Monday, September 29, 2008
Lessons of Yom Kippur
I went to synagogue starting in about the 3rd or 4th grade and we always attended services for Yom Kippur, both evening and all day. (in addition to Shabbat, Rosh Hashana, Purim, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, and others...)

I don't remember much about the rest of the holidays (though I loved Simchat Torah) Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, was, for me, a great lesson in ethics.

First, the language of the prayers for forgiveness of chet (sin), are all in the plural.

As I recited the Vidui (confessions) as a child, I wondered how I could have committed the "alphabet of sin" from Aleph to Tav (A-Z). I tried to remember everything I had done wrong over the past year. Eventually I realized that the reason for the plural (al chet shechatanu) was that no one single person has committed all of these chet, but rather we, as a community, are collectively responsible for all of the chet committed. We said every year,

"For the sin we have sinned by failing to work for peace."

As a 12 year old, how could I work for peace? How could I have sinned like this? And I realized, even as a 12 year old, that I could, in fact, work for peace. Perhaps not like Jimmy Carter did, but peace within my own circle. Peace between classmates. Peace as a noble virtue. (is it any wonder I was voted most likely to join the Peace Corps?)

In praying in the plural I also learned that being arrogant, while not equal to, for instance embezzling millions, it did not give me the right to be arrogant just because other people had done worse than I.

We said every year,

"For the sin we have sinned by our narrow-mindedness."

And I took this to heart. I tried very hard to look at both sides of a situation early on. I wanted to know exactly where I was being narrow-minded. I also knew I would have to answer for it again next year and I wanted desperately to say, no, I had not been narrow-minded.

In Judaism, we recount the chet of taking credit that we didn't earn. That was never something that was taught to me specifically but I remember reading it in synagogue and thinking how unethical that would be. I try to always give credit where credit is due. Acknowledging the contributions of others to a project is something I see as inherently ethical.

Another chet we confessed to was of giving in to despair. I could feel despair, I learned, but I could not give in to it. I could not give up. Even today, I carry that with me. I may be frustrated and may feel helpless but I still will not give up on working for change.

Tzom kal to everyone who is fasting today and may none of us give in to despair.

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L'shana tova tikatevu

It is the last day of the month of Elul and tonight begins the first day of the new year, the month of Tishrei 5768.

Tomorrow afternoon is tashlich. The time for "casting off". Generally, this is known as the casting off of sins.

Sins, in Judaism, are a slightly different concept than the sins we know of Christianity. I wrote about this last year.

On Yom Kippur we recounted our sins together as a synagogue, as a family. Intended to collectively acknowledge that not one of us was perfect, the recounting mistakes I made was a good annual reminder of how to lead an ethical life. Some of the things I learned during the recounting of sins stick with me to this day.

This afternoon, between work and Rosh Hashanah with my family, I plan to have a little time to prepare for tashlich (casting off). It is not a ritual of hocus pocus (throw some crumbs into the water and you are cleared of any wrong doing). Rather it is intended to provide some time and meditation on the past year. The things I have done better, and the areas of my life in which I can do better still. And the parts in which I am still not living up to my potential, places where I have fallen down on the job. I plan to cast off some of that baggage into the water and try for a new start. Michael has gone to visit his parents for the night and sometime tomorrow morning, around dawn, I plan to visit a body of water to do a little tashlich.

Shana tova, y'all!


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Friday, September 26, 2008
Some photos from the event!!!
This photo is from the set up. Look how hard all the bikers are working... no really, everyone worked very hard.

You can see in this photo the table runners - hand sewn black denim (by me) and the steel centerpieces done as a collaborative process with my brother. The banners you see in the background are from other clubs in the Los Angeles area, both past and present. (by the way, I have a lot of black denim in 18 x 1.5 foot strips. Ideas?)

This is, of course, me and my lovely husband.

These images are during the dinner portion of the event. These are a few of the members of the club. The bandanna as napkin idea was mine and executed by one of the other club members. The program at each place setting was designed by Michael.

