Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Last Day of 2015

 This has a catchy tune, but a little slow.....

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


     There is a saying "You don't miss someone or something until they or it is gone. " Its a bit frightening how true this is.
      One of the bosses where I work had his last day before retirement today.
Bosses as usual can be very annoying among other things. This boss was no exception.  He had been reducing his work hours gradually over the past few years, which actually has been quite nice. I knew that this day was coming but I didn't really think much about it . I did not really think about it much today either since it was  a very busy day at work. When the end of the work day arrived and everyone said their official goodbyes it was surreal. So many of us had worked with this boss for so long that it seemed it would never end. Some were teary eyed. This boss had brought in most of the business even after he had reduced his hours. Things will change . We all know this but I had put it out of my mind until the last few minutes of work today.
       As I boarded the Q train on my way home from work to my great surprise I was teary eyed. I did not think that I would miss this boss at all, but apparently I will. Life is full of surprises.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Out Own Oddities

Love this 

Pioneering Levy's ?

       I love the farmer's market. There is a Jewish beekeeper
who likes to make a sure everyone knows his
honey is kosher. His honey is the best.

     On a vintage train this weekend there was an old ad for Levy's rye trying to tell us that the pioneers grew wheat for kosher rye bread.

 Meanwhile... on the modern Q train there was a foggy view of Manhattan yesterday. It looked as if the buildings were disappearing into the haze. It was so cool I had to post it.
Manhattan is disappearing in the fog...

Monday, December 21, 2015

Embrace The Curls

 When I was growing up straight hair was the rage. Eventually blowouts became popular.  Recently the women's magazines have been including white women who are embracing their hair textures. Women of color have been encouraged more often to embrace their hair texture, but not usually white women. Finally my day has arrived. White women in women's magazines are encouraged to embrace their natural hair texture. I suppose women have gotten sick of trying to manipulate their hair to be something its not . There are also a lot more products for the curly haired than there used to be. I never was one to straighten my hair daily. Its way too time consuming. I also never wanted to be one of those afraid of a rainy day that would ruin my perfectly straightened hair. So boring!  
Its not that curly hair is so simple to take care of, its just that after all these years I have figured out what products to use. Ouidad makes the best curly hair products. Sometimes I put coconut oil on my scalp and hair with a shower cap for a few hours to condition my hair before washing it . I use Tress Effects ( by Ouidad)  for leave in conditioning after I wash my hair. 
  Curls have a life of their own. They often fizzle after a few days or from humidity and just look frizzy. Frizzled curls still look better than a frizzled blowout. I would prefer to embrace my curls rather than try to look like someone I am not.  I'm also too cheap to constantly pay for blowouts. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Liberalism at its Best

          I have held my tongue for over a year concerning Ferguson and the Black Lives Matter issues. I am a white  and Jewish  so I didn't really think that what I have to say is relevant. Until now.
         Most people aren't aware of the bleeding heart liberal reform rabbi  Susan Talve who is now on a terrorist list. Talve rallied fervently for the black people of Ferguson. She was there for so many black  people after the Michael Brown incident that many owe their lives to her for keeping them safe during all the rallying and rioting. Apparently Talve supports Israel so the pro-palestinian groups who are trying their hardest to connect the dots between Ferguson and palestinians are lashing out at her. The bigger joke is that though Talve is pro-Israel I have a hunch that she is not remotely right wing in her support. Apparently believing Israel has a right to exist is hard core . Demonizing Talve is like a wolf showing his teeth . In other words even though she has been a strong voice in the Black Lives Matter movement it is not appreciated because she is Jewish .
          The group that wants to connect the dots between African Americans and the palestinians is small and unwelcome, but make no mistake they exist.  I find  it so disturbing in light of all the unrest in the world. What black people go through in the United States is NOT equal to anything that is happening to the Palestinians. To compare the two is wrong and very frightening.
         I  have a new respect for Susan Talve now. I just thought she was reliving her hippy roots by rallying in Fergusen, but now that I know that she supports Israel, I know that she is not just trying to be a rabbi for the hood. I may not agree with everything she stands for but I do not think  she deserves to be demonized for being something she is not.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Dick Van Dyke's new book about aging 'Keep Moving'

    I have not read this book yet, but this interview with Dick Van Dyke is amazing. He seems so youthful in a way plastic surgery cannot replicate. What an inspiration.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Good Morning

     You never really know someones temperament until you don't say good morning to them.  It takes me until a few hours after I wake up until I feel like speaking. Unfortunately this does not correspond to when I am in the elevator in my apartment building on my way to work. I of course live in an apartment building filled with lonely  people who wake up speaking. Sometimes I am able to mouth a smile when greeted in the early morning other times I am not. It really is not personal, I just don't feel like talking to anyone when I am rushing to work in the morning. Sometimes I can't respond quickly enough to my chatty neighbors who continually press the issue and keep saying good morning until they get a response. Often they get mad because I did not say good morning back. Sometimes I am able to explain to them that I am just to tired to speak which I realize does not go over well, but then again just because they want to chat in the early morning does not mean that I do, especially with people I barely know. The truth is if the roles were reversed I would just assume that they did not hear me if my good morning was not returned. Then again if the roles were reversed I would not have said good morning to them in the first place, at least not until after ten o'clock. 

Monday, December 14, 2015


Kingshighway , Brooklyn
     I have the Hanukkah blues tonight. I miss Hanukkah. I would not even say that this was the best Hanukkah ever,  but I love the childhood memories I associate with Hanukkah. The window sill looked so empty this evening when I put my menorah away. Alas, until next year... 

Last Day of Hanukkah

    Its been a fun , unseasonably warm holiday this year. Tonight the Empire State Building was lit up blue and silver in honor of Hanukkah. It kind of makes it look like a big Hanukkah candle. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Kippalive - Can You Feel The Simcha

     I really love this video. I love how there are older and younger couples featured.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Elf Yourself Oh Hanukkah

    This is the best Hanukkah video yet of this year. Its a bit ghoulish and funny just the same. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 3, 2015


     Lately I have been organizing my photo albums. It has been a journey. The fun part is getting rid of photos I no longer want. I never thought I would say that  I no longer want some of my photos. Some of the people in my photos I no longer want to remember. This is  a tough one. Sometimes the photos they are in are too artistic to dispose of . Often they are jumbled in photos with those I am still in touch with so I opt to keep those photos anyway.
    Through photos one sees the passage of time. Some people have not aged as well as others. Some people have passed away.
      It takes a long time to sort through photos. It took the passage of much time to have taken all my photos. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

What is Orthodox?

