Monday, January 26, 2009

hallmark hall of fame

Last night I watched yet another great Hallmark Hall of Fame movie on CBS. Really, I don't think I've ever seen a Hallmark movie I didn't love. They are such great, touching stories that really make you think about life and relationships.

This one was call "Loving Leah," and it was about a Hassidic Jewish girl whose Rabbi husband dies suddenly at a young age. They had no children together, so by a widely-unpracticed Jewish law, Leah was supposed to marry her husband's brother (as long as he was single). To get around this law, they had to perform a ceremony where Jake (who was not a practicing Jew) basically had to denounce his brother's existence. Jake just could not bring himself to do this, so he and Leah decided they would get married, and live as platonic roommates in D.C. Leah had never been away from the safety of her Brooklyn community, but was eager to take the SATs and go to college, starting a new life for herself. While living together (in separate bedrooms, of course), Leah and Jake surprise themselves by actually falling in love, even though Jake had a girlfriend of over a year. They came from very different lifestyles, and they, along with their families, had to give and take to fit into each other's worlds. Leah stopped wearing a wig to cover her hair. Jake started going to shul. Leah's mother began to accept that even though it wasn't with a very religious man, her daughter had found real love. And everyone lived happily ever after.

The movie was heart-warming and taught a lot about Jewish traditions and beliefs. It reminded us of the importance of family, and how things happen for a reason, even if it's hard to understand that reason right away. Leah and the Rabbi's marriage was set up by a family friend, and while they took care of each other and had a good life, true love just wasn't there. Leah always felt like something was missing from their marriage. When he died, she thought that marriage just wasn't for her, but through an almost forced, fake marriage with Jake, she found the love that was always missing.

The story definitely touched me, and reminded me how much I love Jewish traditions. As I've said in the past, I don't believe all that Judaism teaches, but I do love so many of the rituals and traditions, and the feeling of belonging in a community. While not being preachy or educational, the movie explained many of these traditions, and definitely cast Judaism in a positive light. It also showed that it doesn't matter if you are orthodox or reform, what kind of temple you attend or if you attend at all, if you keep Kosher or mix your meat and dairy, but what matters is how accepting you are of others and your ability to see beyond classifications and just love the one you love.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

2009 starts off with a bang

What an interesting year it has been thus far...and it's only been 2 weeks! I started off 2009 with a lovely stomach virus. Woke up in my hotel room after a great New Year's Eve seeing Hall & Oates with my parents and best friend at Mohegan Sun, and I didn't quite feel right. We hadn't been drinking the night before, and I actually barely ate a thing (our much-anticipated BBQ dinner wasn't quite what we expected), so I didn't really know what was going on, but it wasn't good. I was incredibly naseous and could barely move without feeling like I was going to lose whatever food I had in me. It was a very long three-hour drive home, to say the least - for me, and for those in the car with me. And it wasn't much better when I got home. I was sick for the rest of the night, throwing up just about every hour, and feeling just awful. Even the next day, although the vomiting had ended, I still felt terrible. And on Saturday, I forced myself to get out of the house for a while. By nighttime, I felt almost entirely better, but boy was it a doozy.

Tuesday rolls around, and I wake up for work with a terrible migraine. I'm talking terrible. I get migraines a few times a month, but with the right medicine, they haven't been really bad in years. But when you get them while you're asleep, there is no stopping them. Monsters I tell you. So that wiped me out for all of Tuesday, and still on Wednesday I didn't feel so great. This week, knock on wood, so far so good.

Maybe I'm just getting all my sicknesses out of the way in January, and I'll be perfectly healthy the rest of the year. Yeah. That must be it.

It really hasn't been all bad in 2009; I have had some fun in between the illness. Last weekend I went out with a guy I've been talking to on Jdate for months, and we had a really nice time. After, I met up with Brian to go to some bar by NYU where we were supposed to meet a whole bunch of my friends from my Birthright trip. Unfortunately, the weather was just awful, and instead of the 15 people who said they'd be there, only three were able to make it. But it was really great to see them, everyone brought friends and it ended up being a fun night. Hopefully more people will be able to come when I plan another reunion for the summer.

This weekend is a Morristown weekend. It's going to be a high of 15 degrees on Friday, so once I get there, I'm pretty sure we're locking ourselves inside Vic's apartment for the night. And Saturday we're having dinner in the city, drinks at our friend's apartment and then out for his birthday with a whole bunch of his friends. It should be a lot of fun, and we're looking forward to it despite the frosty, frigid weather. We'll be sure to bundle up and hope to make it home alive.