Monthly Archives: March 2016

“…And All Its Paths Are Peace”

 

“Its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all its paths are peace”.

 

These words describe the Torah, the five books of Moses, which encompass the L-rd’s laws given to the Jews from the mountain in the midst of the wilderness. The books set forth the ten commandments as inscribed by the finger of G-d, as well as the Oral Laws, which were written to preserve eternal knowledge.

 

They encompass a major body of work setting down the history of the Jewish people and their lineage; their chronology throughout the reign from family patriarchs, to the growing body split into tribes; side forays where they were ruled by others; returned rule to judgeship and prophets; succeeding, eventually, to kings in their successions.

 

Dispersion brought us out of the land G-d gave to us and thrust us to the four corners of the earth, with promises for our eventual in-gathering and return. The gathering of the Exiles has been happening ever since, but has been most noteworthy in the past century, with the accelerated rate of our return to Israel and the acknowledgment of its occurence as witnessed by the rest of the world.

 

King Saul was the first-named Jewish king. He was followed by King David, the shepherd boy from Bethlehem (our favorite); after which David’s son, Solomon (Shlomo), reigned. It was Solomon who is credited the collection of wise sayings found in the pages known as Proverbs, included as part of the Jewish Bible.

 

This proverb (Proverbs/3:17) affirms that the word of G-d contains within it the proper path in which the Jewish people are to follow in order that their lives will reach their happiest fulfillment with length of days. Our prayers maintain that these Laws and these ways should be always on our mind, as if we were wearing blinders to block out other distractions and to give our full-fledged focus to this task.

 

The premise is a repeated one throughout the entirety of the Bible. It features in the many stories of the enemies who have come up against the Jews, and had been either defeated, or victorious, relevant to how closely the Jews had acted in accord with G-d’s commands. If the Jews had followed G-d’s accords closely, they were treated favorably by G-d and were blessed. If they had fallen to worship of strange mannerism and custom not relayed as appropriate for them by G-d, then they were sorely punished and often met their downfall.

 

I have seen this directly in my own life. If I look back, I see how I have not been hewing to the ways established for me, and my life has suffered. As much as you put into it, is how much you will get from it. What you reap is what you have sown — both in the positive sense, and in the negative sense.

 

It is for this reason that I’m thinking that perhaps Israel ought to consider becoming a theocracy, as it once was. It was during those times, at least when the ruling kings of Israel were pious and listened to their Prophets, that Israel was a great and admired nation, with extensive land holdings in the Middle East, as well as great wealth. Our ports were humming with trade from nations far and wide, and Israel was a respected and feared nation.

 

King Solomon, David’s son, was a wise and great man. In addition to the book of Proverbs left as one of his legacies, he built the First Temple of G-d in Jerusalem. Our leaders in those days had great relations with other regional leaders, such as those of Tyre and Sidon. Other civilizations were more than happy to send their best craftsmen to work building Israel’s important edifices or other structures. It is still the case today where Israel has better employment opportunities than can be found in the vicinity of other places within the Middle East, but the respect and willingness to deal with Israel as it exists, nowadays, has all but evaporated.

 

Let us remember that our Bible stories were accurate depictions of the times and attitudes that reigned in those days. If we were to apply the same fortitude to living with the paths set before us today, as we had so long ago, then we might be able to see clear to being that light unto the nations that our nation deservedly needs to be.

 

We don’t need to return to the monarchy just yet, if at all. I do vaguely remember there being some consternation in the religious line to G-d, which frowned somewhat at our freewill choice to become like other nations by ruling as they did — with a man over us, rather than by directly by G-d. However, once the decision was made, G-d kindof got on board in trying to help us find those worthy enough to reign.

 

Israel presently runs on two separate systems: a Democratic Parliament, which is entirely secular, and via a consortium of religious bodies running in the background handling religious needs. One would hardly know the religious entity exists. Perhaps we could bring that to the fore. Perhaps Israel could be a religious country again, and just be a theocratic Democracy — meaning that positions would still be voted for, and elections would still be run, but just under the banner of Judaism. We could make Judaism king again.

