LIFE RAMADAN EID LIFE

Well, Here I am finally at the keyboard after too long of a time away from this blog. But can we all say: “LIFE” Yes that four letter word that gets us all distracted from things we like to do.
School has started back up for me, plus I am working and still trying to homeschool the kidlets.
Busy busy busy. Just call me SUPER WOMAN!!!

The past 29 days we have been in the whirl wind of Ramadan, tomorrow is the last day. Can we now say: “Thank God!” (not being sarcastic…..much). It is just a busy time of year. With all the dinners and the not eating and the late prayers. Next year I am taking Ramadan OFF!!! NO! I don’t mean I am skipping it I mean I am doing nothing else for the entire month!!!!!

I swear, you break your fast you get a burst of energy, you go to the evening prayers and the next time you look at the clock it is 12:30am and you think GESH I should probably go to bed because I gotta get up before dawn tomorrow. Then tomorrow comes and you do it all over again. For 30 days because “WE” never have a 29 day Ramadan EVER!!!!!

Somehow I don’t think that is right I mean at least once in the 20 years I have been Muslim, Ramadan should have landed on a 29 day month right? I mean seriously what are the odds that for 20 years with it moving 11 days earlier each year that it would never land on one of those SHORTER months? HMMMMMM????? I smell a rotten fish in the basket. I guess they think better save than sorry. But maybe with the NEW”high tech”, (astronomy LOL) let nasa decide, we will actually start having a 29 day month. MAYBE!!!!

Well like I said we have ONE MORE DAY….count it ONE!!!! Until Eid on Wednesday. I took the kids shopping for new clothes today, that is always such a beating!!!! The boy was more dramatic than the middle girl this year over what he wanted to wear. Who knew! Then after that ordeal I had to go to work and be on my feet for 5 hours. I am sore and tired. But I am awake because…..well I really don’t know why I am still awake.

Oh yes I do,,,I was going to write an Ethics paper that is due tomorrow and instead I am here typing a blog post instead.

I guess when I wake up before dawn tomorrow and before I go to class at 9am I will write the paper because honestly I am beat!!!! And because it is fast approaching the witching hour of 12:30am when I say, “I guess I should really be in bed to do this all over again tomorrow, God willing”

Good night my dear friends!!!!!

Knitting Our Way to Peace Texas Gathering

Ok, I have decided to do something drastic. I think what we started here is a good thing. I think it needs to move beyond just posting our random thoughts. Not that our Random thoughts are bad, in fact I think we have great random thoughts, and to be perfectly honest the Texas Gathering idea was a random thought that I am kinda running with!

I have a helper on Ravelry WarriorMom. Thanks Sweetie I appreciate the help.

I think it is time! Time to honor ourselves and each other. Here’s to those of us who are trying to understand each other over one stitch at a time.

Katie you wanna design the flyer?

Cell Memory Vs Gift from God

Tonight a friend (Hi Mary) and I were talking about cell memory as in DNA. Ok, To be honest, I don’t think that there is anyone out there with “original” talent. I believe that somewhere in family history someone did it just as well if not better that we do it.

I have always felt as if something was guiding my hands when I knit, crochet, spin, embroider, tat. My mom had these skills, she learned them from people in her family.

My friend has healing abilities. Katie has talents that she can speak about herself if she chooses too. I am sure someone, somewhere in her family roots had this talent too.

To put it short, I think families were given gifts from God. And that those talents have to be nurtured and brought forward. How would I have known that I had a talent for knitting if I hadn’t picked up a pair of needles, met some super people who encouraged me, oft to the point of enabling.

Talents can lay dormant in people until they are pulled or pushed to the forefront or fingertips. Then they just seem to flow and “click”. I hear this word all the time “it just clicked” “i just knew how to do it”.

It is part of your DNA. DNA is a gift from God and your talent was nurtured by people around you. You allowed it to flow out of you and voila!

Ok…these are my thoughts for tonight. Rambly? Your Thoughts?

