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[*edit/poem*The Shabbat Edition 009]

(edit) Okay, so, I had to have a talk with myself: I am trying to be and do better in this life and me making stupid excuses for why I don’t stick with something that I create (like, for example, this format for Shabbat) should not be allowed…so here I am fixing my mistake and axing the excuses.

THANK GOODNESS IT’S FRIDAY….because the other days are killing me!

A Small Synopsis

Yesterday was Yom HaShoah and I didn’t get to go to the Holocaust Museum like I wanted, unfortunately. Last of month/first of month at work usually wrecks plans, because invoices have to be fine-tuned, finalized and sent out.

Also, something very bad happened to me yesterday. Somewhere between having to to go the post office for work and getting gas after work, I touched my face, and when I got home to look in the mirror….it was all kinds of red and burning. I don’t know if I got a chemical burn either from gas or something that might’ve been the packages. I cleaned it up with cold water then threw peroxide on there (ouch, insert f bombs) and aloe (more f bombs)…it really sucked because I had to be at a friend’s house five minutes later, and then to my Thursdays-in-May Jewish class. I was sitting through the class highly distracted wondering if anyone’s noticing my face. Ugh!

Lessons Learned

-Still counting the Omer with the daily lessons from Aish.com, even though I need to get my act together and transfer to paper.

-Literal: Even though I’m going to be missing the next two Thursdays, I started a class at TBE to learn about the denominations of Jewish life. One thing that bothers me is this new trend called “Just Jewish” that the Rabbi mentioned – oy. I am more conservative than I thought. Am I growing from very open-minded to close-minded? I sure hope not, but. From a future Jew, who has to do a lot of work to get there, it doesn’t set well with me for those who are Jewish to be “Just Jewish” — it feels more like slang. Or that’s how I personally see it. Or that’s how I read it when I’ve seen it.

-There’s this new thing on Instagram: it’s basically following a girl around from The Holocaust on Instagram stories. The jest of the whole thing is to share and keep The Holocaust going but to “appeal to” or “teach” the younger generation. Guess what I think about this? Nooooo thank you. Even though I am following it just to see what’s up, I kind of really find it extremely disrespectful. First of all, technology didn’t exist like that back then. Secondly, are you serious? Even if it did, they wouldn’t be allowed to use it! Everything was taken away! Why not use Instagram stories to tell a story of someone instead of how they’re doing it now as if the person was going through the Holocaust at the moment. Oy. Oy. Oy. Chutzpah!

-On another note: stop touching your face, girl. Wash your hands after packages and filling your car with gas and etc etc etc.

Events/Special Moments

-Shabbat last week I got to be an extra in a movie. That was fab. You can read (sort of) about my experience a few entries back.

-Wednesday was my last official “Intro to Judaism” class. All 18 chapters of the book…done. What’s next? Our review, then…..?

What am I looking forward to this week?

-I’m already mentally gone but I’m looking forward to a 10 day vacay….even though the deal was to take work with me (if I was going to be gone that long). So it’s kinda really not a vacay…..just a change of scenery. Plus the laundry list of emails, writing and studying I have to do. However, it’s the first Mother’s Day in about 10 years I’ll get to spend with my parents/mom, so there’s that! I’m going to try to remember to do a video with mom, or possibly both my parents…so this is something you’ll want to see…! I think I’ll post on my Facebook, so if you’re on my personal FB account, watch for it there. I might be able to do a LIVE video? I really still don’t know how all of that works. Times have changed. I haven’t kept up with it.

-This weekend: major catch up with as much as I can get done in 48-60-75 hours….however many hours I have!

-Soup Sunday + writing…and hopefully, that’ll be my permanent schedule for a while for both of those things. Until SOAs go to stage.

-Oh and when I come back: SOAs, then review class.

Shabbat Shalom!
Love Always,
Karen Maeby

G-d designed each body
with two souls, a lighted candle
ignites the glitter in the darkened skies at night
what a travesty it’d be
if she didn’t ever find me, hidden,
among the burnt out street lights deep in Paris
with poetry to write
on the tip of my tongue, for you,
I sing this song… and to you…
I locked my heart–burying the key–in the Heavens
years ago, when we locked eyes
and we made promises that we’d meet again
meet again… and soon… on this journey of life…
when I’d find my star, my light, my soul
and it lights up the night.

