Wednesday, September 26, 2007


The Holiday of Sukkot starts tonight. It is the only holiday where we are commanded to be happy. That in and of itself is very interesting. We have just come through the holiday of Yom Kippur where we are being judged and that is not an easy thing. So, in one sense it almost seems like this is the reward.

Still, if you look at the customs affiliated with Hoshanah Rabbah, the sixth day of this seven day holiday, there are still clearly signs involved that deal with the season of repentance. It has led some to believe that at one point that was actually more the day when our fate was finally sealed, not Yom Kippur.

Either way, today the holiday is celebrated with a lot of fun and enjoyment. One of the symbols associated with the holiday is the Etrog (a citrus fruit) and a lulav (branches from three different types of trees). There are lots of explanations as to what each one means and why they are combined and I am not going to get into that here.

Traditionally each person is supposed to have his or her own etrog and lulav. The way we get around that is you can ‘borrow’ from someone else but you explicitly tell them that you are not loaning it to them but actually giving it to them (so they own it) but only with the understanding that they will return it to you after they are finished making the blessing and shaking it.

I have at times purchased an etrog and lulav set but other times I have ‘borrowed’ it from someone else. This year, after buying a house and feeling quite poor, I figured I would not purchase my own. It was my son, however, who indicated that he would really like to have one this year. When you have a nine year old that enjoys the meaning and symbolism of the holiday, that enjoys participating in the services and going to shul (synagogue) on the important, but lesser known holidays, what can you do? I purchased my own etrog and lulav set and I am thrilled to have them and to be sharing them with my son.

I wish you a Hag Samach, Happy Holidays.

Monday, September 24, 2007

From This Yom Kippur To Next

As I reflect on the holiday of Yom Kippur, I find that the very beginning of the Kol Nidre service, the evening service that starts the holiday, truly speaks to me. The service starts out by saying that we deem it appropriate, by the heavenly tribunal, to pray with sinners.

Right from the get-go, I relate. We often hear the misery loves company. Well, this is not misery, but we are saying that we are all in the same boat, that we all have sinned and can do better. I find that this sets the tone for me and I truly enjoy that.

From there, we go into the actual Kol Nidre (All Vows). This to speaks to me. There is a line in here that the Rabbis debated on for years, but it is in the prayer and has been for centuries. We ask G-d to absolve us of any vows we make from this Yom Kippur Holiday until next Yom Kippur. It would make sense to ask for forgiveness and to be absolved from last Yom Kippur to this Yom Kippur. In fact that was what a number of Rabbis felt should be.

For me, however, to word it this way speaks volumes. It says we will try to do better than we did last year. We really believe we can (and we probably do). Still, we realize we are human. We are going to make vows that we will be unable to keep. We are going to do things that will upset people. We know we are not perfect and over the upcoming year, we will make mistakes.

Then we ask G-d to please forgive us ahead of time for those times when our intentions were good, our motives were pure and yet we just failed. While some of the Rabbis may have preferred the language that says from last Yom Kippur to this one, for me the idea of from this one to the next Yom Kippur really works. It sets the tone, for me, as to what I feel this whole holiday is supposed to be about.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Reform Way

Well, the Yom Kippur holiday is over. The fast is behind us and we begin the task of facing another year. There are so many parts of the service that speak to me and I will blog on them in upcoming days. Of course, we really aren’t given many days to reflect on the liturgy as the holiday of Sukkot starts in four nights, and we will all be focusing on the joyous time of that season.

Today, however, I am thinking about how Reform Judaism often has it “Right”. My wife, who works overnights, often takes the night after a fast off from work because it is so exhausting. So, if she worked Saturday night, she would have taken tonight off.

Of course, the following day we usually return to work and get back into the swing of things but often times we are still mentally and physically exhausted the next day. I teach at a Reform religious school. By son goes to a conservative religious school (through the shul, the synagogue, where we are members). My son has school tomorrow.

The Reform school where I teach understands how tired and exhausted we are. We have the day off. I am very grateful. While we all were required to submit lesson plans in advance for the first three weeks of school, often times we teachers are still putting the finishing touches on the plan on Saturday night. I do not have to worry about that, I have the day off.

I was talking to my sister this evening and she teaches at a religious school at the other end of the state. She does have school tomorrow. She told me she is so exhausted she plans on waking up early tomorrow to do the lesson. I would probably end up doing that as well if I were in her shoes, but again, I am glad I do not have to.

