Tag Archives: Jewish tradition

Easy Fast

This post was written two days ago. I hope everyone has an easy fast, today.

Remember those who came before us, and remember the breaching of the walls, and the destruction of the two Temples that followed. Remember Moses breaking the two stone tablets. Remember…

yarz

I miss and love you mom, more than words can say, not only today, on what would be your 94th birthday, but every day. May your memory be for a Loving Blessing. Zikhronah Livrakha.

2 Comments

Filed under Judaism, Lorri's Blog, Uncategorized

Lorri M. Review: The Rarest Blue

therarestblue Have you ever wondered how “Tekhelet” is created, or where it originated? Do you know the meaning of Tekhelet? Baruch Sterman, with Judy Taubes Sterman, have brilliantly written about “Tekhelet”, or Tyrian Blue in their book, The Rarest Blue: The Remarkable Story of an Ancient Color Lost to History and Rediscovered..

The story takes the reader on a journey, not only through time, but through thousands of miles, literally trekkiing to find sources of a particular snail, the murex snails. These snails are the foundation for the dyeing process that produces the particular Tyrian Blue color.

Think about it, where in nature do you normally find a blue color? The sky, certain seas or lakes take on a blue tone, and even a few flowers have blue tones to them, but it is not normally found in nature, never mind the particular Tyrian Blue used in Tekhelet. It was also used in the High Priest garments and in the Tabernacle’s tapestries, and a few other items. Blue, surprisingly, is not normally a color found in nature’s environments.

I enjoyed reading about the adventure that was undertaken in order to find the murex snails and in order to find documentation of the dyeing process. It was fascinating to read. It was also inspiring on several levels. For me, it was especially intriguing and inspiring concerning the precious Tzitzit threads, the knotted fringes that are attached to the corners of the Tallit/Jewish prayer shawl, and how Tekhelet, the biblical blue dye, is created and used in the shawls.

The authors are brilliant in their descriptions, and the word-paintings within the pages are masterfully depicted. Other than the scientific and the technical inclusions, I found the pages infused with beautiful prose, almost poetic at times. The scientific blends perfectly with the religious within the story line and the historical factors. Torah and science coexist on this adventure through time and place.

The biblical references that were mentioned reinforced the ancient use of Tekhelet, but also conveyed the deep-rooted Jewish tradition of using the color that was considered to be sacred.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Rarest Blue: The Remarkable Discovery of an Ancient Color Lost to History and Rediscovered. I learned so much about Tekhelet, and the historical factors that went into producing it centuries and centuries ago. I will look at my Tallit with more profoundness, and will never take Tyran Blue for granted.

Bravo to Baruch Sterman and Judy Taubes Sterman for their extreme endeavors and devotion to uncover the mystery of the ancient knowledge of Tekhelet.

March 18, 2013 – 7 Nisan, 5773

All rights reserved © Copyright 2007 – 2013 – 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.

6 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Jewish History, Judaism, Lorri's Blog, Non-Fiction

Lorri M. Book Review: The Conversation-A Novel

theconversation Joshua Golding’s novel, The Conversation, is a book I found enjoyable to read. From the first page to the last page, the Jewish philosophical aspects held my interest on many levels.

David Goldstein is the protagonist who is from a secular family. He is a college student, and during his freshman year studies philosophy. This subject is the match that lit the flame for David, and therein begins his delving into religion, particularly Judaism. He is more or less an agnostic, and is seeking concrete answers regarding G-d.

David finds himself constantly questioning the foundation of his Jewish roots. He has rebelled due to a painful childhood, and more or less lost his belief in Judaism’s doctrines and principles. That changed when he visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It had a deep and profound affect on him, evoking emotional responses to what he had seen. He begins conversing with the college Rabbi regarding his feelings and thoughts on what he has seen. The Rabbi offers suggestions, and is sensitive to David’s questions.

David speaks to his friends concerning his perceptions. His friends’ beliefs are varied. There is Simon who believes in pleasure-seeking, and during conversations with David, tries to direct him away from Judaism, or any spiritual higher power. David also has a friend named Ravi. Ravi believes in mystical forces, and is avid in his beliefs in the powers of meditation. George, on the other hand, believes that belief in Jesus, as the savior, is the answer to everything, and that David need look no further.

Aside from his male friends, he was in a relationship with a girl named Helen, and soon breaks off with her. His fascination with Judaism, and its theories, dogma and doctrines overtook his attention to her and he neglected her. He eventually meets a student named Esther Applefield, who is from an extremely Orthodox family. He is attracted to her in ways that are not permissible within her religious beliefs. She makes it clear regarding the boundaries. Yet, he continues to pay attention to her. She inspires him to educate himself more on Jewish life. He seeks to learn more through her, through others. He was is not vain, but becomes self-absorbed (almost excessively) in his searching for answers.

