Just read this and I find it fascinating. Special thanks to Sebastian Roché for posting this.
*I received this via e-mail this morning. I could not have said it better myself! I have had ENOUGH of the anti-Israel, anti-Jewish sentiment throughout Hollywood, throughout social media, and in pretty much every direction in which I turn. If people can’t professionally do their jobs and stick to what they know, then they should not be throwing around political sentiments that are entirely uneducated views. 100% credit to Ms. Ragen. Bravo!*
This is What You Are Really Telling Us
By Naomi Ragen
I’m not sure the people who need to hear this will ever hear it, but I want my conscience to be clear that I said it to them.
Dear Human Rights Activist, Leftist Liberal, Crying-for-the-poor-children, Israel-hating, Hamas-forgiving, marcher, celebrity, news anchor, journalist, writer, media star, politician, head of state.
We have seen you marching along the streets of Europe, America, and the Middle East with your signs and kfirs and Palestinian flags. We have heard you screaming to whoever will listen that Jews and Israelis are murderers, war criminals, and baby killers.
You think you are telling us who we are. But actually, you are telling us who you are.
1) You are telling us that you are ignorant.
That you don’t understand that Hamas is a terror organization that took over a territory that Israel removed all its settlers from a decade ago, and with good will turned over to the Palestinians, and that in return the Palestinians in Gaza elected Hamas, a terror organization, to rule them, and that Hamas has been logging bombs at Israeli civilians trying to kill them ever since.
2) You are telling us you don’t really care about Palestinians or their children.
Because by supporting Hamas, you are supporting the use of Palestinians as human shields, the use of Palestinian children to dig terror tunnels in which 160 have died, and the summary execution of Palestinians by Hamas thugs whenever they open their mouths to protest the use of their homes, schools, mosques, or hospitals as weapons caches and missile launching sites.
3) You are telling us that you are in favor of genocide.
Anyone who does not support Israel in this just war against Hamas, who is a genocidal terrorist organization that clearly says in their charter they want to destroy all Jews, is in fact in favor of genocide. You are telling us that you not only agree with the idea, but the practice, as Hamas is now attempting (without much success, thank God) by bombing Israelis and attempting mass murders and kidnappings through countless underground tunnels created only for that purpose. You are telling us you don’t think Israelis have a right to live and defend their children by fighting back. You are telling us you want us dead.
4) You are telling us that you hate Jews, not just Israelis.
Because otherwise, why would you march along, support, and agree with people who beat up Jews, shoot Jewish children, destroy synagogues, and smash Jewish businesses all over the world, just like the Nazis?
5) You are telling us that you are a racist and a hater.
Just one more of those evil, ignorant, bigoted, small-minded people who hate people they have never met because of their race and religion.
6) You are telling us you are ill-informed, uneducated and/or too stupid or too lazy to read history books. Because by taking up the stance of the Nazis without even understanding in whose footsteps you are following, you are revealing you don’t know where those footsteps led, and the millions and millions of people like yourselves who died because of it.
7) But most of all, you are showing God who you are and the evil that is in your heart.
For that I pity you. Because we Jews believe that God is compassionate and forgiving. But we also believe that if people repeat the same evils as their forefathers, then God’s compassion ends for them, and the time for punishment begins.
You are not the first ignorant, bigoted, racist, hateful people to stand against the Jews. But you just might be the last. By joining your voice and your body with those who hate justice, who love violence, and who follow in the footsteps of the Jew-haters throughout history, you are singling yourself out for the punishment that befalls all such people in history sooner or later. Check your history books on that one. Every people that hated Jews eventually became extinct. The Jews survived.
Looking forward to your next march, your next petition, and your next newscast to see who you are. We already know what you are.
For more articles, please visit my Web page at: http://www.NaomiRagen.com
9 Companies That Mix Religion With Retail
The Blood Moon will be visible to the naked eye on at around 9:55 p.m. on April 14th, and continue overnight into April 15th. (If the latter date rings a faint bell, it’s because it also happens to be tax day.) The total eclipse doesn’t begin until 12:08 a.m. on the 15th, moving into maximum eclipse at 12:46 a.m. The whole event will last for about 3 hrs and 35 minutes.
Besides lunar eclipses being a celestial phenomenon in and of themselves, Blood Moon earns its special name due the red color created when sunlight filtered around the earth’s atmosphere hits the moon. The moon will look like your favorite sunrise or sunset, appearing dusty red/orange. It also has a spiritual meaning to some.
