Rosh Hashanah 5781

It’s #RoshHashanah🍎🍏🍯 and we are heading into the year 5781. If you’d like additional information regarding this High Holiday, or #Judaism🔯, I will cheerfully send you a list of must-reads. 📚

🍝 This year, I’m passing some of my centuries old recipes down to a friend who is a bigger #Foodie than even me. I’m also making her swear on a stack of Bibles not to give away recipe secrets until I’m dead.

🍛 If you’re looking for something different to check out online, please visit @thepeckishthinker and allow well-written words and beautiful food photos to entertain and inspire you. I’ll be over here, on the corner of #PoisonInLethalDoses and #HowUncensoredCanYouGet. You can also go directly to PeckishThinker.com

L’Shana Tovah
I planted two at the end of August and look forward to adding 4-6 more to different regions next year. We do this to honor loved ones, to memorialize them, to celebrate, etc. Many were planted in my Grandfather’s name after he passed away, so I always associate this gesture with positive energy. The tree will outlive us all.

Happy Passover 2020

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This is always a somber holiday for me. I haven’t celebrated it since my parents passed away, and I have zero desire to participate in it. This is where my version of faith differs from others. I have my reasons.

I am going to take this holiday to write, read, reflect, and try to focus my anxious energy into something positive. Especially since my migraines are currently out of control to the point where I am either sound asleep or unable to sleep for days. I have a phone appointment with my headache specialist next week. I pray she’s got answers because I can’t listen to another moment of bullshit. This level of suffering is beyond cruel. My cats have been taking turns watching over me. I think my Tortoiseshell has a future in neurology. She knows exactly where the pain is and then lies down close to purr and try to heal me.

If you’ll be celebrating Passover with your family (physically or virtually), may you find peace during these eight days, and don’t forget to check out the beautiful Supermoon in Libra. G-d Bless.

11 murdered as Jew-hater opens fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue yelling ‘all these Jews must die’

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My heart and prayers are with the Tree of Life Congregation, the Pittsburgh Police Department, and Pittsburgh’s first responders.

“As Jews, now more than EVER, we need to be united. We need to stop being cliques of different sects of one faith. We must stand against terrorism, we must protect each other as a community, and for the more religious sects who judge those of us with freer, more open minds, STOP THE SUPERIORITY COMPLEX. We are ALL being targeted and we must be vigilant.

Earlier this year a family member was concerned about my status as a ‘public figure’. My professional bio says “Jewish Zionist”. I took it down on social media sites where I was targeted as a “murderer”, among other colorful things, but I’m not taking it off my bio.

I don’t often wear a symbol of faith in my daily life, but I have a fairly visible Hebrew tattoo. I usually wear a Star of David during the holidays. My cousin David made it for me when I was born and it’s a beautiful piece. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your faith. None of us should ever have to feel unsafe in Temple or anywhere.

People have been trying to kill us since the beginning of our 5000+ year old faith and WE’RE STILL HERE. The division of each sect MUST CEASE. Just as I look out for those who are Catholic, Christian, Wiccan, Muslim, and others who hold their varying faiths close to their heart, it’s about humanity. Lives were lost today. In all religious communities, this is an immense tragedy.

I encourage you to hold your loved ones closer today and be mindful this weekend as you attend religious services. Don’t STOP being mindful and aware. We NEVER know what’s next. You don’t have to love or agree with everyone in this world, but value humanity. Yours, and that of others.”

#PrayersForPittsburgh #PrayersForTreeOfLifeCongregation🔯🕎 #PrayersForHumanity #WheresYourOutrage

The First Night Of Chanukah

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If one more person wishes me a “Merry Christmas”, I will hurt them. It’s very simple; I’m JEWISH. I feel like I’ve been over this a million times, but today I damn near lost my temper, so I’m going to reiterate this, but for the love of G-d, don’t make me do it twice.

