Posted by Chava Tombosky
While you’re getting high, some woman’s cleavage is hovering over u.
There’s a lot of drooling involved.
Swallowing anything is a bad idea.
Little capsules containing white expensive matter are hidden all over.
Just as you get comfortable with a relaxed buzz, there are people holding metal objects poking you, interrupting your groove.
There are needles and tanks filled with questionable chemicals everywhere.
Lots of chaos ensues and although a play by play would be helpful, even if you get one, you’re in no condition to respond with anything besides an “Aha”.
You are caught in a reclining position.
Everyone wants you to just “straighten” out. And if you don’t, they will send you to the right people who can help, but it’ll cost you.
People will pay huge amounts of money for whiter stuff.
All is fair game, caps, extractions, and I don’t care what color crown you’re wearing, no special treatment will be issued.
Talking is out of the question.
Vacuuming up evidence is only a temporary solution.
This would never happen in Mexico.
A light is in your face with 2 people hovering over you.
You are told to spit out anything foreign in your mouth.
You are charged huge fines.
There is no one insuring your welfare- and if you want insurance, that will cost you too.
Gold is King.
If you’re in the system, you’ll probably be doing time every 3-6 months.
Everyone’s wearing a uniform but you.
11.18.13 at 9:03 am | To be afraid, means that you are unwilling to see. . .
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11.18.13 at 9:03 am | To be afraid, means that you are unwilling to see. . . (4)
June 22, 2010 | 9:52 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
Telemarketer: Hi I’m calling from AT&T to let you know of our latest special on cable TV.
Me: Thanks, but we don’t have cable.
Telemarketer: Excuse me? What do you mean?
Me: What do you mean? What do I mean? I mean we don’t have cable.
Telemarketer: Then you’re perfect candidates for our latest special. For only nine ninety-
Me: I don’t want cable.
Telemarketer: You don’t want any cable?
Telemarketer: Not even a little cable?
Telemarketer: How ‘bout basic-basic cable, just 6 channels of cable?
Me: What part of I don’t watch TV don’t you understand?
Telemarketer: Not even sports?
Telemarketer: How ‘bout the news?
Me: I read
Telemarketer: What about the weather channel?
ME: I look outside.
Telemarketer: So you’re sayin you don’t have a TV?
Me: Oh, I have a TV.
Telemarketer: So would you like to take advantage of our nine ninety nine special for basic cable, we’ll even throw in on demand movies for an extra nineteen -
Me: I don’t watch TV.
Telemarketer: So you’re sayin, you have a TV, but you don’t watch TV?
Me: I watch movies- only sometimes. At night. Occasionally.
Telemarketer: Great, would you like to take advantage of our-
Me: I think we’re done.
This is a conversation I have at least once a week. Sometimes with the AT&T salesmen combing the streets looking for neighbors who need more cable. Question. If you have cable, why do you need MORE cable? Is it really necessary to spend that extra five bucks on two hundred more channels you’re just gonna flip through anyway to get to NBC to watch the Lakers? For those of us who don’t have cable, could you please stop staring at our home like monkey cages in a zoo that live in a hut with painted Palm trees who don’t realize the vines they’re swinging on are fake? The monkeys are happy. So are we.
Phone is ringing, I gotta get that.
Telemarketer: Hi I’m calling from Time Warner to let you know of our latest special on cable TV.
Me: Of course you are.
(see what I mean?)
June 21, 2010 | 10:06 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
If someone offers you something too good to be true, it usually is. Today I got a call from a friend, “Wanna go with me to loot some woman’s house?” And I of course responded with a yes, cause that’s what I do- take things that aren’t mine.
Apparently the owners of this house left all their stuff and moved to the Caribbean after winning a huge lottery ticket and the house was fresh for the picking for anyone that wanted their left behind treasures. The real estate agent was a friend who was trying to clean the place out before putting the house on the market. Apparently, the house was filled with fancy shoes, unopened packages of clothes and mink coats for the picking. I’m imagining the half yearly sale at Nordstrom’s, but better (cause it’s free). I was also extremely curious by anyone who would leave behind a lifetime of things. I knew there had to be a cool story behind this little daytrip.
This house was more like a half yearly used TJ Maxx sale. Sort of like if I went to a TJ Maxx outlet store and bought it all, wore it for 12 years, and then sold it back to TJ Maxx who then decided to throw it into one huge heap of garbage all over the floor. You can really learn a lot about a person when you sift through their things. For example, I learned they are not tidy, they have bad eating habits (hence the size triple xxx mu mu’s hanging in the closet and the overcompensating collection of unopened vitamin bottles) they had a cat, they had terrible taste in art, they loved collecting knocked off knock off handbags and getting hateful revenge.
