Bubbe Wisdom Blog

Monday, April 6th, 2020

Next Year Safe and Healthy

Seder 2012

Each person in our family received the following list to prepare for Wednesday’s Seder. Maybe you will find it helpful:


For this Stay-at-home Seder, you will prepare your own food. While making your choices, keep in mind what the traditional food represents and select an alternative food easily available to you during these circumstances to use as a replacement. 

Candles and matches- any kind on hand

Soup- Chicken soup is undoubtably the symbol of Jewish cuisine but for this, use your favorite go-to comfort soup, something easily made on hand: packed noodle, canned or boxed soup.

Wine– In our tradition, wine represents the life force and the hope/blessing for fertility. Use whatever drink(s) give you hope for better blessings.

Matza- Our bread of affliction (Deuteronomy 16:3) is made of only two ingredients, water and flour signifying poverty and difficulty. As the bread of freedom it represents the byproduct of God’s swift and miraculous salvation liberating the children of Israel. As the food of faith, it imagines our afflictions as a precursor to redemption and links slavery to freedom. For your matza, choose a simple and unadorned basic nourishing food that gives you hope.

Seder Plate-These food together will serve as our main dish.

beitzah(egg)- represents new life and springtime- traditionally a roasted egg, but consider any form of egg, or any kind of seed or nut, an avocado or avocado pit, or even a flower

karpas(fresh vegetable dipped in salt water)- also spring, renewal, along with the tears of slavery- traditionally parsley- consider anything leafy or celery or avocado, or even a onion.

maror(bitter herbs)-the bitterness of our lives- traditionally horseradish – consider anything spicy.  

charoset(brick mortar)- the hardship of slavery- traditionally a mix of nuts, apples, and wine- try a mix of some kind of fruit and nuts like peanut butter and jelly or granola.

lamb shank, beets- bloodshed required to induce freedom- consider any slice of meat or beets or a yam, anything colorful.

orange(equality)- for all genders and races- this is for something you don’t normally see on a seder plate- so use your imagination.

olives (peace)- What represents peace to you?

carrots(sustainability)- a simple, practical, nutritious food.

potatoes(sustenance)- another basic practical, nutritious food.

fish(merit)- something a little extravagant 

chocolate(fair trade)- something that represents the rights of workers

Ezekiel Sandwich– a combination of any of the above to combine distinct flavors into the harmony of Oneness.

Cup of Miriam and Cup of Elijah– two extra cups one for your favorite drink and one for water.

Dessert- something sweet

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020

Memory Quilt 2019

Memory Quilt 2019
  • Favorite Deconstructed Denim
  • SilkDenim Flying Geese
  • Steve’s Painting Pants
  • Leftover Shirt Patches
  • Sandy’s Ugly Comforter Top
  • Hemp Shirt bought at Zen Center
  • Nana’s Caftan
  • Black Ribbed Turtleneck
  • Alex’s Table Cloth
  • Gottlieb Fabric
  • created print of Shekinu Embroidery
  • Ronda’s Hemp J Jill Jacket
  • Nicole Miller Pittsburgh Tie
  • Gabriel’s Sweater and Termal Top
  • Jody’s Danish Bread Basket
  • Heath’s Zen Robe
  • Print Shop Canvas Bag
  • Steve’s Indian Sack made into Bag
  • Special Olympics Golf Shirt
  • Tie Dye Tee-Shirts
  • Green Embroidered Tee
  • J Jill Pale Pink Textured Tee
  • Blue Fish Tee

Tuesday, January 7th, 2020

Schitt’s Creek

It’s hard to get a laugh out of me. One exception has been watching all five seasons of Schitt’s Creek on Netflix. Having admitted this, it is difficult to contain my excitement for the sixth and final season of Schitt’s Creek that starts tonight on POP TV.

It’s a simple fish-out-of-water concept, a rich family moving to a small town after going suddenly bankrupt. In the fantasy of sophisticated meets quaint, they encounter a small town striving to thrive in the midst of middle-class erosion. It all works: the writing, the plot and most of all, the characters.

The family, Johnny, Moira, David and Alexis are all pitch perfect. Supporting them is a treasure trove. My two favorites are Motel clerk Stevie, so deadpan, it’s hard to figure out when she’s kidding and silly Jack of all trades, Bob.

A shout out and a thank you to Schitt’s Creek for offering up such particular corkscrew kindness and weird warmth; making it something to look forward to, finally.

Sunday, December 1st, 2019

God Is A Verb

From the book by David Cooper:

On the verb of God: When we give a name to the nameless it is a stumbling block that trips most people. We think that if it has a name, it has an identity. An identity comes with attributes. So we think we know something about it. This is a mistake.

For thousands of years this mistake has become ingrained in the human psyche. The word “God” suggests an embodiment of something that can be grasped. We have given a name to the unknown and unknowable and then have spent endless time trying to know it. We try because it has a name; but we must always fail because it is unknowable. Judaism is so concerned about this misunderstanding, it goes to great lengths to avoid naming God. Yet various names seep through because our minds cannot work without symbols.

