I’m back and I’ve got exciting news….

Yeah Yeah, I know I said I would post more frequently but, my life is really pretty boring NORMALLY, but this past month has been INCREDIBLE and Hashem is the one who made it all happen and Instagram. If any of you follow me on Instagram or my business page on Facebook, y’all already know what I’m gonna talk about, if not hold onto your seats cause its gonna get wild on here.

First great thing that happened, I follow a lot of kosher chefs on Instagram and  one happens to have a radio show, I commented on one of her posts because now in all 3 major NYC there is Fresh, Good,  Kosher food available for purchase.  AMAZING right?  Well being that I love to cook, eat (kosher only) I know I’ve kept y’all out of the loop. Anyway I commented that I was a flight attendant that keeps kosher and literally within an hour I had an email from her and an appointment to chat with her.  We finally chatted a few days later and we set up a time the next day for me to be on her show.  Let me just say I was nervous as anything but she is such an amazing host and so easy to talk to too, my time on the show went by so quickly and I enjoyed doing it so much.  You can listen to me here.

So that was amazing thing one, amazing thing two is a little more crazy.  As y’all know in May it’ll be a year since I took the plunge and finished my journey to become a Jew, I know I’ve said it before and I really have become more observant in that year and with that I’ve been thinking about doing another conversion.  I don’t need to hear the bad things, “Oh you don’t think your Reform conversion is good enough,” or “But they won’t accept you because you’re gay.” or “It’s so strict.”  Let me just start by saying yes, it is strict but I am already doing most daily things already, I do think and know that my Reform conversion is enough and luckily, hopefully, I’ve found a supportive rabbi that is going to sponsor me.  Also the community and shul that I’ve been going to, everyone is so friendly and welcoming.  I was invited for Shabbat dinner at someone’s house who I had just met the shabbat before, When I was upfront about my conversion their response was “Absolutely no problem, not only was my conversion interesting to everyone there, my job dominated the conversation as well.  Being a kippah clad and  Observant Flight Attendant is really a conversation piece.  Not only was it shabbat dinner but someone in the community had a new baby boy and in the Orthodox world the friends or family of the new father throw what’s called a Shalom Zachar, basically just another reason to party.  Keep in mind I and the other 2 male guests didn’t know the new father nor his family that was throwing the party only our host knew them.  We all walked in and it was like we were all part of the family.  Get a drink, sit, sing, eat, here’s a shot, eat, There was cake and candy and alcohol (everything under the sun) Single Malt Scotch, this was my drink of choice, and High end Tequila, which I did not partake in, I don’t do well with tequila.  The next day, Shabbat morning, I ran into my dinner host and his family and one of the female guests, who also happens to be new to the community and as it turns out is from New Jersey as well and had to do a sort of Beit Din, because her mother converted and when she passed her conversion certificate couldn’t be found.  She also happens to be outgoing and started introducing me to more and more people.  One thing led to another I was being invited to lunch at the Rabbi’s house, and a Purim Seuda at another family’s house. Needless to say I’ve been very warmly welcomed into the community and look forward to moving into the area and really become a member of it.

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 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

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.

 

 

