National Holocaust Remembrance Day, new Anne Frank exhibit, Art Shabbat

What I wrote back in 2017 (along with a poem) couldn’t have been said any better today, so I am reposting it, because it is still 100% true.

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN Jan 28, 2017 

THIS DAY. Holocaust Remembrance Day….. A very, very, very important day that we must remember. ALWAYS. EVERY SINGLE DAY. WE MUST REMEMBER THIS PART OF HISTORY EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES.  

When I was growing up learning about the Holocaust was a part of history class but I believe I found and read Anne Frank on my own (I know I did a book report at one time on her diary). My mom had a copy, then I asked for my own copy for Christmas.

Unbeknownst to my soul I have always had the deepest connection with Jewish people, the Holocaust, and a feeling for what happened. I have always had an interest in learning more and wanting to help out in some way–to spread the word–to make sure this would never happen again. HOW was the question, how in the world could someone do something so fucking horrible like this? I always wondered. Why. Hate? Why? Just why?! The feelings and emotions I have had as I think about this are still as strong as when I learned about them.

I’ve watched Anne Frank (the movie) thousands of times, and each time, I still cry so hard. I’ve read her diary so many times. I even wrote a book called “Dear Anne Frank” about when I went to DC and wrote to her my experiences, especially what I was feeling when I was at the Holocaust Museum when someone was disrespecting the person who was speaking. I still remember wanting to turn around and smack them and tell them they should listen because it’s really important.

The more someone tries to deny something like this, the more apt it is to happen. The more someone tries to forget this happened, the more it can happen. This is how history is repeated. This is WHY it is sooooooo important to get the word out. To share. To stop what should be stopped before it can happen again. Whether it’s today, tomorrow or one hundred years from now. The signs of hate and bigotry and separation needs to stop! REGARDLESS of what you believe in—-those things are so wrong for a trying-to-be-functioning society. That’s WHY we have the issues we do because people like that STILL exist!

I saw something posted online various places in reference to if her family and her could’ve gotten out and survived…..You think about these things. This had to of happened, her diary left behind, to possibly teach everyone in the future? The people who left anything behind. Then you think, what kind of a difference could they have made if they were alive now? It angers me that there were millions of people’s lives destroyed because of something like this. 

I can’t say it enough—-we must remember what happened, and teach those younger than us, so that something like this shall never happen again. TODAY, THIS WEEK, THIS MONTH, THIS YEAR… we must EDUCATE ourselves on how to surf through those hiding their true soul. We must NEVER lose our identity, we must FIGHT for what is right and for our SOULS. We MUST LEARN to think on our own and be able to sniff out when this will happen again… and we must STOP IT this time!!!!

There is an older based-on-a-true-story movie called Freedom Writers that really spoke to me on many levels. If you’ve never seen it–basically a brand new teacher goes to an “at risk” school that is having so many racial issues. She tries really hard to teach them, all the while they are so used to being disruptive, not learning, drugs, drive-by’s and other things like that from their community. She decides to teach them about the Holocaust, and gives them journals to write their own issues. She helps them change their lives, and teaches them in the meantime to change what they can change to be better. A lot of her students were the first in their families to graduate.

THAT is why I say…

EVERYONE HAS A STORY.  
EVERYONE 
HAS 

STORY 

Get out there and share! SHARE what your heart and soul is telling you! This is the future, this is the only way, the only way people are going to be helped and will learn about anything that is important is by true life stories. Everyone has a story, and 2017 is the time to share it.  

Souls Enlightenment

© Karen Maeby 1.27.17

Our souls sought survival yesterday,
as we’re caught in the middle of learning
the life lessons our ages bring to us
when passed down from generation to generation.

We must learn about our past–
to meet, greet and shake hands with history.
Tell history, share OUR history:
to make sure we don’t live the history, again.

My soul becomes unraveled and my heart
nearly stops—with every siren I hear.
Every moment, are we getting closer and closer
to having our names and our personalities erased
to be replaced with numbers that’ll never define us?

Only guard yourself and guard your soul carefully, lest you forget the things your eyes saw, and lest these things depart your heart all the days of your life, and you shall make them known to your children, and to your children’s children. – This is a quote–that I’ll never forget–from a postcard I got at the Holocaust Museum in DC.

Afterthoughts 1/27/2020: this day is even more important considering it’s my first Remembrance Day after converting last year. My feelings towards everything I wrote above are even more felt to this very day, and my love for Jewish life and my Jewish journey is even stronger…including my desire for LOVE to rule the world.

