One People

Achdus is Hebrish for “unity”.

It’s In His Eyes

There comes a time when one must break down and call someone to clean the carpets. We only have one carpet that needs help, a white burbur in the living room. It had seen better days.

So I consulted the web for local Places Nearby That Seem Reputable and found a carpet cleaning company with coupon. I called and the phone person was cheerful and helpful. We had set it up for this morning, and bright and early, the Carpet Guy pulled up to our house in a small white nondescript van.

FD happened to be on his way out to the Yeshiva to treat the sick and malingering bochers. He does this often.

But before he left, he called me from the car and said,

Where’d you get this guy?!!

From the Internet.

Did you get any references?!!

Uh, no, why?

You’ll see.

Maybe you shouldn’t drive away.

I decided you could take him, if necessary.

So this sweet skinny guy with a pony tail walks through my door and says to me, in a very thick, lovely accent (I had thought the company Hispanic from my phone call),

“So this is the carpet? How old is it?”

I’m not one for details, but he was not Hispanic. I’m always in the need to know ethnicity. I just love it. It’s one of my things.

“Where are you from?” I ask directly.

“Where do you think I’m from?” he asks back with a smile.

“Uh, your accent says maybe France.”

He laughs at me, incredulous. “I can’t believe you say that,” he exclaims, as if I’m the stupidest person alive,

“I am from Israel.” He says it proudly.

“Oh, I couldn’t tell.”

He catches my eyes and stares at me then says, “No, no, no. You can not mistake me from anywhere else. It is impossible.”

“And why not?”

“It is in my eyes,” he says.

And as I look at them, indeed, they are dancing as only Jewish eyes can dance. How could I have thought otherwise?

Good Shabbas,


October 19, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The TV Thing

We tend to get into these soppy explanations of why we don’t-can’t-won’t watch television, let alone turn on the tube on Shabbas. But how do we explain it to people who have no reference, no understanding of Orthodox Judaism?

Face it. On the surface it does sound like we’re locking ourselves in the closet, won’t come out until Saturday night. If then. And we like it.

So we’ll ramble on about our little island in time, how sweet it is focusing on family, friends, connecting spiritually, too, if that’s happening at all. And it looks good on paper. But what are we really doing?

I’m telling people it’s a more sensuous experience, de-electrifying my life. When we can’t turn something on, that implies that our experience is more real. Electricity changes reality, whereas untampered life is direct. Direct is a buzzword these days.

I wrote about Calvin and Hobbes in my other blog, and how Hobbes, the tiger, is more real than most of what I see on television. What I’m saying is that looking at the picture for as long as I want enables a more lasting experience. A person can also reread a paragraph over and over again, and we do when we want to learn something, read things over and over again.

Well, I suppose that’s the better answer. If we have to explain away television, Shabbas or no Shabbas, we can say we learn more from books. Life without television is life in the here and now, too. It’s less of an escape, less of a vacation, more hands on, literally. We FEEL it more.

Not that we have to justify anything to anyone.


October 18, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Eating Junk

Face it, Jews probably have a more highly developed sweet tooth than other peoples with the exception, perhaps, of a few tight non-alcoholic tribes.  FD and I have always said that those who don’t drink, eat sugar.  Well, one of us says that.  It would be me.

So this Jew tried to stop a chocolate obsession and asked the oomos (other peoples of the world) for ways to do that.  Actually, I’m not so sure I asked, but I did get lots of advice.  It does seem that chocolate obsessions are not rare.  If you have a pulse, you like chocolate.

And the word is, get really, really good chocolate and let it melt in your mouth.  Well, hello.  I knew that.  But I do appreciate the thought.  Another blogger suggested I save certain days to go off my diet, but not really being on a diet, that doesn’t work for me.

Nobody suggested that I remember to say the bracha before or after, regardless.  Oops. Forgot to bench. Gotta’ run.

Always grab one for the road, I say,


October 18, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

John Lennon Versus a Tzaddik

How do we measure a tzaddik?  We know that there’s a concept, tzaddik v’ rah lo (a saint mainly gets a bad portion in this world), so if bad things happen to a person then maybe it’s a sign he’s a tzaddik.

When a young person (and I consider anyone under 60 young these days) suffers and is off life support and will no longer be with us in this world for long, that automatically makes him a tzaddik, I’d imagine.

I met one of these tzaddikim only briefly, but talked about it in a rambling but I think interesting post about role models, lug nuts, and chases to airplanes to spend time with a dying person.  I tried to  illustrate how a good role model  can be a role model even in his or her final moments.

Comparing a frum yid who suffered to the end who kept such a sense of humor to John Lennon was surely a stretch.  But maybe John was a tzaddik, too.


October 11, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Big Finish and Gospel Meetings

The sheer energy of Nilah is like a gospel meeting.  Or so I’d imagine from watching t.v.

I tried to tell the oomos (as in, other peoples on this earth) how excited we get at crunch time, those last few minutes of Yom Kippur, assuming we’re not freaked out by the thought that we really could be shut out at curtain close.

Those tephilot rock the house more powerfully than any gospel meeting.

