Thursday, December 29, 2016

PS22 Chorus "MI YIMALEL" Chanukah Traditional

Monday, December 26, 2016

Nefesh Mountain | The Hanukkah Dance by Woody Guthrie

   Woody Guthrie's wife was Jewish and he wrote a lot of songs with his mother in law for the Jewish community center in Coney Island where he lived with his family. I find it quite interesting that the man who wrote some of the  most American of folk songs like This Land Is Your Land  also ended up writing Jewish songs. I think this is a nice send up of this song.

Hanukkah Dance - Woody Guthrie

   Woody Guthrie sings Hanukkah songs

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Jerusalem of gold- Naomi Shemer

Harrassment

     The sad part of being single is that when you try to be polite sometimes it backfires. If you just make polite conversation with someone of the opposite gender they assume you want to marry them. Most people do not think talk =marriage proposal but when they do it can become harrowing. The party who thinks they have been jilted start cursing at the unsuspecting friendly person when they do not want to take things to the next level = a date. They yell at them that the only reason the friendly person is single is because they are not interested in this nut job=them.
      I find it best to not even make eye contact whenever I feel someone crazy might be interested in me. If I am nice to them they get encouraged. If I try to ignore them they get incensed. The best is to do everything in one's power to avoid them noticing me. I hate that it has to be this way, but it is.
      The thing is that I too have said hello to members of the opposite gender who quickly walked away from me. I assumed their obvious disinterest and never gave it a second thought. Perhaps this is because I know that even though some men do not like me there are others that I like and like me back. I think that those who start harassing me are those that no one ever likes and now they are taking it out on everyone who rejects them.
      I wish I had the all of the answers, but I hope that I find my bashert soon . I feel like Dorothy trying to find the emerald city as I go down this path of singleness. She would chant lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Well amen sister.

The Chanucorn's Holiday Special

This is so silly, but I can't stop laughing!!

Know What Not to Say

     I never like it when I go to a funeral and if the person who passed on was single or never had children that  these adjectives are used. Why is it necessary ? Even when someone passes away, even at their funeral it has to be mentioned? Do they ever say in a eulogy that the dearly departed wasn't a millionaire or that they were allergic to spinach?
     My point is that at the very least at someones funeral it need not be mentioned that the person was single never married and never had children. Believe me the friends and family who are mourning this person are not missing them for things the person was not, they are mourning them for things that they were. They are missing the wonderful person that passed on for all of the beautiful things that they were in this world . Maybe they wish they could have had other achievements in this world, but need one really point them out at a funeral?
     


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Baruch Dayan Emet

      Yesterday I went to the funeral of my  ex- friend. In a way I felt like a phony. I was sad that she had passed away , but I felt guilty for not visiting her in hospice more. I felt like I hadn't been close friends with her in several years so did I really have a right to be with others who really were close with her and visited her a lot more than I had ? If I did not run to see her  when she was still alive what right did I have to run to her funeral when she was no longer there to appreciate it ?
       In the end I am glad that I did attend the funeral. As many things in life this was one of those things one does not get a second chance for. It also gave me peace of mind for some of the thoughts that had been going through my head. Even if I was not as friendly with her recently as I had been years ago does not mean that I wished her this fate. I was allowed to be sad.
       A big theme for those who eulogized  was that they felt bad for not always "getting" who my friend was and that not everyone appreciated her. Apparently what I felt about her others who knew and loved her had experienced but loved her anyway.  Even for them it was not easy and it was so much on their minds that they mentioned this at her funeral. I guess that is the secret of life. You have to love people for who they are even when you know who they are.
       Its very interesting. My friend really was not herself for the past 6 months, but it still did not seem like she was gone. Now it feels final and really sad. I know that she is not in any pain anymore, but death is just so final. Baruch Dayan Emet. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Death and ex-Friends

    I suppose the title of this post is a bit obvious . When a friend passes away they become an ex-friend ... Well what I really mean is when someone one may have been friends with years ago passes away one realizes how large a part of one's life this person really was.
     An ex-friend of mine passed away today. I would call her an ex-friend because we had been good friends years ago and then we weren't. It had been about at least five years since we had been friends and we rarely ran into each other. Then about eight months ago she fell gravely ill. In that time I began to remember why we had been friends in the first place and I began to realize how much an impact she had on my life .
     Its an odd situation to be in when an ex-friend becomes ill. One feels horrible that this has happened to them but it does not necessarily make forget the past or make one suddenly want to be best friends with them again. It forces one to try to be a better friend to one's old friend that one would have had they not been ill.
     Death is still sad whether one was great friends with the person now or five years ago. Illness , however sad does have a purpose. It gives one time to get used to the impending passing of a friend . It doesn't make it better really but it does help a person prepare . When  a person passes suddenly one does not get to contemplate a world without  a person before one really has to.
      Now that my friend has passed I know that she is no longer is in pain. I hope that she is at peace. I hope she knows that she made an impact on this world though her stay hear was not long. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Chanukah Song Part 4

   It looks like this is from last year, but I didn't see it then. Who would have thought in 1994 that there would be 4 versions of this song? Not me. Its still cute . 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Brave New World

     The election of Donald Trump has been so surprising to so many that  a comedian  named Bert Kreischer whose podcast that I listen to sometimes ,  who voted for Hillary Clinton said that he felt like now that Donald Trump is president he has been in good mood and like anything is possible. That made me laugh so hard. If we can forget that all of this is reality we have to admit that there is going to be a bastion of comedy to be enjoyed for at least the next four years. If Hillary decides to run again in 4 years then we will find out that 74 really is the new 65. You never know. Bernie is 74 or something and he had a large following. If she really becomes the Democratic candidate in four years the presidential debates this year will seem tame.
       The best part is that SNL has been more fun to watch now than it has for about 20 years. I don't think that this was his intention but Donald Trump is definitely going to make people laugh again which really ain't too shabby.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Siyag L'Chachmah Shtikah

