Counting the Omer and more

Pesach is behind us, mourning is with us now and Lag B’Omer is on the horizon, and so are Bar b que’s and hair cuts.  This year I cleaned my house for Passover and refrained from eating chametz for all of Passover.  Seven whole days of no bread, no crackers, pretzels, flour, pasta or rice.  I don’t know how I did it especially flying for 4 days the chol ha’moed, but I did and I survived.  Now we’re 24 days past Passover and in just a week it’ll be Lag B’Omer and we’ll be celebrating and bbq’ing up a storm and cutting ones hair and SHAVING. Oh I can’t wait to shave, 24 days of not shaving and I have a new respect for those hairy men, you know the ones who have a 5 o’clock shadow at noon. I’m so glad that I don’t grown facial hair in hours.  The first seven days were bearable but week 2 stunk, my face itched like crazy and was all red because I had been itching it, week 3 has been ok some itching here and there but it doesn’t look scraggly anymore and only a week left and I can’t wait to get rid of it. Now I know most “reform” Jews don’t follow the custom of not cutting one’s hair or not shaving but I wanted too this year to see if I found meaning it.  I have found meaning in and will probably do it again next year.  But I just hope next year it won’t itch so much.

I have also decided to leave my current living situation and be on my own. It’s a big move, not with belongings, but emotionally.  I’ve lived with my current roommate for a total of 8 years. We’ve both grown, we’ve been through hell and back.  Fights, hugs, crying, laughing, epidurals, severe back pain, boob jobs, quitting smoking, boyfriends, fiancées, a merger at work and almost a bankruptcy.  Some were from me and some were from her.  8 years is a long time, a lot of memories and stories.  It’s going to be hard and who knows what the future brings, all I know is in a month I’ll be living on my own for the first time in my life. 33 years is really long.  In 33 years I’ve never been on my own, I’ve always had someone living with me. From my parents and sister to 9 other roommates when I first started flying to now just one and soon none.  It’s scary and exciting at the same time.

Also since summer is almost here, that means I’ve been on my conversion journey well over a year.  Now I know it’s technically not that long but I’m talking about the class one takes while studying to convert.  Today I sent my autobiography to my family, the one I talked about in my last post.  I’ve received only good things back from them and I’m so thankful to Hashem that I have such an accepting and understanding family. As much as I don’t speak to my immediate family (mom, sister, stepdad)  when I send them something important they are supportive.  My aunts and cousins are and have always been amazing especially since my relationship with my immediate family is no longer. And of course my friends are my chosen family and are there for me always. I also set up an appointment to have the conversation with my rabbi to make sure he and I are on the same page and to make sure he thinks I’m ready.  For some reason that was harder than letting my family read my auto biography, which it shouldn’t have been.  With my work schedule, and the ending of the semester for class study, tonight was essentially my last class. But a new issue arose when I spoke with my rabbi tonight,  next week the community mikvah closes while it gets rebuilt and renamed and so far there isn’t a replacement available from the orthodox community for the non-orthdox community to use.  So I need to either have to hope an orthodox mikvah is made  available or I have to wait until September for the new one to be finished.  It’s a tough decision and one I hope Hashem will help with.

I know I kept my Hebrew names from you in my last post, so without further ado, they are Eitan Menachem.

It’s almost time

A few days ago I met with my rabbi and had the chat to get the ball rolling on finishing my conversion.  Well the ball feels like a fast ball pitch, the meeting was on Friday, today it’s Tuesday and my Hatafat dam Brit was done today and my Beit Din and Mikvah are tomorrow.  I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone and how emotional I’ve been today.  The “circumscision” didn’t hurt that badly, and there was hardly any blood. The mohel had to circle the drop on the gauze so my rabbi could see it.  He also gave the gauze to my rabbi and he was a little freaked out he then gave it to me when we left the dr.’s office.  After that it was off to the nail salon for a pedicure and wine because your nails are supposed to be cleaned and trimmed for mikvah. It was also a time to just relax and be pampered that massage chair did wonders. When I got home it’s really when my emotions kicked into overdrive when I was watching the final 2 episodes of Revenge, it’s been the only show recently, that I’ve watched every Sunday for the past 4 years.  The tears started in first scene of the series finale, I got that ugly cry too the one where you just can’t stop it, no matter what and you just look like a blubbering mess.  Thank G-d I was alone at home so no one got it on video. Hopefully tomorrow I can keep it together for the Beit Din, but if not oh well. 

