Thursday, March 15, 2012

Analysis of Hemy Neuman Trial

On November 18, 2010, I saw on Facebook expressing grief over the death of Rusty Sneiderman. I read the posts for a few days, completely in denial that I had known Rusty when I was 18 years old. We went on a double date my freshman year of college.

After hanging out with him and his friend a couple of times, I never really talked to him, beyond a brief wave or a hello. I remember him dating Andrea and seeing them together at parties.

But that was a long time ago. I am not friends with either Rusty (may he rest in peace) or Andrea, however I have been following the coverage of his murder.

He seemed like a good guy and from the press everyone really loved him.  They have two young children. The entire case is extremely tragic.

Rusty was killed by Andrea’s boss, who she was having some sort of relationship with. This was found to be true after a man hunt by police to see who would have shot point blank a father right after he dropped his child off at daycare.

Currently the assassin, Hemy Neuman’s fate is in a jury’s hands.  He admits to the murder but claims he was insane.

Although Hemy is on trial, you would think by what happened in the courtroom and malicious Facebook posts and tweets that Andrea was being prosecuted.

Now let me make one thing clear. If Andrea had anything to do with her husband’s death, she should spend the rest of her life rotting in jail.

However, currently she is not indicted, yet both the prosecutor and the defense have insinuated that she has blood on her hands.

This method has been distasteful or possibly slanderous. There is also some degree of sexism. She was criticized by her reaction to her husband’s murder. I guess because she wasn’t a sobbing woman, she must have murdered her husband. Ridiculous. People have all sorts of reactions to tragedies. There’s no right way to respond. She was not a damsel in distress, but it doesn't mean she wasn’t devastated.

She is also being portrayed as the “black widow.” True, she won’t admit to the affair, although she does concede that parts of their relationship were inappropriate.  Even just the imagery of a “black widow” is to add a fantastic element to the argument.

Another issue is when Andrea took the stand, she was a bit combative. This was also deemed to be abnormal behavior by the press and the public. Just because she’s a woman, does she have to sit on the stand like a wallflower and sob? Why is that so?

I also think that this entire strategy for the prosecution and defense of scapegoating Andrea could backfire. It might be difficult to convict Hemy if it’s unclear who was responsible for the murder.

 Like I said before, I don’t know Andrea. But the coverage of this case and the lawyers’ tactics to scapegoat her has been melodramatic and a mockery of the justice system.
And if they know that she was involved, she should be charged with a crime, not be given the Scarlet Letter treatment.

No one knows what goes on in a marriage besides the couple. Being judgmental of her relationship is just unfair when we don’t have the entire picture. It sounds like she got involved with a psycho while she was married who ended up killing her husband, who was beloved by many.

While her behavior is morally problematic, it doesn't mean that she killed her husband, and if she didn’t kill her husband, the portrayal of her as a manipulative collaborator is terribly unfair.   
My deepest condolences to Rusty’s family and friends. I hope the verdict will bring you some sense of closure. May Rusty’s memory be for a blessing

Marriage Advice

It is exactly a week before my wedding. 

Tomorrow I leave for Israel with my fiance, dress in hand awaiting the big day to celebrate with friends and family from the U.S. (who I am eternally grateful to for shlepping to Israel) and Israel.

Today was my last day of work until March 26, so I should be focused on the wedding. I should be excited. I should be happy.

So I take my emotional temperature (I hope that doesn’t make me a sociopath,) and I’m definitely happy, perhaps the happiest I’ve ever been.  I won the lottery in husbands to be, and we’re pretty much as perfect as possible for each other.

But a question that everyone is asking me is sort of freaking me out,

“Are you excited?’

So I lie, and say “yes” because I mean I think I am excited. But I just don’t really know what that feels like. I know what anxiety feels like. I know what fun feels like. But I have trouble with “excited.”

It reminds me of that poster that they have in Hebrew (and I’m sure in every other language) “How are you feeling today?” I spend less time learning the words than wondering what the hell the smiley faces are supposed to be expressing.

I may have trouble with excitement, but I have no trouble with love. I feel so lucky and blessed to have found love. I am thankful every day. 

So as I was packing, and trying to figure out how to seem more excited, I was also thinking of how many books to bring (can’t bring myself to go digital). Then I thought, maybe I should not be reading just any old book, but something to prepare myself for my upcoming marriage.

I thought about friends who pray and/or read psalms. But they just don’t (sorry to whomever I’m offending) inspire me, although some of the poetry is beautiful..