      It is always fun to listen to people talk about the presidential election  results. There are some  rules that should be adhered to when one is at a shabbos table. When someone adamantly supports either candidate is best not to argue with them. They are never going to see it your way, especially if you don't know them very well. When a woman is lambasting Trump for sexually harassing women and you are a man it is best to keep quiet. No one  wants to hear your opinion no matter how rational you think you are. Its kind of like when a woman asks a man if she looks fat. Never respond!! This is not the time to denounce feminism and rally for men's rights. No one cares. I am not a Hilary supporter either. Trump is a flawed person and  has been married 3 times . I never will forget the Trump/Marla Maples scandal. Now that Trump is president elect I hope that he will be a good president, good for Israel and good for the Jewish people,  HOWEVER Trump is not the next god-king. Moreover, the best way for a single guy to gain brownie point is to NOT expose his misogynist leanings in front of single women. If you  have to talk that way at all do so with a male audience.
     The positive is that because the presidential elections have been so emotionally charged some people's filters have been lowered so much that they cannot control their true natures. I guess its good news/bad news. I would like to have more faith in my fellow humans. Lack of filter does not help.
    

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!!

     Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving. As we are enjoying our freedom here we can't forget our brethren in Haifa . We have to pray for their safety and for the end to fires there.
cranford rose garden Bklyn botanicall garden
Brooklyn botanical garden
  Its hard to believe its the end of November. It makes me think about how time goes so quickly and how one must make sure one is enjoying how one spends it.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Nature

   One thing that I really miss about the Midwest is seeing nature everywhere. You look out your window there are trees and grass. You drive somewhere and there is so much beauty. In NYC not so much. I went to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden three times this year. It was very healing to go there. As soon as I went through the gates I felt my blood pressure go down. It was awesome. I had been there several times before this year, but since I had ID NYC I was treated to  a year long free membership. I wish I had gone more than just 3 times. Now it is fall so there is not as much beauty to savor there. My membership is still valid for another month. I may go again even so. There are a few indoor attractions . There is an indoor lily pond, a bonsai room  and an awesome cactus garden.
    Perhaps if one grows up in the concrete jungle one does not miss nature. I grew up with nature and miss seeing it as a daily occurrence instead of an  occasional event.


    

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Looking to the future

Only Because Of Trump Did Media Suddenly Care About Anti-Semitism: Liberal reporters and columnists may not have been aware of anti-semitism before Trump, but to regain legitimacy post-election, they had better wise up.
     I have been hearing more talk of fear of anti-semitsm now that Trump has been elected. I have to tell you, over the past 5 years I have heard about more anti semitism in the United States that has zero to do with Donald Trump and more to do with BLM and BDS. Is it only anti semitism if its a republican? I do not know if there will be more or less anti-semitism with Trump in the white house. I hope not. But wake up folks. Anti-semitism has been percolating lately and its NOT just due to republican presidential elects.
        My fear with Trump in the white house is that there could be people who do not like the idea of a Jewish first daughter and Jewish first son in law. Of course I have not heard anyone talking about that. I for one am looking forward to seeing Jewish grandchildren in the white house. I think that Abraham Lincoln is somewhere smiling.
    

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Post Its For Peace

      In the movie Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion, Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow claimed they invented Post its. I was in Union Square to day and saw a lot of post its on the subway station's walls . People put up post its of their fears and concerns over Trump winning the presidential election. I thought about taking a picture of it, but it was just so weird that I didn't . I will say that this was the most peaceful form of protesting I have seen . I didn't have to listen to any rhetoric and the post its were so many pretty colors. They make the tiles of the station walls look sooo much better. If I stood far enough away , I could not read any of the words and just take in the beautiful mosaic of post its that claim to make America great again.


     P.S. I went to Union Square on Thursday and decided to take pictures of the post its. There was  a man there sweeping them up.
sweeping up the thereapy
rainbow of post its

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Beyond the Politics of Anger (The Daily Telegraph) - Rabbi Sacks

Beyond the Politics of Anger (The Daily Telegraph) - Rabbi Sacks: This is not politics as usual. The American Presidential election, the Brexit vote and the rise of extremism in the politics of the West are warnings of something larger, and the sooner we realise it, the better. What we are witnessing is the birth of a new politics of anger. It is potentially very dangerous …


   The above article is so true no matter who you voted for in the election. 

Outside Trump Towers 11/09/16


video
video        I went past Trump Towers on November 9 just to see what was going on there. On the one hand we have occupy Trump and on the other hand we have a Lubavitcher.  There was also a large crew taking selfies with Trump Towers . I  think a lot of the selfie snappers were tourists. 

Shavuah Tov

     Well I guess everyone knows the news. Donald Trump is the president elect of the United States. Though many would disagree with me what is worse than his presidency is what it represents. Anyone who wants to be president , if he or she tries hard enough can . One really sees how chas v'shalom some really evil regimes rise to power seemingly out of nowhere.
      I also think it is so odd that the press was so sure that Hilary was going to win with a landslide. I thought she would win as well , but I did not think it would be a landslide victory. I thought that it would be a close race. I think that the press wanted Hilary to win so much that they could   not fathom that anyone would vote for the Donald. What buffoons. They should have asked me what I thought. So many people that I know were undecided . Many others had a preference but were not happy about their choices. Too many. I live in New York and my vote unless it is for the democrat does not count . I actually wanted to vote for the loser in this election because both choices were so abhorrent to me.
        All of the protesting is not going to change the results  of the election. The only thing that can is voting in better candidates during the primaries. Obama came out of nowhere and won the primaries and elections these past few elections. Trump came even more out of nowhere. I did not think he had a chance.
        The thing is  a lot of people wanted change. Bernie Sanders had such a great support because people disliked Clinton so much. Many of his supporters simply did not vote. I am not quite sure how Trump squeezed through but I suppose that was a way people who were undecided could stick it to the system. Trump isn't really a conservative so those who did not want Hilary did not care. With the media so sure that Trump was losing those who voted Trump could stick it to the system and who would be the wiser. Except that's not what happened. Trump won the electoral vote . Stupid media.
Then again Gore won the popular vote in 2000 but Bush got the electoral vote. That was just 16 years ago. How quickly people forget.
       I am praying for Trump to be a better president than even he expects to be . I am not planning on moving to Canada anytime soon.  (If I moved anywhere besides the U.S. it would be Israel)
      

