Getting to Know You – the Liebster Award

Something I particularly enjoy about blogging is getting to meet new people, and all the sharing and connecting that goes on.  But I’ve noticed that the more people I meet and who follow my blog (Thank you for following!), the more I tend to shy away from sharing the more personal type of posts.  Of course, the story of how I met my husband is still one of my more popular posts, and I’ve been told that people like to hear about, well, personal stuff.  But I find myself gravitating more toward the how-to, opinion and advice-y topics.

About a week ago, I got an email from the lovely Melissa Amster, a newly found friend (introduced through a cousin of mine – thanks Diane!) who also has a fabulous Chick Lit Blog.  It turns out she decided to give my blog the Liebster award, which is an award that is given by the blogging community to new up and coming bloggers with less than 200 followers.  It was a nice surprise, and a nice opportunity to share a little bit about myself.  Here are the rules:

1) Tell 11 things about yourself.
2) Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
3) Post 11 questions for those who will be nominated by you.
4) Nominate 11 bloggers.
5) Get in contact with those bloggers to inform them that you nominated them.

Here we go!

~Eleven Things About Me~

this is what a bass clarinet looks like
this is what a bass clarinet looks like

1.  In addition to the “regular” clarinet (that’s the one in B-flat, if that means anything to you.  If not, you can read this) and piano, I also play bass clarinet, E-flat clarinet, flute and saxophone.  And sing.  I played jazz bass clarinet in a jazz combo in college, and it was awesome.

2.  I started blogging six years ago, when I went to study in Israel for a year.  I started the now-defunct blog, “Inspirations from the Holy Land,” as a way for my friends and family to keep up with what I was doing.  After I got married, I switched over to this blog (though I started over on Blogger and have since switched to WordPress.com).

3.  I love structure and organization, which is one reason Orthodox Judaism so appeals to me.

4.  In five years we’ve lived in four different apartments in three different cities.

5.  I blog and vlog over at Partners in Torah, a phenomenal organization which matches up learning partners.  You can choose to learn whatever Jewish topic you like.  It’s an amazing program, and if you’re not already signed up for it, I highly recommend it.  I know, I know, we’re all busy, no one has time.  I can definitely relate to that.  But as it’s one of the highlights of my week, and has enriched my life, I feel I should really give it a good plug.  And no, I did not get paid for this endorsement.  I just think it’s a great organization.

6.  Though I ended up majoring in music, I was seriously considering either English or French (all supremely practical courses of study, as you may notice).

7.  Nearly seven years before I met my husband, I learned how to read Russian (phonetically, not with comprehension).  I can kind of speak it now, but my vocabulary is mainly limited to food-related related conversations.  I can say “Very delicious!”  “Please pass the juice,” and “Pass the bread, please.”

my youngest student
my youngest student

8.  Since I’ve been married, I’ve been employed (not simultaneously) in a bookstore, an elementary school, a high school, as a private piano teacher, fundraiser for a paper goods business, a performer and as a writer.

9.  When my home is disorganized my mood is adversely affected, so I do my best to stay on top of things, not always successfully.

10.  Spending a few hours by myself in an Art Museum is my idea of a great mini-vacation.

11.  Most of my life I thought I was an extrovert, but recently I’ve realized that I have a number of introverted qualities as well.

~Eleven Questions From Melissa~

I didn't believe in limitations, clearly.
I didn’t believe in limitations, clearly.

1.  What did you want to be when you grew up?  When I was really little, I wanted to be a giraffe.  Not sure what I thought was going to happen with that.  Later, when I was in college, I wanted to be a professional clarinetist, hoping to find employment playing in a symphony or teaching on the university level.

2.  What was the best thing that happened to you in 2012?  Oh, that’s a tough call.  It was a great year!  I had my daughter, which is obviously amazing.  I also got to play with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and I started working for Partners in Torah.  Those are all “best” things in their own way.

3.  If you had to perform at a karaoke bar, what song would you sing?  I used to love karaoke, back in college.  One of my favorite songs back then was “Me and Bobby McGee,” by Janis Joplin.  Today, I would probably sing “Mikimi” by Yosef Karduner.

