The Deep Dig for Impact

Every second of every day, life changes profoundly for someone on earth. A death, a crime, a lottery win, an election, a new job, a lost job, a child born or adopted, coffee spilled on the stranger who will become the life partner, a car accident that cripples, a letter, a diagnosis: the world shifts and reveals itself transformed.

Sometimes, the change is immediate; a woman gets the call about a baby being born and races off to the airport to meet her new child in a faraway hospital. On the flight, she feels the difference and labels it: that call made me a mother.

Other times, the change has to be carefully traced back to its root. The beat-up old car that college student drove made him the likely grocery-store connection for a group of giggling women, who introduced him to the woman he eventually married. Was his grandfather — the car’s original owner — the reason he met his wife? Where did that story begin?

Truth be told, this is a question of consequences. How do we know when we had a part in change? Also, how long should we wait to let go of a moment and its potential to alter the world? Is there an expiration date on an event’s power to reshape the future? Continue Reading…

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Your Strange Diet, Day One

There are hundreds of articles on the internet and in parenting and health magazines about what it’s like to deal with food allergies. From the relatively minor challenges of mild lactose intolerance to the devastating effects of an anaphylactic reaction, there’s advice on avoidance and labeling, special medical alert bracelets and school safety plans. There are lists of substitutions for these newly dangerous foods, recipes for making things “(fill-in-the-blank) free,” and products popping up on shelves to replace the foods you used to love before they became a danger to you or someone you love.

kitchen cabinetIt’s easy to find those articles. What I felt was missing was an article to help families in those first few days. The day after a child is first raced to the emergency room with a swelling throat, or after the gastroenterologist hands over the celiac diagnosis, or after an oncologist tells someone to follow an anti-cancer diet, they stand in their kitchens and stare down their former life  — and their kitchen cabinets — without knowing what to do first.  Continue Reading…

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Something Missing

10qmoreThe ten days between the beginning of the Jewish new year (Rosh Hashanah) and the Jewish day of atonement (Yom Kippur) are sometimes known as the “Days of Awe.” Many Jews feel the pull of either ritual, tradition, or introspection during that time of year. My fairly typical Jewish familial history included new outfits for synagogue, time-consuming baking and cooking for the holidays, and, only peripherally, some discussion of what the year behind had meant and what the year to come would bring.

All of that changed with the birth of my children. I found myself looking for some pieces of meaning to take from the holiday beyond the trappings of fashion and coffee cakes. I listened to the rabbi’s sermons, started reading the commentary in my prayer books during services, and seriously observed tashlich — the ritual of throwing bread crumbs in the water to discard the previous years “sins.”

And then, in 2012, I discovered 10Q. Continue Reading…

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