It must be wizards… but what is a Yiddisheh muggle like me to know? Every October, Harry Potter and friends land in Chestnut Hill, a stone’s throw from us, where the whole town is magically transformed into Hogwarts. Even the local train station!
Butter Beer, Diagon Alley, Sorting Hat stations, Bertie Bott’s every flavor beans that taste like vomit, grass, and boogers… Quidditch anyone?
“There are all kinds of courage,” said Dumbledore, smiling. “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”
It was a day filled with wise wizards, witches and witty bits of Potter wherever you looked! What’s not to love?
Tell me a story about a young girl, born in 1933 during the height of the depression, growing up facing antisemitism, blatant sexism, and inequality, and I’ll know you are talking about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, my hero. Oh, Ruth, you are one powerful Yiddisheh momma that dares to live every day #livingfearlesslyauthentic. Let me tell you about her.
Nothing ever did or will stop her. If she disagreed, you knew about it. If she ever wanted something to change, she stood up and fought for it — and that is still true today. She lives and breathes strength, integrity, and elegance. She stands up for equality when others don’t even recognize the discrimination. She is a graceful heavyweight, a leader among all leaders, and at five feet tall, 84 years old, she heads up the liberal wing of the Supremes. She makes me proud to be a woman, a Jew, a feminist, an activist, a mom, and a human being.
Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.
— Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice
Joan Ruth Bader was born to Jewish immigrants and grew up in Brooklyn, NY. Her sister died when she was just a toddler. Her mother, Celia, always stressed the importance of education (Celia was a very good student, graduating High School at 15, yet her family chose to send her brother to college. It was a time when sons were valued and daughters were meant to find husbands.). As a mom, she wanted more for her daughter. What momma doesn’t? Celia noticed that many girls in her class were named Joan, so to quickly avoid any tsuris (trouble), she asked her teachers to call her Ruth. She brought her to the public library often, where Ruth consumed Nancy Drew books, realizing that Nancy was a young girl in charge, who thought for herself (perhaps we add this series of books to our collective daughters’ gift lists?Nu?) both in her mystery solving and in her relationships. Ruth’s dream of becoming a lawyer was underway and early signs of Notorious R.B.G had begun.
Ruth was an excellent student (she listened to her momma, like a glikt shana maideleh (good girl)). Sadly, her mom died the day before her high school graduation
She went on to attend Cornell University, where she studied in the bathroom stalls, hiding from parties and social activities — she graduated as the top-ranking female student in her class
At Cornell, she met Marty Ginsburg, whom she would later marry. Ruth was demoted from her job for being pregnant. Marty and Ruth gave birth to a bouncing baby girl. Everyone said she belonged in the kitchen, and at home with her daughter. Marty and Ruth knew better.
Marty ( a successful tax attorney in his own right) was supportive, unlike many men of their generation. He understood Ruth was no balaboosta (organized and efficient home-maker). He handled all of the traditional ‘mommy’ roles. Middle-of-the-night feedings, cooking, cleaning, baking, and tending to the kids… he was proud to do these things so that Ruth can later become the Notorious R.B.G. that we know and love.
She attended Harvard Law school and was often ridiculed by the dean for being a woman, taking up a man’s spot.
Marty took a job in NYC and Ruth transferred to Columbia University, where she graduated tied for top honors in her class.
She had a law degree and top honors, but being a woman, wife, mom, and a Jew made her dreams of becoming a lawyer very difficult. To say she became passionate about women’s rights and gender equality would be an understatement. After co-founding the Women’s Rights Project for the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), Ruth went on to fight six landmark cases on gender equality before the US Supreme court.
President Jimmy Carter appointed RBG to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She served there for thirteen years. President Bill Clinton, looking to increase the diversity on the highest bench in the land, appointed her to the US Supreme Court. She joined the Supremes as only the second female Supreme Court Justice (Sandra Day O’Connor was the first). She refers to the former justice as her “big sister.”
RBG battled colon cancer in 1999. She fought off pancreatic cancer in 2009. In 2014, she had a stent placed in her right coronary artery after feeling uncomfortable while working out with her personal trainer. Yes, she can probably kick a*s and take names in any gym she enters.
As for the name, Notorious R.B.G., that comes for her feisty and fiery dissents. A meme virally toured the social media realm, comparing her rap star Notorious B.I.G.
