I thought it would be fun to document the two weeks leading up to Pesach (Passover). For Passover we are required to clean out our entire house of any chametz (any of the 5 grains that has touched water for more than 18 minutes before being completely cooked). So we’re talking about pulling out all furniture and cleaning thoroughly behind it all, cleaning down all surfaces, toys, books etc. Obviously getting rid of all this food from the house (use it up, don’t throw it out!), and then kashering the kitchen and changing over most kitchen tools and appliances to Passover friendly ones.
It’s intense. As with everything there are different levels of observance – we aim for orthodox observance.
It’s probably obvious, but this is just a glimpse of what the week was like – I didn’t document every part of it!
I’m sharing some questions and discussion points to talk to kids about each day of the omer. I’ve also included an affirmation each day. You can see more of these on my instagram – @jewishaffirmations
Day 2 Gevurah in Chesed Discipline in Lovingkindness
What does discipline mean? Discipline when we talk about love usually means self control. Why do you think we would need discipline / self control in love?
Imagine that you had a friend who loved giving compliments and this was the way they gave their friends love. Every day, many times in the day they give you compliments – they like your hair, they like your beanie boo, they like the drawing you did, they like… well, everything, and they always tell you!
Do you think you might get sick of that after a while? Do you think your friend is showing self control and thinking about how you feel, if you’re starting to get annoyed by their compliments all the time?
I know sometimes when I am tired and grumpy I like to be by myself. Do you ever feel like that?
If someone comes up to you and gives you a big bear hug and lots of kisses when you’re feeling that way, does it feel like love to you? Not really – this is why it’s important that we have self control when we love people. We need to be sure that the love we’re giving people is going to be received the right way, and that it will actually make the person feel loved!
We’re counting the Omer from Pesach to Shavuot! I find the sefirot accompaniment to the Omer count to be so helpful for me personally, that I wanted to talk about it with my kids as well. Some of the topics can be a bit hard for kids though, so I’ve gone through and written myself a little script with things to say, and how to turn it into a more kid friendly topic, without watering down the ideas! I thought I’d share them here, as well as my daily affirmation (you can find them all on instagram at @jewishaffirmations ).
Day 1 Chesed of Chesed Loving kindness of loving kindness
Love! Who loves love!? What does it feel like to be loved? Who loves you? Who do you love? How do you show them that you love them?
What does it look like to love a friend?
We know that it’s important to every person to feel loved, and that means it’s important that we show other people love! Look around – look at all the people walking past the street, or all the kids and teachers at your school. Everyone wants to be loved and to have people be kind to them.
How can you show love or kindness to someone today?
We had a really lovely time celebrating Purim this year! We to the shule in the city to celebrate instead of our own Shule because the kids go to their Cheder, and were in the Purim play. I’ve put together our Purim adventures in a video below:
The play was such a success that we’re quickly moving on to a Pesach model seder that all the kids are involved in. Even Ahava who is 3, and certainly the youngest of the group had lines in the play, and sung the songs. She’s already memorised her song in the Pesach seder which is exciting to see.
We enjoyed all the festivities, giving out our Mishloach Manot, reading the Megillah both in the evening and the next day, feating, and dressing up! Purim day co-incided with Harmony day here in Australia (maybe internationally, not sure…) and it was lovely to have this celebration of cultural and religious diversity on such a special day. We’re really grateful to be part of a school that recognises and celebrates the diversity.
I hope everyone reading this had a lovely Purim (for those who celebrated!), otherwise a great Harmony day. Now on to the Pesach prep!
Wow, I’ve just finished breastfeeding my youngest (about 3 months ago by the time I’m actually sharing this video – my bad!), and because it’s so close to my eldest’s birthday, it very neatly fits into 7 years. I was 24 when I started breastfeeding, and now I’m 31. I’ve learnt a hell of a lot, and have gotten through with sheer will and determination sometimes!
I’m sharing this video because it’s something I would love to watch, and I hope that it could be helpful to another mama who might be struggling with breastfeeding.
I have many friends who have either through choice or necessity breastfed, bottle fed, mix fed, and also done all those things for huge variations in time. As you will see from my video, even my own experiences and lengths of time breastfeeding each child were really different and unique. I am super supportive of mothers feeding their babies however they choose – choice is a powerful thing! I hope that everyone who watches this can be supportive of me and my journey with breastfeeding as well. 🙂
Making: A vertical garden for herbs. It’s a new design I haven’t tried before, so finger’s crossed it works! Cooking: Family dinner – always. Tonight it’s jacket potatoes. Sipping: Dandelion tea spiked with medicinal mushrooms. Always. Reading: A guide to kashering the kitchen (we’re nearing an intermediary conversation with the Beth Din and I want to make sure I know everything we’ve been taught so far, so lots of revision!), and also “New Age Judaism” but Melinda Ribner – It’s been enlightening! Looking: Through all our photos from 2018, and turning them into a photo book! Listening: The Fergies – a new band I heard last weekend at the markets. Wishing: My seedlings would hurry up and grow! Enjoying: Cleaning up (freak). Waiting: For some answers on a special project. Liking: My days with just Ahava and I. To be honest, I was kinda dreading it, and even though it’s not easy, it’s enjoyable. Loving: Painting with Ahava! Buying: Shabbat things – a kosher lamp, new high tech light bulbs Luke wants to connect to the wifi and turn on and off for Shabbos on a timer, and urn so I can enjoy hot drinks on Shabbat again! Watching: Shtisel, Hoping: My teacher registration comes through soon. Needing: A good massage and a live in housekeeper. Either that or motivation… Wearing: My favourite tree of life dress. Following: Ahava around the house, picking up after her destruction! Noticing: There’s a bunch of new people who’ve moved in down the end of our street or a neighbouring street. They’re young, and loud, and walk to the shops and back at night (it’s kinda annoying. Am I old yet?). Sorting: Getting: Older! I can feel it some days… Saving: Gold coins. I try to alternate between putting the ones I find into the tzedakah box, and putting them into a savings box. Opening: Final Cut Pro to edit some vlogs… Giggling: Oh how I wish I giggled more… Feeling: Productive! Hearing: The wind – Cyclone Oma has been downgraded to a tropic storm, but she’s still making her presence felt and the wind is hectic! Obsessing: Over how to make working work this year…
Hello! I have a new video today (and a new resolution to re-post my videos from youtube to here more often!). One of my goals for the month of Shevat was to use my phone less, and stop scrolling un-necessarily. So I put together this video with 5 (okay, 6) of the tips I used to help me break my phone habit! I hope you enjoy it!
