My Scrapbook Resume

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Write.Click.Scrapbook. Sneak Peek, and a Whole Peek

Here's the peek. Now, for full disclosure-it's a layout about Comic Con. Which still doesn't tell you the theme of November's gallery. For  that, you will simply have to head on over to Write.Click.Scrapbook on the 1st of the month.

But while we are talking about Comic Con, here's a layout about some of the preparations that went on before the big day. This was the first year the Deutsch Males dressed up, and they took this very seriously. On occasion my skills were needed, too. Some of those skills were crafty (like knowing when to use duct tape, and when to use spray paint). Other skills I have simply because I'm a girl, and I know that there exists a thing called hairspray. Max was in awe when he saw how it works.

Even Dave got a little crafty, which he probably hasn't done since elementary school:

He even used crayons:

What with the end of October coming up, I know the world is abuzz with costume preparations. I hope they all work out as well as these guys' did:

Sunday, October 6, 2013

On Voices Big and Small

I am going to veer from my usual topics of scrapbooking and family for this post, and talk a little about Jewish stuff. And, it's going to be wordy.

Here goes.

First, by way of introduction:

A while ago, I made this layout. (See, still some scrapbooking.)

I made it as my own little response to something someone said to me at work, but really it reflects a big part of me. I have always been quiet and shy. For a good long while, (through childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood) I thought this was something that needed to be fixed. But one of the beautiful things about being an adult for a while, is that you (hopefully) realize you are just fine the way you are. Not perfect, but good enough. And while being shy can hold me back, it is also, perhaps, the source of some of my strengths.

So, it was with this feeling of contentment and self confidence that I went to shul (synagogue) this Simchat Torah. It's a joyful holiday with singing and dancing and praying with the Torah. Now, for the last few years, I have been going to the Stanton Street Shul. I go there (though the rest of my family attends elsewhere) because I enjoy the Rabbi,  the services, and though it's small, and the building is falling apart, it is a happy place.

And, I go to the Stanton Street Shul because they find places within the confines of Jewish law to include women in the services as much as possible. This is most important to me on Simchat Torah, where this is the one shul in my neighborhood where women can dance with the Torah. And more than that, women are called upon to recite some of the prayers out loud (or even sing) during the hakafot. And this is the point of my story.

The Story:

This year, I believe, was the first where my name was called from the bima, to recite a line from the "Ata Hareita." My heart stopped, my hands shook, and my voice cracked like a pubescent male as I said my verse out loud. And when I was done, I whispered to the women next to me how terrifying that was for me to do. After all, I am quiet (see above). And she said something to the point of, "It's because you were taught not to use your voice in shul." And, I responded, "No. It's not like that. I'm just a shy person. It's okay." I, and many Orthodox women I know, do not feel like a victim in  the male dominated synagogue. 

But, I thought about it more, and I watched other as other women looked and sounded nervous as they recited their lines aloud.  It's true, I'm quiet and shy. But, I suppose that if over the years, I had been expected to occasionally lead the prayers, or read the Torah, I would have a stronger voice while praying in shul. I would not feel suddenly terrified to read Hebrew words that are so familiar to me, aloud. 

Over the course of the holiday, I watched as some women sang loud and clear; and I admired them.  And, I was most moved by watching women look a little nervous and a little shy, (some asked for help from the women around them), as they found their voices and prayed out loud. 

The Message:

Do I feel like Orthodoxy is a patriarchal system, trying to keep our women quiet and submissive. Nope. I think that for a variety of reasons, both religious and historical, this is the way our traditions have developed.

Does that need to change?
Many will say, quite adamantly, that it CAN'T and it shouldn't. I totally get that. Personally, I am perfectly happy to sit quietly at the back of the shul, and watch the men do all the work. Really. I never once sat in shul and thought, "I wish I could be up there, on that side of the mechitzah."

Not once.

But, even if I haven't, some girls and women out there have. Some will in the future. And for them, there needs to be a place within Orthodoxy for them to feel heard and understood. There need to be opportunities for them to be involved in services to the extent that halacha allows. 

For that reason, I will attend women's prayer groups in my neighborhood. I will volunteer to help make them successful. And even though I really want to stay in shul with my mouth closed, maybe sometimes, even a comfortably quiet person has to be a little louder.

Which is a shame for the rest of you, because my singing voice is not that hot.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Write.Click.Scrapbook. October

Well here it is; another month, another layout:

The theme for this month, is "A Day in the Life." I chose to focus on one small part of my everyday routine, and that is my bike ride to and from work. Quite frankly, I think it would be a crime to NOT make  a layout about bike riding, what with those cute bicycle paper clips from Maya Road, and all. The Cocoa Daisy triangle stamps came in handy too.