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Erev Pesach

The first night of Passover.

Passover is a celebration of being released from slavery. The Passover story is about Jews escaping from slavery in Egypt. Something that happened 5000 or so years ago seems far away from life today.

We’re no longer stuck in one country ruled by people different from ourselves. Unless you consider the 99% different from Congress. Unless you consider employers whose only concern is money and who view employees as replaceable as the rolls of toilet paper in the rest rooms. Unless you consider those working in jobs they hate hoping they can last long enough to vest for their pension. Unless you consider the innocent who have been wrongly convicted and imprisoned. Unless you consider those living with constant pain that isn’t eased by pain killers. Unless you consider women and children trapped in violent homes. Unless you consider those whose curable illness isn’t curable because they cannot afford medical care.

What is freedom?

The ability to chose my own religious beliefs.

The ability to chose where I will live.

The ability to chose what kind of employment I will have.

The ability to chose my own education.

The ability to be treated with dignity and respect.

The ability to overcome obstacles.

I am a Jew. I always was a Jew, but I didn’t know it until I started working on a family history and until I studied German in college which enabled me to know that my grandmother’s German was definitely not Hoch Duetsch. It was Yiddish. When the Jews came to the Red Sea, the waters parted and they passed over on dry land. When my great-great-grandparents came to the Atlantic Ocean, they passed over in the hold of a ship. Not the best way to travel, especially with an infant, but they reached a freedom they had never known and couldn’t fully grasp. Each generation was taught to never do anything that would make others think we were Jewish. My grandmother was horrified when I told her I ate a bagel in a restaurant. I eat what I want, where I want, and proudly wear my Star of David necklace.

I was born in Buffalo, NY and I now live in Las Cruces, NM. I chose to make that move. I chose to go to law school. I chose to practice criminal defense. I chose to only represent indigent people.

I am bipolar. I will always be bipolar and I will always need psych meds in order to function. I chose to turn what others view as a disadvantage into an advantage. Because I do not hide my mental illness, I was able to help mentally ill clients in ways the mentally healthy could not. I know what it’s like to be on psych meds and I know what it’s like to be unmedicated. I know what it’s like when the psych meds stop working – and that will happen no matter what med one is taking. I know what med adjustment is like. I know what withdrawal is like – it’s both worse than and easier than you think.

I have the financial independence to live on my own. We are approaching our 44th wedding anniversary. I stay because I love my husband and we have a good, imperfect marriage.

Those are the freedoms I will celebrate during Passover.

May your Passover be joyous and enlightening.

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Author:

I retired from the Public Defender Dept. November 12, 2015 after 21+ years as a criminal defense attorney. Now, I'm a full time multi-media artist and writer starting on a new adventure. As an artist, I create with beads, fabric, fiber, and ceramic clay. Sometimes separately; sometimes in assorted combinations. You can find my on-line store at: www.debthumanart.com.