Sunday, 28 February 2010

glyn richards obituary leeds university - Google Search

I decided to put this here on this blog because it took me so long to find the link and I thought the obit had been taken down.

It is approaching the 6th anniversary since Glyn died and I wanted it here to mark the passing.
Losing Mum just brought back the other losses in my life and sometimes it can feel overwhelming. Everything feels transient and its hard to know what is and what is not important.

But keeping track of this IS.

glyn richards obituary leeds university - Google Search: ""

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Been fishing on Facebook

I have found people online! I have found my cousin Annie who is now a grandma, and also Roland Rance who lived in the house Glyn and I lived in when we first "ran away" to London. There were three couples; Annie and Brian (who married and divorced ), Roland and Tammi (who also got divorced) and Glyn and me, the only couple at the time to have a "mixed" marriage, and whose marriage lasted through many thicks and thins for 29 years. I think our secret was that we were such good friends. It pulled us through what should and would have been catastrophic for other couples.

I am not sure why I am looking. I should write what I remember, how I remember it, and that should be enough. But, if there is anything I have forgotten, if there is anyone who can shed some light in dark corners, maybe it is important to look after all.

I don;t know. Maybe it will lead to more hurt and I don't know if I can handle much more this year.

We go to Leeds tomorrow. I hope the weather is ok - snow on the way again. Yet again. We are going to eat with Judy Plaut tomorrow evening, and then Rabbi Morris has offered to say Kaddish for my mother on Saturday and I shall take him up on that offer, and we are seeing him next Tuesday. I don;t know what good it will do but I am so annoyed with my brother in law. I can;t even begin to say what effect his behaviour has had on me. It has made me depressed and bitter in a way I haven't been in a long time.

I need to go and get some photos off my camera so that I can blog them.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010


Yet another sleepless night.
The lights go off, and my brain starts whirling.
I think of all the things I would dearly like to say to so many people.
I write letters in my head that I will never send.
I invent scenarios that will never play out.
I write letters to papers, write introductions to books, all in my head.

Then come the day, I am paralysed and can get nothing down. I do not understand this at all, and am wondering whether I need to go and talk to a counsellor about this strange phase I am going through.

I am dreading seeing Cris.
I am hoping the visit with Abigail goes well.
I don't know how I will feel when she gets married in April and I am not with her.
I do know how I will feel.

I want to go to a bead show.
I don;t want to go as I have too many beads.
I want to go to the craft show in Birmingham.
I don;t want to go as I have enough stuff and need to use it.
I want to go on a course.
I don;t want to go on a course because I don;t want the hassle of it.

I am in such a muddle at the moment.
J says I am agaraphobic and sociophobic. I probably am. I can;t seem to get anywhere on my own. I hadn;t noticed my world gradually shrinking. I walk Martha locally even if I have the car. In Leeds I can get to Moortown, but haven;t been into Leeds centre on my own yet. I went to Amsterdam and didn;t manage to get anywhere on my own last time.
What has happened to me? And why? And when? I didn't even notice it happening again. It was probably the result of my back injury two years ago and the subsequent debacle at the Pain Management Programme at the Walton Centre which I also want to write about.

I feel ill in myself. For years I have dealt with the neuropathy in my hand as it being just a pain in my hand. But somedays its like a river of fire down my arm with pins and needles in the rest of my body. I can;t just say its my hand anymore.

I feel my age at last.

I don;t think I am nice to live with. I am not loving enough.

I just don;t do enough, achieve enough, Brenda would be horrified at the state of this house.
All the kitchen cupboards need cleaning and washing out and sorting.
All the curtains need to come down this summer to be cleaned.
All the windows and sills need painting and cleaning.
The bathroom needs sorting - there is mould on the grout and I don't know how to get rid of it.
The dressing room is a mess and I need to sort it out.

The downstairs front room is ....well I can;t do anything about that. I peer through other windows of other homes, and long for something similar but it won;t work for J and me.

The scullery needs tidying - I do it so often and it just runs away so quickly, with stuff waiting to go for recycling or to the shed. It has become the dumping ground. And there is damp on the walls, that is surely behind the kitchen cupboards in the kitchen as well that needs attention.

