A Quick Update

Just a quick note. I was out of town all last week for rabbi school, so attention to that (a full week of work on counseling and guidance–what is often called “pastoral care”) took precedence to trawling the Intarwebzes looking for eyes in which to poke my finger (all for your amusement, of course). I’m sure I’ll be back to that soon enough–but there’s work to be done for four classes, a wedding I’ll be co-officiating (my first!), and a series of talks on modern American Jews I’ll be giving at a local Catholic parish in October and November that will require no small amount of preparation.

While there are so many things I would love to comment on, professional ethical responsibilities preclude some; time precludes the rest. So it may be quiet around here again for a bit. I’m sure I’ll be back with something in the next two weeks–quite likely tied to the counseling class’s material, as there’s fodder there for a blog post or two.

But not tonight.

P.S. – Many thanks to Mrs. Secular Jew, who diligently and lovingly held down the homefront and watched after Secular Jew, Jr., whilst I developed the ability to be less of a logic-dominated automaton when interacting with people. I love you!

All Quiet on the Western Front

I’ve been a bit silent over here. I’m still lurking about; just busy reading for rabbi school, doing research for papers for rabbi school, looking over edits for a book review, and various other things. I’m sure I’ll pop in with something substantive here any day now; there are a lot of thoughts floating about in my head, but there remains some organization to do (and some sleep to get).

And on Israel, as I’ve said, I’m remaining silent. My concerns remain, for the moment, tied to the sheer level of human wreckage–death, destruction, and physical and emotional trauma. I’ll say no more beyond that.

Menachem Av to those for whom it is meaningful.

Of Pills and Panic

It’s astonishing just how finely tuned our brains are–and how small changes in what goes into our brains can change so much about how and who we are.

Back in late April and much of May, Secular Jew, Jr. (“SJJ”) was hospitalized twice in pediatric “stress center” units. “Stress center” is the euphemism du jour for temporary place to put people with acute psychiatric symptoms that cannot be managed at home and that may be resolvable without permanent institutionalization, usually due to substance abuse or severe depression. SJJ is not yet even a preteen, and most of the kids in these units were teenagers, so these were really very extreme places for SJJ to be. But after two stays, in the course of less than a month, the issues SJJ was experiencing seem to have boiled down to medication issues; medications were removed, SJJ stabilized, and things seemed pretty okay.

Until yesterday. Continue reading

The Tefillin Project

A while back, I posted about some of the aftermath of Secular Jew, Jr.’s hospitalizations and illnesses. One of them was that, lacking a “thing” in the morning, I was coming into the office early and doing something that, to the untrained eye, looks a lot like morning davening. I thought I would take a moment to update on that.

I’m not doing that so much these days. There are several reasons that I could point to. With SJJ home now for over a month, and with a regular schedule largely restored, there isn’t the absence of his presence and the effects of the absence–the loss of pleasures, the loss of obligations, etc.–that led me to need to fill the time. And my energy stores are back to their usual level of depletion, which is a contributing factor, too. Continue reading