Monday, June 30, 2014

Baruch Dayan HaEmet

Baruch Dayan HaEmet, we say when hear the news of somebody passing away. These words mean that the Judge is True, so to explain, but in most cases how can one agree this judge/death can be true?
How do you tell that to the mums of three kidnapped Israeli teenagers? How do you tell them who bore those babies, fed them and raised them, had nachat from them and expected only joy from them? How can you tell death is true?
How can you tell that to their dads, sisters, brothers, friends?..
May Hashem comfort them as much as it can be possible.

Hashem is a true judge, I know, but today my heart goes out to the families of three murdered boys in Israel. Today I feel like something has died inside me.

Today my heart is also dead after hearing the terrible news about those boys.
It was just last Shabbat when I (with hundreds of other Jewish mothers) separated challah from the dough asking G-d to save those boys and bring them home safely...

I know I cannot understand His plans.
I do not want to either, because I cannot bear right now.

May my Nation never experience such pain of the loss of our children again. They were my children too. Our children! Children of Avraham, Yitschak and Yakov, just like all of us.

May there be peace in Israel, if it is ever possible and no shedding of innocent blood, neither ours nor others'. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Encouraging women or my second birth story

I haven't posted literally for ages here, but I had my reasons definitely.

Now I think it's time to share my second pregnancy and little birth story with my readers, if there are left any at all :-D

We sort of kept this (second) pregnancy a secret, only our immediate family and couple of close friends knew about it.

First 20 weeks were as easy as they could be (not counting wanting to sleep all the time and hating sweets, which was great in a way) while the next ones were full of stress, emotions, hormonal swings and prayers.

At 20 weeks check up I was diagnosed to have Borderline Placental Insufficiency, which meant my placenta couldn't provide the fetus with 100% oxygen and there was something wrong with the blood circulation. So this caused the baby to be small, two weeks behind than usual babies of that gestational age.
We were shocked and sad. Why G-d, why? I kept asking, why can't my body nourish the baby as it should? Isn't it natural to be so?
There came weeks of self blame, desperations and loads of tears.
And of course Googling and searching for information about this Placental Insufficiency, which was even more stressful and that's when I decided if everything went well, I should and would write about it to encourage women, and parents in general; because all I found was scary, which made me pray all days and nights to make it till 37th week and have full-term healthy baby, no matter its size.
Because it's G-d who really runs this world and everything in it, not science or anything. Sure, there are great modern technologies, but they can't do much.

Then my kind doctor advised to read as little as possible all that internet stuff, be positive and think about good things. She thought it wasn't as bad as it seemed, she was concerned just because I might had had the same issue with Ezra, who was born on 37th week weighing 2,400 tiny kilos.
At the clinic where I usually was checked, one nice midwife assured me that nature could do anything and she had heard cases where the placenta suddenly started to work better, sometimes worse and mostly it remained stable, that was what I hoped for at least.
We can't control everything as modern society believes, she said, that German atheist woman, who actually understood and believed in "nature" more than she thought.

My next placental check up was at 30 weeks and I was already grateful to G-d, I had made till that.
But there was even better news.
Miraculously - insufficiency had gone somehow and placenta was provided with enough oxygen and all. The fetus had gained enough weight, even though still little smaller, but doctor told me it could absolutely make up next last weeks of pregnancy when baby grows faster.

Now I had that terrible fear of 37th week when I had my firstborn Ezra before his time swimming in green waters, because the insufficient placenta had caused him stress and his first bowel movements; if he stayed there longer, he could had been poisoned, but baruch Hashem, Who made our zealous Ezra to come out quicker - healthy and lovely.
I just decided to cling on G-d and trust in His goodness completely, because we can't do much, can we?

37th week came and went, no baby yet. I was so happy it had time to gain weight. 38th week also went fine; and at 39th week after Shabbat I started to feel weird pains in my stomach, more like gas. I could see first contractions had started, but wasn't too sure, because I had never experienced them before, such crazy delivery I had with the first baby - no contractions right before Ezra came out.

I tried to keep calm, put Ezra to sleep, wash dishes that were left after Shabbat and then watched "Pus in Boots" (stupid movie) with my husband. After that we went to sleep, but I couldn't get comfortable. I would wake up every hour with annoying pain. At about 4am I got up and found some blood, so that was time to wake up my husband and drive to the hospital, meanwhile leaving Ezra with his grandmum.