Light a candle for one of the Holocaust victims…. illuminatethepast.org

I feel it’s appropriate to add these three events together….

This past Friday – also another one year anniversary – I attended TBE’s Art Shabbat at the Poetry Bar. Last year I remember falling in love with the place and a different way of connecting Shabbat / prayer with art and the meaning of. Once again, it was amazing.

This time the theme was “blue” – we each got blue stones, had our chance to share “blue” poetry on their wall, and connection of blue in prayer.

“Some say blue expresses the interior of our soul.” – a comment on the page we got.

I haven’t fully sat down to write my thoughts on that night just yet, but I’m sure there’s going to be some poetry to come out of it.

I love Shabbat, and I love every chance for a unique vision to connect Jewish world with anything else that is relatable to the soul for a wonderful prayer session.

SATURDAY EVENING I attended the opening reception at the Holocaust Museum of Anne Frank’s Let Me Be Myself. It was my first time attending something like that, but I did it for my girl, Anne Frank, and because of the message. The exhibit takes you through the timeline from when she went into hiding all the way until everything was over. There was a model of the house / annex, as well as her diary. At the end of the exhibit were posters talking about who you are and what you are made of…. basically, ‘being yourself’ hence the title of her exhibit. It’s going to be at our museum for a while, so make sure you stop by to see it.

Speaking of… I know that a lot of you know my connection and feelings towards this Jewish life, especially since I converted and everything…but I don’t know if you know that I felt as if I were one of the souls killed in the Holocaust and I found myself back on Earth as gentile just to discover my Jewish soul at the time that I did. There are some things I can’t seem to explain. Feelings. Thoughts. Dates. Anne Frank’s family went into hiding on my parents anniversary date (month/day), her last diary entry was on my birthday (month/day) and I converted on her 90th birthday last year. There’s just way too much–coincidence–if you will. Even though I know that’s the wrong word because “there are no coincidences but destiny” … Call me crazy, and I know some of you will, but these are my very own thoughts from the soul on the matter.

My next studies on my own is about the Holocaust for the next couple of months so that I can find information for my stories, as well as learn. One of the books I’m struggling to get through (it is a small book) is “Memories of Anne Frank” as told by Anne’s friend Hannah. There are so many comments in there that take my breath away from how she found out to her own experiences, and I’m just struggling to get through it. I am also reading “Abandoned” by Stan Telchin – it’s a challenge-to-myself book because it’s about sort of opposite than what I believe, but I need something to challenge my thoughts. I have a number of other Holocaust books to read, but I need to get through “Memories” first.

Anyway, that’s where my Jewish journey is at right now. I’ve missed attending Jewish events, and now that theatre is at a rest for me, I can get back to it for a while. I made a promise to G-d that I would be studying and trying to become an honorable Jewish person and live up to my Jewish people and that’s what I am trying to do. Day by day.

Until next time – much love.

Hanukkah 2018 Review & more!

The reason I’ve been so “GET HERE NOW” HANUKKAH is because last year it was Sunday, December 2 – Monday, December 10. This year, it isn’t until Sunday, December 22. A whole twenty day difference. It’s like waiting for Christmas or something. So here is a run down of what Hanukkah was like for me last year….

DAY ONE – 12/2/18
I had rehearsal but I don’t quite remember what for, so I missed the lightning of the menorah. After I was finished with rehearsal I went to my original spot from 2017 when I saw the light and grabbed a photo with me by the Hanukkah sign and of the menorah.

DAY TWO – 12/3/18
I went to Sundial and celebrated with Chabad. That was a whole lot of fun with music, dancing, games, etc. I ate my first latke with both applesauce and sour cream. Then, a miracle happened… I won 4 tickets for 4 shows. I ended up giving all of the tickets away to friends or strangers except one because all of the other nights I was having rehearsals.

DAY THREE – 12/4/18
I spent time with friends–out to eat, back for candle lighting, ate my first gelt.

DAY FOUR – 12/5/18
I went to my synagogue for service then watched episodes of Mrs. Maisel.

DAY FIVE – 12/6/18
I adopted Havali. We lit the menorah.

DAY SIX – 12/7/18
We had the Friday night JrS show, Coal. Did a really late lighting on my own at home.

DAY SEVEN – 12/8/18
Saturday evening was my last JrS that I stage managed. Did a really late lighting on my own at home.