Muslim Woman Approaches the School

I don’t know if you know or not, but I work as a substitute teacher for the local school district. It is always a joy to pull up in front of a new school walk up to the door ring the bell to be let in. The looks I get are amazing. You can physically see the discomfort in people’s faces. At two schools I was at recently, after getting inside signing in and heading of to my days post. It realized it was not a look of discomfort, but a look of “Ahhhhh, Sh** another one” Because they had Muslim employees on staff. Today I had the privlidge of working with “Muslim Nurse Mary Rose” (name changed to protect her identity) at a previous school I had the chance to work with “Teacher Samira” (name also changed)

I love the comments I get when working in these situations.
Staff: “Ahhhh you follow the same religion as Nurse Mary Rose/Teacher Samira” So where are YOU from?
Me: Oklahoma
Staff: No originally Nurse Mary Rose/Teacher Samira are from (insert middle east country of your choice here)
Me: Born in Kansas. Raised in Oklahoma.
Staff: Ah so where are parents from?
Me: Oklahoma
Staff: Orginally?
Me: Yep
Staff: So why do you dress like that?
Me: Because I follow the same religion as Nurse Mary Rose/Teacher Samira
Staff: But if you are American you should be Christian
Me: Well I chose to be Muslim
Staff: Why?
Me: Because it fits.

etc etc etc

Having a book discussion.

Me: Oh what book are you reading it looks interesting.
Staff: Oh you would be interested it is about Christianity.

Sitting at ‘my’ desk
Staff: Oh excuse me I need to get MY BIBLE
Sitting at “my” desk
Staff: Oh here is a copy of today’s bible verse. I made a copy for “Everybody”

The looks are priceless too when you walk in and say, “Good Morning” They want to know of course if they can help me. That’s when I ask for the sub sign in. The very quick looks that shoot around the room.

Today I was most fortunate in my sub position, I actually knew the Vice Principal. I worked with him last year at another school in the district where he was a teacher. He is a very very nice man, and I am going back next week for another job. You have your good ones and you have your bad ones.

Like Wednesday of this week. 1st I got lost trying to find the school because map quest sent me the wrong way! I called the school, it’s raining, pouring really. I am lost in “Little Mexico” Looking for a school, and no one knows where it is. Get the number from my daughter because like an idiot I forgot to write it down on my directions. Call the school “Good Morning **** Middle School. How may I help you?”
Me: Well I seem to be lost. (I give my location)
Secretary: Well which way are you headed on Lavon.
Me: North
Secretary: (honest to God I am not kidding) Well I don’t know my directions. (Then why did you ask)
Me: Ummmmm Okay
Secretary: Do you see a Burger King?
Me: Yes
Secretary: Go past the Burger King.
Me: Which Way?
Secretary: Which way are you going?
Me: Ummmm (what do you say to this? she doesn’t know her directions)
Secretary: Well
Me: Toward Buckingham
Secretary: Ok Turn on Castle
Me: See this is where the problem is. There isn’t a street sign that says Castle.
Secretary: Well it’s there.
Me: What is at that intersection. Can you give me a landmark.
Secretary: I don’t know
Me: Do you really need a Sub?
Secretary: I am trying to help you M’am
Me: Then where do I turn
Secretary: Ok I am going to send you in a big circle

Proceeds to speed speak a set of directions to which I interpret go up Lavon and turn on Castle.
Low and Behold there is a signal light on Lavon for Castle just not one on Broadway and no street sign, I double checked when I left for the day. It had been run over. Hmmmm “Little Mexico”

So I get there walk in, and Oh if looks could kill. But that is not all! Here’s the best part of the day at **** Middle School my phone got stolen. Yes my cell phone my life line. Stolen off my desk! Happy Hump Day to me.

I did get it back. It was discovered ditched in a hall way.

Thank You ***** Middle School. Had an awesome day! 😛

These are the things that happen when the Muslim woman approaches the school.

Why?

Ok….I have a why question in your typical two year old fashion. Why is it when someone passes away, you feel the urge to tell them everything. Every thing I have conquered I want and need to show my Father in law.

I picked my spinning back up in March and I keep thinking I can’t wait to show him. Why?
I picked my tatting back up this month and I keep thinking I can’t wait to show him. Why?

I keep thinking I want to go to Morocco and go to the wool market with him. Why?