  When the auspicious announcement went out the other day that announced that women can never be accepted as an orthodox Jewish rabbi I was unmoved. I guess this is because I have zero desire to be a rabbi.
     What bothered me more is the discussion of blogs and what is orthodox Judaism and what is not. I hate when people like to say that modern orthodoxy is almost conservative Judaism. It is not. Even in the stone age when I was a kid conservative Jews did not keep shabbos at all. Perhaps they kept kosher to some degree , but that's about it. A conservative shul  may have had more traditional service but they also  used a microphone on shabbos. It was a lot closer to reform Judaism. I do not think that much has changed except for the fact that conservative Jews have shifted more to the left and have become less observant. One could say that many orthodox Jews have shifted to the left and have created open orthodoxy or partnership minyans because the conservative Jewish movement is way too far to the left for them and they want to be more liberal than orthodox Judaism. Just because someone may be far to the left as far as being an orthodox Jew that does not mean they are interested in open orthodoxy or partnership minyanim. Then again, there are those who are not so strict as an orthodox Jew but not as lax as a conservative Jew . I think that open orthodoxy is filling that gap. A lot of it is about semantics. No on likes their brand of observance to be insulted, but in the end people will remain in the denomination they feel comfortable in and won't care much about what others think anyway.

Food Vs Drink

     I  know that this is a stereotype, but I think this one really rings true. Jewish people are all about the food and non - Jewish people are all about the drink as in alcoholic ones. For me this is true. I am Jewish and I prefer good food to good wine. Whenever I am somewhere where people are drinking alcoholic beverages excessively I always am secretly wondering what is it about them that makes them prefer drink over food. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Its all About the Pictures

      When I go on vacation I am always snapping photos. It is part of what makes vacation fun. Some think that photo taking prevents people from enjoying the moment. I strongly disagree. Taking photos is part of what makes the moment fun. I like seeing how great a photo I can create. It preserves the moments that will never return. When I am have forgotten my phone or camera I always regret the photos I was unable to take.

  I can't imagine not having these photos . I loved being where they were taken and I loved taking them. Its best to get LOTS of photos because you never know which ones will really come out well. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


     There is a disease some of my friends have that is called FOMO - Fear of Missing Out. Some have it more than others. Recently I spent time with a friend who suffers greatly from this syndrome. I found it exhausting. They had to stay until the end of every party , attend every single's event for fear of missing the one that could be the answer to all dreams. Am I really so cynical to believe that I should just attend those events I can sanely tolerate instead of trying to attend every event I hear of?
I don't have the energy for FOMO. Or maybe I realize that no matter how much one tries everything is not in my control and if I can't do EVERYTHING socially its okay. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015


     Right around 9/11 I was really enjoying living in NYC. Nothing like a massive  terror attack to ruin one's relationship with the city one lives in . Its taken me a long time to like it here again.
 I visited the Queen's Museum today which has a large sculpture of the world in front of it. It really made me think a lot about the world not just the city that I inhabit. Its a wondrous world that we all get to live in. We need peace here on earth  and to all try to get along. This of course is much easier said than done.  

Monday, November 2, 2015


     I have been in New York for many years and had never been to the Bronx zoo until yesterday. Now that I have an IDNYC (NYC id ) card and am entitled to a one year membership to the Bronx zoo I decided it was high time I visit the Bronx zoo.

    As a kid in the Midwest the zoo was a big highlight of childhood. I went there often with my parents , grandparents, summer camp and school . It was relaxing and fun. Visiting the Bronx zoo yesterday brought back a lot of those memories.
      I think that  the zoo I went to as a child as well as the Bronx zoo had a similarity in construction. The tram was the same , the fast food areas were designed the same. The Bronx zoo seems smaller than the zoo I used to visit as a child, but I can't say for sure. They last time I went to the Midwestern zoo of my childhood I was a child which is more years ago than I would care to admit.
 I am not a pet lover but I do enjoy  seeing the peacefulness of animals in a zoo. I also loved the many photographic opportunities that were available.
     I am glad that the IDNYC  (New York City id card) facilitated my first visit to the Bronx zoo. It brought back so many good memories. I plan on going back soon, especially since I have a free membership for this year.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

As Seen on the Train

 I usually try to zone out while on the subway. There is always so much crazy there that I would rather not acknowledge.
 Every so often I do pay attention and find some really cool signs
as well as people with hokey get ups...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Shabbos Project

     Kiruv is a wonderful thing but I wish that the Shabbos project was not mostly created to produce orthodox Jews  and more to strengthen every Jew's connection to Shabbos. I was in Kew Gardens Hills this Shabbos and did go to the kabbalat Shabbaos service as well as to the havdallah service that was part of the "Shabbos Project" . I did not sneak in. Every type of Jew was welcome. Re-reading this makes me laugh at the thought of a frum person having to sneak in to kabbalat Shabbos or havdallah.
     I have been frum my whole life but I could you some boosting . Everyone could . I don't think that the unaffiliated Jew  has to be in their own bubble while joining in for a Shabbos program. The proportions do not have to be just so. The truth speaks for itself.
      The excited tone provided in the kiruv professional's outreach needs to be extended to those who are already observing. We still need to be reminded of the beauty and not just the rote rules of observing Shabbos. An "NCSY" style havdallah every so often in a shul can add a feeling of joy in observing the mitzvot. We have to make sure that those who are already observing still feel that excitement the newly observant feels or what a child feels while observing Shabbos and other mitzvos.

Monday, October 19, 2015


     When I was in my twenties I needed to break away from my family to become an adult. Now I feel like I want to be near them more. I feel the passage of time more now. Its funny how time does that. It makes me realize what is truly important. 

