Chag Hannukah Sameach!!!

My family’s first night of Hannukah was a rousing success and so much fun for all six of us. My daughters both said “BEST DAY EVER!” and my sons can’t wait for more Hanukah celebrations to come in the next 7 nights. We have a Hannukah room set up in our house that’s decked out with the main table, banners all over, and games. Oh, and speaking of games, my wife is a Dreidel hustler, she only got Shin 1 time the whole game and cleaned us all out. The game of Dreidel was so loud I thought the cops were going to be called lol

So many fried cheese bits and latkes were eaten and sufganiyot had to be saved for tomorrow night’s festivities because everyone ate so much tonight. This first night, the kids each got large themed popits, a dinosaur, among us, and unicorns, my wife got a box of metal puzzles and I got an authentic Swiss army knife. 

Our Mensch on a bench “Moshe,” can be seen just chillin’ in the picture, keeping the electric Hannukiah going (We had to blow out the real one after. 

And Sam (my wife) and I both got Yair Immanuel artisan Dreidels to commemorate our first Hannukah and they are beautiful moments of this beautiful festival of lights. I got to teach my kids the meaning and history of Hannukah and let them know about the Maccabees and the miracle of the lamp’s oil. I added, “Just as the night way back when we lit the candle the first night to tell Hashem we see him and are thankful, he lights the rest (metaphorically) to say he sees us too.” 

 

Shalom,

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, so first and foremost I hope you had a happy and safe Thanksgiving and got your grub on! 

I’m sorry this post is a bit late, but we had a huge celebration at my mother’s house; Sam and I, my mother, my uncle Bill, Sam’s mother, and father drove in from NC, and our four kids… it was hopping at mom’s house. We all broke our diets and ate so much food and had so much fun, it was a great one to remember for sure. We took pictures, which I’ll show everyone once we gather them from everyone’s cameras. 

Meanwhile, today is the Shabbat, so Shabbat Shalom… We’re going to be heading to the synagogue later to celebrate with our congregation and tomorrow the In-laws want us all to go see the liberty bell and other American historical sites while they’re in town. Then Sunday is Hannukah, the festival of lights and we’re so excited to celebrate our first Hannukah!

So to Jews in the diaspora of America, I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving, and to all others, Shabbat Shalom!

 

Since my last post here, I’ve added many articles, new wallpapers, new recommendations (for youtube channels), and a ton more. I have been rather consistent in adding new content on a daily basis, with no sign of slowing down in the conceivable future. All of this while preparing for my family’s first Hannukah on Nov. 28th, which we’re going big because it’s our first. 

I also got a new handmade large Kippah that is absolutely beautiful and expertly made from Elora’s Castle on Etsy, now my wife wants one!

So much more is coming… stay tuned!

 

 

I have added so many new articles here and new wallpaper, with more on the way!!!

So much has been added since my last update here and pretty much on a daily basis to boot. I have been trying to promote this site to show that change is possible for everyone and to help those who are possible converts to Judaism to learn a little more than the basic holidays and such, from someone converting. So, I want to say thank you/Todah Raba to everyone who has been sharing this site with others, my hits are reflecting the love from all over the world <3 

New everything is coming, more content will be steadily being worked on and added as soon as possible, so check back often!

So have you added any new content? Yabetcha!

I have added a few new articles, the free PDF booklet “Bee and me,” and have been tweaking the sections of this page daily. I have so much more planned and coming, but as you’ll notice (if you’ve been here before), there’s new content in every section of the site. 

…as for me…

I have also been working on my personal website “Lord Frederick W Cook,” and my art website “The art of Ambrogio,” both with a facelift and with new content. I try to change the aesthetics and interface at least once a year on those sites, and the same will probably be true here as well. 

I am not proud of, nor shy of my past, I’m not that person anymore. In the SOS media section, you’ll find the Interviews link, and in the articles, under I Am link, you’ll find articles about who I was. Today I actively work to combat extremism and Anti-Semitism, armed with the inner workings of many of these groups, my mental health training, and a desire to see an end to hatred, racism, violence, and division.

