First I want to wish all my Christian brothers and sisters Happy Christmas and truly enjoy this holiday in whichever way you find fulfilling!
As I began to write this post last Saturday evening, but didn’t get to finish, I just got off the phone with my childhood best friend, Stacy Launer (now Stacy Klemas). She was out to dinner with her husband Scott, and told me she will call back me later, and I told her no problem I am at home and just wanted to let you know I just got off the phone with your mother in law (Robin Klemas) and we need to do lunch next week because she is off from work and I haven’t seen her. “Okay great, sounds good” Stacy says. I hung up the phone smiling.
I also just spent last Shabbat with my grandparents. Which basically means Amy goes to buy a kosher chicken, noodle kugel, and babka(traditional Eastern European Jewish Cuisine) from Lakewood Shoprite and has my grandfather relive his childhood youth of saying Kiddush, while my Grandmother (not kosher of course) gives me a hard time about all this ‘shabbat business’…”What are you holier than holy these days!? Then of course on Shabbat my brother calls from Seattle seeing what was cooking (he must know what was for dinner). Then my mom calls 5 minutes later…what was cooking? Is Grandma being nice to Grandpa…?
What I am trying to say is that I wish we all had these family moments of joy, laughter, fighting, personality clashes and holidays together.
But the truth is too many of us all over the world might not have the opportunity to be with family members they love this holiday, due to many factors out of our control and for reasons I have shared with you through my blog posts this past year.
And this also goes for family members and close friends we all lost this year.
Although everyone tries to be strong from the loss of close family and friends, or just being apart for the holidays, there is still something missing and its a hard few days to get through.
So, why I am thanking gd this holiday season?
After I got off this call with Stacy I realized what a blessing gd has given me at this moment to be with, and feel loved by, my close friends and family. And this is nothing I can, or should, take lightly.
I have shared many photos and stories of friends I met along the way in Kenya and Uganda. However, today I want to share with you my family and a few very close friends who are also my family.
I also want to quickly mention that I say holiday season through a Jewish Lens.
Although Hanukkah has passed, and I do not technically religiously celebrate Christmas, my birthday falls this time of year.
This year happens to be quite interesting as my birthday is on the 30th of December and my Jewish Birthday this year, the 24th of Tevet, falls on December 31st so I have the pleasure of a two-day birthday!
Jewish Birthday? Let me explain briefly…
First, the Jewish Calendar is actually based on the lunar months (with different names then our modern calendar), so you might notice that our holidays fluctuate each year (and as do birthdays).
But why is it significant?
Judaism happens to approache time like a spiral or circle..not in a straight line.
Annually, on the anniversary of any momentous event, we have the ability to tap into the same spiritual energy that originally caused that event (hence the concept of Jewish holidays). taken from chabad.org
So each year on our Jewish birthdays, we have the ability to tap into that special energy, and it is especially interesting to see what events in history happened on that specific day in the Jewish Calendar, or if very righteous people might have been born, or died, on that day-your birthday. If you are interested and open, you can find some very deep connections here.
I urge all my Jewish Friends to sign on Chabad.org below to find out your Jewish Birthday.
And hey, who ever complained of two birthdays?
- And just to touch on again…
Happy Holidays and Shabbat Shalom to all.
Through the difficult times, we all have blessing and miracles occuring simultaneously and we should always be grateful for them.