Monday, Feb. 1, 2016: February already

It’s February and in Uganda that means the start of the school year. Here is a new photo of Miriam Nankwanga, one of the five Ugandan orphans whose education we are supporting through Chanting & Chocolate and the monthly Shabbat potluck dinners I host. The 18-year-old is a student at Semei Kakungulu High School, administered by the Abayudaya Jewish community in the village of Nabugoye Hill.

All five students are members of the Abayudaya, who trace their Jewish history back less than 100 years ago when Kakungulu, a powerful military chief, declared himself a Jew. More than five years after I left Uganda, it feels very gratifying to continue to be helpful.

I am very grateful to the lovers of sweet Hebrew kirtan who attend Chanting & Chocolate on the last Sunday of the month, to Or Shalom for making our charity work a project of the synagogue and providing the sanctuary as an excellent venue, and to the superb musicians who join me every month for the love of this sacred music – Charles Cohen, John Federico, Martin Gotfrit, Charles Kaplan and Wendy Rubin, plus vocalists Rabbi Hannah Dresner and Rabbi Laura Duhan Kaplan. Last night, we were thrilled that Rabbi Hanna Tiferet Siegel was our special guest artist.

Today was the first of February already. It marks a month of daily practice during which I missed three days. Today I added a minute for each component of chanting, meditation and yoga. Somehow that sixth minute of meditation felt deeper. My body is loving the extra yoga attention.

Today also marks 34 days since I began posting “Being 69” daily, with one day missed. I’m delighted that people are reading and some are commenting. One friend suggests I write more about feelings and less about details. Another says I’m quite vulnerable and open. Still others figure once a week would be enough – why knock myself out? I worry that it might be Too Much Information. I do feel determined to maintain the daily pace, offering whatever insights I might have into a life on the leading edge of the baby boom. Insha’allah, I’ll be able to transform a year of posts into a book.

What do you think – how am I doing so far?


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