Posted by Ilana Angel
As Beersheba was attacked this past weekend, I couldn’t help but think about how different my life is because my parents left Israel. My mother was born in Egypt and moved to Israel as a newborn. My father was from England, and made Aliyah to Israel as a young man to serve in the army.
My parents met while both were serving in the IDF. They got married in 1964, my sister was born in Haifa in 1965, I was born in Beersheba in 1966, my father fought in The Six Day War in 1967, and in 1968 we left Israel for England, and waited for our immigration to Canada to be approved.
Hebrew is my first language, but grew I up up in Canada and have not been there is 25 years. My mother did not speak English until I started kindergarten and I used to be fluent in Hebrew. I can’t read or write it, but I still speak it. Broken Hebrew to be sure, but still pretty good.
I don’t remember my childhood in Israel, but I remember the almost two years I spent there in my twenties, and I loved it. I had a wonderful time and can vividly recall not wanting to leave, yet now, all these years later, it feels very far away, and I have no interest in going back.
Israel is a much different country now, from when I was there a quarter of a century ago. I love Israel, and am proud to be an Israeli. I got my job at The Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation because I spoke Hebrew and that job changed my life.
It’s not enough to simply say I am an Israeli. It’s also not my birth certificate from Israel that makes me an Israeli. My soul is in Israel. All the best parts of my mother are Israeli, and those are the things that have been passed along to me. I am my Israeli mother’s daughter.
I need to support Israel in a more tangible way. I need to pay closer attention to what is happening there, support the country with my vote to a presidential candidate that will support her, and give financial support to the agencies within Israel that help her people. It’s quite easy.
I sent my son to Israel the year of his Bar Mitzvah. I thought seeing the history of Israel would allow him to embrace his Judaism better, and it worked. He came back with a sense of pride for our faith and for Israel. Maybe it’s time for me to go for the same reasons. A refresher.
Lots of people are born places, then leave as children, and have no lasting connection to where they were born. Israel is different. As a Jew, it is the home of my faith, my people, my past, and my future. Israel matters and I have forgotten that. I love her and it’s time I showed it.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Israel. Not just the Jews, but all the people of Israel. I hope to come back home soon and look forward to the day when there is peace for everyone who lives there. Many think peace will never happen in Israel. To those people I say, keep the faith.
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August 19, 2011 | 12:30 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
In a world of chaos, it is hard to look at the recent news stories in London, Israel, or the Sudan, and not feel sadness for humanity. Human beings are more alike than we are different, and that we are able to so easily hate and hurt each other weighs heavy on my heart. My life is blessed, yet the world is broken, and I struggle to understand why it is this way.
Japan is a beautiful country that I hope to visit one day. I have long had a fascination with the culture and history of her people. They are so respectful and kind that you can’t help but wonder what went wrong here. I know they are not perfect, and there is no perfect country, but I read an article today that makes me think Japan is pretty close.
It has been 5 months since a massive earthquake and tsunami hit the coast of Japan. Since that fateful day, the people of Japan have handed in to authorities, over $48 million dollars in cash, and over 5700 safes, which contained an additional $30 million dollars in cash. This is money people found in the debris, and did not keep as it simply was not theirs.
It has been reported that one safe in particular, contained over $1 million dollars, and it was returned, without a single penny removed. Would you do the same? Would I? How is it that someone who has nothing, and whose life could be altered forever, is able to return money that can never be traced back to its owner? Where does that kindness come from?
When everything has been lost, and desperation is clawing at the door, how does one choose kindness and compassion over looting and madness? How many people do you know who would do the right thing? Imagine an entire country doing the right thing at the same time. Remember what happened in New Orleans after Katrina, and we must be ashamed.
I believe that people are inherently good. It’s a silly belief when you take into consideration that every single day I am shown proof that it is simply not the case. I can look at all the people who returned the money of their countrymen and know that there is hope for the human race. The people of Japan have restored my faith in humanity.
As Shabbat approaches I send my love, respect and heartfelt admiration to every single person in Japan who chose to do the right thing. I wish you health, happiness and peace. I am also sending a check to The Red Cross for aid to the people of Japan. God bless you Japan. I thank you for reminding me that there is good in the world, and to keep the faith.
August 18, 2011 | 7:51 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I have never met Andy Dick and I am not familiar with his “career”, but I still feel completely comfortable saying that I think he is a complete and total asshole. Seriously, this guy is a mess and the best thing he can do for his career is shut up.
Seeing as he has no career, it makes perfect sense he would talk out his ass with no concern for the impact his words have on those who listen. In a desperate cry out for attention, he has sealed his current fate, which is that of an unemployed idiot.