0. Turn off notifications on all your apps (bar maybe a few really important ones. I leave on my school app, gumtree (buying/selling second hand), and Pzziz which I use for sleep and it sends me a little reminder at bedtime!
Put your phone up so you can’t easily access it from your pocket. Basically, treat it like a home phone!
2. Don’t have your phone in your room at night.
3. Have a full day away from your phone (hello Shabbat!).
4. Know what kind of relationship you want to have with your phone. Know why you’re trying to break this habit!
I’m participating in Vlog-nukkah this year! I’m pretty excited to bring a vlog to you for each day of Chanukah! Please have a watch below and see what life is like celebrating Chanukah here in Australia. 🙂
Q:When are you most creative? A: Usually in the middle of the day. If I’m not too tired then love to get creative in the evening as well, but usually the middle of the day is best for me!
Q: Fav youtube channels you subscribe to? A: The Modest Bohemian, Lulastic HippyShake, Little Kosher Lunch, Mayim Bialik.
Q: Feel free to ignore this if you’d rather keep it private, but you’d mentioned about some health concerns. What are they and how are they going? A: Hashimotos, Hypothy, IBS and food intolerances which lead to various vitamin deficiencies etc., like Vit D, mag, zinc, selenium and maybe more I don’t know of! I also have menstrual problems which we’re in the process of solving.
Q: Why did you decide to covert to Judaism? Q: Why did you decide to convert Orthodox & not reform or conservative? A: It’s hard to explain if you haven’t felt it before, but basically our souls were just drawn to it. Every little ritual, tradition, and piece of wisdom just felt so right for us.
There are lots of pretty practical reasons why we’d covert – the values of Judaism align well with us, we were previously Christians, so had experience with the Bible, and the Torah – though our understanding and interpretation of it at the time was severely limited. Now we feel much more free and like a light bulb has gone off in our head to see the truth!
Q: How do you stop yourself getting overwhelmed by the conversion process? A: I’m not very good at this!! On a practical, everyday sense, I have been practicing regular Jewish meditation, and that’s been very calming and helping to not being overwhelmed in general, and therefore with conversion stuff as well. I’ve had a few conversations with friendly lately and when explaining the changes we’re going through they liken it to doing a University degree. I whole heartedly agree with this connection, because firstly it’s quite an intellectual experience – lots of learning, memorising, learning a new language, critical thinking skills, problem solving etc., and then also because of the amount of time it takes. Really, I need to devote time to “study” every day, and take classes, etc. The reason this has helped me is because I know it’s not just ME who’s feeling overwhelmed with this, it’s actually like that for most people (or at least most people with a job – even if that’s homemaking, a spouse, kids, and a life…), and it is also a great reminder for me that there is an END in sight! One day this won’t all be new things that I’m constantly learning, these things will be habits, and natural, and my way of thinking and being will be transformed. And that’s a comfort to me when I’m feeling overwhelmed. G-D willing it won’t take as long as a University degree though!!
Q: What’s the toughest part of converting? A: This leads on well from the last topic. I think a lot of people think that learning kashrut, or incorporating masses of daily prayers into your life, or dressing differently might be some of the toughest parts, but that’s not what we’ve found. Don’t get me wrong, there are struggles with all those things, but I think it’s the spiritual, emotional, and habitual changes you’re making that are the toughest part. It’s the constant stretching of yourself and what you believe. It’s not the physical way you interact with the world that’s hard, it’s changing your mindset about WHY you’re doing it. kashrut isn’t just a diet preference, it’s understanding G-D’s heart, and desiring him, and committing that way. And then dealing with transgressions you make along the way. A lot of that internal stuff it’s so explicitly taught either, so this is your own personal work you have to do on top of the practical parts.
The other difficult part for me is aligning my other values with Judaism. Usually it’s fine, but sometimes there are cultural differences (not halacic) within Orthodox Judaism that grate against my other values like environmentalism etc.
Hey hey! Daily vlog time (is there anything else lately? No, no there’s not. Because there’s no time for anything else when you’re making a video every day!).
Today is mostly about cracking open a coconut, which went on all day really while we did other bits in between. It was mostly Eli’s project as he is a keen life investigator, but we all had a go at different bits.