Posted by Ilana Angel
While I’m not sure how it is that bagels became part of Jewish culture, they are our thing. Everyone associates bagels and shmear with American Jewish cuisine. I love a good bagel and am partial to boiled bagels from Montreal, but also enjoy a sesame from Western Bagel here in Los Angeles. It is comfort food and has marked all milestones, family events, and Sunday brunches throughout my life. Bagels are quintessentially Jewish.
As a Jew I take offense to people ruining the bagel. Personally, I think blueberries and chocolate do not belong in a bagel, and if I were to search the Torah, I might find that it is actually forbidden. When my son was young I would put a frozen bagel in his crib, and when he woke up it would be defrosted and he would gnaw on it. It gave me an extra 15 minutes of sleep, which was a blessing. My delicious son loves a delicious bagel.
I may love a bagel, but I can assure you, I am never going to have one injected into my skin, and certainly not ever on my face. National Geographic’s Taboo television show is featuring a story on the latest “beauty” craze in Japan, the “Bagel Head”. Really. People are injecting saline into their foreheads, shaping it into a bagel, and then walking around like it is the ultimate in fashion. These people are cray cray.
The entire process takes about 2 hours, and only lasts between 16-24 hours. Once the body absorbs the saline you have had pumped into your face, it’ is gone. Really? People are sitting with an IV drip of saline going into their faces for two hours to come out looking like a moron? I don’t understand the extreme body modification movement, but unlike Mitt Romney, I believe people should be able to do whatever they want to their bodies. That said, this is stupid.
This is not cool, not attractive, cannot possibly be safe, and I just don’t get it. If I saw someone on the street with this modification I would not need to stare because now I know what it is, but it would take all my strength not to offer them lox and shmear. At the end of the day I guess Jews and are just so cool that even our food is coveted. I won’t be sporting a bagel head anytime soon, but I’m off to grab a bagel, and I’m keeping the faith.
12.11.13 at 6:58 am | I watch in awe and stare with envy at these. . .
12.5.13 at 3:16 pm | Heaven has received a blessing today.
12.3.13 at 3:05 pm | Every time I go into the kitchen I half expect to. . .
11.30.13 at 10:42 am | "The only correct actions are those that demand. . .
11.29.13 at 1:56 pm | My nest will never empty as my son will always be. . .
11.28.13 at 7:59 am | Think. Laugh. Cry.
9.15.13 at 3:14 pm | I love you Russell Brand. (403)
7.25.11 at 5:38 pm | We need more Jews! (246)
12.11.13 at 6:58 am | I watch in awe and stare with envy at these. . . (234)
September 27, 2012 | 11:37 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
The high holidays this year marked my first Jewish holiday experience with the Englishman. It was a little stressful for me because I have a clear view of who I am in terms of my faith, but how he rolled though the festivities was unknown to me. He is Jewish of course, but were our levels of Judaism going to mesh through the most important days of our faith?
Religion is a tricky subject, and even though I only date Jewish men, it has still proven to be somewhat complicated throughout my romantic history. I have dated men who thought I was not Jewish enough, and others who felt I was simply too religious. I always thought it would be easier if I was with a Jew, but it turns out that is not always how it works.
My last boyfriend could recite Torah and I thought it was the sexiest thing in the world. My boyfriend before that would listen to me read Torah, and it was the sexiest thing in the world. The Englishman cannot recite Torah, does not want to listen to me reading Torah, and he is the sexiest thing in the world. We are very different Jews, and it is okay.
As I sat in temple on Yom Kippur with the Englishman, his youngest daughter, and my son, I felt Jewish enough. In the past I have strived to be more Jewish, or dumbed it down to be less Jewish, but with the Englishman, I am simply Jewish. I don’t need to explain myself, I just need to be myself. He does not judge how I practice my faith, he just let’s me be.
We are very different in terms of our faith. In fact, we could not be further apart in terms of our relationships with religion and God, but at the core of who we are, we are Jewish. For the first time in all of my romantic relationship life, being Jewish is enough. I was trying to figure out what it all means and in the end I think this is what love is.
I over think my relationship. I love him and know he loves me, but I wonder if love is enough. There are things in our relationship that are not perfect, but is that not true of all relationships? One could argue the things I think are not perfect are being blown out of proportion in order for me to sabotage it all. Or perhaps, it is just a real relationship.
It gives me tremendous comfort to have reached this place of enlightenment at services. The Rabbi asked us to turn to someone in temple and tell them about someone that had passed away and was important to us, in order to keep their memory alive. I started to cry and turned to my son to share how much my Dad loved him, and how proud he would be of all he is doing.