 

That would help put to rest any gainsay regarding the direction toward which the naysayers and detractors think the country ought to be headed. It would remain Jewish, as it has been for millenia (with exceptions) and as it was recognized to be, yet still, as a Jewish national home, as per the Balfour Declaration of 1917.

 

In our Democratic fashion, we could still take a vote on whether Israel should become a theocratic Democracy. It could still retain the Parliamentary style rule that it has been using for decades, if it finds this preferential. So, it would be a Democratic Parliamentary theocracy. That would be interesting. It might even be a first. The only thing close I can think of would be the Saudi kingdom, because it is ruled as a theocracy, but it is also run as a monarchy. The problem is that it has become almost a “thuggocracy” due to nepotism, demanding that all relatives of the Saudi family be placed in ruling government positions. Alot of them do rise to the challenge, but not all are entirely meant to be doing what they’re doing. It could also be an open door to corruption, if one lets it.

 

Seeing as how the United Nations roundly condemns Israel, the single Democracy in the Middle East, yet never takes to task the human rights violations of those other nations surrounding Israel, such as the inequal, second-class status of women, or the staggering amount of violence of the continued wars waged against the Jews and Israel, it would seem utterly appropriate that the United Nations would be pleased to accept Israel as a sister-state in theocracy, given their self-same acceptance of all others.

 

Doing so would coaelesce the government into a more unified body, and the citizenry would still benefit under the state in its fairly well-established standards of education and economy. They would still be better off than living in many places elsewhere. And as before, the United Nations would have to find this arrangement acceptable where the citizenry is concerned, since they find it acceptable in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. Standards must be applied equally, and Israel has been condemned as a democracy by the United Nations and by the world for far too long.

 

To everything there is a season, a time, and a purpose. Perhaps it is now the time and the season for a change.

 

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Pita Max!!!

 

What could be better than a healthful bowl of hummus and chips to scoop all that deliciousness into your mouth with? How about adding a tropical setting? Wait… How about a tropical setting and a gorgeous sunset, to go along with that? Yeah, that’s sounding good. A toasty fireplace, a comfy couch, a game of Scrabble and the snow piling up beside the logs outside, along with a cozy somebody to snuggle up with inside would also be a boon, but we’ve just strayed from the original plan. Okay, transplant that elsewhere; back to the tropics.

 

I’m thinking balmy breezes, a hammock swinging between the palms, some wide, white sandy beaches and a swath of warm, sea-blue water, warmer than a bathtub, to dip my toes into. How about unlimited drinks… Now, that’s starting to sound like a plan! Yeah — could use some soft drinks to cool me down, and maybe you could throw-in an open wine or beer bar, to boot? That’s not too much trouble, is it?

 

I know… Then, you could add a cruise on top of that vision you’re building up of the perfect vacation. Mmmm, sounds good. But, not a long one. Just a jaunt along that beautiful stretch of water: take in the scenery, maybe see how the rich and famous live in their waterfront homes.

 

You are not daydreaming. You are discovering one of the latest “Top 20” deals from Travelzoo.com. This unbelievable package from playtimewatersports.com sets sail from Miami aboard a 50-ft. catamaran on a two-hour excursion, including everything above, plus cheese, crackers, and fruit, for only $35.00 per person, excluding tax, tip and cozy-buddy (those are separate). This company also offers some other great-sounding day trips, such as the three-hour catamaran cruise to a sandbar, where you’re then free to use their personal watercraft and other toys, go paddleboarding or snorkeling, play aqua volleyball — all included in the reasonable costs of the package, as well. Most Thursdays through Sundays; Good through May 29, 2016. Except for the typos in the text at their web site, it all sounds like a great deal. You can check it out!

