Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Upside

      The upside of the situation  in Israel is that I am really mourning the fact that we are in galus and the destruction of the bais hamikdash like we Jews should be doing during the three weeks. I think that a lot of Jewish people who don't even know the significance of the three weeks or maybe never even have heard of shivah assar b'tammuz or tisha b'av are feeling sad for what is going on in Israel right now .
       It also seems like the three weeks have been even longer this year. It really stinks. I pray for a quick end to this war that will stop hamas once and for all . I pray for peace for Jews all over the world and an end to all anti-Semitism. I pray for peace for all people  all over the world.
        On facebook there is an "event" that is posted that in case you don't know about I will mention. The event is that there will be a world wide simultaneous davening of the shema at 12 pm EST, This "event "is to be held through August 5 which is Tisha B'av. It can be a difficult time of the day to do this if one is at work, but we should all try to do the best we can.  I participated today. This shema is being said specifically for the safety of the IDF during this war as well as for  peace .

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Ottendorfer Libraray

     I have often passed by this building when I have been in the village and did not pay much attention to it. All that I would notice is that it says  bibleothek  which means  library in French.  Eventually I took a closer look and read the plaque on the library which states that the Ottendorfer branch of the NYPL is the first New York public library. The architecture is really cool from the outside. When I went inside it did not seem as quaint.
    This library is located at 135 Second Avenue between East 9th St and St. Marks Place in Manhattan. It kind of makes me feel like I am in a foreign country when I look at this building because it is so old.


     There is a lot of talk about achdus lately. I think that there is less in fighting among us due to the war in Israel but is there really achdus? This weekend I read a letter to the editor in a midwestern Jewish newspaper . There was a kiruv organization that did a day of Jewish unity, which the author lauded, but they queried whether or not those who organized this day of unity would show up to a community wide holocaust memorial even if women spoke. My guess sadly is that they would not , though they should.
     I am not sure that I understand the holier than thou stance that is often taken. I had a friend who wanted to protest the Celebrate Israel parade in Manhattan for letting gay people march for Israel with their own banner. I replied to this person that if he wanted to address those who organized the parade about these issues it would be much more productive than simply not showing up to the parade. Not showing up to the parade makes more of a statement about not supporting Israel and no one will know they did not show up because a small group of people marched under the banner of being gay and Jewish. The parade really just is about supporting Israel not about what one's affiliations are. One really has to look at the big picture.
    Lately at "community wide" Jewish events yeshivish people do not always attend because reform or conservative rabbis speak  even if it is not a religious ceremony, like a Yom Hashoah memorial event. A less affiliated Jew may actually attend a program for a more affiliated Jewish event. When I was a kid this was not so. I went to an orthodox school in the midwest and remember attending from school a holocaust memorial program that was held in a reform temple. It was not a religious ceremony by any stretch, but it was a Jewish event. My school was more modern orthodox , perhaps if they were more charedi we may not have attended. I think that for a holocaust memorial it is important for all stripes of Jews to attend communuty wide events.
     On the flip side , I have been to rallies for Israel in Manhattan that have included all Jews in attendance even when there has been a woman rabbi or cantor speaking.
     There need to be more events that Jews of all stripes and affiliations attend where those who are more charedi attend that are not necessarily a kiruv event. We really are one people no matter how religious or not. There are events that exist where this can occur but many opt not to attend. If your really want to do kiruv this would do it more than an actual kiruv event . I do not mean that one should attend and try to mekarev someone, I mean to attend and show you are part of the klal. This does more for frumkeit than a kiruv event.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Joan Rivers -- GOES OFF on Epic Israel/Palestine Rant

   Joan Rivers is an 81 year old working comedian. Some people are quite amazed that she is still working. I can agree that she sometimes is a little off color in her jokes, but one thing that she gets right is her staunch support of Israel. She has said what needs to be said and is not apologetic. You go girl!! Thank G-d you are still a relevant celebrity  because people need to hear these words . Many people love you and your work, so they will want to hear your words.
    On that note, shabbat shalom everyone. Shabbat Shalom to you too Joan. 

Monday, July 21, 2014


      At the risk of sounding blasphemous and with no disrespect for what is going on in Israel and the world over, I will present a problem that I am having . I am so overwhelmed by it all. I was doing okay until I heard of local threats of anti-semitism. That sort of threw me off the edge. Its not that the thought had not crossed my mind but until one sees mention of it in print (on facebook no less) it seems only abstract. I feel like I need to curb my obsessive checking of facebook for updates on Israel. I do not mean to ignore anything, but just to be a little less consumed by it. I realize this sounds cold since our brethren in Israel are always thinking about it, but I'm sure even they need to have other thoughts in their minds.
      Life is full of unknowns  even in more mellow times. I am not one who deals well with uncertainty. I realize that most of life is unexpected as we are not in control of our destinies. This is so hard to internalize. I suppose now is as good a time as ever to work on this issue . Perhaps it will help give me the peace of mind I am searching for.


     Everyday I hear of another company that is anti-Israel and we should not buy from them. Sad to say, there really should be a list of those companies that are pro-Israel because I am getting dizzy hearing the list of those that are anti-Israel or pro-Palestinian .
      I find it hard to listen to the news.... So much anti-Semitism. Its the three weeks no less. I pray the war is over before shabbos nachamu. I hope the world is at peace before shabbos nachamu. There is so much to be resolved. We can only do what is in our power to help bring peace . We also must pray. A lot. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Train Fun

        As you know I really dislike the subway acrobatics , but there are some thing that I do not find annoying on the train. On my way home from work yesterday there was a guy who was able to solve the Rubik's cube in one minute and fourteen seconds. It was mesmerizing. Another cool moment was when three little girls and two mothers sang "the itsy bitsy spider" with the hand motions. It was so cute. Lastly I like watching the middle aged men who go on the train and sing 1950's music.
      So you see there are some things I do not mind seeing on the subway. Sadly the activities  I dislike on the subway occur much more often than the activities I do like.