(EDIT) A bittersweet symphony.

Note: This is not about the 80s/90s song that I can’t stand.

Tonight at 6pm-830ish: I will have my very last Intro to Judaism class.

It’s bittersweet, sad, all the words that describe some kind of a loss…one that I’ll be feeling for quite some time.

I remember last year around July, August, September I was sitting down having matzo ball soup and talking to my favorite friend and I was mentioning all the things I was involved in and doing at the time, and she asked me if I was going to take the class, even though I was that busy. There was no answer but YES…becausetherewasnowayIwouldwaituntilthenexttimetheydhavetheclass and I’m so glad I didn’t wait.

With the exception of missing a couple of classes for performance nights (in the beginning), I managed to attend every single class. What a journey it’s been.

(not in order) I’ve attended: Sukkot, Hanukkah, Purim, Passover holiday events. Several Shabbat Friday evenings, one Saturday. Got to start at my synagogue with the best Rabbi ever, and attended his installment. I went sort-of Kosher with giving up all things pork/ham/etc and cheeseburgers (and discovered that a cuban turkey is the best thing ever). Partook in several fasts. I started this JewishMaeby account first on Instagram then started blogging. Realized my moods matched around the Jewish New Year and Passover. Was in a Purim Spiel. Attended my first Jewish Food Festival. Went to an Art Shabbat. Attended a really cool Sunday of learning. Experienced my first Mitzvah Day. Taking other classes elsewhere to continue my journey. Found my new favorite author, Leslea Newman. Discovered so much beautiful music. Fell even harder for “themed” things (Purim Spiels, Passover music). My writing and poetry and art style has changed greatly.

That little paragraph doesn’t even begin to tell everything in my journey. Just a snippet.

I have learned so much… and probably forgotten so much in between as well. I have learned that my heart still has a huge connection to the Holocaust, and I have a very big longing for enjoyment of learning about all of the holidays and traditions. One of the biggest challenges has been to keep to Shabbat, even though I’m getting a little bit better. I just have to do what’s right for me for Shabbat rules. I really need to work on the prayers. I also need to sit down and learn Hebrew.

I know the question is going to be coming up pretty soon about where is my journey going to take me? Obviously the main goal is to convert. If there are classes or seminars or events, I will attend as many as I can, so I can continue learning. I will try to keep to Shabbat and fix my schedule around that…eventually, hopefully, I’ll be at a place where delegation for taking off for all Jewish holidays will be okay. I would love to grow my brand, write my journey and publish my book, travel around visiting and writing about attending Jewish events or places. I would love to learn Yiddish (on top of Hebrew). And learn how to make all the fantastic snacks that’s made around specific holidays.

There’s so much to still learn and do.

But for tonight, I’ll be mourning this evening….as my first true step into becoming Jewish will be over. (Minus a later class where we’ll meet to follow up wrap up everything sort of class.)

Love Always,
Karen Maeby

TOMORROW IS Yom HaShoah, PLEASE GO TO https://www.illuminatethepast.org to light a candle to remember one of the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust. I lit a candle for Mose Boiangiu – born in 1925 in Jas, Romania, he died in the Holocaust at age 18.

There really are no words….

…even though there are so many.

I haven’t even been able to collect my feelings during/after reading the book I just finished a couple of days ago, then the shooting in Cali happened, and the broken part of my heart opened a little bit wider to just accept the sadness.

If I could paint a picture: it would be of a broken heart with roses and flowers laying around the edges, on the outside, below the heart with blood just dripping and tears would be the rain that would fall down in the painting that would cause the blood/rain to get mixed up and become such a sad, artistically representation of a mess.

