Sunday, March 12, 2006

Labels By Any Other Name

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I'm long overdue for a post about Labels. I said I'd wanted to write one, and here it is.

Most of my life I was labeled -- sweet, generous, helpful, insighful, analytical, musical...and then there were those that weren't as nice: teacher's pet, browner, nerd, scaredy-cat...

Most kids learn to live with labels; some learn better with them, others are stifled in their personal growth because of these labels.

I've learned that most people do not like labels--labels often mark them as "different," or "odd" or "out of the norm". But sometimes labels help -- they provide some kind of identity, some kind of crutch.

When I was about 27 and having in-depth discussions about personal religious observances, etc., someone said, " you're Conservadox." I asked for clarification and then was thrilled. My beliefs finally had a name! I wasn't teeter-tottering between levels of observance anymore; I was finally called something, and something relatively appropriate for me, for my family. It was no longer I, but WE, who were rightfully called Conservadox.

These days I dislike labels again...they're confusing, there are too many and most people hate to classify themselves. From time to time I go on JDate and to see if people I know who are single are advertising to meet people of the opposite sex. I am amazed by the divisions that you can fall into. Not only am I amazed, but I'm more than thankful that I'm not single, that I don't have to go this route and start classifying myself. wants you to indicate your "Outlook." They have one header: Jewish. Under that is Traditional, Traditional & Growing, Conservative, Conservadox, Reform, Other. (What classifies "Other," I wonder.) There's a second header: Jewish Orthodox. Under that we've got Modern Orthodox Liberal, Modern Orthodox Machmir, Yeshivish Modern, Yeshivish Black Hat, Hassidish, Carlebachian (what, pray tell, does this mean...that you can carry a beatiful tune and lose yourself during the prayer service within the music...?) and Shomer Mitzvot.

G-d forbid a Modern Orthodox Liberal should contact a Yeshivish Black Hat... Perhaps never the twain shall meet. Is that the intent of these classifications for

If being labeled is within my capacity, I'm usually labeled for something positive. I self-label myself mainly for those nasty negative traits: eg. I'm a procrastinator, I'm disorganized, etc.

Right now I'm labeling myself really tired, so I'll stop here. But let me ask this: Have you ever been knowingly labeled in your lifetime? Has it been beneficial for you in any way ora less-than-positive experience?

I thank you in advance for any comments.

A Blessing on Her Head...

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Back in December I found out that a friend's daughter is engaged... I posted about it.

G-d willing, later today, that young woman will stand under the chuppah with her chossen, in essence her "chosen". She will look to the family and friends surrounding her, who've surrounded her all these years...and then she will step away from them and together with her husband will begin a new life together.

I wish them both much mazel, many brachot (blessings) as they embark on this wonderful new journey together...this journey of marriage.

The Way You Do The Things You Do

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I know I blogged about this not all that long ago, but sometimes...ya just gotta repeat yourself!

I have a great husband...a special guy...a real find...a jewel to call my own.

I know that, but I think when others realize that as well, it means an awful lot.

This week alone I had three compliments about the special guy that Mr. TorontoPearl is. Two were from strangers who had reason to interact with him and later me. The third compliment was from someone who is not a stranger but is merely an acquaintance of mine in synagogue.

I can't begin to tell you what pleasure I get from hearing others speak so highly about my hubby, about what a kind and warm and friendly and concerned person he is. For me to know it is one thing; for others to recognize it on their own is like icing on a cake...extra-sweet.

His sweet and warm personality is not put-upon; it's genuine. His goodness is all gold. No, he is not perfect and he knows his weaknesses and flaws; thank G-d for that. He is a giver and rarely a taker. A good son, a wonderful husband and father, a more-than-decent human being.

Everything a girl could ask for...and more. That's Mr. TorontoPearl!