I am overfaced. This house is too big, too far gone, it has escaped and I can't begin to get it back. I spent three hours doing housework yesterday - the porch, the hall, the kitchen, and there was nothing - nothing at all - to show for my having done it.

And I go to bed, and turn the light off and I start writing letters again. To people I know. People I don;t know. Conversations I should have/could have/might have had. I wonder about my sister and her husband. I wonder about my brother Yossi Babad and his wife Sara Babad!!  Funny there should be another Sara Babad. (I now have a new blog BabadHolderblog to order things).

I wonder what my sister Hannah Babad thinks......

or my brother Dovid Babad.

I wonder about whether they think I have abandoned them and then remember I sent a text and got back a message with two words on it - thank you - and that has been that for over a fortnight. And no reply from a message to Yossi.

I am just full of loss and pain and it is my own fault. It is of my own making.

I went looking after I left and I should have left well alone. I left because of family issues and they are still there. I could never ever live as an Orthodox Jew. I could never live as an orthodox Jewish woman with all the prejudice that remains against women. I don;t believe in the bible as sent down by heaven via a man named Moses and I don;t believe in the God that they set before me who needs animal sacrifices as a way of our proving our devotion to him!!
I should not have gone looking.

I must begin to write my memoir or I will go mad.
J says if I write the first three chapters and a synopsis he will help me find someone to publish it. I am going to set myself a deadline as I think it is the only way to do this.
I want the draft finished by the end of the March.
The rewrite done by the end of April.
The synopsis and photo etc by May. So my anniversary present to us will be something ready to go out into the world.

Maybe - just maybe - that will get me moving.


I am going to hurt a lot of people if this gets published. But then again,  why not? Why not show the community/cult for what it is - hypocritical under the warm friendly exterior. Its nice - but you step out of line and you are OUT. Forever it seems.

Nevertheless - there is a period of time between then and now for my family to get in touch, to start a healing process and if they do, then maybe I will leave things.
But if I don;t then there will be a book and it will be unpleasant and I will make more enemies.
Do I need them?
Could I live in Leeds if I wrote what I want to write?

I don;t know if I am brave enough. Maybe that is what is stopping me. In fact - it probably is. I am prevaricating, hoping that something or someone will persuade me that they weren't so bad, that childhood wasn;t so bad, that there is redemption. I am hoping. I am giving them a window of opportunity.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Visit to Llangollen

The sun was out today so we drove into Wales and visited the little town of Llangollen. It always offers more than it provides somehow, and today Thomas Tank Engine was in town so the place was full of children and their parents making it busier than ever.

Nevertheless it was a good afternoon. The hills around were covered in powdery snow, making the world beautiful without any danger as the roads were clear. I had a look in a couple of little craft shops, watched Martha running around looking like a mad March hare rather than a dog. She amused everyone who watched her chasing her tail around the little park by the river, rushing up and down the mill race as if possessed. We drove home via the Horseshoe Pass, stopping to admire the view from the top, and making a detour via Hawarden because I had mentioned a wish I have to go into retreat and there is a library there offering scholars the chance to research and write without having to look after things like washing and cooking. Oh, if only.....

Then we walked along the prom and Liverpool glittered across the Mersey. I said to Joseph that I had expected to spend a lot of time visiting the city and getting to know it, but that I had lost confidence. And I know I have done so. There has just been a catalogue of nastiness over the past few years and I am beginning to lose heart. Apart from anything else, I feel a sense of agaraphobia when I am away from familiar surroundings and that is truly dispiriting. I fear pushing into places that are dangerous or into groups who are unfriendly, and my experience lately is that my fears are justified. I tried to explain this to Joseph - it isn't a matter of being shown round, or being taken to different places, its just a need to be safe within a familiar space and within that I am content.

I need to be with Joseph to go out and that frustrates me so much. I need to regain my independence and my strength and my confidence.

The question is - how?

