Thursday, July 05, 2012

Hot Enough

3:32 PM - Just had a great talk with a dear - since childhood - friend; there isn't anything like that.

You ever have to do something that the odds are you'll feel good after doing, but you fear doing it? Well I'm standing before one of those things right now. I hope that my next post comes from the other side.

3:54 PM - Feels good on the other side. The waters great. I recommend jumping in!

3:59 PM - Just a professionally related phone call. No biggie. Done (message left).

4:05 PM - Mountains behind mountains: I'm ready for my next call/professional responsibility.

5:01 PM - Since we spoke last I called a Dr's office about my foot, which I hurt when I fell at a funeral almost a year ago to the day.

Last night I wrote that I'm into being aware of the personality type of yourself and others. I just remembered another classification of types that Rav Noach Weinberg - Z"TL - was fond of. He said that there are head people, hand people, and heart people. (Of course there can be combinations of each, but as with all of these groupings we're talking about where the weight rests.) (If your first reaction was , "Well you could be more than one", my guess is you're in the head category.) Head people make their decisions based on their thinking, they want to be convinced - just the facts. Hand people define their life by activity and experience, this is what touches them. Heart people's pivots are their feelings and inner intuition and that's what they lead with in their lives.

5:34 PM - Just started revisiting Life's Journeys According to Mister Rogers. In the forward, his wife Joanne, quotes Fred's lyrics,"When the day turns into night, and you're way beyond my sight, I think of you." She writes, "Even though he's 'way beyond my sight,' I'm still being nourished by his words. It's such a comfort to know that others are too."

9:45 PM - I had a lovely visit from a (former) student and his friend. We drank tea and talked stories, poetry, life; there's nothing like it.

10:20 PM - I didn't catch her name but I once read a profile of a prolific writer who was proud of the laundry strewn around her home. She said that the many mystery novels she wrote wouldn't have happened if she'd put in the needed time to put away laundry and do all that which laundry metaphorically represents. I know that there's a middle road. And yet I respect her committed abandon and unabashed pride. I think about this now, and I think about it often. I originally wrote this anecdote is this long and comment filled post. As much as I relate to this writer's POV I am going to do some ordering of my apartment and not write here again until I can report that I've done some organizing.

11:25 PM - I organized/put away laundry. It's amazing how unfulfilled that leaves me.

I wrote an essay for The Jewish Week in their issue of July 3, 2012. It's not in their online archives (as best as I can tell). For some reason I didn't cut and paste it at the time. At some point I'd like to transcribe or summarize it.

It's been really hot lately, which is hard for me. I'm highly sensitive. Not only to words and feeling but also to noise, caffeine, lack of sleep, and temperature. That's another categorization. You can take a test here regarding your level of sensitivity.

Here's the poem of the day.

Goodnight, and may G-d bless and keep well my dad and anyone else who might read this.

New York - 94 Degrees

Heat is an outdoor prison
It tastes like cigarette ash
It sounds like a tired moan
It smells like worn sneakers
It looks like a brisk breeze
It feels like a sucker punch


Anonymous Pearl Saban said...

How do we get to read that essay, Neil?

July 17, 2012 at 12:47 PM  
Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

Found it:

In A Class By Themselves (01/09/2003)

The stories of some teachers who made a lasting impression.


Love And Respect

The best teacher I ever had was Phil Chernofsky in sixth grade in the Heller Hebrew Academy of North Queens. “Mr. C,” as we called him, was purposely not Rabbi C. By virtue of not being a rabbi, he taught me that there are things more important than title.

Mr. C was a great teacher because he set a worthy example. He was strict and kind, bright and accessible, creative and traditional, and very human.Mr. C made me feel that I mattered. I recall sitting and chatting with him in his car during recess on a cold winter day, comparing notes on growing up and cherishing the moment.

I once made a comment in class that Mr. C considered good enough to significantly boost my entire report card grade. After my bar mitzvah he took me shopping to help me spend my gift money wisely. That night I bought my first Jewish book and then we celebrated with ice cream.

When a kid once bullied me during class, Mr. C looked him straight in the eye and the world stopped as he said, “If that’s going to be your attitude you will be out of my class right now.”

He shared his love of Torah in original ways. Once a week a button on Mr. C’s lapel announced, “If It’s Thursday There’s Mishmar!” — advertising his afterschool Torah class. He reconstructed his small sukkah in class and told us how he sat and listened to news of the Yom Kippur War. His enthusiasm and creativity seemed endless.

Today, as a teacher, I am a shadow of Phil Chernofsky’s model. Mr. C once showed us how the last Hebrew letters of the word yir’ah, respect, and the first letters of the word ahava, love, are the same, illustrating the connection between love and respect of God. Years later I’ve learned that this lesson applies to the ingredients of a good teacher. Mr. C earned my love and respect 30 years ago and continues to inspire me today.

- Rabbi Neil Fleischmann

July 17, 2012 at 9:29 PM  

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