DAY EIGHT – 12/9/18
Went to my synagogue for the final lighting and a get together inside. Ate all the appropriate things.

It’s kind of surreal when I say last year was the first year I truly celebrated but also the last year being non-Jewish.

I don’t know if I’ll get to write during Hanukkah but may have to be just a compacted entry like this one. I am hoping to at (the very least) post something on FB and Insta. I also want to participate in a Hanukkah challenge on Insta but don’t know if I’ll have the time. Either way, if you celebrate anything and everything… Happy Happy and Merry Merry. Choose love always.

The Beginning: A preview of the 2017 Hanukkah that lead me down the path towards Jewish conversion.

TODAY marks the two year anniversary of seeing the light that lit up my soul. Wow. Two years, and a lot has happened in those two years. Once again I am writing this from memory and pictures. I almost feel like it’s more authentic in a way. Here goes:

I don’t really remember what time it was, but it was getting dark. I remember lounging on the couch reading The Gabber and reading that there was going to be the lighting of the menorah at the park by the local synagogue. I noticed the time and I only had a few minutes to get there if I was going to go. Something within me told me that I absolutely needed to be there. So, I put on a jacket and walked out the door. (Mind you: I remember feeling lost and unhappy with life and like something was still missing…and Christmas hadn’t felt like it belonged to me for a few years at that point. Something was amiss.)

When I arrived at the park, I stayed back a good distance because at the time I knew nothing about being Jewish or Judaism, and I didn’t know if it was kosher for me to even be there. A few people said hi to me. They said the prayers, sang, and lit the first (outdoor) candle.

I still can’t explain it… but, that first candle being lit? It lit up my soul. I was never the same after that.

I stayed there for a while collecting my thoughts as to what I just witnessed–both inside and out–as I was listening to them sing. Then, I headed home thinking to myself: get home fast, girl, you’ve got some research to do.

This is me… with purple hair… and oh how I miss my long hair… this is also a face full of “what just happened?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?” and a boost of inner happiness.

Can you believe that I still have the screenshots of what I researched on my phone? Here’s what I looked up:

-Jews by choice: in relation to reincarnation of where in Judaism the Jews-by-choice were once Jewish but born into a non-Jewish family and then finding way back to Judaism.

-Kabbalists / Reincarnation

-You might be a Jewish soul, if: G-d felt more real and made more sense than any other, related to Jewish people more, reacted more towards the Holocaust than others, the values are what you possess…

-Becoming Jewish is like falling in love (an essay)

-The Pirate Rabbi Samuel Pallache (for fun, because I was really into Pirates in 2017, ha.)

-I also took a screenshot of some books from someone that was also studying Judaism so that I knew some titles to read.

Also that same day, I started following every Jewish magazine and newsletter that I could find… including Lilith and Jewish Currents and some others I can’t seem to remember. The Jewish Currents that I ordered sent a calendar as well and it was JAZZ and POETRY. It was such a beautiful calendar. I cried when I saw it. (YES I am super emotional about all of this, thank you very much.) I still love it. Very much art. I also looked up Jews and Jazz and found Paul Shapiro. I looked into what was Jewish in the area, and what schools would possibly have Jewish classes. My research lasted forever.

So, that was basically the very beginning. That first night changed my life forever.

Fast forward though the year: I didn’t tell anyone about my finding of Judaism for the longest time. Aunt Patsy was the first one I told, and I absolutely felt like I had to, before she passed away (so that was all in Jan 2018). Also in Jan 2018, I discovered matzo ball soup. I didn’t attend synagogue until June 2018 (with the exception of attending a random one down south while at a boat show in April) and that is where I bought my chai necklace. I started my class in Oct 2018. In Dec 2018: well, you’ll just have to wait for it.

REFLECTION: Okay, so I’ve deleted what I wanted to say about twenty times now because I clearly can’t form a sentence or even put into words how I feel about this. Simply put: I just can’t imagination my life without Judaism. It’s been the highlight of my last two years. It’s kept me going, and when I converted, I finally felt complete. After 32 years of feeling incomplete and like something was missing…it’s a really good feeling, feeling whole. And it’s almost like being born again. In a way, I feel as if I went from old soul to a younger soul. Can that even happen? It’s hard to explain that.