He is constantly conversing with Rabbis, Professors, friends, lecturers, etc., through face-to-face contact, emails, telephone calls, letters, in order to gain more insight and clarity regarding G-d’s existence, and regarding Judaism’s role in the religious spectrum. Often, these individuals are in the midst of some work-related function, yet David’s strong verbalization on his need to know, causes him to get his immediate urge fulfilled.

In my opinion, Judaism itself, although not being an actual physical individual, could be defined as the protagonist, and David (and his friends) could be defined as the antagonists.

But, for the reader to have an actual person, in a physical sense, I will leave it as David being the protagonist. David is dynamic and not static throughout most of the book, and I see that is due to his self-seeking interactions. We see him mature from an immature college freshman to a more mature senior. He attains a state of individualization, as far as his thought processes, religious concepts and cognizance, and emotions. We see his emotional growth as well as his religious growth, and he does exhibit continual change. Yet, within all of his immediacy, his questioning, his seeking answers, his constant reflections and searching for concrete proof of the existence of G-d, we also see, towards the end of the book, a slightness of his being static, within his quests. He does revert to some old behavior, and doesn’t appear as dynamic or mature as I had thought.

I won’t delve into the reasons for his behavior. You will have to read the book to find out.

Jewishness is at the very heart of the book, and it is the reason for everything that Golding brilliantly inserts into the pages. He is masterful with his questions that involve every spectrum of Judaism, and with the answers that broaden those questions into varied considerations to reflect and contemplate. The range of subjects discussed contributes to the fact that <a href="Jewishness is at the very heart of the book, and it is the reason for everything that Golding brilliantly inserts into the pages. “>The Conversation is a compelling read.

The Conversation is a novel that is filled with philosophical thought concerning religion. Questioning is predominant through conversation. Dialogues range from David-to student, David-to academic individuals, David-to Rabbis. The conversing covers mysticism, logic, faith-based belief and denial of one’s self within the religious realm. The book encompasses an academic/intelligent or scholastic framework for Jewish thought and practice. Ideals are blended, the new thoughts with the opinions of the older Rabbis (sages and masters) and their ideals, and teachings. The foundation is set for David’s continual interrogations and communications, and reassessment of religious values.

The Conversation explores comparisons between religion and science, logic and faith, in depth. For some individuals, there is incompatibility between religion and science, and/or logic and faith. For others those dimensions can coexist in accord with each other.

I found The Conversation to be a metaphor for Judaism, for its philosophies, foundation, principles, and the all-encompassing educational and Jewish life aspects of Torah and Talmud. It is an intellectual book dealing with Jewish philosophy. I was impressed with Joshua Golding’s writing, and thought he was brilliant in infusing the pages with back and forth dialogue and conversation. There is much to ponder in the novel. He has written a masterpiece, in my opinion.

I highly recommend The Conversation to everyone.

All rights reserved © Copyright 2007 – 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.

February 25, 2013 – 15 Adar I, 5773

5 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Historical Fiction, Jewish History, Judaism, Lorri's Blog, Novels

Book Review – The Marriage Artist

The Marriage Artist: A novel, by Andrew Winer, is an incredible literary feat, in my opinion.

The novel is a a brilliantly composed saga of two stories that alternate within the pages. It is a book with broad and deep expanses, beginning in current times, and sweeping back to Vienna, beginning in 1928.
The stories blend magically, with the magnificent word-imagery of Winer.

In the present, we have Daniel Lichtmann, a well-respected art critic. His positive, stunning and admiring critiques of the native American, Blackfoot sculptor, Benjamin Wind, has made him (Wind) famous.

The novel opens with the bodies of Wind and Lichtmann’s wife, Aleksandra, laying on the sidewalk in front of a New York City apartment building. By all accounts, it looks as if they plunged from the terrace. From there, the suspense begins, as the reader is taken on a trip through time, as Lichtmann tries to discover whether his wife was having an affair with Wind, whether they committed suicide together, or somehow fell off the terrace.

Daniel is committed to uncovering what actually led up to the tragic event. Through is efforts, he uncovers information regarding his wife, information he didn’t know. He also uncovers information regarding Wind, his background and his artwork, and how his own critique of Wind’s last exhibit may have been far-removed than the actual reasoning behind it.

