Life — tests and trust

Wednesday, July 16, marked one week that I've been a resident of Miami Beach and one month since I arrived in South Florida.

From my Astrology report: "July is a month of extremes. One day you're running into obstacles and the next you're sailing toward happiness."

I knew that I was in an initiation process, similar to what I imagine one goes though in a college sorority/fraternity. Friday, July 11, I was frustrated and frazzled and unsure if I would be "initiated."

I spent Shabbat weekend with Rabbi Kalman Packouz and his wonderful family. For 26 hours I turned off my phone, computer, TV and didn't drive. Shutting out the outside world. We prayed, played, ate, laughed and hung out together.

Married over 30 years, the Packouzes have nine children; three still live at home. The eldest leaves for college in three weeks. Mindy, 11, reminds me of my granddaughter Alyssa, including giving me a piece of her art for my refrigerator. Akiva, a spunky 9-year-old, taught me several new games. I'm now their Obama Grandma. I returned to my apartment late Saturday evening feeling totally renewed. Rabbi gifted me with a beautiful case; I bought a scroll and my new Mezuzah is on my doorpost.

Sunday I finally got a cell phone that works here. Bought two dozen roses from a Israeli who supports Obama for himself and Israel. While buying a "Respect the Ocean" Florida T-shirt, I met four African-American girlfriends here from Philly, who live in my "old neighborhood" and graduated from Germantown High School, which I attended my freshman year. High five!

Monday I met a woman who told me she was a lifelong Republican. OK. And that we'd become friends. She's a published author and "knew" I was a writer. She kindly referred me to her doctor. I got a P.O. box, changed my address and registered to vote. My "move packet" included a gift certificate from Bank of America, $75 for opening a checking account. Which I did, and showed them my B of A vice president business card from years ago.

I attended a Young Jewish Leaders event, and was invited to join Miami Beach Democrats. Next meeting: Tuesday, Aug. 5, the day after Obama's 47th birthday. As more people learn who I am, I'm being asked to speak at Jewish groups. My "busy season" has begun.

Which leads me to this: "Obama Grandma" will continue, and in fairness to the "Other Side," it's time for me to move it from The Tidings to my own blog site. Where I'll be speaking more openly about my campaign activities, including Israel. One of the most important discussions taking place in South Florida's Jewish Community.

If you'd care to continue reading my pieces, please e-mail me at: I'd add you to my list and give you my blog site information once it's created. I'm very grateful to "my guys" at the Tidings for allowing me this opportunity to share my incredible journey with you.

In closing: One of my first contacts in the Jewish Community, Jack Lieberman, is from Philly (see photo). On Sunday, he's taking me to a Phillies-Marlins game. What's even more exciting for me is that the game is being played at Dolphin Stadium &

the home of my Miami Dolphins!

I cannot adequately describe how happy I am to be here in South Florida, working for the Obama Campaign and living oceanfront on Miami Beach. I have a new T-shirt that says Phillies in Hebrew. I bought it to go with my special Phillies hat. Sunday will be my first day in Florida not wearing an Obama T-shirt. I'll wear my pins.

Signing off in peace, .

"When a person has mastered the trait of trust in God, (Bitachon) they will look forward to difficult life-tests in order to show their love for the Almighty; and they will actually welcome these tests." Wow! I've passed this one.

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