So I thought about turning to eastern religions, and reading marriage meditations or quotes by famous authors on love. But that also didn’t appeal to me.

So I still don’t have an answer for how exactly I should prepare for holy matrimony. I am going to a mikvah, a ritual bath, but because it is mandatory in Israel (will be written about later), I’m not sure how inspiring that will be, either (although I’ll keep a semi-open mind).

But then I had a thought to look atthe advice that friends and readers gave me a few months ago when I got engaged in the hopes that I would indeed write an article such as this one (and get some good advice).

A ton of people said, don’t go to bed angry. As an insomniac, I just need to go to bed in general, but ok, I can do that one.

Below are the quotes I really liked, not because I necessarily agree with them (although I actually have no clue if I agree with them), but because they were really heartfelt.  I tried to categorize them and was not able to include everyone’s advice (but I do appreciate it!) Also, if you didn't get the chance to comment last time, please feel free to do so now. 

Marriage comes First

I don't think there is anything you can do to guarantee happiness during marriage, but one important thing is understanding that when you get married your new family of choice should take precedence over your family of origin. Not that you shouldn't care about your birth family, but your priority should always be your new unit.
Age 36 married 4.5 years

Always put each other first. – age 29, married 1.5

Always try to make time for just the two of you. Once you have a family it becomes more difficult but it's important to have some time to yourselves
. Age 30 4.5 years

Oh, and say "I love you" and mean it every day!
Age 57, married 27 years

Love the person for who he/she is and will be

Accept your mate for what they are from the beginning. It's not fair to think you are going to shape them into your "dream mate" after the marriage. Be respectful, supportive, and proud of the person you married, when you are alone together and when you are out with others
.- age 62, married 26 years

Your spouse is just as imperfect as you are. Fill your relationship with smiles and grace more than eye rolling and ridiculous expectations.
– age 35 married 14 years.
·     If I am willing to allow, encourage and provided growth (emotional, intellectual, spiritual) for my partner, I will create both stability and the freedom for sustained relationship.
·         it's not static.
·         it's dynamic.
·         and hard.
Age 40, 18.5 years

Fight Fair

When you have fights, so much of the reason they drag on longer than necessary is ego and pride. let your spouse IN. let them know why you're angry, or why you see it one way and they see it another way. It will make the next disagreement that much easier to resolve if you both know where you're coming from. 
age 34, married 4 years together for 9

I read about a study in which people who had happy marriages never crossed a line into calling their spouses names. You could say, "This was a crappy decision you made" but not "You are crappy." Important distinction. Age 45, married 15 years

It's more important to be fair when you argue than any other time. Be kind, even when you disagree, especially when you disagree. Even if you are right.
Age 39, married 11 years

Stick with it

Commit not to divorce. And I don't mean that in a casual way. I mean in a serious way that comes from the very center of your being, from your faith
….No matter how crummy you are to your partner. No matter how annoying he is to you. You are loved no matter what, and mistakes have time to be corrected. It's a kind of love that supersedes all. -
age 35, married 10 years

Practice patience. 
Marriage is for the long-term: people can change and will given lots of opportunity. Life gets lifey, so bad times will come and, with patience, will go. By being patient, we also become witness to the miracles of who another person really is and, God willing, who our children become
. – age 38 married 7 years

advice is stick with it when things get hard. Too many people believe that when things get really tough its best to call it quits. Sticking with it when things are hardest takes faith and strength... But it's worth it if you really love someone. A happy marriage is worth fighting for –age 30, married 6 years

Committing to love another through the fairy tale, through job losses, through sickness, through own self concept issues..through not easy..but worth it!
 – age 36, married 15 years

When Harry Met Sally Love Stories

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hushed Tones

Sorry to make you jump around, but here is my latest blog on Oy Chicago. It is about a class I just took to be certified in Mental Health First Aid.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I'm jonesing for a Wilco concert. I need to sing, whistle, clap, dance and follow Jeff Tweedy's fingers as he rocks the guitar.

I love Wilco so much that when I see them live, I have this overwhelming urge to cry with joy, and I sometimes do after the concert.

Here are my favorites.

1. Forget the Flowers

2. Jesus, Etc

3. I am Trying to Break Your Heart

4. Hummingbird

5. I'll Fight

6. California Stars

7. Far Far Away

8. Outtasite Outtamind

9. Red Eyed and Blue

10. I Must Be High