I don’t know what to expect tomorrow at the Beit Din, but if it’s been like everything else in this process it will be easy, because this is what Hashem wants.  

Purim and its Aftermath 

Again I’ve fallen behind on blogging,  it’s been crazy around here,  my business has been picking up see me on mkt.com/JetSet-Organics and Facebook at Facebook.com/Jetsetorganics.  And now that I’m based in Denver it takes 2 days out of every week that I’m flying back and forth to Atlanta.  I’m getting down to theend of my classes for my conversion, I’ve submitted my “auto-biography” to my rabbi which he’s already read and responded that it was a great piece.  I will share it in a few days I need to sort some stuff out with my family to keep them informed about my choices. I’ve chosen my Hebrew names, yep plural, cause I’m non committal and like 2 names.  Which I will also reveal in a few days as well.

I went to 2 different Purim parties this year, one sponsored by an orthodox young professional group and the other by the LGBT group here in Atlanta.  The orthodox sponsored one was interesting, we all know you’re supposed to here Megillah Esther twice once at night once the next morning.  Well the rabbi in charge said the Megillah, which is quite lengthy, in 21 minutes, that included booing Haman’s name, it was also held in a brand new brewery that is making some interesting brews, but isn’t kosher, it’s cool though. But it was surprisingly packed probably around 60 people. The second party was held the Saturday after Purim so no Megillah reading but it was also a fundraiser for the group and had almost 400 people attend. Open bar and everyone is gay or lesbian with acrobats and clowns, holy Moses. The clown was kinda freaky and I’m not gonna lie I dint really get “her” show. Yes she was a drag queen I think.  Any way I met someone during the party and we hung out after the partying  we went to a club to dance and when I suggested going somewhere quieter he grabbed my hand and we left and went to his house. We talked for a while and then I went home,  we both liked each other at least that’s what I thought until he said, the next day, I’m dating someone but he’s in Israel and I’m leaving next Monday to go figure things out with him and I’ll be back in a month. Really!!!!!!  All I could say was ok well take care of that and when you get back call me and we’ll see where things go. I mean really we kissed and messed around a little and it didn’t cross his mind to tell me then.  Honestly this is why I’ve stayed single for so long, men don’t know how to be honest or forthcoming with information, but I can’t stop thinking about him either.

Since I’ve been wearing a kippah all the time, since September or October, I get some great questions from passengers, coworkers, airport employees, but by far the best questions I get are from my more Torah observant passengers.  For example; so you get shabbos off right?  NO,  I don’t it’s up to me to change my schedule. Or “How do you eat when your working because it’s hard enough for me and I only fly twice a week?” I get the most questions about food and eating. Ya know Jews love to eat and so my answer is usually simple and concise ” I can bring food through security as a crew member” but I had one guy just last week on a flight between 2 cities in California that didn’t like my answer,  while he was getting off and I was tidying the cabin he stopped me in the aisle and handed me his business card and told me if I ever needed anything while I was in the LA area or northern Cali area to give him a call and he’ll have someone bring me whatever I need including shabbat meals or while I’m on a sit in the airport. I’ve never had a passenger be so direct to offer anything. Usually when I get spotted by a Torah Observant person I get a stare maybe a smile.

