Sunday, December 30, 2018

Death and Life

     I haven't written in quite awhile as I have had a lot to think about and was not ready to compose my thoughts and commit them to paper.
     My youngest brother passed away suddenly the same week as the Tree Of life shul massacre. It has been a heartbreaking few months.
     So much of life is unexpected.  Its always like this but we like to forget that it is. I don't know why my youngest brother passed away suddenly. For whatever reason it was his time. I wish that there was something that I could have done to prevent it, but I couldn't . I wish that I could have spent more time with him and now  I can't . I am so grateful to  have known the creative and fun loving person who was my youngest brother . I just wish that it was longer. I know that he knew that we (my whole family) loved him , I just wish that I could tell him so again  and be in his presence again.
      When I first learned of his passing I felt the sunshine of my memories of him in my mind's eye. I remember so clearly that beautiful blue eyed baby with the light brown curls. I remember how much fun we had together as kids and then as adults.
       I know that everyone wishes that they had more time to spend with their loved ones before they pass on . Its profoundly felt when this person passes on when they are still in their prime. All I am left with is the feeling that one really must make the time to spend time with loved ones because one really does not know how long anyone has to spend with them.

Saturday, October 27, 2018


    After Shabbos I turned on my phone and was jilted into the real world . There was a bloody attack in a Conservative shul in Pittsburgh. I felt gut punched reading the news followed by tears. It was the worst anti-semitic attack on a synagogue in the United States ever. Its the kind of record no one ever wants to happen.
    It was done by a white man who came with a lot of artillery. He was on a mission to kill Jews. Whenever I hear people say Jews are white. I say bullshit. When the white supremacists were marching in Charlottesville  they were chanting about not wanting the Jews to replace them.
     This attack happened across the street from the church that the late Fred "Mister" Rogers used to attend. So it was in Mr. Roger's neighborhood. So sad. The only thing that makes the pain a little smaller is knowing that there were inter faith vigils in Pittsburgh and in Union Square in NYC for the victims. People care that this happened and they share our pain . That certainly is something that Mr. Rogers would approve of.
    Praying for a better week. Praying for the families of those who were murdered , for those who were injured , and for peace. Sending love and condolences to the Jewish community  of Pittsburgh. We are all in mourning . 

Sunday, September 30, 2018


     Unfortunately a lot of people that I know have passed away in their prime this year. It really gives those of us left behind time to reflect and make whatever life we all have meaningful as there are those who aren't fortunate enough to be able  to make the most of their lives anymore. Its easy to pontificate, much more difficult to actualize. Nonetheless I will try to appreciate , enjoy and make meaningful the life that I have.
      Have an awesome Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah!


Monday, August 6, 2018

Keep Quiet Official Trailer 1 (2017) - Documentary

  A few years ago I had heard the story of a Hungarian neo-Nazi who found out he was Jewish and then started exploring his Jewish roots. This documentary is his story.
     Basically his Jewish , Holocaust surviving maternal grandmother hid her Jewishness from her grandson. When her grandson becomes involved in anti semitism she still did not mention to him that she and his mother are really Jewish , making him Jewish as well. Later it is revealed  that he indeed is Jewish. He is thrown for a loop.
  Szegedi goes to a local orthodox rabbi to explore his roots. This is not an easy task. Is he ready to atone for his past ? The rabbi gives him a chance but he also tells him in order to repent he must go through all of the steps of teshuvah. The rabbi realizes that this level of teshuvah cannot be done overnight, but he believes another Jew deserves this chance.This film is the story of the beginning of this journey.
   It is quite amazing that Szegedi did not commit suicide upon finding out he is Jewish. I think that just living another day with such knowledge is its own living hell. I also understand why many doubt his sincerity. That said I do believe that he should be given the chance to repent. He is still a young man. It seems he is single as well. I am not sure what kind of woman would marry him knowing his past. Perhaps someone with the same type of background.
    I think that the saddest part is that his mom and grandmother failed to reveal their Jewish heritage with him before he became such a rabid anti-semite. His hatefulness is not their fault but perhaps they could have stopped him before he had gotten so entrenched.
    I hope Szegedi succeeds in his teshuvah. If he does he can be a shining example to others 

Sunday, August 5, 2018

WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? - Official Trailer [HD] - In Select Theaters J...

