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Welcome to Shvat, Jewish Mamas :) - Page 2

post #21 of 42
I don't know that we'll do anything. I'm working, and well, I've just been really exhausted and not up to planning anything.
post #22 of 42
We don't do anything for Tu B'shvat - I figure my kids will probably get something in school (esp. since I'm the one who ordered it for one school and will personally deliver it)... Dh and Tehila are allergic to fruit
post #23 of 42
We do a seder for Tu B'Shvat. It's actually a very stress-free seder. Just get a lot of different fruits and nuts (I think the minimum number ... from where I don't know, so don't ask ... is 15, but we get 18) and four different types of grape juice (dark, rose ... or however you'd spell "rozay" without the accent mark ... white, and then we'll add just a touch of the dark to some white grape juice to make a fourth) , and there ya' go.

Editing the post to correct the following paragraph.

The name of the book we have from Yitzhak Buxbaum is A Tu BShvat Seder: The Feast of Fruits from the Tree of Life. That's the one we read from and play with for our seder. Am kind of appalled to see the price at the Amazon link, though ... it's a little paperback, less than a hundred pages, and we bought our copy at a Judaica store ages ago for, what, 15 dollars or some such.

He has a sweet book A Person is Like a Tree,. Sweet stuff. (From a sweet guy. And he also has a book about the Ba'al Shem Tov that's just outrageously delightful.) It is, however, almost 300 pages. It apparently costs less at Amazon than the little seder book, which strikes me as odd, but maybe the seder one is out-of-print or some such.





Anyway, the Aish.com site has a condensed seder taken from Yitzhak's paperback here.

Keeping in mind that it's not in any way a halakhic thing, so it's all just ... suggestions.
post #24 of 42
I'm also not sure what to do about Tu B'Shvat. A few years ago, my daughters came home from school with a printout of a Tu B'Shvat seder that we used several years in a row. Now I can't find it. There's nothing in the siddur about Tu B'Shvat, and I just don't get a good feeling about the ones I found online. I want to do SOMETHING to acknowledge the holiday, but I also don't want to do anything that feels awkward or weird, especially since we're having company this Shabbos.

A 14yo from a non-observant family (that we've known for years, and I'm friends with the mom and went to high school with the dad) is staying over Friday night, but leaving early Saturday morning, and I think that another girl (13yo, non-observant family but she herself is trying to be shomer shabbos) might be staying over as well.

Including fruits in the dishes themselves sounds like a good idea. That might just be easier- do normal Shabbos kiddush and hamotzi, then eat lots of foods with fruits and talk about how it's Tu B'Shvat and point out the fruity dishes during the meal, and not do any special seder.
post #25 of 42
we are having shabbos dinner at our shul and dh is doing most of the cooking (ssshhh he already asked me to come help him out tonightLOL) so lot's of dishes with fruits in them, chicken with prunes, rice with,raisins and almonds, spinnach leaf salad with strawberries and mango's , etc; etc;

My kids are also making (now as Iam on mdc) little feeders for the birds in honor of shabbos shira very easy, take a bagel and stick it with seeds and buckweat, take string or ribbon and thread through the middle of the bagel and hang from a tree or whatever.
post #26 of 42
Shabbat shalom.
post #27 of 42
I didn't think this deserved it's own thread, but I had to get it out.

They won't let me use the mikvah, and I'm crushed.

I used to observe THM in my previous marriage, and then I didn't for many years. After my miscarriage, I wanted to immerse, so I contacted my local mikvah. Before I could go there, though, we had to go to L.A. for my mother-in-law's funeral, so I used the mikvah there. The lady there was so friendly, and welcoming, and warm. I felt wonderful to be back in the mikvah. I washed off all the pain and anxiety I'd been carrying, with my miscarriage and my MIL's death, and I felt whole again.

I wanted to start going to the mikvah again on a monthly basis. My husband and I have an unusual marriage (he travels a LOT) so we didn't want to do the full 12 days every month, but we decided we could handle the first week. So when time came around again, with a couple days' advance notice, I contacted the local mikvah again and said I wanted to immerse.

Well, it was weird. The lady there had me meet her at noon, and then she kind of interviewed me for awhile, and then she gave me a tour of the preschool and introduced me to her entire family one by one. It was VERY awkward. She said I couldn't immerse that day but she'd get back to me. Well, almost two months went by, and today out of nowhere she contacted me again and said she and her husband would like to have us over for Shabbos, and there are women's classes at her shul, and oh by the way they think I should "consider taking on another mitzvah" and not use the mikvah because my husband isn't Jewish.

