Sirens in the afternoon and judging favorably

Do you ever notice that there are times when you start noticing something appearing in your life on a more frequent basis? That happened to me this week with fire trucks and ambulances.

One day this week between the time I left the house for school pick-up and the time I got home at night, I saw three fire trucks and an ambulance with blinking lights and blaring sirens and two more fire trucks parked at emergency scenes – and these were at five different locations. Then today on the way home from school, a firetruck had just arrived at the intersection near our house where we were waiting at a red light. As we were waiting, far back in the line of traffic, a second firetruck came from a different direction with its sirens on and went down a different street.  From our vantage point, I couldn’t see what happened but there were also two police cars and a group of policemen standing on the corner.

In “The Book of Jewish Values: A Day-by-Day Guide to Ethical Living,” by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, the book’s first daily lesson focuses on what to do when you hear a siren. He writes about a lesson he learned from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (known as Reb Zalman), that when you hear a siren, you pray that the ambulance or firetruck arrive in time to help or save the people who are affected.

I’m reminded of this lesson every time I hear a siren – that although people may be temporarily inconvenienced by having to pull over to the side of the road to let the emergency vehicles get through or sit in traffic as the police or firemen respond to the incident, the reaction should be to have empathy for those involved, rather than be annoyed by the time delay.

It may seem like an obvious lesson, but I think it’s good to be reminded of it now and then.

Seeing all the emergency vehicles in action this week also reminded me how grateful I am that there are people that do this type of work. To be able to arrive at the scene of an emergency and be trained to save people’s lives is truly incredible. How meaningful it must be to be able to do this life-saving work. So to all of you out there who have followed this calling, thank you!

Every day is a holiday

Here’s a recap of this past week’s “Every Day is a Holiday” campaign:

March 3 was “I Want You To Be Happy” day so when the kids kept asking for things as we hung out at home all day – like a glass of water while I was cleaning up the kitchen and they were playing video games – I told them since it was “I Want You To Be Happy” day I was going to get it for them instead of tell them that they can get their own glass of water.

March 4 was “National Snack Day” so we ate snacks – we had plenty to choose from as we still had some treats left in the Mishloach Manot packages we received on Purim.


For “Learn What Your Name Means” Day (March 5), we looked up each of their names – both English and Hebrew versions – to see what they meant and we also talked about the relatives who they were each named after.

March 6 is National Dentist Day, but we didn’t really celebrate that – although we are very grateful for our dentists. We ate Oreos instead for National Oreo Day (and brushed our teeth afterward).


This year, it would have been my mom’s 73rd birthday on March 7, so I thought about her a lot that day. She would have been so thrilled with these three grandsons.

It was also National Cereal Day, which seems so insignificant in comparison, but the kids had cereal for breakfast.

International Women’s Day was on March 8 and I went to women’s event at the JCC to hear a presentation by Adrienne Gold, the woman who was my group’s trip leader on my Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project trip to Israel in December 2016. She’s an incredible speaker and her speech was a wonderful reminder of how we should judge others favorably. Several women that I traveled to Israel with were there, as well as several others from different parts of my life – the mothers of children in my kids’ class, a former co-worker, a woman from my synagogue. It was a beautiful female-empowered evening and the perfect setting to celebrate International Women’s Day.


We hadn’t planned a celebration for today so I don’t have any pictures or descriptions, but then I just did a little research and noticed that March 9 is “Get Over It Day” so you’ll just have to get over it.

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