I know what you’re thinking, Chava, don’t judge. But after I found a book entitled “How to get back at the people you hate, the perfect revenge list” next to a machine that has the capabilities of changing your phone voice on the shelf next to the bottles and bottles of schnapps where they kept a huge collection of murder mystery books, it became obvious, these were bad people. The world really makes NO sense. Because these people, who had clearly lead a life that involved heavy drinking, a proclivity towards retaliation, who had very few endorphins as a result of not exercising making them full of rage and resentment (the only work out machine was dusting away in the garage) who were lazy and watched TV all day (they had a TV in every room- including the kitchen) and who never volunteered for anything that benefited society (now that’s just me profiling- I can do that since they didn’t have a single award for being exemplary citizens) somehow won the LOTTERY?!
Does this make any sense at all? Which brings me to my next realization. It’s all about perspective. Maybe the way I should be looking at this needs a shift. Maybe we need to believe although the lottery is what we want, maybe getting the winning ticket is the one “gift” that brings even less love and happiness into our lives.
The lottery is not a triumph it is a huge failure.
For if the universe makes any sense at all, and the “what comes around goes around” rule is true, then it would make sense to say that any person who lives their life filled with hate, while drunk, eating take out food next to their cat, would receive what’s coming to them- and since they got the winning ticket, I’m thinking, maybe winning the lottery really isn’t a winning ticket. Maybe we are fragile humans who are tricked into yearning for this trumped up “prize” and programmed into believing falsely that this auspicious conquest of landing the lucky number is fortune, when really it is unfortunate.
Yes, they may be living in the Caribbean with a trainer eating exotic gourmet foods their chefs are preparing for them while they organize charitable events that are helping society and Chinchillas. But money don’t buy you class. Which is why I’m pretty sure, they’re living in a tasteless house on the Caribbean, which smells like cat feces while they snort down take out food every night now that they own the town “Burger Caddy Shack”, and spend all their time planning who they’re gonna hurt, murder, or stick it to. If that’s what winning the lottery looks like, I want no part of it. ‘Cause lets face it, you end up taking you with you when you move to an island and you end up taking you with you even when you win the lottery.
Recently I spoke with a friend who told me about a couple who had lost all their wealth in this economy and took their own life. They had been so consumed with their money defining them that they couldn’t live life with out it and ended any potential for seeking life’s purpose early. Such a tragedy!
As my mother-in-law says, “Money is a dangerous mistress. She reels you in and seduces you and then lets you down when she finds someone else to shack up with, without any notice.”
I left this house and looked around at my own life. I saw my friends and my home filled with beautiful Jewish artifacts reminding me of my contribution in this world. I saw pictures of my beautiful family and the many letters I have received through out the years of gratitude from people I have touched. I also saw the broken down boxes piled high waiting to be filled because I’m being forced out of my rental, since it went into foreclosure, a sore prop of the economic times we live in. It reminded me of life’s fluidity and also of the fact that my money mistress has found someone else to latch onto. But it’s okay with me, cause she’s living it up in the tropics with unforgiving crazy people who have no taste in art and who don’t take their vitamins. So who got the raw end of that deal?
Then I looked at my computer filled with the many projects I have awaiting to touch the world with. And I felt for the first time, like I had won the lottery. I won the real lottery, not the one everyone else believes in. You know the one, with the scratchy numbers you have to rub out to find out if you’re the winner? I won the better one- “The Creative Life Jackpot”. This complicated jackpot has twists and turns that lead you to the most un-expected possibilities and enlightening aha moments. The creative life jackpot is the one where you get to experience love, laughter, and light. It whispers meaning in your heart from the situations you encounter, the places you visit and the people who come into your life. The creative life jackpot forces you to rub out bad habits and create better ones. It forces you to struggle with hard decisions, difficult people, and challenging times so you build character and transform into a person of purpose with a better developed imagination. The creative life jackpot even lets you walk into a house filled with old things left behind by warped people with new money and allows you to take a look at the bigger picture of what makes life healthy rich versus filthy rich. The only thing I’m scratching out is my old ideology that getting the lucky number, which means having bad habits and a vengeful attitude with a fatter checkbook - is a win.
(I might have felt differently had these people left behind Gucci handbags and Christian Louboutins for the picking- but still.)
