A Baby, Latkes, and Some Updates

Cameron and me at Latke Fest 2019 (My shirt says “LOL: Lots of Latkes”)

Some updates:

I have finally gotten over this virus/cold/sinus infection that has been walloping me for three weeks. This thing has taken me two different antibiotics and a course of Prednisone to battle through. I have been exhausted fairly easily, and I have certainly had to make some attempts to write through the heavy eyes that come along with battling under-the-weatherness. 

My current read is “To Pray as a Jew” by Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin, and I am taking my time with this one. Between work, our 5-year-old, and finding time to breathe, reading is sometimes quite difficult. I do, however, always try to keep up to date on the latest news and ideas through various outlets and articles. 

This past weekend, I served as prayer leader for Shabbat services (see previous post), taught Hebrew at Religious School on Sunday morning, and was also actively involved in our Temple’s annual Latke Fest on Sunday afternoon. I have also been spending most nights practicing Torah from the Tikkun in preparation for a special Shabbat morning service that is coming up this weekend. 

Oh, and by the way, my wife also happens to be 23 weeks pregnant, and much of my mental energy is consumed with preparations, considerations, and a general anxiety that likely takes its toll on my immune system (see above paragraph about illness). One of these days I will likely post about the traumatic experience that accompanied the birth of our son, Cameron, a little more than five years ago. I think that story will take me quite a lot of time and mental fortitude to do justice, so I am certainly saving it for the right moment. We do know that we are having a baby girl around April 1st! A girl in our family is rarer than a Snow Leopard in Tallahassee, so to say that we are excited would be an understatement. We also know that her name will be Lena Naomi. Lena is for my great-grandmother, Lena Brettschneider (Weinstein), my grandmother’s mother. Naomi is just because we like the strong and beautiful name.  

While this is not my typical post with a story, theme, or clear message, I want you all to know that I am living life fully and Jewishly every day. I read Torah, I read the news, experience anxiety, work through trauma, watch sports, and go to my job. I also just started watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon, and I am excited after the one episode. I have a lot of mental health, trauma, suicide prevention etc. trainings coming up on the close horizon, so I am preparing to create and offer those as well. Perhaps this is my current contribution to Tikkun Olam, as we would say. 

I would also like to take this opportunity to connect with you, the reader, about topics, events, issues, or anything else that you would like to read about. What interests you, and what do you actually want to read? Being a younger Jew in America is certainly a perspective that one does not generally hear from on a daily basis, so I would love to answer any questions, or be set afire by your amazing conversation starters. People really seemed to connect with my post about my trip to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and I am glad that it hit home for many. 

Before I fall asleep, I will end this disjointed post. I am glad you took the time to read. Also, I am trying really hard not to make this blog political, and that is difficult right now. 

Shalom,

Joshua

Published by Joshua Gray

I am Joshua Gray. I am a husband, father, not-for-profit-worker by day, and a former professional actor/singer. I am very active in the Jewish community in my area, helping to teach at religious school on Sundays, while also serving on the board of trustees at my local temple. My relationship with Judaism is a joy of mine, and I find great pleasure in studying texts and learning more and more Hebrew. I still enjoy warbling tunes, and I even got to sing the Kol Nidre on Yom Kippur, which was a definite highlight. Please feel free to contact me with any ideas for topics, conversations, or general inquiries. Shalom!

One thought on “A Baby, Latkes, and Some Updates

  1. I like the idea, but politics definitely needs to stay out unless it affects Judaism in some way or another. I am learning about the Jewish faith, and I like that. Keep up the good work!

    Like

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