 

Go to playtimewatersports.com website:

http://playtimewatersports.com/

 

While you’re in the area then, if you happen to be in South Florida on April 2nd, you can extend the pita love and culture, and meet the iconic, incredible artist: Peter Max!!! Free!!! Peter Max is coming to Wentworth Gallery in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Boca Raton, Florida on April 2nd, 2016. Peter Max’s work has single-handedly defined a generation, the ‘Sixties’, with his unique use of color, whimsy, and popular culture. His style has set modern standards of artistry, and yet his approachable warmth and remarkable talent lend his art a place in every heart. My newest favorites of his include his angels, the American flag, Lady Liberty, the world, and the fondly-remembered old “Love” styles, as well as the new “Love” styles. (We always remember our old loves, don’t we?)

 

See artist Peter Max:

 

FLORIDA:

Saturday, April 2, 2016:  1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Wentworth Gallery, 819 East Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

 

Saturday, April 2, 2016:  6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Wentworth Gallery, Town Center Mall, Boca Raton, Florida

 

NEBRASKA:

Saturday, April 23, 2016:  6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Gallery 72, 1806 Vinton Street, Omaha, Nebraska

 

Sunday, April 24, 2016:  1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Gallery 72, 1806 Vinton Street, Omaha, Nebraska

 

MARYLAND:

Saturday, April 30, 2016:  1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Wentworth Gallery, Westfield Montgomery Mall, 7101 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda, Maryland

 

VIRGINIA:

Saturday, April 30, 2016:  6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Wentworth Gallery, Tyson’s Galleria, 1807 U International Drive, McLean, Virginia

 

CONNECTICUT:

Thursday, May 5, 2016:  6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Geary Gallery, 576 Boston Post Road, Darien, Connecticut

 

Saturday, May 7, 2016:  4:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Geary Gallery, 576 Boston Post Road, Darien, Connecticut

 

PENNSYLVANIA:

Saturday, June 11, 2016:  5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Wentworth Gallery, King of Prussia Mall, 690 West Dekalb Pike, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

 

NEW JERSEY:

Saturday, June 18, 2016:  5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Wentworth Gallery, Mall at Short Hills, 1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills, New Jersey

 

  • Please see the official Peter Max website to verify times, locations, appearances, addresses, etc., and to confirm if reservations are required, etc. Information subject to change without notice.

 

Official Peter Max website:

http://www.petermax.com/

 

If you will be attending the kick-off of Peter Max’s spring tour of artist appearances, there are several more Travelzoo deals (not a paid spokesperson!) in the Florida area you might wish to look into.

 

There is another, even cheaper, short cruise being run by Bayride Tours for only $15.00 per person, excluding tax and tip; $8.00 for kids aged 4-12. A Family Pass for two adults and two children is only $39.00! Children 3 and under sail free. Their boat isn’t a catamaran, but it is a new part of their fleet and trips run seven times per day, seven days per week. Good through December 31, 2016.

See their website, here, for information: http://bayride.com/

 

You can also book the Miami Hop On Hop Off 2-day bus pass, which gives you full access to four different routes around Miami. The double-decker bus has an open-air deck top, which will provide a unique viewpoint as you see some of the sights around Miami: South Beach, Calle Ocho/Little Havana, Vizcaya, the Miami Seaquarium, the Biltmore Hotel…. Many stops and opportunities abound for great sight-seeing daytrips.

 

Travelzoo.com announces the company’s special rates through August 31, 2016: $29.00 adult/$19.00 child (3-11; 2 and under free if vacant seat available). Book through your free Travelzoo.com site, or at the City Sightseeing website.

 

For continual up-to-date pricing, times, locations, other cities served (approximately 170), please call the tour operator, or visit their website:

http://www.citytours-miami.com/

 

Take advantage of these great rates and book your vacations with the money saved using these great discounted tour deals! It represents alot of dough you can save and stuff right back into your (PITA!!!) pocket!

