Showing posts from September, 2009

My Alma Mater: a Rosh Hashana Address

By virtue of the fact that my father taught and was Hebrew Supervisor at the Ramaz School for around thirty years, I was enrolled as a student there for twelve years. Along with my home environment, Ramaz is where I was imprinted with Zionism and Judaism, and received an outstanding Jewish education.

I received Principal Rabbi Haskel Lookstein's Rosh Hashana address in my email a week or two ago. He was the assistant principal when I was a student there (his father, Rabbi Joseph Lookstein a"h, who also officiated at my chatunah, was then principal).

I feel that this address is important enough to share with my readers. It very much epitomizes what Modern Orthodoxy strives to be today.

Add to that the idea of G-d being available to everyone learned or not, and also emphasizing mysticism, spirituality and holiness in one's daily life, joy and dance in observance as well as serious Jewish (and secular) scholarship; and knowing that I am descendant (on my mother's si…

One of the Lamed-Vavnikim*

There is a mystical Chassidic tradition that there are always present in every generation 36* righteous, humble Jews, "whose role in life is solely to justify the purpose of mankind in the eyes of G-d." They are necessary to sustain the world.

Even if the world descends into barbarism (in which path it often seems to be going these days), as long as these 36 righteous Jews exist, G-d will not destroy the world. Each one of these Tzaddikim is unbeknownst to the other, and if only one of them was missing, the world would end. They are also known as the "Tzaddikim Nistarim," the 'hidden righteous ones.

Because no one knows who they are, and because if someone 'declares' himself to be one of them we know it isn't he, each one of us should strive to be like one of them; we should, humbly, do good and show great kindness to every Jew, no matter if he is different than you.

I saw this video and had tears in my eyes, and thought it was appropriate before Y…

Yom Kippur: a FAST Day

I am posting a public 'asking for a mechilah' post two days before Yom Kippur (The Jewish Day of Atonement); if in the past year I have verbally or virtually--to my fellow bloggers and readers whom I know personally and see in my community, and to those I know from your blogs and comments--said or done anything to insult or hurt you in any way, I am asking for forgiveness.

Wishing you a meaningful Shabbat Shuvah, and a meaningful fast on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), and may it pass fast.

Bibi Netanyahu: A Speech for Our Time

If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once.
-Sir Winston Churchill.

It's about time we had a leader of the state of Israel who doesn't pussyfoot around, doesn't worry about "political correctness," but rather spits out the truth, and tells us his view of the U.N. and their 'Human Rights Commission.' I agree with him on all points, except I am not a proponent of the "two state solution," although I believe he had to say that. My view is, the Arabs have 22 sovereign states, and at least one of them is Palesinian in territory and population.

The Jews have only one: Israel. And so it shall remain, one JEWISH state of Israel, eventually between its Biblical borders, forever. Amen, ken yehi ratzon.

HH #235 (so they say)

Just a note to say that Haveil Havalim (henceforth known as "HH") #235, the "Slow Fast Edition" (you did know today was a fast day...and it passed r-e-a-l s-l-o-w. . .) is up at Batya's Me-Ander, right here.
Read the linked blog posts. And read about the JBlogger's convention: unlike your truly, Batya was (drum roll, please) actually there! So she has the scoop.

And here, totally random, are two of my whole wheat, round, honey-raisin challot which I baked for Yom Tov. They were (and still are) really yummy, baruch Hashem.

Gmar chatimah tovah* to all my Jewish readers...

*gmar chatimah tovah: may you be sealed (in the Book of Life) for Good.

Snow on Tzom Gedaliah 5770, and The End of Days...

I awoke this morning to cold air. The temperature (it was forecast) had dropped to the fifties. It was gray and raining. As I looked out the window (while freezing in my PJs), I saw rain mixed with snow. Our first snow, on Tzom Gedaliah*. September 21st. This is considered early, although the changing-t0-snow was very brief, although it is still raining. It was barely snow; just a hint . . .

But it is interesting, because the geese had disappeared. Our complex is a haven for ducks and geese, because there are greenbelts and several 'lakes' (man-made, of course; part of the design). They live here in the summer, and practically all year round, at least the ducks do.
But the geese a week or two ago, suddenly were gone. A friend of mine opined that geese have a sense of the seasons, and if they suddenly fly--it means that it will be an early winter. It certainly feels like that now.

I read sometime back in the summer, around Tisha b'Av*, about a gathering which too…

Preparations on the Eve of 5770

No time to blog, for days now; doing a little work here and there, and somehow have been busy, busy, busy. With the chagim* coming, the tension and excitement are mounting. I have just seen our friends out the door. My friend came earlier to cook in our kitchen, as we are jointly cooking with a third couple (who are a little homebound), and going to their house for the first seudah* of Rosh Hashana* which starts Friday at sundown.

I baked six (6) round challot*, whole-wheat, two with raisins. The custom for Rosh Hashana is to use round challot as opposed to braided, as 'round' is a symbol of the circle of life, and on Rosh Hashana we review our deeds from the past year, atoning for our sins, and ask for forgiveness. It is also, according to Jewish tradition, the day of the creation of Adam ha-rishon, the first man. We believe that G-d judges us on this day, which is why one of the names (Hebrew) of this auspicious day, is Yom ha-Din, or 'Day of Judgement.' The nam…

Asaf Ramon, z"l. . .

Just saw terrible news on Arutz Sheva; Assaf Ramon, son of Ilan Ramon (the first Israeli astronaut), was killed in an air training accident. He had recently completed his Israeli Air Force (IAF) pilot course "with excellence."

I am speechless. Baruch Dayan ha-Emet. . .

Asaf Ramon of Blessed Memory

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The 2nd Annual Jewish Bloggers Convention

I am having a great time just participating in the chat room, virtually 'meeting' other bloggers by watching the live webcast and chatting with other bloggers. I am seeing bloggers whose blogs I read, and I wish there were some way we could have video set-ups for each chat-room member so if we choose, we could see and be seen (anonymity, be gone!).

Right now, different bloggers are being introduced, while the general hevre went to have dinner (I ran to get my oatmeal breakfast & more coffee)!

Benji Lovitt of What War Zone is about to to a stand-up; they are all coming back from dinner now...
Benji is funny, no question about it. Stand up comedy is serious business, and it is TOUGH.

Will try to update this as it is happening (Jameel, thanks for setting a precedent!); it is 8:03 p.m. Israel time, and Benji is into his act: talking about the funnyness (is that a word?) of the Hebrew language for olim chadashim...

Ron Dermer speaking now--discussing the changing paradigm of infor…

Good Luck to the Chosen Bloggers!

There just ended--in case you live under a rock, or are not a blogger (same difference)--a contest to choose several bloggers to go to Israel and participate in person at the Jewish Bloggers Convention sponsored by Nefesh b'Nefesh to be held in Jerusalem on Sept. 13th . The winner would fly free (NY to Tel-Aviv, that is) and would be assigned to an oleh family (a family making aliyah, moving to Israel) and would blog about their experience.

I was shocked and thrilled (well, not so shocked; I was actually thinking of her and hoping she'd do it. . . ) when Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach of the Every Day and its Challenges blog asked me if I wanted to be nominated (are you kidding?!).

To make a long story longer, she did-and this is what happened:
1) I was thrilled,
2)I told my kids there was a smidgen of a chance I would be there next week (but don't bet on it),
3) I sent them all Ye'he's beautiful nominating post (click on link above), and (drum roll)
4) I didn'…