Yes, believe it or not, there are religions that do not celebrate the same holidays that you may celebrate. There are religions that are much older. This is basic kindergarten knowledge, yet every single person I’ve come across for over a month now has made an assumption I don’t fucking like. I’ve spent weeks holding it in. I’ve been polite, I’ve been nondescript in my “Enjoy your holiday!” greetings to others, I sent out cards with genuine, handwritten messages to express how I feel about people in a loving fashion, but at this point, I’m just plain fed up.

Tonight just so happens to be the first night of Chanukah. So, while the Jews are celebrating the miracle of oil lasting for eight nights and surviving taking back our temple centuries ago (By the way, we’re still surviving and we are a religious minority.), and we do this in very individual ways, there is literally zero discussion among us of trees, lights on our homes, Santa, Jesus, etc. To learn more, here’s some info that you might find prudent in case you consider wishing me a “Merry Christmas” ever again:  CHANUKAH 

It’s one thing if you don’t know I’m Jewish, but I make myself pretty clear. I openly discuss Jewish holidays, Israel, traditions, etc. I am also Wiccan, and I openly discuss those holidays, too. But if you go through my feed, you will see zero mention of holidays pertaining to any other faith. There’s a valid reason for that, and to ensure I don’t insult anyone, I’ll keep my feelings to myself.

I will always be respectful of those who show me respect and kindness, but damn, I am SO tired of correcting people. I know they mean well, really, but it drives me insane, so I’m putting my foot down. You can call me names (I’m sure plenty of people will.), but ultimately, respect the simple fact that I don’t celebrate Christmas. Wish me a Happy Chanukah (there are many different spellings out there, so it’s easy to confuse one with another) with the same genuineness as “Merry Christmas”. The big difference between your religion and mine is that Jews don’t believe in Jesus. There are other things we don’t believe as well, but that’s really the major one. There’s no lack of faith in G-d, we believe, just differently than you do. Also, we don’t go around trying to convert you. We’re pretty “live and let live”.

So tonight, I’d like to thank the people who honored me with cards & gifts. I genuinely appreciate the generosity and love.

Here’s hoping I never have to mention this again, because if I do, I’m re-posting an article I wrote a few years ago about what I do on Christmas Day. Frankly, I might post it tomorrow for shits and giggles.

To everyone celebrating whatever they believe in tonight; may peace and love be at the core of all you do. Blessed Be.

copyright © 2016 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

Praise Be Friday!

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Happy Friday everyone!
What a rough week. I am so physically, mentally, and emotionally drained that I am finding it difficult to move. Basically, it’s like any other day, but there’s the emotional component to it as well. If it were possible to sleep for 24 hours and not get a migraine from too much sleep, I wouldn’t leave my bed at all tomorrow. Unfortunately, I get tired just taking my migraine medicine, Aleve, and the enormous PN vitamin that is supposed to “give me energy” throughout the day. I didn’t know “energy” equated to “really wants a three hour nap”. They should put that on their web-site, I’m betting it would put them out of business.
I have a lot to think about & do this weekend. I’ve got work which I am sorely behind on (a few focused hours will help me catch up though. Sadly, it won’t make the work any easier.), I have some things to relocate within the house, and I absolutely MUST remember to buy candles before Tuesday afternoon. In fact, I am putting a reminder note into my phone so I don’t forget because there’s no simply excuse. There’s only so much pathetic behavior I can tolerate from myself at the moment.
There are photos to take, research to do, but ultimately, I am glad it’s the weekend and that next week is split in the middle with a day and a half for a holiday. I’m not thrilled about the emotional component, but I have to be strong and do my best. And after next weekend, we begin the month-long countdown to the ultimate yearly celebration. 🙂 It’s hard to wrap my mind around, really. My expectations are in the dirt, so by all means, do what you will to shock and surprise me. I am also looking forward to Samhain. I’m not decorating or passing out candy, but I might roast a pumpkin for myself because I’ve been thinking about pumpkin seeds for months now and I think making my own would be a good idea. I can’t really screw that up too badly, but if I feel incapable, I will buy the seeds on their own. Or I’ll settle for sunflower seeds, we’ll see.
All right lovely readers, I am off for today. Or at the very least, out of things to say. Have a fabulous weekend and enjoy the weather! Be well & safe.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

This Is One Of My Lines- Do Not Fucking Cross It

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I don’t write about religion often. Usually I mention it in passing, not as core subject matter. I believe that we are all entitled to our personal beliefs, so long as we aren’t hurting anyone. However, when I DO write about religion, it’s because something has pissed me off, which brings me to why I am writing this. There’s a reason.

