Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What Would You Do For $10,000?

Depending on where you are from, $10,000 could be a fortune or just some extra money…What could you buy with $10,000? …when I think about it, if for some reason I ran into $10,000 dollars, no strings attached, that would be a lovely thing….but really, as a middle class person living in the New York tri-state area, $10,000 wouldn’t change my life. It might pay some bills or fix my driveway or help prop up my recession decimated retirement savings…but ultimately $10,000 would not change my life.
I read this morning that a consultant caught up in the ever expanding New Jersey scandal was bribed with $10,000, and now he is dead by his own hand….then there are the poor souls lured to the riches of $10,000 for the mere price of their kidney…..

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sincere-Supplication Part II

malaise is a terrible thing, this feeling of debility or lack of energy is partly due to some physical issues/pain... a possible rotator cuff tear in my right shoulder, I guess my pitching career is over....but more due to a feeling of disconnect....

I am finding my way in my Judaism... how I embody it, how I grow and learn and explore it. There has been a lot of blogging out there regarding the recent events in New Jersey. I stand by what I wrote, that this is a bad thing. I have read a lot of persons try to make sense of it, or to formulate a response to it....

The only thing I have come up with is sincere supplication. Prayer and action done with deep intent. I try to do this... generally this means that my attention to things from a traditionally halacha way may not be complete...but what I do is with my full self, body and spirit. When I recite the Shama in the morning I do it after sitting in silent meditation....I try to feel every word.....and most days this is a very powerful experience. When I pray I try to do it this way...

Perhaps those who have gotten caught in New Jersey have forgotten....I think there are many who have forgotten the true spirit behind the actions and prayers....There are those regular law abiding folks who attend services with me...they are nice enough...but they talk through most of the service...not a crime...but I go to connect to the collective and to the divine...I may still only get through one page of the Amidah by the time the entire room is done... but I have done that one page with concentrated attention and my entire spirit!....(ok note to self find a Hebrew class for the fall!)
With Tisha B'Av almost here, I have decided to attempt to fast with intention, to pray like it is my last fully immerse myself in this day....Malaise you are on notice!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I was at work early today and didn't hear any wasn't until I was talking to my mother who lives in CT. who said to me " did you see the pictures of all the Rabbis being arrested in NJ?"

This story makes me sick!.....and it is horrible for law abiding Jews everywhere!....I think this is a still unfolding story, but it is not good for the Jews!

Rabbis arrested in N.J. sting
July 23, 2009
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Several rabbis were arrested as part of a public corruption and international money-laundering investigation in New Jersey.
According to reports, among the 44 people arrested Thursday morning by the FBI along with the rabbis were the mayors of three New Jersey towns, a deputy mayor and a state assemblyman. They were to appear in federal court in Newark later in the day.
The money-laundering suspects were accused of moving “at least tens of millions of dollars through charitable, nonprofit entities controlled by rabbis in New York and New Jersey,” according to a release by acting U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra.
Prosecutors said they worked with an informant who had been charged with bank fraud in May 2006, said. Investigators obtained hundreds of hours of audio and video recordings, according to prosecutors.
The rabbis arrested were religious leaders from Syrian Jewish neighborhoods in Deal and Elberon, N.J., as well as Brooklyn, N.Y. The Asbury Park Press reported that the investigation involved the Deal Yeshiva, a Sephardic institution that has a boys' division in Ocean Township and a girls' school in West Long Branch.
The arrests reportedly are the result of a two-year probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service that began with an investigation of money transfers by members of the Syrian enclaves in Deal and Brooklyn, two tight-knit and wealthy communities.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office and the IRS removed at least three boxes from the Deal Yeshiva as students were arriving at school Thursday, The Star-Ledger reported, as well as several boxes from the Ohel Yaacob synagogue in the same town.
The charged rabbis include Rabbi Saul Kassin, 87, of the Sharee Zion synagogue in Brooklyn, N.Y.; Eliahu Ben Haim, 58, the principal rabbi of Congregation Ohel Yaacob in Deal; Edmond Nahum, 56, of the Deal Synagogue; Mordchai Fish, 56, of Congregation Sheves Achim in Brooklyn; and Lavel Schwartz, 57, Fish’s brother. They were charged with money laundering.
Kassin is accused of laundering more than $200,000 through the informant from June 2007 through December 2008, according to prosecutors. Fish, Schwartz and two other defendants used a charitable, tax-exempt organization called BCG, which was associated with Fish’s synagogue, to launder money, according to the FBI.
The mayors of Hoboken, Ridgefield and Secaucus, the deputy mayor of Jersey City and an assemblyman from Ocean Township were caught in the operation.
Also charged is Levy-Izhak Rosenbaum, 58, of Brooklyn, who was accused of conspiring with others to acquire and trade human organs for use in transplantation. In one case noted in the complaint, Rosenbaum said it would cost $150,000 -- half up front. Rosenbaum said some of the money would go to the donor and some to doctors in Israel, according to the complaint.
Bloomberg identified the cooperating witness as Solomon Dwek, a real estate developer in Monmouth County, N.J. who was charged in 2006 with scheming to defraud PNC Bank out of $50 million, according to a person familiar with the matter and court records. Dwek was never indicted; he has received 17 extensions to continue the period in which his case had to be presented to a federal grand jury.

Sunday, July 19, 2009



OK enough of that tantrum...but the sentiment remains... a little depressed, a little lazy, a little overwhelmed with my life.

I made an attempt to find some inspiration. I signed my husband and I up for a Jewish Spirituality retreat. if you have read my blog you may know that I have a long history in the Buddhist/Zen tradition. I still sit meditation but was yearning for a way to incorporate it more into my Jewish faith. When I saw the below information from The Jewish Spirituality Institute I jumped on it.

"For Lay People
Three times a year IJS offers 4-day Shabbat retreats consisting of contemplative prayer, mindfulness meditation, Hassidic text study, yoga, lively discussion and Shabbat community. IJS has developed a 2-year curriculum - Vetaher Libeynu - an exploration of the adult Jewish spiritual experience. Alumni of our professional programs teach the curriculum in their communities"

We went. The people were nice, the location lovely, the parve/vegetarian food wonderful!....but overall not inspirational for me. I was truly was a very well thought out program, but for me it felt like a "light" version of what I have done in my own spirituality practice.....

I did learn something very interesting about myself.....I like tradition. I enjoyed the Torah study, and other group study activities....the meditation/silence/yoga stuff...well it was fine but I could more than likely teach them....I know that sounds conceited but I spent 20 years in a very dynamic Buddhist practice....retreats, weekly sits...etc. But what, threw it off for me, and my husband was Saturday morning. I missed the ritual, the full 3 to 4 hour service, Hebrew etc.
They ran a service that was more in the Reconstructionist left me feeling like I only ate meringue cookies for dinner when what I wanted was a full holiday meal!

I can't stress enough that the folks who ran the program were lovely, committed and spiritual people. They did everything to make the weekend a beautiful experience.

It was me.......

what next........


Dunking Rachael

Love, Faith and Life