Also, my son attends Hebrew school on Sundays and Tuesdays. Some students attend Wednesday instead of Tuesday, but everyone goes on Sunday. Since the Jewish Holidays this year start on Wednesday night, the Wednesday session will not be meeting for the next few weeks, but the Tuesday session will.

At the reform shul where I teach, they are not even starting the weekday sessions until all the Holidays are over. This way Tuesday and Wednesday classes are on the same schedule, covering the same material each week. This makes a lot of sense to me.

Sometimes the Conservative and Orthodox circles can learn by watching and listening to the Reform, rather than just dismissing this as something lesser than what they are.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Special Flavor

As we get set to start the Holiday of Yo0m Kippur this evening, I think back to conversations I have had with friends over the years. While many disagree with me, I truly feel that Yom Kippur has a special feel, a special flavor about it and just like the rest of the Jewish Holiday, it is enjoyable.

Yes, the Holiday has it challenges. Yes, it is hard to refrain from all the things you are supposed to on Yom Kippur. Still, there is a good feeling, at least for me there is, about doing it, being able to do it, wanting to do it.

Some of my friends have said what they like about the Holiday is they get to catch up with other synagogue people they have not seen since last year at this time. That is not what does it for me. If you can get yourself in the proper frame of mind ( and that can me more easily said than done) the awesomeness, the awe inspiring message of the day is very powerful.

In fact, in times gone by, many people did not view this as a sad day. If you take a look at what we do on this day, it is not viewed as a sad day (that is reserved for Tisha B’Av). For instance, we say a Scheheh’he’anu on this day. On days of mourning, on sad days on the Jewish Calendar, that prayer is not said.

On this Holiday, there truly is a feeling that we will be given for our sins, that we get a chance to start all over again, and that G-d wants us to return from our ways of the past year that are less than perfect. As the liturgy says, “like a parent (father) has compassion upon his children, please have compassion on us”. It is a very powerful idea. Forgiveness is a wonderful concept, so is the idea of being able to start with a clean slate.

Once again, I wish everyone the best for the New Year. May we all be signed and sealed for a year of health, happiness, blessing and goodness, and may we all be able to help others experience those same feelings over the New Year.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Yom Kippur Fasting

For the past umpteen years, like many Jews the world over, I have fasted on Yom Kippur. I first started fasting when I was 12. While the tradition does not require a full fast of someone until 13, I wanted to prove to myself the year before I HAD to fast, that I COULD fast.

The fast is a full 25 hour fast with nothing to eat or drink. Many of my non-Jewish friends and acquaintances are always amazed to hear that the fast also means no water. While some fasts are easier than others, I really do not have a problem with fasting.

Judaism does, of course, recognize the importance of those who need to eat. If there are medical issues and reason, you do not fast, you take your medicine, you do what you need to do. Again, this all makes sense.

I confess, however, this year for the first time in years, I am nervous going into the fast. Over the past number of months, I think I have developed an anxiety issue. I recently got a medication from the doctor to help me deal with this. The prescription is PRN, that I should take it as needed. The truth is, for such a medicine, one that is not crucial to my survival, one that I could do without (otherwise it would not be PRN), I really should avoid taking it. Still, there is a part of me concerned about suffering some kind of anxiety attack during the Holiday, or at least feeling the discomforts I often get when the anxiety approaches.

So, It is not crucial, but it certainly is helpful to take this medicine. I will probably take it tomorrow night, right before the fast starts and pray for the best (I certainly be in the right place for that).

Once again, I wish everyone a G’Mar Hatima Tovah, that you should be inscribed and sealed for a good year.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

On Rosh Hashanah It Is Written ...

As I sat in Shul over the Jewish New Year, the Holiday of Rosh Hashanah, I found that one part of the liturgy hit me, really spoke to me. I confess that it is the same prayer every year that speaks to me (although perhaps a little more now that both of my parents have passed away).

We say that “On Rosh Hashanah it is written and that on Yom Kippur it is sealed”. We then continue on by asking how many shall be born and how many shall die, who by water and who by fire, etc. It is a powerful concept to think that our fate is sealed on Yom Kippur.