4.  If you could live someplace else besides where you currently live, where would it be and why?  I would live in Jerusalem, because it’s the holiest place on earth and Divine Providence is palpable there.  I would be in close proximity to the Kotel, to the tombs of our ancestors, and to a myriad of other holy sites.  It’s a place where each new step I take is a mitzvah, where materialism is secondary to spirituality.  I still hope to be able to live there someday, even if it’s not in the immediate future.

gorgeous!  I took this picture myself, too.

5.  If you were to take me on a tour of the town where you live, what is a must-see?  I don’t feel particularly qualified to answer this question, as we’ve only lived in Baltimore for about a year and a half, and I’m mostly familiar with my kids’ school, Target, the produce store, library and various kid-centric places.  However, the Cylburn Arboretum is gorgeous, and so is the Inner Harbor.  Also, I’ve heard that the National Aquarium here is second to none.  We’ve really enjoyed it.

6.  Given I’m a book addict, tell me your favorite book of all time.  This is an impossible question to answer!  I remember being very impressed with Life of Pi.  Also Persepolis:  The Story of a Childhood.  That’s a graphic novel (graphic meaning illustrated), but a very powerful one.  And, of course, there was Rebbetzin Kanievsky’s biography.

7.  What movie, in your opinion, should never ever EVER be remade?  The Princess Bride.  No one should ever touch that, and I doubt anyone with an ounce of sense would.

8.  Tell me the last thing you dreamed about (while sleeping), no matter how crazy it sounds.  Lately I haven’t remembered much of my dreams, but I had a doozy the other night:  I was in my apartment, but it didn’t look like my apartment.  There were a few pretty young women, either late high school or early college-aged, dressed in formal attire entering the room.  I think one of them was Dianne Agron.  I felt that they were separate from my life but I wanted to connect to them in some way.  I followed them to a dressing room, where I complimented the dressmaker (I knew she was the dressmaker through dream intuition).  She said that the pink in the dress Dianna was wearing (it was a hot pink and lime green number) matched the pink in her nose, and went on a tirade about how important it is to have proper foundation and makeup on.  The room melted away into a large room, like a high school gym or cafeteria, which was being used as a lecture hall.  I think I was sitting cross-legged on the floor.  The lecturer asked if anyone had any questions, and a young man in the back raised his hand.  But instead of a question, he started playing a song on a grand piano about how social niceties are superficial (how no one means it when they ask “how are you,” or something along those lines).  His song went on for a long time, and when he was finished the room melted away again into a conference room of sorts, and two men were discussing homeland security.  And that’s all I remember.

9.  What is the nicest thing someone did for you recently?  Last Friday, I was really under the weather.  I couldn’t even get out of bed, but Shabbos had to be made.  My husband took the kids to school, took the baby grocery shopping with him and made the cholent (a first – it was really tasty!).

reviewing the haggadah
reviewing the Haggadah

10.  What is your favorite month and why?  Hmm, I’ve never thought about that.  I suppose I like the month of Nisan (that’s usually around March or April), since Passover is my favorite Holiday.

11.  With the Oscars coming up, I like to ask this question: What movie (of any year) should have won an Oscar, but didn’t? (Or….which movie won but shouldn’t have?).  Oh boy, I have no idea.  I recently saw on Facebook that Quentin Tarantino’s film Django Unchained won out over Spielberg’s Lincoln for some award.  I haven’t seen either of the films, but the idea that a film by Tarantino, with his trademark excessive violence and filthy language, winning out over something Steven Spielberg made, seems very wrong to me.

~Eleven Questions For My Nominees~

  1. If you could outsource any domestic chore or duty, which one would you choose?
  2. What mitzvah, or spiritual practice, do you connect with the most?
  3. If you could rename yourself, what name would you pick?
  4. What’s your proudest accomplishment?
  5. What’s your favorite holiday?
  6. Where’s the most beautiful place you’ve visited?
  7. What song would you listen to for a boost of energy?
  8. What do you consider comfort food?
  9. Prior to marriage, did you have a “list” of qualities you wanted in a spouse?  If so, how close was your list to reality?
  10. If you could play any instrument, which one would it be?
  11. You won a free trip to anywhere you like.  Where would you go?

