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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Gerim's LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, August 10th, 2011
8:53 pm
You Want To Know WHAT?!
Why would a rabbi ask a potential convert to list all the medications that she may be taking?

The rabbi who has agreed to help me learn towards my conversion has given me an application to fill out. It asks the usual "why do you want to convert?" - type questions, but also contains a rather detailed section on personal medical information, including medications an applicant might be taking and why, family medical history, date of last complete physical, etc.

While I understand it is important to verify that I am not an axe-wielding maniac and that my intentions are true and good, I fail to understand why my rabbi needs to know the date of my last pap smear or what brand of birth control pill I may or may not be taking.

Little help, please and thank you? :)

Current Mood: sore
Friday, June 26th, 2009
5:25 pm
I'm curious if any other women who have been or are in the process of converting Orthodox have any tattoos that aren't covered when dressing tzanua? How have you handled it? What has your community's reaction been? 
Wednesday, May 20th, 2009
2:43 pm
For all those interested in Rashi - good introductory book
Ok. I'm really falling behind in Wednesday Book Promotion. And now I find out that just doing an Amazon search is yielding a whole bunch of copies of Rashi that aren't mine. Including a Kindle edition that uses my (admittedly awful) cover design.

So this Wednesday, I'm going to just promote my own book. The Wednesday Book Promotion book is Rashi by Maurice Liber - this is a 1906 biography originally published by JPS. My version is easier to navigate (I updated formatting) and I include an introduction.

Cross-posted to book_pimp, of course.

What I'm asking you to do:

1. Click on the above links.
2. Add Tags. May I suggest "teddy bear cannibal massacre"?
3. Once you are at that link, hit the helpful or not helpful buttons for the reviews.
4. Hit those lists and guides and click on a few of those links.
5. Write your own List and include this book. Examples.
6. If you've read the book, write a review - both on your blog or on Amazon.
7. If you're interested in buying the book, buy it.
8. Go to Amazon and independently search for the book.
9. Copy this post into your own livejournal.

As usual this is the Wednesday Book Promotion. Help out as much as you can. Especially if I put your book up for Wednesday Book Promotion in the past.
Tuesday, March 10th, 2009
9:14 am
conversion in Ottawa
Hi everyone,
I've been thinking, reading, researching about converting to Judaism for quite some time now. And would like to start taking more serious/official steps towards actually beginning my conversion. I'm currently going to university in Ottawa, and was wondering if there was anyone on here from Ottawa (or the surrounding area) who had converted? Or who is thinking about it? And how would I go about starting? Is speaking to the Rabbi at one of the synagogues a good starting point?
Any info will be so appreciated!!

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008
1:07 pm
Бля, Автобус
Автобус с нашими упал в Израиле.
Бля, ну почему в автобусах НЕТ РЕМНЕЙ И ПОДУШЕК БЕЗОПАСНОСТИ???!!!
Friday, October 31st, 2008
10:13 am
Siddur Audio

For those of you converting through the Conservative stream - this website has audio clips to the melodies for Erev Shabbat and Shabbat morning services - by page number synching with the 1998 version of Siddur Sim Shalom.  Sadly, our shul has the 1989 - but still, this is a very useful resource.  You can also order CD's or link to the iTunes for download ($20 for the whole Shabbat shebang) - artist name is "Rabbi Mark Zimmerman".

I also recommend taking basic Hebrew, and then getting one of these:

(make sure you know whether your Shul is Ashkenaz or Sephardi)

Interlinear text has the English translation under each Hebrew word - your understanding of Hebrew will expand greatly using this.  Avoid transliterated texts as they will confuse your pronunciation (especially emphasis on syllables - like a non-English speaker trying to learn the difference between pronunciations of "produce" in "I produce a great deal of produce from my garden").

Happy Da'avenin!

x-posted to Gerim
Tuesday, June 17th, 2008
2:46 pm
Chief Rabbi Of Efrat Speaks Out Against Mistreatment of Converts/Potential Converts...

Jun 15, 2008 19:24 | Updated Jun 16, 2008 10:00

Why my Torah is crying


My favorite night of the year has always been the night of Shavuot, when I go from hill to hill of the seven hills of my beloved city of Efrat, giving Torah study class after Torah study class until the early-morning daybreak service.