June 16, 2010 | 2:52 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
God- So I need you to go down to earth get broke, loose your house, get rich, then get broke again, get divorced, live through a world war, and lose your favorite restaurant to a bowling alley. But here’s the deal, continue to love me unconditionally and not blame me for your stupid choices. You good with that?
Soul- uh, God?
Soul- Can I get life insurance?
June 9, 2010 | 3:32 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
In Rabbi David Aaron’s book “Seeing G-d” he writes that many of us have fabricated an image in our minds as children of what G-d looks like. As we get older, we are left sorely disappointed with our relationship with G-d because our childlike image never really matures. This can leave us disappointed, disillusioned non-believers, or disrupted by the constant image of some old guy with a beard dressed as a wizard holding a wand, much like Dumbledore in Harry Potter.
Although we have evolved as adults, our image remains the same. He even goes on to say that the word G-d in that light would be considered a “bad word,” for we warp the term with our own juvenile imaginations. I have a friend who confessed to me her image of G-d was of a Judging creature who waits cautiously as she makes mistakes to take his wrath out on her with raging fury. This image has left her religious experience dogmatic and filled with guilt, and remorse. She is left obsessing over her mistakes that would cause her to feel judged. Others have told me their image is of a blank sky with nothing in it, making them feel as though there is no G-d at all.
World-renowned speaker, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Jacobson suggests that the word G-d can be swapped with the word “reality”, which can completely alter our image of Divine Matter from confusing to enlightening. Making that change can truly be affective in getting rid of that childlike image that can haunt our dreams, our opinions, and reliance on a lofty subject that is indescribable.
Personally, I have been pretty lucky all my life. My image as a child was pretty awesome. I dare say the coolest image ever. Although, I have managed to have it evolve after hearing Rabbi Jacobson’s suggestion, it still leaves me tickled. When I was a kid my favorite movie was called “Oh God”. Nothing conjures up doting Heavenly love or affection quite like the great George Burns. Plus he lived till a hundred. He was funny, and he seemed to be immortal never dying even with the cigar in his mouth. He liked to laugh and even enjoyed massages every day. He was kind to himself and kind to others. He was always smiling and made everyone around him feel welcomed. At least he was all those things in the movie. I have no idea what he was like in real life.
As a kid, I had no real issues about my G-d at all. Although, I was concerned that he was a bit too short. Plus he had no real super powers except for vanishing and re-appearing now and then unexpectedly. That must be where I got the warped idea that sometimes G-d takes a hiatus, he chimes in and out when you least expect it, except when you’re ignoring the “signs”, then he comes in with a cigar in his mouth saying, “It’s true. People have trouble remembering my words. Moses had such a bad memory I had to give him tablets.”
Look at the photographs and still frames in your mind… what does your photo of G-d look like? The good news is there is always photo shop. ‘Course if your G-d looks anything like mine, you may need to hit save and come back to that funny image now and again. If you are having a hard time conjuring up an original image, or are looking for a new portrait- or a new reality that reflects your more mature attitude towards “G-d”, you can always just “take two tablets”. Or go watch Harry Potter.
June 6, 2010 | 2:06 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
This morning I’m making a French toast breakfast when I peer up towards the television and see a vision that nearly knocks me off my feet. Normally, I don’t allow TV during the week. We don’t even have cable. If my kids want to watch a movie now and again, I don’t mind as long as it is appropriate (rated G). I understand the need for my kids to wind down, but I prefer this winding down exercise to be done over a book, painting, or family time in the kitchen, not mindlessly staring at a television. But every now and then I do allow a DVD to be popped into the TV, especially Sunday mornings. After 25 hours of shared family time on Shabbat, I figure an hour or two wasted on a movie on a Sunday morning won’t kill my kids.
So I look up and I notice my boys watching a cartoon. Harmless. Super hero cartoons. Harmless. Bad guys fighting the good guys. Harmless. Until I notice these characters look like some colorful porn show. The women are half dressed in these costumes they can hardly squeeze into, with their cleavage spilling out, and the men are so muscular, their leotards are as taut as a balloon skin with helium. I wonder who designed these cartoon characters, and if they understood that their target audience were seven and ten year olds. Is it not enough my kids have to be exposed to these naked visions while driving on the 405, or accidentally walking through the mall? Now they have to be exposed to cleavage and buttocks while sitting safely in their living rooms with Superman and Batman?
