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Rebecca’s Story Chapter 1

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Rebecca’s Story, Chapter 1
by Mindy Robin Adelman
aka Me’ira Esaeinahy

Rebecca shivered under her covers as she realized that it was almost seven o’clock.  Any moment now her alarm was going to go off and she would have to get up and get ready for school.  She’d have to crawl out of bed, find her robe, and listen at the bedroom door to make sure there were no sounds nearby. She would stand there for a minute, maybe two, but eventually she would have to leave the temporary haven of her room.  She would make her way the few short steps down the hall to the next door, praying all the way that he was already in his room getting dressed for work.  It was only a matter of seconds between the two doors, but seconds could often prove fatal.  If she made it to the bathroom and locked the door, she was usually okay.  Lately, the lock hadn’t even been enough. He had found a key.

There had been a time when getting ready for school wasn’t such an ordeal.  Now she dreaded having to get up and face her father.  Seeing him was getting harder every day.  It wasn’t that she didn’t love him. Rebecca and her father had always been very close.  Their relationship had always been special.  Sometimes she even felt as if their relationship was closer than her father’s and mother’s.

Rebecca loved both of her parents very much, her father especially.  She just didn’t feel very comfortable around him anymore. Especially with her mother right downstairs in the kitchen, or perhaps lying awake in their “marriage bed.”  Over the past few months, her parents had been drifting apart.  They weren’t fighting a lot, though there were more raised voices around the house than before.  Her father seemed very agitated lately, and almost anything would set him off.  She and her mother were playing it very low key.  They tried their best not to disturb him.  They let him make all of the decisions about where they were going together and what they were going to do.  Her mother had asked her to be extra careful not to aggravate her father. He was having a hard time at work, her mother kept saying.  It would be over soon.

Rebecca didn’t think “soon” was going to arrive quite as quickly as her mother imagined and hoped for.  Her father’s new patterns were getting worse lately, not better.  Her mother couldn’t let herself see that though. And she didn’t have the information that Rebecca was getting.  Though her father had closed himself off from almost everybody else, including her mother, for some reason Rebecca still received the privilege of her father’s attentions. 

Sometimes, when her mother wasn’t around, they would just sit and talk together.  And late at night, when her mother was sleeping, he’d been entering her room quietly, and they’d just hold each other.  It was… Read More...

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Misunderstanding the Hebrew Bible: The First Creation Story, Genesis 1:1-26

Category: Mind Change

Hebrew Biblical History Simplified: Genesis 1:1-26: Parshaht B’raysheet part 1 - The First Creation Story

by Me’ira Pitkapaasi

Light was created and separated from darkness.  Then water, with a separation of the water on the Earth from the water above the Sky.  The water on the Earth gathered to allow land to appear, and plants and trees arrived giving seeds and fruit. We are next introduced to the Moon, the Sun, and far off stars in the sky.  We’re given fish, water mammals, birds, “sea monsters”, and animals that crept out of the sea onto the land.  Finally, cattle and other land animals appear. And humans, too, though this creation was to be in God’s image.  End line 25.

The traditional translation that comes next, in chapter 1, verse 26 is very controversial among modern Hebrew Biblical scholars and Christian scholars alike.  Just what is it that the humans are doing here on Earth?  The first section of this line, וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים, נַעֲשֶׂה אָדָם בְּצַלְמֵנוּ כִּדְמוּתֵנוּ; is almost universally translated, “And God said: ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”

It is the next phrase that causes vehement discussion.  וְיִרְדּוּ בִדְגַת הַיָּם וּבְעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם, וּבַבְּהֵמָה וּבְכָל-הָאָרֶץ, וּבְכָל-הָרֶמֶשׂ, הָרֹמֵשׂ עַל-הָאָרֶץ
The Jewish Publication Society, from the Conservative Jewish movement, states, “They shall rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the cattle, the whole earth, and all the creeping things that creep on Earth.”  Sinai Publishing, from Masorti movement (modern traditional Israeli Jews) states, “They shall have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heaven, and over the beasts, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing upon the earth.”    The Christian Protestant King James Bible agrees. Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut, on behalf of the CCAR Press of the Reform Movement translates, “And let them hold sway.” The most recent Catholic New Jerusalem Bible states, “And let them be masters.”