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Responsibility In Religion

Jewish religion takes ownership of our congregation in acknowledging both the good with the bad. We strive to improve ourselves through education, good deeds, and hope to abide by a code of good conduct relative to our understanding of the paths set before us by G-d and the ways by it that we are supposed to relate to the world. We may not always meet each and every goal along this path. It may, indeed, be hypocritical to hold someone to task who has failed in that task, but we accept them as ours, and accept that they have failed. They will fail at some tasks set before them. This is life, and realistic expectations maintain that such will happen.

 

However, it is good to have a sense of the ideal to reach for, even when we can’t reach everything that we would hope to. Holding out high hopes gives someone a goal to strive for. We don’t like bad behavior, either. But, alas — Jewish people also commit bad deeds. And yes, it’s sad, but we have to acknowledge that one of ours did that particular thing of which he stands accused. It doesn’t mean we like it, or condone it, but we don’t pretend it was done by the “man on the moon”, or the “boogeyman”, or any number of irrelevant others toward which blame could be transferred. Only in the most blatant acts of physically trying to separate oneself from Judaism itself would a decree of ex-communication be issued, where we would then “disown” the person from the religious community. It is very rare for this to happen, as it is always held out for the Jew to return to the religion. Once issued, it is as if the person is dead to the community, and does not exist.

 

We are to abide by 613 mitzvot, both positive and negative — the “Do’s” and the “Don’ts” — in Jewish law. If you think that’s alot, one need only look at the laws inherent in a Democratic society, such as exist in the United States, to find that the Jewish laws are quantifiably a cakewalk, in comparison! How many laws actually exist in the U.S.? And how many more so might there be in a much older Western society, such as that of Great Britain, say? Do we really follow each and every law on the books, like a perfect citizen, each and every one of us?

 

Well, not to be pessimistic, but the answer, as borne out by the over-crowded prison system, is resoundedly negative, in that regard. Our jail cells are top-full with people who have been placed there with a verdict of guilt for various infractions, ranging from slight to great. A recent article (unread) even mentions a man serving a life sentence for the non-return of a library item!

 

Old laws still on the books are routinely contravened in today’s society, and would be seen as discriminatory through the progressive, prismatic lenses by which we view issues, especially social ones, today.

 

I could never concile, at least in the younger formulation of my self, the viewpoint of a religious perspective which could disavow the behaviors associated with an individual as separate from the religion to which they identify. The behaviors belong to the individual, and the individual belongs to a religion. The tendency for certain religions to disavow the individual, on and off like a spigot, when they commit bad acts, and only confirm “membership” to one in good standing, is absolutely disingenuous.

 

I hope that those of the Christian faith won’t be too upset with my feelings about a few aspects of their religion that I feel needs closer consideration, if one wants to be honest about the whole thing. I can understand the adage to “Love the sinner, but not the sin”. But it seems that every time a self-professed Christian commits a heinous act, it is suddenly said of them that they are not a “true Christian”, and that a “true Christian” would never do such things.

 

The hypocrisy I find in this statement is that the Christian dogma believes that mankind is imperfect and imbued with Original Sin. They believe that only one way exists to G-d via the corporeal intermediary, or triumvirate conception of the embodiment of this ideal.

 

If the person accepts Christianity, but falls prey to the temptations of the world, as is his wont, due to Original Sin (according to Christianity), then how can he suddenly be said to be not a “true Christian”? Isn’t that just what Christianity reports itself to be? Don’t they claim ALL people to be sinners? To use a concept from the religion, the sinner comes to the congregation and suddenly it’s as if they were never known to them?

 

I’m sorry, but if you think about it really hard, the hypocrisy in the statement is there. They HAVE sin. They are imperfect beings. That is the major tenet of the religion. They can’t suddenly be cast-off when they did something wrong, so as not to cast aspersion on the religion, itself.

 

You need to own up to it. There are people in your religion that do bad things. They do it as a member of the religion, and they do it sometimes in the name of the religion (by following edicts found in that particular religion). I find it annoying to this day that people of Christian faith always resort to this disownership each and every time somebody sins (usually rather badly).