Then I thought, what would happen if these characters were wearing prettier modest outfits? Sure, the cape already gets in the way causing accidental stranglulation, making long skirts a liability as well. I understand the need for leotards to help with the super hero’s flight speed and velocity when flying high towards an enemy engulfed in radiation, but couldn’t someone come up with a happy medium? What about drawing these characters a little less curvaceous? Do they have to be so muscular? The show is for kids. Most kids associate strength with awesome tennis shoes. Couldn’t the superhero girls have a really nifty pair of pink high tops, leg warmers, and a large tent shirt that doubles as a cape blouse? Is it really necessary that her breasts are oozing out of her superhero costume? I think our kids would still be entertained without the x-rated suggestive uniform.
Couldn’t we make the men a little more like the ones we see at school recitals- a little bulkier, heavier, without the steroids? Our kids think their dads are pretty awesome even with that little bulge, trust me they’d be just as entertained if Batman was wearing trousers and an oxford while sporting a little extra tummy. In fact, I would dare say, they’d think he was even cooler. Batman beat the Iceman, even with that second helping of ice cream? Now that’s heroic!
I could go on, but my kids just turned on some A-team episode from 1975 that they ordered without me knowing off of Netflix that I now have to go turn off. I’m so happy not having cable has “protected” my kids from sex and violence.
June 1, 2010 | 3:34 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
Every single act we do, every decision we make with regard to our behavior, affects our lives as a microcosm and as a macrocosm. Even the tiniest gesture, like a smile, can change our own fate and possibly the fate of the world in an enormous way.
When I was five years old, my parents were trying to make the decision of where they would send my brother and I to school. My parents were hoping to send us to the local public school, but my mother had made a request to the school board to send me to a different district with other Jewish kids whom I had had as friends. The school board refused to accommodate my mother’s request and insist I go to the recommended public school that had shared my zip code. “If you want your daughter with Jewish kids, then we suggest you move,” was their recommendation.
At the time, my father was practicing medicine and was visited weekly by a jovial Rabbi who spent his Fridays bringing wine and Challah to the patients and Jewish doctors. Each week, without fail, my father would receive Rabbi Newman’s visit followed by this question- “Nu, Dr. Shallman, where will you be sending your children to learn Aleph Bais?” And each time my father would say the same thing, “My kids are toddlers, I think we have time.”
After two years worth of Friday visits, the time had come. My parents had to make the decision of where they would be sending me to Kindergarten. That Friday Rabbi Newman came for his weekly visit with his weekly question, and my father responded- “Nu, Rabbi, what do you got?”
“I thought you’d never ask,” replied the Newman. He invited my parents to an open house to a Jewish day school called “The Hebrew Academy” in Orange County. My parents were very impressed and signed my brother and I up.
For years I always wondered what inspired my parents who were reform Jews, to put their two children into a traditional Jewish day school where half of their child’s’ day would be learning Judaic studies that included Torah text, lessons on Jewish laws, and a school that celebrated Israel, and Torah values daily, not just the three times a year that we normally engaged in Jewish practice. The school did not in any way represent the lifestyle we had at home. My mother and I barely lit Shabbat candles. The most Jewish thing we had, was some statue that looked like a Chai hanging on the mantle and stale Manishewitz matzo from Passover three years prior hiding in the cupboard. Aside from eating non-kosher chicken soup at the local “kosher style” deli, and lighting our Menorah followed by presents wrapped in blue foil paper once a year, our Judaism was hardly part of our lives except by association, of course.
Obviously, this decision completely reshaped my life. I was consumed with my Judaism on a daily basis that led to a very real journey, which created the path I am on today. Finally I asked my dad what made him do it.
My father recounted the moment he knew The Hebrew Academy was our home. He was waiting for my mother to come out of a meeting when he happened to see the third grade class being let out for the day. The Rabbi bent down and whispered gentle words of encouragement to each child, followed by a smile before dismissing them to the bus. Children walked past my father with a twinkle in their eye and my father said it was the most moving experience he had ever watched. It was at that moment he said he knew that what he wanted for his children was a school that would foster their love for Judaism, and for themselves for the sake of their self- esteem, and for their own self- pride. He knew we would have that as he watched it being demonstrated by Rabbi Dubinsky that day.
To think that one man’s smile changed another man’s life, which was an innocent act that the Rabbi never even thought twice about. He probably never even knew anyone was watching him.
What happens to you as a macrocosm, can affect your microcosm even by accident. This one innocent act proved to sustain, feed and change many other lives besides the ones who were affected by the encouraging words of this Rabbi. And if one random act can alter an entire path, how much more so, one foible can surely have the same ripple affect causing a flutter that gains momentum into a catastrophic wave which has everlasting affects on others’ future negatively.