Is it a dangerous time or a brave time to choose to be a Jew at this moment? I’m seeing so much fear. Yes, there are a million reasons to fear (just like fear anything else we fear in our lives), but we need to be brave. You can’t live life fearing every single corner you walk down. That’s just not even right… and that’s giving power to the enemy, and that’s exactly what they want. What happened in the past and what is happening now does not scare me away from wanting to be a Jew. I want this so badly. A Jewish song has always been in my soul and I am finally singing to the tune of it. I am finally embracing a world that has been missing for a really long time. I am feeling passion where I’ve lacked before. I see G-d and G-d is in that light within all of us and all over the world prompting us to do good, be good, and to carry on day to day.

There’s a really sad representation of something or another with the shooting happening on the last day of Passover: a shot to our freedom. Another (unnecessary and terrible) life lesson that freedom isn’t exactly free, and what do we have to give up in order to have? It is yet another reminder that we need to keep fighting. It was just yesterday that the Holocaust happened, #NeverForget? We live in a totally different time where–for some reason–we are marching backwards: women/lgbtq rights are being singled out once again where rights are being stripped away, and minority groups (Jews, immigrants of any kind) are being targeted for all kinds of antisemitism. It will never really go away, as there will always be people in the world that spews out so much hate that even the brightest yellow stars in the night sky will turn black, but we can do something about limiting how much is out there…give everyone a wake up call, make those who have earmuffs on–take them off–and listen before it’s too late. And if we keep doing the same thing over and over again and things still continue to sour, how about lets try something different and see what happens? We really need to start acting fast.

How have these acts effected me as a future Jew? It has made me more emotionally aware and in-tune with the terrible situations. It makes me want to proudly express my star of David anywhere I go. Speaking of which, I have not taken off my star of David necklace since I got it in December and my chai necklace hasn’t come off since April of last year. Every day I fall deeply into my faith, and I value living life…representation of why I never take them off. As far as everything else goes, I am not scared to go to any of my Jewish locations, they’re part of my favorite places to be. I want to be a part of the Jewish future, it will be my pledge, to help change the world and make it a little less anti-s. That’s why I am here. All in due time.

Going back to the book that I read “Some Girls, Some Hats, and Hitler” – the true story of Trudi Kanter. What a book, what an experience to just read the book. It was so visual and heart breaking that you could visualize exactly what they were going through… which was fear. Fear of walking down the street and being caught, fear of having their belongings taken away, fear of their own life being at stake. Trudi was one brave woman as she did everything to find her way through the system to rescue herself, husband, her family and her hat business that kept them to being able have the money to make deals to keep their life going. There were so many risks involved.

I can’t believe that book was once out of print for a really long time until someone found it and decided to republish it again. I was so lucky to have gone to the bookstore in the mall–that I haven’t been to in ages–to find this book… (once again, my intuition told me go, that I would find something there) and, I did.

This book inspired me to create a play: I wrote the overall synopsis, beginning and ending planned out. It may take me a while to work on it, but the story is there.

This is how we’re going to keep our past alive to teach the future….by telling stories.

Love Always
Karen Maeby

PS – there might be another tinyletter letter coming later, so if you have access to it, check it and read once I’ve posted.

UPDATE: Shabbat Shalom y’all!

TGIF…or else I would die. I sure love my Fridays, especially when I’m doing something different. The movie shoot is today – the one I thought I would get to stage manage – no, not doing that. I’m actually going to be IN it! Whoa. About a two hour countdown….

I don’t have much to report or sum up from the week. I already wrote about how amazing the 1st Seder and how delicious the food was, the weekend I literally just slept, I didn’t have class on Wednesday due to the bbq going on, been cleaning (toss, sell, keep/pack), I have written a lot between stories and counting the Omer, read the book mentioned prior to this entry and still have a million feelings regarding that. 

Big news: There’s a new Mayor in Tampa and she is LGBTQ. We should really throw a party. Or two. Or three. Almost makes me want to move there. Almost. Except my life is in 97% in St Pete, so that would be crazy. For now though, I’ll be following her in her politics on Twitter. 

Anyway. That’s about it. I’m going to go and finish getting ready to be some sort of backstage extra star….I’m going to make sure the camera gets captures my best glittery moment. Ha. I’m really not that selfish. Bye. 

