Thanksgiving on the Lanai

This Thanksgiving has been a little different for me. I’m visiting my parents at their new place in Florida, instead going back to Chicago. Obviously, there have been some differences, not just limited to bringing the cans of pop inside to chill rather than putting them out on the back porch. Because in this case, outside is 80 degrees (not 40), and the porch is a lanai. And I think when something is called a lanai the only beverages allowed are the fruity kind.

My parents arrived in Florida only a few weeks ago, and there are still a few boxes around. Plus one whole extra bedroom that is only boxes.

But it is already starting to look more familiar. The box in the dining room held the Thanksgiving tablecloths. The tablecloths have come out every year so that those seated around the table can write out their gratitude in black Sharpie. Serious and silly, young and old.

Listed in the various years of thankfulness have been: health, harmonicas, couscous, family, TV, paid-off student loans, unexpected guests, tofurkey, being old enough to help now, still being able to help, and not being able to see Russia from our house.

I can see what mattered to me each year, if I took it seriously that year or if I was even present at all. With so many changes this year – moves, births, deaths – these table cloths are a way for everyone who I want to be with to be present. Not only do we have those people with us, in a way, we have what they valued.

Right now, GLOE is finishing up our Big Jewish LGBT Survey. The survey takes stock of what we value right now in our community. If you are Jewish and LGBT in the greater DC area, you should fill out the survey (whether you’ve attended something or never have). Anyone who has participated in a GLOE event should fill it out, too.  Of course there are prizes for filling it out, but really, it’s about hearing what people think at this moment in time. What do we want to celebrate at our metaphoric table this year? What do we wish we had here?

As you consider what you’re thankful for this year, please take a moment to reflect on our Jewish LGBT community (or pass it along to friends!).

One survey respondent, when asked what she values seeing at GLOE events, answered, “Hot butch women.” Something to write on the tablecloth, indeed.

 

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Thanks: A DC Poem

For U.S.A. chagim
We love July Fourth
Memorial Day’s meaning
And Labor Day’s worth
Veteran’s Day’s solemn
MLK Day’s inspiring
Columbus Day is about an explorer not tiring
But of all of these days
When our offices rest,
We all should agree
That Thanksgiving’s the best.

It’s the food
It’s the family
It’s an ancestral vision
Even though most of us
Aren’t related to Pilgrims
So with belly’s a-swollen
With victuals digestible
Here are some of the figures
That we thank at our table

We’re thankful for donors,
Volunteers and teachers,
Subscribers, new members
And fitness goal reachers.
We’re thankful for films
For Authorial speakers
For treadmill addicts
Who wear-out their sneakers.
We’re thankful for Circles,
Scott, Dupont and Logan
Thanks for the ‘hood
Someone named “Borderstan

Of course we are thankful
for our partners, Federation.
For synagogue rabbis
And all congregations:
Like Bet Mish and Micah
DC Minyan and Adas
Wash-Hebrew and T.I.
With religious org status
Kesher, Sinai, Ohev
For the ‘gogue on Sixth Street
Rosh Pina and wherever more than
10 Jews can meet

Thank you Vince Gray
And to the government of DC
From our rep Jack Evans
To our local ANC.
For the folks on the Hill,
Boehner, Cantor and Reid,
It not just thanks
But a deal that you need.
Once the debt deal is done
Or before if you’re open,
Thanks, please give a vote
To Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Thanks for Obama,
And Mitt and Newt too,
We’ll see who’s most thankful
In Twenty, One-Two.
And Occupy K Street
And Tea Party Nation
And David Petraeus
And Alex Ovechkin.

Thanks to the Nats,
The Skins and the Caps
The Wizards get thanks
When the lockout gets scrapped.
So thanks to Rex Grossman,
Davey Johnson, Mike Rizzo
The Shanahan clan,
And bald Bruce Boudreau.

Thanks Michael Kaiser
A toast to Todd Gray
Thanks Reggie Love,
Who is going away.
Thanks City Paper and
The Post’s Reliable Source
Thanks weather-guy Bob Ryan
And Nat’s Slugger Mike Morse.

Thanks Wale, thanks Kojo
Thanks Hilda Solis
Thanks Justice Kagan
And the Metro Police.
Thanks Dr. Jill Biden,
And George Pelecanos,
Thanks Ezra Klein
Welcome home Wilson Ramos.

Give thanks for the thanks
That you know that you’re due.
Give thanks for the J
Cause we give thanks for you.

Everything But…

Have you participated in the Morris Cafritz Center for Community Service‘s Everything But The Turkey event? If not you’re missing out.

Imagine being in a room with over 100 volunteers along with cabbage, sweet potatoes, celery, bread, green beans everywhere. Join us for this amazing event where we prepare food for the homeless for Thanksgiving. It’s a fun project and a great way to give back to the community!

We’ll provide everything; food, recipes, utensils and all. Learn more and register today! Space fills up fast!

All of the food prepared is donated to DC Central Kitchen and their partner agencies.

It’s a New Year, Volunteer!

So much is happening in the Morris Cafritz Center for Community Service!

Luke

Those who’ve read my blog postings, part 1 and 2, know that Luke is the name I’ve given to the recipient of my Peripheral Blood Stem Cells. On August 30, I did what I hope will save Luke’s life. What a surreal experience! Now it’s a waiting game. I was told that no news is good news, and that I will be updated on Luke’s condition the first week of October. Cross your fingers (part 3).

Turkey

56 days and counting until we make Everything But The Turkey. It sort of freaks me out to think that in less that 60 days more than 500 volunteers will be joining us to prepare thousands of meals for people that are hungry in DC. I had a meeting on Friday with our partners in crime, DC Central Kitchen, and all of our plans are a go. Sharpen your knife skills (or buy us new ones from our Bed, Bath and Beyond registry) and get ready to register. Registration will open by October 31. Watch the Volunteer View for a go date.

D25 turns 25

It’s hard to believe it but the community service project that started it all here at the Washington DCJCC–December 25th Day of Service (D25)–is turning 25 this year! With only 90 days to go, we could use your help. We’re busy planning volunteer projects and making the day a bit more special that usual (with a fabulous photo exhibit and more) and could use your support. Click on the following and we’ll tell you more about being a volunteer project team captain, donating in kind to D25, or being a D25 anniversary corporate sponsor.

Behrend success story

This is the story of Gloria and her son Shane.

This mother and son moved to DC a few years ago to take care of Gloria’s dying mother. Because of this, they were living on Gloria’s mother’s disability and social security checks while caring for her. Once Gloria’s mother passed the checks stopped coming, and they could no longer afford to stay in the apartment and became homeless. Behrend Builder’s Randy met them in the dead of winter while they were sleeping in an abandoned van. We started giving them blankets, clothes, food, etc. and finally got them into one of the four transitional apartments Behrend had fixed up on Georgia Avenue.  This was the break they needed. Both mother and son have now passed their GEDs, have jobs and just recently got their own apartment.  Sometimes a helping hand and knowing that people really do care can make the difference!

This is really just the tip of the iceberg. Check out our full calendar of projects.

Tomorrow Rosh Hashanah begins. This year, make your mark on the world and volunteer. Shana Tova!

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