I have had a lot of online support from people. Someone from the Reform Shul in Leeds who also has a bookshop in Headingley (this we must have a look at!), Jane, David, Orysia, a Rabbi Shoshana, my cousin Sidney (a true happenstance getting back in touch with him at my mother's funeral meal when he phoned from Canada and I managed to persuade my sister to give me the phone to speak to him). Nobody at all here in Wallasey has put a foot over the doorstep. Nobody. Not Joseph's mother, not his sister, I haven;t had a call from Hilarie, I haven;t had a card from anyone, and I am totally alone in this town apart from Joseph. I don;t mind living here, but I won;t care when we leave. I have no wish to be here anymore. I have tried to love it, but since I finished the Pain Mismanagement Programme at Walton Hospital, I have had little contact with anyone. The friends I made disappeared. The person I was began to dissolve and only began to reappear a little when we bought the flat in Leeds.

I love living on this coast. I love being able to see Snowdonia. I love sunsets here. But I am so alone in this town. I have never felt so bitterly lonely, apart from the months after Glyn died. I cannot believe that nobody has sent me a card, made a call (other than Christine at Joseph's instruction) or anything else. I know that if I behave like this if Christine and Hilarie lose their mum, god forbid, then I will be the devil incarnate. But its ok in their world, because I don't really count for anything. The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating.

I haven't heard anything from my son since I told him that he couldn't come to stay with me for six weeks and challenged him about his bank statement. It is up to him. I can;t carry on carrying his financial burden through the rest of our lives. He puts all our future plans at risk if he can;t get his act together and keeps expecting me to pay for him. I can;t do anymore. That has to be over.

I have lots more to write but I need to download some photos and get them up to date. I saw a huge drift of snowdrops today, and four yellow crocuses that had battled into the sunshine. And Joseph and I managed to have a cuppa out of doors for the first time this year which was lovely. There is blossom coming on the trees, and the daffodils are struggling out but there is still sleet and snow, and today a flood has decimated Maderia in Portugal. The weather has been so strange this year, and then to add to it all, the huge catastrophe of Haiti and its earthquake.

Meanwhile in the papers - lots about the assassination of a Hamas leader by Mossad. They are running very close to the wind. Zionism is becoming a danger to European Jewry and it should take responsibility for Jewish safety in the Diaspora.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

My mother's death

My mother passed away on Sunday 7th March.

Joseph and I were over in Leeds and had been out for the afternoon - the day was filthy, grey, cold, wet, and I felt a general malaise come over me. I thought that if I were to get a phone call to say Mum had passed away I would not be surprised.

We had just got back to the flat when the phone went and it was my sister in law ringing to tell me that Mum had died. She had been taken into hospital, not her usual hospital and for once without my sister in attendance, and she died when there. They did try to resuciate her - 86 years old, mute, and fed solely through a tube into her stomach! - but thankfully for her sake they did not succeed this time and she was allowed to go to her maker. Peace at last.

I did not know what to do. Whether to go and see my father or whether to stay in Leeds. I had not met my brothers or my brother in law, but nevertheless Joseph and I went over to Manchester to see my father. I was glad we went. There was nobody to sit with him, and hold his hands whilst he cried. Once the heavy mob (the Charedis) arrived, I began to feel uncomfortable. Nevertheless Joseph and I agreed to go and sit with Dad whilst the funeral was held in Leeds the following morning and so we arrived home at about midnight and set off back to Manchester at 8.15 in the snow and got to Dad's house for about 11.

Mum's coffin arrived at around midday. A tribe of bearded men arrived to speak over Mum's coffin then it began its journey back over the Pennines and I stayed with Dad along with my sister in law, Sara Babad (my maiden name ironically!) - who I thought - thought - was friendly. Then the men and my sister arrived back and we took Dad to my sister in laws house. We were obviously in the way although I didn;t pick up any bad vibes and neither did Joseph. My brother Yossi Babad was there as was my brother David, and all Yossi's lovely children. I was pleased to at least have seen them - even once in my life.

On Tuesday I had a phone call from my brother in law Jonathon Miller. He said and this is what he said exacly:
"I have been asked to tell you three things. One, can you see your father tomorrow, two, we would prefer it if you didn;t go to your brother;s house for shiva (the jewish mourning) as their feelings are too intense (intense??) and three, can you go and see your father next week." I put the phone down on him.

