both/and

this week has been so full and i felt like everything could have been blog-worthy. but, being a novice at this, i forgot to photograph things, fell asleep early, and got wrapped up in all the goodness that is filling our days. for starters, my sister and her boyfriend are visiting us for a week starting TOMORROW! i have been in full out preparation mode, making plans, baking, re-organizing. it’s all so much fun, but probably entirely unnecessary. also, purim. oh my goodness, purim. it is like a crafty jewess’s time to shine. seriously. between the costumes and the mishloach manot (little food gifts to hand out), i have been having a blast planning and crafting it all. i’ll leave our costumes a secret and hopefully make a whole post about it. they’re still in the works. so needless to say, i have a lot to be grateful about this week, and as usual, a lot to work towards as well. here’s what inspired those feelings in me this week.

an evening spent with amazing women in honor of one billion rising’s mass global action to end violence against women and girls. // be more conscious about my femininity and what that means in today’s world.

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leftover ribollita soup all week! // make big pots of soup like this more often.

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so many cookies in anticipation of nora’s visit. // not eat them all before she gets here.

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the fact that passion fruit season has begun! // enjoy them and not complain that they are different from peruvian grenadillas.

 

 

 

 

 

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we live in israel and can get organic citrus and avocados in our csa. // let tzofie explore and learn, even if it means she eats a little dirt.

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SPRING! ALMOND BLOSSOMS! SUN! // accept that this may have been just a fluke in our weather and it’s okay if real spring hasn’t arrived yet.

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what’s on your both/and list this week?

this moment.

a beautiful idea, borrowed from soulemama

“a friday ritual. a single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. a simple, special, extraordinary moment. a moment i want to pause, savor and remember.”

if you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

shabbat shalom!

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both/and

hope your week has been going well. here’s this week’s both/and list.

i am grateful for//aspiring to:

an evening spent with jenna (of rooting to rise) enjoying wine, her homemade fudge (omg.) and conversation that re-inspired me to change the world for good // keep that inspiration with me, and have more nights like this one
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*photo by jenna

completed diy doors on my sideboard so that some of our books might survive the destruction of tzofie chana // do more myself
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so many goat dairy products in this country which allowed me to make rhubarb pecan scones entirely free of cow’s milk // appreciate this abundance while i can
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the incredible women in my community, one of whom created this amazing megillat esther // do more torah-related art like this
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bath time, because this baby is growing so fast // treasure this time in her life
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nap time, because every ima (mother) needs moments like this // not feel guilty about that
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what’s on your both/and list this week?

new books.

so because this is a blog, and because i’ve already shared so much of myself here, why not also let you all in on another little quirk of mine: i MUST finish a book once i start it. a few trial pages to see if i like something doesn’t count. but once i’ve decided, “i’m reading this book”, well, i must read the book. cover to cover. even if i get to a point where i don’t want to anymore. then, it actually becomes do or die. for my novel reading self of course. i have it in my head that if i don’t finish the book, i’ll never be able to start another new book ever again. and it’s actually quite motivating. today i finally finished reading señor vivo and the coca lord by louis de bernieres. i’ve been at it for a month now and about a quarter of the way in, i just really didn’t care to hear the end, but i trudged along. why? because i knew i had ordered a few new novels from the book depository  (free shipping! to israel even!) and if i never finished reading señor vivo and the coca lord, i would never be able to crack open their spines. somehow the book i’m reading, and how i’m relating to it, has a way of seeping into my everyday life. i read snow flower and the secret fan by lisa see a few months ago and i seriously discussed chinese wedding traditions in my speech at my friend’s engagement party. my friend is not even chinese. so the fact that i was not really enjoying this book and felt beholden to finishing it was really putting a damper on my days. thankfully, the new books finally arrived at the post office this week. the day i got the package notice, my dedication to finishing the book rapidly increased. (i’m sure i’ll write a post someday about the agony of going to the post office in our neighborhood, so i’ll leave that part out for now.) needless to say, i got the new books and shortly thereafter, señor vivo and the coca lord was DONE.