Sunday, October 30, 2016

BROOKLYN

    I just watched this movie. Its a pretty standard movie. A young Irish woman immigrates the the United States in the 1950's. Family tragedy has her return home and at some point she has to decide where her home really is. It really made me think. When a person grows up somewhere it is one's home. One can leave and make another home but when does it become one's true home? I suppose for most its when one finds love and makes a family in that new home that that new home becomes home. What else can make the new home one's real home? This of course is the question I grapple with on a daily basis. I guess my  struggle becomes the answer to the question.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Yichus

     Facebook stalking old acquaintances is always fun but often disappointing. Or as Forrest Gump would say its like a box of chocolates, you never know what you will get. This round of Facebook stalking was  not different.
      I recently stalked a previous teacher/rabbi in my old community. Or more correctly I stalked his children. After my stalking I came up with this. The rabbi has recently passed away and only one of his children is as frum as she was brought up to be as often this happens in families. Its just more stark when it happens to a rabbi's family. And not only are some of the children not frum they are not necessarily such great people either .
      I come from a lovely family. We are not rich, but we are good people. (I am totally unbiased of course). My point is no matter how well connected a head start one has it does not always predict the future. As the Yiddish saying goes (in my English translation) man plans and G-d laughs. We do the best we can and though some people have clear advantages in life , it does not mean that these advantages will be taken advantage of. I always thought this without being able to cite people that I know as visual aids, but sometimes it helps me feel more smug as I should not feel. No one asks for the family one grows up in . Usually what one sees from the outside is very different from what goes on in reality. The other thing is we all have personal choices to make and even if our parents are wonderful and show us the best way to be and give us the best feeling about yiddishkeit anyone could. Kids are people and they make their own choices and have their own personalities.
    Everybody had to find their place in life no matter what yichus one may or may not have. One should be proud and grateful for one's family no matter how average or typical they are. As it turns out being of "average " stock might be the best thing ever. It does not make you cocky or make you feel like you have too many unrealistic expectations to live up to. Turns out many who grew up with "yichus" might really have preferred not too have so much yichus.  

Curly Hair Tips From Curly Haired Girls

These are my people. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Yonina - Modé ani (live)

   This is another adorable video from my favorite Israeli couple. Enjoy.  Have a great Shabbos.

BAD HOMBRES, NASTY WOMEN (ft. "Weird Al" Yankovic)- Songify 2016!

 The only positive part of this election cycle are the parodies. I have always loved Weird Al's parodies and this one is no exception. I think that no matter which candidate you prefer, Weird Al's spoof hits the mark. Enjoy!

יונינה- אין עוד מלבדו ~ Yonina- Ein Od Milvado

   This is the sweetest couple. I really enjoy their videos. I know there is the question about kol isha, issue, but I hope they aren't hassled too much about it because their videos are so cute and so inspiring. They are such a beautiful Jewish family  and their music is so special. I am looking forward to hearing more from them. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Lama Suka Zu?

   I remember singing this song in school but I did not remember the words . I think that I was taught a slightly different version than this. No matter, this is still good for nostalgia. If you haven't heard it before,  enjoy! Chag sameach!!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Trump Clinton singing Time of my life (LuckyTV)

   This is just the most amazing video. Its genius. Trump and Clinton are having the time of their lives mud slinging at the presidential debates. To call it dirty dancing would not be a stretch. I love the soundtrack from DIRTY DANCING and I wish that the debates and this whole election would be as much fun. I thank the person who put together this video. They get my vote.

Historic Mayhem

     I only watched the last question of the presidential debate tonight. It is a question that I would not expect to be asked of candidates in an American election. The question being "After all the mud slinging this evening, is there anything nice either of you can say about your opponent? " What a sad state of affairs when we have two candidates for commander in chief of the United States and it has come down to this.  There is a book called  I LEARNED EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW IN KINDERGARTEN. Well, I think that the future president of the United States needs to read that book stat.
      I admit that I haven't watched a presidential debate since I was in high school and that the only breaking news story that I wasn't pissed about interrupting  a soap opera was the Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill hearings. This is a close second. I would enjoy it more if it really was a soap opera.
      When I am not putting my head in the sand when the November elections are mentioned I think  about how every presidential election since the Gore - Bush election has been bizarre and I wonder in what way the election could be any odder than the current one. Each presidential election over the past 15 years I have thought this and unfortunately each election surpassed my imagination for being more preposterous than the last.
        In November 2001 I went to sleep election night after it was announced that Gore was declared president. When I got up in the morning the newscasters announced that it was still too close to call. Say what? That NEVER had happened before. Okay, I wasn't surprised  that Bush made a second term after stealing the 2000 election.
        In 2008 Obama came out of nowhere and beat Hilary Clinton for the nomination of President . In 2012 he got a second term .
       And that brings us to today. I may have preferred Hilary Clinton as a candidate in 2008, but a lot has happened between now and then. Donald Trump   became the Republican candidate which has made this campaign seem more and more like high school student council elections. Ronald Reagan was an actor, but Donald Trump is a reality tv star. What I would like to know is whose reality is he living ?
         As Yom Kippur is coming closer I think that there has never been more incentive to pray for our future. I ask you Hashem why is it that people always seem to need to have such strong incentive before we realize that the future really is in Your hands? We  need to do our best but  we are not in control, You are.
        

Sunday, October 9, 2016

THE CAMPAIGN CONTINUES

     Every presidential  election seems like the craziest election ever. This election cycle is  no exception. Some people are going overboard with their candidate support. Some aren't talking to people that they used to be good friends with just because they do not support their favorite candidate. This is utterly ridiculous. Support whoever you prefer but none of these candidates are worth losing one's friends over. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

The Last Shabbos of 5776

    Its hard to believe another year has passed. So much has been accomplished ,so much more that needs to be done. Wishing everyone a peaceful last Shabbos of 5776.