 

In the Jewish religion, we teach that man is supposed to act responsibly. There may be 613 mitzvot, and that must seem like a lot of rules to follow. We are not supposed to consider them a burden. They are to be a joy to us, a source of guidance, for ways to enhance our lives and bring us into conformance to a better way of living. It is said that there are two types of sin: that against man,  and that against G-d. The worse one is that against man. We are to seek forgiveness from those we have wronged, to repent for our actions, and to try to make amends.

 

In Judaism, we are to teach children in the way that they should go, so that they will not depart from it. In later classes as we mature, we have hopefully, by then, received ethics and morality classes to help us think through further issues. Pirkei Avot, The Ethics of Our Fathers, is a book of Jewish consideration of the subject.

 

In Judaism, we have debated the question posed by Cain to G-d, when he replied in response to G-d’s query concerning Cain’s knowledge regarding where his brother, Abel, was (who he had just killed): “Am I my brother’s keeper?” And the answer to that, is “Yes; I am my brother’s keeper” (I have failed you, my brother, Stephen). We have a responsibility to look after the welfare and actions of our brothers. This means guiding them, correcting them, caring for them, and more. It is our failure if we fail them.

 

We have standards to follow, and many times we fail to meet them. Christianity likes to make a main point out of this. They really like to ridicule the rules which we feel G-d set out before us to follow. We don’t presume to be superior because of this, and in fact it is noted in the Bible that we were considered “stiff-necked” people; but it is our religion and we believe the rules were never remanded.

 

Popular Christianity has changed through the Centuries on this matter: first teaching that only some of the rules applied; later teaching that the rules were replaced with the coming of J.C. Actually, even within the Christian Bible, it is stated by the man, J.C., himself, that he did not come to replace/do away with the (Jewish) Laws (of G-d). Yet, Christianity has done so, itself. As errors in Christian teaching become apparent throughout the Centuries, new dogma then begins to replace the old, changing in conformance to then-accepted precepts (until new errors are uncovered).

 

The religion of Islam is now taking a page from Christian teaching, using the same methodology which has worked so successfully, for so long, for the Christians. They now state that the people who are following the injunctions found in the teachings of their religion — whether by Imams, or by previous rulings of Hadith, or via new fatwas issued by religious councils — and who commit atrocities condoned in action just as verily by such, have actually “hijacked” their alleged-to-be “peaceful” religion.

 

The Hudabiyya agreement was a long-ago arrangement agreed to by the Muslims which allowed them time to build-up their resources to defeat at a later date those who had held the position of strength over them, at the time when the agreement had gone into effect. In today’s modern terms, we would call these “peace treaties” or “truces”, or the always-ongoing “peace process”. It has been determined that this sets the precedent whereby it is okay to lie to the enemy and make an agreement to any terms of peace, which can, later, conveniently be broken once they have gained sufficient strength. (Spoiler alert — too late!)

 

After writing yesterday that more Muslims need to stand against the violent acts perpetrated by those who come from their midst, I am happy to read a compilation of two instances translated by MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) from Arabic into English today whereby Arabs of stature in certain communities have condemned these atrocities committed by Muslims, and fault their own culture and religion for producing such individuals. They give great credibility and consideration for their Muslim indoctrination into putting blame where it belongs: quite squarely on themselves.

 

Kudos for speaking up and out on behalf of truth. Now, however, you are two small voices in the wilderness, and the billion-plus others still beat to a different drummer. Have we the time to wait for their moderation conversion?

 

It’s been a very easy riposte to disqualify the sinner from the religion, then. As noted, though… It just so happens that it ISN’T “truly Christian” to do so.

