaning and purpose) it so vitally needs, man will never find lasting tranquility. On some level (most often subconscious), he will continue to be plagued by disharmony between what he deeply craves and what Western ideology claims life to offer.

As Torah Jews, our inner longing to lead meaningful, productive lives is nurtured and guided. The goal is our relationship with God. Our tools are the mitzvot, the commandments. The framework for success and meaning is neatly laid out for us in the intricate structure of Torah life. Best of all, we need not struggle to find the goal. We are free from the start to focus our energies and resources on achieving it.

EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON. We just have to live and find that reason. You meet people for a reason. You love who you love for a reason. You do what you do for a reason. Your paths take you wherever you are for a reason. You’re given a million choices and you either settle with what is comfortable or you go out and do the unthinkable and challenge yourself to become better every day. I think that G-d has a blueprint (a very, very, very light one) of what each person can or will do, but it’s up to you to choose what path in connection with the stars you will take every day of your life.

July 18th Aish.com daily

#629  Care For Others Material Concerns

One aspect of caring about people is respecting their property and protecting their money. 

It is a kind deed to return lost objects, to give suggestions about how to buy things economically, to prevent damage to possessions, and to prevent needless waste. 

In other words, caring for the material and financial concerns of others is a matter of your own spirituality!

Last year I wrote a play for my 3rd home family, and I put something in there referencing ‘we have a duty on this earth to try return goods to the rightful owner if they don’t belong to us’ –well, I based that upon my own opinion and what I thought was right… but as it turns out, what my soul felt was right… was right in the Jewish world. I think this is also why I feel so deeply about stories when I hear of items being returned to owners.

Wow. What an entry to write. What a catch up with Aish.com. I am truly going to be able to write a philosophical novel with all of what I’ve learned or found evidence for my beliefs.

Love Always,
Karen Maeby (Ahava)

The Mystery of Being Jewish #1

I almost didn’t make it to service on Shabbat because of the crazy rain and excessive flooding around this area, but due to a tiny miracle… it kind of stopped raining so hard and I made it, even though I was late. I’m glad I went because part of their summer services is giving a little lesson in between. They talked about Broadway musicals that have the Jewish undertone to the music due to the Jewish musicians/writers themselves. They played a little bit of the musical tune then what the tune was based off of in Yiddish. I was sitting there–practically in awe–because my favorites of favorites are actually songs based up on Jewish/Yiddish tunes. I haven’t studied that far in about music yet. But I have known for a while….that there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to my love and recognition for the Jewish world. Wow. All I can say is wow.

With having said that, Friday’s service lesson actually inspired what book I was going to read next (instead of what I originally picked out). So, over the next few weeks, I’m going to be dropping some writing here from: The Mystery of Being Jewish. After the first chapter today, it lists 19 famous influential Jewish people. After I read a few of the chapters about the book, then I’ll talk about whatever comes to mind, so I’m going to treat and share it like one of my studies/personal lessons.

To get started… Tonight I read the first chapter which is titled “The Mystery of Being Jewish.” What a chapter to start with because I nearly want to type/comment on everything.

Sigmund Freud once said “Only to my Jewish nature did I owe the two qualities which had become indispensable to me on my hard road.” (1) Free to question all things & (2) Standing his ground in the face of all opposition.

“It is something inside the individual that makes him a Jew. Something infinitesimally small yet immeasurably large.” – said Franz Rosenzweig.

“We Jews are a community based on memory.” – Martin Buber. Memory meaning giving you shoulders to stand on that helps you see beyond your own personal view.

“They know that the key to life is learning and that the word lechayim ‘to life’ sometimes make their voices thicken with a strange unfathomable emotions. Jews look upon each newborn as a human filled with promise. In the Jewish way of thinking, no one comes into this world filled with sin. It seems only right to be more concerned with what happens in this world than the next. … they should help make this world a better place.”

Obviously, these are some of the things I have learned earlier on in my journey, but it’s always nice to be reminded. It’s always nice to be reminded of how things were before becoming Jewish… like my heart’s thoughts aligning with Judaism and the feelings I had after finding it out. And how I still want to burst into flames (good flames, if there’s…such a thing) and allow my soul to cry all at the same time.

The last paragraph…. ‘key to life is learning’… I have never wanted to stop learning. I remember freaking out when I stopped going to school, because it was like, how am I going to learn next? I was a very, very, very serious nerd. Still am, actually. When I fell in love with something I was learning, I would go beyond the normal, and go on that endless find of researching about the subject… that kept me busy for a while. Still happens often, actually. Learning is one of my inspirations….and probably the reason why I am interested in nearly almost everything. But back to the point.

I literally just said a Jew’s work is never done (on my other blog). We have to be the ones to learn, do the research, work, and teach. We should always question everything, and end on why, just so we can do more. For every question answered comes another. Learning about everything: how to do the things you do better, learning about the world around you, the future, the past, learning about what’s in your soul. It all enriches your soul…. so you can be better and being better (and happy) you can help others to do the same… then the world gets better because, well, patterns. But… not everyone has learned this secret concept.

