Tag Archives: Jewish

Celebrating the maternal on Mother’s Day – Don’t forget Mother Earth


Today being Mother’s Day we celebrate the best women in the world, our mothers! That being said, today should be a day to celebrate that which is maternal to us. The Hebrew bible refers to the term “rachamim,” which can essentially be defined as: “mercy, compassion; based on the word “rechem,” womb, linking the emotion fundamentally to the mother.” So while we celebrate the most amazing people in our lives, let us celebrate and cherish that which is maternal to us. Can we be compassionate to another person, or to the mother we all have in common, Mother Earth?
Mahatma Gandhi once said: “Service is not possible unless it is rooted in love and compassion. The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Today, I saw a quote that stayed with me and is relevant to the concept of celebrating and giving back to the mother that we all, have in common, walk on, get water and food from and love. “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” In order to be this change, we must remember that the only way to change the world is one small step at a time. If we do nothing and simply take what Mother Earth has to give, we will deplete her resources in no time. A mother never forgets her son or daughter, and therefore today, we must celebrate our mother, whether we celebrate the person to whom we owe our existence or simply want to celebrate the earth where we all live. The earth is our planet and our mother. We must love her and celebrate her, what better time to do so than today?
It has become an important part of my life to give back to the earth. This is a concept comes from karma yoga and suggests that we give to the world and others without an expectation to get anything back. Even less superficial is the concept of ahimsa or non-harming to oneself or another. Ahimsa is one of the five Yamas – or ‘restrictions’ in the eight limed yogic path set by Pantajali. In order to be kind and give back, truthfully we must remember that to celebrate our planet, we need to avoid its destruction and prevent depletion of its resources. I will doing a mala, or 108 sun salutations in an effort to raise money for reforestation of the rain forest in Ecuador. This effort lead by “off the mat, into the world,” an organization bringing principles of yoga into the world. In following ahimsa – I personally believe that unless something is done, we are being selfish and not preventing the hurt to our planet.
Happy Mother’s Day! Lets celebrate the source of all our lives!


Christmas and A Jewish Yogi!


Wow, that is a strange title, but I think it is appropriate for this time of year. Being 100% Jewish and raising my family Jewish does not mean that I cannot enjoy and cherish the spirit of Christmas. We usually spend Christmas Eve with a really good family friend who is like family, in fact she has been key in raising my children as she takes care of them when I am out working. Not only do we participate in the holiday, we are tolerant and respect all rituals no mater how religious they are. On the flip side my friend attends each and every Passover Seder and participates in that. So I pose the question, what is wrong with tolerance, understanding and respect?
The second of Pantajali’s yoga sutras is Niyama (The five “observances”): Shaucha(purity), Santosha(contentment), Tapas (austerity), Svadhyaya (study of the Vedic scriptures to know about God and the soul), and Ishvara-Pranidhana (surrender to God). Applying the principles of purity, contentment, austerity, and the understanding of a god or in my view source of energy to a Jewish yogi runner during Christmas is not that far out of whack.
Just think how much better and peaceful the world would be if people were more tolerant of each other and were to accept or even participate in others’ customs or beliefs and traditions. I have noticed a lot this holiday season regarding simple tolerance issues. While walking at the mall yesterday, I overheard a mom telling her son that “we need to look away because we don’t believe in Santa – and that is not part of who we are.” Upon having heard that, I sat down with my daughter at Macy’s and wrote a letter to Santa. I explained to her that while this is not part of our personal tradition, for every letter placed in the box Macy’s makes a donation to the make a wish foundation. If anyone thinks that what I did was wrong, let me know. My daughter in writing to Santa donated money to a child in need, an act of tzedakah or charity. This not only falls under Niyama, it is one of the 613 mitzvot, or commandments (deeds) that Jewish people must do. Saying that tolerance leads to purity, contentment, austerity, and surrender to an energy that powers us is why I participate in Christmas celebrations. Not because I personally believe in principles of Christianity but because respecting and cherishing those who do, makes for a better and more peaceful world.
I remember growing up, in Ecuador, that two ladies who were live in Nannies, Catholic and having no exposure to any other tradition, would light candles every Friday night. Their only explanation was that their mothers and grandmothers always lit two candles on Friday night. Lighting candles on Friday night is a Jewish tradition that initiates the sabbath. It became apparent that these ladies were descendants of Jews from Spain who were practicing Judaism in hiding to avoid the consequences of the inquisition. If people were more tolerant of each other’s traditions, the inquisition and people having to hide acts of spirituality would not need to happen.
My friend called me today to ask if it would be offensive if a person dressed as Santa would come to her Christmas Eve gathering. While I laughed and said, of course it is not offensive,and at first pondering why it would even occur to her that I could be offended, it occurred to me that that, sadly, santa would be offensive to some. Come on people, we are all human – whether we believe in the new testament, only the Old Testament, the yoga sutras, Bhudda, Mohamed, Nefertiti or whomever, we are all powered by the same source of energy. When we all start respecting each other and become tolerant of one an other the world will become a better place.
So as a Jew, a yogi, and a Human, Christmas is one more opportunity to share other’s spirituality and connect with friends on a deeper and more meaningful level. Merry Christmas from a Jewish lawyer who practices yoga, runs marathons and respects fellow humans!