Monthly Archives: March 2012

Skies, Unleavened Pound Cake, Shabbat

I enjoy looking up, especially through trees, when walking in a nature or natural setting. I like it when one can see jet trails within tree branches, such as in this capture.

I like the view-through effect, looking between or through trees in order to see the sky.

I liked the way the sky was reflected in the water.

It is time for Skywatch Friday! Visit here, for more sky scenes from around the world.

Tonight I will light my Shabbat candles, and will reflect on the Passover/Pesach, which will be upon us sooner than we might realize. Friday, April 6, 2012 is Passover eve. That is one week away, and coincidentally, it falls on Shabbat.

I have begun the ritual house cleaning, the storing, moving, lending and disposing of items, both food and otherwise. I still have to bake and prepare a few things, and will get to it immediately, in order to finish cleaning house.

I will be making my traditional unleavened pound cake. I serve it with small glass bowls of apricot preserves, orange marmalade, and strawberry preserves placed around the pound cake on a large platter. The recipe and a photo of a finished pound cake is below:

Unleavened Pound Cake

Ingredients:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar (I use sugar substitute)
4 eggs (I use egg substitute for cholesterol purposes)
1 1/2 tsp.vanilla + a dribble more
1/4 tsp.nutmeg
2 c. flour (for Passover I used 5 /8 cup of potato starch for each cup of flour mentioned in unleavened recipe)
1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:
Cream butter, gradually adding sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time. Sift together flour, salt and nutmeg.

Gradually add dry ingredients to egg mixture and beat until thoroughly blended. Turn batter into greased loaf pan or bundt cake pan. Bake at 325° for 1 hour. Cool cake in pan. Check after 50 minutes to make sure it doesn’t overcook, as ovens vary. Makes one loaf or bundt cake.

Don’t be alarmed that it won’t turn out to be as high as normal, remember, it is an unleavened pound cake.

Please take a moment to look up to the skies, and reflect on events that have transpired where you live, in your personal life, in the world, and within your family. Be well, stay safe.

Shabbat Shalom!

March 30, 2012 – 7 Nisan, 5772

No permission is granted to reproduce my reviews, prose of any sort, and photos without my permission.

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Filed under Judaism, Photography, Recipes

Jewaicious Review – An Uncommon Friendship

An Uncommon Friendship: From Opposite Sides of the Holocaust, by Bernat Rosner and Frederic C. Tubach, with Sally Patterson Tubach, is an extremely powerful, and poignant memoir, written in a concise manner, with clarity and sensitivity. The memoir (really two memoirs in one) parallels the lives of Rosner and Tubach, from their childhoods through adulthood, at which time their lives converge, and a friendship begins to form.

They became acquainted in 1983, through their wives, and from there we watch as a superficial relationship between two men turn into a lasting and deep friendship, with all the layers of emotion peeled away.

The memoir is physically written by Tubach, and his story is in the first person, whereas Rosner’s is in the third person. Rosner wanted Tubach to write it that way.

Rosner, was a Survivor of Auschwitz, and was a Hungarian Jew, sent there at twelve-years of age with his mother, father and brother. He was the only one to survive. Tubach was the son of a Nazi German Soldier during the same time period. An Uncommon Friendship is written in double memoir style, rotating back and forth, from Rosner to Tubach, during the turbulent and horrific events of the Holocaust, through their both emigrating to America.

They were on opposite sides of the spectrum, and we witness their riveting journeys. We watch them graduate from universities, become employed in fairly prestigious occupations, and finally see their lives converge, when they finally meet. Rosner’s journey through the darkest moments of horror and back is told with extreme sensitivity by Tubach.

It was only when Rosner began telling his story in bits and pieces, and when Rosner and Tubach traveled to Rosner’s village of origin, that the intensity and horrors that he (Rosner) encountered began to ring out through his heart-wrenching stories. The tortures, horrors, atrocities and events that he endured, he surpressed, in order to emotionally survive. He left his emotions behind him when emigrating to America, as if they were annihilated (and, they actually were). He wanted a new life, and was given the chance through a family who adopted him. It was through his growing, and unlikely friendship with Tubach that he was able to reveal the ugliness of his survival, and the loss of his family members, and slowly his silence resounded.

Tubach’s story isn’t lessened or overshadowed by Rosner’s. Tubach had his own situations in his village, living with a dictator type father and a caring stepmother. He had a restlessness to achieve and make something of himself. Life wasn’t easy for him, even though he was on the extreme end of the continuum. He too, emigrated to start anew, sponsored by an uncle. Tubach doesn’t try to give reason to the actions of his family, and he doesn’t seek to explain or justify the situations of his life in Germany. He tells his story, in reflection and comparison to Rosner’s. Each man has a valid and sincere story to tell, each with descriptive images, neither one trying to outshine the other.

The memoir is fascinating and beautifully written, filled with harrowing moments, genocide, nightmares of physical endurance, and the horrors war inflicts on both those who perish, and those who survive. The authors are excellent in detailing scenarios with extreme, descriptive insight and intensity.

