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The boys and I went to our local Target.  We live in a heavily Jewish area with a good mix of Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform congregations.  We have about eight shuls, a JCC, and three Chabads in the vicinity.  I say that to process the smiles that turned to horror when some random Target shopper gazed at my boys returned their smiles...and suddenly went cold.  I can only blame it on the kippot.
   On another note, I watched Sex and the City 2.  I was shocked by the Jewish gay wedding...or was it the gay Jewish wedding officiated by Liza Minelli.  In the first few scenes, the word "Jew" was said at least forty times. Charlotte's a Jew-by-choice, Harry's a Jew,  Carrie's a Jew, as is her BFF and groom (or bride or broom). I appreciate Jew representation in film, but the sad part of some flimsy Jewish practice is that it sets a standard of belief.  So, this is what/who some people believe that we are.   Skim forward a bit, the crew ends up in Abu Dhabi.  Hmm....to modesty, the so called Jews in the movie celebrated like the last night in Sodom...while in the U.A.E. the Muslim representation beacons of modesty.  
I'm not saying that one level of observance should be represented, but to broadcast Jewishness should mean something.  Maybe the lesson is that Jews have assimilated and are no different from the next rich American sex crazed woman, but Judaism means so much more to me. Modern Hollywood Jewry is disgraceful. Maybe I'm the schmuck for expecting more content than its slim worth in entertainment value, but in this exploding political climate, one should not cry "Jew" unless you mean it. And there you have it, so much for banning idle Lashon hara. There's always the next second, another chance to start fresh.  I only wish in that fresh start, I could erase all memory of having viewed SATC 2.  I also wish to have those two and a half hours back.
 Is it just me or being Jewish living Jewish something that affects every thought that passes through my mind all day every day?  There's been a lot of negativity at work lately. I pray before going in not only out of thanks to Hashem for having a job, but for the fortitude it requires not to engage in lashon hara. So easy to do when some of what is being said is true.  Prayer does change things. Thankfully, we pray a lot.  And even if the immediate benefit is not evident, it is the state of mind that prayer lends to.  The calm and peace felt after heartfelt thanks.
The mitzvah I work on this week is controlling lashon hara. Usually, I keep my tongue silent. I do not speak ill of anyone. I don't even share anyone's happy news.  My mouth doesn't open to form words that are not mine to share.  The sneaky thing is aside from gossip and slander, evil words can come in tricky guises.  Speaking ill over a situation is not good.  Having a bad day at work and instead of basking in the gratitude required of one who has the joy of gainful employment,  I complained.  This week I work to the end of being grateful in my speech at all times. And not some fraudelent appreciation, but my heart recognizes that Hashem has made such a good and pleasant way for me.  I do not work outside in the heat of summer nor do I toil in some repeated trivial task, but I have opportunity to flourish and grow as much as my work merits. And I work as though I do it for the glory of Hashem.  For it is in His glory, that I succeed. It is my prayer and with every success said prayer fulfilled.  And the simple task of reporting to work is a testiment to His favor and mercy, if it had not been for Him. I would have nothing.  I'm forever thankful and this week this moment even right now, I bridle my tongue that it may be in line with pleasant and living words that honor Hashem in proper praise for all that He continues to do in this unfinished work I call life. 
Praise be to Hashem, my G-d!!
Esther