Wonderful people who make this blog worth updating

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What is Passover?

Its Passover time! So, what is Passover and why is is celebrated?

Passover is a holiday about freedom from slavery and ultimate redemption. It is based upon the story of the Ancient Israelites' redemption from slavery in Egypt through Moses.

Today Passover is celebrated by observant Jews, and an increasing number of Christians, who are trying to return to the roots of their faith. If you read the Gospel accounts, Passover is the holiday during which Jesus was crucified. To Christians, Passover is the celebration of ultimate redemption from slavery to your own sin.

How is Passover celebrated?
The central focal point of Passover is the Seder, a dinner during which the story of redemption from Egypt is told. This is very important to Jews, as it assures continuation of the story to the next generation. According to tradition, the Hagaddah (book used to tell the story) uses "we" because each generation is to view itself in the story.

During the week of Passover, called the Feast of Unleavened bread, only bread made without yeast, called Matzah, is eaten. This is because the Israelites fled so fast that they only had flour, and could not make the usual fermented bread products. Part of preparing for Passover includes removing all yeast and bread products from the house. This outward cleansing also serves to remind us of introspection, and removing sins and negative influences from our own lives.

Even if you don't celebrate Passover, there is still a lot that can be learned from this story. 

Hag SameaH!

Monday, March 22, 2010

If at first you don't succeed. . .

So, I've been trying to learn to do henna for awhile now. My first attempts were hideous! No really, they were.I have provided no pictures to document the disastrous results.

Since then, I've practiced sporadically and I'm actually getting better.
Some of my first designs were not so great. Take a look here if you want to see what I'm talking about.

I recently ordered a Moroccan henna syringe and some better quality henna from FreeHandMehndi.  
The syringe is a little tricky to figure out at first, but I think I like it better than rolling cones. Its easy to clean and pretty easy to draw with once you get the hang of it. The only downside is that seems to accumulate pressure occasionally and the henna just keeps flowing out. I like it better than cones though, because I always seem to get leaks in my cone at the top.

So, here are the designs that I did this weekend:

I did these on Friday, then used some of the extra henna to shade parts of it on Saturday. Overall, I am pretty happy with the results. I wasn't able to leave the paste on all night, but this was the color I got after about 4 hrs. Oh, and if you're wondering how I hennaed the tops of both hands, I am somewhat ambidextrous.

Saturday night I got invited to a Somali wedding party for a girl in our ESL program. I got to dress some of the other teachers up in dirac and show them off to the Somali community. I was surprised by how many people I already know in the community here. There were also some girls who recognized me from the You Tube video and had me take pictures with them :-)

The only downside to the night was that I was stuck with Layla because my husband was working at 6am on Sunday. They didn't even serve the food until 12:30 a.m. and we took off immediately after.
I consider myself a night person, but I fail miserably by Somali standards!

Layla was causing me issues, but I was still able to get a few pics during the wedding. Here are me and some of the other teachers with a couple of our ESL student friends

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mommy Visit

Wow, I haven't updated in a long time! I've just been lazy since my mom was here and left.
We had the best weather most of the time she was here, so we got to take advantage of being outside a lot.
I am trying to convince my parents to move here when my dad retires, so part of my job is to make Portland very appealing when compared to where they live now. It doesn't take much!

Layla enjoyed a lot of time in the stroller while we did mini-hikes around the city and various buttes (small extinct volcanoes). While we were up on Mt. Tabor Layla walked straight uphill for probably a whole mile herself. She took a great nap that afternoon!

Layla got really used to having her grandma around, and it was hard for all of us when she left. Layla still goes in her room and asks why grandma isn't there anymore. Then she will say "Grandma, far away." I really hope that changes someday and she is able to come live with us.

We also had some great Ethiopian food at a place called Bete Lukas. The food was great, and I actually got to enjoy it because Layla was good for almost the entire time. I used to hate going to restaurants with her because she would never let me eat. My mom also got to meet some of my Somali friends, and even got some henna done by one of them the night before she left.

In other news, I am actually going to apply with an agency to do Somali medical interpreting part-time. I have a friend who does it, and she is convinced that my Somali is good enough.

I'll write more about that later.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Fatwa Against Terrorism?

From the Jerusalem Post:
(no ad-hominem attacks based upon where I got the article will be tolerated in the comments. Be mature, and stick to the content of the article)

The Pakistani-born Dr. Qadri has authored an unprecedented, 600-page fatwa on why suicide bombings and terrorism are un-Islamic and scripturally forbidden. The ruling is the most comprehensive theological refutation of Islamist terrorism to date.

The fatwa will also be posted on the Internet and in English, making it readily accessible. It will also set an important precedent and allow other scholars to similarly condemn the ideas behind terrorism.

Dr. Qadri has used texts in the Koran and other Islamic writings to argue that suicide and other terrorist attacks are “absolutely against the teachings ofIslam” and that “Islam does not permit such acts on any excuse, reason or pretext.”

The fatwa condemns suicide bombers as destined for hell, refuting the claim used by Islamists that such terrorists will earn paradise after death."

So what do you guys think? Can such a fatwa be an effective step to eliminating suicide attacks in the name of Islam? 
I am somewhat skeptical of their effectiveness since there are still shiekhs that openly support suicide bombing.

I think it is important to support Sh. Qadri and others like him because they are trying to do something tangible to educate Muslims and change the face of Islam. We also need to support organizations that are providing education and support to Muslims in desperate economic situations. These people are the most likely to be indoctrinated to join extremist movements.