Dick is being a dick because he is upset with Howard Stern. I don’t know what the details are, and frankly don’t care. What I do care about, is that in speaking of his anger with Stern, he said Howard was a “shallow, money grubbing Jew” with a “big fat hook nose”.
Andy Dick has serious problems and if I were someone in his life who cared about him, I would suggest he spend more time getting his life together, and less time ranting about his hatred for Jews, and particularly Howard Stern. Shut up Andy. Just shut up.
I am not a fan of Howard Stern’s radio show, but I am a huge fan of Howard Stern. This is a good man and Andy’s hated of him is less about his feelings about Jews, and more about jealousy. He is jealous of Howard and tries to hurt him by being anti-Semitic.
The problem with his plan is that Howard could care less. Howard is above the name calling and desperate publicity stunts. In the end Howard is still the King and Andy is, as he always was, a dick. Andy sucks, and Jews rock. I suggest Mr. Dick keeps the faith.
August 18, 2011 | 9:20 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
I had a date last night. He was from JDate and when we spoke on the phone it appeared we had things in common. As you may know, I am not a fan of pre-dating, so we only spoke once and made plans to meet for dinner. It turns out that we really had very little in common.
I personally don’t think jumping into a conversation about politics on a first date is a good idea because you don’t know where your date sits politically. I am of the opinion that saying you hate Obama is not the way to go. Like him or not, he is our President, so have a little respect.
Saying you are down to earth and not into being flashy or “LA pretentious” is nice. When the very next sentence is about how many homes you own around the world, are you not being pretentious? Be proud of what you have, just don’t knock an entire city of people while sharing.
We spoke of a certain celebrity here is Los Angeles that we both know. I happen to like him very much, and my date thought he was a shady and unethical guy. I told him I knew him, and liked him, but he continued to trash him, which I found to be both stupid and unkind.
In the end he was a nice guy and I appreciated the interest, but he had no shot from the very second he said hello. Perhaps I am the pretentious one when I say if you can afford to take a girl out to dinner, you can afford a box of Altoids. First Date Law #1: Good breath.
As I drove home I thought about what would happen if I just stopped dating. I don’t enjoy dating, so why do it? I have experienced love, had my father walk me down the aisle in a beautiful white dress, am blessed to be a mother, so maybe that’s enough. Should now be about being alone?
I joke that I am one cat away from being a cat lady but the truth is I only have 2 cats. Actually, it’s really only one. I have a cat, and since I work and she is alone a lot of the time, I got my cat a cat to keep her company. So I have one and she has one. You can’t be a cat lady with one cat.
Sadly, my explanation about my cat having a cat, technically makes me a crazy cat lady all by itself, but the point is this, I’m not ready to throw in the towel and have my life be about not dating, talking to my cats, and watching my son live his life while I sit and get old.
I am not getting another cat, and I am not going to stop dating. I am going to believe every date I go on, good or bad, gets me closer to Prince Charming, not a trip to the animal shelter. By good or bad, of course I mean bad because there have been no good ones, but think positive!
This morning as I washed my face I noticed I had a grey hair in my eyebrow. Upon further investigation I found that there were two of them. I decided they needed to go and as I stood there, tweezers in hand, my cat jumped on the counter, gave me a kiss, and sat to watch.
I looked at my grey hair, looked at my cat, and could not stop laughing. I don’t know why it struck me as funny, but sitting there with tweezers, plucking grey hair with my cat looking on, was hilarious. It was as if God was giving me a sneak peek into what life could be.
I yanked out the grey hair, kissed my cat, and counted my blessings. When I’m old, will I be sitting on the couch, yanking hairs off my face with a cat sitting on my lap? I suppose I will. And when my husband walks in to hand me a drink, I will remember today and laugh.
I am a mom, daughter, sister, friend, dater and cat lady. There is room for all of it in my life and it’s up to me what order of importance I put all my roles in. As long as Mom comes first, everything else will find its place in line. I have a date this weekend, and I am keeping the faith.
August 17, 2011 | 1:06 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
When my son was a baby I could not wait for him to walk, now I wish he would just sit still. I could not wait for him to talk, now I wish he would be quiet sometimes. I could not wait for him to drive, and now I find myself praying he will fail his permit test and not be allowed to drive.
I’m excited that he is so close to taking this next step into independence, but I am also scared. Driving is great, but also a new set of stresses for parents. He is a very responsible kid and I don’t worry about him behind the wheel, it’s everyone else that freaks me out.
If the State of California is going to permit my son to drive, am I allowed to not permit him? His driving has sent me into a whirlwind of memories. I can remember very clearly when he first called me Momma, when he took his first step, and the very first time he told me loved me.
I keep having flashbacks to when he was a baby, and nightmares about taking him to the DMV. He is my greatest joy and while he is always going to be my baby, this is a step towards independence that he has been anxiously waiting for as long as I have been dreading it.