We had a lovely moment remembering my dad. I then turned to my Englishman and heard him speak of his beloved step-mom Sheila to his little girl. He then turned to me and told me that Sheila and my Dad were watching over us and probably had a hand in our finding each other. I felt true love for this man, and knew my Dad would have loved him too.
My father was an Englishman, and these two men share the same sense of humor. I find I lean on my Englishman in the same way I used to lean on my father. He is a calm voice of reason and I know he has my back and will always protect me. Not only me, but my son also. They are very close and it is something special. They love each other.
We are building a life together and it is scary, weird, uncomfortable, exciting, and lovely. I often try to define what kind of Jew I am, but he makes me feel Jewish enough. By Jewish enough, of course I mean simply Jewish. Our faith is the same and how we worship, while not exactly the same, is Jewish. Could this be what it is to find your Beshert?
If I can be the woman I am in front of God, in front of him, is that a soul mate? If I can worship without fear of judgment or criticism, is that love? If I can feel safe in my faith and open to seeing a different view, does that make God happy? I had a wonderful holiday and I learned a lot. It turns out being Jewish enough is the easiest way to keep the faith.
September 24, 2012 | 10:56 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
Tuesday evening marks the beginning of Yom Kippur. It is a Day of Atonement and the holiest of all days for the Jewish religion. Since many of my readers are not Jewish, and have written to ask what the holiday means, I thought I would take this opportunity to share the importance of Yom Kippur in terms of both my religion, and my personal faith.
On a religious level, the holiday is about atonement. Jews observe the day with a 25 hour fast, along with prayer. We spend most of the day in temple. This day marks the end of the Jewish High Holidays. It is the most observed of all the Jewish holidays and even the most secular of Jews will find themselves in temple.
Yom Kippur is the 10th day of the month of Tishrei. In our tradition, God inscribes our fate for the coming year into the Book of Life on the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashana, then seals the book with our fate on Yom Kippur. The time between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is when we try to make amends and seek forgiveness.
It is not only about asking for God for forgiveness, but atoning for anything wrong we have done against another human being. We spend the day praying for forgiveness, confessing our guilt, and talking to God about all of it. Our hope is that when the sun sets to end the day, God has forgiven us. It is a special day and always very emotional for me.
In terms of my personal faith, I speak to God every single day, but Yom Kippur is special. Its not that he listens differently on this day, but more about our prayers being louder. When every Jew prays on the same day, I imagine it is a wonderful chorus for God. I envision him listening to all of us together and feeling from us what I feel from him.
I have a relationship with God that has taken me my whole life to build. I turn to God in moments of joy, sorrow, peace, and turmoil. God has listened, which has allowed me to listen in turn. I am my closest to God when I pay attention to my breathing and don’t analyze choices. It is through God that I am able to trust myself, and choose joy over fear.
I have a list of things to discuss with God. Some are deep, some are silly, some need to be lifted, and others will ease his worry for me. God has always been by my side. Even when I did not see him, he was there. When he spoke and I did not listen, he stayed. He allowed me to hear my own voice, find my way to love, be a good mother, and find peace.
Some days I charge through life as a lion, and others I watch through the eyes of a lamb. Life is a blessing and you meeting me here to read what is happening in my life matters to me. I love that you are all going along the path with me. I learn from you and appreciate when you share your views with me. We are all in this together.
I hope we are all inscribed in the Book of Life and have a year of health and happiness. I believe that if God leads you to it, he will lead you through it, and so I hope your path is an easy one. Thank you all for reading. Have an easy fast and I will see you back here on Wednesday night. I’m off to atone, pray, fast, and keep the faith.
September 23, 2012 | 10:07 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I was invited to attend an event in Los Angeles this past weekend that I found both intriguing and depressing. I was tempted to not go but my curiosity trumped disdain so I opted to attend. It was for an online dating site that is designed for Sugar Daddies and the women who want one.
The party was in a great loft space in downtown Los Angeles so I got dolled up and the Englishman and I headed out for an evening of investigative reporting. Well, let me just say, Oh My! This singles event was, in my opinion, an evening of legalized prostitution, and I was mortified.
The website is called SeekingArrangement.com and in the spirit of full disclosure, I have not visited the site. I was planning to take a look after the party but I was so disturbed by the event that I never bothered to check it out. Therefore, this article is about the party not the online site.
The event was called for 8:00. We arrived around 8:30 and the party was still being set up. There was no music, a few cookies with a chocolate fountain, and a nice assortment of hookers, transvestites, creepy men, and desperate women. It was sad and not at all festive.