Nine times out of ten when people meet me, the first words out of their mouth are “What part of Italy are your parents from?” or “What part of Puerto Rico are you from?” (My brother also gets pegged as 100% Italian or Puerto Rican, except he has olive skin and I can totally see it in him, especially when he’s tan.) I stare at them, dumbfounded. For the record, my Italian ancestry is from Rome and Venice and my Spanish ancestry is from Spain and Argentina. To read about additional aspects you can read more here Ancestry, or ask me. Not that I think it is important, it’s not.

For clarity, let me set the stage for you: I am the palest white girl you might ever meet. My natural hair color is a dark brown that I call espresso (It is currently blue-black because I wanted a change.), and my eyes are hazel-green that are predominantly green. They change color depending on what I’m wearing and the mood I’m in. There is not a single thing about me that is distinctively any racial ethnicity over another, but I always get pegged for one of the two, and occasionally people assume I’m Irish (I think it’s my complexion.). I have no problem with any of that, but when I say “Actually, I’m Jewish and my ancestry is blended.”, people audibly gasp as if I just announced I am the reincarnation of Hitler and Stalin and I’m planning on world domination.

There is an awful lot of inter-religion racism that I find deplorable, and I discovered it within my family last year. While we might be related, however closely or distantly, we don’t all have the same facial features, for obvious reasons. I was talking to a cousin and her exact words were “No one thinks you’re Jewish because you don’t have the Jewish nose that walks into the room five minutes before you do, like mine.” My jaw was on the fucking floor at the disgust I heard in her voice. She openly admitted that she thinks it’s ugly, but that she doesn’t believe in spending the money on plastic surgery or she’d do something about it. All I could think was “There are things I don’t like about myself too, but I don’t look at my face that way.” I mentioned it to someone else and they told me “You don’t know what it’s like to go through life as an ugly person.” Again, I was floored. I have NO IDEA what they see that I do not.

I don’t possess that level of self-hatred for quirks of nature that make each of us unique. I treasure the fact that I inherited high cheekbones that both of my Grandmothers had, that I am the last of the hazel-green eyed women in my family (for now), and that I got my maternal Grandmother’s and mother’s full lips and widow’s peak. I am an amalgamation of three different generations of women, perhaps more, all with distinctive genetic blends. I don’t see myself as any one thing, but I do see myself as me.

But I digress.

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About ten days ago, a friend of a friend sent me a Facebook request. Unlike most people, I do not accept friend requests simply because A knows B. I decided to do a little research. It took less than a minute to learn that the woman who wanted to be my “friend” is a 27-year-old Filipino woman, friends with someone I’ve known for a long time, who is married to a 70+ year old British man who is 100% anti-Semitic. Strike One.

His Facebook wall is full of BDS posts, anti-Israel posts, and all kinds of hate messages against Israel. Apparently every Jew on this planet “needs to be eliminated immediately” because “they’re all terrorists”. WOW! I stared at the screen, utterly speechless. This is who a young, pretty girl is married to?! Surely she can do better. I mean really, she’s stunning and appears to be sane. What is wrong with her?

He posts this crap in England and she’s asking him, in the Philippines, if this stuff is “true”. (That’s right, they don’t live together. Does this sound familiar?) His answer is “YES!”, along with additional colorful hate speech. Strike Two.

Instead of educating herself (There is NO reason anyone in this world should be THAT uneducated so as to believe such vile hatred about a country or a religion. You don’t have to be a Ph.D. candidate, you simply have to have a brain you utilize daily and not be ignorant.), she doesn’t question it. It’s coming from her husband, so she believes it. Strike Three. And get this: He’s a philosophy professor. Any university I know would revoke his tenure and fire him for that shit.

