Monthly Archives: February 2012

Wednesday Green Riverscape

ABC Wednesday


Nature Notes Wednesday

Outdoor Wednesday

Watery Wednesday

All photography, writing, poetry, etc. is my copyright and may not be reproduced without my express written permission.

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Jewaicious Review – The Gates of November

Chaim Potok’s “The Gates of November is an extremely intense non-fiction book, written about a Jewish family. The book delves into the father/son relationship that Potok is well known for in his books.

Solomon Slepak is an old-school Russian Jew, a diehard Bolshevik. He became a Marxist when he emigrated to the America, and then returned to the Soviet Union. He was a stubborn and difficult man, and became a staunch and renowned Communist Party member, despite the fact that he was Jewish. Solomon Slepak resists the ideals of his son, Volodya, who is a “refusenik”, and basically disowns him.

Volodya sees what is occurring in the Soviet Union and wants no part of it. He wants to take his wife and two sons and emigrate to Israel. Thus he begins the process of paperwork and documentation. His bid to emigrate is refused, and he and his wife, Masha, become activists, working to try to help other Jews who are refused permission to emigrate, under Josef Stalin’s relentless rule.

Due to his activities, he is sent to a remote part of Siberia, where the conditions take their toll on his health. Masha asks for permission to be with him, and is granted such. He is exiled for over five years, under the harshest of conditions, not only weather, but food and daily sustenance and necessities (this articulation is putting it mildly).

Once he returns home, he tries to seek work, and finds menial jobs here and there, that don’t last for any length of time. He applies for permission to emigrate, once again. The process drags on for years, and we are given an overview of the social, political and diplomatic events and results during the years that go by, while he waits for a positive outcome.

I could articulate more on The Gates of November, but I suggest you read it yourself in order to grasp the depth of the story. The Gates of November is quite extreme in detail. Potok has shown us the degrees people will go to in order to manipulate others by leaving out none of the horrible events or descriptive word images.

Potok infuses the intensity of the time period under Josef Stalin’s rule. He details the depth of life under the most adverse and harshest of circumstances within the confines of the brutal Stalin reign. His book is based on personal accounts, taped and written interviews, videos, etc., in order to bring exactness to The Gates of November. It is not an easy book to read, due to the brutally detailed circumstances and events. But, it is a book most definitely worth reading, not only in comprehending the historical aspect regarding Jews under Soviet rule, but for the ongoing father/son relationship and family dynamics that Chaim Potok always manages to write so brilliantly about.

The Gates of November is a masterful telling of Jewish familial life and dynamics under extreme social circumstances. It is both horrific and inspirational, and brings to the forefront the degrees of determination people have in order to obtain their goals. I highly recommend it to everyone.

I personally own and have read this book.

All photography, writing, poetry, etc. is my copyright and may not be reproduced without my express written permission.

I’m sorry for the update, but I forgot to include some vital prose.

February 28, 2012 – 5 Adar, 5772

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Holocaust/Genocide, Judaism, Novels

Sunday Scenes – February 26, 2012

Once again it is time for Straight Out of the Camera Sunday, and Shadow Shot Sunday.

All photography, writing, poetry, etc. is my copyright and may not be reproduced without my express written permission.

February 26, 2012 – 3 Adar, 5772

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Sky at Lake, Rosh Chodesh, Shabbat

The above photograph was taken on February 22, 2012.

It is Skywatch Friday, once again. Visit the meme to see more photographs from around the world.

Visit Leora to read about Shabbat Favorites with Watercolor. Her watercolor is absolutely beautiful. I can see it hanging in my dining room.The post is very inspiring.

Visit Zivah for a thought-provoking post.

Visit Window on the Wall for a live view of the wall/Kotel.

Visit Women of the Wall for inspiring posts.

Let us not forget that today is Rosh Chodesh. Please contemplate the meaning and the inspiration of the day.

Shabbat Shalom!

February 24, 2012 – 1 Adar, 5772

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Filed under Judaism, Photography, Uncategorized

Jewaicious Film Review – In Darkness

I didn’t think I could see a movie that was more compelling or intense with visuals as Schindler’s List or The Pianist. I was wrong, unfortunately.

In Darkness, directed by Agnieszka Holland is a film that will stay with me, as both Schindler’s List and The Pianist have.

For me, it is one of those films that depicts the Holocaust without mincing words or cutting short the visual impact of the horrific situations that those who were victims experienced.

In Darkness is a true story based on Leopold Socha, who was a sewer worker in Lvov, Poland. He was a small time thief, and a conniver living during World War II, when Lvov was occupied by the Nazis.

The majority of In Darkness takes place in the sewers of Lvov, within the darkness, the stench, the vermin (rats, etc.), and within the confines of a tunnel like atmosphere. This lends to the harsh feeling of the anxiety, emotional suffocation, lack of sunlight and lack of freedom that the Jewish individuals suffered through, in the dire situation they were in.

Leopold Socha starts out by bringing the Jews in the sewers bits of food, and other assorted items, that help them to survive, for money. As the film goes on we begin to see a change in him, and see his attitude towards the Jews slowly begin to change. We see his own journey towards recognition of the Jews as people, much like himself, despite the religious differences between them. We see him begin to understand the humaneness of the situation, and see him comprehend that he holds their lives in his hands.

Once he comes to understand this concept, there is no turning back for him. As far as he was concerned, they were his Jews, and he referred to them as “my Jews”. No matter the expense or the trouble he incurred, he did it willingly, from the moment of understanding until liberation. No more money exchanged hands.

Of course, his life and his family’s life was at risk for his actions. He did jeopardize himself and his family, but felt he had no choice, it was something he had to do, because of his humanistic realizations.

The Jews spent fourteen months within the sewer system, dredged with muck and mire, constant wetness and cramped quarters. Imagine… Once they were liberated, Socha threw them a welcoming party, with cake, etc. He was delighted for them, and treated them like family.

In my opinion, the filming within the sewers fosters and intensifies the focus on his emotional and human awakening. It also magnifies and depicts the dire situation the Jews were in quite dramatically, as we see very little lightness throughout the film.

You can read about Leopold Socha at Yad Vashem. He and his wife have been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations.

In Darkness is not a film for the weak-stomach. But, I highly recommend it. It puts a new light and face on Holocaust survival, and how rescuers played an important role in the lives of some Jews.

February 23, 2012 – 30 Sh’vat, 5772

All photography, writing, poetry, etc. is my copyright and may not be reproduced without my express written permission.

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Filed under Films, Holocaust/Genocide, Judaism, Non-Fiction

“F” for Fishing and More

The photographs above were taken from the shoulder of a freeway five years++ ago, looking down onto the Caney Fork River in TN. There were people fishing in the river. It made for a wonderful sunny day sight, and I was so glad that I had stopped to take a look.

It is time for three Wednesday memes:

Watery Wednesday

Nature Notes Wednesday

ABC Wednesday

Outdoor Wednesday

Please visit these photo memes to see more wonderful captures from around the world.

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