Week of May 5, 2019

It has been said that when the world feels overwhelming and problems seem insurmountable, it is good to focus on things that actually have a chance of success. To that end, I have been keen to deal with my front yard, a little bit of which washes away during every rain and creates a little pool of mud where the sidewalk is uneven near the corner. My house sits up above the sidewalk and the front lawn is more like the side of a hill. Since we live at the low end of a sloping street, other properties also contribute to the mud slick, but we only control what we can control, right?

So, on a warm, sunny spring day (remember that Monday, about a month ago?) inspired to take advantage of the weather and solve my mud problem, as well as to give my teenager something physical to do, I grabbed a shovel, handed her a hoe, and pointed to a 4 foot wide strip of patchy grass and soil on the hillside. Thirty minutes later, a layer of all-in-one seed and mulch blanket was in place, with the “biodegradable paper liner” facing down as per the instructions on the bag containing the 40 foot roll of product I had bought in anticipation of this moment. Two cold weeks later, following the busy-ness of preparing to march to freedom, two seders, and twice a day watering, the faded, but essentially intact, all-in-one seed and mulch lawn blanket, along with its “biodegradable paper liner” was scraped off the wet soil and composted and bricks were placed along the sidewalk to stem the tide of mud (which would have been useful for brick building prior to marching to freedom.)

Having fit in a visit to the garden center and purchased a pound of loose grass seed at some point during the week-long march to freedom, I set out on the next warm, sunny afternoon, scattered a generous layer of the seed over the strip of bare soil, and, after carefully soaking off and composting the “biodegradable paper lining,” covered them with a fresh layer of all-in-one seed and mulch lawn blanket. Two not quite as cold weeks later, following a lovely mimouna celebration, another abandoned counting of the omer, and twice a day watering, the strip of all-in-one seed and mulch blanket looks a bit like a yeshiva boy’s cheek, with irregular, wisps of grass emerging. I can’t explain just how exciting this is. Maybe, if grass can grow where there was a mudslide……..

Since this week contains the Israeli yamim, the obvious “then” to the sentence above would involve doing something to help solve the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. (Now you understand why I would rather discuss my front yard, right?) Sadly, things on that front are looking worse every day (but you should see my grass!) We will have a chance to share our hopes and dreams and frustrations this Shabbat, when our service will be full of Israeli music, old and new, and dinner will feature a talk by and discussion with special guest Gili Meisler. Gili, an Israeli writer and filmmaker produced a documentary about his brother Giora, an Israeli soldier of the Yom Kippur war who disappeared “missing in action.” Gili has been searching for “him and for himself” ever since. Gili is also the director of media and communications for ‘The Parents Circle – Families Forum’, a joint Israeli-Palestinian organization of over 600 families, all of whom have lost an immediate family member to the ongoing conflict.

If you would like to share the joy of working with dirt, then I hope you will join Shir’s annual garden project. We will be building garden plots for refugee families through the Victory Garden Blitz program. We need lots of hands for building, filling, and even planting these plots on Sunday May, 19.

Wait! What did I say? Rumor has it that hearing things clearly during our services, especially High Holidays, can be challenging. If you have concerns about this, please complete this short, focused survey.

Continue reading to learn about all the excitement coming up!!