September 21, 2015

The story behind my Hamsa obsession

In light of Yom Kippur I found it fitting to write a blog post about something related to Judaism. Those who know me well know that I’m not particularly religious. I am the first one to flock to a restaurant serving Bacon-anything and I rarely know the dates of Jewish holidays; however, I refuse to leave the house without wearing at least one Hamsa, an item many view as a religious symbol. I’ve had a handful of friends question this, usually saying something along the lines of, “Why wear a Jewish symbol if you’re not religious” and after sharing the story I’m about to share here, they usually run out and purchase a Hamsa of their own.

I bought one of mine here, on Etsy :)

As a side note, the Hamsa is a not strictly symbolic of Judaism; many other religions have similar (or in some cases the same) items that represent a parallel meaning. I was taught about it as a Judaic symbol, therefore that is what I view it as. It has also been adapted as a Yoga symbol. I distinctly remember a guy hitting on me once when he saw I was wearing a Hamsa ring by saying, “I’m into Yoga too! I bet we’re both super flexible in bed.” I stared at him blankly, trying to figure out how he knew I did Yoga. He pointed to my ring and it dawned on me, he thinks I wear this is to show the world I’m a Yogini. We never found out if our mutual "love of Yoga" made us super flexible in bed.

See, Yogini's stole the Hamsa!

When my sister was 17 she took a life changing trip to Israel. She spent seven weeks experiencing Israel; she spent two weeks volunteering on an Israeli army base, a few weeks living on a Kibbutz and a day or two getting her hands dirty on true archaeological dig that led her to write a riveting short story about the history of Israel (remind me to ask her for a copy, she really is talented).  One day, on a particularly long bus ride to one of their many journeys, her tour guide told the story of a girl who had been sitting on a similar bus, a week prior.

It was a day like any other, hot and humid, as most days are in Israel.  A young woman chose that day to take the bus across town to visit with a friend. She paid her fare and found a seat two rows behind the driver, giving her a clear view of the road ahead. At the next stop a young man got on and sat down next to her. She noticed he was sweating heavily, but assumed this was due to the blistering sun and long coat her wore, which wasn’t uncommon for religious men in Israel. As the bus lurched into movement she felt something slide down her shirt. Her hand instantly went to her neck where she found that the clasp of the chain that had been holding her cherished Hamsa had somehow opened up; she instantly knew what the unfamiliar item sliding down her body was, the small charm. She stood up, trying to find her Hamsa, realizing too late that her sudden motion caused it to fall out of her clothing and onto the floor of the bus.

She caught a glimpse of it sliding towards the back of the bus, so she pushed past the young man and crawled on her hands and knees to the last row of the now very crowded bus. She spotted it in the very corner, almost out of reach, so she bent down as far as her body would manage and strained to reach it. After struggling for a few minutes she finally succeeded and her fingers closed around her precious Hamsa. As she pulled her hand to her body- BOOM – a bomb exploded in the front of the bus. She was still crouched behind the seat, as action which shielded her from the explosion; she managed to walk away with just a few scratches. Most of her fellow bus riders were not so lucky. She later learned that the young man she had been seated next to, the one who was exceptionally sweaty and wearing a long coat on a hot and humid summer day, was a suicide bomber. 

If her clasp hadn’t failed; if the Hamsa hadn’t fallen; if she hadn’t gone to retrieve it; she wouldn’t have been there to share her story with a bus full of American Teenagers.

Maybe I’m superstitious, but the story sent chills down my spine the first time I heard it. Honestly, it still does. L’Shanah Tovah.

November 14, 2014

Weird Websites That Actually Exist

We live in a world where the online world has beaten out face to face interactions. When someone compliments an article of clothing we’re wearing we say, “Thanks I ordered it online”. When we wonder why we have a fever and cough we jump on WebMD and check for any possible illnesses that might match our symptoms, and self-medicate for the worse possible sickness on the website, rather than call our doctor. We also use the Internet to meet new people and spark new romances. A couple of my friends made a YouTube post which they accurately titled “Weird Dating” shining a light on a handful of the unusual dating websites that are now available at the click of a finger and, while I was amused, it got me wondering what other strange websites are out there? Here’s my pick for the 10 most interesting websites I've found so far (click the titles to experience the websites in the convenience of your home).  Some are funny, some are great for killing time, and some are just weird. This post has nothing to do with the name of my blog, sorry to disappoint.

This website allows you to explore some of the worlds greatest landmarks, including the inside of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (my personal favorite), The White House, even the Pyramids of Giza. You just type in the place you want to see up close and personal and boom, you’re there!

There is an entire website, and apparently a book, dedicated to cats in wigs. I’m not sure how to feel about this. The cats don’t look like they are in pain, but I feel like this is animal cruelty? Yet somehow very cute. I’m conflicted on this one.

This is a website which anyone can add any fact to, even if they are completely made up. They actually encourage lies. It is literally a website of wrong information and a great way to waste time. You know when you’re talking to someone and they assure you the information you have is wrong, so you tell them you “read it on the internet”. Now you can make that lie into reality. You’re welcome.

When you want to find non-touristy things to do on vacation this website has your answers. It offers the strange and unusual things that are usually off the beaten path and usually weird. For example, did you know there is a “Dungeon” in San Francisco that offers visitors daily shows portraying tongue pulling and whatever else happened in medieval dungeons? Apparently it’s in Fisherman’s Wharf.

Ever wanted to date a convict? There is a website dedicated to that, well, specifically for female convicts. From what I could gather without making an account, you browse through pictures of convicted felons, pay $4 when you find one you like and begin chatting with them and hope it leads to romance. Their tag line is: “Become a “ray of hope” in someone’s life. …You can make a difference.” They even let the inmates write their own bios. I feel like this is taking the Orange is the new Black obsession a little too far.

The name should be pretty self-explanatory, but I’m happy to elaborate. Remember when we were kids and we thought it was hilarious to call Mo’s to ask if their refrigerator is running? Well, this is the same concept. You decide who you want to prank call, choose the pre-recorded message you wish to send, enter the phone number and the website does the rest. It is ridiculously immature but I’m pretty sure Bart Simpson would approve.

Er, this is a website that claims to report news from the future. I’m not really sure what else I can say about it. I’m sure they already have a blurb about my blog on their website.

I remember in college there was a big Zombie Apocalypse show that the Theater Department did every year. It was a big fake fight on the quad, I think they threw water balloons at each other or something. Well, for those of them that secretly wished they were real zombies, or wished they could date one, they have a website for them! That’s right, there is a website called Zombie Passions. Online dating for Zombies.

Ever wanted to have a conversation with a robot. The Internet has you covered. This is kind of creepy and the robot is kind of a dick. I’ll be honest; I wasted a good 20 minutes talking to the rude robot and I might have argued with it when it claimed to be human. I’m not even sorry.


Someone created a social media site for dogs. The entire site is about dogs. Articles about dogs. Facts about dogs. Videos of dogs. There is even a quiz to determine which Dog breed you are the most like. Maybe I’m just a crazy Cat lady but I just don’t see the appeal.

Do you have any sites you want to share? I’m always looking for ways to kill more time. 

PS: I was published on Thought Catalog! If you haven't read it yet, please do.  J