Richard Nixon In His Own Words HBO Documentary

     I decided to watch this documentary last night to enhance my nostalgia of the old days . Well, with Nixon as it turns out its the bad old days. This film tells the story of Nixon and Watergate. Well, the first revelation that I wish was not so is how anti-semitic anti-Mexican and definitely not politically correct he was.  It was awful to hear a United States president speak about Jewish people in such an insulting stereotypical way.  The saddest part was that he was the one who recorded his conversations for posterity . Some things are best not documented.
   Another interesting part of the movie was seeing a young John Kerry, Pat Buchanan , Alexander Haig , Barbara Walters and Dan Rather. I hadn't realized how long these folks have been in the public eye.
     If you are the type who think we should go back to the olden days think again. They weren't as good as you imagine they were.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

I'm That Jew - Words by Eitan Chitayat

  I just saw this posted on facebook and it really resonated. It is too bad that so often it is dire situations that make us feel more united . Either way , I love the message here. I am spreading it further by posting it on my blog...

Monday, October 12, 2015

Its all in a Name

     I have a friend who is no longer frum and does not like being called by his Hebrew name any more. Its kind of funny how upset he gets because his Hebrew name is not so different than his English one. Finally the truth came out. It was not so much that he did not like his Hebrew name anymore its just that it reminded him of his former life. His Hebrew name represents his old life that he does not want to be reminded of by using  his Hebrew name. Interesting. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015


     Over the past ten years I have watched a lot less television and have been on the computer , specifically the Internet much more than I had ever watched television. I have been trying to watch more television lately so that I won't be on the computer as often. Watching television is so much more enjoyable without interruptions which motivates me to stay off Internet devices while watching television.
      A book is superior to television as a night activity but sometimes I admit that I do not have the energy to read a book. Television is still better than just Internet activity at night. Watching a television show with limited commercial breaks helps expand the length of time I am able to concentrate that I have lost from constant Internet use.

Francine's interview - FRANCE - #HUMAN

    This story is bittersweet like the chocolate in the story must have been. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Gym Attire

       I usually exercise at home these days due to time constraints. I used to attend Livingwell Lady and after they closed I used to go to Lucille Roberts in the Manhattan. Both are all women's gyms. The set up of Livingwell Lady was a little better because there weren't any windows that looked out into the street. The only men who were in the club were a rare male instructor who was usually gay anyway. Otherwise they never let men in the gym when I was there. A lot of frum women went to Livingwell Lady. Most wore usual gym attire of pants or shorts. Many married women wore tichels. Some wore long baggy shirts over sweatpants . I never saw anyone wearing a skirt to exercise in .  I did not attend the Lucille Roberts on Kingshighway in Brooklyn because there is a window that faces the street  in the exercise room. I would not particularly want people watching me exercise regardless of what I wear to exercise. Instead I had joined the Lucille Roberts in Manhattan. They also had a window to the street in there gym but they were not on the ground floor and you could only really see people inside from the shoulder up and only if they were right by the window wear the treadmills were so I opted to join there.
      I have heard that these days there are many frum women who go to women only gyms who wear skirts to the gym on the possibility of a man entering the premises. This of course is their choice but I am not sure how this is more modest . If one is bothered by the remote  possibility of a man there then one should not really be exercising in front of a man no matter what one is wearing. If there are men there it is quite provocative to wear a skirt while exercising because you will be giving a better "show" unless you are wearing loose pants underneath said skirt and the pants would really be what was making the outfit modest not the skirt. I think that the best thing is to go to a frum sponsored exercise class if this is the issue. Exercising in front of men in a skirt or otherwise  is not modest and if one feels the all women's gyms do not enforce the no men on the premises policy going to a frum exercise group is your best bet. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Just a Part of Life ?

     I ran into someone I had not seen in a while yesterday. A seventy something  someone whose mind is failing her. At the event that I saw her there were a lot of people who non-chalantly said "oh well that's age for you. " It really made me take pause. This acquaintance was always a bit daffy, but she was always intelligent and nice. Though there are those who do deteriorate in their seventies , not everyone does. I would even venture to say that most do not. When its someone just a few months ago that  was vibrant and all there and now they are not its really sad. Its hard to just brush off as being a part of life when one sees the contrast so close together.
     As a post script this seventy something woman was very happy. She was singing and so happy to be with her son who was with her. If one's mind has to go at least let the pleasant parts stay. She still found a way to be happy even though her life will never be what it once was.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Chag Sameach

Wishing everyone a chag sameach! The fire department of Midwood gave out fire safety packets targeting frum Jews today. The information is quite helpful. Have a happy , healthy and safe holiday.
The Chabad sukkah in Union Square last year

Yom Kippur Thoughts

     Before Yom Kippur I thought that I would write a very different post. Now that Yom Kippur has passed... well much has changed.
     As with much in life, one really does not know what one would do in a crisis until one is confronted with it. This Kol Nidre I had that sort of test. I was minding my own business and went to to the ladies room at some point . When I left the stall before me appeared a woman whose face was covered in blood. When I looked around I saw that there was a foot wide trail of blood on the floor in the bathroom leading to the door. It looked like a scene in a movie where someone had been attacked. I knew that hadn't happened but that was my gut reaction. I also felt like I wanted to bolt out of there and somehow manage not to step in all of the blood. I felt in shock but I also knew that I had to get help . I weaved my way between the blood to the rest of the shul and told someone what had happened and that we needed to get hatzalah. She went to the men's section and about five men ran downstairs to the ladies room to help the woman. As it turns out there is a whole fleet of men at that shul who are part of hatzalah. They took it from there.
      Life is can change with the blink of an eye for better or for worse. One has to be thankful for all the blessings one has. At first it was difficult to have kavanah after seeing the injured woman in shul, but afterward it made the weight of what Yom Kippur means a lot stronger. I sincerely hope the lady has a refuah shelemah.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

I Am Big Bird Official Trailer (2014) - Caroll Spinney, Sesame Street Do...

     I loved Sesame Street as a kid. Big bird was so much fun to watch. When  I noticed this video on Amazon Prime I decided that this was the time to watch it. It did not disappoint. This is the story of the man who still plays Big Bird on Sesame Street. He is such a nice , gentle person. It is so lovely to watch. There is a reason Big Bird is still popular. Caroll Spinney.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Olden Days.

