Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Closing in on the '08 presidential primaries, I don't think there is a word in the English language that i currently hate more than electability. So often I hear people say, oh I like so and so a lot, but he just isn't electable. And i cringe. Not because I don't think electability matters, because it does. But it should never be your only criterion for picking a candidate for everything. because you know what? electable candidates are boring. They are your John Kerrys and your Phil Angelides's. They don't inspire people, or make people give up weeks of their life to get them elected, unsolicited. What the Democratic party needs is not some generic democrat spouting slightly left of center views, but someone who will ignite and inspire the base. The progressives who are sick and tired of being promised change, the college students who used to be optimistic but hate beltway politics, the abortion rights activists who can only ever be tepidly hopeful for the future of Roe v. Wade.

Who is that candidate? i don't know. for me, its Barack Obama. for my father, its Hilary Clinton. for my mom - well shes not sure yet. All i know, is that i believe this primary season should be about who inspires you. who makes you want to be a better person and a better citizen of the united states of america - not about who you think could beat a nameless republican. (i believe this should be the case on the republican side too) this race should be a race about passions, about leadership, and courage, and who we can trust, as a country, to make the right decisions at the right time. not who is best positioned to beat the other side. that will lead us right into a bitter partisan fight that i don't believe this country can withstand or deserves, to be frank. November 2008 is about change, plain and simple.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Identifying with Judaism

I have spent quite a bit of time in the past month or so thinking about how I identify with Judaism, what my issues are (there are lots), what I believe, and what the best way for me to observe Judaism is. While i currently have no real answers, and am still sorting through the giant maze that is the Jewish religion and the Jewish people, it wasn't until this past weekend on our retreat that I realized there was a completely different question I hadn't even thought of before: Why do I identify with Judaism?

This question strikes me as essential in understanding where a person is coming from as a jew, because fundamentally, it is important to understand why a person at their core believes what they do or acts in the way they do, especially when it comes to their religious faith. My suspicion is that a good number of Jews identify as Jews solely beause of blood - they were born into it, and that means they are Jewish, no questions asked. But if the Jewish community is to survive, is that enough? Can that sustain generations of Jews? With the rate of intermarriage as high as it is (and therefore a diffusion of blood-identification with being Jewish), what can be done to connect people with a deeper, more involved understanding of Judaism as a religion?

Friday, October 26, 2007

On an upswing.

I am finally starting to feel a bit settled here, which is a relief. I think thats due to a couple of factors and things kind of just falling into place a little bit.

1) Work. I actually feel like I kind of know what i'm doing/ supposed to be doing here, which is a relief. I've finally started to develop relationships with people, which is the bread and butter of what i do here. I'm starting to figure out what direction i think things should be going in. I made some breakthroughs on and completed (sort of) the research I was doing.

2) Socially. I've been busier and I'm starting to really explore the city. I've maybe even been making friends. Its amazing how much effort it takes, but for me, its almost necessary.

3) Religiously. I've been getting more into the rhythm of going to services every week, and trying out new places. Its been grounding me and helping me to find a home in Chicago, and thats good I think.

4) Life back in cali. Working really hard (and semi-succeeding) at only caring about what I want to care about, and not getting bogged down by nonsense.

5) Traveling. LA next weekend, Philly for Thanksgiving, home around christmas -time, new mexico for new years. Its all very exciting! :)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Its been a crazy week, personally, socially, professionally, even weatherwise. I've been busy with everything from work to avodah to social engagements and through it all, somewhat numb to the world. I've stopped crying. I can't even get myself to cry. me. The girl who wears her emotions on her sleeve.

On another note, check out http://www.iamemilyx.blogspot.com/. The more I hear, the more I see, the more I find myself paying attention to the fight around abortion rights in this country, the more I get disgusted with the activist pro-life crowd. Have some dignity - we don't have as many choices as we should in our lives. Don't deny any more than we absolutely have to.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Closing my heart

Every time i put my heart out on the line, open it up just a little bit, someone, somewhere figures out a way to poke it in just the right places, making me wonder why i ever opened up to begin with.