The remaining three eclipses in the tetrad will happen October 8th, April 8th, 2015, and September 28th, 2015. All will be visible in all parts of the United States, but the upcoming “ring of fire” solar eclipse, happening on April 29th, is limited to a small part of Antarctica.
How This Jewish American Wiccan “Celebrates Christmas”
In the very near future, I will be spending a huge chunk of my time in Israel. It will be nice not having to explain holidays to anyone or explaining why Christmas is just another day to me. For now, in the suburbs of a predominantly Irish and Italian neighborhood with a good 20 churches in pretty much every direction I turn (I wish I was exaggerating), I am still explaining myself. I have no idea why people still think their religion is the only one that exists on this planet. I’ll never understand it!
I am completely respectful of other people’s religious beliefs and their holidays, so long as I am not subjected to them in a means to try and convert me, but my spiritual beliefs and holidays are often met with some extremely disturbing questions, as opposed to the few I have received recently that were honest, curious, and filled with excitement for knowledge. They were by no means offensive. When a person is open and honest, and interested, it makes it so much easier for me to be me, as opposed to feeling like I have to repress my thoughts.
A few weeks ago someone wished me a “Merry Christmas” and received my usual response, which is that I do not celebrate Christmas. This is someone whose establishment I frequent once or twice a month, and not only did she look like I’d just kicked her, but she came over to make sure she hadn’t offended me. I had to explain that I celebrate Chanukah and Yule, and that I am not Catholic or Christian. She was incredibly confused, but she came over to make sure she hadn’t offended me with a wish for a good holiday. Me, I simply like to be clear with people. I am not trying to offend anyone, but if you’re going to wish me well, wish me properly. Don’t make assumptions and please, don’t tell me I “don’t look Jewish”. I don’t even know how to answer that one without telling you off, and because I come from a rich ancestral well of knowledge and an incredibly deep DNA pool, I can assure you that we come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. We are all distinctly unique, some more than others.
Growing up, Christmas was not a word used much in our home. Not for any other reason than the simple fact that we’re Jewish. We had many Christian and Catholic friends, some who understood and some who did not, that we ourselves did not celebrate the same holiday, nor did we share the same spiritual or religious beliefs that they did. It is extremely disturbing to me that in 2013, any Jew still has to explain themselves.
People like to quote the Bible at me, and they are generally New Testament folk. They’re the kinds of people that don’t realize exactly how “new” the New Testament really is. I, myself, do not adhere to anything outside of the Old Testament. Even that kind of loses me at times. Prayer is an amazing thing, but I like to stick to my own path when it pertains to anything of a spiritual nature. I am not trying to change or convert anyone.
Today is simply December 25th to me. It’s not a holiday, but it IS my Great-Uncle’s birthday. He passed away 15 years ago, but I still remember him very clearly. I remember the last things he ever said to me, and I remember how silent this time of year became after he passed away. For several years prior to his passing, myself and two other family members would try to spend the day with him. Even though he had long since stopped acknowledging his own birthday, he still loved going out to a nice restaurant and enjoying good food, good company, and he told stories like nobodies business. They’re the kinds of stories you want to hear from someone over the age of 80, because you know that no matter how much time passes, you will never hear such stories again.
After he passed away, the tradition maintained in my home on Christmas Day was movies and good food. Either we went to the movies and came home to a really great meal, or we stayed home with a pile of movies and made a meal together. Almost always, it was homemade Italian food from scratch, or Chinese food from the best place in the area.
To know me is to know that I make killer Italian food. It’s something I love doing, but I am just as comfortable making Asian cuisine, Mexican cuisine, and pretty much anything else that I have mastered in all my years of cooking. Nothing is impossible, but I am an epic lasagna failure. It’s the only thing I make that falls apart, so I’ve stopped doing it. It is never inedible, it just never does what it’s supposed to do. Despite a family recipe for veggie lasagna that has been passed down for four generations, I completely and utterly suck at it. It’ll probably be another ten years before I attempt it again. It takes time and patience, and we all know I have no patience.
