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