I guess it is because I know he would appreciate what I am doing with my fiber arts because he loved them too.

He was a remarkable man really.

Last week before the end of finals I dreamed of him and my dad. They were playing cards together. My dad considered him a friend and he considered my dad a friend.

I have read some where that when you dream of the dead it is a real thing, because the dead can not deceive. So perhaps this was a way for them to let me know everything was okay. That they are happy and together playing cards.

I am also guessing that there is no language barrier where ever they are. 🙂

I am sure that eventually I will get over wanting and waiting to show him my finished projects. Someday.

I miss you guys very much!

Hanane

My Interview With Katie

I had to do a religious interview paper for my religion class. I thought I would share my questions, Katie’s answers and my comments on her answers with each of you.

Hanane:

What is the importance of the Israel? Would you like to go? What would mean to you to go there?

Katie:
Yes, I would love to visit Israel. I think it would be important as a Jew to visit all the biblical sites. I would also like to visit the major sites of the other religions that coexist there. Israel is the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people, from biblical times. There has always been a longing for a return, ever since the destruction of the temple by the Romans. As anti-Semitism became worse over time, the longing to return home became joined with the idea of Israel as a place of refuge from persecution. Had there been an Israel in the 1930’s and 1940’s, many people who became victims of the holocaust would have survived. It has become a refuge for Jews who were persecuted in places like the Soviet Union and Ethiopia and elsewhere. So it is a spiritual home, historical home, and a physical home.

My Comment:
The part about it being a refuge is something that I hear a lot. That Jews need a place to feel safe.

Hanane:
Do you participate in the High Holidays and if so what do you do and what does it mean to you spiritually?

Katie:
Yes, I do participate in High Holidays. Spiritually they mean a fresh and clean slate for the start of a new year to me. It is a chance to make things right and to do good things in the coming year and a chance to look at our mistakes and imperfections as a human being.

My Comment: This is exactly how I feel about Ramadan. It is like a clean fresh start. I think participation in any type of extended holiday makes you feel this way. There is more of a spiritual connection with God
.
Hanane:
You mentioned that you were once Catholic and converted to Judaism. What were the factors that drew you to Judaism? Did your conversion have an affect on your family?

Katie:
Honestly, I never much bought into the whole “dogma” of Jesus or the Catholic faith in general. This happened very early in my years that I realized it was not the right “fit” if you will for me. I basically grew up in the Catholic faith and went to church because my mother did. I found there was too much “mystery”, and not enough “fact” in the faith. Judaism is about community and history as well as the religion aspect. There is no right or wrong and no governing body to dictate what is so. This was a very important factor for me. To look at the Catholic faith and the fact one human being has the power to say yes or no, and change the rules as they see fit, bothered me. With Judaism there is much more diversity.

Actually it really did not affect the relationship with my family. They just kind of accepted it. Since Mark’s death, they have been increasingly interested in my religion. They have seen the support from the Rabbi and the local Jewish community for my situation and are really pleased that I have such good support. My mom says repeatedly that I would never have gotten hat support in the Catholic faith, and I have to agree. So in short, the effect provided a positive effect rather than a negative one.

My Comment:
I can see where you are coming from there. It never felt right for me either and I spent more time in trouble asking questions than I in worship. The just accept things as they are philosophy just didn’t cut it with me, I needed and wanted answers. That is what I like about both of our religions we ask questions and somehow someway we will receive an answer, if our Imams or Rabbi have to go higher up to get the answer they will. I am Happy your family was able to accept your religion and be supportive and are now seeing the good effect it has had on you.

Hanane:
What is the importance of taking a Religious name?

Katie:
A Hebrew name is basically used during instances when you get called to read the Torah, marriage and death, most of the time we use our “regular” names. It is also inscribed on your headstone at the cemetery.

My Comment:
An interesting difference, Muslims aren’t obliged to take a religious name unless their name has some foul meaning, offensive to others or to God. Meaning we can’t have our names be the names of other Gods/Goddesses.

Hanane:
What would you as a Jew interpret to be God’s will?