     When I was a kid I used to think of when my parents grew up as the "olden days".  I even used to ask them to tell me stories about said olden days. It really is funny because when I used to do  this my parents were in their early thirties. As a kid I thought parents were old by virtue of the fact they were parents. As and adult I am glad that I grew up in those olden days. Things were not as innocent as most like to pretend , but whatever lack of technology we had then make us the better people we are today. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015


      One problem that I have with rabbis making decisions about medicine and technology is that many of them do not really have education the fields they are giving a ruling  on. I suppose that in the cases where they do not have the education in that they can only give a halachic ruling  based on their knowledge of the subject whatever that knowledge may be. This is one reason that I think its important for frum people to be involved in every field so that there are people who are versed in halacha who actually know the fields Jews  may have halachic questions about.

The Last Havdallah of 5775

    In honor of the last havdallah of 5776 I am posting this video of havdallah all over the world.  Its beautiful.  I am happy to note that there are women as well as men  in this video. Shavuah tov!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Remembering 9/11

View of lower Manhattan from the Q train. Freedom tower on far right

  Another 9/11 is here . I am off of work today and and am watching the reading of the the names of those who perished in the attacks of 9/11. It always brings tears to my eyes. This year there isn't really a theme for those reading the names . Every type of relative of those who were lost are reading the names. It is a little disconcerting how sometimes as they read the names there is a lag between the photo on the screen and the name that is read. They do not always match. The sound from CBS keeps fading in and out .
      I admit that I do not usually watch all of the names being read. Its such a long list. Its a beautiful day today. It was a very hot sunny day in New York City on  9/11  of 2001. I particularly remember how bright it was that Tuesday because the day before had been so rainy.
Lower Manhattan.. Freedom tower on far right

The Freedom Tower
    I am glad that the weather is nice out today . It makes it a little easier for those downtown who are there for the memorial ceremony .
    As I watch the names and ages of those who we have lost flash on the television screen I realize that they would be fourteen years older now had they lived. Those who were young then would no longer be so young. They were not blessed to be able to experience the passage of time.
      9/11 was a horrible day for all of us. It was a living nightmare that one could not escape. I remember waking up 9/12 /01 thinking  "Now  what?" What  does one do after the world has been changed forever? After 14 years I have learned that life does go on even when one is not sure it can. It just takes awhile to get back on track sometimes.
     I have included some pictures of downtown Manhattan. Some include the new freedom tower that memorializes 9/11 . The tower is the very tall building on the right side of the first and third picture and its the building in the center in the last picture.
          Lets never forget those live who were lost and those who were so brave that day. Lets pray for peace. 

Monday, September 7, 2015


      You really don't know someone until you piss them off. Some people have acceptable anger ratings and others are off the charts. When I'm dating someone I don't go out of my way to get them angry but I don't mind when they do because then I get to find out what they are like when they get angry.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Psoriasis Matters

      I have mentioned the challenge of living with psoriasis before, but now I have an exciting remedy that I have discovered that really has changed my life. Dead sea mud soap. After  using it on my face, scalp and other places on my body I am now a true believer in the power of dead sea mud bar soap. It does not completely remove the need for medicine but it severely reduces the flaky symptoms.  Its the  next best thing to swimming in the actual Dead Sea.
      Dead Sea mud soap is WAYYYY cheaper than medicine and it supports Israel. Its win-win 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Young or Old

     People always say that age is just a number. this is true but not exactly. As it turns out you can't do everything you want to do in life and age can dictate some of that. Fortunately age does not determine everything. Age does not determine one's attitude and surprisingly age does not determine if one is old or one is young. Some people never seem old no matter how old they really are. My grandma lived to be a few months short of 89 and she never seemed old. This is not because she  was my grandma and I loved her, its because she was never old. She was always engaged in the world around her even as she aged and it was harder for her to get around. She was always interested in new things. My father passed away at 74 which is not old but people who did not know him well were surprised to hear he was as old as he was. He was never old. I have met a lot of elderly people who are still quite vibrant. They never got the memo that they should think like an old goat. It is so refreshing. It makes aging less frightening and more exciting. Maybe I am noticing this the older I get the younger old seems. Perhaps that's part of it but not entirely. Many people who are 65 today do not look or act as old as 65 year olds twenty years ago.
     With age one gains perspective and wisdom of what the world is about. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Women , Rabbis , etc

     Growing up it never bothered me that women were not allowed to be rabbis. I never thought much about it and I was much to shy to ever want to be one. It was kind of like the idea of kol ishah to me. I never really wanted to be a professional singer so kol ishah did not effect me much.
      I never found the women's prayer groups too enticing to me either. Being on the more modern orthodox side I like going to a regular shul and afterward there is a co-ed kiddush. Why would a women's only kiddush be better?
       There are many men who have no interest in being rabbis or chazzanim  and would love not to need to have a minyan to daven.
       Perhaps if I grew up reform or conservative I might feel different, but it never especially bothered me that I could never be an orthodox rabbi or be counted as part of a minyan. I guess I never felt that those things were the pinnacle of Judaism. I always felt that it was wonderful to be a woman and not have to have a minyan to optimally  fulfill the mitzvah of davening.
       I wouldn't say think that everything in Judaism is totally fair for women but for me these are non-issues . Which turns out to be a good thing. I have a few less things to be annoyed about.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Kids these Days

     Lately I have been watching a lot of television. More specifically I have been watching a lot of teenage shows. The more I watch them the more I am glad that I grew up in the era I did instead of in this era. Things have changed so much even in the last ten years. Its not like society was so innocent when I grew up, its just that things are a little too open these days. Its so much pressure. Being frum helps but not entirely . The world around us does seep into the little cocoon of the frum world even as much as we would like not to admit it. Even if one does not pay attention to what is on the small screen the people around us do. People you work with probably do, the people who live near you do.
      I don't think that the world is going back to simpler times any time soon. Once Pandora's box has opened it is impossible to close it.  What a mess.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


