Minority Inspector

As Minority Inspector, I must keep Envelope B in my possession for one year.

For many years now, I have gone to vote and wondered about those older women sitting behind the folding tables in the basement of my community center. Why were so many older? How and why did they do the job of managing the elections? Was there some kind of inside club outside of my awareness? How could or why would I ever consider joining the forces?

Then, the pandemic came. I no longer went to the polls and used the safer, easier, in the comfort of my own home, with the security of my own research mail-in ballot. Those women were totally out of sight and completely out of mind.

But then, the Former promoted the Big Lie along with the fear of fraudulent elections and suddenly, without too much thought or understanding, I became one of those older women sitting behind the folding table in the Sheraden Senior Center, taking an oath to administer fair and legal elections, followed by instructing the youth in the ways of casting a ballot.

Assigned to the 20th ward, 12th district, along with Steve as my Judge of Elections, I worked the polls yesterday from 6:00AM-setting up and organizing the whole process through to 9:40PM- dropping of the completed ballots and computer chips to the downtown county election office. Quite a long tiring day!

A moment of rest for the Minority Inspector

My main assignment was to make sure people got their paper ballots properly counted in the voting machine. This is part of a two-part back-up system of computer system tallies with paper ballot back-up. I also did trouble shooting for incorrectly registered voters, provisional ballots, and all kinds of other things you can’t even imagine, to make sure each person executed his/her right to vote.

Though out the day, I worked on a personal blind faith that those paper ballots would scan and record, but by the end of the day, reading the tape results and participating in the entire start to finish voting system, I cannot over emphasize how wonderfully safely, securely, efficiently and effectively the whole system runs!

Kudos to our election board and everyone who participated. Thank The Holy One that we live in the democratic United States of America. May she continue for many generations!

More On My Grandfather z”l

I have been on an ongoing quest to find how more about my grandfather. as I documented in an earlier blog. Because of that blog, a family genealogist, on the other side of my family, found and sent me his death certificate. It had lots of new information to me: where he was born: Russia; his birthdate: September 6th, 1881; the cause of his death: Hodgkins Disease associated with pressure of glands on vital organs; and the cemetery of his burial: Shaary(sic) Torah Cemetary, Whitehall.

With the help of the The Rauh Jewish Archives Burial Records I was able to figure out his grave’s location. It was still challenging to actually locate the grave, but with the help of a cousin, we worked our way around the unmarked rows and were able to zero in on the location and actually find his grave. It was thrilling, really it was!

Tashlich 5782

Let us cast away indifference to injustice; Let us cast away the times we did not reach out to help others; Let us cast away not being better allies because of our own privileges; Let us cast away the times we did not have the courage to speak up about injustice; Let us cast away that we did not help others because we were happy with our own lives; Let us cast away that we witnessed prejudice or discrimination but did nothing; Let us cast away ignoring those in need; Let us cast away not having time to be part of activism in our communities; Let us cast away not giving tzedakah to causes; Let us cast away the complacency in oppression; Let us cast away………..

Written by Elliott batTzedek:

We have abandoned, we have appropriated, we have analyzed, we have arbitrated

We’ve belittled, we have broken faith, we have turned our backs, we have believed the unbelievable

We have grown numb, we’ve given too little, we’ve given too late, we have given up

We have denied, we have distorted, we have hesitated, we have held our tongues

We have victim-blamed, we have zoned out, we have chided, we have chastised

We have taken, we have turned away, we have yielded, we have yet to act

We have kept to ourselves, we’ve been complicit, we have laughed off, we have relied on the law,

We’ve made excuses, we have minimized, we’ve made light of, we have mocked

We have not noticed, we have neglected, we have negated, we have sent our regrets

We’ve averted our eyes, we have forsaken, we have pitied, we’ve failed to imagine new possibilities

We have explained, we’ve criticized, we have rationalized, we’ve refused responsibility

We’ve shamed the innocent, we have silenced, we have suppressed, we have failed to support

We have talked, we have talked, we have talked, but we have not listened

We have not sought the truth, we’ve theorized, we have told ourselves lies, and we have believed them.

French Knots; Again

Over the years, I have done many successful portraits using French Knots. The work began with this portrait of my father and me- using the process of making the portrait to mourn his loss.

Embroidery 1998 from 1990 Photo

The work continues today; this latest one a view of me sitting on a piece of denim furniture I created with my omer portraits as the background. The flying geese border is a homage to one of SilkDenim’s most successful garments, The Poncho.