The prayer ends, however, with the notion that three things can set aside an evil decree, a bad judgment. They are: Repentance; Prayer: Charity. This concept is even more powerful. It actually means, at least my interpretation is, we have the power to override G-d’s decisions. G-d can seal our fate on Yom Kippur, but even after the holiday is over, if someone engages in true repentance, is true prayer and in acts of charity and or loving kindness, G-d can set aside the evil decree.

Obviously no one gets out of this life alive, so at some point you do not have an evil decree turned away. Of course, there are times when, as painful as it is to those who survive, death can be a blessing. Seeing a person stricken with a serious disease, living in pain, perhaps it is a blessing when they pass away. So even a decree of death does not have to be a bad judgment.

Still, it is my wish that all of you have a good, healthy year. I wish you all a Shannah Tovah O’Metocah (A good, sweet year), and as we approach the holiday of Yom Kippur, a G’Mar Hatima Tovah (that you should be sealed for a good year).

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Young Ones!

So, the year teaching at the religious school, in the computer lab, has started well. The first session of the year involved bring in the youngest students (3 and 4 year olds) and then the two first grade class.

Working with the young one can be a lot of fun. Okay, so when it comes to putting the lessons together, I know at class time, I will not be able to give them War and Peace, or get them involved in a great discussion. Still, they tend to be very appreciative of the efforts that you put in. I have had a number of young students come up to me and hug me as they are getting set to leave the lab, because they had such a good time.

I have also found sites that work for them. On-line coloring is always very good. So are jigsaw puzzles. Normally I would not recommend this for young children, but you can change the cut on the computer to as little as four pieces (which often they can handle) as well as having an auto solve button on the computer.

Apparently the teacher who handled this grade last year must have liked my style, and working with me. She has signed up a number of times for the computer, I believe 4 times over the course of the year. This may be the most amount of times a teacher is bringing his/her class into the lab. Hopefully I will prove this teacher’s trust in my correct and she will be glad at the end of the year that she signed up for some many sessions.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hebrew By Holidays

Today I was back teaching at the religious school. Getting back into the swing of things after the holiday is not easy and I will have to do it three more times with the rest of the slew of holidays coming up. Still, teaching in the computer lab, doing this the kids enjoy and enjoy the things myself, makes it easier.

The teacher who brought her kids in today teaches Hebrew. In talking with her ahead of time, I knew she wanted me to find things for the kids to do on the computer that focused on the current Jewish Holidays and taught words associated with them. Of course, I can get some leeway, which makes things easier.

For instance, I found a site that has Hebrew matching, like the old concentration game. The cards have the words written in English and Hebrew and the computer also says the name of the object (you can set it for Hebrew or English). I had the students set it for Hebrew so they could hear the words being said. While one of the categories was not Rosh Hashanah, or any other specific holiday, I stretched a little. One of the categories is nature. Since nature play a major role in some of the holidays, and especially in the upcoming holiday of Sukkot, I allowed them to use this one. There is also a category for fruits and it is customary to eat a new fruit on the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, so I let them use this one.

It is always easier when the teacher is flexible as well. In fact, a few of the sites we went to had a number of games. Some were not related to Hebrew, but were related to Judaism, such as playing hangman with words from various Jewish Holidays. When the teacher does not object, and today’s did not, after I have them look at the things I specifically wanted to cover, the can play some games as well. Of course, I do monitor closely to make sure it is all appropriate. So, today was a fun day getting back into the routine.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Joy And Nachus

I am one of these people who enjoys being in shul (synagogue) on Rosh Hashanah. I enjoy the davening (praying). I like the melodies, I like the liturgy, I like seeing people I have not seen there in a long time (probably since last year around this time).

It was such a thrill for me to go to shul with my son, whose age has not yet reached double digits. People turn around and look at him, the listen to him daven and hear him sing the melodies. It is not uncommon for people to ask him if he is enrolled in the local yeshiva (he is not. He’s good, but not at that level. Still Judaism means a lot to him).

On the first day of the holiday, we got there towards the end of Torah reading. It is a long day and while I would enjoy being there for longer, he will not hold up. Still, from the point we got there, he only briefly stepped out once to use the restroom. He stayed in for the sermon and all the appeals, and of course, all the davening. It is a Conservative Synagogue we attend and the Hazzan, the cantor (who leads the singing of the prayers) mixes in traditional Rosh Hashanah melodies with some of his regular Shabbat (Sabbath) morning tunes. There is my son, following along. There are the other congregants sitting around us, looking at him admiringly.