Rosh Hashannah

http://youtu.be/KBTfGXw69HY. This is one of the smarter Rosh Hashannah videos. Wishing everyone a sweet new 5777!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Notable Poke Stop

     For the past few months I have been playing Pokemon Go on my phone. I know  its a silly game , but the good part is that it is helping me  get to know a lot of information about New York City's landmarks that I had not known before.
      I like to go to the Trader Joe's on 23rd Street. There are a lot of good poke stops near there. One of them that keeps popping up is  the poke stops  for the cemetery of Shearith  Israel which is a Spanish -Portuguese Jewish cemetery.
 I had been meaning to photograph it for the past few weeks, but whenever I would walk by it happened to be night. Then  there was the bombing on 23rd Street and Seventh Avenue in Manhattan last week. I was hoping that I did not miss my chance to photograph this slice of history that Pokemon Go has led me to .
    Alas, all was not lost . I was able to go to 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue,  and behold the Shearith Israel cemetery was still intact in all of its glory. The gate is locked, but that did not stop me from being able to create a montage of photos to remember those Jews who had lived in Manhattan many years ago.
     The cemetery has quite a bit of charm. Perhaps it evokes a charming homage to  those whose bodies were buried there.I would like to think that they appreciate that Pokemon Go has made many remember them who may never had known they existed.
 





Monday, September 19, 2016

FIDF Lone Soldiers Funday 2016

    I have so much respect for lone soldiers in Israel. It is so nice to know that there is an organization that is there to help them.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Later

    A lifetime ago when I was in college I was hit by a car. I don't want to go into all of the gory details, but one of the results was having to use a cane for several months until I healed.
     Recently a friend of mine fell and started using a cane because she had trouble walking. Her mother had a cane that she sometimes uses , so my friend started using it. Incorrectly. When I was given the cane years ago I was taught how to use it and I could not control myself and instructed my friend on how to use her cane. After she used the cane properly she thanked my because she felt better . At the time I told her that I am glad that something good came out of my injury years ago. There is nothing else in my life B"H that would have taught me how to use a cane . Just that.
     I bet that there are so many things in life like this that no one even recognizes. I am sure that this has happened other times in my own life but I never paid attention to it.
     

Rabbi Jacob, y va danser !

     This is really funny. Its strange to think this was filmed in France 40 years ago.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

9-11-2016

    Its 9/11 again.  Its been fifteen years since 9/11/2001 and it still brings tears to my eyes as I watch them reading the never ending list of names of those who lost their lives at  what was the site of the World Trade Center. Its uncanny to see some of the children of those who died on 9/11 who never met their fathers. They are already 14 or 15 years old. Has that much time passed? Is the world any better since then?
      I still remember 9/11/2001 as one of the most frightening days in my life. I was not at the WTC when it happened but I was in Manhattan at the time. I was at work further uptown. When I left work that day I could see the smoke of the attack . It was that thick. For days there was the drone of helicopters protecting New Yorkers . The week after was Rosh Hashanah. It was so strange to celebrate the Jewish Holidays so close to such devastation.
      When I woke up on 9/12/2001 I remember thinking "Now What?" The world was just never going to be the same. America was never going to be the same. They had tried to blow up the WTC  eight years before but they had not succeeded. I hadn't forgotten about that. Apparently neither had the nefarious terrorists. I remember walking through the shops at the WTC  the summer of 2001  and thinking about the failed attempt on the trade center. It felt eerie. I had no idea what was yet to come a few months later.
        It rained heavily in NYC on 9/10/2001. I was on the subway going home that day and one of the poles people hold onto on the  train fell off and someone picked it off the floor and took it home. I had never seen one of those  break.
         9/11/2001 was a beautiful sunny day. It was also very hot. I had plans to do the errands I could not have done on the rainy 9/10/2001. I also had a date planned for that day. Needless to say my plans for that day changed . I left  work early that day but no one could leave the city at first because they had stopped all of the trains until later in case any of the accomplices were trying to escape. In the end I stayed with friends who lived in Manhattan. I did not go home until 9/12/2001.
        I know two people who had brothers who died at the WTC. I found out about the passing of one of them when I saw a note on the "wailing wall" at Grand Central station giving my friend as the person to contact because his brother was one of the missing people. I know a few people who escaped the WTC as it was going down.
         You could not forget that day . For weeks I would see the smoke of the burning WTC as I was on the train from Brooklyn to Manhattan every morning. 9/11 was all anyone could talk about for weeks afterward. Everyone was in mourning. The world as we knew it had changed forever.
The Freedom Tower  in lower Manhattan 2016
      In memory of those who lost their lives so tragically on 9/11/2001. The world is not the same without them. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

REBBETZIN ESTHER JUNGREIS APPEARS ON “TUESDAY NIGHT LIVE IN JERUSALEM”

    Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis passed away yesterday at the age of 80. She was quite an inspiring woman. A holocaust survivor from Hunagary, she founded the kiruv organization Hineni.
    Rebbtzin Jungreis was the only kiruv person who I have ever hear speak who could intertwine snippets of pop culture into her lectures and get it right. She was able to meld the ancient teachings with the present and make it relevant. I was especially impressed that as a very frum woman that she embarked on such a path. At one point it was hip for 20's and 30's something singles to attend her Tuesday night lectures in order to possible meet their bashert during the socializing after the lecture.
    Rebbetzin Jungreis's funeral was today. Its hard to say goodbye to that spunky petite woman whose mission in life was to spread the word of the Torah . She will be missed. 