    I had  never  heard of the Spanish music festival until I heard that Matisyahu was banned from it unless he supported the BDS movement. Ultimately the ban had lifted and Matisyahu was able to perform.  Matisyahu is Jewish, not Israeli.  None of the other performers were asked to profess their allegiances. This was a music festival not a political pow-wow. Though many frum Jews dismissed Matisyahu for shedding his frum  garb I think that they will probably  band with him again. He stuck to his beliefs and would not sign allegiance with BDS just so he could perform in Spain. Then again, he really did not have a choice. The BDS mumbo jumbo was just a front for straight up anti semitism. Matisyahu is no fool. I think that it is quite brave of him to perform his song JERUSALEM during his Spanish concert while pro Palistinian flags flailed in the background.
    This has all happened during Elul. Matisyahu was given the chance to really step up despite his spiritual re-evaluation during the past few years. The frum people who were disappointed with him for not being "one of us" anymore were able to feel pride for him again . None of this would have happened if all the drama from BDS support of the Spanish music festival had not surfaced. I guess something good did happen from something bad. Too bad something bad has to happen to perpetuate something good. Are people always so juvenile? 

Matisyahu - Jerusalem (Out Of Darkness Comes Light)


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Savor the Moment

      The hardest thing in life is knowing when to savor the moment. Sometimes it's obvious. Other times it's not. Then again one must savor it without getting stuck in it. Sometimes it's hard to savor the moment but not get stuck in it. Life must be lived. Even when one is confident in one's choices one can't do EVERYTHING. That is why every moment must be lived consciously.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Chocolate Chips

      So many people think that kosher food does not taste good. I hate this stereotype so on my quest to break stereotypes I brought a chocolate chip challah from Breadsmith in Brooklyn to work for my Jewish and gentile co-workers. To my pleasant surprise my co-workers, Jewish and gentile were wild about the chocolate chip challah to the point that they are always asking me to get  them  chocolate chip challahs from Breadsmith . The Brooklyn location is the only one that has chocolate chip  challah.  I say mission accomplished.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Teasing Many Years Later...

     People often wonder what one would have done in situations in the past had they known then  what they  know now. Other times you get to experience a similar situation years later and you recognize its the same thorn in your side from years ago in different packaging. 
     I  recall being teased by the "cool" boys in summer camp. I found it upsetting and  since I was on the shy side they managed to irritate me immensely without much backlash from me. Flash forward years later there are single men who think they are Mr. Cool  who like teasing me. This time around I don't let them get away with it.  Its a bit sad though. When I was younger I thought they were cool and now I realize that they really were not as mean as I thought they were they were just immature. Now I realize how immature they still are and I have little patience for those types. I guess things can change. I am no longer the victim.

Saturday, August 1, 2015


      Have you ever met anyone who always has an upbeat disposition and NOTHING ever gets them upset. I mean nothing? I have . I hate to admit that I find it beyond annoying . I even feel a bit guilty for feeling this way. I  guess its hard to imagine not ever being bothered by anything and always , always being upbeat. I did not think it was possible to be that upbeat all of the time. Until I met someone like this. It makes me feel like a curmudgeon, which I never thought  I was.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

SFJFF 34 Presents: Above and Beyond Trailer

Above and Beyond

      I recently saw the documentary ABOVE AND BEYOND . This is the story of American Jewish World War II veterans who helped form the Israeli air force and fought for Israel's independence. The film has old footage as well as interviews with the men who went on this mission. ITS AMAZING. It is heartwarming to see how integrated American Jews stepped up to help their brethren to create the state of Israel. Its mind boggling. This is a story I never knew about that needs to be spread. If you haven't yet seen it please do. And spoiler alert. Pee Wee Herman's father was one of the American Jewish pilots and he and his mother are interviewed.
       Watching this documentary reaffirms belief in G-d because when you realize how few people helped create the Israeli air force you realize how miraculous the creation of the modern state of Israel was. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Grass is Always Greener

     I always think to myself that it is so much harder to find my bashert because I am frum. One has so many more options when one is secular. The other day I was speaking with an elderly acquaintance of mine who never married. She had grown up frum but left it as a young adult. She  never married and is bewildered that I am still single . She felt that it was harder to find her to find a husband because she was not shomer shabbat. She thinks that when one is frum that there must always be someone looking out for me to find me a shidduch. Too bad thats not true!
       Regardless of the truth my elderly friend's words scared me. I don't want to be her age and never married. She did make me think though. Everyone thinks that everyone else has it easier in the dating arena. Ugh!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Three Minutes in Poland- A 1938 Home Movie: Glenn Kurtz at TEDxBergenCom...

    Glenn Kurtz speaks about his grandparents' home movie of their travels in 1938 which included a visit to the town in Poland where they were from. Kurtz found this 70 years later . He gave it the holocaust museum and later was able to identify some of the people in the film. I plan on reading his book about this journey called Three minutes in Poland: Discovering a Lost World in a Family Film .

Three minutes in Poland

    This is so amazing. The granddaughter of one of the children in this film identified her grandfather in the film. Fortunately the grandfather was able to see this film as he was still alive. He also helped identify others in this film.
This happens a lot. I saw the documentary "Jazz men of the Gulag " and the son and grandson of one of the people in the film was there and brought  photos.  I sat in front of them so I was able to see the photos.
    One takes a photo or a film one day and one just never knows what significance it will take years later.

Jewish Survivor Nathan Lipschitz Testimony

   This is Nathan Lipschutz who was in the colorized shtetl film that I posted in my last post. His testimony is the first one on this video. This was filmed in 1996 when he was 77 years old. 

Rare Color Footage Depicting Jewish Life in the Shtetl Before the Holocaust

    This is very interesting. David Teitelbaum who filmed this had lived in the United States and would go back to Poland to visit his family. This is why so many in this film were identifiable.  Most of those in this film perished  a few years after this was filmed. Nathan Lipschitz who is identified toward the end of this film did survive and I will post his testimony in my next post.
       Though it is very sad to know that most of the people in this film did  not survive it is such a beautiful film. It is a glimpse into their lives in the shtetl. You see their beautiful faces that are so full of life. It is so apparent what has been lost to us. This makes it all the more sad and  all the more powerful.