It is a good feel in general, but for me, it is also vindication. I have been bringing my son to services pretty much every Saturday morning (and holiday morning) since he was about one month old. He would, at times run around the shul. He would, at times (when he was younger), make baby noises. He could even at times be disruptive and that was when I would take him out (but simply because he is making happy sounds, or talking quietly to other people, I would let him stay. After all, many adults can do similar things).

While congregants always admired the fact that he was pretty much a regular on Shabbat morning, some also resented him. It was a change from the old guard who insisted on absolute quiet in the shul. Even as that started to change (and really did significantly change from before I lived in the area and before my son was born). People did not always like the fact that a child was making noise.

I still remember one time when the Hazzan was on vacation and one of the lay members of the congregation was leading services. My son was playing quietly with a friend of his, same age, in the back of the synagogue. Word was sent back to me and the parent of my son’s playmate, that since he wanted to be able to concentrate on leading the service, we were to take them out. I was not happy.

Now, I see that my insistence about bringing him has paid off. There were times I wondered if I should continue or if he actually got anything out of it because often times he was being noisy and we were out for most of the service.

Obviously, this has paid off. Of course, the child(ren) need to see Judaism practiced in the home as well; it has to be reinforced. Still, I am thrilled with the way this all turned out and it is quite a change from High Holidays gone by. I remember the first such service he was at. He cooed at one point and the people in front of my wife, my son and me, turned around and asked if he was going to be doing that the whole service?

Well, it is important to start teaching, and even programming at an early age. Doing that leads to the feelings of joy and nachus I experienced earlier this week.

To one and all, Shanah Tovah (A good year) and a G’mar Hatima Tovah (May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year).

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Good Versus Happy

With the holiday of Rosh Hashanah starting tonight, I just want to take a moment to wish everyone a good new year. I one time conducted an interview (in a previous life) and spoke with the person about the holiday. The Rabbi explained that we do not say Happy New Year because we know that a year will have its ups and downs. Therefore the hope is that everyone have a good year, that when it is all said and done and you reflect back on the year, the year will have been good.

I liked that insight and understanding and I need to run to help get set up for the Holidays, so once again, I will simply wish everybody a good new year.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remembering 9-11

It is not easy to experience the day, September 11, and not think back to six years ago. Do you remember where you were or what you were doing relatively early that morning when you heard about the first crash, the plane hitting one of the twin towers? How about when another plane his the second tower? When the Pentagon was hit? When the plane was taken down by the passengers in Pennsylvania?

I remember picking my son up from daycare that afternoon. He was way too young to understand anything about the events. I didn’t even try to explain it or talk to him about it. I just made sure to give him lots of hugs and kisses that day.

Now, six years later, my son was asking questions. Now, six years later, I have tried to explain some of the events of that day to him, on his level.

I am guessing that every American citizen who lived through the tragedy of that day thinks back to it today. Certainly those people who lost a loved one, who were in the vicinity of any of the crashes must think about it. I am sre that many people from many different cultures think about it, and probably most recall it as the solemn day it was as opposed to those few sick individuals who view it as a joyous event.

As a Jewish American, this tragedy hurts even more, in the sense that Al Quaida claimed that this was in part an attack because of the United State’s relationship with Israel and their support of Judaism. While the U.S. has its faults, we tend to being accepting of everyone and enjoy the fact that so many different cultures come together and live together, peaceful and actually enjoy watching and learning about each other’s cultures. That is a lesson that Al Quaida really needs to learn. I doubt they will, but I hope so.

One side note: I think it is unfortunate that there are still some people who do not draw a distinction between the Moslem world, most of whom are respectful individual and enjoy experiencing their customs, laws and traditions, (as well as watching others enjoy different customs) and the extremist like Al Quaida who feel violence and destruction is the only way to get a message across. We all need to be tolerant of one another!

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Nice Ritual

My son had his first day of religious instruction yesterday, well, first day for the new school year. He enjoyed it and I had a number of teachers come up to me and tell me how smart he is and how much he likes to participate (Yes, I’m bragging). But, what impressed me most is what the religious school did after the session was over (and they have done this for the last number of years).

The Men’s club sponsors a picnic for the end of the first day of school. The grill hotdogs and hamburgers, as well as veggie burgers. They have drinks and snack to go along with the picnic food and they have games as well. The bring some of the “bouncy” type equipment that you can rent and the kids climb in and start bouncing all over the place. The picnic is mainly for the school children and their families but it is open to anyone who want to pay the nominal fee.