Maybe its time to close up shop.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Law School

Perhaps this lack of drive to get these applications done is a sign. A sign I don't actually want to go to Law School next year. Or maybe its just procrastination at its finest. On the off chance its the latter, I suppose I should force myself to get these things done.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

I don't look before i leap.

I think that my eyes are bigger than my heart. That may sound weird, or silly, so let me explain. I take risks that I really shouldn't - not the good getting the guts up to talk to a boy kind, but the crazy life altering kind. For example, moving to Chicago. I got it in my head that I needed to leave California and somehow I end up in a city that gets really freaking cold in the winter where i know not one soul. In my head this works. I should be trying new things, experiencing new places and meeting new people. And all this gets me very excited, it really does. But the loneliness that comes along with it, especially right now at the beginning, is just more than I can handle sometimes. I know that this is where I'm supposed to be at this point in my life - but could it be a little less hard? Just a smidgen?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Public Transportation

Man, its fun. Today waiting for the #36 Broadway Bus I was sitting at the bus stop with an older woman and two girls I presumed to be hers. The girls were a prime example of polar opposites. One was very clean cut and seemed most intent on being a 'good girl' and pleasing her mother (grandmother?). This often led to reprimanding the other girl, who was very slovenly looking and seemed to march to the beat of her own drum, maintaining a distance from her mother and sister (?). Neither girl looked to be more than 7 years old. I ended up sitting across from them on the bus, and watched a variety of events unfold as they attempted to find seats on a very crowded bus. The mother definitely had lost patience for both girls and was letting them run wild on the bus, in exchange for some much needed shut-eye, much to the chagrin of the other passengers, and yet for a lot of them, it was just another day on the bus.

At the same time, the girl next to me on the bus was recounting to her friend a very recent break-up and how she was feeling about all of that, which of course triggered some very powerful emotions in me as I struggled not to eavesdrop. Her friend obviously was struggling with how to comfort her, and took the alternate route of simply gossiping about other friends as opposed to comforting in any way.

All the while a dissheveled looking homeless man is looming over me, looking obviously perturbed about the little girls running around, and at the same time rolling a joint which I seriously thought he might light on the bus.

I'm (probably) buying a bike tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A final thought for today.

This blows my mind. Few issues get me as riled up as the issue of choice. I believe that life begins at conception, and for that reason, I doubt that I would make the decision to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. At the same time, who am I to deny anyone else the right to make their own determination and their own choice in the matter? Its their body, not mine. The anti-abortion movement baffles me.

I hope that the city of Aurora wakes up soon and lets Planned Parenthood open their doors.

for more information:

The Weather

I realized this weekend that one of the most striking (and outwardly apparent) differences between California, espeically my home town in the Bay Area, and Chicago (and DC for that matter) is the weather. I went home over the weekend, and the temperature was a predictable 60 - 65 degrees farenheit with a slight crispness in the air that meant fall was coming. In contrast, the weather in Chicago hit 90 degrees farenheit yesterday, we experienced thunderstorms this afternoon, and 8 days ago it was probably 50 degrees out.

I'm looking forward to winter already (not.)


This is my attempt to move away from the livejournal of my high school and college years and into the 'grown-up' world of blogging. New city, new surroundings, new job, new blog. I think that makes sense, don't you?

A brief introduction. I moved to Chicago a month ago to start my first real person job as part of AVODAH, the Jewish Service Corps, having graduated with degrees in Political Science and Linguistics/Anthropology, both useful for absoutely nothing in the real world. I am living with 6 other post-college young adults, all doing anti-poverty work in the city of Chicago. I am working as an organizer for the Lakeview Action Coalition, a community based coalition of 40 churches, synagogues, non profits and businesses in the Chicago neighborhood of Lakeview, located on the Northside.

I'm not the most eloquent of writers, so I hope you, the occasional reader (if you exist) will bear with me.