Happy Friday – Shabbat Shalom – I Love You! 

Love always, Karen Maeby 

Update: since I write non-related but sort of related Jewish based life things on Fridays… I must give an update about today. The shoot was from 10-7. I am tired. Been a good day full of everything happens for a reason. Had several discussions about things I’ve been pondering about life this week. I might have some answers tomorrow. One person said to me “you’re a writer???? I knew there was something special about you but I couldn’t quite place it.” He wanted to know more about me. Again with the intrigued word! We talked a bit then I mentioned about my Jewish journey and it came back around.

EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON! You meet people for a reason. You have experiences for a reason. Everything is a reason. And tomorrow I might find one of those reasons.

Here’s a b&w picture of me wearing a fabulous bright blue sequin jacket and red boa. The jacket found me. The glitter finds me anyhow. We had pizza for lunch and now it’s dinner, I am fetching tacos and preparing for tomorrow’s meeting. Please wish me all the luck in the world.

PS – no one told me it was #LesbianVisibilityDay even though I should’ve known. So happy, happy…to those out of the closet and those who aren’t…I hope you’ll find your bravery one day. You have a story pending inside you. Share it. It’s a beautiful one. You know it. So should the world. Inspire with rainbows. I know I do. Color. Glitter. Bring out your pet unicorn. Poetry ablaze.


Finished.

I finished the book I was reading last night. “Some Girls, Some Hats, and Hitler.” Nearly 300 pages done in a few hours between two days. I can’t write about it at the moment because I am still so heartbroken, in awe, and so many emotions bursting out of me. I can barely see through my tears as I write this. 

Notes: Trudi still kept the hope—by working on designing her hats, and not giving up on something that made her happy. Trudi still did everything she could to save her family even if it meant risking everything. Moments of relevance: suitcases, name change(s), letters. 

Trudi inspired me right down to my core, and what will come out that? You’ll have to wait to see. I would not want her spirit to be disappointed. I shall not spill any secrets a moment too soon. 

Always, Karen Maeby 

Day 3&4 Counting the Omer

Today is still day 3 of Counting the Omer and tonight will be day 4. I decided to look up Counting the Omer and the reason I point this out is because I’m getting really freaked out now about how closely Judaism is representing every aspect of my life. Not just…. Rosh Hashanah and Passover and things in between…but Counting the Omer too? (I’m posting direct content from aish.com.)

I was looking on aish.com again: day 3–say it out loud.

Take a moment and think: “What am I living for?”
Now try saying out loud: “I am living for…”

Why is “Saying It Out Loud” a Way to Wisdom?

  • “Saying it out loud” helps you clarify fuzzy ideas.
  • Articulation is objectivity.
  • The more senses you involve, the more of an impression it leaves on you.
  • What you speak is an expression of who you are.
  • Everyone needs a sounding board, a feedback system. Do it yourself!
  • Never say, “I can’t.” Because then you won’t, even if you could.
  • Language is the bridge where body meets the soul.
  • Talking aloud keeps you from falling asleep and day-dreaming.
  • Words are reality. “To say is to be!”

Day 4 from aish.com- understanding of the heart / introduce yourself to yourself

Did you ever get on a train going somewhere, only to find that you’re headed in the wrong direction?

The same thing happens in life. We set goals and make plans – and sometimes discover that we’re on “the wrong train.”

Often a crisis hits at midlife when people ask: “What’s my life about? Is this all worth it?” We’ve heard stories of people who suddenly change direction, quitting their job and getting divorced. You know, like the successful doctor who decides he never wanted to go into medicine in the first place – so he drops it and becomes an artist.

  • What is the purpose of life?
  • What is my goal in life?
  • Why did I choose this career?
  • How do I spend my spare time?
  • What is my motivation for doing what I do?
  • What really makes me happy?
  • Am I as happy as I want to be?
  • Is it more important to be rich or to be happy?
  • What are my future plans? Why?
  • What are my secret dreams and ambitions?