  If you see one movie this year this one should be it.
  Months ago when I heard that there was going to be a Mr. Rogers documentary I knew that I had wanted to see it. I loved his show at 3 or 4 years old . I thought he was really speaking to me as I watched . I loved the puppets and his message. He reminded me of my parents when he would say he liked me just the way I was.
      Once in awhile on a sick day from work I would listen to the calming voice of Mr Roger's Neighborhood instead of the circus of the daytime talk shows that were on.
       When I watched this documentary it reminded me of his greatness. He treated children with respect. He fought to create quality children's programming. He promoted kindness toward others and the value of everyone including ones self. Mr. Roger's neighborhood was all about Love Your Neithbor. It was no mistake.
         Even after Mr. Rogers Neighborhood was over when there were events in history when children needed someone to help them get through it the newscasters would ask him to make a public service announcement. When it came to 9/11 they approached him for his wisdom. Mr. Rogers, like all of us was thrown for a loop. It was so frightening and awful. Even so , he managed to come up with a message. He told kids to look for who was helping and trying to fix the situation. When you see that there are those trying to fix the situation you know that everything will be ok. He also encouraged people to be tikkun olam which he said in Hebrew. It is up to us to save the world. If we could all be like Mr. Rogers and be a little kinder the world will certainly be a better one.
          Bring tissues if you go see this film. Mr. Rogers saw the good in the world and he really was what he preached. I did not remember how wonderful he  until this documentary reminded me. He was a kind gentle person who encouraged others to be the same . He made it look so easy. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Women Hatzalah Service 'Ezras Nashim' Serve Brooklyn Community/ 23QUEEN

  I could not find a preview of the new documentary 23QUEEN which is about Ezras Nashim , the women's hatzalah unit, so I included this clip .
     This film is the story of the creation of a women's version of Hatzalah that was created because the regular Hatzalah would not let them join . It boggles the mind how people so frum would not think that it would be important to have women paramedics for the frum women to call. It certainly is more modest.I applaud their efforts.
     The film was interesting. It showed how hasidic women have minds of their own in terms of wanting to establish their own hatzalah group and actually doing it.
    I found the film enlightening but I did  not love it. The best part of the film was the background vocals by Perle Wolfe.
    The women did not want to call themselves feminist but feminist  means  different things to different people. RBG did a better job of defining feminism than this film .I will review RBG at a later date. To me being a feminist means women being women but also being able to pursue  a career and any other hobby or pursuit one desires. This does not mean one wants to be a man or like a man and it does not mean having a career (or being a member of hatzalah) means that a woman does  not want to marry or have a family. Maybe Ruchie Frier the founder of Ezras Nashim   did  not want to spell this out but obviously this is what she believes. At the end of the movie she does admit that she would not be where she is (a judge) if not for the women before her who forged the way but she pussyfoots around it by saying that she is different. No she is not. She is exactly the same. She is a judge who is frum and her family is important to her. The documentary RBG showed that Ruth Bader Ginsburg though not an orthodox Jew embodied this ideology. She is a lawyer and a judge but felt her family and personal life are just as important. I suspect those who masterminded RBG were more skilled at spinning their story, but its a shame that 23QUEEN was not able to give me this feeeling. I am so proud as an observant Jewish woman that someone like Ruchie Frier is a judge and like Ruth Bader Ginsburg has  a very supportive husband, but I am sad that she seems more scrappy than  confident in her achievements.. Then again RBG is in her a 80's so she has had a lot longer to be confident in her achievements. I guess we have to wait 30 years and see. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Three Identical Strangers

   THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS   is the most wild ride. Its the story of a Jewish adoption agency in the sixties that decided to separate twins and triplets without the knowledge of their adoptive parents.
    I can't imagine finding out at 19 that there are two other people in the world who look exactly like me. It is so interesting to see how the story unfolds. Even though there is tragedy and these boys have to deal with the weight of their story it is still amazing how they found each other despite such great effort to keep them apart. If you ever believed in bashert, this movie has it ins spades. These brothers were destined to be together despite evil forces that conspired to confirm otherwise.
    As I watched this documentary it boggles my mind how a Jewish adoption agency could have done this not as many years after Mengele yemach sh'mo as one would like to imagine.
    I love how the parents , relatives and friends were included in this documentary, especially the aunt with the haunting voice.
     Though so  much of this documentary has been included on you tube it does not cover it all.
 This is  the ultimate nature vs nurture in reality. I highly reccommend it.