Katie:
Actually, the opinions vary widely. Orthodox Jews would see everything that happens as G-d’s will in some way–which of course then leads to the problems of theodicy that challenge so many people. Others, like Harold Kushner, would see G-d’s will in the way in which people respond and use their free will for good. G-d’s will taking the form not of control, but of guidance and support. In that way, it leaves people freedom as moral agents, and avoids the sense of inevitability of what happens to us in our lives; that when bad things happen to good people it is the result of random events or the acts of evil people, not G-d manipulating the situation. G-d’s will is what G-d wants, not necessarily what G-d dictates.

My Comment:
I can see both sides of this argument; because we see it as everything that happens as God’s will in someway. But I personally find it hard to swallow when a person kills another, or that innocent children are molested by God’s will that is the not what God would dictate. That is what mankind has chosen to do.

Hanane:
Do you have a favorite scripture?

Katie:
Well, I would have to say the book of Ruth only because she was the first Jewish convert, and I wrote a paper on that book in college. Also the Psalms can be comforting as well.

My Comment:
I am with you on that, I love the stories of the Early women in Islam the ones who sacrificed so much. I did not know that Ruth was the first Jewish convert. Very interesting.

Hanane:
What is the greatest commandment of the Torah?

Katie:
Akiba said specifically that the greatest of the commandments is “love your neighbor as yourself.” Another candidate would be the mitzvah of saving life. All but 3 of the 613 commandments can be set aside in order to save one’s own life or the life of another. The only 3 that cannot be violated to save life are the prohibitions against sexual offenses, murder, and pagan worship. Otherwise, if life is at stake, all bets are off. There is a verse that says “these are the commandments that a person should do and live by,” and the Rabbis interpret this to mean that you live by the commandments, not die by them.

My Comment:
613 commandments! I had only heard about 10, growing up. But it does kind of make sense, that there would be more. Last night in our Halaqa we talked about “loving thy neighbor as you love yourself” It is an important aspect of Islam as well. Do anything except kill, commit a sexual offense or worship other Gods in order to save a life.

Hanane:
Is there a Jewish ceremony or festival that has particularly special meaning for you?

Katie:
Personally, I like Yom Kippur.

Hanane:
Is there a spiritual version of Judaism? In Islam we have Sufism.

Katie:
Yes, Judaism has the Kabbalah which is practiced by the Hasidim.

Hanane:
Can Kabbalah be practiced by the ordinary everyday Jew? I mean Madonna claims to follow the Kabbalah and I would not call her a Hasidim.

Katie:
Yes, Kabbalah can be practice by anyone, although it is not recommended without a teacher. The Zohar (which is the book of Kabbalah) is very cryptic. And in theory, you must be over 40, married and stable.

Hanane:
So I guess this would rule out Madonna she is not a Kabbalah…what is the correct term?

Katie:
No she is not, and she is NOT Jewish despite her taking a Hebrew name. She is full of it. And a practitioner of Kabbalah is a Kabbalist.

My Comment:
Not Surprising I feel the same way about Michael Jacksons supposed conversion to Islam. But I find it interesting that a Jewish person, if they wish to study the Kabbalah or call themselves a Kabbalist has to do so under the tutelage of a teacher, because I believe the same is true about a Muslim who wishes to call himself a Sufi. But I think all people should be able to seek that spirituality for themselves in some ways. For instance, we do not have a Sufi teacher here where I life but some of the practices of the Sufi’s our little place has taken up participating in. I love the feeling of doing the Dhikr (literally remembrance) but it is chanting prayers or remembrance of God. It is very relaxing and soothing.

Hanane:
Do you participate in the rituals of the Sabbath? If so how does this affect you spiritually? What are the rituals of the Sabbath?

Katie:
Well, I do go to services when offered on Friday nights. Since Mark’s death I have become more and more involved in the Sabbath rituals and begun lighting the Sabbath candles at home. Some of the rituals are difficult for me because I am alone, but I still try to observe the day of rest.
Spiritually, it is a time to rest and reflect on the week without the distractions of everyday life.
The rituals for the Sabbath are:
1. Lighting the Sabbath Candles
2. Saying a blessing over the bread and the wine
3. Gathering of family to dinner, setting a fancier table than the weekday, making the meal special.