Such nice "coincidence" - this painting hanging at the hospital lobby

We were at the Uniklinikum of Leipzig in an hour and my passive labour had started too.
It was very long labour and I never thought it would be so hard with the second baby since everyone says otherwise: it took lots of walking up and down the stairs of hospital, pain, exhaustion...
Plus, the waters had to be broken by the midwife, which actually helped contractions to become oftener and stronger. After couple of contractions I pushed like crazy, seriously. I've always been zealous (my favourite English word) in my life, but when it comes to childbirth, I'm sort of in ecstasy and have babies as fast as possible. Nobody expected I would do so fast, you could tell by their face expressions and trust me, Germans don't show that too often.
It was definitely a fight. I felt like warrior, really.
I screamed for Hashem to help me and He did, baby was out - safe and sound (3,400 kilos).
New little life.
Beautiful baby boy of ours - little Aaron.
Baruch Hashem!
I was happy and proud.

What I wanted to tell with this post is that you should never lose hope, trust to G-d and positivity. Nothing is ever lost as my dear Rebetzin says and I believe her. No matter what statistics, ultrasounds and sometimes even doctors say, you have your right to listen to your motherly instincts - everything will be fine!
And pregnant women need to hear that often - everything will be fine, you are fine and wonderful, keep being great and growing little wonders inside you!

May G-d bless everyone longing children and make them as happy as I felt when holding my new baby tight on my chest.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

On being a stay at home mum and a Hausfrau

Being stay at home mum is very hard, and I am glad, I am not the only one who thinks so. My favourite modern author, Beth Ann Fennelly also talks about it in her book.
People usually get touched by the subjects that bother them, or they get annoyed and depressed. I was sort of like that when read her ideas about new mums, who are at home, then they stay in longer and become less and less independent financially.

This is quite a problem actually.
Not that I can complain or something, but I don't feel free like used to before. I don't work since my 20 months old son was born, I am home with him all day, waking up at dawn and putting him to sleep in the evening. It's been my job now. I love it and I feel fine, at least I don't have a boss to boss me around, except Ezra, who tries to boss, but I am still in charge here, he can't do that to me; so it is good, when I can do pretty much what I please (or what I can), but very often I feel very degraded, if you know what I mean. Sometimes I feel like all my brain has gone with the milk I've nursed Ezra (if literally, that would've been quite useful after all), and now I am only left with my tired hands that clean, wash, change diapers, bake bread, cook meals, and nobody really needs my intellect anymore.
I know it's not like that, my husband definitely respects my knowledge and all, but isn't society harsh on women anyway?

For example, I went to some German bureaucratic office to get some papers done and a lady asked me what was my profession. So I told I had studied journalism, but now was staying at home with my little child. Oh, she said, so you are a Hausfrau, that's what I wanted to know and she wrote down my "profession" straight on that paper.

I am a Hausfrau, I am a Hausfrau, Hausfrau, I was repeating to myself like crazy, then laughed a lot and finished it with crying.
I've never thought I would end up as a Hausfrau :D last Hausfrau of my Matriarchic family was my greatgrandmother, I think. Even my grandmother, who had five children, never stayed home and taught at school, because she believed her intellectual abilities shouldn't go to waste. My mum remembers how exhausted her mum would be after school, but she still would do household stuff, help her own children with homework and only at midnight had she time for herself, to read her favourite Russian poetry and prepare lessons for the next day.
So, dear Grandmama Sophia, I'm not sure if you would be proud of your Hausfrau granddaughter if you knew her now.

Back to the point I started this post - financial independence.
Even though I can spend reasonably, you know regular and normal families don't spend too much, we're just one of those families, that save and go for discounts, or shop at Aldi and Lidl.
Still, I feel bad if I spent too much, because I didn't earn that money and I feel like I should be more considering what to buy and what not to. Or if I want to buy something that is above Aldi and Lidl prices, I always think twice.
I've never been a big spender or a big fashion shopper, but I could buy things before more freely than I do now. It also must be having a baby, because now I tend to buy more things to him than to myself, and very often his clothes are more expensive, than mine, which is probably not very good, but then the quality question comes first, - children should wear good shoes for healthy feet development, they should wear 100% cotton clothes (while I can wear H&M's fake Bio Cotton) and so on...
This is very stressful for me and very often I can't explain my feelings to anyone, because they don't really understand or realise. Most people think women that stay at home do nothing and whatever they do, can't be compared to the real outside world job, but nobody realises how mentally exhausting it might be - when you are depended financially and don't have any real days off, because the job of mum is 24/7.
Plus I am absolutely terrible at making money, so dumb, I don't know why. So if anyone assures you all Jews are rich or can be ones, please send them over to me so I'll give them a good punch. Really! :P

I hope I'll be able to make that lady write down my real profession one day, so I'll be paid for that job and will feel happy and accomplished, as my Grandmother did.