During my nocturnal walk I am constantly greeted by groups of Efratites of all ages - men, women and children - walking to the classes of their choice; often they excitedly stop me with a question engendered by a previous lecture.

On this one magical night of the year all of Efrat becomes miraculously transformed into one large and glorious beit midrash (House of Study), whose majestic message pulsates with the words of the Psalmist, "Arise and exultantly sing the song of Torah into the night…."

This year, however was different. Instead of joyous songs, I heard jarring sobs. Instead of the Torah scrolls in the arks and the Torah books on the shelves dancing with rapture and rejoicing, they reeled with dismay and disappointment. The very letters of black fire were weeping, the very parchment of white fire was wilting.

Yes, this Shavuot night, my beloved Torah was crying.

YOU SEE, my Torah has always rejoiced with song because "its paths are paths of pleasantness and all of its highways lead to peace." The Torah is the expression and will of the Divine Presence, who is a "God of unconditional and freely-given love, of compassion, long-suffering patience, truth and cleansing purity."

My Torah especially rejoices with song on Shavuot, when we read the Book of Ruth, the scroll of lovingkindness, the story of a forlorn and forsaken Moabite widow who is lovingly accepted into the Jewish homeland, faith and community as a righteous proselyte. Her loneliness is transformed into domestic peace and security in Efrat in the loving arms of a noble and proud son of Judah.

The lovingkindness of Boaz and Ruth toward each other as a couple - as well as toward Naomi - merit their being the grandparents of King David, the eventual redeemer of Israel and the world. The world will be rebuilt and redeemed only through the lovingkindness of a Torah and a nation which embraced the Moabitess Ruth as one of their own and provided a suffering widow with love and family.

WHAT HAS happened to our Torah of late? An entirely different narrative is being written, the very antithesis of the love and compassion of the Scroll of Ruth. My Torah has been stolen away, hijacked, by false and misguided interpreters. My Torah is crying because of rabbinical court judges who have forgotten that the major message of the Exodus from Egypt is for us to love the stranger and the proselyte.

They have forgotten the 11 prohibitions against insensitive words and actions toward converts - and the talmudic stricture that we are not to be too overbearing or exacting toward a would-be proselyte (Yebamot 47). They have forgotten Maimonides's ruling that even regarding a convert who merely went to the mikve (and became circumcised if male) - even if the conversion was for a personal romantic or venal reason, and even if the convert has returned to former idolatrous ways - he or she remains Jewish (albeit a Jewish renegade); her or his religious marriage remains intact, and lost objects must be restored to him or her. (Maimonides, Laws of Forbidden Relationships 13,14).

MY TORAH is crying because these judges have, in the name of Torah, disrupted and possibly destroyed hundreds if not thousands of families of converts, whose children and even children's children were brought up and accepted as Jews - only now to learn that their forbears' conversions have been retroactively nullified.

My Torah is crying because these judges have, in the name of Torah, disgraced and reviled an outstanding rabbinical leader, Rabbi Haim Druckman, a scholar who has dedicated his entire life to the Torah of Israel, the people of Israel and the land of Israel, and allowed an atmosphere to develop in which his name and personage have been dragged through the mud. They have forgotten that "an elder scholar must be treated with precious graciousness" and that "Torah scholars must advance peace in the world."

MY TORAH is crying because these same judges have made it impossible for countless women to find happiness in marriage; because they have caused wives to live as captive women to unscrupulous husbands who hold them up for ransom in the name of "purity of Israel." They forget the talmudic directive that "to free a grass widow, our sages invoked many leniencies." They forget the plea of the Maharsha at the conclusion of Tractate Yevamot: "God must grant courage to rabbinical judges so that God may bless lonely and suffering women with the peace that comes from domestic tranquility."

My Torah is crying because this Torah of peace and compassion has been perverted and hijacked by judges who, despite their erudition, have failed to learn the lesson of the Scroll of Ruth, failed to internalize the purpose for which Torah was given to the world.

And so the tears of converts and would-be converts, the tears of grass widows and women who are anxiously, frantically and hopelessly waiting for rabbinical courts to obligate their intransigent husbands to grant them their freedom merge with the tears of the Torah itself.

These tears of the Torah and outsiders looking in at "pure Israel" are preventing the redemption, a redemption which can come only on the basis of lovingkindness to the "other" - stranger and convert, widow and grass widow, those who are chained and long to be free.

Our Torah is crying because she is, tragically, now in chains.