———————————————————————–

Related: The article above deals with the collective responsibility, as I see it, of religion, as a whole. A recent article posted at the United with Israel website shares a thought about our responsibilities as individuals, told through the interpretation of religious teachings gleaned through a story in the Bible. If you would like to read this, I’ve connected the link to the site, here:

http://www.unitedwithisrael.org/living-torah-take-responsibility-and-dont-shift-the-blame/

 

 

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Today On: Gaza

In my email inbox yesterday was an appeal for charity for a 12-year-old Jewish girl named Noa, living in Israel, who just recently celebrated her bat-mitzvah. Most people take for granted the milestone she has reached — in being granted a day of life in which to celebrate. Her mother, like most parents, struggles with the bills of raising her family. In this case, she does so as a single parent, with the added burdens of the high costs of the medical bills accrued in treating her daughter’s brain cancer. After multiple brain surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments, Noa is presently on a course of medication, given in phases. A campaign to assist the family is underway to meet the financial costs of care, beyond which the Israeli medical establishment doesn’t cover, and which extends yet further past the already-reduced pharmaceutical costs granted by the drug company. (For further information about this appeal, please see the link below).

 

The group undertaking this campaign, as well as other projects, was started by Rabbi Binyamin Gottlieb to assist the Jewish people forcibly evicted from their homes, businesses, and land during the August, 2005 Gaza Withdrawal. The Jewish people who were removed from Gaza and northern Samaria make up the communities of Gush Katif. They were left to fend for themselves, without remuneration or compensation from the government, which removed them in an attempt to create peace, based on Arab promises of a land-for-peace solution.

 

First of all, peace should never be conditional, for any reason. Peace should come as a result of the actions of creating it by want and by not pursuing acts of war. The Arabs have never demonstrated that this is their intent. Instead, peaceful Israeli actions beget further Arab violence. Arab landmass gives them footing from which to launch their continued Jihad against the Jews and Israel. This policy has been a political failure in allowing the Arabs the experiment of self-rule within an Israeli sovereign state. There can only be one master for one land, and that happens to be the sovereign state of Israel. The decision to pursue war over peace is the precedent set by the Arabs. It is now time to reverse these disastrous accords.

 

Meanwhile, the Jewish people still suffer. Most of those evicted have lived in temporary caravans or from home-to-home amongst friends, still homeless after more than ten years since their own homes were gifted to the Arabs. They have yet to find employment, in many cases. Rabbi Gottlieb, himself, is one of these people who have been made to leave their home. He set up the charitable foundation, Yachdav, to help others like himself.

 

Jewish people have been made to be refugees for thousands of years. From foreign incursions into our land, to expulsions from the lands into which we were flung, Jews have been met with anti-Semitic fervor in decrees by governments against us, and by action in popular sentiment of the people. In medieval days, it was countries like Spain and England which expelled their Jews and confiscated Jewish property. All of Europe participated in giving up their Jews to the crematoria of the Nazis. The Arabs were no different. They drove out nearly a million Jews and confiscated their properties in the exodus preceding the Proclamation of Israel Independence of 1948.

 

It is therefore refreshing to find an Arab viewpoint in line with the Jewish one. Sheik Abdul Hadi Palazzi, secretary-general of the Council of Muslim Clerics in Italy, recently requested a visit to the Gush Katif Museum, set up in Jerusalem, to express his affirmation of the Jewish right to presence in the land, versus the movement to remove Jews from it, which he finds inethical, as does he the takeover by Arab terrorist organizations of Jewish sites. I wish that more people would speak out for Jewish rights to the land, such as Sheik Palazzi has done. Oddly, he looks familiar to me, much like the Arab-Jewish Doppelganger “effect” I mentioned in another article.

 

Prior to the Gaza Withdrawal in August of 2005, rallies were held around the world, hoping to demonstrate the peoples’ commitment opposing the plan. I made some great signs and wore them to the one I attended. The local photojournalist for the Jewish newspaper wanted to take my photo, but I didn’t want to appear in a leftist paper biased against Jewish rights in the land, so I declined.