Friday, November 29, 2013


It feels like Chanukah was just a while ago and the calendar tells me it's been a year, I don't believe that.
Ezra's almost 20 months, I am almost 29 (years) and it's Chanukah already. Why is life so crazy? It's rhetorical question obviously.

I would've said that many things have changed since last Chanukah, but then I'd have to talk about those changes, which I don't want to. I am terrible when it comes to talk about myself. I mean, what kind of a blogger I am then, but you know what I mean (do we? :P), being Jewish Orthodox is not easy, you can't talk about everything, you should be humble and reserved, and serious and super intelligent, shouldn't you? At least that's what I think I am (humble... ;) ).

Now seriously, I am fine.
I've been making cottage cheese pancakes called "syrniki" in Russian lately, which translates as "cheesy" :D but in English "cheesy" probably doesn't explain those pancakes' existential meaning. Anyway, Ezra loves them, even my husband can eat them, so I am happy. I need very little to be happy, you know, just couple of "cheesy" pancakes and hot lemon tea.
But this post is not about syrniki naturally, even though you fry them in lots of oil as anything else for Chanuka - oil, oil, oil everywhere.

How am I prepared for Chanuka?
I am not physically and "kitchenly", but mentally I am into it already: I see and feel miracles everywhere, just everywhere.
I remember last year talking to a friend and telling that miracle doesn't have to be exactly as divine as it originally was at the time of the Second Temple (when very little oil was left in the Menorah, but it still burnt for 8 full days), but in small things, that happen to regular people like me. For example I found a long forgotten 20 Euro bill in my old bag when I needed so badly, then I received some discount coupons for a washing machine conditioner, that I had run out and didn't want to spend much anymore, then I got couple of nice e-mails from nice people and what else do I need.
You know these type of miracles that every woman appreciates.

Chanukah 5774/2013 - give it up for Mama Sophie's Sufganiyot/doughnuts

Anyway, I still mustered Sufganiyot for Chanuka yesterday, because what kind of Chanuka would that be? Everyone loved them so far and I even dare to say I get better and better Yiddishe mame year by year :) 

Have a bright Chanukah, full of wonders and love!!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

University lover

When people visit countries or cities, they usually go to see (and definitely take pictures of) museums, theatres, churches and other, so called, sight-seeings. I'm not one of them. I have this thing for Universities. There's some magic aura in Academic places, isn't it? Air is so full of science, education, freedom, thinking...

G-d, do I love Universities! You have no idea. When I visit a new country, first thing I want to see is a State University of that place. Looking at the buildings and watching students are most amusing and amazing entertainment for me. I love watching enthusiastic and motivated youth. Anyone who's ever gone to University, knows how engaged and excited one can be there. Or maybe I was because I studied Journalism (crazy, how could I do that!) and believed in things that don't quite exist in this corrupt world. Plus they don't really teach you how to write there, just waste of time, all the good writers are NOT even journalists, forget Marquez and Hemingway... But that's not the subject now.

So I like University of Athens a lot (first European country I have visited long time ago), I guess, because it's old and loud :)
Second in my list is the Moscow State University, which is huge and pompous as Russia itself.
Then come Universities of Milan, Berlin and Prague. Sadly my list is not very big because I'll be honest, I haven't really seen all the Universities of the countries I have visited.
[I intentionally do not mention the great ones like Oxford, Cambridge, Sorbonne and etc, too pop for me ;) ]

Last but NOT least is the University of Leipzig. The pride of East Germany, let me say like this.
Since Leipzig is my (rather Ezra's, he is an authentic Leipziger) hometown right now, naturally its University is the first place to see and be for me.
My 4 years of Bachelor's and 2 years of the midrasha were not enough at all to satisfy my Academic hunger (haven't done Master's yet, sorry, mum!).