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i now have a beautiful stack of new books, just waiting to be read. two which i ordered: flight behavior by barbara kingsolver, and cloud atlas by david mitchell. another lent to me by a friend, the yiddish policemen’s union by michael chabon (i’ve been wanting to read this for so long!). and lastly, a little surprise from my sweet husband who knows how much i love this author and teacher, the beginning of desire: reflections on genesis by avivah gottlieb zornberg. i’m so excited by the sheer volume of new literature that i have to imbibe, but i’d be lying if i said i couldn’t pick which one to start with. it’s flight behavior, no doubt. i am an avid and devoted reader of barbara kingsolver and it was the knowledge of this book’s purchase that forced me to finish señor vivo and the coca lord.

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to quote the back of the book jacket, the novel “takes on one of the most contentious subjects of our time: climate change. with a deft and versatile empathy kingsolver dissects the motives that drive denial and belief in a precarious world.”

i cannot wait to begin it. new books. new lease on life. it was señor vivo and the coca lord that were holding me back.

this moment.

a beautiful idea, borrowed from soulemama

“a friday ritual. a single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. a simple, special, extraordinary moment. a moment i want to pause, savor and remember.”

if you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

shabbat shalom!

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both/and

while the week is certainly not over in most parts of the world, here in israel, thursdays tend to feel like the last day for me. friday, though still part of the week, is so full of cleaning, cooking and preparing for shabbat that it is a bit like its own entity. in my mind, there’s the week, there’s friday, and there’s shabbat. it’s a tad more complicated than the american work week/weekend paradigm.

so today i’m beginning a weekly post that i will repeat every thursday. it’s called BOTH/AND. i’ll explain.

i first wanted to do a weekly post about what i’ve been grateful for in the preceding days. but i’ve always felt a little dissatisfied with “gratitude lists”. not because i’m ungrateful, but rather because they felt incomplete, inauthentic, and simplistic to me. by saying, “i’m grateful for cookies” (which i am, by the way) it was as if i was saying “that’s all there is to my view on cookies. it’s done and settled, i’m grateful for cookies and that’s that.” i know, i know, as my sister so kindly pointed out in a comment on my previous post, i’m crazy. it’s true, she knows me well. but this dissatisfaction feels like a good thing. it allows me to feel hopeful, to feel the possibility for growth, movement and even more gratitude. i don’t want to just feel grateful for something and have that be a kind of settling, as if that’s all to be experienced.  rather, i want to feel BOTH grateful AND aspiring.

so here it is, my BOTH/AND list for the week.

i am grateful for // i aspire to:

these flowers on my table // plant my own flower garden so my vases can be filled with flowers i grew myself.
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new coffee from aura coffee. malawi aa, brewed with a hario v60 pour over cone. // spend some time on a coffee farm again so that i will remember the long and difficult path my coffee has traveled to bring me such pleasure every morning.
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the artist’s way // open up to the process of creative self-discovery.
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these jeans by nudie jeans co. 100% organic raw denim. // have my own pair again (i’m wearing alex’s because mine have been destroyed. passively of course, not like i put them in the dryer by accident or anything.)
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new sketch book and colored pencils, (and spelt limoniyot cookies from the natural choice bakery) // take a photography course, because i’m really not very good at drawing.
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what’s on your BOTH/AND list this week?

 

the mothering list.

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the idea comes to me as if it is a pair of sunglasses i thought i misplaced only to find them on top of my head: equal parts obvious and absurd. in my infinite love for lists, it seems the only remedy to this mounting anxiety i have over all that i must do as a mother. i’m not talking about the dishes, dinner and laundry. i have lists for that too, no doubt. but the idea i had this morning, what i imagine to be the curative once-and-for-all solution to maternal pressure, is a multidimensional task list for all of my hopes and dreams for my daughter. immediately i felt relieved at the thought of organizing all of her intangible future (and my role in shaping it) into a nice neat list.