Behind the Scenes - Plonsk: Identifying a Town

    This is something that I have always wondered about. This is an interesting glimpse at all the hard work people put into identifying people in the footage of shtetls.

Friday, July 24, 2015


     During the recent heat wave I felt delirious. I took pictures to distract myself. I decided to share them with you.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

60 Minutes: Sir Nicholas Winton "Saving the Children"

    This interview is my favorite of the videos on Nicholas Winton that I have posted. It really shows his spirit. He was such a modest person who did such a heroic act of chesed. He did not tell his wife about how he saved all of these children. She found out when she found  his scrapbook of  how he rescued the children when she was looking through the attic of their home fifty years after the war.  He does not think what he did was such a big deal, he just did what needed to be done. He also went on to open many nursing homes and worked with mentally disabled people after the war. His life was full of chesed.
        He met some of the children he saved on a British television show called This Life in 1988 . Then adults these  children were so grateful that he had saved their lives and to meet this man and thank him.It was so moving to watch.
         Finding out more about the life of Nicholas Winton makes a person realize how much a single ordinary person can accomplish.

If Something's Not Impossible There Must Be a Way of Doing It

   The motto of Nicholas Winton's life was If Something's not impossible there must be a way of doing it. With this determination he saved almost 700 hundred  Jewish children from the Czech Republic in 1939. This documentary tells his story. Its a good documentary, but it fails to mention Winton's Jewish roots. His parents were German Jews who came to England a few years before he was born. He knew what was going on in Europe because his parents knew what was going on in Europe and knew people who were there.  It does not make his actions less heroic, but thinking of him as just some random gentile who decided to save a bunch of Jews well, that's not  true. Its also significant to note that his mother helped him rescue these children.
        Winton tried to get other countries  besides England to open their doors to these children but most did not. Only Sweden was willing to open their doors. 

BBC HARDtalk with Sir Nicholas Winton

      Baruch Dayan Emet. Sir Nicholas Winton passed away at 106 years old. He saved 665 children, mostly Jewish from the Czech Republic during World War II.  His story is amazing. He did this at 29 years of age. Now over 5700 people were given life because of him.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Wedding Guest

 I don't especially love going to weddings . I am happy for the couple who are marrying but they do make me more aware of what I do not have so I am not a big fan of attending weddings. Despite my predisposed dislike of weddings , I do not think that my preparation for one is much different than if I really loved attending them. It really depends on  what my schedule is for the day of the wedding as to how much I prepare for it. If I don't  have work the day of a wedding I take much more time changing into my wedding attire. If I have work that day I do the rush job. I might even just wear something extra nice  to work and then  spruce up my hair and makeup before I leave for the big event.
      Not to be a complete kill joy but I think that my attitude should be encouraging instead of cynical. People can be obsessive during wedding planning. Of course everyone wants things to be perfect but in reality the guests may not really take as much notice to mishaps as one might think. We appreciate joining in on the simcha . It will be beautiful because its a wedding not due to the status of the details. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Still Cool

     I know a lot of people whose taste in music has remained what they listened to in high school . Most likely this is because of the fuzzy  memories one associates with the oldies. There is nothing wrong with that. The danger lurks when one is still trying to be a hipster for the third decade. It just ain't going to be. This too is just fine. My philosophy is to like whatever music you like and that's cool. Music is only fun to listen to if you like it. If you don't like it why are you listening to it? Being one's own person and not just in line with the latest trends is coolest of all. What do all the trend setter's know anyway ?Good PR? I say like what you like and listen to what you like . 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Farmer's Market Season

     If you have a local farmers market now is the time to visit. They have the most amazing fruits and veggies there . If you are near Manhattan, the best farmers market is in Union Square.  Right now there is fresh garlic, strawberries, blueberries, radishes, zucchini, tomatoes , cucumbers , peas , peaches and more.  You won't be sorry. Not everything is organic, but its all local. Its also one of my happy places . The produce and farmers make me feel at one with nature.

Monday, July 6, 2015


     Whenever I hear that bad news has befallen someone I know I am sad for them but also feel relieved because I am not ,baruch Hashem , bli eyin harah  experiencing the same trauma that has befallen my friend or aquaintance. And then I sort of feel guilty for appreciating the fact that I am not experiencing the adversity that  my friends are experiencing . I hope that  I am not sounding like a total shrew.
        The crazy thing about adversity is that no one knows how they will act when confronted with it. This is why I try not to judge others when they act seemingly off when confronted with it. I am not just saying this to cover my own reaction to it. I really believe it. Its best to try not to judge others who are experiencing adversity and also to be forgiving for others reactions to it. Sometimes the people who one would least expect to be the most sympathetic are.
        And so begin the three weeks....

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Hakaras Hatov

     Sometimes its better not to talk too much about one's blessings to others. Sometimes others do not have what you do and it is important to be sensitive to that. I do not mean that one should never speak about the bounty that one does have but maybe don't speak about it all day long.
      Its nice to know when a friend or relative is engaged. I want to know and I am genuinely happy for them. Do I want to hear about it constantly night and day? Absolutely  not. On the other hand I have had stable employment all of my adult life (no I am not rich) . I talk about work but I would not constantly  tell this to my friends who do not have mazel in retaining employment. Its really not fair.
       Often someone does not hold back when talking about the joys of parenthood because they think that just because someone is single that the idea of parenthood is not on their radar . If they had a friend who had been married for many years and did not have children they might not spend all day and night talking about their kids. Its not that someone who does not have children resents someone who does has kids or wishes that their friend was in their boat, they just don't want that to be their only topic of conversation.
           Once I was at work and someone who should have known better was going on about how once she had children she then knew why women were created This woman was a first time mother at forty. She should have shared this with her mommy and me group instead of in a place full of people she did not know who may or may not ever have kids. Of course being a parent is a beautiful experience but being a single woman without children I may not be the person to share such an epiphany with.
          There are all sorts of situations in life where one is more fortunate than another person. These just are a few that are foremost in my mind at the moment. I try hard not to make others feel envy  when I am successful or have something someone else does not. There is no need to brag , just to have appreciation. Married people get divorced. People lose jobs.  Children  are fought over in brutal custody battles or chas v'shalom pass away. When you have a bracha just appreciate it because as easily as someone has mazel, they could also not have it.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Message from Rachelle Sprecher Fraenkel for Sinai Indaba