I have heard of schools where on the first day of school they give the kids something sweet and tell them they hope the rest of the year, and all their learning experiences are just as sweet, kind of like dipping an apple in honey on the New Year, but this is something I have not seen other schools do. I think it is great to provide such a fun environment for the kids on the first day of religious school and I look forward to enjoying this ritual for the next few years to come.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Two Angels

As most of you know by now, because I have mentioned it about a million bajillion times (phrase borrowed from the Junie B Jones series of books and a thank you to the author, Barbara Parks for coining the phrase), this weekend I will be moving into my new house, my first house since being married, as it is time to get out of the apartments—yeah! Since we are getting things set up, the plan is to have Shabbos dinner there tonight.

The house is not yet set up. The only furniture currently there is the folding stuff, but it will do just fine. We will be doing a Hannukah Habayit ceremony (Dedication of the house), but that won’t be done until we are officially in. Still, there is something very exciting about knowing this is the first Shabbat (Sabbath) in the new home.

The excitement level is very high. Honestly (and fortunately) it is not as high as it was the first Shabbat that I got to bless my son after he was born. That probably was the most meaningful Shabbat that I have ever had, certainly in a long time. Certainly other milestones come to mind as well, in terms of being meaningful (not all positive thought, for instance, the Shabbat celebrated during the Shivah period after my mother died, as well as the one during Shivah after my father died were very meaningful). Still, this one does rank up there as one of the most meaningful.

Many of you know, I am sure, the story about the two Angels that visit each house Friday Night and look around. If it is a welcoming Shabbat atmosphere, the good Angel says, “May it be like this every Shabbat,” and the second Angel, the bas angel, has to say “Amen” (Let it be so). If the house is in dissaray, shambles and there is not much of a Shabbos atmosphere, the bad angel says, “May it be like this every Shabbat,” and the good angel has to answer “Amen”.

I can’t tell you the house won’t be in disarray as we are in the process of moving. I can, however, say that there will definitely be a warm, welcoming, loving Shabbat atmosphere and hopefully that atmosphere will be in the house for many more Shabbats to come.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Overlooking Faults

I remember as a teenager going to shul with my father. He one time made a comment about one of my Hebrew school classmates. I was quick to defend this individual. Later on, he made a comment about someone else in the class and I did not defend him. My dad (who not only was the Rabbi but also ran the Religious School since it was a small synagogue) asked my why I was quick to defend one of my classmates but not the other. Without hesitation I simply said, “Because he’s my friend” of the one I was defending. My dad always loved that answer and the honesty of how we are quick to defend friend and look past their faults because they are our friends.

This past Saturday, there was a Bat Mitzvah in shul. My wife made a comment about one of the males in the synagogue who was not wearing a head covering (Kippah, Yarmulke, skull cap, take your pick). The truth is, I do not even notice these things. I do not concentrate on what others are doing, or are not doing at shul, I try to focus on myself. My wife (seemingly) can notice all of the things people should be doing differently there).

Once my wife brought this to my attention, I found myself looking around the synagogue, at the different people. One thing I noticed was the length of the skirt of the Bat Mitzvah. It certainly was not obscene but it did seem a little short to me. I asked my wife what she thought.

My wife knows the mother of the Bat Mitzvah. She has served on committees with her at the Hebrew school. Although I do not think of them as friends, they are clearly very friendly towards one another. When I asked my wife about the length of the skirt, my wife told me it was fine, she did not see a problem.

I found myself thinking back to the comment I made to my father. We are quick to overlook the shortcomings of those with whom we are friendly, with those of whom we want to overlook the shortcomings. With others, we are not quite so forgiving.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Random Rosh Hashanah Thoughts

The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, is just around the corner. I have always found this holiday to be unique and interesting and in a very real sense even a little puzzling. One the one hand, this is a festive event. While it certainly is not celebrated in the manner of our secular New Year, it is a joyous time, it is celebrated with a festive meal. They say that Rosh Hashanah, by its very name (translates to “Head of the Year”) is the day that sets the tone for the entire year. As a result, it is not meant to be a solemn day.

