10 Tips for Surviving NYC: A Newbie’s Guide

Despite the stress and hustle of New York, I am writing more than I ever have and it feels luxurious and fun… so at least I can keep that in mind when I doubt the worth of moving here! I wanted to be a writer… now I am! Broke, but not starving 😉

Everywhere you turn here are people. Turn your head one way, hundreds of people in the crowd. Turn your head the other, hundreds more. Walk a block, hundreds of new people you’ve never seen. Immigrants, tourists, locals, punks, goths, glamour girls, businessmen, hobos, musicians, artists, kids, old people… You could spend a year here and never run into anyone you’ve seen before.

After a very stressful week, I’ve compiled a list of things I learned in my first month in New York.

1. Anytime you have an opportunity to use a clean private restroom, DO IT. Even if you don’t have to go. Even if you went 10 minutes ago. New York has millions of people, and almost zero viable options for relieving yourself when out and about in public. Continue reading

Defending Our Thoughts on “Operation Pillar of Defense”

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I went to tweet about it, but realized that 140 characters wasn’t enough. I posted on Facebook, but knew it was futile to express political messaging if I wanted to avoid that slippery slope. With bombs falling on Gaza, and rockets on Holon, a person in America who cares deeply about the people of Israel and Palestine is caught between a rock and a hard place. Not wanting to ignore the violence threatening her friends and family, but afraid to venture into the roiling milieu of “for us or against us” attitude in modern day social networks. As Allison Kaplan Sommer calls it in her Haaretz editorial, “laptop warriors” are fighting a war of their own. Continue reading

25 Things I’m grateful for on my 25th Birthday

1)  My parents, who brought me into this world & have inspired me through it.

2)   My sister, who is my best friend and #1 fan.

3)   The rest of my extended family, for being uniquely loving & supportive.

4)   That my absentee ballot arrived just in time for me to claim my right to have a say in this country’s future… 4 more years!

5)  The friends I’ve met around the world, in all phases of life, who’ve shaped me, made me laugh, and shown me love at exactly the times I need it most.

6)  My abilities- writing, adapting, communicating, feeling.

7)  My health: post-Dengue, post-car accident, post-panic disorder… doin’ pretty good knock on wood!!!

8)  Park Slope turning out to be beautiful and charming, the most sweet & comfortable New York neighborhood I could’ve dreamt of.

9)  A safe shelter where I was able to ride out Hurricane Sandy unscathed, unlike so many others.

10) The perspective I’ve gained through my travels over the past 3 years.

11)  Bob, Charlie, & Oliveto Restaurant, for teaching me how to do customer service right by making each person feel cared for and remembered.

12) My professors and peers at Pomona College, for allowing me to spend 4 years of my life surrounded by brilliance and collaboration.

13) The HUB Bay Area & HUB Tel Aviv: for showing me my own creative side, and teaching me that if you want something done in this world, you should do it yourself.

14) That I still have time to figure out “what I wanna be” when I grow up 😉

15)  Ms. Gieleghem, my high school sophomore year English teacher who taught me that with privilege comes responsibility.

16) My chavurah, without whom I’d lack Jewish identity and community, not to mention a sense of Jewish duty to seek social justice & pursue Tikkun Olam.

17) My experiences in Israel, which have given me hope for interfaith partnership & love, in a world otherwise full of misunderstanding & distrust.

18) The incredibly comforting fact that we will never have George W Bush as our president again. And that my country has been free of warfare on our lands since the time of the civil war, setting us apart from a massive percent of the globe that faces the trauma of bombings and foreign military presence on a day to day basis. F*ckin’ Bush.

19) Love.

20) The knowledge of healthy food & the value of wellness I inherited from my mom and grandma.

21) The value of family, positive attitude, & keeping in touch I got from my dad’s.

22) The woman, whose name I unfortunately can’t remember, who saved my life in Vietnam.

23) The San Francisco Giants, for demonstrating all the best things in baseball this year: teamwork, determination, and having fun.

24) IKAR, and every other synagogue out there practicing inclusivity and prayer through song.

25) My commitment to making time this year to doing the things I love & care about. And the ability to forgive when I slip-up and forget to stay on track and do them.

Here’s to a year filled with health and happiness for everyone!

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Strangers No More: Nature’s Power to Bond and Interconnect

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Disclaimer: Those who were displaced, or remain displaced, by the storm have not been so lucky as I, at the time of this writing. I’m glad to hear that electricity is returning to Manhattan thanks to the tremendous efforts of city workers, and that people are beginning to return to their homes. But unthinkable numbers of people are still without hot food or electricity. The privilege of staying at home cozy and warm is something I don’t take for granted, and I don’t mean this personal writing to represent or encompass the experiences of those for whom the storm was a tragic blow to safety and sense of home. I hope that we’ll all continue to think about and send positive prayers for healing to all those for whom the storm has not passed. 

The best thing about the recent hurricane is that the privileged amongst us are being forced to live locally for a while. Though I’m definitely included in the list of New Yorkers (am I a New Yorker? that might be a big stretch of the imagination…) anxiously awaiting the return of full subway service and power in lower Manhattan, I’ve actually appreciated the chance to stay home– or at least around town– for the greater part of a week. My roommate Ellie and I were talking the other night about how our house felt almost unlived-in until Sandy hit, at which point we barely left Ellie’s bedroom except to carry up food and drink from the kitchen, and to go to the bathroom. We kept the window open for fresh air, and had a grand old time cuddling and watching movies on our new projector. With our eyes glued on Ellie’s wall, using news as intermissions for our movie marathons, all of us began to sink into a pleasant comfort with one another—despite being complete and utter strangers as of just last Sunday. Continue reading