It’s been too long

I know I know, it’s been way to long since I posted last, like 4 months long. A lot has been going on and since I’m laid up again with my sciatica issues I figured I may as well write a post. Since the last post I’ve got my Organic skin care line off the ground and have been marketing it like crazy. I’ve transitioned over to the new company in November and I’m now based in Denver, CO. While not bad the commute is somewhat long and tedious. Going to work is fine because I can go in the same day that my trip starts coming home is well tough. I recently had to take the red eye back to Atlanta and we were delayed and so by time we got here it was like 6:30 in the morning, I literally slept the whole day and night. I am enjoying work for the most part and haven’t had any run ins with bad or obnoxious colleagues. Knock on wood. I think everything is finally calming down on that front. About a week ago was the final flight for my original airline, the night before the final flight I cried like a baby, a whole mix of emotions and adding on top the pain in my leg and back made it worse. The day of the final flight everyone was posting their memories and good stories. None of the war stories that would have shined a bad light on the company. The send off was amazing and from all the airports we still flew too.

I celebrated my first Chanukah and fried up latkes and had a few drinks with some friends on the first night. I brought my menorah on my trip, each overnight I was on I lit the candles and said the bracha’s and posted photos to my Facebook page. Some hotels had windows that seemed specially made for my menorah, like the Hyatt House in Denver that my friend made me stay at cause her house wasn’t ready yet, had a small window that was higher than normal and had a big sill that fit the menorah perfectly. I even had the lady who runs the crash pad I stay at in Denver asking a ton of questions and wanted to light the candles with me and was sad when Chanukah ended. Almost all my passengers would wish me Happy Chanukah either during the flight or while they were getting off.

Although I originally thought that my conversion would be done by now it seems that I still have a little more to go. It could have to do with the fact that the class only met what seemed like 5 times during the fall semester which while we did go over all the material there was no mention of what we needed to do to finalize our conversions. It is fine though sometimes I think “what will I do when I don’t have to attend these classes every week” and I’m finally a full fledged Jew. Soon though it’ll be done and I’ll be one of the tribe. It gives me just a bit more time to finalize everything, like my Hebrew name and to write my paper on why I want to convert and where to get my Brit milah done.

While I don’t do resolutions with the secular New Year ever because I think and know that they don’t last, I have decided to take my health more seriously. I’ve been making bone broths quite frequently and I’m trying to eat more organic and clean whole foods. I’ve realized that while processed foods are convenient they do so much damage to our bodies. Ive been reading a lot about a whole food diet and I’ve been taking some things and making them in “Kosher” way. There don’t seem to be too many kosher real food followers so it’s definitely going slow. I have also been working on more products for JetSet Organics, like soaps and scrubs and new packaging, I also have a new logo designed and ready to go. This is going to be the year that I devote more time to it and make it a money maker for me.
So if you haven’t already take a look at my pages facebook.com/jetset-organics and squareup.com/market/jetset-organics

That’s it for now, my medicines are kicking in and I need to take a nap. Hopefully I can blog more often as well.

This is at the Hyatt House DIA.  The window as pretty high up and perfect for my menorah.

This is at the Hyatt House DIA. The window as pretty high up and perfect for my menorah.

Kiddush Hashem at 35,000 feet

Just a quick post about something amazing that happened today at work, as I posted earlier I am now wearing a kippah at work, today started the 2nd trip that I’ve been wearing it. Well on my flight this morning I had a guy that’s probably around my age 30 ish, a Chabadnik and super nice. He comes up to me after my inflight duties and starts thanking me for wearing a yarmulke and how he’s never seems. Jewish flight attendant, and then he asks me if I’ve laid t’fillin yet today and when I answered no he asks if I want to and my answer was sure and I went on to tell him I’m not fully “technically” jewish yet and I’m doing a reform conversion and I don’t know how to lay t’fillin and I don’t read Hebrew and he says ” your Jewish,” chuckled and said yes. Well we go to the back of the plane and he then starts putting on the arm t’fillin and I’m saying the bracha. I went through it kind of quickly, but it was definitely spiritual and amazing. Continue reading