On retirement, at 84, she is a self-proclaimed flaming feminist litigator and is showing no signs of losing her efficacy or her memory. Take a look at this recent tweet from our own twit-in-chief, and you know she still is a powerful force.
Ruth, I admire you and hold you in the very highest regard. You influence my life and my decisions, and I know this world is a better place because of you. Thank you for all you do.
What a gutte neshumah, she is. What a good person with a big heart, she is.
the sciencebranch of knowledgeprojection of feartsuris (troubles) concerned with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services buying the stuff you need today, tomorrow and the next day for your family.
Meshuggah (crazy) behaviors or actions, that oftentimes arise with heart palpitationscreatively as the direct result of the scarcity of means, in order to achieve certain common and normal ends. Huh? ex.: We need to brush our teeth, we still, really!!!have no toothpaste… Achh!
Take a look at this photo. I walked into our bathroom the other day, and this is what I saw, no joke! From our loo to your eyes. I ran for my magical iPhone to snap this baby. And with this, comes a tale. After all, you that is why you are here …
Did you know, that when you run out of toothpaste, you can actually cut the tube in two or three parts, and have enough toothpaste to last a normal family of four at least five more days? Did you also know that when the deodorant thingy-mah-jiggy-holder falls from its container and bounces on the bathroom floor a few times and lands in the corner, a linty, hairy mess, you can remain odor free for about two weeks more, if you pick it up, wipe away the yuck, and rub it under your arms? Two weeks! And, that pump in the shampoo bottle… when that stops pouring out perfect spurts of soapy suds-making, you can lengthen and lusciously lather for days, maybe even a week if you take it off? The little straw itself holds two days worth of ‘do-cleaner! Then, the bottom of the bottle, don’t get me started! It’s robbery! In Yiddish, we call this, aroizgevarfeneh (pronounced ah-royz-geh-varf-ehn-uh). It literally means thrown out, wasted.
Extrapolate this scenario out across your personal purchases: think about the sunscreen, moisturizer, conditioner, make-up (like I would know, Nu?) caulk, paint, glue, … wait, don’t. It’s too upsetting to think of the money we’ve all put in the landfill left at the table. Look at this little Yiddisheh gem:
It is not so good with money, as it is bad without. Es iz nit azoi gut mit gelt es iz schlect on dem.
Living in the frugal lane, we’ve learned some very good money-saving tips and ideas. We’ve all worked to change our anti-penny-pinching ways many years ago. It’s all good. And we’ve argued and cried learned and grown. Vey iz mir (OMG!), it is madness if any of you let the above actions go unnoticed! Think conservation! Teaching the kinder (children) about resources and savings, everyday environmentalism and, well spartanomics!
My glass is always half-full. Now, I think it may be even more full than I ever imagined! What I do know:
To make promises and to love don’t cost any money. Tsuzogn un lib hoben kostn kain gelt nisht.
So try these tips. See if you save. If you have tips for us, please! Do tell! My Mrs. and me, we are trying desperately to save our money for a home. Alevai! (It should only happen!) These small humans we are raising, Little and Big, they cost a fortune! And, yes, these shanah maidels (sweet little girls), they are indeed priceless.
This is one tough world we live in… but who am I to tell you that? I wake up each morning and cautiously look at my smartphone, one eye opens at a time, and already, I get discouraged.
Stuff yourself with hope and you can go crazy. Fun loiter hofenung ver ich noch meshuggah.
Grateful? Mindful? Of course! Every day I remind myself of the good. And yet still, there is so much bad in the news, in the world, in our lives, in the lives of our friends. So what to do? I must find the laughter. Share the laughter, and add to the contagion in the chaos of the smile theory.
Laughter is heard farther than weeping. A gelechter hert men veiter vi a gevain.
So here’s a little story to share:
Right before school started, the Mrs. and me, we needed to get the kinder (kids) leggings and jeans. We went to Old Navy, you know, the cheap version of Gap? We found quite the sale, which better fits our frugal finances of $0 per month on frocks and finery. We found about 8 -10 pair, a shirt or two, and we were only lighter by $30-some dollars (That’s a -$30-some on the master budget spreadsheet). Not bad. Don’t you know, when we got home, the first pair my Big wants to wear has a dime sized hole mittendrinnen (smack dab in the middle of) her tuchas (tushy, butt, derriere)? I dry the tears and promise to sew this slit and salvage the day. After all, I am of the age that literally had to take Home Economics in school (feminism, oy vey). What part of baking brownies and crocheting toilet paper roll covers made that class economics? Oy, a whole other blog post right there. Needless to say, I made a promise.