Joseph rang him back and gave him a piece of his mind. We were going back across the Pennines on the Wednesday so we did go and see my father. Miller was there and I asked for a word with him. He started to back out of the kitchen saying he was busy and then lost his temper and said he didnt want to talk to me as it wasn;t the time or place so I followed him out and told him what I thought of him and left him talking to himself. He was agressive rude and started pointing and stabbing his finger at me and I wonder what he is like as a headmaster or teacher. And I hate the idea that he is a member of the school that tells other Jews who is and isn;t a kosher enough Jew to have a child at the JFS.

I haven;t heard from anyone since and I really do not want to get in touch with any of my so called family member ever again as they are just trouble to my emotions. I have felt ill since. Can't get a grip on anything at all. And I just feel worthless which isn;t true. I think I will make a start on writing my memoirs and I have held back on writing and getting them published for fear of hurting members of my family. If I had told the police about my childhood, my dad would have had the other kids taken away, and he would never have seen his grandchildren. Now I wish I had told. I wish I had had my day in court and destroyed the whole lot of them.

I wanted to mourn my mother. To mourn the years I lost with her. To mourn the loss of the grandmother to my children. To mourn the fact she didn;t really take care of me as a child. But instead the grief has been turned to anger and that isn;t fair.

I wish I could turn the clock back. I would just not have bothered finding my mum and dad. I could have wondered but wouldn;t have been so hurt. I just don;t know what to do now.

I need to grieve. I need to do the mourning. And I need some quiet and peace and allow time to just sort it all out.

I don;t know what else to write about this. I feel so old. I never felt my age until this year. I feel all of 58 now and time is slipping by.

Thursday, 4 February 2010


A couple of weeks ago, when we were at a Reform Synagogue service, I noticed an advert for an event that was intended to deal with some of the issues raised by so called mixed marriages - ie of different faiths. Glyn always said that our mixed marriage was a mixed sex marriage!

I am not sure what I thought I would find, or how being in such a huge roomful of people with so many viewpoints would make me feel but almost as soon as the event began I felt uneasy, disorientated, wondering why I had chosen to attend. Yes I married out of faith, but I did so many years ago, knowing why I was doing so, and never having the right to tell anyone why I made the decisions I made. Yes, of course, love was part of it, but so were so many other things that had happened in my childhood years, and they, of course, will remain buried in my heart unless I ever write the memoir I want to write.

I doubt I have the ability to write it, but that is another posting.

There were all sorts of people there. A man who was on his way to becoming Jewish - his father is a vicar and his wife C of E and who just felt a pull towards Jewish life. A man whose wife passed away last year - she was Jewish and so are her children, and they attended the Reform Synagogue and he was very welcome there. But at his wife's funeral, he was, as a non Jew, unable to say the mourners prayer or take part as others in the congretation would have done, in the service. He seemed quite comfortable with that - I would have been angry but he found it all very comfortable and comforting. I didn;t see how he could. Maybe that speaks about my condition rather than his condition!

Then there was a beautiful woman who had been married to a prominent member of the Jewish community but who had left him for a non Jewish man, and who was having problems adjusting, more, I think, to her loss of status, than her loss of religion. She blamed the religion and her poor partner just wanted, in his words, to wake up Jewish and be accepted. She was even uneasy about the fact her son had a non Jewish girlfriend. I couldn;t believe what I see as her hypocricy and I felt incredibly sorry for her partner. I could easily imagine them split up by now - and it is only Wednesday evening after all.

I don't really know what I expected from the afternoon but my overall feeling was that - yes, ok, as Jews, we live in a non Jewish society and all the experiences, all the influences are taken from that world and we have to work harder to preserve some sense of Jewish identity. So far so good. But then the whole thing began to come unstuck for me. It seemed that in every case it was the Jewish family/community/partner who was making life difficult, and that for most people where there was a problem, it could only be solved by the non Jewish partner making sacrifices for the Jewish partner.