I immediately deleted her “friend request”. It would have resulted in an epic fight and I do not have the time, patience, or the inclination to educate someone who should be shipping off to an old age home sometime soon, as opposed to newly married to someone old enough to be his daughter who is either way too good for him, or maybe way too stupid.

If you want to believe that “Israel is plotting terror.”, do your fucking homework. It’s a tiny democratic country in the Middle East, home to Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike, surrounded by countries that all want to wipe them off the map because Israel is the only country in the world that is Jewish land, given to the Jewish people, so decreed by God.

I messaged my friend and explained the situation. She’s “friends” with both of them and I didn’t want to step on any toes because I didn’t know how close the relationship was or wasn’t. I’d never intentionally disrespect someone else’s friends. She agreed that I did the right thing, that the husband is crazy and that his hate messages bother her too, and she said she doesn’t understand his hate or where it comes from. And yet, her answer to dealing with him is to hide his posts on her Facebook wall, as opposed to outright deleting them OR telling him he’s wrong. That’s way too passive for me.

If someone says something derogatory to me because of my religion (or anything else, really), I call them out on their shit immediately. I have freedom of speech and I know how to use it. If you’re going to hide behind a computer and say stupid shit, I dare you to say it to my face. That’s the thing; these cowards NEVER actually come out from hiding and say a word to your face.

Sadly, the most hatred I have faced in terms of direct anti-Semitism has been from  my own people. My own family, and other Jews. I suspect that a lot of that is because I “don’t look Jewish”. I have no idea what that even means, because it is a wholly racist comment. I wouldn’t tell a white woman that she “doesn’t look African”, despite the fact that she just told me that’s where she’s from, so why would I brand anyone else as not looking like an image someone else is putting in one’s mind? That is incredibly ignorant.

Would you tell Behati Prinsloo, wife to Adam Levine, that she doesn’t look like an African woman (She is Namibian. I do my homework.)? No, I didn’t think so. Because not only is she white and a supermodel, but the last time I checked her English is better than most people born in this country.

In my mind, I don’t see color. I see people. Everyone is different, everyone is unique. There are religious differences, yes. The difference in Judaism is that we do not believe in Jesus or that Jesus is the son of God. There are dietary laws and some other historical and biblical differences, but the differences aren’t so enormous that one needs to argue about it. I can argue the two different Bibles with you until the cows come home, but does that really matter? No. To each their own, so long as you aren’t hurting anyone.

However, any form of hatred hurts us all. Hatred is taught. We are not born knowing hate. I grew up surrounded by other religions and cultures, never once thinking anything of it. As I’ve gotten older, I realize how incredibly sheltered some people are, and that is scary and eye-opening to me.

I don’t often wear a symbol of faith because it feels redundant, but the other day a woman came running up to me to ask about my Triple Goddess pendant. I had it custom-made about five years ago. In between the three phases of the moon that represent Maiden, Mother, and Crone are two Stars of David and a very large gemstone in the center represents the full moon. It was my first time wearing it. That is precisely who and what I am. I believe in duality of God and Goddess (this is represented in Kabbalah, but is represented as male and feminine aspects of God as opposed to duality.), but I am also 100% Jewish. And as a Jewish woman, there is no room in my world, or the world on a whole, for anti-Semitism or hatred. Make an off-color, stupid, or rude remark to or in front of me and we’ll see if you’re sitting and/or eating tomorrow. I am supremely polite, I believe we all have the right to practice whatever we believe in so long as no harm is coming to anyone, but I will never be polite in the face of hatred or ignorance, nor will I tolerate it.

Tonight is the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It marks the end of the year 5775 on the Jewish calendar and brings in 5776. It is one of the holiest holidays we celebrate. Many people have told me that this year, their temples have notified them of police presence and/or security for services, partly due to all of the anti-Semitism that has occurred all over the world over the past year. I think it’s smart, but it’s sad.

