A gift of chai-life

Note: This was done with a voice -to-text program so anything I said came out. I think I fixed most of the typos.

How many times can I cry at my synagogue? It seems that I am up to at least a dozen times now. This last Saturday was my most recent episode of crying. We were reading a portion in Deuteronomy about helping the poor. How there will always be poor people and how if you are able to, you should help the poor even if you don’t know what they will spend the money on whether it will be food, housing or drugs.  I’m not sure how it came up but I asked if our synagogue had a tzedakah (charity) fund. A long time and frequent member of our study group confirmed that we do. I asked with tears in my eyes that if people can go to someone in the synagogue to ask for the funds to god damn I was wrong my f****** brain f****** blood do I think you get the point.  About 2 weeks ago my water got turned off. The automatic payment from my bank didn’t go through and I didn’t know it. So the city turned off my water. It would cost $250 to turn it back on. That’s money I did not have. Electricity I could live without for a few days but not water especially when I’m prone to have volcano ass. And I certainly didn’t want to go to my parents and tell them that I f***** up bad adulting and I needed help I was not going to go grovel at them. I felt like s*** about it but I went to my ex. He lent me the money so I could get my water turned back on and it was turned back on.

Last week I was outside of my building picking up trash with Max, well Max was picking up the trash and I was taking it from him and putting it into the garbage can. My cane with leaning against the side of the building I was recording him picking up the trash to have (come on brain work) a record of his training it’s always good to do that and because it was super cute to have a video of my dog picking up the trash. But after he picked up the trash I walked away. And sure enough, I’d left my cane against the building and it was stolen. And on my cane was a pouch with some of Max’s stuff in, gone. I filed a police report but I’m never going to see it again. Today is Tuesday. On Sunday night I sent an email to the synagogue asking if I could get help from the Tzedakah fund. I explained what happened. I sent them a picture of the receipt from the water bill and of the cost of the cane, the pouch, and the things that were inside it and to show them what would cost to replace the items. I wasn’t sure what they would say or do if anything at all. Would they tell me that I just needed to find another way, this money was for real emergencies, that they weren’t going to help me, I really didn’t know. But Monday night I got an email from someone at the synagogue loving kindness committee. She explained  what they do and how much they give to help people she asked me if I needed that full amount and exactly what happened I explained again and told her yes I do need that full amount. I actually mean more to repay my ex husband but he does not mind if I take some extra time to repay him and right about now, I’ll take any help that I can get. I got an email back from her today saying that they are going to give me that amount I can get it from them on Saturday. Tears rolled down my face, I was so relieved. I had no idea that I can get help from them in this manner. I really hate asking for help but I’ve come to a point in my life where I really have to, there’s no choice. I need help even though I don’t realize it at times. It’s very humbling for me and I hate it. But as much as I hate it I have to do it. There’s no way around it.

A Beginning

As some of you know, I ended my marriage 4 years ago as of the end of April. But the divorce isn’t complete. The county courthouse was an hour away and no one would drive me there to get help with the paperwork. My health started to skew downwards and that took precedence. We’re legally separated but not divorced. I now live maybe a third mile from the courthouse and plan on going there to get help with my paperwork ASAP! But I also need a get.

A get is a Jewish divorce. While most Reform Jews don’t get one unless they are going to a more religious path, some get one so they can separate themselves from the past and move forwards. I do want that.  But then we will have to convene a Beit Din.

A Beit Din (or court of law) is called for several reasons. Some examples are for conversion a dispute over a piece of land or a divorce. During a conversion the convert will take a Hebrew name to show that they are now part of this community. My rabbi told me that some people will take a Hebrew middle name after a divorce. However I already have a Hebrew middle name. She said I can have more than one so why not? I thought about it and I know the name I want to take. I want to take the name of Dina.

In the book of Exodus, Dina was the only daughter of Jacob, sister to Joseph, and daughter of Leah. As the story goes, she was raped by the prince of Shechem. Many stories have been written about Dina to see if there could be another point of view. Was she really raped? Was Dina in love? Did she want this relationship? Or was it truly rape? As friends and readers of my blog know, I am a survivor. I take the name Dina in honor of the biblical Dina and all past, present, and future survivors.