Monthly Archives: July 2012

Tish’a B’Av

Tisha B’Av, the Jewish holiday that begins a sunset July 28, 2012, and ends at sundown on July 29, 2012 (Erev Tish’a B’Av – 9 Av, 5772 until 10 Av, 5772), is a time for introspection and reflection on the numerous tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people.

From the destruction of the First and Second Temples to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, and everyincident before, between and after, including the Holocaust and other acts and forms of antisemitism, historically, the Jews have been put in vicarious, horrific and tragic situations. Tish’a B’Av, is the saddest day for the Jewish people, a day of fasting, remembering, mourning and prayer.

Take a moment to reflect on the past, the present and the future. Open the temple inside you, and let your inner illuminations shine, in order to radiate your illuminations externally.

Look within yourself, see if you can find the time to help heal the dealings of the past and in the present (no matter how small or minute, whether through prayer, physical action, performing a Mitzvah or Mitzvot), in order to better the future.

Update: Take a moment, if you will, during this day of the Olympic Opening Ceremony, to think about the members of the Israeli Olympic Team who were murdered during the 1972 Munich Olympics, in what is known as the Munich Massacre, along with a West German police officer. Thank you, for bearing with me with the update…I meant to post this, and somehow did not…thank you, Leora.

I found the poem below on a blog entitled Velveteen Rabbi, written by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat.

AFTER THE FALL

The mishna says
senseless hatred
knocked the Temple down

not the Romans with their siege engines –
or not only them, but
our ancestors too

who slipped into petty backbiting
ignored Shabbat
forgot how to offer their hearts

we’re no better
we who secretly know we’re right
holier-than-they

we who roll our eyes
and patronize, who check email
even on the holiest of days

who forget that
a prayer is more than a tune
more than words on a page

in Oslo parents weep
and we’re too busy arguing
motive to comfort them

across the Middle East parents weep
and we’re too busy arguing
borders to comfort them

in our nursing homes parents weep
shuddering and alone
and we’re too busy –

even now what sanctuaries
what human hearts
are damaged and burned

while we snipe at each other
or insist we’re not responsible
or look away?

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Filed under Holocaust/Genocide, Judaism, Photography

Pathways for Thought

It’s not just a question of conquering a summit previously unknown, but of tracing, step by step, a new pathway to it.
Gustav Mahler

What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.
Joseph Addison

“In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death (Proverbs 12:28).”

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”

Henry David Thoreau

July 26, 2012 – 7 Av, 5772

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Filed under Judaism, Uncategorized

Sunday Scenes – July 22, 2012

I can’t say enough about the community garden nestled within the valley. Between the hustle and bustle of traffic, lies a tranquil place where one can rent a plot of land to grow flowers, vegetables, fruits or landscape it in order to sit and relax in the midst of calm.

I like looking at the varied fences and gates that some gardeners have come up with. The simple ones are ones I truly enjoy, no matter their state.

I enjoy walking around the garden center, looking at the creative edge within the landscape, and enjoy coming across the varied benches, chairs and tables that are placed there. Some chairs, benches and tables, are placed specifically in a plot or just outside of it, and some are permanent, put up by the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department.

The table and bench above is one of a few that are permanently placed within the community garden. The grandies and I love to sit here after our gardening responsibilities and have a snack and a drink.

I enjoyed the pop of red of the chair against the white in the photo above.

Visit the blogs below for more photographs from around the world.

Shadow Shot Sunday



Straight Out of the Camera Sunday

July 122, 2012 – 3 Av, 5772

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Filed under Judaism, Photography

Florally Speaking

Nature Notes Wednesday is the site to visit for more wonderful nature photos.

July 19, 2012 – 29 Tamuz, 5772

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Filed under Judaism, Photography, Uncategorized

Book Review – A Thread of Grace

A Thread of Grace, by Mary Doria Russell is an exceptional novel set in Italy during World War II. There aren’t too many novels that take place in the powerful setting of Italy during the final year of the war, that explore the humanity, humbleness, and the willingness of the Italians to help hide both Jewish refugees and Italian Jews.

Russell infuses A Thread of Grace with historical fact, and much of it is based on accounts that Italians have relayed to her, based on memoirs, and on personal stories of both Italian Jews and Jewish refugee Survivors of World War II. The drama within the book is strong. She combines a deep sense of time and place within the pages. The three main families and characters are given strong traits, including their ideals, ethics and religion, within the framework of World War II.

I did like the fact that the Italian characters are all named by Russell, before the book’s beginning. They range in age, and are a colorful group of individuals, from Catholics to Jews, from priests to rabbis, farmers to traders, a war hero and a German deserter, nuns, orphans, and all of them are fighting the same cause. Each one of them is trying to stay alive during the most adverse of times. And, each one of them is determined to try to save their Jewish neighbors and friends, including the Jewish refugees. Within the rubble and bombs the strength of each individual unfolds. Whether they live or die is inconsequential, as far as they are concerned. Whether they fight the fight is the primary issue for each one of them. Each individual is determined to contribute their all, no matter the outcome.

War-torn Italy has seen much horror, damage, destruction and lives lost. The fascists are powerful, the German army is well organized. The resistance and partisans are a strong force to contend with, and the common thread within the villages and towns and its residents is the sameness of their humanity, the role of human kind under war time circumstances, and the shared losses both Catholics and Jews feel, as one. Each person considers themselves to be a piece of the whole, a thread in the fabric of wartime.

We have Italian Jews, including the rough, tough Renzo Leoni along with his widowed mother, Lidia Segre. She is as tough as he is. There is Rabbi Iacopo Soncini and his wife, Mirella Casutto. Angelo is their young son, and Rosina is their daughter.
Some of the Jewish refugees are Claudette Blum, a teenager, and her father Albert Blum. Duno Brossler is a partisan from Austria, and Liesl and Steffi are his younger sisters, while Rivka Ivanova Brossler is his paternal grandmother. There are several Italian Catholics, including Suora Marta, Massimo Malcovato, the major, the priest Osvaldo tomitz and the priest Don Leto, Santino Cicala is an infantryman, and so many other Catholics, who strive to help the Jews. There are some British characters and German characters woven within the pages.

I won’t go into much detail regarding the story line, but you can gather from what I have stated that it is a story whose characters strive for the same ending, regardless of nationality or religion. You need to read A Thread of Grace, yourself, in order to appreciate the story, and the author.

Russell has woven a tapestry, whose threads often tear and wrinkle, whose woven words tell tales of courage, strength, determination, ideals, ethics, morals, and love and loss under the extreme circumstances of war. Her descriptions and visuals are incredible and commanding. The strength behind her words convey paintings before our eyes. A Thread of Grace is a brilliant book and a masterpiece of humanity, in a world where the loss of one human being becomes the shared and common loss of the entire village or town, the collective as a whole. Mary Doria Russell brings historical fact into the realm of the novel, sensitively, with her overpowering sense of humankind and careful detail to time, place and people. I highly recommend A Thread of Grace to everyone.

July 18, 2012 – 28 Tamuz, 5772

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Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Judaism, Novels

Jewish Book Carnival for July 2012

The July 2012 Jewish Book Carnival is up. Please visit The Whole Megillah to see all of the fantastic links, including an interview with Dr. Nora Gold, one with Reuven Firestone, a blog post by guest author Amy Ariel, a book review by Leora Wenger, on The Origin of Sorrow, by Robert Mayer, and so much more.

July 17, 2012 – 27 Tamuz, 5772

© Copyright – All Rights Reserved – No permission is given or allowed to reuse my photography, book reviews, writings, or my poetry in any form/format without my express written consent/permission.

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