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Blog - It's all Greek to me!!!!

Life in Greece with a Jewish twist

Shana Tova from A - Z

I wish everyone a year of Achievement, Blessings, Curiosity, Delight, Enthusiasm, Friendship, Growth, Health, Inspiration, Joy, Kindness, Learning, Magic, New Opportunities, Peace, Quality, Richness, Success, Talent, Unity, Victory, Wisdom, X-llence, Youth, Zen...

Busy busy busy…

I know that is probably the case for everyone in these pre-holiday days… Anyhow, doesn’t it sound good to answer “busy” when someone asks you how you are doing… Or as they say here in Greek: “trecho, I run!”.  For sure makes you seem like someone important… (just kidding)

But we REALLY are very busy, with many interesting projects: we published and mailed a gorgeous (at least in my eyes, but I hope not only) Jewish Art Calendar for the New Year 5769, in Greek (yes, sir!), which we mailed to all the Jewish homes in Greece. Each month features a different traditional recipe by one lady of the community. (By the way, if you have not received one or would like to receive an extra one, please email me).

We also published a kids magazine (click here for the PDF), which is not only interesting and fun but also beautifully designed (again in my opinion – but after all this is my blog, isn’t it?).

Another project we are organizing: Volunteers these days are visiting elderly and needy people with a “New Year sweet package”, filled with honey and other delicacies. This is much more than a simple visit, it shows our care … This small attention always has a tremendous affect for both the people visited and the volunteers. It makes me think every time about the saying of our Sages: “More than the receiver, it is the giver that benefits from the giving”.

We plan of course a Rosh Hashanah community dinner: that means establishing a menu with the hotel chef, making a schedule for the kosherization of the hotel  kitchen and other preparations, preparing a little something inspirational to say at the evening: after all we try to feed not only the people’s bodies but also their souls!

Am I done yet? No, of course…

We hosted last night a great evening with Mrs. Ahuva Gray, author of “my sister the Jew”, followed by a performance of a Klezmer Band from Israel. Even though it was pouring outside (it does rain sometimes in Athens), the atmosphere inside was warm and uplifting, and everybody left with a good dose of inspiration.

And, last but not least, we celebrated on Sunday the first birthday of our son LY!!! Does this mean that he is now allowed to start sleeping a full night? I hope so…

Let’s see what the future holds for us…

Back to school - yeah!

Thursday was a momentous day… Besides for being September 11 (9/11), it was also the first day of school here in Greece… after 3 month vacation!

 

3 month vacation is long… long… especially for the parents ;) But believe me, even the children were already waiting impatiently to get back to school and see their friends… even their teachers.

 

Hard to believe how time flies (oh my G-d, I can’t believe I’m saying something so original… but that’s exactly what I feel, what can I do?)… Hanna and Arie are entering third and second grade already… (Just a while ago I was chasing toddlers and soon they will get married and I will be a bubby J )…

 

These years of formation are critical…. They are learning much more than math, geography and grammar (I hope! J ) They are acquiring values and principles, shaping a healthy way to lo look at the world…

 

Thank G-d, they are good students, avid readers, they are like sponges, absorbing all they can from what they hear, see, learn….

 

Kissing them goodbye on the way to the school bus, I was a little nostalgic of the time when my only worry was to learn and to learn some more…

 

I then thought to myself that we should never truly leave school: even if we are out of the physical walls of the classrooms, we should never cease to study. I mean not only by reading and attending classes but also by searching for meaning and inspiration in everyday life, learning something from each person we encounter, and remembering that each experience, even the unpleasant ones, should be for an opportunity for growth.

 

This coming week, why not practice being in a learning mode, exercise a curious mind and discover something new everyday?

Shabbat report: 2 happy couples and a broken glass

The past Shabbat was a matrimonial Shabbat: one couple was in their second week after their wedding, enjoying their honeymoon in Greece and in the Greek islands. Another couple was just officially formed, as she accepted his wedding proposal just the night before in Paros Island… How romantic!...

It was heartwarming for everybody to watch the sparkling happiness and the ecstatic smiles of the young fiancés…  I guess that it reminds “old couples” of magical moments and gives singles a shot of optimism and hope…

Nevertheless, I think it is equally moving to watch the tenderness and the complicity between a couple married for 30 years (or more!)… They have the trusting love and care of experience, the bond created by obstacles overcome together… They have ridden together many waves in life and know each other so well, including the defaults which they have learn to accept and even to appreciate…

A propos wedding, do you know why it is customary to break a glass under the chuppa (wedding canopy)?

Watch this video to find out, and get a little inspiration:

When Breaking is Fixing

The Secret to a Successful Relationship

By Chana Weisberg

Click to Watch Video

Learning to accept (yours and other's) imperfections, flaws and deficiencies.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

We often have the pleasure to be involved in happy occasions such as preparations for weddings, bar and bat Mitzvah… But sometimes we also face sadder circumstances: we visit people in the hospital or provide help to mourning families.

Last week, we had to deal with a tragedy: a 13 year old German girl passed away suddenly on a Greek island, while vacationing there with her family. We helped them with the legal procedure of transferring her back to Germany for burial, as well as the technicalities. Some wonderful people were part of this effort too: Rabbi Issac Mizan, Izzy Solomon, Samy Vital from the local Chevra Kedosha (burial society), Izzy Tiano and last but not least Michalis Papasavas. May G-d bless them for their kindness.

When faced with such tragedies, children suffering, young people dying, we can’t help but question G-d: Why? Why do You allow such terrible events to happen?

There is no compelling answer to this question, no satisfying answer for the mourning soul.

Ultimately, only belief can lead us through these trying times: realizing that G-d’s actions and plan in His infinity cannot always be comprehended by our limited human minds… that’s why he’s G-d after all and we are only humans… That’s why we are here in this world of challenges and of confused messages, where good and bad are intertwined and the truth is not always revealed… We are here to take action and light up this world, spread the good, alleviate suffering as much as we can, and bring the world closer to goodness.

The Rebbe used to say: We have to turn the pain into action and the tears into growth. When we perpetuate the legacy of our loved ones, when we perform good deeds in their memory, when we take on a worthy cause that was dear to them, our loved ones are remembered not only in our memories but also in our actions … Their souls ascend even higher in the heavenly skies for they are the drive behind all these deeds of kindness.

May G-d offer His consolation to the mourning family and may they not know any more sorrow.

Find out what the Rabbi has to say about why good things happen to good people.

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