Rosh Hashanah also, however, begins the “Yamin Naraim” (The days of awe) and it is the start of “Azeret Y’mei T’Shuvah” (The Ten Days of Repentance). As a result, it takes on the feel, to a lesser degree, of the most solemn day of the year, Yom Kippur, which occurs ten days later. We are told that on Rosh Hashanah, G-d decides the fate for each person and on Yom Kippur, the fate is sealed.

Even this concept seems a little foreign and strange. If your fate is sealed for the year then you do not have to worry about what you do for the rest of the year, except for the consequences it will have in the subsequent year. The truth is this concept never had much appeal to me.

There are two concepts that I do specifically like, however. First is the notion that you should apologize to people if you hurt them, even if you did not mean to, even if you are not aware of the fact you did. I find it very powerful talking to people during this time of year and asking for forgiveness for anything I might have done that hurt them.

The second concept has to do with the Kol Nidre liturgy, the evening service that begins the holiday. In the Kol Nidre prayer, we ask that G-d forgive us for any vows we have made but not kept, from this Yom Kippur until next Yom Kippur. Of course it would make more sense to say from last Yom Kippur to this Yom Kippur. There is a recognition that we will make vows and promises, with the best of intentions but we know we are not perfect and will not keep them all. So, we ask ahead of time for G-d to forgive us of any vows we will make over the course of the upcoming year.

To me, these are two of the most powerful ideas exhibited during this season.

To one and all, L’Shanah Tovah (A Good Year).

Monday, September 3, 2007

More Thoughts On Prayer

Yesterday’s post got me thinking about the power of prayer. My mother was one of these people who felt everything had to be in black and white. If you could not explain it, if you could not show it, then she did not put much weight in it.

A couple of years before she passed away she was working with my oldest nephew, who was in yeshiva. The paper was about the healing power of prayer. What studies showed was when someone was not feeling well, if another person prayed for the sick individual, even if the sick person did not know there was someone praying for him or her, there was a better chance of a full recovery. At the end of the project my mother said, “You know, maybe there is something to this”.

Do not get the wrong idea. I grew up in a house that enjoyed the traditions of Judaism. I grew up in a house where there was prayer and where going to shul was part of the weekly ritual (with a father who was a reform Rabbi, that certainly is not surprising). Still, is it not fair to wonder if G-d listen more, or cares more about a person who prays. Will G-d ignore the individual who does not pray.

All I know is that by praying, it made me feel like I could do something, maybe even in some small way have some destiny over the outcome. I do go to shul on a regular basis but it is interesting how the thoughts change when you are praying if you feel you are faced with a serious situation.

Fortunately it was not a serious situation and everything turned out well. Still, I guess we should never underestimate the power of prayer.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Power Of Prayer

Yesterday afternoon I had a bit of a scare. After I got back from Shul I started packing some books and other items in our apartment into boxes. At one point it felt like I may have pulled, tore or broke a muscle (in the area of my upper left arm). I went to get checked out at the hospital and they decided, while they did not think it was heart related, they should do an EKG to make sure.

When they finished the EKG the technician said, ”I don’t like they way that looks”.

I asked if she meant she did not like the way it printed out, or if she did not like what it said and she told me she did not like what it said and seemed (at least in my mind) to hightail it back to the doctor.

They came to get me for a second EKG a little while later. This time they shaved a little chest hair out of the way because they thought that might help them get an accurate reading (as the thinking was maybe the last one was not accurate). When it finished the technician said something like, “This one looks better”. Still, the look on her face, the fact that the seemed to keep me hooked up to the machine for a longer period of time (like they might me trying to get additional information) and the fact that they announced the bed where they were moving me, before I was even unhooked from the machine (usually it takes a while before they get you to a bed), all had me concerned.

It was over an hour and a half before someone came to see me. During this time I felt every possible symptom one could feel. Once I thought they thought something was wrong, the mind was able to conjure up all sorts of pain.

It is amazing how as I sat there I found myself praying. English prayers, any Hebrew prayers I knew by heart, any prayers I could think of. It made me feel better. So, I got to wondering, is G-d really quicker to help, or does G-D really care more about those people who pray? Did I have a better chance at survival because I was praying? I really do not think so but I do know it helped to calm me down and make me feel better.

As it turned out, it was just a false reading on the EKG and the second one truly was better and showed everything to be fine. Just hearing that calmed me down. The chest X-rays showed no damage and everything looked fine. I was sent home and told to take it easy over the next two to three days, so that is just what I will do.