State of the Yitz 5772/2012
Herein is a summary of who I am and how I got there. I hope to repeat this exercise each year, to provide me with a road map going forward, and breadcrumbs leading back. Here are a few public tidbits, the private stuff I'll have to remember and infer from the few hints that appear here.
My first year at CM was an atrocious year for being in touch with family outside of Israel. But I do have 4 siblings here in Jerusalem (Tikki's in Jerusalem enough to count) with me now. I've spent some time with them, but I'd love to spend more. We've had some great moments at Yac & Cheryl's which was nice.
It's been a great year with the boys. Nery's teaching himself to read by way of trying to figure out how to compose his own writings based on the sound of letter's names. He's doing really well. Benayah decided that his name is Benayahu and has made it a point to correct the hebrew-speaking side of the family. We don't know yet how to take that so I call him Benayahu every now and then, especially if I'm upset with him to get his attention. All in all they're the most fun in the world to play with. They're totally brothers now and spar on a regular basis to prove, they love nothing more than provoking each other, poor Benj, despite his superior coordination, can't seem to get the better of his older craftier brother. Nery also loves to create projects and if left to his own devices can't resist creating all kinds of elaborate handiwork. Though the ganenet originally worried that his fine motor skills were underdeveloped he has since surprised us with really phenomenal art work. (We'll still probably send him to physical therapy to strengthen his fine-motor skills just in case.) Benj is a pro at colors and learning. His memory is keeping good pace with Nery's which is shocking, and he surprises us all the time with his insights. He has b"h great midot, he always helps and remembers to say thank you and goodbye. The cutest thing though is that I think his whole world is focused on movement and he used to be frustrated by books because the characters wouldn't move. To this day I'm not sure he understands the difference between a movie and a book. Ironic because by the time he's in college no one in the world will be using paper books except Jews.
Also Shlomit is expecting before Pesah so that is exciting and because of this we're looking to move. B"H We should find something that will be as great for us as our first apartment has been until now. Thank You HaShem!
Again, because of serious time commitments to CM, this has not been the best year for extended family although because of the crazy schedule when there are lulls it's much easier to find some spare time to see people and do family-oriented things.
This year I've started davening Netz in Nachlaot at Raz's minyan which has been amazing. Taking time to pray and singing parts of the tefillah every morning is such a great experience. It's the first Netz minyan I've been to that doesn't feel rushed at all. B"h I've managed to keep up lately and with the exception of the week of CES, I've been pretty consistent. Right now Shabbat tefillot are my biggest challenge in terms of minyanim.
B"H I've managed to keep up with the weekly parashah, and continued into perek shishi of masechet berachot on the bus in the mornings. I'm now also making my way slowly through Menorat HaZahav (a lot of R' Zusha's teachings) and reviewing some of the parashah in the Noam Elimelech. I'm back on the daily Tanya and I did another siyyum for 19 Kislev. And B"H I finished the second year of the Ben Ish Hai and began to review the first year again with Simchat Torah. B"H I completed the Tikkunei Zohar again this Elul-Tishrei, this time I was able to highlight and annotate some sections on my iPhone for review. I'm at Likkutei Moharan 112 or so, so I'm making nice progress. I still need to get back to the Komarna. I haven't made progress with the Otzar Hayyim. I've tried to go into a little more depth in the Mishnat Hasidim with the Beit Sha'ar perush, but the book is huge which complicates having it around when I have time to learn. Sadly I had for a while been memorizing mishnayot and had the first five perakim of Berachot down. I don't remember it all anymore, but it was nice to have gotten at least that far, I hope to at some point still get down the whole masechet so I have at least one masechet to carry around with me no matter what.
Thank you HaShem so much for everything I've learned and everything I've yet to learn and review!
After working one day of chol hamoed pesach I took unpaid vacation chol hamoed sukkot and it was great! I really prefer not to work on the chagim and wish I could remember to start preparing for chagim even further ahead of time. I'm getting a little bit more mature in that respect.