I’m Back

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written a post and thats because, I just haven’t been in the mood to write and also since I’ve started my new business Ive been researching and testing out new products. So let me catch y’all up on whats been going on. The High Holidays are over, this being my first year observing them, let me just say WOW, what a whirlwind of emotions. I became a member of the shul that I am doing my conversion at in early September and have been volunteering at all the things they’ve been hosting. I have said before that I am very blessed with my job and Im able to change my schedule and so I was able to move a trip around and have all of the Days Between off. The Days Between refer to the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur. It went from celebratory on Rosh Hashanah to somber on Yom Kippur and its definitely a moving experience. I did fast on Yom Kippur however I didn’t make it the whole 25 hours. Unfortunately I calculated the time wrong and started later than I should have, i was invited to a friend from shul family’s house for a break the fast and it started earlier than I thought and so I wasn’t going to wait an hour more from when I got there. Myself along with her sister, and father were still fasting and their time ended at 5pm, I waited until 5:30. And there was so much food, smoked salmon, bagels, kugel, blintzes, merlot cheese and crackers, egg salad, tuna salad, some smoked white fish that I didn’t eat and I made 2 Challot, One apple stuffed and one regular, I saw my friends family yesterday at Simach Torah and they told me they’re still eating my challah with their breakfast, it’s that good.
Yesterday was Simchat Torah, a time to celebrate the ending of one years cycle of reading the Torah and starting the new year’s cycle. My shul is apparently the liveliest in the area and so it was pretty full with visitors and they also hold the ceremony for all the little kids that are starting religious school. They took out all the Torah scrolls and had a band playing and everyone who wanted to, was able to hold and dance around and take pictures with a scroll. It was a quick Shabbat service then it was all about having fun. It’s also the end of the holiday season, until Chanukah.

Holding a Torah Scroll

Holding a Torah Scroll

With the start of the new Jewish year, I decided to seek and got approved to wear a kippah at work. So now I wear one literally everyday. This past week was the first trip wearing it to work and it went great. Yeah, sure I got a few head turns when people first realized I had on a yarmulke and was going to be working their flight but also I got quite a few compliments from passengers, and people were friendlier even when there were delays, but maybe thats just because my crew and I were upbeat and happy. I even had a few people wish me a happy new year when they were getting off the plane. I wear a suede kippah which may not have been the best choice, since I’m hot natured and sweat a lot, but I wanted to wear one and it was the only one I found that is the right color that matches my uniform. Once I go over to the new company and start wearing different color uniforms hopefully I can get other color kippah’s approved.
I mentioned a while ago that my current airline was bought and that I would be going to training for the new company at some point, well I was planning on waiting until the absolute end when they had to pull me kicking and screaming. I changed my mind in august and I will be leaving in about 2 weeks to go to training, it’s kind of stressful and nerve-wracking, there is so much to get done in a short amount of time.

My new skin care venture has started off pretty well and I’ve gotten a few orders that have also kept me busy. I’m in the process now of working with a friend of mine designing a logo. I have decided on what it’s going to be, and it’s going to have a Jewish and aviation flare, it’s really cool. I’ll reveal it in a few weeks once everything is finalized.

Also here in the south it was just Gay Pride, they do everything at a different pace than the rest of the country, It was also my first time ever walking in a parade anywhere. I did it with the Jewish continent comprised of 35 different Jewish Organizations. I was the sole representative from my shul. Next year I will be heading up the group from my shul and hopefully it’ll be bigger.

Showing off my Pride

Showing off my Pride

Well that’s enough for now, I’ll write some more this week.

New Adventure

I wrote in a previous post that I was becoming interested in Essential Oils and DIY skin care, well I have taken it to the next level. Introducing Jet Set Organics; handmade, sustainable, organic, face and body, skin care. While I have to come up with a logo yet, I have opened an online storefront through Etsy. Right now it’s only 3 products, a lotion bar, eye serum, and pillow mist, there are plenty more products to come. I would like to put a Jewish twist on this venture, maybe Torah verses in Hebrew or in English, maybe a brief Talmud statement, or a prayer, or a Yiddish saying, Hebrew saying. What are your thoughts on how I can add a Jewish twist? Maybe one day they’ll even be kosher, but that’s a long way off still.
I started thinking about selling the products I have made already when a colleague told me that the lotion bar it let her try was amazing and I could probably make money by just selling to other Flight Attendants, but I thought to myself why just sell to Flight Attendants, the internet is full of busy people who want better, healthier, sustainable products, that just don’t have the time or patience to make their own stuff. I like making them, I work 3 days a week at my “real” job which leaves me plenty of time to do other things and I can maybe make a little extra money and hopefully take over the world, just kidding, but I would love to see this become a huge success.
Your can visit my Etsy store by clicking on the link to the right or etsy.com/
Jetsetorganics