Over time I have found that people really seem to be offended whenever I clarify that I do not celebrate Christmas. They look at me like I kick puppies, torture kittens, steal winning lottery tickets, and am just, on a whole, not a good person. I look at them with the knowledge that, for over 5000 years, my people have not celebrated Christmas. It’s not on our calender and it’s not in our religious texts. It’s perfectly ok to not share the same religious beliefs. If we did, we’d be living in some kind of bizarre utopia. That’s not a world I can imagine functioning in. Differences make the world go ‘round. We can either choose to come together and learn from one another or we can continue fighting in the name of religion. The choice, however, is generally not ours to make because those that govern our respective countries are a huge part of why organized religion is failing. I could go on, but I won’t, or I assure you, I will offend you.
One year a family friend (one of my brother’s best friends at the time), on leave from the Army, wanted me to convince my brother to come to midnight mass with him. I, personally, do not spend time in churches. It has never been my thing. My brother politely declined, but as his friend became more insistent he finally said “Look, there’s a Jew hanging from a cross in no less than 7 places in there. With that track record, I don’t care to be the sacrifice sometime between midnight and 2 a.m.” We ALL laughed, and no one was offended.
This very same friend asked us about Christmas trees, genuinely wanting to know “If we put up Christmas trees, what do Jewish people do?” Never one to miss an opportunity, I turned around and said “We put up a Chanukah Bush, John.” He nodded and said “Oh, ok.” I said absolutely nothing for a few minutes, everyone was in on it because they’d heard me do this little bit before. Finally, after suppressing serious laughter to the point where I almost hurt myself, I admitted to him that I was just fucking around with him, that there was no such thing as a Chanukah Bush (though I admit, I know some people that put one up because they love Christmas trees, but don’t celebrate Christmas). Again, laughter ensued. You have to really know me to know that I will joke like that with the people that know me best, and that, while inappropriate to some, I am careful what I say in mixed company because I don’t go out of my way to be hurtful to others. I do like to be very clear though, that’s just my way. Humor and clarity.
Approximately 11 ½ years ago, Wicca was introduced to me. It is the perfect blend of a nature based religion steeped in Kabbalistic teachings. Kabbalah is Jewish Mysticism. If you don’t know what that is, use a search engine. That will explain it more clearly for you.
For me, Wicca was like coming home. It was pretty much everything I had been raised around, especially a love for animals and nature, and the elements. Part of the Wiccan Rede is “An it harm none, do as ye will”. There is no governing body, you govern yourself, and the Wiccan Rede tells you “So long as you are not harming anyone, do as you will. Live your life.” It is laid back and calm, and it brings an extra level of peace to my life. Even my Rabbi is comfortable with my spiritual beliefs. He’s one of the most open people I have ever met, so I feel supremely comfortable being myself and speaking my mind around him. Until I met him, I had NEVER been in the presence of a man of God and not felt judged. However, my Rabbi is unique. He too, is from a foundation of “You’re not harming anyone by being you. Live your life.” In this, I always feel incredibly blessed.
Almost all of my friends are religiously different than I am, and that is beyond ok. I am not sitting in judgement of them or their beliefs. I want them to be their authentic selves, and I can only hope they want the same for me. I have friends that are Jewish and friends that are Wiccan, so I don’t feel spiritually deprived in any sense of the word. We should all celebrate what we believe in and do so with those we love. We should wish the people in our lives well EVERY DAY, not just during the month of December.
So Lisa, exactly how does a Jewish American Wiccan “celebrate Christmas”? Simply put, I don’t. I ignore the insanity of my neighbors, all of whom DO celebrate Christmas, and I go about my day. I will bake Cranberry Orange scones for breakfast, I will do laundry and maybe enjoy a movie. I will play with my fuzzy little Princess. Later on, I will be making a nice meal for the family I am spending my day with. I might even get some writing finished, if I’m feeling up to it. Basically, anything goes. It’s just another quiet day for me. After years and years spent taking care of others, quiet days are something I really treasure.
Wishing you & yours a beautiful holiday season.
What is Yule?
Yule is celebrated on the 21st of December and falls on the Winter Solstice.
In Wicca we celebrate 8 Sabbats throughout the year, these are Solar festivals which mark the changing of the 4 seasons and the 2 Equinox (Spring and Autumn) and 2 Solstices (Summer and Winter).
On the Summer Solstice, which is the longest day of the year, there is a great battle between the two Sun Gods, the Lord Of Darkness (the Waning Sun) and the Lord Of Light (The waxing Sun). On the Summer Solstice, the Lord Of Darkness wins the battle and becomes ruler of the skies. The days will then begin to get shorter and the nights longer, it becomes cold, the earth begins to die and become barren of any growth or vegetation.