I write copious essays on the inner workings of extremism, I do interviews on my past (a lot of them), and work with organizations to study the wave of extremism and what makes the movements tick, I help in extremist interventions, healing, dissolving of ideological bonds, and the reintegration of former extremists into a new life of love in society. I work a lot…in very difficult work, for very little money, that is how much I believe that together we can all change and make a difference in this world. 

Not to Kvetch or anything, but I’ve actually been really busy as of late, dieting, planning holidays, studying, events for the kids, etcetera; general but busy life stuff. Despite all of the living life things, I’ve been adding content pretty regularly here again!

Almost every section has some tweaks, articles, or content added to it since the last post here. Aside from a lot of new content, I am also planning on changing up some of the links and adding a new section or two here, with even more content. I have also contemplated a few more additions, such as a free email list that I could send out newsletters with exclusive content and send updates right to your inbox once a week. Finally, I am writing a small booklet on my friend Bee and how much he impacted my life that I will put up for download here in PDF format. 

Also, I have been contemplating returning to YouTube with content similar to this site, maybe some insiders information into the world of a convert/ethnic Jew? Who knows, but I have been giving the idea of a YouTube Channel a lot of thought as of late. 

More to come…

I… have been a busy fella as of late… not only updating the content here (of which there are several new articles and a new interview on the Derate the hate podcast here, but also in life. I am doing everything I can to fight to regain mobility, if not in my back, in my legs, this includes trying the Keto diet and laying off weights to lose pounds to remove the weight that my knees have to hold up. I’ve been working on quite a bit of art as well and developing my new art website, which I’ll slide into my links section here when it’s done. 

I’ve also been teaching my kids more Hebrew and Jewish prayers, as well as teaching them music, art, and letting them game on my PC when we all have free time. Mind you, each of my four kids wants to learn something different from me, I don’t push them into anything. 

Aside from that, I’m still obsessively reading everything Jewish, with Mussar and Kaballah thrown into the mix for good measure. The fountain of Jewish wisdom is unending!!!

G’mar Chatima Tovah! It’s the eve of Yom Kippur, we’re getting ready for Kol Nidre service tonight, followed by services all morning into the evening, when because we’ve fasted 25 hours, we break the fast with a feast. This is our first Yom Kippur, and has been amazing; the healing, the love, and forgiveness, the look from the past to the future. Thank you all for reading my site, for going through this journey with us… <3 

So, atop my back having issues due to my Ankylosing Spondylitis getting worse, my knees, whose cartilage is worn from decades of hard style martial arts kicks, are also bad enough to keep me fairly immobile. Luckily, I am upstairs in our house and can make it to the bathroom, our bedroom, and my office. Thursday I am being interviewed again and will post it here when it’s live. I have also written some new articles here if you haven’t checked them out. 

In my office, I can write and paint, and I have a huge office chair that cushions my spine, so I am grateful for not being totally at the mercy of my condition. I am still smiling, still doing what I can, and still thanking Adonai for every moment I am alive! 

L’Shannah Tovah!

Rosh Hashannah has come and while we’d initially planned on attending our synagogues services in-person, 4 out of our 6 person family are currently sick. We’d instead opted to watch our service online and to go through the holiday at home, so we didn’t get any of our fellow congregants sick. This was very sad for me, as it is my first high-holy day and new Year as a Jew. We have our prayer books from CCCR for both of the high-holy days and are making do with our home celebrations.

We are hoping and praying that everyone here feels better in time for Yom Kippur and we will be able to attend services in person at our synagogue. Yesterday was also my wife and my 2nd wedding anniversary, which if you’re like me, there are no coincidences. 

September seems to be our busiest month yet in Judaism, so many holidays alongside Shabbat services, and honestly, I love it!

Soon I’ll be painting again and plan a whole series of Jewish art, including a piece for each of my rabbis (and maybe our awesome Cantor too). I’m really excited to get back in the paint, I’ve already been sketching a bit and am itching to hit the canvas… I just need a few supplies first. 

So have a healthy and sweet new year (5782)!