 

I motioned the speaker on the podium to acknowledge publicly the rainbow which appeared over him. The rainbow is G-d’s covenant that He will always be with us. We don’t know His thoughts and plans, especially regarding unexpected results, such as those of Gaza. But, despite what might seem dire circumstances, it will undoubtedly be for the best (presently). And yes, the good gentleman stopped what he was doing and made mention of the rainbow.

 

Watching the IDF actually going in and bodily carrying Jews out of their homes was just too much. I will never forget the commentary from reportage covering the event by CNN (Cable News Network in the United States of America) describing “Jewish extremists”, with the accompanying video footage showing three teen-aged, or younger, girls huddled together, dressed in long skirts, I think, facing inwards and doing nothing. I was so angry, that it unleashed my decades long writer’s block, and I whipped off this poem in about 5 or 10 minutes or so, about my Palestinian ex-husband and the subject of the Gaza Withdrawal. It’s called ” V’Atah/After All”, and I posted it earlier, but I’ll recreate it here, again, for you. I hope you like it.

 

“V’Atah/After All” (by “Randyjw”)

 

Brilliant mind,

two souls intertwined

I thought you would leave

your past actions behind

But thousands of years

through grief and through tears

shows that Judaism and love

are most certainly blind

Blind to the cruelty of hatred’s intentions

Blind to the scheming of man’s machinations

Awaiting the day

when the world will say

We acknowledge your people,

your history, your nation

Alone we now stand

Exiled from our land

Our people have borne each concession

Alone we will stand

With our L-rd’s guiding hand

As we wait for the final redemption.

 

###

 

To learn more about the plight of the Jewish refugees from Arab lands, please see the website at Jimena:

http://www.jimena.org/

 

To learn more about the Yachdav Foundation and the projects currently supported, please visit:

http://www.yachdav.net/

 

To see the article on Sheik Palazzi’s visit to the Gush Katif Museum in Jerusalem, please visit:

http://shturem.org/index.php?section=news&id=40587

 

And here is the shirt I wore to the rally to protest the Gaza Disengagement:

 

IMG_20160328_143205          IMG_20160328_142939

 

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Harry Belafonte and Miriam Makeba Sing Jewish/Jewish-Themed Songs

 

I have one post dedicated to Jewish/Israeli song artists called “Shema Yisrael”, and another dedicated to the familiar songs of my youth and upbringing here in America, called “American Culture In Music”.  “American Culture In Music” contains many songs in many languages, reflecting the diversity and melting pot which is America. Jewish songs were a part of my youth, but did not receive as broad a recognition in American culture as the rest of the type of songs represented “American Culture In Music”.

 

It is interesting to see how individual cultures adapt to their newfound societies, combining their old traditions with the new. It is an educational experience to look at a review, from the future, back to the past, to see how it’s developed, integrated, and been influenced by the melding of different cultures within societies. While many people can probably sing “Havah Nagilah” and many of the tunes written for the film adaptation of Shalom Aleichem’s novel based on the reality of life for the Jews during Russian pogroms against them, via the popular movie musical, “Fiddler On The Roof” (for which I played the part of ‘Hodel’ in a grade school musical presentation), other artists’ renditions of some of these songs deserve a posting set aside and apart from both these lists for the special classifications or designations into which these fall. Two such are those by Harry Belafonte and Miriam Makeba. It shows a blending of cultures in the performances of one through the songs and representative styles of the other.