     What a strong message that speaks for its self. Though its a year later it truly seems like its only a year later and feels quite raw , but she is able to move on . 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Control Issues

    I have a friend who thinks that everyone has control over how their life turns out. While I don't think that everything is complete happenstance I don't think that everything that happens to us is in our control either. A person has to try  but one does not always get what one wants no matter how much they try. I wish life really was how my friend thinks it is . Life would be so much easier.
     Man plans. G-d laughs. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Humor 101

      Comedians are often outsiders which is why Jewish people are often comedians. As a single person I often feel like an outsider. I think that's why I really appreciate comedy. As a double outsider I try to find the humor in life . There are so much humor everywhere if you only pay attention.  Adversity can make me angry , but its absurdity can also make me laugh. If I am really fortunate I am able to get others to see the humor as well. Humor can cut the tension of stressful situations if one is strong enough to employ it.
      Sometimes there is humor in the moment that can be seen in a moment but not necessarily be appreciated if one was not present in that moment. Sometimes its just a private irony that one just shares alone but  can help a person get through the day .
     I think that humor is a big gift from Hashem and I am very grateful that I have it in my life. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Cool Beans

      I am not one who loves HOT weather. I love fall weather and spring is a close second. I recently had to purchase a new air conditioner. I finally feel human again. I do not know what people did in the days before air conditioning. I guess that's why  many went upstate for the summer.. I don't even want to  think about what jobs must have been like. I don't think I could have survived it. As it is the 88 degree weather we have had recently had made me feel delirious. I am so grateful for the return of cool air. I can finally think again.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fathers Day

       Happy Fathers Day to all the fathers out there and to those of us who have fathers and have had fathers. We should appreciate our fathers every day but the fact is that we probably don't as much as we should. Today is the day to remind us to do so.
        Happy Fathers Day!


     As a child I watched Sesame Street . It was and is quite a favorite. There was one Muppet skit that at the time I did not understand. There was a lost little boy Muppet who described his mother as the most beautiful woman in the world. The policemen searched far and wide for the little boy's mother. When they found his mother she turned out to be a hunched over average looking woman.
      Children do not care how fancy their parents look , They just want to spend time with them. The greatest babysitter could take them amazing places and they would still prefer to go there with their parent. This should be obvious to any of us who have been children (which is all of us ) but sadly it isn't . Some people are so narcissistic that they may not realize this until they have children . Or ever. I have a friend who did not realize this until she had children. Thank goodness she has children and tries to be a good parent , otherwise the depths of her narcissism would be endless.
        There are a lot of lessons that life presents us  if only we would take notice.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Fava Beans 101

     One of the greatest things about modern life it going to the farmer's market today and buying fava beans so that later in the day I can look up directions online on how to prepare them. This is a pretty awesome video if I do say so myself. I just whipped up a batch of fava beans following this recipe and I must tell you the results were quite tasty. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Anne Frank: the only existing film images

I have seen this footage of Anne Frank  before, but it is worth sharing because it is so powerful. As important as it is to remember how her life was lost it is so important to remember that she was a young girl full of life.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Picture This

      I love photos. Often when you look at them you find things you didn't even know were there. It was even more mysterious with film cameras. When you would look in the viewfinder it was hard to  envision that space as its own entity. Digital cameras make it a little easier. But not completely.
      I always learn a lot about my friends from  photos . Sometimes I see facets of their personality reflected in their faces that I overlook in real life. Sometimes I notice more vulnerability in a photo that I don't focus on when I see them in person. A photograph is the most in the moment a person can be. Photos remind me to try to be more in the moment.
a captured moment

Monday, June 8, 2015

That Aging Thing

      I got  my first grey hair years ago. I remember when that was . My uncle had passed away and I was at my aunt's house where she was sitting shiva. My sister spotted it. My only reaction was to pull it out. The old wives tale is that if you pull out a grey hair two will grow back in its place. Well as most things go in life there is no predicting how fast one's hair will turn snow colored. Everyone is different.  I have pulled out many grey hairs since that first one and almost all of my hair is still brown. The browns are still winning the war.
     Just the thought of wrinkles is chilling and arthritis pain can be paralyzing. On the other hand , aging is something we should all look forward to because that means we are doing just that. WE ARE AGING. Because the alternative , is not preferable. Aging means we are living. There is no reason not to want look and be as youthful as possible we just should not forget that aging is a good thing.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Zak Ebrahim: I am the son of a terrorist. Here's how I chose peace.

    This video is quite compelling. I plan on reading the book. When I finish reading it I will write more about this. I had forgotten that the individual who murdered Meir Kahane was the mastermind of the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. 

In Sickness and in Health

     I recently visited an friend in the hospital. Its always difficult, but this time it was more challenging than usual. The friend that I visited has many health issues and one of them has made it so this friend will most likely never be able to live life normally again.. Visiting my friend and his wife in the hospital was quite interesting. There wasn't an aura of sadness in the room. I am not sure if my friend will  ever be able to leave the hospital. His wife was so upbeat. I think that these situations are so difficult because as much as it is sad that her husband is in the hospital, I suspect the wife realizes their time together even if it is in the hospital is precious.
      I pray that  my friend has a refuah shelemah and that he and his wife will be able to have a normal life again. Until then I am glad that they are able to have and appreciate the time that they are having together as long as it lasts. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Klimt: Adele's Last Will (2006)

     I found this documentary on you tube posted by Randol Schoenberg the lawyer who helped Maria Altmann get her families paintings  that were stolen from the Nazis back from Austria.