The writer is the founder and chancellor of Ohr Torah Stone Colleges and Graduate Programs, and chief rabbi of Efrat.

- http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1212659738513&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

x-posted to </a></b>jbcs

Current Mood: touched
1:40 pm
Anyone have any fabulous vegetarian recipes for Shabbat? 

Current Mood: curious
Sunday, April 20th, 2008
9:55 am
Happy Pesah!
Наполеон из мацы с дыней:

Read more...Collapse )
Sunday, March 16th, 2008
3:08 pm
Wonderful Documentary Series I Found!
Jewish Law

This is Episode One, Part One. There are five parts in this episode, (pt.2, pt.3, pt.4, pt.5) and I've seen three episodes posted for viewing! Here is the write up for this episode:

An explanation of Jewish culture begins with kosher cooking. Why are there two sinks and two fridges in all Jewish kitchens? What makes food kosher?

This series looks at Traditional Judaism and its Manchester community in particular. A fantastic insight into the stringent requirements of Halacha and how its applied on a daily basis. This segment deals with Kashrut, the Jewish dietary laws.

I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did. Very, very helpful for those just learning about kashrut and the practices behind it, or even those who are interested in the behind the scenes work that goes into keeping food kosher. The next episode deals with following a Rabbi and his wife; Jewish practices in the home along with the Jewish life-cycle.
Saturday, December 22nd, 2007
11:35 am

Хаверим! Пригласили на брит-милу. Как надо одеться, что и кому принято дарить?
Tuesday, June 26th, 2007
12:03 pm
Hi everyone, I'm the new member Brekke and I have a question for you.
Firstly, i am a Senior in college that is considering converting Orthodox (I had been attending a Reform temple, but I wanted to learn more about all of Judaism) and I am hoping to go to Graduate school starting in the Fall of '08 (unless I do Teach for America, and that's a different story). I want to get an MA (and eventually a PhD) in Religion and POlitics (I want to be a college Professor someday). I'm from Georgia and go to University in Charlotte, NC. What schools should I look at that would have thriving Jewish communities. I don't mind relocating. I just need some ideas!
Sunday, April 22nd, 2007
3:48 pm
Ok, now I'm almost caught up on the Wednesday Book Promotion. And since I decided that this would be my week again, I figured I'd put in one of my books and a Jewish book. So the other Jewish book is Jewish Tales of Reincarnation by Yonassan Gershom. He's a nice guy. I met him at MiniCon. He told me that Worf was supposed to be an Orthodox Jew, but the network thought that that would look ridiculous (actually I agree with the network on this one). And of course the second book is Rashi by Maurice Liber (who's dead.) I do apologize that the cover of Rashi is so dark. It did look good on my computer to have blue letters on a black background. It just looks like "Smell the Glove" in real life. I will probably upload a new cover as soon as I'm more financially secure (HAHAHAHAHA!) so that you can actually read the title and the name of the author. Until then, buy fast as this is a collector's edition!!!

What I'm asking you to do:

1. Click on the above links.
2. Add Tags. Examples.
3. Once you are at that link, hit the helpful or not helpful buttons for the reviews.
4. Hit those lists and guides and click on a few of those links.
5. Write your own List and include this book. Examples.
6. If you've read the book, write a review - both on your blog or on Amazon.
7. If you're interested in buying the book, buy it.
8. Go to Amazon and independently search for the book.
9. Copy this post into your own livejournal.

As usual this is the Wednesday Book Promotion. Help out as much as you can.
Thursday, February 22nd, 2007
11:27 pm
In a major blow to Jews around the world I regret to inform you that Rabbi Avrohom Blumenkrantz has passed today. He was having surgery and did not make it. Rabbi Blumenkrantz is most well known for his sefer on the Laws of Pesach (left) which is famous world wide. Rabbi Blumenkrantz is the Rabbi of a fairly large sized kehillah in Far Rockaway he also had some controversial views on make up and he was against using styrofoam cups for kashrus reasons . This posaik will be sorely missed by many and it remains to be seen who will take over his Pesach work.

from jewishmuzic.blogspot.com
Tuesday, December 19th, 2006
5:55 pm
New member here... Hi!