Shabbat We've made a lot of great strides in being ready for Shabbat on time, I still hope I will do better. I usually pray mincha and kabbalat shabbat at home, and then make it to shul for arvit and sometimes the dvar torah from the Rav. (Whichever shul I happen to be in) Mincha Shabbat day is also frustrating as I've tried to avoid Yad HaRav for mincha. Lately we've been going to visit Grandma Doreen for seudah shlishit with the kids which has been great whenever we've been able to make it. Yac and Ezri made it to Yad HaRav a lot which was also nice!
Purim was a long time ago, but again it was sweet and very very high, spent lots of time with all the Israeli family (and the kids!) from both sides. This year we got to bed at a much more reasonable hour and I got to pray at a more normal hour in the morning -- which was huge for me. (unless I really don't remember what happened)
Rosh HaShanah & Yom Kippur managing to finish the Tikkunei Zohar, this time with a little chance to digest it, was really great, the yomim noraim were amazing, everywhere I went on Rosh HaShanah I was greeted by smiling faces, even and especially complete strangers.. it was such a nice feeling. Yom Kippur was on Shabbat again, but this year I was ready for it and really appreciated how special that is.
Sukkot Was great once again, so nice sleeping in my in-laws sukkah, we spent a great day in the park with all of my Jerusalem sibs and also Y+Y. We made Nery a kosher lulav and Etrog and he was really cute about it, and about sharing it. I was much better about getting to minyan in the morning which was also a nice change from Sukkot in the past.
Hannukah We got a new beautiful Hannukiah thanks to Shlomit's investment of time, energy, and money and it was a really nice centerpiece for this Hannukah. We also lit inside the house which made the focus on the kids. One night we had the whole family over and that was beautiful (and then had Shlomit's rosh hodesh meetup afterwards as well) successful all around. I was home every day just about in time to light, so it was really a lot of nice time spent with the family every night we were running somewhere. (Savta, Granny, Grandma, Savta again, Yac&Cheryl, Shabbat, etc) Abba was in from the states which was awesome, we had a really nice time all together at Yac & Cheryl, skyping everyone in america. Hannukah was really special this year, thank you HaShem! (also Gilad Shalit was released around this time(i think))
Working for CM was new and fun, I worked some crazy hours. (3 sick days from home till 4 in the morning, a one-day record of 9:30am-8am the following day, only to be broken by CES - working round the clock and barely sleeping for about 6 days.)
I like the people @ CM, and I've got to spend a lot more time on new and cool technology. Still, there's lots of room for improvement, learning of new frameworks and better best practices, but It's amazing. [What also helps is seeing how rare good front-end web devs are here in Jerusalem -- It's nice to be needed.]
Sadly, my move to CM put an abrupt end to teaching, but it was insane to even think about teaching and working for a startup at the same time. Maybe again in the future, the experience at Landers really gave me a new perspective and a better idea about teaching expectations and planning.
There are a billion things I would like to start. A family-focused web service. Self-publishing my fiction and Torah literature. I'm also making progress on the productive/consumptive balance -- but I haven't experienced a super-breakthrough there yet -- i'm also better about managing my momentum and expecting things before they come up. In the end I went with CM rather than starting my own place, partly because I was scared. Here at CM I'm getting a better feel for all things entrepreneurial and psyching myself up for my eventual plunge into things unknown. I also need to streamline my goals for yitz.com into something I can manage so it's a useful resource.
Tzedaka I'm definitely happy and thankful with what we've been able to achieve. Looking to become more organized on this front, b"H. (focus on emor m'at v'oseh harbeh)
Owning a home it's all still up in the air, but I hope for good things, and trust in HaShem completely that they will come to be.
Debt definitely made improvements this year.. B"H this year we will achieve debt-less-ness -- or home ownership, one or the other.. I'd rather home ownershipe :)
Savings It's a delicate balance with debtlessness, do savings count if you have debts bigger than your savings?
news & blogs (definitely the worst), watching movies, reading fiction
- Yitz.. 8 Shevat 5772 / 1 Feb 2011