I’m angry, no pissed

A friend said to me the other day, when I ran into him on a layover, “you haven’t really been posting too much on the whole Israel/Gaza conflict.” My response was ” Yeah I know I don’t really want to start a fight on Facebook over my feelings about the current situation.” That’s all about to change, as I said in the title I’m pissed, I haven’t really stated my feelings except a status update on Facebook here and there, but today I saw something on Facebook from a Canadian news report and some people’s comments on the video that was shared. First let me state, I am not totally jewish yet, these are only my feelings and statements and NOT anyone else’s and I just don’t give a flip anymore on what people think. I also want to make clear that I do have Muslim friends, we get along now and I hope to continue to get along with them and I wish them no harm nor do I wish any Gazan civilian any harm either.
In this news report they showed the numbers of Muslims killed by Muslims in uprisings and civil unrests in the Middle East and Africa to name a few places that were mentioned; Syria, Jordan, Iran, Iraq. Hundreds of thousands murdered in cold blood, murdered by their own governments, NOT A SINGLE Protest, outcry for restraint by the World’s leaders, no removal of halal foods from grocery store shelves, no BDS movement, although most of these governments have sanctions against them by the west, the Arab Middle East continues to fund and arm them. After months of missile bombardments on civilians from Gaza and kidnapping the of three teens in Israel, they reluctantly respond. Let me repeat that, AFTER MONTHS OF MISSILE BOMBARDMENTS ON CIVILIANS FROM GAZA AND THE KIDNAPPING OF THREE ISRAELI TEENS, ISRAEL RESPONDED. Israel, the ONLY democracy in the Middle East, responded to terrorist threats on her citizens and did what any other Modern country would have done. Brought their A game and their A teams to the fight against a guerrilla terrorist organization. How did the west respond, with pleas for a subdued retaliation, and to keep civilian deaths at a minimum. Since the newest fighting there has been increased anti-Semitic anti-Jewish, anti-Israel attacks around the world, Muslims chanting in Berlin “Jews, Jews to the gas” “Hitler didn’t finish you off but we will, Islam will rule the world.” Yesterday a jewish mother in Sweden, was attacked on the street, just for wearing a Magen David. A college student attacked at Temple University by an alleged member of the Students for democratic Palestine, campus police refused to arrest the suspect even with 2 eye witnesses. Where is the West now? I’ll tell you where, taking down food from aisles just because they’re kosher, happened in central London just this past week. Refusing to arrest Muslim immigrants and hoodlums for fear that the guy running for office won’t win the next election. Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands, France all have huge Muslim populations that enact sharia law in their neighborhoods and police and elected officials don’t do a damn thing, yet are the first ones to condemn Israel and take Israeli products off the shelves because they were simply protecting their citizens. The UN who runs schools in Gaza and is supposed to oversee where humanitarian supplies shipped in from Israel, even while Hamas is firing at Israel, didn’t even know that Hamas had hid missiles in their schools and hospitals, called on Israel to be proactive in limiting civilian deaths in Gaza and pleaded for the IDF to use restraint. No request from Ban Ki-Moon to the Hamas terrorists to stop firing missiles. No calls from any world leader telling Hamas to use restraint or protect civilian lives, why because the world knows Hamas is a terror organization. The Arab nations haven’t given humanitarian supplies to Hamas or Gaza civilians only money and weapons , Egypt sealed off the border with Gaza because Hamas was using tunnels to smuggle weapons.
Some of the comments left on the news segment I mentioned before were horrifically inaccurate, grossly misdirected and downright awful, however they were few and far between and written by people that are too cowardly to even use a real account to post a comment. Most of the comments were positive and uplifting that finally a reporter or news agency was reporting on the unequal treatment of Israel and it’s right to defend its citizens.
My own thoughts on this subject are not to be minced or taken out of context, I believe that Israel has the right to defend its citizens by any means necessary, even if that included wiping Gaza off the map and settling it as part of Israel. It has the right to do what ever means it deems necessary to accomplish its mission of destroying the terrorist organizations in the countries that surround it, and no government or world agency should ever doubt that Israel will do its best to minimize civilian casualties. Judaism demands the utmost regard for human life from its followers, murder and savagery are not part of its teaching except when it was against the Jews. Jews aren’t taught from a young age to hate Muslims or Christians or Hindus or Buddhists. We are taught in the Torah to love your neighbor as yourself. Love your neighbor even more than yourself and to always help the unfortunate. Even to love your neighbor the same if not more than you love Our God, because when you love your neighbor, you are in turn loving and honoring God. Israel and Judaism has and always will be the light unto the nations because the world always holds us to a higher standard. I hope to never have to emigrate or flee from my home country, because as much as I’m jewish I’m also American but Israel is the only place where it will be safe to practice Judaism, in the not so distant future if the world doesn’t act now. Also let me state that even with the rise of anti-jewish sentiment in the world I will be proud to wear my yarmulke on the street, my l’chaim necklace and my Am Israel Chai ring, in fact I may just request to be able to wear my kippah at work, which I have not worn to work since I started becoming jewish. I am, AM ISRAEL CHAI.
<br /. Let me also state that my feeling towards Israel and the intifadas it's dealt with have been with me almost as long as I can remember. Israel has always had a special place in my heart even before I started converting and even way before the first time I visited it.