Looking at the Hebrew, not one of these definitions makes the grade.  Immediately following “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” we are literally told, word for word in the above Hebrew, “And He went down into the fish of the sea and in the far away heavens, and in all the Earth, and in all the insects, the insects on the ground.”

The majority of Jews and Christians alike do not read or understand the original Hebrew of the Bible, and therefore accept what is written and told to them by Sunday school teachers and clergy alike – who themselves might not fully understand the original version of this story.  It is essential that our religious leaders and educators look closely at what they are reading before they pass on their self-professed scholarly knowledge of this worldwide Number One Seller book.

Anonymous, The New Jerusalem Bible: The Complete Text of the Ancient Canon of the Scriptures: Standard Edition, 2018.

The Jewish Publication Society, JPS Hebrew-English Tanakh: The… Read More...

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A Parent’s Survival Guide To Physics:  Topic One: Measuring Length

Category: Life

A Parent’s Survival Guide To Physics:

Topic One:
Measuring Length: (inches - in, feet - ft, yards - yd, centimeters – cm, and meters – m)
by Me’ira Pitkapaasi

Measurement in Physics is not quite as simple as taking out your measuring tape.  This tool will come in handy occasionally, such as in this passage, and when you’re determining lengths that are large enough to see and short enough to personally reach.  On our measuring tape, that would be 1/8th of an inch to a yard; or a millimeter to a meter.  In the greater scientific community, we use the metric system, so in order to understand what your student is learning, you’re going to finally have to figure out how this system works! 

An inch is typically the smallest unit of length used by the average parent in the U.S.A., or a fraction thereof.  We were always taught that an inch is about two and a half centimeters, which was correct!  So how do we compute length from there?  We use a formula that you can understand if you can compute multiplication and division problems with your calculator, and you can remember that 2 ½ = 2.5 in your calculator.

_____ centimeters = (2.5 centimeters) x (however many inches you just measured) ÷ (1 inch)
Or
______ = 2.5 x (measured number) ÷ 1
Or
_______ = 2.5 x (measured number) because any number ÷ 1 stays the same.

So if you’re measuring length of a standard piece of copy paper, you’re going to find that it’s 11 inches long.
________ = 2.5 x 11
      = 27.5 centimeters
Pretty cool, eh?

What if we’re measuring feet though? There are 30.5 centimeters in a foot.

______ centimeters = (30.5 centimeters) x (however many feet you just measured) ÷ (1 foot)
Or
______ = 30.5 x (measured number of feet) ÷ 1
Or
_______ = 30.5 x (measured number)

If you measured how tall your living room is, you might have discovered it was 7 feet tall.  Let’s put it into our equation:

______ = 30.5 x (7)
      = 214 centimeters.

Now there has to be a simpler way to say “My living room is 214 centimeters tall.”
There is.  You must remember that there every 100 centimeters = 1 meter.  So your living room would be 2 meters (for the 200 centimeters) with 14 centimeters left over.  And the metric system gives us a pretty easy way to add those 14 centimeters to our 2 meters.  It’s very different than how we use feet and inches. Here’s a new formula for you:

_____ meters total = (number of whole meters) “.” (number of centimeters left over).
      _____ = 2 . 14
    _____ = 2.14 meters

Football fields are a bit long for your tape measure, but… Read More...

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Good Intentions

Category: Life, Mind Change, People Power, Contest Voting, Essays

Good Intentions

It started out with good intentions.  My brown child had been having panic attacks about leaving our apartment and being ‘’shot by a white cop.’’ He refused to go to school for more days than I could remember. Following trusted advice, I contacted a local police department and asked them if they would be willing to have a white and non-white police officer meet with my eleven year old son.  My hope was that they would show him that police officers were the good guys, not violent racists as we had been seeing and hearing about every day in the media. 

