Tag Archives: Friday Feature

Friday Feature: What Good Thing Happened to You This Week?

6 Tamuz 5774

It’s time for the Friday Feature again, where I ask you what good thing happened to you this week. This is direct from Telushkin’s Book of Jewish Values, Day 69.

This is a regular Friday morning feature for this blog. Telushkin intended his book to provide topics for Shabbat discussions for at least a year, as each “week” is composed of six values (one per day) and then Shabbat, where he encourages us to talk about those values at our Shabbat dinners and services. I feel that the idea of gratitude is so central to Jewish practice that we should be reminded weekly of what we might be grateful for.


In terms of my work and my career, I filed grades on Sunday this week and my students had an 86% pass rate, which makes me happy. My current class is keeping up with the work and we’ve had some amazing and enlightening discussions. The structure I put together for the course is working better than I could have hoped, too. And I’m going to spend part of this week working on the book that is closer to being finalized than I could have hoped for, so I can get it onto Amazon and get students to buy it so they can succeed in school this coming school year.

In terms of my social relationships, I got lucky enough to spend time with several friends this week: my best friend was here on Wednesday, and yesterday I got to see an old friend from graduate school whom I hadn’t seen in months. I was asked to be part of someone’s elevation ceremony in my medieval group in a couple weeks.

In terms of my health, I got a good night’s sleep last night and I’m feeling better now that my blood pressure is under control. I’m grateful that all my pharmacy stuff is taken care of for the month so I don’t have to worry about medications. I’m glad that walking a mile is no longer an exercise in pain and frustration, and that I was able to do that a couple of times this week, too.

For my household, we have a full refrigerator and gas tank again. My bank is working with me on the fact that one of my paychecks is going to be here much later than I wanted it to be. Our library books are renewed and I was able to afford a copy of Epstein’s book for myself when the library copy was called back on a hold. We were able to reserve a local storage unit for a reduced price from the one we have in another city, and we’ll be spending part of the weekend going up and getting our things out of the other unit and moving them here, so we can stop having to pay that bill and so our things will be close by.

In terms of family, my partner and I have been having a good week with each other, with lots of down-time and time spent together. My kids won’t be here this coming weekend as originally planned but that’s okay; we’ll have time with them soon again.

In terms of my studies, I’m still learning and growing, and I find almost everything I read fascinating. I’m glad that I came to the realization that I need a different rabbi early on, instead of later on when it would have been more difficult to switch.

In things that don’t seem to fit into any category, an older man saw my kippah while my friend and my partner and I were waiting to be seated for lunch on Thursday, and said “Shalom alecheim!” to me. I’ve been positively recognized as a Jew again in public, and that was exciting. I’m excited that I have more followers here at WWG. I’m glad that I am reaching people and that they’re responding positively.

In the wider world, I’m grateful that so many people have reacted so strongly to the Hobby Lobby ruling, and that it’s spurring greater voter registration and activity out there. I’m also grateful that more marriage-equality rulings have come down on the side of the GLBT community (most recently the 6th Circuit ruling and what’s happened in Colorado).

So tell me. What good things happened to you this week?

And that said, I’ll wish you Shabbat Shalom, and I’ll see you again on Sunday.

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Friday Feature: What Good Thing Happened To You This Week?

29 Sivan 5774

Telushkin’s Jewish value for day 69 (in his book The Book of Jewish Values) asks: What good thing happened to you this week?

This is going to be a regular Friday morning feature for me from now on, I think. Telushkin intended his book to provide topics for Shabbat discussions for at least a year, as each “week” is composed of six values (one per day) and then Shabbat, where he encourages us to talk about those values at our Shabbat dinners and services. I feel that the idea of gratitude is so central to Jewish practice that we should be reminded weekly of what we might be grateful for, so I’m going to make this my regular Friday morning feature.

In yesterday’s post I talked about making gratitude part of my daily practice even before the idea of converting to Judaism had become part of my reality. Gratitude doesn’t have to be about Big Things. It can be about little things, too. Being little doesn’t make a thing trivial. And over the past week, I have had all kinds of things to be grateful for.

In terms of my career and my job, my summer class is completely prepped, which is a new thing for me – I won’t have to worry about scrambling to get anything set up for students, because it’s all done. That gives me an extra hour or two per week, at least. My online course will be done on Sunday and I hope to have grades ready to file at that point. Both of these make me thankful because I get to be with and interact with students, which is a powerful experience for me. They also make me thankful because they will produce a paycheck, with which I can meet my family’s needs. I will have time on Sunday to write, very likely, which will allow me to finish the student-success book that I want to put up on Amazon for sale well before the school year starts.

In terms of my health, I’m grateful that my blood pressure is back down in a normal range. I’m grateful that my blood sugar is mostly stable. I’m grateful that I am getting good sleep every night and that I wake up rested instead of tired.

In terms of my household, I’m grateful that my car has nearly a full tank of gas. I’m grateful that the refrigerator is full of food after my grocery run on Tuesday. I’m grateful that we made it to the laundromat on Sunday so I have clean clothes, and that the kitchen is clean so that baking challah for Shabbat dinner will not be a problem. I’m thankful that my partner got paid and that the bill that was waiting is now paid as well.

In terms of my studies, I’m grateful that I can now write out transliterations for most of the Hebrew I’ve been studying, which means I know the letters and the nikkudim well enough to stumble through it. I’m not fluent yet by any means, but it’s coming along. I’m also grateful that I have been able to take the time to read through most of the library books I picked up two weeks ago, and that I have the ability to go online and renew some of them so I can take a deeper look at them this coming week.

In terms of friends, I’m grateful for getting to have lunch with one of my newer friends yesterday, for seeing another friend for most of Monday after work, and for having plans to see other friends this weekend. I’m grateful that I have so much love in my life.

In terms of family, I’m so glad that I got to see my children this past weekend, and that my partner and I have been able to see each other every day this week. I’m grateful for his presence in my life. I’m grateful that my other partner is in my life.

I’m also grateful for the music of the Josh Nelson Project, Neshama Carlebach, and Aryeh Kuntsler. I’m grateful for authors: Telushkin, Epstein, Diamant, Leaman, Kushner – all of whom have enlightened and educated me this week as I work towards conversion. I’m grateful for the good weather we’ve been having locally, and that I was able to walk to and from my lunch appointment yesterday with minimal pain.

And, in the wider world, I’m grateful for the recent court rulings in favor of marriage equality, which tells me that justice may take its time in getting here, but once it’s here, it stays.

As you can see, once you start listing the things you’re grateful for, it can get out of hand. But perhaps that’s a good thing to do on erev Shabbat. We often look at our lives and only see the bills, the worries, the stressors. While it’s human to notice the bad things first – because in an evolutionary sense, that helps us avoid danger – an over-focus on bad things can be damaging. So take some time today to list the things you’re thankful for. Talk about them with your family over Shabbat dinner.

One of Josh Nelson’s songs, “Seven,” talks about the Sabbath being a time to slow down and consider what the seventh day means:

I am waiting for the sunset

I am waiting for the peace

I am waiting for this holy moment

For a moment of release

Seven days, take my worries

Taking time to catch my breath

Seven days, start me over

Slow me down and clear my head…

Now I ask you – what better way to enter the seventh day than with gratitude? What better way to calm down and catch your breath than by spending a little time listing and thinking about what you’re grateful for?

So let the day take your worries. While you wait for the sunset, let yourself start over and clear your head (from negativity and stress) by listing the good things that have happened to you during the week. Feel free to use the comment thread here to state it, if you like.

And that said, I wish you Shabbat Shalom, and I’ll see you back on Sunday morning.

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