So today when Ezra and I were walking up the beautiful University street of Leipzig in the very centre of the city, I felt that the sky was wider and higher, than usual, calm breeze was full of University air taking me to my favourite place in the world.

I wonder what are my readers' obsession? Readers' that become less and less like my blog posts :-D It's fine, sometimes it's very useful talking/writing to yourself and making things clear and realising what you didn't actually know before.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Great with Child

Last book I've read is Beth Ann Fennelly's "Great with child".

I am usually very sceptical towards new authors, especially American ones. You know I adore American literature, mostly THE writers like Salinger, Hemingway, Capote, but modern literature is a disaster just like their cinematography, G-d forbid, how could I ever call Hollywood movies Cinema :D

Anyways, Beth Ann Fennelly is one of those rare authors that absolutely got me into them. First, she's got Irish roots and red hair. Second, she's mum of three. Third, she's a poet and not bad either. I've read couple of her poems and liked them actually, but this book I've mentioned above is something that every mother or to-be should read. Not only extremely encouraging and funny, but it's also very witty and non-judgmental.
I've always been trying to be non-judgmental, but not succeed quite often, people bug me anyways and I call them names, or label and even ban them. While Beth Ann Fennelly seems to be so tolerant to any kind of people, mostly mums in this case, that gives you strength to become little bit like her too.

Except all that, Fennelly's also a freak of grammar, like me, should I say. She especially can't stand when people ignore apostrophes. I liked that so much. Even though I am not from English speaking country at all and nobody would judge (hopefully) my English, but I really try to speak and write correctly and when some native speaking people can't tell between "it's" and "its", or "you're" and "your" seems so embarrassing to me.

So I recommend everyone to read this book. I am even going to re-read it, so enjoyable like a friend of yours writing to you and you are dying to respond or ask some advice, but you really can't.
We all need friends like Beth Ann Fennelly, oh I do a lot.

Have a lovely time!!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Little before Rosh Hashanah

It's month of Elul for us, less than 10 days left before Rosh Hashanah and the judgment day - doesn't it sound scary?
It is indeed.

I've been thinking and analysing things so much lately. Millions of bees have been buzzing in my brain (if it's a correct way to express my state of mind) and asking so many questions I couldn't answer.
The month before Rosh Hashana is supposed to be the time for meditation, changing one's character traits and shortcomings that one knows should be changed. It's time to think more and talk less.
I don't have much time for thinking because I'm mum, you know, of the 16 months old energetic boy who needs my attention all the time.
But I also know that it doesn't mean I can slip away from Elul having those reasons mentioned above. I don't want either - I want to change myself and move forward as a better person.

Sometimes I have a feeling that everything is illusion though.
Everything, especially religion.
Just look into their philosophies - starting from my very own Judaism and finishing with most modern religions - don't they all have same content?
Don't most of their authorities brainwash the mass conscious?
Don't most of them ignore women?
And in the end everyone is expecting Messiah, which gets so annoying, I wish I could ask G-d, what's all that for? Are we just puppets? Why are we so weak that can't make it without Messiah who should come and do the work for us?

I have one favourite rabbi (I have VERY few of them) Osher Baddiel - great old English man emigrated from Germany before the WWII. He gave shiurim to us couple of times in the midrasha and talked a lot about Mashiach/Messiah that is to come and redeem us all. Rav Baddiel was little sarcastic, but brilliantly explained that no-one's coming to redeem us like we expect: nobody will come and bring heaven on Earth. Messiah isn't/won't be son* of G-d, that's for sure (since we're all G-d's children in general) and he won't be walking on a water... he won't do the work for us either, he said. G-d has created this world in a way that we should sweat working and overcome obstacles before us.
In short, redeemer is mostly in us - it's our soul, our willpower and our desire to work on ourselves, help others and live according to Torah.

I absolutely loved Rav Baddiel's points of view, although he made sure that Mashiach definitely will come, as it's promised, but not in a way most people believe.

Older I get less I believe in changing the world while I can't even change myself (do I really try?). Little Elul is left and I hope to get some strength and time to have meaningful Rosh Hashanah.
Or just let Mashiach come, and soon, please!

*with all respect to my Christian readers - this doesn't mean to reassure or upset you. We all should believe in what or who we believe in. Diversity is beautiful.