Self Portrait 2021; 15″ X 13″; embroidery, patchwork, hand quilting

You are welcome to watch a bit of the process of making this piece in this video.

A Ten Year Plan

I have always been a little ahead and to the left and so it makes perfect sense that I would decide to make and execute a ten-year-plan to get me to my 80th birthday. There are many parts to the plan- to be revealed as we go- the one for today is the final phase of developing art quilts. What does that even mean???? I’m not entirely sure, but stick with my process because, for sure, it’s going to be fun!

Reviewing this Tree of Life Quilt that was part of Quilt National 2011, inspired the action of trying it again, ten years later- adding all of my wonderous knowledge and experience over this time period.

Tree of Life 2011

To begin-the palette: last time I went to the Salvation Army and picked the colors I could find that had 4 values- This time, I am using my Omer Calendar to make sure I will focus on each divine attribute- so I wanted 7 colors plus black to white and this time up my game to 5 values of each ( 5 values is what I have always used in the French knot embroideries- making the color much more nuanced).

And so long ago captured inspiration to help me get started on the form:

The Magic Of The Internet

Mit in drinnen, Sarah and I are working on a project with Style412 (more on that another time) and sales of one of our most practical totes- The Reusable Lightweight Packable Grocery Carry-All Recycled Shirts Bag Tote, Roll- up, Great for Produce, Versatile Packing start flowing into our inbox.

It’s crazy for us- three at once- then two more- then two to send as gifts along with our big schmatta and looking at our ETSY site as I write- more than 20 people have the Reusable Tote in their carts. How did this happen???

A friend let us in on the secret: the tote was featured on the Claire & Erica A Thing or Two Newsletter as one of Claire’s recommendations: Finding room in my heart and my home for another tote—one so good it makes me wish we still had a store so we could sell it ourselves. Here it is:

Imagine a world with fewer plastic bags and take-out cartons. Like all our bags, the shirts tote has endless uses, but it was inspired by our love of food shopping mixed with our desire to create less waste.

A lightweight packable carry all bag – but cooler and more versatile than all those weird nylon or polyester bags. Use it to bag produce at the grocery store, or have it rolled up in your purse for an impromptu shop, or use it to help organize packing as a bag within a bag / suitcase.

Made from 100% recycled shirting. Cleverly constructed using recycled shirt seams as ties to roll the bag up for take away.

Personalization option: send us your own shirts from which we can make your bags or request colors!

Made in Pittsburgh upon order. All items are one-of-a-kind, unique, and vary. The photos shown here are just examples.

Check out our video of how to roll it HERE

Weeks Four and Five: Netzach and Hod

I have always had trouble separating Netzach and Hod. I’m pretty sure it’s a common Kabbalistic problem. Presenting opposite each other at the bottom of the tree makes them too co-creatively interdependent to hold one without the other. However, this week and next help because when we take first netzach and then hod and experience them with each of the other sefirot, their individual characters become a little clearer.

Netzach is eternity in Each Moment Connection to All that Was, All that Is, All that Will Be, a transformation today that affects generations to come. Hod is being in the Presence in time and space, open to the glory of the moment.

Today, day twenty-seven is Yesod in Netzach- the longing to connect through past present and future, symbolized personally with another trip to the cemetery and a new self-portrait embroidery in process.

Counting The Omer Week Three: Tiferet

Tiferet is a challenging sefirot because of our tendency to elevate its importance making it seem central to our successful integration of the divine. The trick is to deflate its central idea of total acceptance and the goodness to be very simply inline with all of the other sefirot– one might call it the zen approach to Kabbalah!

Today, Thursday, being day 18, we have the task of finding the Eternity/Vision/Endurance of Netzach in the Radiance/Balance/Harmony/Truth of Tiferet.

For me, it seems related to my search for my maternal great-grandfather. Trying to find his grave (I will have to return to the cemetery again), I came upon other members of his family, his brother who died in a car accident:

And my great-grandparents-his wife’s parents, Noah and Libbie Golanty, one of whom I was named after:

Week Two of Counting The Omer: Gevorah

Yesterday, on the 10th day of the journey to Sinai, we explored tiferet v gevurah, the ability to temper our judgment of self, or others, or the journey itself allowing for the blended balance of beauty and power to pace ourselves throughout. Tiferet is the blueprint for change with balance, both internally and with others applied to our gevurah strength.

Tiferet in Gevorah

Today, on the 11th day of the journey to Sinai, we explored netzach v gevurah, determined to stay focused and overcome obstacles, knowing that success is determined in each and every moment, as it is experienced through our chesed/gevorah balanced perspective.