We were met by the chief of the department- a white-haired, white-skinned man who welcomed us with open arms.  He took us up to his office, gave us his personalized baseball card, a bunch of police coloring books, and deputized my little boy as an honorary police officer, badge and all.  He introduced us to several officers and administrators- all white.  He asked them to take us to various areas of the police station, introduce us to the various officers and detectives- all white. 

But still, it seemed to be working.  My young man of color was feeling less and less anxious, even starting to smile and speak with the various individuals who were being so kind to and gentle with him.  They told us about the neighborhood program they did with all of the fifth grade classes in the local school district, and that they were planning on being in my son’s classroom one day this week. 

Convinced all was well, that my son was going to find a way to go about his daily life again, without the terror of being shot by a white police officer that had plagued him for weeks on end, we walked out with an officer who had made an especially close bond with my child.  He showed us his police car, even turned on the blinking lights for him, showed him the laptop that was built into his dashboard, and let him have a peak inside the back of the car, where he kept the ‘’bad guys.’’

And as we walked through the chilly air to our car, the officer told me more about the fifth grade class neighborhood program, and how it had gotten its beginnings.  Apparently there had been a certain class of fifth graders that had already been giving them trouble.  The department wanted to go in, make their presence known, and begin to establish a positive relationship with these children. 

I thought the events in Ferguson, the loss of Michael Brown, the decision of the Grand Jury, the loss of Eric Garner, Rumain Brisbon, Tamir Rice- the same age as my little boy- I thought they had opened my eyes.  Holding my small brown son tightly while he cried hysterically in fear of police men and other white men in his life- I thought these experiences had truly… Read More...

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Lost

Category: Short Story, Life, Essays

It was 1993, I was recently married, and I wanted nothing more than to be a mother.  We started fertility treatments in the Fall, including the Hysterosalpingogram – HSG – an invasive extremely painful test meant to discover any blockages that could prevent pregnancy from occurring.  Thankfully, the test found nothing, and I vowed I would never go through such a horrifying experience again.  I didn’t realize that mothering could turn out to be even more painful and horrifying than that dreaded HSG.

In 1994, we started artificial insemination – also referred to as the creation of “Turkey Baster Babies”. The first try was successful, and I was floating in the clouds, telling everyone instantly. It was magical.  We decided to fly to Florida to tell Jamie’s parents and my grandparents in person. The plane trip proved to be the beginning of the nightmare of my children.  Jamie was angry about something. I don’t even remember what.  Someone much later told me the incident was because Jamie had never really wanted a child in the first place. I don’t know if that was true. But the incident changed my life.  Jamie picked up one of our heaviest bags from the plane’s overhead compartment and slammed it down onto my belly, my uterus, our child.  Just a day or two later, our baby boy, my Jonah, miscarried. He was dead.

I mourned, I cried, I screamed, but all I really cared about, still, was becoming a mother.  We tried again.  We conceived instantly again.  Jamie had shut down. There was no outward anger. There never had been before, and there was again.  Passive aggressive, yes.  But nothing that I felt could endanger our second child.  She grew and thrived.  We heard her heartbeat, we saw her ultrasound, we were given a picture of her sucking her thumb.  Twenty-five years later and I still have those films with me. Not the photo.  But the films.  I was in love with our daughter from the moment of conception.  Observing my baby calmly sucking her thumb inside of me, my love intensified to a level I cannot even describe.  At a single trimester I was buying her dresses and furniture.  Her bureau stands by my bed still today.

Before we reached the halfway point, we were joyfully visiting the midwives, where we were told they could no longer find the baby’s heartbeat.  We were given the choice of waiting for the baby to deliver on her own, or having her delivered now, with assistance. I was mortified. Jamie was silent. We drove home to decide.  Sitting in the sunroom, in the midst of my hysterical crying at the prospect of another lost child, in the midst of Jamie’s cold unmoving silence, my water broke. My hysteria reached a new pitch.  I saw that the amniotic fluid was either followed or accompanied by massive bleeding, and my hysteria changed to wails of terror alongside the deep… Read More...

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