Monthly Archives: April 2012

Shoah/Holocaust, Ancestral Roots, Shabbat

Yom HaShoah/Holocaust Remembrance Day ended yesterday. But, for me the remembering never ceases.

Each day I am reminded of those who came before me. It matters not what their status is: whether they were murdered during the Holocaust, whether they survived and are still living, or whether the survivors are no longer living. The fact remains that they were victims of the Holocaust, and each day I remember them and pray for them.

I think of all individuals who are suffering forms of genocide, and it doesn’t matter where their location is. Genocide is genocide, no matter how you look at it.

Trees are beautiful life forms, but more than that, they are reminders of our ancestral past and our present. Their branches flow much like our own family tree branches out throughout the generations. Generation after generation, life is multiplied, and life also diminishes, but the radiance and illuminations of past lives resonates within our own ancestral branches and our hearts.

No matter where our paths lead, and no matter whether our skies are blue, cloudy or gray, there is always time for a moment of remembrance.

Please remember those who came before you, this Shabbat.

Painting taken by Nazis during WWII, returned to heirs.

A Real Titanic Love Story

Shabbat Shalom!

April 20, 2012 – 28 Nisan, 5772

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Filed under Holocaust/Genocide, Judaism, Photography

Cherry Blossoms Departing

It is time for Nature Notes Wednesday, and also Outdoor Wednesday.

The cherry blossoms are fading, falling off, dropping to the ground before my eyes, and leaving their branches bare and empty, where glorious beauty reigned for a short time. The season is so short, and once those beauties depart, what remains are the barren branches, lovely in their own right, and the blossoms that lay on the ground, also lovely in their fading glory.

Those gorgeous cherry blossoms are a testament to life, to how short it is in actuality, and also a testament for us to make the most of our time here on the planet.

Oh, and always remember to say I love you to those you love and cherish on a daily basis, including members of the natural environment.

Until I see your beautiful blossoms again, next year, just know I loved your glorious colors. They brought smiles to my face and to my heart.

April 17, 2012 – 25 Nisan, 5772

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

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Jewaicious Review – The Late Lamented Molly Marx

Reflections of her past, and interactions with her husband, daughter and others, are contrasted with their lives in the present, as Molly looks on contemplatively, from the “Duration”, in The Late Lamented Molly Marx, by Sally Koslow.

Told in the first person by Molly, the book follows Molly, in the hereafter, as she looks down upon her family, and their interactions and reactions to her untimely death at the age of 35. There is an air of suspicion surrounding her death, and Molly, herself, doesn’t seem to remember the circumstances. The last she remembers, she was riding her bicycle through Riverside Park in New York City.

Was her death accidental? Was it a suicide? Was it murder? It is all conjecture.

Molly becomes wistful regarding the one person she is most concerned about, her four-year old daughter, Annabel, her beloved Annabel. She is concerned for her emotional welfare and well-being. Annabel was her reason for living, and Molly’s life revolved around Annabel.

She watches her plastic surgeon husband, Barry, also, and relives their marriage, from its beginning through her death. She acknowledges the flaws, and makes conscious decisions to take responsibility for some of the negative aspects of her life. But, taking responsibility from the afterlife does not reap rewards for those left behind.

What one needs to do is acknowledge their choices and take responsibility while they are still living. Life is about living and interacting, in the here and now, and not in the hereafter.

Family dynamics and the intimacies and intricacies of marriage are also thematic within the pages of The Late, Lamented Molly Marx. Sally Koslow weaves a story line, injecting it with details of an afterlife that holds mystery, yet is filled with positive aspects in an almost hypnotic manner. Her word visuals are vivid, her writing is concise, and at times poetic. I felt the ending was a bit rushed, but I still enjoyed the book.

The Late Lamented Molly Marx is a book that infuses life and death, death and the afterlife, the past, present and future together, from an unusual viewpoint.

April 12, 2012 – 20 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, Judaism, Novels, Uncategorized

Wednesday’s World

It is time for Nature Notes Wednesday.

It is also Outdoor Wednesday, today!

April 11, 2012 – 19 Nisan, 5772

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Filed under Photography

Tuesday Photography and Books

The Great Egret taken at a pond at the perimeter of an orange grove.

The two tree captures are from Descanso Gardens. I have no idea who the individuals are, and blurred their faces.

Our World Tuesday

Amy Meltzer’s blog, Homeshuling, will be hosting the April Jewish Book Carnival. Get your links to her by this Thursday, April 12, 2012. Email them to morahamy [at] yahoo [dot] com.

The Association of Jewish Libraries of Southern California is thrilled to announce that the 47th Annual AJL convention will be held at the Langham Hotel in Pasadena, California.

Read Leonard Fein’s article regarding A.B. Yehoshua on being a complete Jew vs a partial Jew.

The Arrogant Years: One Girl’s Search for Her Lost Youth, From Cairo to Brooklyn, by Lucette Lagnado, looks to be as good a read as her first memoir, The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit.

I came across this book, and it is a must buy for me...An Exclusive Love, a Memoir, by Johanna Adorjan

April 10, 2012 – 18 Nisan, 5772

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

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Jewaicious Review – Prague : My Long Journey Home

Prague My Long Journey Home: A Memoir of Survival, Denial and Redemption by Charles Ota Heller, is an extremely well written and fascinating memoir, filled with so much historical information, on World War II Czechoslovakia, a large percentage of it new to me.

Heller’s memoir is filled with many emotions, from humor to sadness, longing and despair, love and loss, identity and denial, assimilation and religious views, written from his memories beginning with his childhood growing up under the shadows of war, and under the extreme changes occurring in his surroundings in Czechoslovakia. The country was war-torn in many aspects. Not only by the Nazis, but by other factions.

Heller’s father was Jewish, and his mother was Christian. This played a major role in his adolescence, and his ability to be able to survive the devastating events of the Holocaust. His mother tried to shield him as best as she could from the situations arising around them. He had little knowledge that over one dozen of his relatives were murdered in death camps.

Through Heller’s long journey, he not only rediscovered his roots, he discovered himself, parts of himself he avoided emotionally for decades. He was able to somewhat (not entirely) come to terms with his childhood situation, with the ravages of the Nazis, and with the fact that he was Jewish in a world that was filled with antisemitism.

I was impressed with Heller’s ability to stand firm and look at the positive aspects of his life, within the many tragedies that took place throughout the years. He found humor in small things, in the minute details others might not think of. I admire his mode of getting through the horrific situations forced upon him and his family, and the devastation that was thrust upon them.

They eventually emigrated to America, where Heller still resides, with his wife.

Prague: My Long Journey home is a book infused with memories, a memoir that is a study in repression and denial, change and the immigrant experience. It touches on so many psychological facets that Heller is still trying to deal with, decades later.

I recommend Prague: My Long Journey Home, to everyone. It is a compelling memoir which significantly touches not only on time and place, but on historical events with poignancy, humor, matter-of-fact prose, and with enlightening visuals of his life during the war, and his emigration to America and assimilation within a new environment. It leaves the reader with much to ponder.

I want to thank Charles Ota Heller and Abbott Press for the review copy. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to read it.

April 8, 2012 – 16 Nisan, 5772

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