Woman in Gold

     Several years ago I went to the musem mile event on fifth avenue . That's the one night in June when the museums have free admission. That year my friend insisted we go to the Neueue Gallery to see a Gustav Klimt painting. I did not really know the history behind it until I saw this new film Woman in Gold.  Apparently the painting called Woman in Gold was a painting of an Austrian Jewish woman named Adele Bloch-Bauer. It was one of five paintings that the Bloch-Bauer family owned before the Nazis stole them from their home during the holocaust. These paintings were displayed in the Belvedere museum in Austria. Aside from being stolen paintings they also stripped the painting of Adele Bloch-Bauer of its Jewish roots. It was called Woman in Gold instead of saying it was a painting of Adele Bloch-Bauer.
      In the late nineties Maria Altmann , the niece of Adele Bloch-Bauer created a law suit to regain custody of her family's paintings. Through quite an amazing battle they did manage to recover these paintings. What an amazing feat. It is bittersweet. Though she could have the paintings Maria Altmann could never replace the family she lost and the home and homeland she lost due to the Nazis.
        The saddest moment of the film is when in a flashback Maria Altmann says goodbye to her parents before she escapes Vienna. Her father says that they worked hard for what they had but though the Nazis could take away their things they could not take away the love they had for their family. To me this is the story of the Jews  and anti-semitism. We work so hard for what we have and the goyim are so envious.
         When watching the film it is important to note that the painting of Adele Bloch-Bauer is so much more dazzling in person than what one sees on film.
         This is a really good film worth seeing


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sometimes Things Change

     I was searching facebook the other day for old college roommates and spotted a previously anorexic old roommate. It was fun to spy her double chins in the picture. She looks okay now but all that I could think of is how she had been so obsessed with weight loss when she was 18 and I wonder what her 18 year old self would think if she saw her older self. I think she would not like her older pudgier self even though her older , pudgier self looks a lot happier in her facebook photos than she had in old college pictures.
    I am humbled to say that it made me gleeful to see a smug formerly anorexic roommate heavier and slightly weathered.  At the same time I am happy to see that she did let go of her extreme diets and decided to live a little. She may look chunky now but she looks a lot happier than she had  all those years ago.
    When you lose touch with people in your mind you think that they have remained identical to the image you have of them from when you last thought of them. Its jarring to see them and realize time has really passed and that we all have aged a little , some more gracefully and graciously  than others. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Curly Hair Rant

      Curly hair has a mind of its own. The trick to combatting the frizz is the right hair products. I hate how often when curly hair is showcased in a women's magazine its the curly hair of a woman of color instead of a white person with curly hair. I am not saying that they should not show diversity but don't discriminate against showing people who look like me that have curly hair. They also have hair tips for curly haired  people that you can tell were written by straight haired people. My personal favorite dumb tip is when they tell curly haired people to use a curling iron to make their hair look better. EXCUSE ME. My hair is naturally curly. When one has naturally curly hair one does not need a CURLING IRON. I mean really. All a curly haired person needs to make the most of his/her natural texture is the right hair products. Leave in conditioner is a savior. It really perks up naturally curly hair. This is way more effective and much healthier for curly hair. Until fashion editors come to their senses I will continue to skip the hair care sections of every magazine I read. They don't have anything to say to me and my curly haired comrades.

Monday, May 25, 2015


     Now that Shavuos is over I am basking in the 3 day break from the world. Now I have to prepare myself to return to the chaotic world of work tomorrow without the buffer of a Sunday. ARGH.
Shavuah Tov all.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Chag Sameach

     I really enjoy legal holidays like Memorial Day because I have off of work then and can do whatever I want. This year I am going to be cheated out of that experience since Shavuos and Memorial Day coincide . I suppose it is good for people who have trouble getting off for Jewish holidays but since baruch Hashem that is not my issue I just miss having two separate holidays off of work instead of one  combined. I guess there is always next year.... Sigh.
     Anyway folks, have an chag sameach and a happy Memorial Day.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


      How much would you do for someone else if your beliefs don't coincide ? Would you observe more just because your kids wanted you to ? Would you observe a particular mitzvah if your spouse wanted you to but you would not do it otherwise? I guess for most people the answer would be that it depends on what it is , how much the other person wanted you to do it, and how much it bothered you or did not bother you to do it.
       I think the most difficult questions occur when people are married for a long time and one  person's convictions change. Perhaps one person has less emunah and does not want to be as observant as the  other spouse and the other spouse does not want to change. This can also go the other way where one person wants to be more observant and the other person does not. There are not simple answers to these questions especially if there are children involved. The truth it is complicated even when there are no children involved. When a couple is together for a long time people change and if the two people are committed to each other it is not so clear cut. I guess it all hinges on what someone is willing to do to stay with someone else even if one's beliefs may have changed.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


     The other day a friend of mine told me that she thought that I was fortunate because I live alone and therefore have my freedom to do whatever I want on the weekends. I guess she also meant because I am single. The funny part is that though I do not have any roommates I don't really feel like I am alone. I am around people constantly at work , on the train, walking down the street, in the hallways of my apartment building, spending time with friends. There isn't a lot of time to be alone.  Though I do not have roommates I don't think of myself as "living alone". The only time I think about it is when I have good guests and miss them when they leave.
      Then again its not so much the living alone part that gives me such freedom its the single without kids that does. I do not have a husband  or child who would make my down time less my own. Freedom is nice, but  I can see how responsibilities and commitments can make life rich as well. Alone isn't always best, but I am enjoying my alone time while I have it.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Lincoln and the Jews

      There is an amazing exhibit at the New York Historical Society that will be up until June 7 called Lincoln and the Jews. It is about the special relationship that Lincoln had with Jewish people and how he fought against anti-semitism in the United States. There was a lot that I had already known that was in the exhibit as well as much I did not. There are a lot of hand written documents as well as photos and paintings. There is a circular that they give out at the exhibit that summarizes everything lest you forget all of the information that you have seen.
Jerusalem by  Frederick Edwin Church 1870

   The most interesting painting that was at the exhibit was the painting of Jerusalem from 1870. I had no idea that Lincoln had any interest in visiting Israel.

        I never thought about the date Lincoln was shot. Now I know. It was on a Friday night . It was the fifth day of Pesach that year .  He died the next day. On Shabbos. Lincoln was a man who believed in freedom for  black slaves and for equality for Jewish people in the United States. It is fitting that he passed away during our holiday of freedom from slavery. Very cool.
          Be sure and click on my photos to read them better.
        It is hard to sum up a very packed exhibit full of so much information. All I can say is if you are in the New York area you should try to see this exhibit. You won't regret it.