 

Here they are singing one of my newest favorite songs, ‘Erev Shel Shoshanim’, and several renditions (live and on studio albums) captured via film and video, or pressed into vinyl, of Harry Belafonte’s versions of: “Havah Nagilah” and “Hineh Mah Tov”. I hope you enjoy their versions of these Jewish songs, and this informational, educational look at cultures of American society through song:

 

Erev Shel Shoshanim:

Harry Belafonte:

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5nYc26rEGo&list=RDc5nYc26rEGo)

 

Erev Shel Shoshanim:

Miriam Makeba:

(https://youtu.be/gP0OuRVzpw0)

 

Harry Belafonte:

Hineh Mah Tov (1960; Concert: England):

(https://youtu.be/RCzUWap9rm0)

 

Harry Belafonte:

Hineh Mah Tov (Album: Return to Carnegie Hall):

(https://youtu.be/LwLtzxkgfV0)

 

Harry Belafonte:

Noah:

(https://youtu.be/1dG7QI3L5tI)

 

Harry Belafonte:

Havah Nagilah (Album: At Carnegie Hall: The Complete Concert):

(https://youtu.be/KTCmKmofaKA)

 

Harry Belafonte:

Havah Nagilah (Harry Belafonte From Jamaica: Calypso):

(https://youtu.be/kVxAb97XyZM)

 

Harry Belafonte:

Havah Nagilah (TV: The Danny Kaye Show; with Danny Kaye):

(https:/youtu.be/B971FNuLgQo)

 

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Purim for Belgium

Purim for Belgium

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Purim celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, peace and happiness over terrorism. It is the Jewish story of a tempered decree meant to kill all Jews under the Persian Empire, at that time, supplemented with an additional decree allowing for our self-defense. We were victorious. We celebrate today to commemorate that victory. We stand with you, Belgium, in fighting terror today. We may not be able to celebrate our holiday openly, due to the present security considerations after the recent terror attacks, in Belgium’s public squares as originally planned, but know that we will celebrate privately, in solidarity with you, in private homes and synagogues worldwide. Terror shall not prevail. We stand with you, Belgium!

 

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Women’s Advocate Needed In Film!

 

I just found the perfect job opp for those interested in advocating for women in film, about film, and through film! Okay, so it’s not a real job opp, because it’s an “internship”, as is so often the case (natch), but it’s definitely a great way to break into film and notch up some bona-fide creds in the industry.

 

Do you have a passion to help women be heard in a sometimes still male-dominated society? Would you like them to escape the bonds of oppression from domineering men and societies hindering female entry into occupations they would like to pursue, but can’t, because they are a woman? (Sometimes my own views are at odds with each other, due to factors such as upbringing and traditions, I think it is important to add, here.)

 

Now is the perfect opportunity to get involved with the Women’s Film Institute and have your own voice counted in the cause for women’s advancement. I’ve found so many great voices out there, waiting to be discovered… people such as one of my newest favorites, a male feminist (yessss!!!!!), or the lovely, multi-talented woman (my absolute favorite!!!) whose family left an oppressive country to find greater opportunities and freedoms elsewhere!

 

The great voices being discovered in the WordPress community now have another outlet for expression via this avenue: The Women’s Film Institute, another WordPress-powered site! Based in the nation’s film capital of the United States, in the sunny state of California, the Women’s Film Institute is seeking people who have a passion for driving forward women’s empowerment and expression in the issues and fields in which they engage. Perhaps they are prevented from doing so, but you can be their voice.

 

Just have the commitment to devote to reading, writing, and editing two posts per month, on average, in a voluntary capacity, from your remote location, and you’ve just entered through that new door I mentioned in my poem, ‘Wonder’, to set you on your way! An opportunity such as this is a definite rarity. Not only that, but it could lead to further opportunities and connections to branch out from once you have stepped along this unique path! What are you waiting for? Here are the details:

 

Found through my Indeed.com automated job search, it posted to my email inbox today, March 22, 2016, and lists the internship from yesterday, March 21, 2016. It directs further inquiry to the site, from which it practically displays the description verbatim. The company is the Women’s Film Institute, and lists the offering March 5, 2016, requesting a resume and your cover letter being sent to:

sfwomensfilmfestival@gmail.com.

Here is a link to the position from within the site:

http://womensfilminstitute.com/2016/03/05/bloggers/

 

and a link to the site, itself:

http://womensfilminstitute.com/

 

Good luck! And reserve me front row seating at your premiere!

 

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