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In Celebration

Thursday, 4 February 2010

So my birthday has come and gone. Thirty-nine years old.

I was thinking of listing thirty-nine blessings in my life for which I am thankful. But so darn superstitious is Frume Sarah that simply could not bring herself to write them down lest the Ayin HaRa be regular FS reader.

[I can see you cringing, Mr. BossGiraffe. But remember that though he did not subscribe to superstitious behaviour, even Yehuda HaNasi once said that it was better to err on the side of caution.]

Then I thought about doing a whole survey of Hebrew words that had the numeric equivalent to thirty-nine.
The first word that popped up??

אאזל meaning “to be exhausted”

Well, it is certainly an apt description of Frume Sarah these days. What else adds up to thirty-nine??

אגלה meaning “to reveal; expose; be banished; expell”

Wait a minute…I’m not sure I like where this survey is headed. However, after looking through word-after-word, I discovered that there are both positive and negative words that add up to the number thirty-nine and one could really be driven insane by attempting to find deeper meaning in a number.

Of course, the number thirty-nine has special Shabbat significance as it is the same number of categories used to define work, according to the Rabbis. And any activity that falls within one of these categories is, therefore, prohibited on the Sabbath.

So what can I write as a recap of what is my final Thirtysomething year?? Was there a grand celebration? A fancy trip? A day at the spa?

None of the above. It was a quiet day. A day spent with my Grandmother. And a day that was marked with the generosity of family and friends who contributed $276.00 to MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger in my honour.

It was a perfect day.


The Sydney Taylor Book Award is presented annually to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience. Presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) since 1968, the Award encourages the publication and widespread use of quality Judaic literature. Gold medals are presented in three categories: Younger Readers, Older Readers, and Teen Readers. Honor Books are awarded silver medals, and Notable Books are named in each category. Thirty-three outstanding books were selected from among the over one hundred and twenty titles evaluated by the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee during 2009. The Committee recommends them for library, classroom, and home use. List of all 2010 Award, Honor, and Notable Books.

You won’t want to miss one moment of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour 2010! Check out the Association of Jewish Libraries for up-to-date tour info.


Thursday, February 4, 2010
Jacqueline Jules, author of Benjamin and the Silver Goblet
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at ASHarmony

Thursday, February 4, 2010
Natascia Ugliano, illustrator of Benjamin and the Silver Goblet
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at The Book of Life

Thursday, February 4, 2010
Deborah Bodin Cohen, author of Nachshon, Who Was Afraid to Swim
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Ima On and Off the Bima

Thursday, February 4, 2010
Jago, illustrator of Nachshon, Who Was Afraid to Swim
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Jewish Books for Children

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Thursday, 4 February 2010 3:14 pm

    Happy Birthday!
    When I was a girl the used to say “Life begins at 40”. Now ‘they’ are saying 60 is the new 40. Whatever. It’s only a number. Many, many happy returns of the day!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Sunday, 7 February 2010 11:40 am

      Thanks so much! I think that women really do get better with age…and looking forward to the big 4-0!

  2. BossGiraffe permalink
    Thursday, 4 February 2010 10:45 pm

    Pooh! Pooh! Pooh!

    On the wall of my study hangs a S’micha certificate that attests to the fact that I have studied Torah and Chochmat Yisrael (that means Wissenschaft des Judentums to the uninitiated). From Wissenschaft, I was taught to approach matters Jewish from a rational perspective. It must have been in the Torah Dept. that I learned, “Al tiftach peh l’satan!”

    Ad meah v’esrim!!!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Sunday, 7 February 2010 11:41 am

      Yeah…a nice phrase, but I am really starting to rethink my position on this.

  3. Friday, 5 February 2010 2:10 pm

    I really enjoyed this post. Is there a place where I can find Hebrew words based on their numerical equivalents?

    Also, you’ve somehow linked Mazon to Wikipedia’s entry on Thirtysomething. I think that was unintentional, but since this is your last year being Thirtysomething, I can’t tell. Anyway, glad you met and exceeded your bday goal.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Sunday, 7 February 2010 11:46 am

      I’ll have to take a look at that link…

      I’m sure that there is a site, but I looked it up the old-fashioned way. In a gematria dictionary.

  4. Sunday, 7 February 2010 10:44 am

    I forgot that you were only 2 weeks older than me! Thanks for the pick me up. I could have told you that 39 means exhausted! Now, that was very funny…

    Happy belated birthday! I’m glad you had a nice day with your grandmother.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Sunday, 7 February 2010 11:46 am

      Thanks…and I hope that you have a great birthday too!!!!

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