What then is the God that is written about in the bible? Kabbalists teach that the very first line of Genesis has been mistranslated. Most people think it says: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” But the actual words in Hebrew can be read another way. A Kabbalist could say: “With a beginning, [It] created God [Elohim], the heavens and the earth.”

That is to say, there was an initial creation out of nothingness the potential to begin–Beginningness. Once there was a beginning, God (in a plural form) was created–a God to which the rest of creation could relate. Then the heavens and the earth were created.

The implication of this interpretation profoundly affects our entire relationship with God and creation, for it says that all the names we have for God and all the ways in which we relate to God are a few degrees removed from the source of creation that precedes even nothingness. This is called Ein Sof, which is not the name of a thing but is an ongoing process.

On Torah study: The literal account of the five books of Moses is almost impossible to appreciate without assistance. Hundreds of commentaries exist, and, as we might imagine, many offer interpretations that contradict others. Nobody agrees that there is a definitively “correct” way to read the Torah. In fact the oral tradition suggests that there are at least 600,000 different interpretations, representing the number of those who received the Torah through Moses at Mt. Sinai.

This is what makes the study of Torah so interesting. If we simply accept the literal meaning of what it says, then it is merely a book with many unusual stories. If we engage it, however, work with it and use a variety of methods to analyze the text, it yields hidden clues that lead us on to further investigation. Study like this, a continuous give and take, becomes a mystical relationship between the text and the one studying it.

Listen to Cooper’s own words in this interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxEaMaOumA0

Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

It Takes A LifeTime-ReBlog

Some of my personal favorites

This is a reblog from 2015 I discovered while researching my newest project. It remains a thoughtful answer to the most often asked question.

The big question that I am getting lately is- How long does it take you to make that? Oh my, what a loaded question. There are so many factors that go into each and every quilt: the purpose, the budget, the materials, and the use to name the most basic. That requires a face-to-face meeting with the client- asking critical questions to understand the needs and goals for the project.

I go through the materials and organize them to make sense for this particular project. I begin with my experience- recalling past projects that fit into the same classification. For example, someone is interested in a curtain- I look back at all of my curtain projects and see what will help me this time.
I search through other pieces of art that will engage my creativity looking for innovations that will help make this piece better.

I decide on the format- do I need a drawing? a pattern? a series of cuttings? Are there different components to the project- does it need a border- will it be used as wall art? What is the backing?
Finally, the work begins, a very organized and speedy process of cutting, piecing, ironing, pinning, observing, correcting, noting, quilting, binding………………..

How long does it take to make a quilt? A lifetime of experience.

Working 2019

Thursday, November 14th, 2019

Coming Out Of Shavasana

When the time comes to return to life by allowing your breath to become deeper, longer. Bring some movement to your fingers and toes while you move your head from side to side. Take a moment to move your wrists and ankles in circles, circle in both directions to stimulate energy flow again. (There is an old Daoist saying that if you roll your ankles in circles every day, you will never die of a heart attack.) When you are ready, hug your knees to your chest in preparation for making your body small and round. Take a deep inhalation, and on the exhalation bring your head and knees together, and squeeze. Make yourself as small and as round as you can. Release.

Wake up by stretching out the whole body-this is a natural energizer. Move any supports away, stretch your legs along the floor and stretch your arms over your head. Interlock your fingers and turn the palms away from you. from you. Press your lower back down; flex your toes toward your nose. Now take a huge inhalation, fill your lungs- and stretch. Make yourself as long as possible; contract your facial muscles and make your face as small as possible. Push and pull yourself longer. Then release with a long sighing “Haah”. Once more flex the toes, flatten your lower back, and take a big inhalation. Stretch your body. This time, open your face, mouth, and eyes, as wide as you can, stick your tongue out, touch your chin- stretch. Reach! Exhale and relax with a sigh.

Hug your knees once more into your chest and roll to your left side; pause there a moment and let the energy settle. Stretch out your bottom arm under your head and use it as a pillow: enjoy how this feels. Often teachers will ask students to end the class by lying on their right side to relax the heart. This is a great suggestion for ending a yang class. Lying on the right side helps to open the left nostril, due to the sinus reflex. However, the left nostril is the yin channel. After a yin practice, it is nice to balance the body by lying on the left side, allowing the right nostril, the yang channel, to open.

Don’t linger too long here; coming back to life is like being reincarnated. Don’t stay in the bardo state between Shavasana (your little death) and rebirth too long, or you may decide to stay there forever. When you are ready, spill up to sitting and prepare your your final meditation.

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

Relax Completely

Scan your body slowly. Start with your toes and feet-allow your feet to relax. Feel them becoming heavy on the floor. Allow your awareness to rise up to the ankles, calves and shins. Feel them melting into the earth; no effort needed. Feel the space in the knee joints. Move slowly higher. Relax the thighs. Feel them become heavy, warm, soft. Notice your buttocks, hips and groin relaxing; they too become soft and warm. Linger here feeling the flow of energy through the hips.