An Uncommon Friendship is a metaphor for friendship and trust. Trust is earned, and not a given, and both men learned the true meaning of trust within the sphere of their developing relationship and friendship. Through the testimonies of Bernat Rosner and Frederic C. Tubach, lives are reborn and friendships built through shared remembrances of childhoods from different sides of the spectrum. Parallel lives become intertwined and joined by the bridge of friendship, strength and courage. Their stories are a tribute to endurance, courage and life. I highly recommend An Uncommon Friendship: From Opposite Sides of the Holocaust.

I personally own the riveting memoir.

March 29, 2012 – 6 Nisan, 5772

No permission is granted to reproduce my reviews, prose of any sort, and photos without my permission.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, Holocaust/Genocide, Judaism, Memoirs, Non-Fiction

Wednesday Wanderings

It’s Wednesday! That means you must visit Outdoor Wednesday and also Nature Notes Wednesday to see more photographs from around the planet.

March 28, 2012 – 5 Nisan, 5772

No permission is granted to reproduce my reviews, prose of any sort, and photos without my permission.

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Out and About

I spent a day at Descanso Gardens, this past weekend, to attend the Cherry Blossom Festival.

I rained in the morning, but the sun came out at about noon. My morning photos are rather dismal looking, what with the overcast skies. My afternoon photos were much more enhanced due to the sun.

The above photo with cherry trees in the background, was taken in the cloud-covered morning.

We were walking through one of the many paths when the sun came out, and the trees were almost bare looking, but getting some buds on them.

I loved the tones of these lovelies.

Why not go on over to Our World Tuesday and browse through the many photos on the meme.

More photographs of the gardens will follow throughout the next few days.

March 27, 2012 – 4 Nisan, 5772

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Jewaicious Review – The Invisible Bridge

If you want to read an incredible epic novel, one that is stunning in its presentation, then The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer, is a novel for you. The Invisible Bridge is a saga, and a difficult book to review, due to its epic quality and the fact it is well over 600 pages long. The haunting historical novel begins in 1937 and takes the reader through the end of World War II. The story is told through a unique perspective, that of a Hungarian Jew named Andras Levi.

Andras has gone to Paris to study architecture, where the opportunities are greater, leaving behind his family in Hungary. He has two brothers, and they are very close. The familial bonds are extremely strong.

While in Paris, Andras meets an older woman named who is also a Hungarian Jew, with a teen-aged daughter. Her background is a bit mysterious and the reasons for her being in Paris are not immediately evident. An affair begins between the two of them, which eventually turns to love and romance.

Due to circumstances and the anti-Semitism prevalent against Jews in France, Andras is forced to return to Hungary. He is eventually conscripted into the work labor program. That is where the more horrendous part of The Invisible Bridge begins to transform itself into an historically intense story of war time horror. Orringer leaves nothing to the imagination, and the word imagery is stunningly detailed. She includes every minute detail into The Invisible Bridge, and the reader’s senses are filled with the sights, sounds, scents, tastes and touches of daily life. Life in the work labor camps is depicted with depth and strong visuals. The adverse conditions (that is putting it mildly), and the atrocities are told so strongly that the reader feels as if this is a personal family memoir and saga, as opposed to being a novel.

As The Invisible Bridge progresses, the reader watches the relationship between Andras and Klara develop and grow into emotionally obsessive qualities. They will do anything, and use every means possible, in order to be with each other, and also to be able to communicate with each other. The reader sees Andras growth as he turns into an emotionally mature man. He not only thinks of himself, but of Klara and his family that he has left behind. He is willing to sacrifice his life, sacrifice anything for her safety and the safety of his family. And, Klara in return, is willing to do the same, always cognizant of the fact that Andras’ safety is in danger. Each partner is concerned with the other.

That is the beauty of The Invisible Bridge. Love transpires and evolves within the harshest of circumstances. Love flows from one event to the next, never diminishing, but growing stronger. As the hours and days move forward, Andras’ thoughts of Klara are what continue to give him the motivation to find a way to survive the horrendous nightmares set before him.

I became totally involved in the book and the characters who felt very real. I wanted to know more about them, and wanted to continue to learn more regarding their daily situations. There is so much more to The Invisible Bridge than what I have written. You need to read it for yourself, and inhale the depth of the saga.

Orringer has researched the events that transpired in Hungary during World War II to the utmost of standards, perfection and reality. The events, described so brilliantly, give the reader insight into the little known aspects of what transpired in Hungary during World War II. There isn’t much information on that subject. What we read, as far as the events and audacious circumstances, did occur. She did not white wash anything, yet she wrote magnificent details with beautiful and superlative prose.

Julie Orringer’s brilliant writing illuminates the pages with intensity and sensitivity. The reader can discern that her heart and soul were within the pages of The Invisible Bridge. It is a beautifully written historical novel that pays tribute to not only the Hungarian Jews, but to familial ties and relationships. It is a metaphor for love and war, yearning and loss, strength and survival under the most adverse of conditions. I highly recommend The Invisible Bridge to everyone.

I have read the novel twice, and the second time I became more cognizant of the extraordinary events and deprivation that unfolded due to the vivid imagery.

March 26, 2012 – 3 Nisan, 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 Book Reviews, Historical Fiction, Holocaust/Genocide, Judaism

Sunday Scenes March 25, 2012

For more photos from around the world, visit Straight Out of the Camera Sunday.

I am off to the movies today to see Footnote. A review will follow during the week.

March 25, 2012 – 2 Nisan, 5772

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

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