Mama Deb (mamadeb) wrote,
Mama Deb

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A weekend

It started, as weekends are wont to do, on Friday night, when we went to a friend's house for dinner. This is a family we've known well over a decade - we met at their third child's bris, on our first Shabbat at home after our honeymoon. Maxie is now twelve, and has four younger siblings. They preceded us to Flatbush, and fed us three or four meals during the first week after we moved, and many, many since. They live about fifteen minute's walk away.

I., who is a wonderful cook, was not feeling well, but she still had two other families as guests, and I spent the evening chatting with one of the other women about, well, everything. So, that was good.

We got home at about 10:30, where we found that our bedroom light was out. It should have been on for at least another hour, which meant something was wrong with the timer. My best guess was that I'd confused night for day, which would mean it would turn *on* in about an hour. This would be bad, so I unplugged it. I can make sure something off stays off, so that's permitted. And, yes, that's what happened.

Actually went to synagogue Saturday morning - I average once every three months, and usually late. I came in during "musaf", the additional service, which meant I missed the Torah reading, my husband reading the haftarah *and* a really good sermon by the rabbi, all about "Carnal Judaism."

Our shul president is ill - he just got out of the hospital this past Wednesday, after pneumonia in both lungs. Jonathan was the highest ranking male board member present. He made the announcements. He was nervous and cracked bad jokes, including quoting Buckaroo Bonzai. Except I think no one else got it. But they did think he was funny and didn't know he was nervous, so go him.

And then we went to another friend's for lunch. This is a couple we met after moving here, and they also like feeding many people. And they're fun. She's very much a Mets fan, so when Jonathan showed up on Thursday with an offering of sugarfree cake, wearing his Yankee baseball hat, she pretended to be offended. Anyway, we stayed for hours even after lunch was done because, well, we were having fun. While there, we invited someone for one of our seders. He's into comics and is fun to talk to, and thought it likely he would be around during Pesach.

I did have to leave eventually, to go to my weekly Torah discussion group. Which meets at the house of the friend we had dinner with. She herself was not around - she stayed in bed. So we just sat in her house around her dining room table and talked. It went fine - one woman, a very high functioning Down's Syndrome, was so thrilled to be asked to say something that she went on for a long time. It was really lovely. And the one leading the discussion quoted me from a discussion I'd led, so, well. Cool.

However, it also turns out she's having a hysterectomy this week. She should have a refuah shlemah, a complete recovery.

Then (you think I'm finished? Hah!), after Shabbat we had the annual synagogue dinner, honoring two people who richly, richly, richly deserve the honor. Also, they said yes when asked, and immediately got their families to buy ads in the journal and tickets for the dinner. But, mostly, they deserved it. M. is on the board, and has been for years and she and S. are, well, they're the people in the synagogue who get things done. So, it was all good. The dinner went very well. And.

And jonbaker edited the journal. And he worked very hard, and long hours, and struggled with versions of publisher and pdf forms and Hebrew and...

And his effort was recognized. People came up and thanked him. Our rabbi said wonderful things to him. There were public acknowledgements of what he did. I don't mean it was excessive. I mean M had one line in her speech, and he was called up with the rest of the dinner committee for the public thanks. But it *happened*.

What's going to follow sounds whiny, but it hurt at the time.

See, he worked as hard in our old synagogue. I did stuff, too. And. When naming people to be thanked for something, his name, or our name, or my name, would be left off. When we were supposed to be honored there, it took months for the rabbi to resign himself that it would be us, instead of a doctor at the local hospital. Note, while we have honored noncommunity members, it has never been as guest of honor, but with a community award. We barely had time to tell friends and relatives.

Later, they started a one on one learning program, on Monday nights. While it was advertised as "if you don't have a partner, we'll provide one", it was actually a means of taking kids from Crown Heights to teach members of our community. When I first started, I was paired with a teen age girl. I haven't been learning long in terms of my own lifespan, but in terms of hers...Well, she got engaged, and had to quit. However.

However, a woman in my community, someone I considered a close acquaintance, said that she'd be willing to learn, but only if I were her teacher. Which was, and is, overwhelming, and not something, however unworthy I was for that honor, I could turn down. And we worked together until the end of the sessions come the summer, even when she had to bring her kids to the session because her husband, a musician, had to work that night. The rabbi even made a point of that in a sermon - how dedicated she was to Torah that she brought her kids, and what a good example she was to them.

No, I wasn't mentioned. That was okay. K deserved it all.

But. At the end of the sessions, there was a party. We were even called on to donate for presents for the kids. Note - I was called to donate. And I did - it would be a wedding present for that first girl, and that would be fine. Note. K and I were not the only ones in our community learning together. My husband worked with another man, and there were two other men who chose to learn together.

We were not mentioned. Not even in passing. Just the kids from Crown Heights. I should maybe have been above it, but it *galled*.

The following year, we chose another night and worked in K's house after I finished work. And this year it didn't happen. *sigh*

So, to get an appropriate amount of thanks and acknowledgement from our community is a wondrous thing. We didn't do what we did for the thanks, but. It's like feedback. I don't write for feedback, but getting it makes me, anyway. :)

Anyway, the dinner went well. We sat with our lunch hosts, who even gave us a ride there and back, and with another friend whom we also invited to a seder. I hope he doesn't go, because if he does, it means his marriage, which is teetering right now, has ended. His wife wasn't at the dinner.

And then we went home and went to sleep. Because.

Because today, we rented a car and drove to Washington Heights on the top of Manhattan to go to the Yeshiva University book sale. This is a *major* event. Jewish publishers time book releases to coincide with it. People time vacations so they can go there. People go prepared to meet everyone they know. And they buy lots and lots and lots of books. We spent hundreds ourselves - although one purchase was a desk Talmud for a bar mitzvah present. And it's not just the Orthodox community who show up, but it is the major component. And, yes, we met friends, from Queens, Manhattan and even Boston. And then.

And then we drove to New Jersey in the rental car to pay a condolence call on a friend who just lost his mother, just in time for the afternoon and evening services. I had to leave the room, of course, so I didn't get to hear much, but mourner led (yes, that's normal in Orthodox homes, but in this case, he's a rabbi and a cantor, so he was excellent at it, according to Jonathan, who misses his daavening at the afternoon service at work.) After, we sat for a while while my mother-in-law (yes, they were there) held forth on Passover to some poor stranger, and then, when the mourner's wife brought him dinner, we left. And had dinner with my inlaws, at a lovely dairy restaurant there.

Work is going to be a *relief* after this weekend. I need a weekend after this weekend. :)

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