Is it wrong that I don’t want him drive at night, on the freeway, during rush hour, or be allowed to make anything other than right hand turns? Can he not handle these rules for a year? Or two? I must talk to the DMV about adopting these ideas into their permit restrictions.
Between driving, sex and drugs, the teenage years are rough. He is finding his way and doing great, but this stage of life is really stressful for parents. I know I have taught him well and raised him right, but it all goes out the window and his friends now have more power than I do.
Peer pressure is intense, and the desire to be independent and make your own decisions is also a strong force. As parents we need to learn the balancing act of when to push and when to let go. I don’t want him to make decisions that are based on proving me wrong.
We have a lot of control when our kids are little because they are never out of our sight. As teenagers they are away form us more than they are home and it becomes about trust. Can I trust him to remember all I’ve taught him and can I trust he will make the right choices?
Sex, drugs and driving are all options around the same time and it’s a lot to deal with. When I think back to my own teenage years, it seems like I was not faced with the same pressures my son is. I recall it as a much simpler time. Maybe I’ve just blocked all struggles out?
I want to follow him around and watch everything he does, which is not good because I probably don’t want to know about half the things he does. The teenage years are less about parenting and more about trusting. I’m still going to lay down the law, just try to trust him, and myself, more.
I’m just feeling growing pains I guess. I need to trust that all the work I’ve done is going to pay off and he will remember my words and lessons when he should. Being a teenager is hard. Being the parent of a teenager is also hard. It’s a crapshoot so all I can do is pray, and keep the faith.
August 14, 2011 | 9:43 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
On Sunday afternoon, with kids preparing to start the new school year, and parents like myself feeling the stress of sending our kids out into the madness, my friend Eric posted this update on his Facebook page:
To all my friends who are PARENTS, teach your kids returning to school: If you see someone who is struggling to make friends or being bullied because he/she doesn’t have many friends or because they are shy or not as pretty or not dressed in the most “in” clothes - PLEASE step up. Say hi or at least smile at them in the hallway. You never know what that person might be facing outside of school. Your kindness might just make a BIG difference in someone’s life!!
Eric’s post inspired an interesting conversation between my son and me. He begins sophomore year next week and no matter how much I love him, or what I think I’ve taught him, peer pressure can erase it all in a second. I am blessed my son has good friends and does well at school. He is surrounded by eclectic and talented kids that include all religions, races, and sexual orientations. Their differences inspire acceptance.
My son was moved by Eric’s post and said sometimes he forgets a kind word, or smile can go a long way. He mentioned times when someone offered them to him and it mattered, so he will be sure to offer it to someone else. Kids are precious. Whether they are yours or not, kids matter. They are fragile and dealing with so much pressure that we must help them. We can teach our own kids to be kind and lend a hand to someone in need.
The weird kid might grow up to cure cancer, the quiet kid might grow up to harm others, the funny kid might grow up to be president, the fat kid might grow up to end famine in Africa. See the best in kids even when they can’t. It’s not just about our kids. As parents we must teach our kids to support each other, and also embrace the kids who need a helping hand. We don’t know what goes on behind closed doors and some kids are not as blessed.
There but for the grace of God go I. Smile to other parents, listen to what our kids say, and know that silence is not acceptable. If one kid stands up for another it speaks volumes and can change a person’s path in a great way. Children are a blessing. We all love our kids and at the end of the day we are not good parents if we do not extend kindness to all children, and do not teach our kids to not be bullies, or allow bullying. They have the power.
I am not ashamed to say that I could not be happier school is starting. I love my kid, he had a fantastic summer, but I’m done. Summer is expensive, hot, long and not that relaxing, so the start of school is welcome. I wish all the kids a great year at school. To all the parents, we made it through another summer and it will only be a matter of time before we start complaining about the early mornings, and the chore that is carpooling.
If one kid learns something from Eric’s post, and one child is shown kindness, then a miracle has happened. It’s really not that hard to make a difference in a kid’s life. All it requires is a desire, and making a choice. In my opinion it is also an obligation. When you save one life, it is as if you saved the entire world. God bless the kids and God bless us all. Keep the faith.
August 14, 2011 | 10:57 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
Arnold Schwarzenegger is, in my opinion, a pig. Noel Biderman, the man behind the Ashley Madison website is, in my opinion, also a pig. It makes perfect sense these two pigs should be friends, and taking it further, I’ve long thought Arnold should be a spokesperson for Ashley Madison.
I could not help but laugh this morning when TMZ reported that Noel Biderman has offered to pay $100k if Arnold is willing to have his picture taken in an Ashley Madison t-shirt. Here’s the kicker, the money is not payment to Arnold, but rather to the State of California.