Last night, I had two separate conversations with two different friends and they both literally said the same thing regarding my life and they way they see me: I’m not doing what I love anymore, and I’m just not living up to my true potential. Life is too short to be unhappy and settling for less than I deserve. There’s too much out there. Opportunities that one would never thought to exist. They’re both right… you never know where an opportunity will take someone. By the 49th day, I sure hope to have my answer. I will be letting the Omer guide me the next 49 days to my own revolution, and hopefully by Shavout, there will be a new light.

Oh and the stuff from aish.com? Those were questions that kept popping up during my conversations. Looks like I have work to do.

One last thing before I go… when I was talking to one of my friends last night, I mentioned about my connection with feeling the way I do over Passover months and Sept/Oct being brand new start. She said that’s really strange because most people get really happy when spring is near because of the blooms and everything comes to life and then get sad and depressed in the fall. It’s the opposite for me. I struggle in the spring, I want the new year in the fall. It’s been that way my entire life. Now I have an explanation, I’m still a little freaked out how real this is becoming…. and now with these individual life lessons per day counting the Omer. Why is this happening?

I have really been a lost Jewish soul all this time, and I am really coming home.

I actually want to cry right now.

Love Always, Karen Maeby

The philosophy of my journey, writing and TV shows.

I have an idea. Yes, you should be scared when I say that, because it’s almost like when Lucille Ball said she had an idea. We’ll get to my idea momentarily though.

This weekend, I binge watched almost every single episode of all three seasons of Kim’s Convenience Store which follows a Korean-Canadian family who owns the store and deals with the day to day life. I love it. It shows character, culture, and is superbly relatable (in situations / relationships) and yet again, is one of those shows that the world needs.

Now point the focus back to Jewish-based shows like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Mrs. Maisel and–shows that I haven’t seen but read about–Broad City and Shtisel. I’m sure there’s more to be had. From where I stand, as a future Jew, I really sincerely felt like we needed more Jewish soul in television. Now, before my journey, I hadn’t paid attention to any of this but now that I’m on my journey, experiencing and embracing Jewish life, I’m falling so hard and I want to watch tv shows that embrace Judaism or have Jewish characters to relate to. Again, I think the timing is kind of perfect, because the Universe needs to call out to those hidden Jewish souls and allow them to find themselves being drawn to (like I was), and then, for those who were born into Jewish families but no longer practice… they should be revived. This should be Judaism’s revolution–and we should stand tall to antisemitism–be brave to stomp the hate out. It’s more than important that we remember our history–traditions from way back when all the way to forever teaching the Holocaust even when there are no more survivors left. We have to be ready for that.

Last night when I was trying to go to sleep I was recalling the moments I’ve had the past six months or so….and here’s my idea….as I am writing the book about the beginning of my journey, I should also write my story into a TV show. With 50% fiction/non-fiction….and why not let it be Anna’s Serendipity that I continue writing on? I already have story lines, true to life characters, and I’ve been writing down ideas for the future of that, even when I didn’t really know where I was going to take it. (Thinking it’d be a full length play then movie, but why not a continuing series for a while?) I could write some of the more important characters in remembrance to a few close friends/family members who have passed on. It would be in dedication to my grandma and aunt who were both G-dly people and of whom I had a strong bond….. And I would get to share my vision from a future convert’s point of view. How beautiful would that be? I could fill up an entire notebook right now just for the holiday episodes.

Watching the ending of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was partially the inspiration for my idea. The ending was amazing, even though, it was kind of predictable (but in a more of a life lessony sort of way, if you were truly into studying the characters and story line) the way that she found herself after all that time and came face to face what she really wanted to do. It was a beautiful ending, really, and for those of us who are tethering on the edge of something or another: it gives us hope.

Rachel Bloom, the writer and one who played Rebecca in this show, said she saw her series as 4 seasons. I admire that. She wrote it, her story, and made it happen.

Now, I am going to do that with mine… and hope that Rachel Bloom and her team will one day see the scripts of my TV show and want to do something with it. One can only hope. Here’s to sending my dream out to the Universe.

Always,
Karen Maeby