Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My African Jewish Roots...

African Jewish roots intertwine to create a me
an African American-Jew-ess, living in a Middle East where
the summer's blaze scorches and the winter's rain

wandering from city to city to unlock my puzzle
and grapple with keys to understand the enigma that
that makes me me.

Dusty feet in sandals spirals in a frantic circle dance
passing spirit and giving life. Flying tzizit and flying skirts
turn and pass, turn and pass.

My forefathers' might in the 'dark' continent, and my
forefathers' might in desert-wind lands comes to blend stories
and secrets, folklore and song.

A bloody unfolding of Warriors in battle, with prayer and
sword: Strike! the enemy! Strike! the snake! I gasp and connect.
and then understand.

African Jewish roots intertwine to create a me,
an African American Jew-ess, living in a Middle East
where I recognize and testify the truth that scorches and
the truth that soothes.

G-d bless!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

African Dance

hat tip to

G-d bless!

A Gardening Day....

Up the path, past the sweet-smelling rosemary bush, and up the stone stairs, past the olive trees, my friends and I gather 'round Sara Malka,(our fearless teacher), as she explains the day's activities.

We greet the plants, peppermint and strawberry. And wave at the geese, squwaking mirth and merry.

Out comes the weeds, with shovel and hoe, to prepare the soil for seeds to sow.

We chat and chitter and gather in greens: chard and lamb's quarters, for our salads and beans.

Return on my path, past the old sage bush and friendly palm tree, and 'round the corner, near compost and hay. I bid farewell to garden and friends, exhausted but grateful for this gardening day...

G-d bless!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tu B'Shevat Thoughts

Happy Tu B'Shevat!!

Today is the new year for trees. G-d determines which trees will bear fruit and will see another year.
The custom in some Jewish communities is to celebrate this day by eating various fruits, especially the fruits of Israel. From pomegranates to apples, to walnuts and almonds (Nuts are fruits!), we pray for the health and good future of all trees.

Man is known to be a "tree in the field." In Nechama Sarah G. Nadborny's book, Twelve Dimensions of Israel, she writes beautifully how our roots are our foundations. The more solid our roots, the greater is our ability to grow. And the more we meditate on our forefathers and mothers, the more rooted in life we are.

The trunk of our tree represents our individuality. And the taller we stand, the better we can recieve sunlight. Standing tall is knowing that the Almighty G-d IS our true root. Is doesn't mean arrogance. Our Sages write that everyone should have two notes in each pocket. On one note it's written: The whole world was created for me. On the other: I am nothing.
Our inherent greatness is not for self-aggrandizement but in order to channel our gifts in order to help others.

Our branches are our connections to others. Do our branches help us remain centered? Are we flexible in our relationships?
On that note, are our relationships healthy even? Are we emitting positive light to others? Or are we negative? Do we use our words to connect with others to build and support, or do we patronize, belittle, invalidate?

A healthy tree bears fruits. Yes physical and spiritual children.(Please G-d, they should all be healthy!) Our fruits include good deeds, postive thoughts and speech, and actualizing our visions. Bearing fruit means being proactive. There is a dangerous pull to remain "asleep." To remain unaware. To let our sparks of creativity fizz out. To blindly accept what others tell us w/o checking and basically letting others think for us. We are striving to bear our own fruits, and if we are asleep, ain't nobody goin' bear'em for us! There is a reason the Almighty created us. Each one of us has a purpose that noone else has. The world is only complete when we use our roots to shine our unique light.

When I see strong, tall trees reaching way up into the skies, I wonder what stories they would recount if they could. They have seen births and deaths. Exiles and redemptions. Their rough bark have weathered all sorts of storms. Oh, if I could draw from their sap and glean wisdom!! I imagine standing small amongst them, shouting my question so they can hear me from their immense heights. They would slowly turn towards me, leaves rustling. They would exchange knowing glances and chuckle a deep chuckle. The eldest ? would bend slightly towards me and whisper,

"There may be seasons of darkness and bareness, but do not be afraid. Know! You do not need to wait. Your light is already come, and your leaves will bud and flourish, plush and green."

Plush and green.

As we are.

G-d bless!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ingredients to Avoid in Skin Care Products

Whether we're olive, dark or fair, our skin is not to be taken for granted.
As our waterproof and insulating shield, our skin stands as the largest organ,
bravely defending us from outside invaders.

It is divided into three layers: the outer epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutaneous layer. A protein called keratin forms the epidermis and contains Langerhan cells that stand guard against viruses and other invaders.
Blood vessels, hair follicles and glands make up the dermis layer.
And as the last layer, the subcutis has a layer of fat reserved for possible times of food shortage.

As impressive as our skin may be, it is still quite vulnerable. Especially if we lather onto it, lotions and creams with toxic ingredients that will literally SIT on our skin for hours.

Remember, big industries are NOT INTERESTED in keeping you healthy. They are interested in using cost-effective substances that will save them money and that will pocket yours. A skin care product may be loaded with carcinogenic/cancer-causing materials that we may not even know about. Just b/c the front label may say "all-natural," it pays to read the ingredients.

Basically, it is up to us to be smart and investigate. We cannot simply follow the tide and blindly accept what is on the store shelves. It doesn't matter from what walk of life we come from. We have the ability to find out what is good and healthy for us. And we are not alone in our search.

During these cold, winter months my skin gets extra dry, and I REALLY need a moisturizer. I'm not interested in going out with ashy skin! B/w products like Weleda and Schwartz Natural Cosmetics, I pay more but worry less. I believe the real goal is making our own lotion from cocoa butter/shea butter....

Below is a list compiled from Dr. Mercola's website about dangerous ingredients found in skin care products. When checking the ingredients of your favorite lotion, you might be distubed to find that they come up often. (Don't be fooled by the pretty package...)

But, y'all, if we don't buy the stuff, they'll stop makin'em.

I don't want poison on my skin.

And I don't want it on yours.

Here they are:

Mineral Oil, Paraffin, Petrolatum

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate


Propylene glycol

Phenol carbolic acid



Parabens are linked w/ cancer b/c they have estrogen-mimicing properties. Do we really need more estrogen?? Petrolatum clogs up pores, causing a buildup of toxins. Acrylamide is linked w/ mammary/breast tumors. Dioxane may also be carcinogenic and is hidden in ingredients like PEG, polysorbates, laureth, etc.

There are healthier alternatives. And, yes, they may be more expensive. Or are they?

G-d bless and Happy, Healthy New Year!!!

For a full explanation check out

G-d bless!