Busted Halo
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Monica Rozenfeld :
64 article(s)

December 27th, 2011

It’s been an exhausting 16 months, to say the least. No one told me it would be this hard to go back to school. I actually thought it would be more party and fun and less heartache and headache. Many times I said I would quit. Thankfully, my closest friends and supporters rooted me along until just a week ago (phew!) I graduated.
It was in the New York Times Center where, with my mom, roommates, and my closest 90 friends graduating alongside me, I finished the marathon. It reminded me of that hilarious sign (see below) during the New York City Marathon that read, “No one made you do this.” That’s how I felt. That I finished something based purely on passion and a will to pursue a goal. No one made me do it.


October 25th, 2011


Annie was so kind to take me to see a documentary last night called Mister Rogers and Me. The premise was about these two filmmakers, Chris and Ben Wagner, who actually were neighbors with Fred Rogers, the “Won’t you be my neighbor” man himself. What the filmmakers wanted the world to know is that the person on camera was the same person off camera.
The film could have been a quick look through the life of the man’s career on and off the 40-year run show, but instead was an 80-minute life lesson that I hope to take with me as I go through my own life.  Here are the lessons that stuck with me the most and that I want to share with you:
1. TV can be a congregation…
Nothing is good and nothing is bad in itself. It’s

October 19th, 2011

For five years, Gilad Shalit was held captive by Hamas for fighting for his country, Israel. After the global fight to get him back – the art work, the protests, the diplomacy and the hundreds of Facebook users who put his photo as theirs, he returns home. This week is the celebration of Sukkot, a holiday we celebrate our good harvest. And for an exchange of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, Israel got their harvest as one soldier returns.
Yesterday, I saw a performance by the soulful singer India Arie together with Idan Raichel, the Justin Timberlake of Israel (only a very different kind of music). Together they performed songs in Hebrew, sang one another’s lyrics and celebrated for a brief moment the return of Shalit.…

September 26th, 2011

Tekiah Shevarim Teruah…
It was a Saturday morning in New York City, in a class taught by Rebbetzin Harris, that the meaning of Rosh Hashanah became so extraordinary to me. I always remembered Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, as a holiday that my Russian Jewish family celebrated with a sense of patriotism, if one could have patriotism for a religion. The cognac and the dancing till the wee hours of the night contributed to the joy of this day. But that’s how us Russian Jews do it. Ignore the shrimp and lobster on the table or the dirty Russian jokes and Rosh Hashanah was, and will always be, a very special day in our family and in our hearts, even if we don’t know what it is we’re celebrating.
In Judaism, Rosh Hashanah

August 5th, 2011

My very good friend Marina, who I plan to conquer the world with, added me to a “Personal Development” Facebook group. Anyone who is in a Facebook group already knows that those messages are a nightmare, inundation to the max. However, the other night I thought I’d catch up on all my missed messaged and (without surprise) knew Marina added me for a reason.
Sometimes matters of life are common sense. Most of the time, we need to be reminded of such matters. I wanted to share some of what I learned by catching up on the conversations in this group that would be helpful for all mankind, no matter the religion. I encourage others to join too.
1. Write thank you cards…
This is the single-most, best thing you can do to tell people

June 16th, 2011

At what age are we supposed to receive everything we’ve ever dreamt of? Not 25 — I’ll tell you that. But for some reason, many of us at this age feel like we are supposed to be at a certain place in life. For many of us, we are gravely disappointed when 26 shows up.

If you haven’t heard, Oprah is no longer on the air 4 p.m. EST on ABC. Her 25 years came to an end the same time mine did. I would be lying to say I didn’t cry during her last episode…

April 27th, 2011

It was as if it never was here. When one is in graduate school, the most important thing is a break, a vacation – Disney World. Annie and I up and went last minute to the land of dreams, miracles and fairytales; a land where Passover almost doesn’t exist.
I didn’t even think about it.
You might remember another time when I wouldn’t have considered missing Passover. I would be the one in the family to make sure we get to shul, to be upset if my family was not getting together, to seek out seder meals. But I don’t feel that way anymore. After this trip, however, I wonder if I’ve become altogether dismissive of the power of a Jewish holiday.

It was a bit ironic that on the third day of Passover, four days before Easter,…

March 23rd, 2011

What would you do with your millions of dollars? Give it away? Move into a mobile home? Make a documentary?