The Goddess goes through 3 stages throughout the year. In spring she is a young maiden, young and fertile. The Lord of Light is also young and wild. In late Spring/beginning of Summer, the Goddess and the Lord Of Light marry and mate for the first time, and the earth starts to blossom and bloom at their union. The Sun Gods’ light is very powerful and takes a lot of energy, but by late summer The Sun God is weak and the Goddess is heavily pregnant with the abundance of the harvest to come. The Dark Lord lies in wait in the underworld for the Sun God to become weakened and on the Summer Solstice he rises from the underworld to fight the Lord of Light, and he wins. It takes until Samhain for The Lord of Light to descend into the underworld (Which is the Goddesses womb).
The Goddess, now in her mother phase, gives birth to the harvest, and at the end of Autumn the Goddess is in her Crone phase, as the wise old woman who watches over earth and mankind.
On the Winter Solstice (Yule), The Goddess, with her last ounce of energy, gives birth to the Lord Of Light, his power and strength are so strong that he knocks the Dark Lord from the sky. By giving birth to the Lord Of Light, the Goddess sacrifices herself and dies, going into the underworld to rest until she is reborn as a young maiden once more in the Spring.
On Yule we celebrate the return of the Lord Of Light. We look forward to the days getting longer and warmer in the months to come. To encourage the Lord Of Light to shine we remind him of times when we had plenty, we have big feasts, decorate our homes with evergreens to show that life still grows, even when the earth is barren. We put shiny things around the home, and light fires and candles to represent the God of Light and encourage him to grow.
Yule is a time to have a great feast and give gifts to friends and family to show our gratitude for them, but if all your friends and family celebrate Christmas, then it is fine to have your feast and gift-giving then, if you choose.
You should decorate your altar with seasonal fare, wrap up well and go for a long walk to a park or woodland, and pick up any seasonal twigs, acorns, nuts, feathers, stones, and rocks that you find, and put them on your altar. Adorn your altar with fruits, mistletoe, holly, evergreen shrubs, and branches. Give offerings of mulled wine and spices to the Goddess and give offerings of Light to the Baby God.
Mainly on this day we give thanks to the Lord of Darkness, for keeping us well through winter and say goodbye to his rule. We give thanks to the Goddess for her sacrifice to ensure ours and the earth’s survival, and we celebrate the return of the young Lord of Light, still growing and becoming stronger day by day.
Use this time to meditate and set plans and goals for the coming year, show gratitude for all you have, and all the people in your life. Light a fire using a Bloc na Nollaig (Yule Log) made from Oak wood and make wishes into the flames for the coming year.
Tonight is the Winter Solstice and will be the longest night of the year, it is a magical time of transition. After this day, the nights will start to get shorter and the days will become longer. As the waxing Sun grows in strength in the coming months, the earth will start to blossom once more.
I hope you have a fantastic Solstice and that it will be filled with magic, merriment, and light. Blessed be.
Thanksgiving is days away and I’m going to do my shopping tomorrow (I have been in far too much pain today to actually psych myself into it. I was also far too drained to focus on anything other than staying in my PJ’s and not going out in 22 degree temperatures. I’ve wanted a nap since a little after 9:00 this morning. I’m seriously eating dinner and going to bed as soon as humanly possible.), which is unusually late for me, but I have a list and I’m sticking to it, even though it’ll be crazy in the store no matter what.
I honestly don’t think I’ve made a Thanksgiving meal in about 6 or 7 years. It’s been long enough that I simply don’t remember the last time I did it (though I do know that my father was in the hospital at the time), but this year I decided that, despite only cooking for a few people, I’m not making ten plus pounds of turkey for anyone. It’s a lot of food, food that will absolutely go to waste because no one around here eats dark meat (Based on personal preference, nothing more. ), so I am going to re-vamp the menu slightly, but I’m still going to make stuffing because I’m craving it and it’s one of the most awesome things about Thanksgiving in terms of food.
Everyone makes stuffing differently, providing they make it at all, as everyone likes different side dishes this time of year. I don’t know anyone that makes stuffing the way I do, but I inherited the recipe from my mother and it’s good enough that I will pass it down the generational line because there is no way in the world this chick is genetically producing children that can’t cook.