Matisyah at Moshava Camp

   These kids are never going to forget this summer. I went to Camp Moshava in Wild Rose , Wisconsin. We never had any surprise guests like this back then.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Monday, August 22, 2016

OTD

     After reading a lot of stories of  chasidim  who have gone off the derech it has changed how I view them. I used to think that just by how they look that they must be on another spiritual plane . Now I realize that that same chasidic garbed individual may really be someone who is plotting their freedom from it. One cannot tell just by looking at a person's dress how sincere their actions are. Truthfully, I always  believed  this about people's externals. I  never thought that someone's dress defined the intensity of their religious fervor . Now I believe it even more.
     No matter how religious or non-religious a person grows up one needs to figure out where one fits in and feels comfortable.
      One more thing,,,, Judaism  isn't all or nothing. Its lots of shades of grey, 

Time

   I always feel like time is slipping away. I finally realized that the best way to make time pass more slowly is to limit my computer use. Time passes much slower when I am not under the hypnotic lure of my computer

Monday, August 15, 2016

Looking for Pokemon

      The greatest fad right now is the Pokemon Go app. In case you have been living under a rock lately  , Pokemon Go is a game on smartphones where you look for Pokemon all over the world and you find them and balls to throw at them to catch them  by walking around outside.
      At first I brushed PG off as a mindless silly app until I thought that perhaps I should check it out . As enjoyable as PG is , its  not as addictive as Candy Crush was for me .  The game its self is rather silly but the fun part is finding the "poke" stops .

The entrance of Central Park at  60th and Fifth Avenue
  The game is a tourist's dream. The poke stops are at stores, restauraunts, shuls, yeshivas , churches and landmarks. It makes you take notice of what institutions are around you in a way you may not have known before. It also adds a bit of knowledge about the place and when it was established. So often you walk past a place everyday and you don't realize how special or iconic it is or was.
     The other fun part is watching all of the people at certain choice locations who are looking for pokemons. When I first saw hoards of people standing at the entrance of Central Park on Fifth Avenue I thought that there was an extraordinary boom in tourism this year. Other days it made me think that there was a train outage. When I found out that its a major poke stop for PG I was relieved and intrigued . Of course I had to take pictures.
      The app its self tells people to be careful while looking for poke stops. Now it can tell how fast you are moving and asks you if you are driving a car or if you are a passenger. It needs to be adjusted for New Yorkers though. When I am walking it thinks I am in a car and asks me if I am a passenger. No, PG app, I am WALKING.
      I don't see too many people playing PG in Midwood, but there are a lot of poke stops here. Carlos and Gabby, Ave J Q train station has two, Beit Torah , Wolf and Lamb and  shorashim,  Landau's shul and Pomegranate supermarket are pokemon gyms.
      I think that someone should make a Pokemon single's  event . You would already have your smartphone there to exchange numbers with a special someone.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

This is the best Henna Hair dying YouTube video ever

    I admit to giving in to the henna craze and trying to dye my hair with it about three weeks ago. Its very messy but very worth it not to use the chemicals. This video is one of the best I have seen yet describing the whole process. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Have Tissues Nearby While Reading this One...

    This is truly amazing. One really does not know what the extent of one's actions can set into motion!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Ghosts

     Have you ever thought you saw a recently deceased friend or relative walking down the street ? I have  . Actually my friend is still alive, but very ill. No matter , I think I am seeing her walk down the street constantly , until I realize it can't be her.  The thing is that I hadn't seen her for about six months before she was hospitalized for a serious illness. Its so hard to process, instead I think that I think I see her everywhere she used to be . 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Made in China - How a Chinese became a Hasidic Jew - Conversion

    I'm a sucker for this kind of story. We all secretly are happy to find out that someone who is not Jewish wants to be Jewish . This man is so inspiring and its so wonderful that he is one of our Jewish brethren. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Online

     So many hours pass and I find myself glued to the computer . I never can believe how many hours pass. I am never bored but I always feel like I haven't accomplished much. Then again I usually haven't. I have been in the abyss that is called online.
        In NYC on line means one is standing in line. In computer speak online means on the Internet. I think the two meanings totally compliment each other. New Yorkers are so busy that they are online when they are online. Hah!
     Even if I wanted to I can't go back to the dark ages before Internet. There is no going back. I can reduce my usage though, even at the risk of experiencing boredom again.  I have a new cell phone that is not as app friendly so I am online less. This is really a good thing. I find myself reading more. Ok , I read on a kindle, but I still consider a kindle low tech because I have the black and white kindle that is really just for reading.
     Moments pass so quickly that any way I can slow things down makes me feel better. Even moments of boredom make life seem longer in a good way .
      There really is no way to stop change and time , but if we are lucky we can try to maximize the time we do have. Reducing time in the abyss of the  Internet will help. If  only I would heed my own advice.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Politics Make Strange Bedfellows

  I have always loved political parodies that abound in merchandise around Manhattan during presidential elections. This election cycle has had so much to mock and little I wish was serious. I found this gem of a window of a bookstore yesterday. I just had to share it. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Kol Isha

     Once upon a time Matisyahu was a hasidic reggae singer. Now he is "just" a Jewish reggae singer. The world of secular music can be very difficult for a frum performer to retain frumkeit.
      What happens if you are a woman with a gifted voice and you would like to sing professinally?
Bulletproof Stockings which is now just Perle is trying to figure out what that path might be . She has a band with two other women and has formed a group that will only perform for  female audiences.
It must be difficult for Perle to perform for a women only audience. When you hear her sing you realize that someone with such a voice should be singing in the secular music scene. She is that good. However she is dedicated to only performing in front of women. This is also difficult because her songs do not exactly evoke bais yaakov. The JCC Manhattan where Perle performed their first gig was the more appropriate venue . There was a diverse group of young and old, religious and less religious . In fact more younger women than older women were there .
      Though it may be difficult for Perle to find a large audience for her brand of kol isha concerts when she does she will be better off than Matisyahu . Though there is always temptation, performing at a JCC way more wholesome than the typical secular music scene. Bulletproof Stockings had performed at the Bitter End a few years ago, but being a kol isha event makes it a bit more sheltered as well. In a way being a woman singer who observes the laws of kol isha really is a blessing. It prevents a frum woman from getting into some very unkosher situations where kol isha is only the tip of the iceberg.
      I give Perle a  lot of credit for trying to carve out a space for herself. She is trying to use her talent and stay within a level of religious observance. Its not perfect but she is making the effort. It takes a lot of guts, I wish her well.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

     I recently visited  the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. I have been there before but I had not explored as much of the grounds as I had on my recent visit. Perhaps it was because on this recent visit I went by myself.
     