This past weekend I was inspired, to say the least, by two media productions. The first is Secret Millionaire on ABC. Have you seen it? The show’s premise is to embed a millionaire in an impoverished community to secretly seek out local heroes. Sounds kitchy, but I cried at least four times. When unassuming individuals, who work with little to no resources to help their community, were rewarded (with money) at the end of the show, they were brought to tears. It didn’t seem to matter if they were given pennies or a check for tens of thousands. They were just so happy that someone acknowledged them and that someone cared.

This show made me want to be a millionaire simply so that I can go around and reward deserving people, too. And if I had that money, that’s what I believe I would do.

That’s what Tom Shadyac did. In a different kind of way. You might be familiar with his films Ace Ventura and The Nutty Professor. But his humor fell short when a disease led him to a depression. He began to ask the questions: What is the purpose of life? What is wrong with this world? And what can we do about it?

He set out to create a documentary called I AM. I can’t even begin to describe the enormous lessons learned in this film. I mean, really. You MUST see this for yourself. It will change how you think. The even cooler thing is how it sets forth a very convincing case that science is still catching up to religion and spirituality.

February 20th, 2011

You haven’t heard from me in a little while. Miss me? School started just a few weeks ago and I’m already in the deep end of reporting. One of my first stories back was on refugees from the country of Bhutan.
Bhutan is this tiny nation nestled in South Asia, a country made up entirely of Buddhists. I was fooled once to believe it is a euphoric territory on earth, but soon learned that the nation had exiled more than 100,000 Nepali people from its land simply because they were Hindu. To add irony to the equation, the nation of Bhutan claims to measure its country on a metrics of “Happiness,” an emotion engrained into their public policy. How then do Buddhists, who claim such perfection, exile a people on religious…

January 22nd, 2011

This past week I took a trip away from the apartment to Atlantic City, a place that survives solely on believers. With more than a dozen casino resorts, hundreds of blackjack tables and thousands of slot machines, it is only a miracle to find the one that will make you win big. Yet, despite two free rooms and comped dinners, the casino still asks for me and my mom to visit because they know we will pay our stay with little red and green chips.
Bright lights and the sound of quarters trickling from machines made for family vacations growing up. My mom and aunt had good luck often times — $300 one trip, $1,000 another trip. I took some of that luck with me when I started to play at 21, no longer watching mom outside the casino…

January 11th, 2011

So, recently, I’ve been trying out this new thing called bubble baths which I hear are great for relaxation. I make a warm bath, get in, and read a good book for about a half hour or so. For the past week, during these baths, I’ve been rereading Eat, Pray, Love… (which I had forgotten how G-d heavy the book is). And here it was, after all this time of not praying, author Elizabeth Gilbert reminding me how to begin.
If you’ve never read her book, you must. It’s all about leaving behind the things that do not fulfill us (in her case, her marriage) to discover the things in life that do. And at her lowest points, when she did not know what to do, Elizabeth would cry on her bathroom floor to G-d and He would say to her, “Go back

December 21st, 2010

It’s been an interesting, beautiful, difficult kind of year. The year 2010 has brought some unexpected changes in my life – and no matter how wonderful or heartbreaking – Judaism teaches us that “this is for good, too.”
If you’ve followed my blog Rendezvous with G-d, and now Girls Meet G-d, you will know that I have had a lot of questions over the year. Whether it be about faith or boys, about direction or family, I always ask if religion has anything to say about it. Moving in with two awesome girls this August, I’ve kind of “settled” into my own with an apartment I love, and a graduate program that pushes my potential day in and day out.
And as that program got my stress level to an all-time high, Hanukkah…

November 27th, 2010

Thanksgiving is over and Black Friday is coming to an end. Everyone is finishing their leftovers and enjoying family time before Monday calls us back to work again. Some of us took pleasure in our lot and will now carry on as usual. Others took time to write a Gratitude List, as Busted Halo columnist Phil Fox Rose suggests. I was not one of those people.  There was something else I needed to do first.
The loveliest thing about being home is the comfort of my own space. After the festivities and the shopping were over, I sunk myself into a warm bath where I always bring a notebook and write in a stream of consciousness.  Only last night, my stream of consciousness wrote me a “forgiveness list” instead and it kept writing…

November 22nd, 2010

How much pain does it take to feel G-d? The people of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, worry about their kids and gangs, about drugs and homicide. They have the projects and they have their churches. But mostly, they have G-d.
The residents in this neighborhood hold more collective faith than any one community. You can just feel it. Every night, the churches host something for the community – anything – from youth programs to keep kids off the streets, to housing and foreclosure help to free HIV testing.