Now allow your awareness to come to the tailbone, feel your sacrum and lower back release into the floor. Feel your lower back and stomach muscles relax. Allow this sensation to rise up the spine. Feel each vertebra- the space between them and their alignment. Allow the upper back muscles and the shoulder blades to sink into the floor. Relax your chest and all the muscles between the ribs. Come now to the shoulders, where we carry so much tension in our bodies. Let the shoulders release completely. spend an extra moment here, and really soften. Feel the weight of the shoulders sink into the earth. Relax the upper arms, the elbow, and the forearms. Feel the space in the wrist joints. Feel the space around each finger and the energy in the palm of each hand.

Bring your awareness to your neck and throat, and release all tension there. Relax your jaw, lips, and tongue; relax your checks and eyes and all the muscles around the eyes and deep in the eye sockets; relax your forehead and your scalp. Allow your head to rest heavily on the floor.

Now relax your inner organs. Bring your awareness to the reproductive organs and either feel or imagine them relaxing. Relax your intestines and kidneys. Imagine your liver, stomach, and spleen being filled with healing energies, Soften your diaphragm and lungs. Relax your heart. Let your heart become open…vast…undefending, and…smiling.

Release the breath totally; let it be whatever it wants to be. Notice the breath-become aware of the short pauses between each breath. Relax your mind…notice that the moment between the breath is the moment between the thoughts. Enjoy those moments of complete silence and peace; feel this sense of peace growing deeper. Let this feeling of peace fill you; let it fill the space around you, let peace fell the room and beyond, toughing everyone and everything.

The Complete Guild To Yin Yoga; Bernie Clark; pg.137

Monday, November 11th, 2019

Preparing To Relax

Make your environment quiet: turn off noises, remove pets, turn lights down but not off. Begin by letting the body become open: take off glasses and watches; let your hair down, remove anything that may restrict the flow of energy. Ensure you will stay warm-put on socks, a sweater, and/or cover yourself with blanket.

Make yourself comfortable as you lie on the floor. Bending the knees a little will allow the lower back to release to the floor. Place a folded blanket or bolster under them so the legs can relax. Allow the feet to fall inward or outward, whichever feels more relaxed. To really allow the sacrum to lie flat, slide your tailbone away from you. Next, let your arms lie beside you, palms face up and about a foot away from your hips. This will allow your shoulder blades to lie flat; snuggle them into the floor.

Lengthen the neck slightly by pointing the chin toward your feet. You can even roll your head from side to side a few times, until you find a comfortable position in the center.

Get all of your fighting over with: become still. Often, one or two deep breaths here with a loud sigh are delicious. Release your bones, let go completely- you are ready. Now close your eyes, time to relax.

The Complete Guide To Yin Yoga; Bernie Clark; Page 136

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

Reclaiming Religion

Ala Rabbi Sharon Brous’ Ted Talk. It is time for:

Wakefulness- pulling people into the anguish to promote social change.

Hope- a single act of defiance will give us a means, a sense of purpose

Mightiness- Understanding the act of being strong, mighty and worthy where we can’t do everything but we can do something.

Interconnectedness- Any problem is our problem too. We are in this together. None are free until all are free.

Time to end the failed religion of extremism and routinism and instead, the spiritual shift toward love, justice equality and dignity for all.

Monday, September 9th, 2019

Renewing The Human Spirit

The absolutely easiest, best path to renewal is a trip to one of our Natural Wonders. Magically, simple food becomes blessed:

Simple findings turn into meaningful representations:

The personal transforms in perspective:

And everything seems like the right place at the right time with the right purpose:

Friday, August 9th, 2019

No, You Cannot Shoot Someone on Fifth Avenue and Get Away With It

Last night I attended the Vigil in Squirrel Hill and I realized that I have been complicit because of my lack of action during this troubling times. Some ideas:

Join us at Tuesdays with Toomey Pittsburgh every Tuesday, 12:00, Toomey’s office City-County Building

Fax Your senators daily and particularly Mitch McConnell about bringing Gun Control legislation to the floor.

Identify your representatives and write to them or use social media for contact

Register to vote and find others to register.

Explore Michael Moore’s 10-POINT ACTION PLAN TO STOP TRUMP

Join a local Group like Bend the Arc or Casa San Jose

Stay informed!!!! My favorite way is podcasts like Talking Feds and Mueller She Wrote and The Daily.

Saturday, July 20th, 2019

Prayer To Michal

Michal the Archangel, the champion of The Divine’s people, help us in our struggle against evil in our hearts and in our midst. Guard and guide those whose special task is to work for the welfare of all. Keep our homes and families safe from harm. Be at our side at life’s end and lead us safely to The Divine whose great love we cherish and whose mercy we implore. Amen

Arch Angel Michal

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