The water lilies
      I visited my the water lilies which is one of my personal favorites.
      I discovered the fragrance garden which has actually been part of the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens since 1955. The fragrance garden was created with blind children in mind so they could enjoy the gardens. This garden was a model for other botanical gardens. The plants in this part of the garden are fragrant and may be touched.

the fragrance garden
 Another part of the garden that I had never seen was the rose garden. I don't know why I had never seen the rose garden before  as its been around since the 1920's and I have usually visited the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens in the summer.
     I had also never seen the arc of roses or the Japanese river area.
      I didn't realize that the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens had been around since 1912.  Who knew ? All of Brooklyn was probably more bucolic then.
       There is something about nature that is so relaxing. Something so needed in all of this New York City living. I need to visit the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens more this summer and you should too. The pictures tell only part of the story. One has to visit the actual gardens to   experience the full effect. You won't regret it.

the rose garden

the arc of roses
braille in the fragrance garden


the Japanese letter and river

I'm Having a Glass of Wine

    As a kid I could not wait to be able to vote. I thought it was the coolest thing. Now that I am more than old enough to vote I wish there were better choices. I really do not like either choice. Why can't we have a do over for the primaries and get some better candidates?
    The truth  is there isn't usually a candidate that I especially love but there usually a clearer better of two evils choice. Instead of a democrat and a republican there are two democrats running.    Couldn't the republicans have come up with a better candidate? They had four years to come up with a good one. Now we have two democrat candidates and though I am a registered democrat I don't like either candidate. Who knows, I might not have liked a different republican candidate either but I may have voted for them if they had been one of the choices.  I will wait to see who the vice president choices are. Hilary might be going to jail after the election so its important to know who her choice for vice president is. I want to know who Trump is choosing because that might make me more comfortable voting for him. Now I feel more like sitting this one out.

 I saw a very prolific quiz on Facebook the other day :
    Democrat
     Republican
  x I'm having a glass of wine
 
 This sums up how I feel about the 2016 election.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Diaspora - Simcha L'Artzecha

    Just a little blast from the past to rev up your Sunday !!

Love is Important

     There has been so much death and destruction in the world lately that it makes one think about what is important in life. Some people pontificate about living life to the fullest because every day might be their last. Interesting, but kind of depressing . If one has to go to work everyday or has responsibilities it is hard to really do that. And what about sleeping? Does one really have time to sleep when living like each day is one's last day?
      Fortunately I have another answer. I think that its important to spend time with one's loved ones and to make sure that they know how much one cares about them. I think one should also spend as much time as one can doing what one enjoys. We don't have control over everything, but these things we can do.
       Life is short, but it is possible to make it count.
     

Monday, July 4, 2016

In Sickness and in Health

     Its always heartbreaking to hear that someone one knows is ill . It is especially sad when it is someone one used to be close friends with but one no longer is friends with. Even worse if this person was not ill one would be trying one;s darnedest to steer clear of.
     The first stage one goes through is anger that this person has to be sick. They always seemed to love the attention of being the sick one anyway , but now they are really sick. It can make a person feel like all their compassion for them as the sick person who liked to milk the sympathy card has been long depleted. But now they really are sick.  %&*.  One knows its not right to feel this way. Of course there is also denial. Maybe they really aren't as sick as it seems. Maybe or hopefully they are yet again  exaggerating . But in one's heart of hearts one knows they aren't exaggerating.
       Then there is guilt. There is the fear that when one does actually visit this ex-friend that they will not be happy . They will be angry at how the friendship had deteriorated. In sickness there are few filters left.
       One waits. One prays. One hopes the decree will be reversed . One hopes this ex-friend will get better. But they don't . They get worse. Time is running out and one knows one has to face the music. One has to visit them . Not because of possible future regrets, but to honor that past friendship.
      Visiting someone in hospice is one of the most deeply depressing things to do. What does one say to someone who is waiting at death's door? It helps to look online for hints of what to say to someone in an advanced stage of cancer. It helps, but it does not totally prepare a person for what one is about to encounter.
      It is surreal to encounter someone stripped of there memories but with their personality remaining. Perhaps they can really remember but they cannot express their thoughts anymore. It is hard to tell. Not sure if one is recognized but not sure that one isn't. For the first ten minutes she does not speak at all. So I just talk. She is shaking. Its hard to take in. She tries to tell me what has happened to her and how its for the best but she cannot fully express it. She is frustrated. Considering all she has been through she looks very good.  The nurse says she does not know what she is saying when my friend seems agitated at me for not understanding her questions, but she cannot find the words. Maybe she really did have recognition because she very clearly says  that no one really knows the real her and that she really is a very fragile soft person. This was something that she would have said  had she been her usual self.  She tries to ask if it seems like she is out of it but the nurse interrupts her and says that she doesn't know what she is saying . She argues back and then stops. It seems she does understand .She keeps tapping her wrist . She wants to know the time. Is glad to know its not too late. When the nurse asks her how to say amen in Hebrew she perks up. The nurse does not think she knows what is going on because she does not know her. When she asks her questions she answers partially and I finish her sentence when the nurse keeps pressing her.  She nods when I answer for her.
     Her being in this state sort of gives others time to say goodbye. Then again, it seems cruel to say goodbye to someone who may not understand that this is goodbye. It seems cruel to try to make amends when the person can hear but not kick back.
      When I left I shook her hand. She gave a firm handshake. I hugged her and said. abi gezunt. and she firmly replied abi gezunt back. From her response I think that she was glad that I visited. I really could not say goodbye. It was just too sad.
      

Happy 4th of July from Israel

 This is so cute!

