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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Carmageddon 2014

Shalom y'all!

I have spent the past 3 days or so observing many of my friends react and respond to "Snowlanta."  Many of these friends have looked to place blame on this person or that person.  It is true that we were not prepared in a variety of ways for this week.  However, I would like to focus this blog on a small segment of my friends - the few who posted about the amazing Southern Hospitality that they witnessed.  Whether these brave souls were referred to as "Good Samaritans" or just good people...these are the people I believe we should focus our attention on.

When I was out and about on Wednesday, checking on different streets to see if there were any people I could help, I saw so many wonderful people out pushing cars, giving people rides, allowing people to sit in their warm cars, etc.  There was so much many great acts from people who were complete strangers the day before.  When it came down to it - these were fellow Atlantans who either needed help or wanted to help others...or both!

I think back to September 2001 when all of us were glued to our televisions as we watched New Yorkers hand in hand walk together and help each other along.  I am reminded of those who did everything they could to help those victims in Boston...and the millions of Americans who sent money and other items to the Northeast after Hurricane Sandy.  The truth is that it is very easy to blame governmental is harder and means more to instead turn our focus on those who are out there doing what they can to help in the recovery of the moment.

I say to all of you - let us turn our attention to making sure that every one who needs help is helped.  Once the Atlanta I love gets back to "normal," then we can begin to talk about how we can prevent something like Carmageddon from happening again.  Let us not point fingers at who did or did not do this.  Instead, let us come together to make sure we are prepared in the future.

Stay safe, stay warm.  Thank God for all of those out there who put their necks on the line to help.  Thank you to Home Depot, Kroger, Publix, Target, Rite Aid, Chick Fil-A and countless other businesses who remained open havens for people who needed a warm and safe place to sleep.  Let us learn from their example!

Rabbi Erin Boxt

Monday, January 27, 2014

...Dedicated to the One I love!

Shalom y'all!

I have a secret to share.  It is been extremely hard for me to hold onto this secret.  I do a very good job of keeping confidential the secrets of others (after all I am clergy), but when it comes to my own, I am really bad at it.  And, this one is a doozy.  Ready for it? OK, here goes:

My wife,  Batya Ozaroff Boxt, is the most outstanding wife, woman, mother, etc. I have ever known.

OMG, my world is so much better now.  That secret has been weighing me down for quite some time.  You see, this may not be much of a secret to anyone who knows Batya.  However, SHE doesn't always understand or realize how great she is.  I am sure you have heard the old saying, "We are our own biggest critic."  Well, Batya is the epitome of this...she is not only her own biggest critic, but she really never gives herself the credit she deserves for being who she is.

Really.  Shortly after Batya and I were married, we were driving in a car with one of my aunts.  My aunt told me that if Batya and I were to ever divorce (she was NOT suggesting this), Batya could stay and I would be the one who gets kicked to the curb.  Although this is humorous, it is so true.  She really is my BETTER half. She really does complete me.  And, I cannot tell you how often I am reminded by everyone I know how awesome she is.  I just wish these same people would tell her!  I know she is...she is the one who needs to hear it.

Batya and I have been married for just over 11 years now.  We have been together for 13.  I cannot tell you enough how much I have grown in these 13 years - as a person, a professional, a student, an Aba, a rabbi, a husband, etc.  Much of this growth SHOULD BE attributed to Batya.  I have not always understood or recognized how influential she has been on me...but trust me, I realize this more and more every day I get to wake up next to her.

In reality, our marriage is not perfect.  No marriage is.  We have our challenges and our struggles. Sometimes we annoy each other. However, no person has ever supported or loved someone as much as Batya has loved and supported me.  Even her criticisms of me come from a place of love and support.  Any person who is married should be able to wake up every day and thank their partner for that support.  I am so very thankful that I am able EVERY day to do this.  I only wish that Carlie will be the same kind of spouse and have the same kind of spouse that her mother is.

Sometimes I am asked how I am able to do my job as a rabbi.  People want to know how I am able to be that "non-anxious" presence when people are at their darkest moments.  They want to know how I am able to do a funeral and then two hours later show up at a youth group event with a smile on my face.  A lot of this is because I know that when I get home, Batya is there to help me reflect and unwind. Being a clergy person is not easy...being the spouse of a clergy person is MUCH harder.  I was taught and went through training - Batya is just a natural at being my spouse.  And, my friends, this is NOT an easy task.

For my Batya, my b'sheret, my love, my wife, my everything - I love you...and if you EVER doubt that, please tell me so I can make sure that you never doubt it again!

Rabbi Erin Boxt