I am so sad over this. I feel rejected and robbed of a mitzvah that brought a lot of beauty and meaning into my life in the past, and which I hoped would bring more in the future. I had hoped that it would help us conceive. I feel shoved out of the Jewish community before I even had a chance to come back in.

That's the only mikvah in town, too, and I don't know a safe place to immerse outdoors, especially while it's still this cold out. So I guess I just don't get that mitzvah in my life anymore. This makes me so sad and I guess I just wanted to share it with some other Jews.
post #28 of 42
kelilah: I am sorry. What an ordeal.

Without knowing too much about where you are the only thing I can think of is that this particular mikvah is exclusive and not for public use. Does your town have a small very religious population? When I was looking for a mikvah before my wedding, I was turned away from one operated by Ultra Orthodox Jews. The mikvah lady hung up on me - twice.

The last place I lived I drove 2 hours on a monthly basis to use the mikvah. But I know our city had a small, very exclusive Ultra Orthodox population and I doubt their women were driving 2 hours or more to immerse....

Are you willing to drive?

IME/IMO the attendant shouldn't be asking personal questions, nor should she be scheduling an interview. Perhaps an Orthodox mama can shed some more light... I'm sorry your experience was less than pleasant, to say the least.
post #29 of 42
I'm orthodox and have gone to mikvahs in two different states. Never once have I been questioned. I'm quite shocked that a mikvah lady would do something like that. I've met mean mikvah ladies, but they never turned me away... made me wish I had never gone to their mikvah though. Sorry this happened to you.
post #30 of 42
Yeah, I've gotten clique-ishness from some Orthodox congregations (and people) before - neither my ex nor my husband is Jewish, I'm blonde, my name isn't Jewish - but the one place that's always been welcome, no matter where I've been in my travels, was Chabad. I spent many years traveling over this country and Australia, and Chabad was always there with a smile. The last time I immersed, in L.A., it was at a Chabad mikvah and they were as warm and welcoming as always. So I'm doubly wounded by the fact that it was a Chabad facility doing this now.

I dunno, maybe there are other mikvaot here in town and I just don't know about them. The nearest other one I'm aware of is four hours away and I can't afford to drive eight hours to use the mikvah every month, especially since I'd have to stay overnight because I can't drive very late at night. So without this one here in town, I just don't get to do the mitzvah. Maybe it's not technically a mitzvah for me, since my husband isn't Jewish, but it brought me closer to G-d and I really needed that.

I also keep feeling like maybe this is why we haven't been able to conceive since the miscarriage. Maybe I'm just being rejected completely. Maybe we'll never have children because of our intermarriage or because I can't immerse. I know that's ridiculous, but I can't help the nagging what-if.

Thanks, Falicia and Jessica, for the hug and support.
post #31 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Faliciagayle View Post
IME/IMO the attendant shouldn't be asking personal questions, nor should she be scheduling an interview. Perhaps an Orthodox mama can shed some more light... I'm sorry your experience was less than pleasant, to say the least.
Absolutely. I agree that this was way too invasive. And also that CHABAD is typically AMAZING...

but...

there is definately an issue with mikvah immersion when you are married to a non Jew...the issue, as I understand it, is with saying the bracha. This could have been much better handled by telling you that you are NOT to say the bracha when you immerse in the mikvah...and it would have been even better handled, still, by sitting with you and working on composing WITH YOU a special prayer that you COULD say at the time of immersion (or before or after...or a series of psalms you could read, etc...) that could help make the experience holy for you.

ANY Jew can immerse in a mikvah. No one can prevent you from doing that (of course, unless, it's a private property issue and then it's their perogative...by law...American law...and maybe Jewish law, too, I have no idea.) Though it is proper to let you know that for you, your immersion is NOT a mitzvah...in other words, it is not required of you to do this as a Jewish woman. So if you decide you don't need it anymore, etc... then fine. BUt it's not treated as a mitzvah and you do need to know that. But plenty of people immerse for personal spiritual reasons and don't say a bracha or consider it a mitzvah...but rather a good thing that they NEED to do spiritually even if it's not reflected inJewish law and that is perfectly fine and okay.