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Age of Adaline . Aging

     I recently watched the movie The Age of Adaline. In a nutshell the movie is about a woman who does not age past the age of twenty-nine. Unfortunately everyone else in her life does including her daughter. Its fascinating especially because its the story of a woman and not a man.
     The cold hard truth is that not everyone ages at the same rate. Some people look old at thirty while others don't look old until they are seventy, I myself am fortunate to look a lot younger than my years. I appreciate it but with such a bracha there is a  balance to be made that others don't have to worry about. I am still carded when I buy wine which admittedly as flattering as it is annoying. Men who are way too young for me are interested in me not for the wrong reasons . Until they figure out my real age. If I told people that I was fifteen years younger than my real age they would believe me.
     Then again, as a single woman its amazing to look young. If I had kids and they looked younger than me then it might be a different story. Then again it would still feel great. I have met older women who had mothers who looked younger than them or  looked like sisters and they were sixty something and eighty something respectively.
     The crazy truth is  often  people treat people the age they look and not the age they are. That's what makes it all so confusing and so easy to lose track of time. I think that that's why people do age. It reminds   us of the the passage of time.
      Despite my musings, The Age of Adeline is  a good movie because it really makes a person think about aging. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Twist

I recently saw an event advertised for a women's only concert at a secular Jewish venue. The woman singing is frum and observes the laws of kol ishah. She does not sing in front of men. The only thing is, this secular Jewish event space decided to be pc and the ad said that this is a women only concert  and for  those who identify as women. Well... biological women are women but those who identify as women , except for biological hermaphrodites are men. Is it kol ishah to sing in front of trans women? Aren't they really men? They often transform to women who like women not women who like men . Isn't that the what the whole issue of kol ishah is? Biological men who who desire women no matter how they dress? It really upsets me that this venue had to put into writing their desire to include men who identify as women in this kol ishah event. I would think that this would make this more of an issue than if they happened to let men who identify into the event in a don't ask, don't tell type of admittance. If a man who identifies as a woman shows up to the event and the singer did not realize they would be in attendance then I bet it would be less of a kol ishah issue. If the singer knows that this is going to happen then it would seem like she thinks this kind of kol ishah is permitted, which I would guess that it is not. If these transgender women like men then I think it would be less of a kol ishah issue. Gee whiz. These are  issues I never thought I would be contemplating.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Greta Van Susteren of FOX News the Tel Aviv Attack

    Its nice to see someone supportive of Israel. Bless you Greta Van Susteren.

Terror

      I am still in shock about the terror attack at the gay nightclub in Orlando a week ago. I am glad that  it was Shavuot when it happened so I could not listen to Obama's statement or any newscaster's  opinions for a few days.
      I have a few thoughts that I would like to share. I do not think that increased gun control laws would have stopped this attack. Hello. Terrorists have ways of securing guns to do nefarious things. I myself do not own a gun nor do I want to. What if the bouncer at the Pulse club in Orlando had a gun and knew how to use it? Maybe the devastation would not have been as great.
      The funniest reaction I have heard is that the LGBT community is upset that people are making this such a universal tragedy instead of just  an LGBT tragedy. To this I say, " Huh? " Isn't that what they want? Don't they want the whole world to be shocked and saddened because this was a horrible act to happen to people not just that its a horrible act to happen to LGBTs ?
        As for our fearless leader Obama, all I can say is that the snippets I have heard of his reaction is more upsetting than the actions of the terrorist. He still thinks that if we all joins hands and sing "Kumbaya" there will be peace. I guess it works for him because he and Michelle can escape quickly to their secure bunker if necessary. What about the rest of us?
        The terrorist last week was on a no fly list . He was known to be belligerent and apparently he wasn't being watched well enough because this still happened. Its good news bad news. He didn't appear on the terror scene out of the blue, but its rather horrific that no one was able to stop him .
         I do think that the number 49 is significant in this massacre as this shooting happened on the first night of Shavuot. Shavuot is 49 days after Pesach. The Jews had descended to 49 levels of toomah before matan torah. I don't know how to process all of this , but I am sure some rabbi already has. If I bother to look I will probably find one of their guesses.
        I am sending condolences to the friends and families of  those who were murdered in terrorist attack in Orlando. I wish all those who injured in the attack a refuah shelmah. I wish all of us a peaceful world.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

It Could Be Way Worse

    Everybody's parents have quirks. Recently I have been reading a memoir by an aquaintance of mine. Her mother was really loony tunes. Its amazing she survived it without ending up completely insane. I would never have guessed that she had such a traumatic childhood. As always one can't tell everything about a person just by looking at them. One really never knows what adversity some people go through whether one is rich or poor. Crazy doesn't discriminate. After reading her book I have a new appreciation for my own parents. I must thank this aquaintance when I do see her. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Silence is Golden

      When I was in 19 I had a friend who got married. This friend did not have her first child until she was 23. When she first married I would ask her if anything was new meaning if there was maybe a little someone on the way. After about a year of me asking her this she told me not to ask her this anymore. She wanted a child at the time but it just wasn't happening. After that I never ask anyone if they are expecting. I wait for them to tell me. If I don't find out until they have the baby its okay too. I don't need to be the big yenta who is always in the know.  By now I have had too many friends who have wanted babies but had a hard time having them . Or maybe they never had any.
       The worst thing to do is ask someone if they are pregnant if they are trying hard to have one. The funny  thing is, random people have asked me if I was pregnant which has given me a mixed reaction. On the one hand I am flattered because they think I could be pregnant , that I could get to be a mother.  On the other hand it makes me not want to ever wear again the outfit that made someone think I was so heavy that I looked  pregnant.
         If someone is pregnant everyone will eventually find out anyway. No need to ask. The most one has to wait to find out is nine months. One does not have to be the first to know the news. Whenever one finds out this kind of news one will be happy for their friend.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Ofra Haza - The Wailing Wall (HaKotel)

    I know that Shavuot and not Pesach begins tonight, but I love this song . Next year in Jerusalem.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Celebrate Israel

     It was another rainy Celebrate Israel parade yesterday. The concert was cancelled. Not very many people showed up due to the weather. I arrived at the tail end of the parade, but I felt it was important to show up no matter how late. I love Israel and wanted to show my support.  It was wonderful to see the awesome spirit of those who marched and those who stood cheering them on on the sidewalk.