A needle and thread were tough to find in our little flat, so two weeks later, I finally remember to make a trip to the local pharmacy. For $4.95, I buy a small kit to fix the leggings that were $1.99. Little, not caring a bit about the rip on the rump, had already worn them to school. Big, she has been hock mier chinik (banging on my tea kettle, yammering on and on) for me to make the fix.
It doesn’t cost anything to promise and to love. Tsuzogen un lib hoben kost nit kain gelt.
This morning, it was the first thing I set out to do. These pants, shmata (rags) no more! I make a nice hot coffee and place the new sewing kit, and the lacerated leggings all in arms reach. Gatsby, he is securely settled in my lap in support. Children nestled all snug in their beds our bed. I begin.
Threading a needle is a tad bit more difficult than I recall. Glasses on. Glasses off. Like Karate Kid, I repeat this mantra. At 654 months old, home ec or not, it took me over 25 minutes to put the blue f***ing thread through the teeny, tiny needle. Less than three minutes of sewing said slit, and I’m done. My Big, she is still sleeping. I almost want to wake her to see the joy on her shanah punim (beautiful, radiant face). I know she will wear them immediately.
I get up and proudly look in the mirror who the h*ll is that wrinkly old lady with gray hair?(Glasses on. Glasses off) as I brush my coffee tinted breath. I laugh. Maybe this gray coif is the silver lining of optimism I need.
I hope you all laugh today, and continue to find the laughter. We need it.
It has become even more evident in our immediate vicinity, chickens are being slaughtered at a pace that far exceeds anything resembling normalcy. It’s cuckoo. Bones are strewn about the pavement, the grass, the bushes. Those that leave these skeletal remains behind are becoming cavalier; downright cocky. Gatsby’s nose knows a nice nosh (snack) exactly where to find the latest crime scene. No ruffled feather goes unturned while he is patrolling the roost.
As his sniffer snarfs, the clucked remains are quickly unearthed, exposed. We pace the pavement, seeking answers. Where before he found entire grilled chicken breasts, wings, a sprig of celery, dare I say, special sauce; now only blanched bones, clean cartilage lay before his paws.
The unlawful cockerel crooks have upped their game. Their hunger shows and they are getting sloppy. Gatsby, my lone detective dog, is determined to stop this flock of felons if our neck of the woods is ever to be free from dreck (litter) vindicated. It is his passion unless you are a passing squirrel or a fleeting feline and he forgets his mission to chase you and fits his penchant poultry palate.
Nary a strut about the ‘hood goes by without a need for his deputy sidekick (me or the Mrs.), to extract the nasty osseous matter from his tight-lipped lips. I’ve explained about the proper protocol in bagging evidence. How he needs to be clean and methodical or we’ll have another OJ Simpson on the loose, despite the power of DNA. He prefers his way. Every thigh, neck, breast, leg, and wing carefully clenched in his canines. He will eat his way through thick and thin, unrelenting and stoic until the pecking peccant perps are reduced to jail-bird status. He knows why the caged bird sings, and he is waiting for the music. He was not born to kvetch (complain), but to serve.
Perhaps as the season turns, the sun lies low in the sky and the dark of night comes about earlier and earlier, Detective G will get to the bottom of the bucket this constant putrid poultry perversion lurking and littering our residential roads and pathways. Wish him luck as he continues his beat in search of truth, justice, and the American way, well, that means nothing anymore with our government a peaceable kingdom. He will make the streets safe again for all fine feathered friends, for his eyes see beauty in all things fowl.
Appropriate Yiddish phrases for this Post:
The eggs, they think they are smarter than the chickens. Di eyer viln zayn kliger fun di hiner.
May your bones be broken as often as the ten commandments. Zolne dayne beyner zich brechn azoy oft vi di Aseres-Hadibres.
Now, my dear neighbors and friends, we all share this world. Please stop littering! Oy vey iz mir!