“i’ll just write down everything i want her to experience and know and become and then i’ll work backwards, charting the steps i must take to get her there.”

even as i write this, it sounds ludicrous, and yet, i haven’t given up the idea completely. how else can i make sure my daughter feels equally at home in an art museum and a tree fort? how else will i ensure that she loves to play in the creeks of heavily wooded forests and also dreams of the lights new york city at night?

in my naiveté, i’m sure, i presume that i have approximately 5 years to make these initial impressions on her before she starts charting her own course. this is not a lot of time, people. thus the anxiety. thus the need for a list. we’ll need to take a trip to africa in order to go on a safari (so she sees the beauty of wildlife in its natural habitat and learns to despise zoos). i’ll need to start speaking to her in spanish (note to self: review spanish). we’ll probably have to start that little farm we always talk about. but first we’ll need to spend at least a year living in a big city in order to cultivate a love of diversity and culture. but which city? where will the farm be? i’ll want her to know the truth of suffering and injustice in the world so that she’ll always feel compassion for others and will stand up for the underdog without question. i’m not certain yet where exactly we’ll go to impress upon her such an important lesson that doesn’t also imply cultural superiority (second note to self: figure that out). she’ll probably feel so worldly that we’ll need to really emphasize the importance of humility. oh and, we’ll definitely have to spend time hiking and camping so she knows how to identify edible plants and doesn’t become too prissy. but then we’ll also need to have quiet nights at home (which will have to have a fireplace) where we play board games and drink hot chocolate. she should feel “normal” too. oh shoot, she might have siblings, and they’ll lag behind in the list. we might have to start over at some point. she’ll feel bored the second time we go on african safari. that’s ok. she can review.

i am starting to feel like the main character of if you give a mouse a muffin. (add to list: read classic children’s books to her, such as if you give a mouse a muffin!)

this i suppose is the burden of preemptive nostalgia. as i glorify my own childhood, even in its simplicity, i realize that she too will one day have memories of her own childhood and will create story upon story as to how those memorable experiences have created whoever it is that she will be in the future. the responsibility of affecting an entire life seems suddenly larger than the very life itself. is this my job as a mother? it can’t be. how will i find the time to do the dishes? or more importantly, cuddle with her?

and then, the second absurdly obvious idea of the day: maybe just focus on cuddling with her. the rest will probably happen as it’s meant to happen.

i’m not certain, but i’m guessing that if i were to ask my own mother whether she made a mothering list, she would first laugh, then embark on a lecture about her primary goal as a mother, which was made known to us in various ways throughout our entire lives: to make sure we knew how much she loved us. if i am nostalgic about climbing trees and late night kick-the-can, special yearly trips to chicago and singing along loudly to fleetwood mac, that is most certainly not because my mother made a list and enforced those experiences on me. that is probably because i felt so loved. no, that is definitely because i felt so loved.

so my multidimensional list has been boiled down to one single task: love her. i think i can handle that. she might wind up feeling at home within herself that way. art museums and tree-forts will just be icing on the cake.

rainy day muffins.

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it’s been raining for two full days now, and is likely to continue tomorrow as well. you know what happens when a one year old has to stay inside all day? the one year old actually undergoes a slow transformation that goes something like this:

sweet baby -> a little bored baby -> a lion baby on the hunt for anything and everything that she hasn’t yet destroyed (growling and biting is also involved).

thank Gd we put her to bed before she moved onto the next phase which is altogether nonhuman.

here’s how we survived day two of rainy captivity: MUFFINS!
mini paleo pumpkin muffins, to be exact. (gluten, dairy and sugar free)
they are alex and tzofie-friendly, and i added chocolate chips to a few in order to make them emily-friendly too. recipe below.

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mini paleo pumpkin muffins

1c almond flour
1c pumpkin puree*
2 eggs
1/4c almond butter
1/4c honey
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (i made my own from this recipe)
pinch of salt

 

1. preheat oven to 175 degrees celsius
2. oil a mini muffin pan
3. combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and blend well.
(i used a kitchen aid, but it wasn’t necessary. i just like to make use of it since it traveled halfway across the world to sit on my counter.)
4. drop about 2 teaspoons worth of batter into the muffin pan
5. bake for 25 minutes, let cool for a bit, then EAT!