If he will do it, AshleyMadison.com will write a check to “the State of California to assist with its current deficit.” I think it’s a brilliant idea and after all the damage Arnold did to our state, he should suck it up and just do it. It’s not like we don’t know he’s a cheater, or unethical politician.
Pigs are highly intelligent animals and so it’s important to clarify that when I call Noel and Arnold pigs, I mean no disrespect to pigs. Wear the shirt and take the picture Arnold. You’ll still be a pig, but one with a sliver of humility and a sense of humor. Will he man up? I don’t really care so there is no need, on this one, for me to keep the faith.
August 12, 2011 | 12:12 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
As my online dating life in hell continues, I cannot help but think about sex and the role it plays in my dating, and search for a relationship. Whether or not I give it power is irrelevant, because when it comes down to the basics, is it going to be the most important aspect of dating for men, whether I talk about it or not.
To clarify, I’m not saying all relationships should be, or are, built around sex, simply stating that our relationships are often defined by sex. You can have great sex with someone you don’t love, but can you love someone when the sex is bad? When searching for your beshert, what comes first, the love or the sex?
Sex is important. It’s an integral part of not only a committed relationship, but also of dating. Particularly at my age. I am a grown up, I’ve had sex, and I am old enough to understand what it is, what it means, whether or not it’s good, and if and when I am ready to bring it into my dating life.
Truth be told, dating and sex don’t mix well. When getting to know someone, sex changes everything. Can you build a relationship around great sex? Can we give ourselves permission to use sex as a way to get to know someone? Sadly, when it comes to sex, I’m not that cool.
In reviewing the last ten men I had dates with, there was only one that I was attracted to in that way, but we only had one date, which was probably because he was not interested in me that way. Sexual attraction is very powerful and I wonder if it matters more to men or women.
It does not seem to matter to online dating sites because there is no mention of it. People write about it certainly, but nobody really talks about it, or allows a place within a profile for it to be clarified. How much easier would online dating be if sex were part of your profile?
Men write they are looking for a relationship that includes sex, and it would appear most of those men are recently divorced so I could assume there was not a lot of sex in their marriages. I suppose it could be they are simply evolved and able to talk about it, but probably not.
Men can list what they are looking for, yet in looking around both Match.com and JDate, I could find no women who spoke of their sexuality. Perhaps there is a fear that if a woman says she is interested in sex, a man will perceive her a certain way, a way that in her mind, is not good.
I have written before that I am looking for a relationship that is sexual, not a sexual relationship, and I wonder if by saying such a thing I am perceived as loose or easy. How very sad that at the age of 45 I am not able to say I am a sexual person for fear of being labeled a slut.
There is no comfortable way to talk about sex when dating. You just don’t know how people view it. If a woman talks about sex, even in the most abstract way, men take it as an invitation to be liberal in their sex talk, and that is a turn off. Can’t we talk about sex and still be decent?
I want to be in love and I want us to have an intimate and satisfying sex life. When I was younger sex was easier to have. Not that’s it’s hard to find people to have sex with now, but the older I get the easier it is to not have it, over having it with someone I am not in love with.
I’m not saying I would not sleep with someone until we were in love, I’m just saying casual sex is not an option. Not that it ever really was, but it’s different now. I am 45 years old, looking for love, and in doing so have discovered sex and love go hand in hand at this stage of my life.
The bigger issue is this, if I am looking for love, and cannot find it, and I attach sex to love, if I never find love, does that mean the sexual part of my life is over? Am I at a place in life where I am able to embrace sex and how great it is, only to realize there is nobody to have sex with?
I got an email from a man on JDate who wrote in his profile that he wants to be with a woman who “craves sex”. My date last week said he could not decide to date me until we had sex. For a subject that we don’t openly talk about, it holds a lot of power over us, how we present ourselves.
Dating is hard and love is elusive. I hate dating, but I want love, so how does that work? I am sexual, but sex without love is not appealing, so how does that work? Men talk about sex is creepy, and women talking about sex is slutty, so is the lesson we don’t talk about sex?
Is sex discussed in marriages? Are married people having as much sex as single people? Are married people having sex with the people they are married to? Can you be happily married and have sex with someone other than your spouse? How does married sex work?
I was married from ages 25 to 30 so I can’t go back to my own marriage and ask these questions because a) our sex life was very good and b) we are different sexually when we are young, newlyweds, and starting a family. How is it something can be so good and so bad?
I’m not sure why I felt the need to talk about this. Perhaps it was the Match.com email I received from a man who wrote to tell me he’d like to take me out dinner, then buy me breakfast. I am one day closer to another cat. Some days you need to just breathe in deeply, and keep the faith.