Friday, December 30, 2011

Measuring Cups

Every new year offers us another opportunity to reflect and rejoice.

These milestones are like measuring cups. The more we measure, the more we can accurately assess our blessings.

May your cups overflow this new year, 2012, with all the pleasures that life offers us.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Maccabeats Miracle

Last Chanukah the world was introduced to the Maccabeats with their runaway hit "Candlelight." This year another song, "Miracles," has entered the YouTube universe.

But it wasn’t the song or their new video that drew me in, but their fundraising efforts on behalf of the Gift of Life Foundation through the website

The Maccabeats are inviting donations of ten thousand dollars a day for each day of Chanukah in the hope of securing much needed funds for Gift of Life, a bone marrow registry organization.

With a personal video narrated by Mayim Bialik and each of the members of the Maccabeats, their call is honest and sincere. As of this writing they have already raised $22,000!

I clicked on the donation button. Suddenly, I was involved in making a miracle for Chanukah -- not just receiving an ancient one. The miracle that the Maccabeats are giving light to is a miracle that keeps on giving life and hope to people with cancer beyond this holiday season.

So can we make some miracles?

Many interpretations suggest that the miracle of Chanukah was that we didn’t give up even when we had no chance of winning against the Greek/Syrians. In spite of the powerful forces that encourage our continued assimilation or disappearance we have survived and adapted to the modern world in which we live in as Jews. We live precariously on the edge while we persevere through a revolving door of constant change. The miracle of the Maccabeats is the miracle of our people.

We have come a long way from the Adam Sandler’s Chanukah song from "Saturday Night Live" in 1994 which centered on the theme of Jewish children feeling alienated during the Christmas season, and Sandler’s listing of Jewish celebrities as a way of sympathizing with their situation.

With the Maccabeats, the traditional and the contemporary merge to create a blend of Judaism and Jewish music that continues to define our communal confidence with viral velocity.

We revel in religious freedom in America. A Yeshiva University a cappella group has reached beyond their ivory tower borders to educate and entertain. We all received the instant messaging. Again, history has shown us, that we are the miracle of Chanukah!

Yes, we can make modern miracles. Click and contribute to a new miracle this Chanukah 5772!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Body as Temple

Our body is our temple from which all else flows.

Nurturing our bodies is a sacred donation to our soul-being.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Rainy Day Goodness

"My name is Bill," he told me right before I exited from the cab we had been sharing for the past thirty minutes.

An hour before, while waiting for a cab outside Georgetown Hospital in the torrential rains of the evening rush hour, we empathized with our inability to catch a cab.

Then, suddenly, this six-foot-two stranger leaped forward and said with assurance, "I see a cab: I am going to run after it. Follow me!"

The race was on. I deliberately placed my feet beyond the puddles in order to keep up with his long strides and purposeful gait, but still he disappeared among the multitude of hand-held umbrellas dotting the flooding streets.

"Oh, well," I thought. "He had a train to catch. It’s okay. I’ll just keep singing in the rain until another cab appears. He meant well. Intention is almost everything!"

I clutched my pink polka dot umbrella in both hands, so the winds wouldn’t turn it over, and I patiently walked towards the main street where my hopes for finding a cab soared.

I heard a honk. I turned to see a man waving from the far side of the cab. I moved involuntarily towards him.

"Come on in! We have been looking for you and your pink polka dot umbrella. It wasn’t easy to spot in the darkness of the night."

I slid into the dry, warm front seat next to the cab driver and expressed my simple gratitude, "Thank you so much."

His name was Bill, but to me, he was goodness on a rainy day in the nation’s capital.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Mystery of Lost Things

It happened again. In the space of a week, I lost my keys and Smartrip card, a gift I bought in New York over Thanksgiving, and a new pair of brown fuzzy socks.

A few years ago, my watch disappeared. The mystery of losing it perturbed me for many weeks. Why did she abandon me this time?

A few months ago, my beloved 10-year-old watch turned up under my bed -- but only after I had substituted another watch that looked and acted like its identical twin.

I laughed when I realized that the loss I experienced turned into an abundance of watches!

How we handle these minor losses is a barometer of how we will endure larger losses that cannot be replaced.

The practice of honoring all our losses contains a spark of spiritual equanimity.