Daily Archives: October 6, 2019

North and South Book Review

Love at first sight is cheesy, predictable and boring. Hate at first sight is fun, interesting and when done well, has the ability to suck a reader or viewer into the story.

Elizabeth Gaskell‘s 1854 novel, North and South, starts with the standard hate at first sight narrative with issues of politics, wealth and worker’s rights thrown in. Margaret Hale lives a comfortable life with her parents in the south of England. When her father is forced to leave the Church because of a disagreement with his bosses, the Hales move to Milton, a town in the north of England.

While Mr. Hale is employed as a tutor to the mill owner John Thornton, Margaret begins to explore. She is quickly disgusted by the poverty, the dirt, the grime and an obvious distinction between the mill owners and the mill workers. She is also disgusted by her father’s pupil, who she believes to be cold and emotionless.

Then Mr. Thornton proposes marriage. The battle of misunderstood messages, a polar opposite world view and the fight to hide their mutual attraction begins.

Though this book is set in the mold of Pride and Prejudice, Gaskell takes it to another level. She is telling the story of the working class in 19th century mill and factory communities that often seen and not heard in these kind of stories. I have seen the miniseries, but up until recently, I had not read the book. I loved the chemistry between the lead characters and the brilliant way that the author highlights the real issues of working class characters.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Thoughts On the Mental Health Aspects of Tashlich and Yom Kippur

All faiths have a build in method for which the members of the faith confess and absolve themselves of their sins and their mistakes.

In Judaism, the High Holidays is not only the beginning of the Jewish New Year. It is a time to review what has has transpired in the past year, accept that we have made mistakes and make the promise to hopefully learn from those mistakes.

Regular readers of this blog know that I am not particularly religious. But as I have gotten older and I have grappled daily with depression, I have come to appreciate the mental health aspects of the High Holidays.

The Tashlich service is simpler than Rosh Hashanah, but in my mind, just as important. To make a long story short, it is a ceremony in which prayers are made and bread is thrown into a open body of water, simulating the throwing one sin’s away.

As I completed Tashlich yesterday. I felt a sense of relief. My least favorite (if there is one to be had) aspect of depression is the constant reminder and regurgitation of past mistakes. Though I will never be free of these mistakes, Tashlich provided the opportunity for the emotional release of the errors from the past year, if only temporarily.

On Tuesday, Yom Kippur begins. It is an intense 25 hours of prayer and fasting. To say that it is not easy is an understatement. At a certain point in the day, it is mind over matter. But it is worth it. The emotional freedom that comes with completing Yom Kippur is akin to a weight being lifted off one shoulders. For a moment, it is as if my depression does not exist. But I know that the moment will pass and my depression will come back as it always does.

For those who celebrate, have an easy fast and may you be written in the book of life for the coming year.

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Filed under Mental Health, Thoughts On....

Demi Lovato Should Not Apologize About Visiting Israel

Travel happens for many reasons. For business, for pleasure, to visit loved ones, etc.

Recently, music star Demi Lovato visited Israel. Since returning home, she was forced to apologize for her trip.

There should be no need to apologize for her trip. For whatever reasons she had, she chose to spend her free time in Israel.

The sad and disgusting irony of this unnecessary apology is that if she had chosen to visit any other country, it wouldn’t have even made the news. But because she chose to visit Israel, it becomes a big deal.

Israel is a beautiful country with warm people, delicious food and the opportunity to walk through history while living in the present. I apologize to Ms. Lovato that she was forced to apologize and I suggest that if you have the chance to visit Israel, you take it. It may be the vacation of vacations.

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Filed under International News, Music, World News