Sunday, June 5, 2016

Miracles Do Happen

    A four year old boy somehow managed to slip into the gorilla cage at the Cincinnati zoo. The zoo shot the gorilla in order to save the little boy.  It is nothing short of a miracle that this little boy is still alive and is recovering. I wonder what amazing things this little boy will end up doing now that he has survived .
   I really do not understand how this little boy was able to slip into the gorilla cage. To me this is inconceivable  that it could even be possible. How long has this cage been around? The mother should have been watching her son better, but I think that that the zoo is to blame and not the mom. She could have watched him better, but I doubt she thought it was possible that he could ever slip into that cage. I would not want to take a child to a zoo where there was any possiblity that the child could enter the cages no matter how well I was or was not watching them.
   I think that the only activists I can sympathize with are those who oppose zoos to begin with . If there wasn't a zoo this would not have happened. Otherwise, I agree that the zoo did the right thing by shooting the gorilla. That little boy's life was more important . Of course, now that this has unfolded the little boy has so much pressure on him. He has to live a life so important that a gorilla needed to be shot so he could live. Then again, I think that even an ordinary life would justify it.  Hopefully the Cincinnati zoo will make sure that their cages are more secure so no more little children will be able to sneak into the gorilla or any other animal cage.









Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Breakfast at Tiffany's

     My favorite part of the movie Breakfast At Tiffany's is when Audrey Hepburn says she is always happy when she browses at Tiffany's . Tiffany's is a high end jewelry store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. I have not been there in years , but it looks really expensive and old money in there.  It  feels cool to be in the presence of such high end jewelry.
       I actually have one item from Tiffany's . Its a gift from a dear friend of mine. Its the Tiffany's heart key chain.  I have lost the little ball on the end that holds the key chain together several times.
 Fortunately I have a friend who also owns one of these key chains who told me that Tiffany's will replace the little detachable ball so long as the heart is still on the key chain.
 The first time I replaced the little ball I felt silly. That was before I got the replacement. It comes in a classic blue Tiffany's light blue felt pouch and a mini light blue box. It almost made me feel happy I had been such a klutz and lost the little ball in the first place. I don't know if they still package the replacement ball so fancy . Its been a few years since I last lost it, but I am fairly certain they still replace it at no charge. This is why  I understand why Audrey Hepburn loved browsing  at Tiffany's. Who could be sad in such a classy store?

Alan King's The Middle East Story, 1980's

   This is hilarious. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Liberalism Gone Wild

      The latest crazy law that has been in the news lately is about letting men who are transgender women into the women's room and even worse, letting boys who think that they are girls into the girls bathroom in public schools. Many states are suing Obama about this issue and they are right. I do not think that there should be any laws about letting transgender women into the women's restroom. The ones one can't tell were originally men are already using the women's room anyway. There does not need to be a law about it. I think that making it a law that any man who thinks he's a woman can use the women's bathroom is a recipe for disaster. I guess this is Obama's answer to extreme feminism. The feelings of men who think that they are women are more important than the safety of those of us who are actually women. I haven't heard of any laws about letting women who think that they are men go into the men's room.   Why doesn't anyone want to sneak into the men's room? And you know what, it does not bother me if a woman who is a transgender man uses the ladies room because they are really women. Obama should have left well enough alone. I don't think a man is a woman just because he wants to be and I don't want to see him in the ladies room. If Obama wants to insist upon all restrooms being one person at a time sized rooms then OK. I think that there could be a men's room , a women's room and then a one person alone at a time restroom for those who think that they are a gender other than the one they were born  to.  I know that there are some who are transgender, but I do not believe that there are so many people who exist like this. I wonder what smoke and mirrors this stupid controversy is distracting the American public from . What is going on in the world that it being messed up by our president that he wants to distract us with this transgender debacle?  Why does he need this to be his swan song ? Or what is he messing up that he does not want us to notice with his fixation on transgender equality for the minuscule part of the population that suffers from it ?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

NYRR BKLYN HALF MARATHON 2016 OCEAN PARKWAY, BROOKLYN

    Every year Midwood , Brooklyn is treated to the  Brooklyn Half Marathon. Its a 12 mile marathon that starts at the Brooklyn Museum and ends in Coney Island. It runs down Ocean Parkway which is blocked off for the runners. It is always on Shabbos. It was today and I passed by it . It was fun to watch all of the surprised frum Jews crossing through the runners on Ocean Parkway on their way to shul. This video did not capture that , but I saw it. It was especially fun to see the reaction of little kids who once they had made their mad dash through the runners wanted to do it again. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How To Cure Scalp Psoriasis Naturally

   I have not tried this yet but I plan to. I think that it will work. The video is a bit slow moving, but at the end there is a list of what to do. She recommends using warm hemp oil treatments. I have tried olive oil and coconut oil treatments which help a lot . I have tried hemp oil, but I never tried heating up the hemp oil like this video recommends.  Spraying the scalp with apple cider vinegar between oil treatments is also recommended. This young woman says this regiment has controlled her scalp psoriasis for the past three years. I think this is worth a try. I will try it and let you know if it works. I am so sick of using conventional medicine for scalp psoriasis. The cost is awful and it does not always work either. If this could work even MOST of the time it would be worth the effort. Wish me luck. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Johnny T's Subway Tips

   This is so funny. If you live in NYC you will really relate to this and if you don't , well here's a slice of what you haven't been missing.....

Monday, May 9, 2016

Leonard Nimoy describes Vulcan Salute

   I wasn't really a Star Trek fan, but I am familiar with the Vulcan salute. Its cool to hear Nimoy tell the story of how the salute was chosen. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Stitching History

     Hedy Strnad  did not survive the shoah, but her sketches did . These sketches were sent to relatives in America in hopes that it would help her find a job in the United States and to escape the Nazis.  6o years later these letters and sketches were found again by their relatives in Milwaukee and then donated to the Jewish Historical Society in Milwaukee. In 2014 the museum worked with the Milwaukee repertory theater  to reproduce these dresses and have a fashion show. These dresses are exquisite. Such creativity was lost. Imagine how  much more creative and beautiful the world would be if these people had not been murdered.

Green Lantern

A vision in green

Hedy original



fashion plate


Hedy's sketches


Hedy's original

 Though I have included many photos, nothing beats seeing these creations in person. You won't regret it.