I think that if you call her back and explain to her that you did not feel very welcomed and that this experience was very painful for you and that your experience with CHABAD has normally been wonderful and you feel very let down by her intensive questioning, etc... then it would be beneficial for the both of you. Do NOT play the victim here. But also remember that if it is their private property, then it's their perogative who comes and who goes. But that doesn't mean that you can't give feed back and speak your mind. It's important that you do that because this woman is inadvertantly turning people off to Judaism which is NOT what the Rebbe Lubavich would have wanted, imho.

You can also let her know that this is not a MITZVAH for you...and you know that. That you are not taking on this as a MITZVAH, but rather, you, as a Jewish woman, would like to immerse properly (without a bracha, for example) and work with her about how to do it right.

She is also trying to encourage you to take on a mitzvah for yourself, which also can help as a segula for conception and any other things you are looking for in your life, and she could have spelled it out for you better than how she did (ie, not at all...gurrr) but she could have said "listen, going to the mikvah is NOT a mitzvah for you. the best way to help you conceive would be to take on a real mitzvah (i.e. lighting cnadles at the proper time to usher in shabbat, for example, or saying Shma every morning, etc..) and that would make you both feel better, but also be an ACTIVE way of trying to help you with your fertility issues in a halachically appropriate way.

Anyways, why don't you suggest these things to her, and let her know that you want to immerse, but even if she doesn't "let" you (and yes, you can go elsewhere for that...or just even take a bath with intention...not it's not the same thing as a halachic mikvah, but it's also good for your mind and spirit and all water is from HaShem anyways... and since it's NOT a mitzvah, it doesn't have to be done like a mitzvah with all of the rules and regulations!)
you are still interested in knowing if there is a specific mitzvah that you CAN take on that might help you to concieve and carry a healthy child.

If you approach her in this way, you might have some more luck and help. And if not, contact another Chabad, even that woman in L.A. that was so kind to you, to ask her about what you should do. Don't give up and be defeatest. Okay?

Ps, Had healthy baby boy, B"H. Motzai TuBishvat...guess i was ALMOST right about what I would be doing that day.
post #32 of 42
You should check out http://mikvah.org/default.asp ... It's a directory of all the mikvahs in the world (I think... maybe just the states, but I'm pretty sure it's everywhere).
post #33 of 42
julriv, mazel tov! All these bouncing baby boys.

Kelilah, have you contacted your LOR? They should have a more complete directory.

I'm also shocked. I've used the mikveh with no problems as well - and I'm a reform convert married to a non-Jew. I don't say the bracha, but I agree - it's a holy moment.
post #34 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by jul511riv View Post
Though it is proper to let you know that for you, your immersion is NOT a mitzvah...in other words, it is not required of you to do this as a Jewish woman. So if you decide you don't need it anymore, etc... then fine. BUt it's not treated as a mitzvah and you do need to know that. But plenty of people immerse for personal spiritual reasons and don't say a bracha or consider it a mitzvah...but rather a good thing that they NEED to do spiritually even if it's not reflected inJewish law and that is perfectly fine and okay.
Thank you so much for saying that. It makes me feel a lot better. I'm fine with not saying the bracha, or with saying something else instead. I've met mean mikvah ladies before, and I've called total strangers when traveling to ask if I can use the mikvah in 24 hours, but I've never had anyone tell me no before. And this lady seemed very sweet and nice (a bit excessively so; under the circumstances it was so awkward to be introduced to her mother, her brother, her daughter, her husband, her sister, her brother-in-law, et al) so I was just so thrown off!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jul511riv View Post
I think that if you call her back and explain to her that you did not feel very welcomed and that this experience was very painful for you and that your experience with CHABAD has normally been wonderful and you feel very let down by her intensive questioning, etc... then it would be beneficial for the both of you. Do NOT play the victim here. But also remember that if it is their private property, then it's their perogative who comes and who goes. But that doesn't mean that you can't give feed back and speak your mind. It's important that you do that because this woman is inadvertantly turning people off to Judaism which is NOT what the Rebbe Lubavich would have wanted, imho.
I thought of that last bit. But honestly, I'm too embarrassed to email her back. I don't want to have to beg to use the mikvah; it's a vulnerable position I'm in when I'm there, being all naked and inspected and such, so I don't want to have any unpleasantness involved. If it's not required, better not to go than turn it into something ugly. I'm just sad that it's gotten this way. And it does turn me off from going to the classes or joining the synagogue.