Hanane:
I have seen many shows especially around Halloween just a few months ago on the concepts of Hell, can you tell me about the Jewish belief in punishment after death?

Katie:
First off, the concept of reward and punishment after death is very amorphous. Even in the Talmud there is a Rabbi who is quoted as saying there is no such thing as hell. And clearly the Jewish understanding was never as fully developed or defined as Dante has in the Commedia. And of course some Jews do not believe in any existence after death, that everything is in this world. One of the rabbis of the Talmud said “be not like the servant who labors in expectation of a bonus, but rather like the servant who labors without expectation of a bonus.” But for those who do believe in some sort of reward and punishment in an end-time or after death, the idea is that by observing the commandments as best one can, one will be rewarded. To some extent the concept is there that the soul is judged for up to a year, and then is cleansed and can return to god. There really is no fully defined concept of eternal damnation and hellfire, etc.in the morning prayers) there is a statement “these are the things that a person enjoys the benefit of in this world, but the principal remains for him in the world to come.” What are they? Dowering the bride, visiting the sick, sincere prayer, regular study, bringing peace between people, “and the study of torah is equivalent to/leads to all of them.” The Talmud also says, “all Israel have a share in the world to come,” which presumably means every Jew, eventually.
oh, btw, there is also the doctrine that Non-Jews who observe 7 basic commandments (“the commandments of the children of Noah”) also will have a share in the world to come. what are they?
Prohibitions against 1. murder 2. pagan worship 3. sexual offenses 4. tearing flesh from a living animal and/or eating blood 5. blasphemy (but note that a non-Jew is not required to worship G-d as a Jew does) 6. theft (property or kidnapping) and 7. taking the law into your own hands (which can also be understood as the imperative to support laws that are fair and equitable for all). The Talmud says that any non-Jew who observes these 7 is entitled to as much in the world to come as a Jew who observes all 613.

My Comment:
Punishment for a year before cleansing is complete and going to God. Muslims also have the idea of Punishment in the grave. Hell will be closed to all but the most evil of people is also a belief of Muslims. 7 commandments that non-Jews can follow and still make it into heaven, cool a loop-hole.

Hanane:
What does the prayer of a Jewish person consist of? We have a series of steps in our prayer.

Katie:
The daily prayers of a Jew consist of:
1. Blessings of gratitude
2. Recitation of Psalms
3. Affirmation of the Shema (“Hear O’ Israel, the Lord our G-d, the Lord is One”)
4. Recitation of the Amidah (which is a prayer said while standing praising G-d, telling G-d our needs (health, etc) Redemption of the Jewish people and world peace, and thanking G-d)
5. Concluding prayer
Holiday and Sabbath prayers have more and are longer in duration. Prayer is usually recited in Hebrew.
Like our prayers are recited in Arabic, I love the ritual steps of prayer they just somehow seem to make you feel more connected.

Hanane:
Do you find commonalities of Judaism shared with other religions? Is so, what?

Katie:
Actually there is a lot in common with Islam. All the “pillars” can be found in Jewish practice in one way or another (the oneness and singular nature of G-d, prayer — 3x a day, fasting, almsgiving, and even a sense of pilgrimage: in ancient times people were expected to go up to Jerusalem every Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot; nowadays the idea of going to Israel, while not a religious requirement, is an aspiration) along with things like dietary laws.

My Comment:
Yes we do have many things in common, I am glad to have found a good Jewish friend on which to build a relationship of mutual trust and understanding. I hope our friendship and our web-log inspires other people to look at each other an perhaps see a friend and not an enemy. Katie and I work hard for peace in our daily lives and pray for peace for the world.

Peace, Salaam, Shalom.

Hello All!

Well, today I may have stuck my foot in it on the Ravelry boards. In particular the qustions on Judaism. Zionist question! Yes…open mouth insert foot that is me! What else is new right.
If I fall under attack, any suggestions?

We have only one rule on the group and that is play nice, I played nice, I truely did, I just stated my opinion, and offered facts to back my opinion. We’ll see if it brings down the fire and brim stone.

Have a great day!