What I want to say, but can’t say on EveryoneNeedsTherapy, is that in my mind I imagine all of us, every Jew, having the capacity to see every other Jew else shouting out the Shmah, declaring Oneness.

It would be as if we had a webcam in our heads that recorded every synagogue in the world.

Now that would be inspiring, no?

In awe still,


September 23, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jewish Paranoia

Nothing is harder to change than a person’s delusions when they are mentally ill.

And as our parents age and suffer their personal myriads of physical illness, financial hardship, and psychological stress, we the sandwich generation are dealing with more than a little stress of our own, the most frustrating being the paranoia that is often characteristic of certain elderly individuals.

Holocaust survivors are vulnerable, as are people who have always had a suspicious nature (nice way of saying paranoid personality disorder). You can read the features of that disorder 0n EveryoneNeedsTherapy.

I’m bringing it up in the blogosphere because it’s even harder to treat when a person ages. We tend to avoid conflict and confrontation with “difficult” people when they are middle-aged. But it gets even uglier as they geriatrify (new word).

So I’m suggesting that if there’s any way you can get a parent to therapy as a suspicious middle-aged adult, that you should run with it. If only to establish a relationship with the doc. The signs are all about fear of being cheated, fear of being thought stupid. Nice stuff like that.

This, by the way, is another way that all Jews share common lives. Our mundane problems (coping with difficult aging parents) tend to be the most important things in our lives. Concerns like these occupy our brains for the greater part of the day– not worries about long our skirts are, or if we got to shul for mincha, not even, during the Aseres Y’mai Tshuvah, how we think we can change to become better people.

Well, not for most of us I imagine.

humbly yours,


September 19, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Owen Wilson and Depression

Apparently in Hollywood they’re saying that Mr. Wilson’s suicide attempt was actually an unintentional drug overdose.  His family put out that smoke signal, too ashamed of mental illness.

Oh, and they don’t want his fans to think he’s weak.  He’s a macho cowboy actor.

Now Jews aren’t like this, right?  We’re proud of our depression.  We’re nothing without it!  Go figure.

And that’s yet ANOTHER way we’re alike, Reform, Conservative, Humanistic, WHATEVER.  All Jews are the same!  We have so much DNA in common.

We really share that affective thing.

affectively yours,


September 19, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The resolution: Commentary

So here it is, here’s how I’ll find the strength to post on two blogs with two different identities. I thought before, moment’s ago, that there was simply no way. I just didn’t have it in me.

Who has the strengh to be 2 different people? It’s certainly hard enough to be just one!

Unless. . .unless I make this blog commentary. Of course! Every blog needs commentary. Heck, that’s what comments are all about Commentary! But Zachdus is Jewish commentary. Me, Jewish and Zachdus, writing on me, TherapyDoc.

But if you were to comment on my comments, then Jewish or not, Jewishly or not, we’d have commentary on commentary. We could start a sefer! It doesn’t matter! The more the better.

Let’s begin. Today on Everyone Needs Therapy, TherapyDoc tells us the upshot on the Tante Fela story. Tante Fela is the Holocaust survivor who sat next to her last year at shul on Yom Kippor. Tante Fela taught TherapyDoc what it’s REALLY like to pray, Al Tashlichaini.  Don’t cast me away.

Do you really need commentary on this? Sure you do.  Start here.

Gmar tov,


September 16, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Alter Egos

So here it is, Tzom Gelalia, and I’m sure there’s plenty to say, because who doesn’t have a lot to say after spending 3 days in shul trying to concentrate on talking to G-d and making sure we don’t do too much loshon harah (gossip, who are we kidding).

But I’ve just spent all of my blogging energy on my other blog, EveryoneNeedsTherapy.

Do all of you have more than one blog? I don’t know what I was thinking, thinking I could handle more than one blog. Being more than one person, yet. It’s too much, honest. I just can’t do it.

It’s over.  I’m out.  Zachdus/Therapydoc, one in the same.  But I can’t stop blogging, so I’ll have to think of a resolution to this.  Wait, one’s coming up.  I can feel it.



September 16, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Maintainance Engineer

I think I told you that I moved into a new medical building.  So Sunday morning, bright and early, I got to work and met the guy who maintains it.  He startled me at the drinking fountain. (The place has a real drinking fountain, can you imagine?)

Whoah!  I shout.  Who are you?

He tells me his name is Al and he’s the janitor.  He’s about 86, a big guy, looks Jewish, glasses as thick as my car.

Well, hi Al.  How are you?  Nice to meet you.  I’m new here.

(He’s holding a few things, a box, a hammer.)  I’d kiss you, he says, but my hands are full.

Now these days that would be considered sexual harassment, for sure.  But I happen to know that for his generation, I’d kiss you, but was just a nice way of saying hello.   And although it did make me a little uncomfortable, I knew he didn’t mean anything by it.  (Or am I way naive).

So we could take this to mean, It’s a shame he wasn’t frum, a frum guy wouldn’t say such a thing (or would he) OR we could say, What a cute, charming old guy and isn’t it a shame people can’t talk like that anymore.

You want to know what I said back, don’t you?  Don’t you?

Same thing I tell patients who want to hug, etc.  “Let’s keep it professional, okay?”  Big smile, of course.

lovingly yours,


September 4, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment