On the surface, religion and feminism seem to be at odds with one another. Among the world’s major religions, women are often seen as secondary to men. Feminism demands that women be treated as equals to men.
Letty Pogrebin‘s 1992 book, Deborah, Golda And Me, is about Ms. Pogrebin’s journey as she reconciles her faith with her feminist beliefs. Raised in an observant home, she lost her mother as a young woman. Traditional Judaism states that only a man may say kaddish (prayer for the dead). Unable to say kaddish, she drifted away from traditional Judaism. In time, she found a way to mingle Judaism and feminism. While some of the book focuses on the author’s personal journey, other chapters discuss topics such as feminism from the perspective of Black and Jewish women and feminist attitudes in South Africa.
This book is a groundbreaking work of non fiction. While it is not a light read, it is a book that every Jewish woman should read.
A favorite book is always a treasured item. No matter how old we get or what happens in our lives, we know that we can go back to that book and be transported to our happy place.
One of my favorite Gothic romance novels is Ann Radcliffe’s The Italian. Set in Inquisition era Naples is the ill fated love story of Ellena Rosalba and Vincentio di Vivaldi. Ellena is an orphan under the guardianship of an aging aunt, Vincentio is the son of the Marchese and Marchesa of Naples. Neither the Marchese or the Marchesa think that Ellena is a proper bride for their son. As soon as Ellena’s aunt dies, she mysteriously vanishes. Vivaldi goes on a journey to find his beloved, not knowing this his mother and her confessor Father Schedoni might be the ones responsible for Ellena’s disappearance.
This book is incredible. Set against the backdrop of the Inquisition, the story is kind of Snow White-ish, but it is much darker and deeper. The curve ball that Mrs. Radcliffe throws in at the end of the book is amazing and blew me away the first time I read this story.
It reminds you at every opportunity of your mistakes and your sins. It loudly mocks your accomplishments. It tells you that you are stupid, ugly and worthless. Worst of all, it tells you that the only place that you deserve to be in is your grave.
Depression is not like chicken pox. Depression is not a disease that is found on a person’s skin. It is implanted in their heart, in their soul and in their mind.
Some deal with it better than others. Person A may find a way to reasonably function while hiding the darkness inside of them. Person B may be so emotionally traumatized by this horrible mental disease that they are forced to remain inside, physically and mentally.
The worst part of depression is that you feel forced to isolate yourself. You don’t want to share what is going on inside of you. A depressed person’s feelings are like a snowball rolling down the side of a mountain. The further down the mountain it travels, the faster it travels and it gains a tremendous amount in size in only a short time. You feel very alone, insecure, hating yourself and not knowing how to break the emotional shackles that this disease has on you.
If you know someone who is suffering from depression, reach out them. Even if they do not respond right away, keep reaching out. You never know when you may be the barrier between life and death.
For all of the dialogue in the Star Wars movie series, the following quote from the Empire Strikes Back always seems to stand out:
Do or do not, there is no try-Yoda
Failure is not easy. No matter how hard we work, we will fail at something. The key is how we respond to that failure. Do we let that failure hold us back or do we pick ourselves up, remember what the failure taught us and move on?
One of the truths of life that I have learned is that the true failure is not doing. Failure leads to growth, change and maybe, if we continue to fail and learn from our failures, we may eventually succeed.