I’m keeping things healthy by including a salad, even if I’m the only person that eats it. Truth be told, I like to tear up my turkey or chicken and throw it right into a salad, even on Thanksgiving. I do not feel guilty about food EVER, but I especially don’t like bringing food issues of any kind to the table during the holidays.
So, I’ve got a nice meal planned, there will be plenty of leftovers, but I’m completely sidelined and baffled by dessert. For the last couple of years I’ve ordered pies and cheesecake for the holidays from a local Italian bakery. I’m not a pie maker, I know my baking strengths and I don’t have the patience for pies, so when it comes to things of that nature, I turn to those who do it for a living. I made the mistake last year of ordering a Pumpkin Pie that was so bad, I refused to eat it. From the crust to the filling, it was one of the worst things you could ever possibly taste.
Pumpkin Pie is hard to screw up, it’s a pie I know how to make without a lot of effort, but I was exhausted last year and there would not have been pie at all if it were left up to me. I think I ordered four or five different pies between Thanksgiving and the end of last year, and the only ones worth eating were Caramel Apple Walnut & an amazing Chocolate Cream that was downright sinful (it took me two weeks to finish it, it must have weighed ten pounds!). All the others stunk, but the Caramel Apple Walnut is consistently good.
I eat fruit year round like it’s a sport, and I have an immense sweet tooth, so even though I had not previously thought about it, I am going to try to snag a Caramel Apple Walnut to cap off this year’s meal. Personally though, at least for myself, I’m thinking of making my awesome brownies. It will take me the next month and a half to eat them because they’re truly divine, and full of dark chocolately goodness and other healthy things that help reduce any issues one might have at eating a small chunk or two, but a lot will depend on how long it takes me to get the main course and the stuffing in the oven.
Fibromyalgia makes it virtually impossible for me to prepare a huge meal in a few hours like I used to, so I’m thinking I will prep the stuffing Wednesday since it’s not a long amount of prep work, and then do the main course and the salad on Thursday. Each takes less than 20 minutes, the oven does all the real work. If I have energy after that, brownies will be made. If not, I’ll settle for a tiny wedge of pie. However, I guarantee that pie will not see the light of day. It’ll come into the house tomorrow afternoon and by Thursday evening, the box will be in the trash. I have serious pie eaters here, they don’t mess around.
My only other real “plan” for Thanksgiving is to watch movies and read. I just want a nice meal and a relatively quiet day. Black Friday will be spent chasing newly acquired black kitten who is SO at home right now, it’s not even funny. Every day she learns something new and shows me a new trick. Yesterday it was the fact that, small as she is, she can open closed doors. I have to admit, I was impressed. Today she ran up and down the stairs like a mad woman, and every time I’d go to check on her, she’d go flying back up the stairs like she’d just committed a crime. If you saw the behavior on video, you’d crack up. It’s entertaining as hell. She doesn’t make a lot of noise, so when she meows, which she finally did Saturday, it is the cutest thing ever. She’s pretty possessive of me, but I don’t mind, except when she speeds after me, nearly knocking me down. She’s a little beast when it comes to following me when she wants to. She’s sound asleep, the next minute she’s right under my feet or bumping her head into my legs. She is the gift that keeps on giving, and I’m thankful that I decided to come from a place of yes and bring her home. She’s already helping me feel a lot better about certain things. I’ve had less headaches/migraines since she’s come home, which cannot be a coincidence. I’m calmer and more centered, and I am not yelling nearly as much as I normally do.
I am not gifting anyone anything this year, other than my love, loyalty, and friendship, and for some people, all three. I might treat myself to something small, but I really just want to survive the remainder of this year with my head above water, and move into a New Year where I can prosper.
I feel bad that I won’t technically be doing anything for Chanukah this year, which begins Thanksgiving night, and is my favorite of all the Jewish holidays. I have such great memories of the happiness of Chanukah that it makes me sad, but it’s also not about gifts. Right now, for me, it’s about remaining focused. I’m doing my best.
This year has taken huge chunks of my soul, but others things have been given back to me, like unconditional love, loyalty, confidence, respect, new friendships that I treasure, old friendships that are the untarnished Platinum in my life, and the knowledge that the more I grow, the more content I am with who I am and where I’m going. Nothing is set in stone, and I’m learning that every time someone tries to break me, I come back stronger from the trial.
I hope everyone has a wonderful, peaceful, happy, healthy, and safe holiday.