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 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)!

My wife and kids are back from North Carolina where they went to visit my in-laws, and it was a super happy reunion. My kids all missed me so much and I don’t remember a time where I and my wife hugged longer or tighter. It was truly a moving experience for us all in my household!

We’ve got a busy month throughout September, full of high-holy days and synagogue visits numerous times. There are so many events and celebrations atop our normal Shabbat celebrations, and this will be our first year of partaking of everything as converts. It is an exciting and introspective period for us from the start of Elul through to this point and I have been working hard toward Tshuva through the whole process. 

It’s a busy month this September, but I have so much planned for this website…. so be sure to check back often!!!

The kids nor my wife have seen her parents in almost 2 years now, so we all planned that they would go from Philly to North Carolina for a month in August. I’ll be staying home with the cats and keeping an eye on the house, so we will be a part for 30 whole days, me here, Sam, and my kids there. Needless to say, this is a long vacation and a lot of planning has gone into it since February I believe. Last-minute, just six days away from them leaving on this adventure, we’re still making preparations for both their greyhound journey, and my being alone.

Yes, I am plenty old enough at nearly 43 in a few days from now, but we still need to clean the house up a bit, buy finalized things I’ll need, plus I want to plan for all of this alone time. I mean, it will be one entire month for me to set up,  and get things done, without distractions! 

I have been exceedingly busy with work and getting everything ready for both my birthday and the family leaving for a month. Therefore, my posting here has remained almost daily with at least new articles, but otherwise slower, but still steady. I have a ton planned for this website while my wife and kids are visiting the in-laws, so be sure not to miss the August posts. I can’t wait to share all of the new content coming…

So due to FedEx screwing up delivery of my wife’s new Cochlear implant piece, it’s out for delivery today, which means we have to wait for it at home. This will be the very first Shabbat service we’ve missed in six months consecutively. We both feel horrible about missing it, but we’re going to watch it online and head to Torah study tomorrow morning. If we miss this FedEx delivery, they told us we’d have to go to Greysferry which is an hour and a half one way by bus, taking 4 busses to get there, and four to get back. 

We will still be doing our full Shabbat ceremony and meal at home, but it feels alien to miss the service honestly. I truly miss seeing everyone in the community here and seeing how their week has been. I’m still looking forward to some introspection and relaxation this Shabbat, after this week I truly need it. 

Shabbat Shalom!

 

Yesterday we went to our synagogue Rodeph Shalom for the first time, it was finally opened since the Covid-19 pandemic began. It was also the first time our new cantor sang for us all, so it was doubly a special occasion. We (my wife and I) gathered up our four kids, hopped on two buses, and arrived with just enough time to talk to others a bit during the pre-Oneg. It was almost surreal seeing so many people we’d only met through Zoom in person, there was so much love and so many hugs (Don’t worry our synagogue is mostly vaxxed and still we all wore masks) even by our two rabbis. 

My sons are on the autism spectrum and my youngest son Gabriel kept saying, “there are too many people, I don’t want to be here dad,” so I kept reassuring him it was going to be okay and to push through it. We found seats in the sanctuary and almost immediately this absolutely holy sound filled the sanctuary, surrounded us all, and embraced us… it was the voice of the new cantor!

While we have been praying at home and attending every online Shabbat service, we got a little lost during the service due to being hard of hearing, but caught up and always felt blanketed in this palpable feeling of joy and holiness. We were lifted by the spirit of prayer and song unlike anything we’d felt before, and it was utterly amazing. I can safely say, we have found a spiritual home in Rodeph Shalom. My eldest son Adrian felt a little overwhelmed by all of the sounds and took a five-minute break, but soon came back (next time we’ll have headphones for him to wear to quiet it a bit. 

The end of the service, they’d said if everyone wanted they can meet and talk back in the courtyard and Gabriel my younger son, who initially wanted to leave said, “Can we meet in the courtyard and stay a little longer,” and that was a true miracle!!!

We got home and went through our Shabbat ceremony with each kid helping to perform a station of it (as we always do), but it went nearly perfect this time. This was a Shabbat unlike any other we’ve experienced, it was powerful beyond measure for our family and we look forward to many more.