Two weeks in the not so sunny Sunshine State

It’s been a few weeks since I wrote last, I’ve been on vacation since June 20th and have been at home in Florida, visiting with my Aunt and just chilling. Florida may be called the sunshine state but these past 2 weeks I’ve been here it’s rained pretty much everyday in the afternoon, sometimes just a sprinkle other times a violent thunderstorm. For example I was at at my aunt’s job yesterday and right at closing time the skies got black it started pouring, like sideways rain, and lightening and thunder that shook the building. One bolt in particular flashed inside her office and scared the living crap out of us, it took out quite a few electronics and really fried a computer at the sister office down the road. I have been down here since June 30th, I celebrated the 4th here, we went to my Aunt’s boss’ house on the St. Lucie river to watch the fireworks, Mosquitos here in north, south Florida are no joke. I have bites all over me, his house was covered by mosquitos and watching the fireworks was fun but not fun. Fun because we were the only ones there, we had unobstructed views of the St. Lucie stadium, Stuart and other people’s own fireworks, but not fun because we both were getting eaten alive.
We also went to this pretty cool historic site in Lake Wales, Fl, called Bok Tower. It’s the estate of author Edward Bok, it’s built on the highest natural point in Florida and has walking trails, gardens, coy ponds, orange groves and a Carillon;which is supposed to be the highlight of the estate. It’s 60 bells in a tower that play a concert twice a day. This is July, central Florida, sunny, and HOT. Not the best time to go but hey you live and learn. We also went to a place I haven’t been since I was a kid, Lion Country Safari, it’s west of West Palm Beach and it’s a drive through safari and nature preserve. It’s fun, you get to see a lot of animals that are endangered all in the comfort of your own air conditioned car. They also have a walk around section that’s geared mostly towards kids but adults can have fun too especially if your quick with your camera on your phone and snap a quick selfie with a giraffe. Giraffe-y
I also fed it romaine lettuce, you can get somewhat close to them, he licked my hand as he was taking some of the romaine. It’s started pouring and we ended up standing under trees waiting for it to stop. The rest of the time was just spent relaxing and hanging out with my aunt.
I went back to work on Monday and I’m flying with a friend of mine on an easy 4 day trip. I have 9 days total to work this month and they’re all easy days.

Vacation Again

I know I haven’t written in quiet some time, I have been lazy and busy. You’re probably thinking how can he be both but its true, for 2 weeks I was busy and didn’t have time to do anything, and the other week I was just lazy. See the week after I got the epidural I did absolutely nothing, I was just worn out from my back/leg pain. The next week I went to visit a friend for a few days in the midwest and from there I went directly to Orlando for my birthday and a beach party for the regatta team from my airline. I came home from Orlando and rested a little bit then got ready for my 6 days of actual work for this month. I am on vacation again this month and like I said earlier if I bid right I only have to work a few days. This month I had to work 6 days total, so I spent 2 nights in Las Vegas and then a night in Minneapolis and one in Kansas City. Now I am off until July 15th. My 2 nights in Las Vegas were not spent on the strip or old town, but at the hotel pool with my crew and drinks. We all kept this trip for that reason, and what we thought was an easy trip was made even easier when our first flight got cancelled. When this happens we fly just like regular passengers, and normally its done on my airline, but we’re going through a merger so it was on the other airline. Since we weren’t “working” we can do what we please during the flight, I just read and tried to get some sleep. I am reading two books by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, “Davening: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Prayer” and “Jewish with Feeling: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Practice.” Both interesting to read but not the easiest. When I started reading, my crew member wanted to know what I was reading and once she saw the title it started the whole Why are you reading about that you’re not Jewish and you drink alcohol. So I had to explain I’m converting and the reason why I’m converting, and I then explain that Jews can drink alcohol, in fact on Shabbat we start the meal with wine and the ceremony of Havdalah we end Shabbat with wine, and even on Purim we’re commanded to get drunk, her response was “Wow sound like my kind of religion, but I’m a Christian.” I just said I know and that kind of ended the conversation about it until the next day when we got our crew meals and I of course gave mine away because, a. it was a Ham sandwich and b. they all had cheese on them and as I’ve said before I don’t keep kosher but I do follow Kashrut. My trip to Minneapolis was spent getting a pedicure at the Mall of America. It’s a big mall and for someone who hates to shop or be around huge crowds it’s not a place that I really enjoy. Hopefully I going to travel during my vacation if I can get my butt in gear, although I do have to be back in town next Sunday for a Habitat for Humanity build with my shul. Now that I am off for the rest of the month of June until July 15th I have to find something to do other than sit at home and do nothing.

