Lots happening at JSL as usual. The Annual Meeting next Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 pm comes on the heels of today’s Bessie Spectorzl Oldest American’s Celebration at Adat Shalom. Our many volunteers joyously fussed over the 95 and over attendees. 31 of these are centenarians!!  And back in the buildings, JSL staff are showing up and doing all they can to make the difference for JSL residents. People are moving into all the campus apartments, but sadly, some people are moving out for higher levels of care or because their lives have ended. We get used to seeing residents enjoying their lives, visited by their families and friends. And when we lose them and don’t see them anymore, it leaves a hole in our universe and it’s another good reminder to all of us to live with purpose and enjoy every moment. L’Chaim.

I’m remembering my Bubba Sheindel who was known for her Yiddish expressions. Her daughter, my mother, was raised with her Yiddish speaking parents, and she would often say things to my father in Yiddish at the dinner table when she didn’t want my brother and me to know what they were saying. It always sounded like magic to us. We needed to understand…

Back then, children weren’t supposed to know certain secrets in the family. But the humor of this language was that my father rarely got the jist of it and always had to ask her what she said, which she repeated in English to him later when I was secretly listening from the other room. Dad would mangle the Yiddish phrases so that they became more of a ‘yinglish’ expression that we loved to repeat to ourselves when they weren’t around. I still say things aloud to my husband and make my brother laugh when certain phrases come to mind. Our dad made up lots of funny expressions. His favorite was, “Oot dungalla, oot doo ditty goink.”  We had no idea what it meant, but when he said it, followed by his wide smile, I would laugh and repeat it too. I said this recently to my brother and we shared a moment of memory that brought tears to our eyes. Not sure if the phrase was born from Yiddish or Chinese… but it stuck with me.

One of the many expressions my mother would use, was “Mit ein hintn zitst men nit oif tsvei ferd.”  – “You can’t sit on two horses with one behind.”  I used to laugh as I conjured up the image of a woman astride two stallions, not really getting the message. But as I grew to learn the wisdom of concentrating on one thing at a time, I realized that I do tend to ride more than one horse at a time.

For us multi-taskers,  we must, in no particular order, plan Shabbat, pay bills, listen to the news, complete the household chores, mentally compute the days until grandchildren sleep over, shop and cook meals while caring for kids, pets and their needs, along with the needs of our partners and parents and even grandparents, while working out, typing messages to our friends about the next birthday parties or social dates, and of course managing to get to the office for multiple meetings and reports. Don’t we all do too much? But it’s a necessity for many.

And because of our busy lives, we miss opportunities to reconnect with special people in our lives. So, this is a message and a lesson to all.  Slow down. And like my Bubba Shaindel used to say, “Fil meloches, vainik broches.” – Jack of all trades, master of none.

We must decide our own priorities. If there is too much on our shoulders, we don’t do anything well. “Hafifnik” (half-assed) as my mother would point out, when I dusted only three of the legs on each of the four dining room chairs. We really should try harder to lighten our load and take a break and much needed time for ourselves. And during those crazy moments when we’re forced to do all, be all and just get through it, remember this – “Dem bitersten mazel ken men farshtellen mit a shmaichel.” – The most bitter misfortune can be covered up with a smile.

Yep – Fake it till you make it!

Shabbat Shalom.

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