I frequently imagine what would have become of my life had Rabbi Newman not visited my father each week in his office. I especially wonder how my life would have looked had Rabbi Dubinsky decided not to take the time to dismiss his students with so much kindness. To this day, he has no idea how that moment has affected and changed a life.
I have a rule that I never use real names in my articles, but this is one time, I felt it was necessary, for I hope that one day, both Rabbi Newman and Rabbi Dubinsky will read this article and gain much strength from knowing their random sweetness impacted an entire family in an incredibly memorable and positive way.
With my child’s eighth grade graduation around the corner, I dedicate this article to all teachers who have impacted my children’s lives this year and for many years to come.
Thank you to:
Rabbi Eli Broner, Morah Esther Markel, Morah Matty Bryski, Mrs. Helene Koperberg, Mrs. Carla Adivi, Ms. Beth Roth and Miss Jenny Wynn. And to all the teachers out there who continue to change lives, you are the ambassadors to shaping our macrocosm and altering our microcosm favorably every day.
May 27, 2010 | 4:20 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
Here is a quote from the movie “Invictus”- which, in my opinion, is one of the most important films made in this decade.
Nelson Mandela- “Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.”
What was interesting about this quote was, it came from a man who had been locked away for twenty-seven years in hard prison by the very men he was then commissioned to lead, yet still managed to forgive them for the sake of redefining humanity. He led without agenda, except for human dignity to prevail. He led without ego, except for the pride of his country to be reinstated. He led without revenge- except to avenge the years his soul was locked away from the world, by restoring human nobility, virtue and integrity into the blood soaked soil of South Africa.
Fear comes from a place of doubt. Doubt leads to uncertainty, which gives us pause. This pause leads to distrust. Distrust can lead to broken human experiences that can be destructive and catastrophic, which can then lead us straight to a rightfully unforgiving heart. Forgiveness is a practice that very few of us can do right, which is what makes it such a difficult yet rewarding experience. Finding good role models like Nelson Mandela is not an easy feat.
It does make it easier to forgive another, if a person asks to be repreived. If the person has sought in his heart the wrong he has made and has asked deeply and sincerely for a renewed relationship, he earns the right to be forgiven. The Torah says a person is only allowed to ask for forgiveness three times. And upon the third time, if he is still not granted forgiveness, the latter person becomes the person who must then ask for forgiveness for not forgiving. So is the power of making amends wholeheartedly.
But what if forgiveness is not beseeched? Can it still be accomplished? Nelson Mandela taught us a profound lesson in his leadership. When he became President of South Africa, no one ever asked Mandela for forgiveness. Yet he knew in his wisdom, that by acting with compassion, despite what he could have rightfully done, he would be modeling the very attitude he wished others would duplicate.
Suddenly the person who should be asking for forgiveness, but who never does clearly makes a change in his behavior. He reshapes his path and creates enlightenment in his life as a result of learning his lesson through watching the person he hurt live with the pain inflicted on him with dignity and grace. However, no words were ever shared. No formal amends were made. But the forgiveness process begins organically as a result of the wronged person experiencing his foe in a new refined light.
This week, I experienced a profound awakening to my own process of forgiveness. I entered the halls of an institution that had made dire mistakes, which impacted my life in a devastating way. I swore never to pass through the halls of this organization ever again and never to forgive. But ten years had passed, and for unforeseen circumstances, I was lead back to the very place that had reshaped my destiny. I questioned whether I would be able to have complete forgiveness in my heart. So much of my life has been redefined as a result of this organization’s past errors. My faith was questioned, trust was broken, and the betrayal was so real. So much of my journey over the past ten years has been influenced and affected by the tragic episode I experienced at the hands of this organization.
What I discovered was beyond my wildest imagination. A massive reform had taken place. The very mistakes that they had made which had cost many their innocence had been repaired drastically. New leaders were in place learning from their past and rectifying their mistakes from the ground up. They had watched others model a more enlightened attitude and took note. To my surprise, I was finding myself forgiving without even realizing it.
My eyes filled with tears as I recalled the pain that came with this place, and then I looked up and saw light, laughter, and colors that changed my perception deeply. No words were ever shared. No amends were made. But the forgiveness process began. It liberated my soul, and finally removed my fear and deep resentments.
The best way to reconstruct broken pieces, and move on from a painful experience and resurrect trust is to liberate one’s soul through the power of forgiveness. The shared experience of the victim and the perpetrator become infused together on a journey to create enlightenment, awareness, advancement, and an open-mindedness to perceive a rebirth of virtue. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.