The residents here speak in gospel, and laugh with you like you are their good friend. I am a white, Jewish girl who spends a lot of time in this neighborhood on assignment as a writer. It blows my mind how much…

November 10th, 2010

Journalism school really makes me want to spend all my spare time reading and watching films. There is a difference in watching a documentary, for example, and then watching it through the lens of how it was made.
Friday, Carmel, who is the Muslim voice of reason at Busted Halo, and I went to see a film called A Jihad for Love, a documentary on gay Muslims. The filmmaker spent five and a half years on the film, traveling to 12 countries to get a wide range of stories. One lesbian Muslim he filmed took him two years to have her open up on camera. When the question was asked of the director, “What made you do this film?” he replied, “Well, I’m gay and I’m Muslim.”
In class, we are assigned to make two-minute video stories.…

October 30th, 2010

This week I locked myself out of my apartment. I locked myself out and immediately went on survival mode. I slipped through a fence, climbed over a tree, up a fire escape only to find myself teased by the slightly open window behind unyielding locked bars. I rang the doorbells of the other two apartments consistently with no luck. I convinced the mailman to at least let me in the building. And then I sat on the stairs and thought, and thought hard.

To my luck, the girl who lives upstairs was home sick and let me in to make calls and emails. All I had in my possession were car keys — no license, no money, no phone. I was starving without a dollar in my pocket. Instead of eating leftovers, I roamed around town, waiting for my…

October 28th, 2010

So just a few days ago I posted on how I’ve been feeling a bit, well, unsatisfied. These moments of dissatisfaction just peek up out of nowhere, usually when I see someone with more than me, and I cringe at the thought that this is the type of person I am. More embarrassing to admit is that I just wrote a story on a women’s homeless shelter, and am working on another story on crime and abuse, and yet don’t feel any more grateful in my life than I feel unsatisfied by seeing the other side.
This is completely unhealthy. I know this for a fact.
A few weeks earlier I picked up a book called The Art of Possibility from my (ex) boyfriend’s, and decided maybe today would be a good day to read it. I know that I should be making some…

October 25th, 2010

I’m about to say something that may shock everyone. I am hardly ever satisfied. When I think I am, I soon after am no longer. It’s a disease that has hit 3 of every 4 Americans (statistic made up).
I’m not going to lie. It’s difficult for me when close friends and family are on the side of the haves, and I instead am debating if I should sell my car just to make $3,000. It can be difficult to see them move into expensive apartments and homes, pay for fancy dinners and buy whatever it is they’d like. These are people, after all, who were for a very long time on the same playing field as I was. Could I be there too? I suppose I could. But I’m not.
After hearing about my friend’s raise or after seeing my cousin’s stunning…

October 11th, 2010

I met a man this weekend at the Fort Greene Flea Market who explained everything to me, everything.
“With vintage, there is an imperfection,” he said. “They want the mirror that has a scar.”
In his retro sunglasses and what appeared to be fisherman suit, he told me the Chinese proverb: You’re not a human being until you take care of another human being.
He said this very much applies to people who take care of things too; people who want to preserve a certain quality to the items they possess, who hold onto the intrinsic value of that object. This man sells what he calls “objects of the past” and asks “What’s the fascination with new?”
So isn’t that why we’re here at Busted Halo? Aren’t we looking…

September 25th, 2010

Is it ironic that the most Jewish thing I do is contribute to a Catholic website? I once did a lot more. I worked Jewish, I freelanced Jewish, my entire social life was pretty much Jewish. Not so much the case this year, and I’m kind of relieved.
Some of you who have read my blog in the past know I went on this sort of religious rollercoaster. From not growing up religious at all, to wanting to marry a rabbi and wear long skirts, I pretty much tested the waters wherever I could. And then a funny thing happened, I went back to exactly how I always was and who I always wanted to be, and couldn’t be happier.
In journalism school, where I am now, we don’t exactly get to go home early on Friday to prepare for Shabbat, or take off for…

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