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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Wordless Wesnesday

The fortune cookie powers that be clearly haven’t seen my paycheck or my bank account ūüôā

Merry Christmas!

The Birth of Jesus

2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.)

3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.

5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,

7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.

11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

12¬†This will be a sign¬†to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.‚ÄĚ

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace¬†to those on whom his favor rests.‚ÄĚ

15¬†When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‚ÄúLet‚Äôs go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.‚ÄĚ

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,

18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Wordless Wednesday

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Today’s reminder that Christmas is around the corner.

Brooklyn Courthouse decorations

Final Straw

sandy-hook-victims-list

Friday seemed liked most Fridays for me; work, Spin class, lunch, work, home. Yet, by the time my Spin class ended, I learned of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As the news unraveled on the TV screen at my gym’s locker room, my mind flashed back to the news of the shooting at a Portland, Oregon mall earlier in the week. But this time the shooting was not at a shopping mall, this time it was at a school, an elementary school.

The news reporting of the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School unfolded like many of the other mass shooting reports. Aerial shots of the scene of the shooting, images of people fleeing the scene, images of people looking stunned and crying, police officers securing the scene, fluctuating reports of the number of people wounded, dead, and unaccounted for, and makeshift psychological profiles of the shooter, all followed a bizarre and all too commonplace sequence of  reporting with respect to mass shootings. The familial way in which the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting story was initially reported served to momentarily shield me from the terrible reality of what took place there. Soon, however, the full weight of what happened at Sandy Hook sunk in and tears of sadness started flowing down my cheeks. 20 children ranging in from 6  to 7 years old, along with 6 adults, were gunned down by a maniac who blasted his way into their school with military grade  assault weaponry stolen from his mother who he killed prior to arriving at the school.

And here we all are again, desperately¬†trying to make sense of the unfathomable horror that’s blown a hole in the hearts of a nation. Cries to stiffen gun laws currently dominate the headlines, along with the fear by some that this shooting will lead to them being stripped of their right to bear arms. Last night at a vigil for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting, President Obama gently resolved to do whatever was in his power to prevent this sort of incident from happening again, acknowledging that no single piece of legislation would effectively stop all individuals who have it in their hearts to cause this level of devastation. Indeed, no law, ordinance, legislation, or moral decree can ensure that this will never happen again. Enacting, and more importantly, enforcing gun restrictions and assault weapon bans is about staving off as many evil and deranged individuals from fulfilling their destructive fantasies. Bottom line, military- grade weaponry like AR 15’s do not belong in the hands of citizens,¬†PERIOD! Outside of living in a place like Iraq or Afghanistan, protecting oneself, one’s family and/or business does not require the fire power of a machine gun, and unless you want to obiterate your prey, it should also not be required for hunting.

I support the right¬†to bear arms for responsible, law- abiding, and mentally competent individuals for protection, and if they so wish, to hunt. Calling for stricter enforcement of gun laws, coupled with a ban on assault weapons does not minimize my support. But I, like many across the nation, have grown weary of reports of the brutal and senseless slaying of men, women, and children by shooters using guns designed to spew a blood- curdling amount of bullets. The “people kill people not guns” rhetoric is devoid of any significant meaning for me when the gun in question is an AR 15. I accept that enforcing stricter gun laws and banning AR 15 types of weapons will not stop all criminals and mentally ill individuals from plotting this type of madness, but it will stop some. Isn’t the hope of stopping “some” all we can¬†realistically¬†expect of any law, ordinance, or regulation? It’s time to step up and get real about the issue of gun violence in America. If not after Sandy Hook Elementary School, then when, when…

May they all be resting in the arms of an angel….

When I grow up, I want to be a…

test

In college, there wasn’t a career assessment test that I didn’t take. Even what appeared to be a firm decision to pursue a career in the law did not detract from my compulsion to take career assessment test after career assessment test. You’d think my¬†obsession¬†with taking these examinations was driven by a steady stream of ¬†exotic and quirky career suggestions. But no, I generally fell into a specific set of career fields: law, journalism, and psychology. One day, as I scanned through what I believed would be the usual list of careers, I was stopped cold by what I deemed to be a most unusual career recommendation; Rabbi. At that time, the only thing I knew about Rabbi’s was that they were affiliated with the Jewish faith, they read Hebrew texts, celebrated¬†Hanukkah¬† and seemed to wear a lot of black clothing. Aside from the black clothing, nothing about me becoming a Rabbi synced. Consequently, I¬†furiously went through each multiple choice question in search of the question, or set of questions, that led to the suggestion that I become a Rabbi. A career in the law, got it; ¬†a career in journalism, I can see it; psychologist, um, okay, Rabbi.. OY!

Years after graduating from college, having worked in a diverse set of career fields, I now appreciate the link that exists between the law, journalism, psychology and Rabbi profession. It isn’t a spiritual connection so much as it is a link that is rooted in the ability to write, research, listen, communicate, and empathize. Much like an attorney or a paralegal, a Rabbi must be able to synthesize and¬†disseminate¬†text in a coherent and reasoned manner. Like journalists, Rabbi’s must develop a keen sense of their surroundings to discover what questions need to be asked, which stories need to be told, and what people need to be reached. Similar to a psychologist, a Rabbi must possess the wherewithal to become the shoulder to cry on, as well as the fountain of knowledge in times of despair, questioning, peace, and curiosity. In varying degrees of pleasure and competency, I’ve ¬†taken on the role of lawyer, journalist, psychologist and Rabbi.

The connection between the law, journalism, psychology and being a Rabbi is not one I would have¬†wrestled¬†with had it not been for my penchant to take career assessment test. Yet, it was in taking one career assessment test after another that I stifled my ability to perceive the common ground between these professions. On a certain level, I was relying on these tests to define who I should be. The function of the career assessment test is not to define who you are, it is to shine a light on your interests and current abilities. Unearthing your passions, your life’s calling, goes beyond shading a bubble on an exam sheet. This task requires quiet introspection followed by thoughtful ¬†and deliberate action. It is precisely these steps that’s led me to the truth that I no longer wish to pursue a career in the law, nor am I pursuing a career in psychology. And while I wouldn’t hold out any hope in seeing me preside over a service at the synagogue, I would love to someday write for a living. ¬†Time will tell if this is to be. In the interim, I’m steering clear of #2 pencils.

What steps have you taken to unearth your life’s calling?