So anyway, I’m going to post below a piece that I wrote in Feb 2018. It’s a poem that explains better in-depth explanation of how I felt. Also, if you read the previous entry, I was talking about making changes and being scared and knowing it’s the end of the line sort of thing… I took my first step towards that changing today. And tomorrow, I’m going to take another, and another, and another… . and march forward until..

The Very Beginning

Nearly every single day of my 31 years of being an old soul on this Earth:
I have been searching endlessly for what my heart wants,
where my soul belongs, and what my life’s purpose really is.
Reading and questioning everything. Why this, why that? What if this, what if that?
I’ve created this realm of philosophical thoughts that led me
to wondering why this often ignited flame inside me dies out?

I am in a much different place than where I was born..…
I broke away from those roots at 21 with a different mindset
by walking down the road less traveled, and I never looked back.
Growing older—supposedly wiser—only harmed me in some way.
My soulfulness of my wondering youth and the youngness of my mind
was nearly erased by the every day menial problems.

Last year in December, around Hanukkah, my soul was screaming.
After not being successful to distract myself with anything else,
I walked down to the local Menorah lighting ceremony on the first day.
Something about being there was magical—I saw a flame that didn’t die.
A million of my dreams as a teen have been realized, but why, I ask:
during the most fulfilling moments of living….there’s still something missing?

The night before my aunt died, I told her a secret: I discovered Judaism.
I told her she no longer had to worry about my soul. I finally found where it belongs.
This is my journey, the one that I will wholeheartedly embrace,
the one that I will choose to carefully walk—not run, skip, jump, hop—and practice
often, for this is something that deserves my true attention and patience.
I cannot ever take this moment for granted because I have found my spiritual home.

My aunt, being of a different religion, replied “A good place to start your spiritual
journey is Judaism. Jesus was Jewish so you can’t go wrong starting there.
Follow your heart and look to God. He will answer all of life’s questions.”
That answer provided me with the stamp of approval.
I sent my letter out to the universe, to the world, to God himself
that I was ready to take on this new responsibility of finding out who I am.

I’ve spent so much time being blinded and sidetracked by the clutter in life,
and in turn, I have missed some of the best moments that could have been.
There are years shaved off my life that I can never get back.
Depression swallowed me whole in the darkest days of my life,
and what I would have given at that time to close my eyes and never wake.
But, I had forgotten: both the good and bad in life serve us with life lessons.

Just this week, I cut back on TV shows, and looked to finding synagogue feeds online.
I found one in New York and I instantly fell in love with this Rabbi’s sermon:
“Gam zeh ya’avor. This too shall pass.”
How true it is that with every breath we take and move along the day, the moments shift
from bad to good and good to bad, back and fourth like a pendulum…
always leaving room just enough for an action or a reaction.

Time is sometimes a lie that we rarely take seriously, and living in the moment
just doesn’t exist anymore when people’s hearts aren’t pure from distractions.
We think we have time to say what we need to say, or do what we need to do,
but we don’t… and we’re almost always gone, even if we’re there in present day.
I’ve had many people—and moments—taken from me as I’ve come to love them.
It’s the constant reminder that nothing is ever permanent.
And to trust the thought that everything happens for a reason, no matter what it is.

These last few months–My discovery of Judaism and the beautiful Jewish Culture–has lit my life’s candle so full of love and light. It’s such an intense feeling that I’ve never felt or seen before. When a person knows, they know. I know I have a whole lifetime worth of catching up on, but embedded deeply in this soul of mine, I feel like I already know it…that I’ve walked the path before in another lifetime. It brings up a lot of loaded questions, and I’ll still be searching for answers come as they may. I can’t even begin to explain how it has completed the largest missing piece of my life’s puzzle, even in this short period of time, even with as little as I recognize I know, right at this given moment.

Visualize this: it’s like when you read a very good piece of literature and the words start lifting off the page, turn into music, and suddenly, you’re singing a song you felt like you’ve known your entire life….but you don’t know how, because you can’t place ever singing it because it just doesn’t make sense how you would have known it…and then, suddenly, the music turns into the most beautiful piece of artwork that you’ve ever seen–like a sunset–and you’re just so much in awe that you stand there for hours upon hours just staring at it because it takes your breath away. And you just want to grab some glasses, pour a drink or two, and make a toast screaming TO LIFE at the top of your lungs….because you’ve embraced life like you’ve never done before and you truly never, ever, ever want it end. That’s where I am. And, that’s where you’ll find me.

~ Karen Maeby 2.21.18

TO LIFE – TO LIFE – TO LIFE