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Our thoughts form the world

I arrived home even though Shiyara really wanted us to stay in America. She loved New York.

I would love to live in New York again for a few months at a time but as I told Shiyara, we would still need to go home to Casablanca to at least pack our things.

We returned to our friends who just had their first baby and he is as beautiful as his mother. They confessed they would be going back to America within the year. I will be losing my best friend and it hasn’t let me sleep at all but as I watch MasterChef and drink tea I noticed some words of wisdom written on the paper attached to a string, “Our thoughts are forming the world.” This is what I said to myself an hour earlier as I tossed and turned trying to sleep thinking of my friend leaving.

We can’t control the outcome of most anything in life but we can control how we see the world and it changes everything. This is what I came back to Morocco to do. Finish all that I started and sit with the discomfort of learning what I need to learn, going through the difficulties, be patient so I can move on in due time from this stage of evolution literally and metaphorically. So for tonight I pray that all the things she and I want for our families come true and that no more rest is lost worrying over what may or might arrive because of course no matter how painful or abandoned we will feel, we can handle it.

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Israel Day in NYC

Shiyara and I returned to the same place we were the day before when we went to the Central Park Zoo but this time we went for the Israel Day parade. There were Israeli flags and lots of little kids and police and a festive environment. I got handed every flyer except the dating site for Jewish singles since I was holding on to my daughter. The assumption is I must be married. There were boys doing the prayers with men and in the in between times were dancing to the music from the floats. They were cute. That politician Weiner who had that scandal was in the parade and I over heard some people say, “What?No he’s here in the parade?” Not everyone liked that. I filmed and got Shiyara some ice cream. Shiyara didn’t understand what was going on but danced a lot and finally sort of got it when I explained we had been to Israel together it’s where there is shalom. She instantly got it and started asking for a flag.

It was fun. After the parade we went to visit family 20 minutes out of NYC and returned to Brooklyn. That night I opened facebook and found it particularly interesting that the biggest anti-Semitic nutter from NJ who I have had fights with over his foaming at the mouth ignorance posted that he was also there at the counter protest that got only a handful of people, most of them orthodox extremists with anti-gay signs. (Oh how delightful, so sorry we missed each other.) He bemoaned the lack of “Arab” interest. I don’t know where to begin with that basket case but I was happy for “the lack of interest”.

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We are Jewish !!

BrooklynI had prepared for the hardest test ever. I prepared to answer the 13 principles of faith from Rambam, the 10 commandments as categories for the other 613 mitzvot. I knew the 39 categories of work prohibited on shabbat that mirror the tasks of the temple, the 3 pilgram holidays Sukkot, Shavuot, Pessah and why we don’t pilgrim to Jerusalem anymore. I prepared to list all the months of the Hebrew calendar, and the names of the 3 prayers each day, and the laws of yom tov, and to list the yom tov days, to explain Tisha B’Av and the 5 calamities, to talk about Pessah, Rosh hashana, Yom Kippur, Purim, Hannukkah, to list the 2 major fast days and the 4 minor ones, to explain the laws of family purity and what shiva is and shloshim.

I prepared all month, I re-read everything I had already read. I researched as much as i could so that I wouldn’t embarrass my rabbi. I didn’t sleep, my back hurt and I was stressed so much that the night before I had to be at the mikvah at 8:30 am I woke up every half hour to an hour checking the clock 3 am, 4 am, 4:30, 5 am, 5:45, 6 am, 6:30 I was up. Wake up Shiyara we have to go!

The crazy thing is that I liked studying.  I loved it. I am such a nerd.

We waited outside of the mikvah 30 minutes early…sometimes it’s good to be neurotic. The rabbis gathered and there was a rabbi of Moroccan origin and they asked us questions that had my voice shaking. I am surprised I remembered my own name.

We went to the changing room. The lady said when we were finished to ring the bell. We showered again after showering twice the night before and removing all make up and nail polish and jewelry. The lady Gitta came for us and took us into the mikvah. I removed everything and I went into the water. I went to the deep end and dunked in then I said the prayer. The door was cracked where the rabbis stood outside to hear my voice. I dunked again and when I came up the lady called Kosher for me. I almost cried. I took shiyara in next and said the prayer for her and then had to let her go under by herself. I told her to take a breath and not to breathe. She was happy to oblige. And I let her go under and saw just a shape and distant shadow under the water. The lady called kosher and I grabbed her. She didn’t cry. She wasn’t afraid. She loved it and asked if she could come everyday. The lady joked that it would have to be until her wedding and the rabbi said it would be too expensive.

We dressed and I covered my hair and paid the mikvah lady for her time and help. She gave us a hug. My rabbi took no money from me. Nothing. And he took me out for breakfast with Shiyara and didn’t let me pay a single thing. He’s amazing.

I got a certificate in preview of an actual one that is going to be sent to my address in Morocco. I was elated and humbled and relieved and excited and had all those emotions in me so what better way then to go to the Natural History Museum across the street to see the exhibits and play again in water outside where the kids ran through the water and it was the most fun I have had ever with Shiyara. Who knew it could so much fun.

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