~Eleven Nominees~

I really had a hard time with this.  I’m not sure if these blogs meet the criteria, and it pains me to think I’m excluding someone.  So if there’s a blog you’d like to promote, please feel free to include them in the comments.  Thank you!

  1. Sweet and Crunchy
  2. Little Duckies
  3. Harmony & Synergy
  4. A Day Without Sushi
  5. Out of the OrthoBox
  6. From Playground to Politics
  7. Midwest Mama in Israel
  8. Inspirational Information
  9. The Rebbetzin Rocks
  10. Redefining Rebbetzin
  11. Hannah’s Nook/Ilana Davita

25 thoughts on “Getting to Know You – the Liebster Award

  1. Thanks for accepting the award. I loved reading your answers and random facts. :) I totally agree about not remaking “The Princess Bride.” Such a classic!

  2. Great answers, and I just wanted to say I loved the “Inspirations from the Holy Land” blog! I think by the time I found it and started reading, you were almost ready to end that blog. But I had a lot of fun looking at the photos of Israel in the archives. :)

  3. (drumroll…)
    If you could outsource any domestic chore or duty, which one would you choose?
    Vacuuming, because it really hurts both my and my husband’s back. I actually enjoy doing the dishes most of the time, but would love to outsource it as well because it just takes so much time and usually happens at a time when I’m exhausted.
    What mitzvah, or spiritual practice, do you connect with the most?
    Covering my hair! (And feeding people on Shabbat.)
    If you could rename yourself, what name would you pick?
    When I was young, I didn’t like my name and wished that my parents had gone with their second choice for me, which was Rachel. Now I love my name! I also love my Hebrew name, which is Chana Esther. It describes two kinds of connection to the infinite (outward and inward), which are almost paradoxical. Fits me perfectly.
    What’s your proudest accomplishment?
    Every time I conquer that nagging voice inside me that wants me to not fulfill my dreams. This can happen on a large or small scale and really, I hope to make it happen more often. I actually love that voice (my yetzer hara) because I know that it too is an agent of Gd and the tool that allows me to grow.
    What’s your favorite holiday?
    Yom Kippur!
    Where’s the most beautiful place you’ve visited?
    I will never forget that one Shavuot when I was on top of a building in the old city overlooking the beit hamikdash (yes it’s still there, just not physically) at the crack of dawn. I was going through a seemingly impossible to figure out period in my life, and the “place” that I was transported to in that moment was… unreal. I hope to be able to go there again sometime.
    What song would you listen to for a boost of energy?
    I LOVE oldschool euro and trance music. (Yes, I’m a classical musician, don’t judge.) My favourite song to run to currently is “Without You” (the Piano Guys version). I’m bopping my head just thinking of it right now.
    What do you consider comfort food?
    My husband’s hot chocolate. He melts a whole bar of chocolate into it!
    Prior to marriage, did you have a “list” of qualities you wanted in a spouse? If so, how close was your list to reality?
    I had it narrowed down to one; I needed to be with someone who was truly honest with himself about his connection with the infinite and made life choices with this kind of bravery, and was committed to never stop growing, exploring, and learning. And B’H this is the man I married! However, the package that this man came in was NOT at all what I expected, but since I had narrowed down what I truly live for and need in a partner, I was able to (somewhat) recognize it when Gd gave him to me. (It took me a while but I finally figured it out.)
    If you could play any instrument, which one would it be?
    Well, I play the cello and I love it because it is my voice. However, I would really like to learn how to play the piano much better… it’s like having a mini orchestra at your fingertips!
    You won a free trip to anywhere you like. Where would you go?
    Back to Jerusalem. But other than that, I would love to go to Argentina with my hubby.

    1. Love this! Thank you! I also enjoy dishes, but currently they are being outsourced. I’m also a Chana – Rivka Chana! Yay! Just listened to Without You and loved it. I would love to dance with you. :)

  4. A giraffe?! Love that! Fun post, Rivki. Also enjoyed the video; you’ve gotten very professional. Have a great Shabbos.

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