I spoke with the founder of the site, Mr. Brandon Wade, and I will tell you that he is lovely. An articulate and sweet man who has become a millionaire by allowing men to legally find women for sex. He is originally from Singapore, an MIT graduate with an MBA, and a kind demeanor.
We spoke for quite a while and I liked him. He was a shy and nerdy guy, somewhat awkward, and not good with the ladies so he saw a need for himself. He created a site where men with money, but no game, could meet women. Important to note that he met his wife on the site.
Brandon is warm, funny, engaging and charming. He is tall, dark and handsome and has clearly outgrown his nerdy phase. His wife is much younger, very pretty, and while he let me know she signed a pre-nup, she would not speak with me about how she met her husband.
The party was called “50 Shades of LA”, which I’m sure is some kind of copyright infringement. They said it would be 100 men and 200 women, when it was really about 150 people total. The night party felt desperate and frankly, if Ipaid for a ticket I would have wanted a refund.
The food was passed for about 30 minutes, the drinks were watered down, and then they were gone. As I was interviewing a female guest, about a dozen cops came in to shut the party down because they did not have a liquor permit. When the coppers came in, we left.
One woman I spoke to was 41, divorced, and said all men were pigs and she was not into a relationship. She was looking to meet a man, have him buy her things, and in exchange she would sleep with him. She wanted no commitment and no strings, but rather gifts and trips.
I asked several men if they would talk to me, and only one agreed. He said the women were not his type and he was there to hang with his friends. He said he was a millionaire and dating was not hard. The millionair was wearing 10 year old shoes and GAP pants.
Important to note I wore a press pass and a couple of men agreed to talk to me until they found out I worked for The Jewish Journal. Once I said that they had a change of heart. I'm guessing they were Jewish and felt they had been busted. I wondered how many were married.
It was a masquerade ball and so everyone was wearing an elaborate Mardi Gras mask which made it quite odd. I think the intention was for it to be sexy, but that did not really translate. It felt sleazy, and for the woman, their make-up was melting under the masks which was not cute.
The women looked cheap, slutty, and desperate. The men looked drunk, bored, and horny. There were very few men talking to women. It was like a high school dance where the boys and girls stand separately. It was like a weird meeting for misfits, not a singles party.
I asked Brandon if he thought he had found a way to legalize prostitution, and he said all marriages were legalized prostitution. Love was irrelevant because at the end of the day men wanted sex and to feel like men, and women wanted men to take care of them financially.
Is this how desperate single women have become? Have men broken enough hearts that love is not longer the goal? Are men so hard to find that they can lie about their income in order to get laid? This was a very sad commentary on being single and I felt for the women.
I left the party feeling dirty having spent time in a sea of hookers. To be clear, I have nothing against hookers. A girl has got make a living so good for them. What was horrible is that some of these women were just so broken by love that this became acceptable for them.
This site is on par with Ashley Madison. They have found a way to make millions off the broken hearts of desperate people. I left wanting to hug all the women and tell them not to give up on love. They all need to step away, value themselves, and keep the faith.
September 20, 2012 | 4:20 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I had an opportunity to speak with Stacey on the phone and let me just say, wow. This is a remarkable woman and I am both impressed and inspired by her. She is a tough talking, hardcore, gun-slinging prosecutor. She is also a loving and caring mother, and an involved and aware Jew. She is a hero to many people and if you have children, you need to know about her.
Stacey is a nice Jewish girl from Philadelphia. She is a divorced single mom, having had a baby at age 46. She works in an environment that is heartbreaking, but she does it with a fire that is deep within her. I could not do what she does as it is just too sad. Stacey pointed out to me that while her job is sad, her life is not. She is very blessed.
In talking to Stacey, I decided very quickly that I would like to be her friend. She is quick witted, fast with the thoughts and even faster in her ability to share them. She is funny, sarcastic, unguarded, authentic, and sincere. She has the support and love of her parents, a child that she adores, and a need to give power to children who need help.
I asked Stacey to describe herself in three words and she chose funny, sarcastic, and loving. I spoke to her for 30 minutes and I would choose hilarious, brave, and intimidating. She makes me want to be a better mother, a bigger advocate, and a stronger voice. Stacey inspires me to not be afraid to fight for what is right for not only me, but also humankind.
Stacey is an advocate for children and prosecutes sex crimes and child abuse. This woman is not afraid to stand up for what is right, and protects children. If you think this subject cannot touch your family, you are wrong. It can happen, does happen, and Stacey can help you protect your children. It’s time for parents to face reality.