It’s been a while

I know, I know I haven’t written a post in a little while but I’ve not been feeling like writing. My trips for work although they are only 3 days a week, they kick my butt and all I want to do when I get home is sleep and watch tv, I know boring. I also just returned from the HDQ for my company, and it took half a day to get there and half a day to get back and plenty of stress. My roommate was at HDQ for 2 weeks for training and Friday was her graduation from training. Although I do love my schedules every month, 3 days a week; Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, I’ve decided to take the Kool-aid on my own and not be forced or rushed through training. I will be transitioning in November to the new company, it’s the same job, just a new badge and base and MORE MONEY. It was a tough decision to make cause I really did want to wait until the end but it’s just not feasible monetarily anymore to wait. You know, they say money talks and bulls**t walks it’s true. I’ve been hearing about all the money people are making for doing the same thing I am with half the stress and it’s my time in November.

I’ve also been doing a lot of research and pintrest-ing for essential oils, to reduce my carbon footprint and get rid of some of the chemicals that are in everyday items. It’s been fun and opened my eyes to how much crap is actually in some of the most unsuspecting items. Items that are supposed to be good for you are hidden with bad chemicals and they may be adding to my tiredness and sluggishness. It’s also got me thinking about taking a class on aromatherapy and getting certified in how the oils can be used to help people.

WorldWide Family

Malaysia Airlines plane parked at a gate. Photo from Bing Search, I do not own the copyright or this photo.

In the Aviation community we may wear different uniforms, believe in different things, come from different backgrounds but when a tragedy strikes we are all one huge worldwide family. When the news of Malaysia Air 17 being shot down over Ukraine, sadness and tears were shed not only by the families of the victims but also by the entire aviation world. We are a small somewhat dysfunctional family at times but just like regular families when tragedy strikes we’re there for one another. Facebook is one of the greatest tools to see this in action with in a short time photos and bios of the crew were posted as well as prayers and signs of support, all showing Malaysia Airlines that we, their global family are surrounding them with love and hugs. I didn’t personally know any of the crew but I don’t need to, just like when I start a trip with a person I don’t know, we have common interests and it makes it easier to form even a short friendship or kinship and sometimes they can be life long friendships. I will turn to Judaism’s ritual prayers for mourning and say Kaddish at least for 7 days for the crew and their passengers of #MH17.
May their memories be for a blessing.

 

 

May every day be peaceful like this sunset

May every day be peaceful like this sunset. Photo taken by me at MCO airport at sunset.