I'm a nineteen year old BT in Seattle, and had a question for those who are without a college(or highschool) degree. What kind of jobs do you do while keeping within shomer tznius/shabbos/kashrus/etc.? I find myself in a current prediciment. I love working in restaurants, but Seattle's Jewish Scene isn't quite known for it's kosher food or restaurants (rather we're known for our X-Mas tree thing at SeaTac Airport and the Jewish Federation Shooting.)

Any help/ideas would be much appreciated.
Sunday, September 17th, 2006
5:32 pm

I still don't have a place to go for the high holidays, *sigh*. My local O shul has standing room only, and with a two mile walk and a bad back, I'm not looking forward to that being my bubble of Jewish interaction on a day spent in a goyishe household.

I finally gave in and did the all too forward offence of asking all my friends straight out if they could host me. We'll see.


Don't get my wrong, I love my grandmother and I'm very thankful for the time I get to spend with her and the opportunity to help her in her time of need. I just need my own Jewish place in order to continue on with my life as well.

My friends are helping me look into some live-in-nanny options (nice wealthy family with eight kids may be interested) while I continue to work on getting scholarships to attend a seminary. I'm also considering asking my family to hire me for pay for elder care so that I can use the money to rent my own apartment (hopefully in a more substancial Jewish community). I would like that option because it would allow me to avoid feeling like I'm abandoning my grandmother in her time of need while still allowing me to live my own life.

We'll see how it all pans out.
Friday, September 8th, 2006
8:27 am
gefilte fish

My rebbetzin bakes her gefilte fish instead of boiling it. Does anybody know how to do that?
Monday, September 4th, 2006
9:06 am
tough question

Please explain in detail, what or who brings you to Judaism?

I am having a rather hard time writing my answer to this question on my newest conversion application. The reason is, no one thing brought me to Judaism. The most honest answer I have is that G-d brought me to Judaism, but I'm afraid that if I say that they'll think I'm a crazy fanatic or something.

See, the thing is, it's kind of always been who I am. Even my mother can attest to that. I was a weird little kid - trying to get my family to observe Jewish customs before I even knew the word "Jew".

So, anyway, I'll figure out how to answer this question honestly without saying something that might scare the Beit Din, but I started getting curious about what brought other people to the decision they wanted to convert. Am I maybe not as strange as I think I am?
Friday, September 1st, 2006
3:50 pm

I find Shabbat to be the hardest time for me. When I'm at a friend's house, it's wonderful, but when I'm home, and there is no Shabbat (just me practicing) I feel disconnected and alone. I can never seem to decide whether or not to put forth the effort to make a nice "Shabbat" for myself. I tend to spend Fridays feeling conflicted and somewhat down in the dumps.

On the up side, I'm almost done filling out the very lengthy and personal application form for the Beit Din my teacher has connected me with. I'm very anxious that this all go through well. I've been working on this for such a very long time, and I want to be who I am already; doesn't that sound strange?

Also, in addition to my emotional concerns, Nana's having a bad day today, and I just don't feel right about leaving her alone in the house to run my pre-Shabbat errands. I long for the day when I can make Shabbat as a Jew, but I know I should be thankful for where I am now in my life. Kol b'Yado.

Current Mood: lonely
Friday, June 9th, 2006
12:03 pm
My name is Lori. 
I am currently beginning the process of conversion to Judasim. 
I was raised as a Southern Baptist in Texas by loving grandparents, but no amount of love could make being Baptist fit me. I spent my childhood and early adulthood feeling as if I was wearing shoes that didn't fit.  Years of being very "unreligious" followed -- even that didn't feel right. I even tried throwing myself back into Christianity (in case bringing my adult sensibilities to the table might help). It didn't. I felt as if I was living in a perpetual crisis of faith. I wanted to believe, but didn't know how or what. I felt that there was a higherpower out there.... but didn't know how "to get there from here."
At a conference in Dallas, in an elevator, I happened to meet a woman who would eventually become one of my best friends, like the big sister I never had. She's Jewish. Through our hours of conversations and just time spent with her I could see how her Judaism was part of the very fabric of her life. Being Jewish wasn't something she did, it was something she was. It was more than simply lip service, or simply something she did on weekends. Her Judasim was every day.  I was more than intrigued. I felt drawn to exploring Judaism. 
Time has passed. I continue to study, to learn, to grow. I'm beginning the formal process of conversion. I still have a thousand, thousand questions (and hopefully, always will).... but, for perhaps the first time in my life, I feel as if I have shoes that fit.
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