We must educate our children about sexual predators. This happens. Often. It is our responsibility to protect our kids. Regardless of your wealth, religion, or location, you must have a realistic view of mankind. Stacey has prosecuted predators from all walks of life. People of are hurting children and her voice needs to be heard by every parent.
If you are a parent you need to read these books. Not only read them, but share them, gift them, and make them known to people. These books are available on Stacey’s website www.staceyhonowitz.com. Stacey is brash and honest so be prepared. She is on a mission to help children and if she needs to be blunt, then she will. To those who think the subject does not need to be discussed, you are wrong.
If you had an opportunity to learn something that could help your child, why wouldn’t you? If your being uncomfortable for a few minutes can keep your child be safe for a lifetime, is it not an exchange worth your while? We must love our children enough to not only give them a voice, but teach them how to use it. Stacey Honowitz helps me to keep the faith.
September 19, 2012 | 12:01 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
I appreciate that religion, politics, and sex are taboo subjects to talk about. The problem is that I write about my worldview for a Jewish publication, we have a Presidential election coming up, and I am in a new relationship, so all I want to write about is religion, politics and sex.
I write a lot about faith. I have shared my search for faith, my leaning on faith, and my trying to have a better understanding of faith. I am Jewish. I was born Jewish, I was raised Jewish, I married a Jew, I divorced a Jew, I am raising a Jew, and I am currently dating a Jew. Judaism is my faith.
I am in awe of people who can overcome traumatic things due to faith. When I hear of a woman who lost everything in a tornado say she thanks God for blessing her, I love her. When I hear a mother talking about losing her child and saying God will ease her sorrow, I love her.
I have had times of tremendous faith in my life, and other times when I have questioned God and found it hard to have faith in anything. I am at a place in my life where I have a connection to God, a belief in the power of prayer, and a real pride in being a modern, Jewish woman.
My blogs have inspired people to call me a stupid Jew, a bad Jew, an ugly Jew, and an ignorant Jew. I don’t recall exactly what I wrote to inspire such attacks, but I can assure you I was writing about religion, politics, or sex. I am often referred to as a "Jewish writer".
I am Jewish and I write for JewishJournal.com. I am not particularly religious, but I am a Jew and I am proud. My blogs may not be your cup of tea, and that is perfectly fine, but know that it is because you don’t like what I’m saying, not because I am a bad Jew.
I am interested in politics. Like religion, it polarizes people and inspires hate in a way I simply do not understand. When I met Sarah Palin in a parking lot, then wrote about it, I received heartfelt fan letters, along with death threats. It was a truly fascinating experience.
When I said I thought she was fabulous, her supporters made me out to be a hero of mainstream media. When I said I really enjoyed my time with her, but would never vote for her, the same people who praised me, said I was a moron and going to hell for being a bad person.
When I tweeted I loved Bill Clinton’s speech at the DNC, I lost followers. When I said I thought Romney was a caveman, I got attacked. When I said I liked Obama and felt he needed four more years, a petition was started to get me deported back to Canada.
People take politics seriously, which they should, but it gets ugly. I support President Obama and think Romney is bad for women, bad for business, and bad for America. You can disagree with me, but again, my opinions are my own, and have nothing to do with my being Jewish.
America is a wonderful country and it makes me sad that in a place struggling to regain her strength, we are more concerned with labeling each other politically and religiously, than we are in uniting to make her great. Freedom of religion and the ability to vote, rips us apart.
That brings us to sex. I am interested in the sex lives of others, the dance people do to get to sex in relationships, and what they do to keep it fresh once they’ve gotten there. I’m not voyeuristic, or interested in talking about my own sex life, just not intimidated by sex.
Sex is one of the great things about being an adult and it is surprising so many people are uptight talking about it. Sex when you are in love is great. There is comfort and peace that allows you to relax. That said, there is something passionate about sex without love.
Is sex better when you don’t love someone and can let go of your inhibitions and just enjoy? Or is it better when there is an emotional connection? Can we even tell the difference? If you are naked in bed with someone does love matter? The act of sex is the same either way.
I am raising my son to respect sex. I know he is going to have it one day, and I want it to matter to him. It's hard for a woman to raise a son on her own, but at the same time he is being raised by a woman's voice and view so he will be ahead of the game when he has adult relations.
Important to note that when I say I know my son will have sex one day, I am not ready for that day to come. At almost 17 he may be ready physically, but it is more important to me that he be ready emotionaly and spiritually. I know I have no say in his sex life, but a mom can hope!