And therein lies the rub. It is always going to be that way because we are "chosen." My father once sent me a cutting from the Jewish Chronicle - it arrived in an envelope with nothing else in it, just a cutting with the heading "We aren't racist - we're just different." It went on about the awful lives that people in mixed marriages led, the problems bringing the children up, the problems when they started interdating (interdating??) and so on and so forth. And then - the usual emotional blackmail. "And what have parents done for their children to cause them so much aggravation?" I so wish I still had the article. I kept it safe for years. It gave me a lot of pleasure when I read it and a lot of laughter. It might have been meant seriously, but quite honestly, one man's "difference" is another man's "racism."

I was approached by someone who knew of my background and who said he would try and get me in touch with other people who had escaped from extremist households. I wonder if he will manage to do so - the offer was kind though. He mentioned an organisation in the US who helps kids get out and that led me to a blog that I found horribly fascinating and it is

Some of the stories I read were nbelievable. I had no idea that the ultra right Orthodoxy had become so Talibanised. I actually felt ashamed.

And I do feel ashamed. If a non Jew wants to become involved in such an exluding and punitive religion - then they should be honoured and not be made to feel an outsider. I do not know what the answers to these questions are. There is apparently a marker genetically that identifies Jews   - information  here.

So ;

Are we a race or a religion? And does it matter. I don't even know if I believe in God. So what does that make me???

The meeting was held in the Masonic Lodge in Leeds - an interesting building built in the 1930s (? I need to verify this) but looked like a Georgian mansion.

After the meeting we went to eat at a kosher resteraunt with D and A and Jane. The food was - well, it was plentiful. The starters were as big as main courses in most normal restaurants!! But it was good and very enjoyable. And it was very very good to be with true friends.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Back in Leeds......

We arrived back at our little flat in Leeds on Thursday evening - very late. It didn't take long to unpack all the stuff I had brought (its always my stuff!) and settle into the place, and get it feeling warm and homely. I always worry though about leaving home in Wallasey - it feels as though I am abandoning it, and then when I go from here I feel as though I am abandoning this place. Presumably at some point the novelty of having two places will become the norm - that is if there aren;t staff cuts where J works. He seems to feel his job is safe enough. I don't know. It might be that the part time staff are more vulnerable than full time staff where jobs are concerned, because employers can pile work onto fulltimers that they can't onto part time staff. We shall see. I think there has been a high degree of natural wasteage in his department, so I will keep my fingers crossed for the meantime.

The past two or three weeks have been difficult. I think I might buy a lamp to use against SADS. Abs and Eric have bought one and it appears to be working - she is remarkably cheerful and upbeat and if it works for her maybe it will work for me. I had a long weekend last week - full of pain and just a down time. Neuropathic pain takes no prisoners and when it gets really bad there is nowhere to hide from it. The weather had been terrible, the conditions on the pavements and roads ridiculously dangerous so I stayed in the house. I decided that it was better to be safe than sorry - if I were to damage my left hand, how, with the neuropathy in it, could I have it repaired? I would not be able to tolerate surgery or even a plaster cast. The thought made me quite sick and so I decided that I would just stay in until it was really safe enough to walk out again.

Anyway - onto more cheerful things.

On Friday we went shopping locally and stocked up on fresh food, took Martha for a run on the playing fields at Roundhay Park and had a quiet day. On Saturday I went to the meeting of the Yorkshire Embroiderers Guild and was made very welcome there - I was even recognised by someone who remembered me from 20 years ago when I did a couple of years of city and guilds....that is some memory, or I made some impression! The talk was given by a woman who has written about and teaches courses on fabric decoration. I had done some of the techniques she described  and immediately wanted to go and buy some more velvet and get my procion dyes out and have a dyeing day! More "stuff."

I really have to call time on buying things to make and do and just make and do instead. I think its a form of procrastination really.

I enjoyed the meeting - it felt - maybe wrongly - as though it was not full of cliques and as though one would be a welcome addition to the group. It has shrunk though. I remember a big hall full of women. This was a smallish room. I guess the attempted move north has taken its toll of Guild membership.

I need to get some stitching done for the Wirral Group. We have been given squares to interpret and then Erica will put them together to make a picture. Mine is all brown with gold bits, so I have some brown fabric, organza, some gold threads and beads, and some brown velvet. That should be enough for something about 3" square I think.