I, personally, don’t attend temple unless I am invited to something that calls for it. It has nothing to do with anything other than my attention span. Services are long, are almost predominantly in Hebrew or Ladino, and my brain can only listen for a certain amount of time before I space out and/or start to fall asleep, which is rude beyond words, so I prefer to pray throughout the year, light candles on my own, and take time to reflect and work on myself. It is emotionally heavy for me, so I feel it’s crucial to know my boundaries. Part of that is knowing myself. The holidays are tough on me, and going to temple isn’t going to ease that. I don’t have to be among other people to be what I was born, or to be what I believe. That makes sense for some people, but for me, it doesn’t help matters, so I tough it out.

Here’s hoping the new year will be prosperous and sweet. Let there be more understanding, more compassion, more concern for others, more helping people in need, because at the end of the day, there is no room for hate. It benefits nothing and no one.

L’Shana Tovah!

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Holiday Weeks

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It’s no secret: I’m fucking exhausted. Fibromyalgia, migraines, and two hundred truckloads of stress are slowly trying to kill me. Every day, I wonder if a heart attack or a stroke will take me out. I wish I were being dramatic, but I’m not. I would really like to curl up on the floor like a content cat and be left to my own devices. In my next life, I am definitely coming back as one…

In other news; Passover begins later this week just in time for the full moon and today is Palm Sunday, with Easter Sunday being next weekend. The former meaning something to me, the latter meaning “It’s Sunday.” I’m Jewish, which I know is not something people expect, but I’ve never hidden the fact.

Holidays are stressful for me, and depressing. Apart from my brother, all of my family is far away. I don’t speak to 9/4’s of them, and with just cause. I do not get invited to anything except funerals (Who the hell e-mails someone else in the family and asks them to deliver the news to me, and expects me to trek out 3+ hours to be treated like shit?) , and Passover in particular is one of those holidays that I hated growing up and have a terrible aversion to as an adult. This is a holiday where I am grateful to be an intelligent, creative, free spirit, yet under the tyranny of my nation’s President, as opposed to Pharaoh, which for me, is the same fucking thing. What won’t Americans be allowed to do tomorrow? Your guess is as good as mine, and I’m sick of it.

Holidays are often isolating if you suffer from a chronic illness that others refuse to understand and/or take into consideration. If family alienates you and friends drift to the wayside, or make themselves unavailable, it can be quite lonely. Do I want a house full of people for every single holiday? No, but would it be nice to have a few people around to do something with? Yes. In the end, I will probably be working on the never-ending manuscript (It’s really not that long, I’m just that tired.) and listening to music, or something as relatively laid back as possible. If you have a good move recommendation, please, send it along!

It is hard to believe we move into another month this week. Tempus fugit. The knowledge makes me ill (I have my reasons.). The truth is, before we know it, it will be Fall or Winter again, thus the cycle will continue. It’s always something. No matter what you’re going though, the world keeps on moving in various directions. You will agree with some and disagree with others. Such in the pattern of life.

I have a lot to do this coming week, so I made a list. I think it’s a good time to let people know you’re thinking of them by sending out cards, especially if you haven’t done so in a while, and make phone calls to touch base. Texting doesn’t count with this one. Since I can’t bear to talk to certain people at the moment, cards will have to suffice. After all, it is the thought behind the action that counts. 🙂

 

Here’s hoping everyone had a lovely, relaxing, productive weekend.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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A Good Night’s Sleep

Four solid hours of sleep, edited four pages for a potential client, and just found out a few minutes ago that I have the job. Yay!

Tonight is the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (Believe it or not, I know plenty of people who don’t know this, so that is why I said it.). While not the world’s most observant Jewess, especially when you factor in that I am also Wiccan, the New Year always helps me get spiritually centered for what’s to come.

Life is a fucking battlefield on so many levels, and it is true: Only the strong survive. In this, sometimes I wish I didn’t have to be so damn strong. It would be nice to occasionally kick back and let someone else handle the crap. Alas, if you want something done right, you’d better do it yourself.

I won’t be celebrating traditionally or with a house full of family, but I will have two people with me to help me honor my ancestry, and I have friends who will be lighting candles from their end to help me out.

From me to all of you, whether you celebrate or not, may the coming year bring you an abundance of sweetness & serenity. 🙂 L’Shana Tovah!

copyright © 2014 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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