*let me say something about canned pumpkin in israel: it’s hard to find and expensive. because i had it, i used it, but you could easily make your own squash puree with the giant “pumpkin” pieces you can buy in the shuk, or use a butternut squash or even sweet potatoes. just roast the squash or sweet potatoes in the oven until tender, then puree in a food processor or with a hand held blender, colloquially known as a “jzujzer”. is there a better spelling for that?

this recipe is very adaptable. you could add raisins, chocolate chips, walnuts etc. depending on who is going to eat them. they can also be made in regular muffin size (though, mini muffins are SO much more fun). just increase the baking time by 5-7 minutes. lastly, since almond butter is also hard to find in israel, you could substitute peanut butter. if you’re concerned about giving honey to your baby under a year, use agave, maple syrup or even apple juice concentrate. i’m a firm believer in experimentation. take this and make it your own. tell me what you tried and how they came out 🙂

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just me.

i’m struggling to identify myself here in this incredibly public space. my conglomeration of values, varied and contradictory even, are seeming impossible to convey in a venue as limited as this. i’m certain something essential will be missed. i’m afraid that i’ll say, “i’m this. i like that.” and you’ll all say, “oh, so you’re one of those.” but i’m not. i’m not one of those. i’m something else. the labels and boxes are endless and i just want one that is me and has my name on it. i want for that to make sense all on its own. so i can say, “i’m an orthodox jew. i like yoga and good espresso.” and you’ll all say, “oh, so you’re emily weisberg.”  yes.

but that’s not how it works. in the end you’ll read those little words, “orthodox jew. yoga. espresso.” and i’ll still be “one of those” because you can’t possibly know all the little lines that draw those things together. and i’ll still be the only holder of my entire story. so i yield to the imperfection of language, blogging and other cultural disorders. i’ll tell you who i am, and you’ll decide what that is. that’s okay. it’s no one’s fault. it’s unavoidable.

but one request: let all the definitions be true at the same time. let me be not first an orthodox jew and then a lover of yoga, but rather both at the same time. let me be a mother, a child, a convert, a soul, a sister, a wife, a friend. a midwesterner, an immigrant, a small-town girl, a well-traveled woman, and lost. let me love kale and french fries, jeans and torah. let me just be me.

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leaping.

i’ve attempted to write an introduction to this blog approximately three times now. nothing seems adequate. in the meantime, little bits of our days that i want to share are going un-blogged, simply because i can’t figure out the right way to start things off. so, forget it. i’m just jumping right in. leap, and the net will appear. so i’m leaping. here is what’s happening in our days lately.

i got to spend an entire hour at one of my favorite cafés all by myself before 9am. fellow mothers, is this not the most treasured of opportunities?!
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i’m finally finishing tzofie’s birthday present: an heirloom growth chart. full post to come.
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another birthday present arrived from grammy. tzofie has hardly let the little puppy out of her grip.
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i thoroughly enjoyed a night of yoga with my amazing friend and teacher, jenna, followed up by beer and carrot cake at a sweet cooperative café, salon shabazi.
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lastly, we’re all a little sick, so we’ve been making a lot of this nutrient rich tea blend. recipe and herbal information below.
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¼ c alfalfa
¼ c oat straw
2T elder flowers
2T chamomile
1T nettle leaf powder (or ¼ c nettle leaf)

-place all the herbs in a liter mason jar.
-fill with boiling water.
-cover the jar and let steep for 6 hours.
-strain, re-heat, and enjoy.

herbal words:
nettles and oat straw are both incredibly nutritive to the body in general, oat straw specifically for the nervous system. together they strengthen and support the physical and emotional body as it deals with sickness. chamomile and elder flowers are both veritable medicine chests on their own. both are especially helpful with upper respiratory congestion, are anti-inflamatory, and antiseptic. alfalfa is a great detoxifier and has also shown to increase white blood cells which are your body’s first line of defense against infection.