Monday, March 5, 2018

Some Inspiration on a Monday Night

     A few years ago I had a friend who had a serious illness and eventually was in hospice. I wished that I had heeded my mother's advice and visited her sooner rather than later. At the time I had been in denial that my friend really was as sick as she was. I did end up visiting her but unfortunately for me she was pretty far gone when I finally made my appearance. My friend knew she had a visitor but I'm not convinced that she remembered who I was.I am glad I visited her and it was good for her to have had a visitor but it would have been better had I visited her when she still would have known who I was and when she still could have a coherent conversation.
    As luck and life would have it I have been given the opportunity to do better another time. I have another friend who is now in hospice care. I visited him in the hospital right before he was admitted to hospice care. It was hard to look at him but his spirit was still there and he had his wits about him.
   Today I visited my friend  in the  hospice. I am not sure there are not many people who can say that when they left from visiting a friend who is hospice that they were smiling. My friend looked a lot better than he did when he was in the hospital. His hair is gray but his skin no longer is. He actually looked healthier. He is also such an inspiring person. When I entered the room he offered me seltzer for hachnosas orchim. At first I thought he was asking me to pour him some seltzer but alas he was offering me some seltzer. I was in awe.
      Its not that there was deep conversation during my hospice visit but It was so nice to see that though my friend is in hospice his spirit and personality is still there. I was so happy to visit and see that he was still himself, still with his sharp humor and kindness. I left smiling and felt glad to have visited a friend and not like I was "just" visiting someone in hospice.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Self Help?

      I am pretty confident in the way I look. I may want to lose a little more weight , but in general I do not think that my looks are why I am single. Meanwhile I went to visit friends who were obsessed with a beauty makeover self help book. In their defense they believed that everyone must be self conscious about their looks. Again, not my issue. I don't think that I am a beauty queen, I just feel confident.
      Once I finished chatting with my friends about their beauty self help aspirations I felt a lot worse about myself. Thanks but no thanks.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

2 Ingredient Quinoa Pizza Crust

    I recently bought quinoa for another recipe that I have . The recipe was OK, but I had a lot of quinoa still hanging around. I found this recipe for quinoa bread / pizza crust on you tube. I tried it last night and made it into pizza and it was really good. I have made my own pizza crust with regular flour which isn't bad but this is even easier to make and tastes equally good. I am not sure that its really healthier than crust made of wheat flour but its easier to get the right crust texture with the quinoa crust so I would say that makes it superior to regular flour crust.
  FYI, I did not add maple syrup or any sweetener to this crust. I did not rinse the quinoa either.  I am not vegan so I used cheese as a topping. See what you think . 

Sunday, January 28, 2018


     Yichus is such a funny thing . Those who know that they were related to various great rabbis are so impressed by themselves for having it as if it has anything to do with who they are . It might, but not necessarily. I suppose I sound envious but not really. I might have some unbelievable yichus to some great rabbi but pogroms etc has made it difficult for me  to keep track of  my lineage. Most Jews have this issue. I have always thought that by virtue of being Jewish I have good yichus. I think that those of us who still know that we are Jewish know this because we have family members who stuck by tradition / therefore are good yichus. Since Jews lived only in certain enclaves it stands to reason that most of us if we do not descend from converts likely are related to those with the enviable yichus.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Japanese Forest Bathing

   Whenever I go to the botanical gardens I feel my blood pressure plummet. Then I saw this video. Now I know why and that there is a reason why I feel this way. One thing that I increasingly miss about the suburbs is nature. I just renewed my Brooklyn Botanical Gardens membership for another year.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Bomb Cyclone

  My favorite thing in the world as a kid was getting up on a wintery day and then hearing that school was out for the day due to bad weather.  Its just as exciting as an adult to have off of work due to inclement weather. 
   The scariest part about bad weather is not knowing when to call out from work and when to actually go in. Today I opted to stay home. It looks like night outside and the windy snow does not look enticing. I hope the arctic weather forecast for tomorrow is incorrect but I must say I am enjoying the day off of work for today.!!!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

At the Movies

      In the age of roku I haven't watched as many movies in the theater than I used to. Recently I got moviepass which is a movie a day for $9.99 a month, but I actually got the black Friday special so I paid even less. I'm not trying to brag, just make a point . Now I have actually been at the movie theater to see any and every movie I have wanted to see. Its been about a month. Its really mind blowing. Its awesome to see a movie the way it was intended to be viewed-  on a big screen and without interruptions. Its awesome.
       There are people at the movie theater but much fewer. I have been able to see movies the day or week they come out and get a seat. Maybe not the best seat, but a seat. This would never have happened ten years ago. Its surreal. Its not just older people at the movies. There are some young people. I am sure they are more selective about what they go to see. Or maybe they too have moveipass.
        I am certain that the movie business is not happy to be moviepassed but at 15 to 17 dollars for a movie I have become a believer in moviepass . If I see one movie a month its worth it.  I don't know if this deal will last , but for now I am enjoying it . I am feeling very retro going to the movies. Of course now I'm going to the movies more than I ever have.
      Its only been a month and  I know that there really aren't enough movies out to actually see a movie a day for a year, but its fun to know that I could if I wan to....