Michael was the emcee of the entertainment portion of the event. Here he is on stage surrounded by floral arrangements from two other clubs, the Satyrs and Avatar.

More photos to come!


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Tuesday, September 23, 2008
After 4 months of planning.....
One month of sewing....
4 weekends of oxy-acetylene torching....
and 4 days of baking non-stop.....

The 50th Anniversary gala of the Oedipus Motorcycle club is over and it was a huge success!

We had a lot of fun - lots of misty-eyed old men getting nostalgic about the early days. Hundreds of cupcakes consumed. A little bit of dancing a lot of reminiscing.

I'll post pics as soon as I upload them.


I now return to my regularly scheduled life where I return emails and such...


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Friday, September 12, 2008
She's a Wonder
From Lynda Carter's interview in Philadelphia Magazine (hi Allison! Call you after the 20th!):

Q: I'm sure you've seen all the comparisons in the media and among Republicans of Sarah Palin to Wonder Woman. How do you feel about that?

A: Don’t get me started. She’s the anti-Wonder Woman. She’s judgmental and dictatorial, telling people how they’ve got to live their lives. And a superior religious self-righteousness ... that’s just not what Wonder Woman is about. Hillary Clinton is a lot more like Wonder Woman than Mrs. Palin. She did it all, didn’t she?

No one has the right to dictate, particularly in this country, to force your own personal views upon the populace — religious views. I think that is suppressive, oppressive, and anti-American. We are the loyal opposition. That’s the whole point of this country: freedom of speech, personal rights, personal freedom. Nor would Wonder Woman be the person to tell people how to live their lives. Worry about your own life! Worry about your own family! Don't be telling me what I want to do with mine.

I like John McCain. But this woman — it's anathema to me what she stands for. I think America should be very afraid. Very afraid. Separation of church and state is the one thing the creators of the Constitution did agree on — that it wasn’t to be a religious government. People should feel free to speak their minds about religion but not dictate it or put it into law.

What I don’t understand, honestly, is how anyone can even begin to say they know the mind of God. Who do they think they are? I think that’s ridiculous. I know what God is in my life. Now I am sure that she’s not all just that. But it’s enough to me. It’s enough for me to have a visceral reaction. And it makes me mad.

People need to speak up. Doesn’t mean that I’m godless. Doesn’t mean that I am a murderer. What I hate is this demonization of everybody but one position. You’re un-American because you’re against the war. It’s such bullshit. Fear. It’s really such a finite way of thinking about God to think that your measley little mind can know the mind of God. It’s a very little God that way. I think that God’s bigger. I don’t presume to know his mind. Or her mind.

Daaaamn. I knew there was a reason I have a WonderWoman pin on my car visor.

H/T Joe My God


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Wednesday, September 10, 2008
2 years old!!!!
I can't believe it's already been two years!!! Mia is turning two this weekend - we're having a little party in the park for her and I bought her something super fun from my and my sister's childhood that mom, dad, Mia, Abby Fay (what Mia calls me) will all love (don't tell!). I wish I had time to post more but here's a recent photo with the new Tough Cookies tutu.

Happy birthday Mimi! I love you!!!!

Current mantra: After September 20th, after September 20th, after September 20th.....


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Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Karl Rove schemed the whole thing...

  • Sarah Palin was chosen as McCain's VP effectively stealing the thunder of Obama's nomination speech.
  • Issues surrounding Palin's daughter's pregnancy, ties to Abramoff, earmarks scandal and AIP affiliation are found (as Karl Rove knew they would be).
  • Sarah Palin gets chewed by media and Democrats - both making themselves look like assholes - Dems for ad hominem attacks and media for putting the daughter of a candidate on display.
  • Palin, due to the scandals, pulls her name from the ticket so as not to "drag the campaign down" and becomes a martyr to the Republican machine.
  • McCain "chooses" another Repub (Mitt Romney perhaps?) knowing that the "Mormon thing" won't be scrutinized nearly as much now that the dogs have been fed raw meat...

Just my for the outcome!!!


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