I volunteered again today. I got up even earlier than I did last week, but still arrived a few minutes late. It’s not hugely awful as people do drift in, but I would like to be there on time. I just seem to be late leaving whatever time I get up for volunteering. It’s not so bad with volunteering, but I want to stay punctual for work, although J seems pretty laid back about things like that. I know my line manager in my job in further education said on my last day that she was impressed that, despite my mental health issues, I was present and punctual. Considering she almost never gave praise, I thought that was quite something.

I was tired after that and didn’t do much all afternoon. I had a long chat with my rabbi mentor, which was good. He’s pleased with the way my life is going at the moment. I had to pick up a prescription and accepted my Dad’s offer of a lift, even though the round trip walking is only fifteen minutes, as I just felt too tired.

The only other thing I did today was go to an online shiur (religious class) in the evening. This was not through my shul (synagogue) or the LSJS, where I usually go to shiurim. It was being given by the former rabbi of my shul, who no longer lives in the area. I knew he has interesting things to say, so I went even though I knew I would be tired. It was very interesting and has given me a lot to think about, primarily in terms of what he said, but also in terms of thoughts it sparked about the nature of the frum (religious Jewish) community. However, I’ve already posted something political today (see below, if you haven’t seen it already) and I think it’s asking for trouble to post about politics and religion on the same day, so I will leave it there for now.


I published the post about politics that I’ve been tinkering with for a while. I hope I don’t get flamed. I know from experience that writing anything that even mentions Israel is asking for abuse, hence my staying away from politics posts for a decade or more. But lately I’ve felt a bit more comfortable here, so I wanted to push myself a bit. Even so, I spent so long discussing my personal political history that the mental health bit ended up as an afterthought, which is not really ideal on a mental health blog.


Wanting to read a spy novel about a week and a half ago, I borrowed an omnibus book of four spy novels from my Dad. I’d read the first one, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. It’s good, but I didn’t want to re-read it. The second was The Mask of Dimitrios by Eric Ambler. It was mostly good, but not really a spy novel; more a novel about criminals one of whom has moonlighted as a spy. The spy content was small. I wanted the type of book with detailed descriptions of spycraft like John le Carre, the kind not necessarily high in action, but high in detail, jargon, and internal politicking. This wasn’t the book I was looking for. It was pretty entertaining despite that, but I became less invested in the closing chapters, when the hero moved towards being an anti-hero; I struggle with books with anti-heroes. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m religious or because I have a rigid autistic moral sense (or both). I will probably carry on with the next book in the volume (The Naked Runner by Francis Clifford), although I had been switching between fiction and non-fiction books.

13 thoughts on “Volunteering, Religion, Politics and Spies

    1. I guess my thinking is that I used to have a ‘me’ blog (on Livejournal) and it never really went anywhere. I used to feel that that was from lack of focus. I tell myself that I write for myself, and I do, but I worry about suddenly losing the readers I’ve got here.

      However, this definitely has been drifting towards being a ‘me’ blog lately; as my mental health has improved, there’s been more about things like work and writing without a mental health angle, as well as (I think) more writing about books and TV I’m into.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I agree with Ben. This blog is about you, thus you can write about anything you want. I don’t read because it’s a mental health blog. I like learning about different places, religions and cultures. And people of course. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Interesting. As I said to Ben, I used to have a ‘me’ blog (on Livejournal) and it never really went anywhere. I tell myself that I write for myself, and I do, but I worry about suddenly losing the readers I’ve got here.

      Still, this has been becoming less of a mental health blog lately and maybe that’s not a bad thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really hate the anti-hero stuff too. I’m surrounded by so many anti-heroes in real life that It’s the last thing I want to encounter in literature. I want the hero to be human and weak and flawed but still in spite of that a hero. David’s tag of a Heschel quote led me to lots of other gems by other Jewish writers. Here are two:
    “If the Bible didn’t show us the weaknesses, the vulnerabilities, the sins of our heroes, we might have deep questions about their true virtue.” Baal Shem Tov
    “Zion, thou art doubtless anxious for news of thy captives; they ask after thee, they who are the remainder of thy flock.” Judah Halevi
    It pains me that Jewish people are made to feel that they need to apologize for Israel existing. I worked under constant attack for 7 years to create a safe space for my kids and I to dwell. I was called crazy and accused of seeking to take custody of my kids from my ex-husband. This was literally posted as a prayer request on a prayer chain at a church in my town. I had no such intention and only wanted to peacefully coexist. To have your noblest efforts called selfish is a painful thing indeed. In the end they did the very thing they were falsely accusing me of. I am anxious for news of my little captives and I know they ask after me. I wish the other side well but they keep showing they do not know how to make peace. I don’t always handle things correctly. I’m human and I need to be open to criticism and so does Israel. But that doesn’t change my right to exist with my children unthreatened. Let people criticize but don’t apologize when their criticism is unfounded

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the quotes, I hadn’t heard them before. I have a volume of Judah HaLevi’s poetry somewhere, in parallel Hebrew and English, but I have to admit I’ve only read one poem from it.

      I’m sorry about your children. I’ve been praying for you to be reunited. Did you get anywhere with the request to the holistic doctor?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s $800.00 just to speak with her 😦 so I can’t take that route as I don’t have the thousands of dollars that the whole process would probably require. I have another Naturopathic Doctor who is also a biochemist that could possibly oversee everything but I still need a miracle just to have my kids as I need a second person to make that possible. They really don’t have a dating service for people like me. I appreciate your prayers. I really need clarity.

        Liked by 1 person

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