City meets Country

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      (Ronald the Turkey)

 

       So this past Shabbat I spent it in a way that I wouldn’t normally spend Shabbat, a friend who is also a Flight Attendant, owns a farm in Alabama.  It’s not just a regular farm, its a pig farm.  Yeah she has egg laying chickens and roosters, donkey’s, a mule, a dog, cats, ducks, goats, and turkey’s but she has a lot of pigs, like 20.  She called my roommate saying she needed help with moving a mother pig who killed 7 of her week old babies.  This pig she explained was a beast it would take probably  all of us (4 people) just to get her in a trailer to move.  She was right, this pig was a beast, she didn’t care that we were taking her away from her babies, or her separated yard just for nursing, she wanted to be near all the other pigs, she didn’t want to be a mommy any more.  I know my mom as well as all mom’s have this feeling maybe once or twice in their lives raising their children, but pigs are different, they raise their young for a short time and then the babies are weened.  It doesn’t happen very often but like this time its devastating to a small, local upstart farm.  My time at the farm wasn’t all work, I got to have some fun too, I got to collect my first eggs, they were freshly laid, literally still warm.  Unfortunately some bad ones got mixed in and my dozen to take home went to the pigs.  I also got to shoot my first gun  gun’s, three to be exact.  I shot a shotgun, an automatic handgun, and a revolver.  Now I support gun control, and I don’t think that assault military style automatic guns like ak-47 or similar guns should not be sold to the public but guns and responsible ownership as well as training are good.  My favorite gun to shoot was the revolver, it was comfortable, and I felt like I was in control of it not the other way around.  We did other work too, like moving the donkey’s in with the goats so they’re both socialized, I made the challah in between doing other work as well, we also opened the back yard up for LuLu, the pot belly pig, and also made a small pen on the back porch for the babies that were still alive but needed to be separated and fed with a bottle.  We also picked fresh spinach for dinner, which was beef steak, not pork.  After dark we got to light a bonfire, like a huge bonfire.  All in all this city guy could live on a farm but, I would need a heavy daily dose of pain pills and muscle relaxers, along with a big HUGE bottle of wine.  Farming is tough work and I give a big hand to those can do it full time.  I am glad to know where my food comes from but I’d only like to visit a farm once in a while.  

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      (this is one of the pigs, not the one that we had to move)

Marry me and fly for free! (Well almost free)

One of the perks of my job is the generous discounts I receive on other airlines. At the Passover Seder we say “Next year in Jerusalem” for me that can be a reality every year, any time of year. I went to Israel for a second time, last minute, and when I say last minute I booked it at 10:30 am and the flight left JFK at 11:00 pm the same day. I went by myself, I needed to get away and I had vacation again and we were supposed to get snow again in Atlanta, where I live, and well I had a week off, and why not. El Al was nice enough to give me a seat, after many questions and stare downs with security, I was on my way to the Holy Land. I needed to be in a place where a) everything is kosher, b) I can wear a kippah at any time of the day and not feel like I’m being stared at or laughed at, c) I needed to go to the Kotel (Western Wall), d) I needed warm weather. I said in an earlier post that I wanted to convert years ago, and I didn’t go into detail, nor did I pursue it, but watching the news during the second intifada, and watching kids my age being killed for riding on a bus or sitting in a Sbarro, or dancing in a club, hit home with me and even at a young-ish age I wanted to be Jewish. I listened to a podcast, when iPods were still huge, about a family living in a settlement after they had just made aliyah, and dealing with the new environment they were thrown into. I felt sorrow, sadness and disbelief that it was happening.
I had the chance to visit some of those places hit by suicide bombers, that I saw on tv back in the day, in Tel Aviv and afterwards I went to the beach and let my feelings float away.
I also spiritually needed to go to the Kotel. I needed to go to the holiest site in Judaism and pray, that I was going down the right path. I felt a sense of peace come over me the first time I went there and I wanted and got that feeling again. I was questioning everything I was doing and needed to be reassured by Hashem that I was doing the right thing. It was on a bar mitzvah day and people where excited in one corner and in another people were praying and somber and quite. It was even more “emotional” this time because in my heart I feel that I am jewish, it is my holiest site, these are my people I’m praying with. It was surreal to say the least to look at the Kotel and think I’m part of this history.