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....