I love it when people tell me I am a mother and therefore should not talk about sex. Really? I had a child. I’ve had sex. Maybe if people talked about sex more they would not be so tense about politics and religion. Perhaps they should actually have sex instead of talking about it.
At the end of the day I am a Jewish Democrat that is not scared to discuss faith, politics or sex. Am I going to hell? Well Jews don’t believe in hell, but I can assure that if I am going, these are not the top three reasons why. We all need to lighten up and not worry so much.
Let’s not focus on someone's religion, but rather support their faith. Let’s not vote for a party, but rather vote for what is best for our country. Let’s not be uptight about sex, but rather just enjoy it. I will continue to write about religion, politics, and sex. I will share my voice knowing I am keeping it real and keeping the faith.
September 16, 2012 | 6:58 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I wish you and your families
a happy and healthy new year.
May God Bless you,
and may you always
keep the faith.
September 12, 2012 | 9:10 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
A couple of weeks ago I strained my back. I took a yoga class and turned in a way that I don’t think my body is meant to go. I felt it happen and it has been bothering me ever since. I’ve taken pills, gotten a shot, and had acupuncture. Everything is working, but sadly only temporarily. I probably need to go to a chiropractor, but they make me nervous.
I am trying to work through it and hope it is simple a muscle strain. I’m not a doctor but I’m guessing that because I was stuck on the floor this morning for 45 minutes, unable to move, it may not be a muscle strain. I am going to get it checked out and am hoping it’s nothing serious. By hoping, of course I mean that I went online and am convinced it is fatal.
Searching the Internet to research your aches and pains is not a good thing. If you Google symptoms, you will quickly learn you are dying and need to prepare your will because the end is near. If you have a headache, the computer will tell you it’s a brain tumor. If you have a stomachache, the computer will tell you it’s an ulcer. No good can come of this.
I made the mistake of looking up my back issues and within five minutes I was crying. While I am sure I do not have a rare form of cancer, or a spider bite has left baby spider eggs on my spine, for a minute I thought it could be true. Instead of continuing with what the Internet promises will be death by the end of the week, I’ve decided to count my blessings.
With the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks this week, I am reminded that life is unpredictable and my obligation is to find joy not prepare for doom. I have met a man who has shown me kindness in a way that has altered my worldview. My Englishman loves me in a way that gives me tremendous peace, and also scares me in a way that I find comforting.
Those of you who have been reading my blog since the beginning, know I have had my fair share of bad dates and have been searching for love for a very long time. By bad dates of course I mean I have dated human garbage. Actual human garbage people are wondering amongst us. Some dates left me certain I would die alone with 18 cats.
When you look for love and don’t find it, you think that perhaps you never will. When you are hurt by what you think is love, you question whether or not you are able to recognize love at all. When searching for love, you tell yourself what you think it is, and then when it is not what you thought it was, you assume you will never find it. Searching for love is exhausting.
I believe I have found love with the Englishman. Beyond my love for him, I love his daughters, and how he loves my son. I am not sure what I am doing, which is both sad and funny. Thank God he has chosen to love me and be supportive while I figure it all out. To be clear, I am not figuring out if it’s love, but rather figuring out how I got so lucky to find it now.
If you are a single parent you know there is added pressure. Am I bringing someone safe into the life of my child? My son wants me to be happy, so I wonder if he is telling me he likes someone just because I do. In the end my son is the great love of my life and so when I date, I am dating for the both of us, and the Englishman has won us over.
Last night my son told me that he loved me. He walked into the living room, hugged me, and said he loved me. He then went into his room and I waited for him to come back and ask me for money. He never did. I went into his room eventually and asked if everything was okay. He told me the day, September 11, reminded him to be grateful for his life.
We talked about the tragedy of 11 years ago and it was powerful. I ended up pulling him away from his homework and we went out for some yogurt. We got caught up on school and work, and got to talking about the Englishman. He told me that he loved him and was so happy he was in our lives. It was not about my boyfriend, as much as it was about our new family.
I am happy and blessed to have such a remarkable son, and grateful to have met a wonderful man with such amazing children. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that I believe in love because of my son, and I see what love is when my Englishman looks at me. No matter where the road takes us, the view will have been worth the trip.
September 11 is a day for reflection for me. I think about all that was lost, but also of blessings. I pray for the souls lost and feel an obligation to live my best life in their honor. I am reminded that I must always listen to my breathing, see color, feel joy, release fear, accept love, and pray with purpose. Life is a miracle and we all matter. I am keeping the faith.