“To life” — as I’ve been looking back in some of my old writings, I have found that “life” and “love” has often come up. In a lot of my paintings (especially the ones at my 3rd home) I have “life/love” on them. That was even before I became Jewish. It was already there, embedded deep within my soul. It has always been about living life to its fullest potential and loving as much as possible.

I may get flack for this one…but thank goodness in the Jewish way of thinking… because I have never believed in sin the way it is portrayed. How in the world can someone born from literal stardust carry so much negativity on their shoulders when they don’t even know a thing because–all that point–they just purely exist. They are a clean slate… until memory comes along, until G-d sets out their destiny when they are learning who they are… I also don’t believe in the whole concept of hell, even. I believe that once someone is done here, their souls go to one of the planets (why do you think they’re discovering life up there now?), and which planet? It depends on how much work the soul needs. Once the work is done, they are born into another body, and placed back on this earth to live out their karmic duties. Hence, my thoughts per the reasoning of reincarnation. If your soul gets recycled enough, you will begin to remember other times of being here. I have actually always believed I was one of the souls lost in the Holocaust. I don’t know who or where or what age or anything, but it is the way I see how my soul was Jewish but I was born into a gentile family. Apparently, due to finding out what I’m finding out and experiencing what I’ve experienced, it was a part of my own karmic journey to learn what I did to become who I am now: Ahava.

Being Jewish, talking about being Jewish, reading about it, and my moments of how I keep finding out about how I’ve always loved the Jewish world…. it really truly does set my soul on fire. In a good way. Like, so much. So very much.

Enough writing for today. My hands are going to fall off. Until the next chapter.

Love Always,
Karen Maeby (Ahava)

[Shabbat Edition 017]

BIRTHDAY EDITION! Wh00t! SHABBAT SHALOM Y’ALL. Sending my all my love to youuuu! Happy Friday!

A small synopsis 

Not much going on in the information front now that all the theatre fun is over for now. A week ago I decided to start a new blog to update my daily life instead of non-Jewish stuff here (unless it’s this Shabbat edition), so you can check out chantillylaceandglitter.com for all the fun stuff. I may end up changing my Shabbat edition around, but for now, I’m sticking to this formatting.

I found a new favorite song– Truth Hurts by Lizzo. Heard it on the way to my 3rd home today then on the way back. I’m not sure why I like it, but weird lyrics? Weird song? It’s sorta rap-ishhhh. Probably. Most definitely. It just sounds really good blasting out of the speakers on bass.

Lessons Learned

Cleaning really, really, really helps not only to clear the space but clear your mind also.

Not really a lesson, just wondering: is it really too much to ask for an answer out of someone? Just reply. That’s all I want. A reply back. It takes almost no effort to do that. Something. I just want to scream: acknowledge me for goodness sakes, when I know you still care! I see you!

Events / Special Moments 

MY BIRTHDAY…. and it was amazing. I can’t believe I didn’t get any pictures of any of us. Again. We’re always having way too much fun.

At my 3rd home, I was given so much love. It was freaking amazing times two million tripily squared. (I think I just made up a word.) My friends who showed up, we all have a story with one another, a close one, they’re all so important–role models in my life, some of them second parents, some of them besties, life cheerleaders, everything. At dinner, same, with different friends. Lots and lots of cards (a poem written on my card from one of my writers), two balloons, so much laughter, friends introducing themselves to one another and making connections (both lunch & dinner this happened), tonight I had a (it had to of been) death by chocolate piece of cake because I nearly died from eating it (so much chocolate, so much sugar, oy), saw a double rainbow (I have pictures, will post later on Instagram), and a beautiful sunset.

At dinner, one of my friends said, “One thing I know, Karen has really good friends.” Yes, Yes I do. I choose them wisely. They’re the bestest. And that comment was said to me after half of them were exchanging numbers for one reason or another.

Directly after dinner, I called my cousin…. who I haven’t talked to or seen in person in 25 years. Wow. I reconnected with a family member, and one who has been around enough to know what I’m trying to say when I don’t really know what I’m saying. I’m so glad we talked. And better yet, she and I share the same birthday.

I will write more details on my diary this weekend. I’m almost way too tired to type anything, plus this weather has me aching all over so badly and my hands are hurting again.

What am I looking forward to this week? 

Going to Shabbat tonight (our Rabbi is supposed to lead)! Then drinks afterwards.

Laying absolutely so low this weekend, and catching up on everything.

I have two meetings this week.

And lots and lots of reading to do.

I think that’s it… just keep an eye out for my photos on Instagram, and then on my actual diary!

Love Always,
Karen Maeby (Ahava)

FB memory pop up.

On August 1, 2013 — on Facebook — I wrote this:
Where do you even go for inspiration when your candle is burnt out and you can feel you’re close to the end of the road?

Dear 27 year old me,
You find Judaism years later, and it enriches & saves your life. You complete your intro to Judaism studies and convert on Anne Frank’s birthday, and you find light that keeps you lit day in and day out. That’s what happens.
-Ahava @33 years old.