I really wanted to get back into Judaism and my husband is really supportive in that, promised to go to services with me on Saturday and whatnot. We already light candles on Friday nights, I say the Sh'ma when I go to bed and when I get up, we have a mezuzah on the door... I'm trying. It's just the community aspect that I've been too shy to pursue. And this whole thing does NOT help me feel less shy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jul511riv View Post
and yes, you can go elsewhere for that...or just even take a bath with intention...not it's not the same thing as a halachic mikvah, but it's also good for your mind and spirit and all water is from HaShem anyways... and since it's NOT a mitzvah, it doesn't have to be done like a mitzvah with all of the rules and regulations!
That's a great idea. I have a huge jetted soaking tub in my master bathroom and I very rarely use it because it takes so long to fill. I could just make that my monthly "mikvah" type bath. Thanks for the inspiration! It's not the religious experience that going to the real mikvah is, but I suppose it's better than nothing. And in good weather, there is a clothing-optional beach nearby (family-oriented, not a seedy place or anything like that) and I could immerse in the river there when it's not too cold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jul511riv View Post
If you approach her in this way, you might have some more luck and help. And if not, contact another Chabad, even that woman in L.A. that was so kind to you, to ask her about what you should do. Don't give up and be defeatest. Okay?
Thanks. I'll try to work up the nerve to respond to her, and the idea to contact the nice Chabad lady in L.A. is another good one. I just want religious intervention with this whole conception thing, because it isn't happening on its own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jul511riv View Post
Ps, Had healthy baby boy, B"H. Motzai TuBishvat...guess i was ALMOST right about what I would be doing that day.
Mazel tov!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JessicaA622 View Post
You should check out http://mikvah.org/default.asp ... It's a directory of all the mikvahs in the world (I think... maybe just the states, but I'm pretty sure it's everywhere).
Yeah, that's how I found this one. It's a great website!
post #35 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by smeisnotapirate View Post
Kelilah, have you contacted your LOR? They should have a more complete directory.

I'm also shocked. I've used the mikveh with no problems as well - and I'm a reform convert married to a non-Jew. I don't say the bracha, but I agree - it's a holy moment.
I'm sorry, I don't know what a LOR is! Who should I contact?

It is a huge relief to be backed up by all you ladies. Thank you. I was really feeling rejected and ashamed for awhile there. My husband may not be Jewish, but I am, and Judaism is important to me even if I haven't always been perfectly observant. I wouldn't have married him if he hadn't been 100% supportive of a Jewish home with Jewish children, and he is. That's enough for me, so I don't know why not for her.
post #36 of 42
Sorry, LOR is shorthand for "local orthodox rabbi." Good luck!
post #37 of 42
I'm sorry about that kelilah. I would take a look to see if there are any other mikvahs in your city as well. I looked and looked and only found evidence of one mikvah. turns out there is a community mikvah (in addition to our towns orthodox mikvah) one town over, but it wasn't listed on any of the local jewish resource webpages. because it is a community mikvah, they have to be more open to using the mikvah for less traditional uses.
post #38 of 42
I'm sorry about your experience with the mikvah, Kelilah. As far as I know the Chabad mikvah is the only one here in PDX. I don't know how outdoorsy you are, but have you considered going to a local hot spring. Breitenbush Hot Springs is about a 2 hour drive from us. I know many people who go to Breitenbush for spiritual retreats (though not for mikvahs). There is also a place run by the forest service called Bagby Hot Tubs that is closer to us (just outside of Estacada), but requires a 45 minute hike to get there. Both of them are fed by natural streams. I, honestly, have never been to either, but thought it might be an option for you to consider.
post #39 of 42
Thanks, y'all. And WOW thanks for the leads on the hot springs! I hadn't thought of that. The one with the hike sounds really appealing if I can work up the nerve!
post #40 of 42
Yeah, the Bagby Hot Springs (not tubs, sorry about that) is sounding good to me too; beautiful drive along the river, hike through old growth forest, dip in a handmade cedar tub fed by clear, hot, spring water. I'm thinking of trying to get the family to go and check it out with me this weekend. I'll let you know how it goes.

Shabbat Shalom everyone!
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