The next chapter begins in 1928, a time of uproar and persecution towards the Jews, with ten-year old Josef Pick, as he visits his grandfather Pommeranz, in the less than desirable Jewish section of Vienna. The Pick family has converted to Catholicism in order to avoid the repercussions of being labeled Jewish. While there Josef becomes enthralled with his grandfather’s business of creating ketubot (prenuptial marriage contracts) for those who are looking to have a creative and ceremonial document of the groom’s rights and responsibilities concerning the bride.

Josef’s father is with him, and much to his dismay, watches as his son tries to create a ketubah of his own. The final result is one that brings awe to his grandfather Pommeranz, and causes him to use Josef’s talent to earn extra money for his own needs and debts. What transpires after that is nothing short of incredible, as the reader is taken on Josef’s journey of artistic development and creation with his amazing talent, one that brings him recognition in the world of art. Winer infuses the pages with the defining imagery, defining moments of the ravages of war. The journey continues through Josef’s adult life, through the days of the Holocaust and the antisemitism spewed at the Jews.

The story line had me thinking about the title, and alternate meanings. Aside from a ketubah, a marriage artist could be one who is creative in their own lives, one who tries to manipulate their marriage. A marriage artist can also be one whose exterior is superficial and contrary to their innermost feelings. After all, an artist is not just one who paints, draws, creates beautiful documents or etches on paper. An artist can be defined as so much more than that in the realm of daily life.

The Marriage Artist moves forward and moves backward in the time continuum, and in history’s darkest hours. I was engulfed in the book, and could not put it down. I read it straight through, except for small breaks to eat, etc. I was mesmerized and absorbed with Winer’s use of beautiful and sensitive language. It was so beautiful that I was in awe of his prose. There were moments that I was emotionally caught up in the folds of this page-turner of a story.

Andrew Winer is masterful at telling the tale of The Marriage Artist, and brilliant at blending families together. It is a lovely, sensitive and poignant story, one filled with the affects of assimilation, love and loss, and effects of lives caught in the maelstrom of evil, leading to an epiphany towards redemption.

The novel is one of educational and historical value. The drama and the intensity that is displayed is something that I feel should not be missed. It is a compelling read. I highly recommend The Marriage Artist to everyone.

November 26, 2012 – 12 Kislev, 5773

All writings, photographs, etc., are my own copyright (unless stated otherwise), and may not be used without my permission.

Forgive the update, I had to correct something that I missed.

5 Comments

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

Time – Elul is Almost Upon Us

Time has a way of moving forward, and before we know it, the High Holy Days will be upon us. Elul – 1 Av, is the month preceding the Days of Awe, and the entire month should be devoted to introspection, reflection, considering the Mitzvah/Mitzvot we have undertaken, and the kindnesses we have shown and shared. It is also a time for reviewing our spirituality and whether we have moved forward with it, and it is a time to pray and forgive. Forgiving does not mean we agree with the other person/persons, we are simply forgiving them for what we see or feel they have negatively done to us. It is a way of letting go of harbored anger or thoughts regarding another or others, and thus, by releasing the feelings and thoughts, we can move forward, using our energy towards positiveness.

There are several books that I recommend to those of you who might be seeking comfort and inspiration, and below I have listed two of them:

- If you like inspiring prose, stories that will illuminate your thoughts and emotions, then Jewish Stories from Heaven and Earth: Inspiring Tales to Nourish the Heart and Soul, by Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins is a book for you.

Each tale in this wonderful and radiant book is one that the reader can take away with them, hold on to, and browse through again, when they feel they need an uplift.

The stories are gleaned from newspaper articles, books, and many other sources. The book is formatted into nine sections, and each section has a different topic or subject, and each section contains stories that are pertinent to the particular topic. The subjects vary, but are mainly ones that deal with religious and life-affirming qualities and values, the Holocaust and Israel.

From the humorous to the poignant, the stories blend together with beautifully and powerfully written prose. Jewish Stories from Heaven and Earth gives the reader much food for contemplation, and gives the reader a strong sense of the various Jewish values that are important in the scheme of Jewish daily living.

- Life is a Test: How to Meet Life’s Challenges Successfully, by Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis is an excellent book. Using Torah, Talmud and other sources to demonstrate her thoughts and dictum, Jungreis gives the reader examples to follow, and paints a picture of how we can move towards the goals of changing our life style and our lives for a better cause and purpose. She guides the reader, step by step up the ladder of success in meeting our full potential.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis’ book is a must have for those who feel they are floundering, and feel they are being tested by the struggles and adversity presented before them. Life is a Test is a building block to help one succeed in their goals, succeed in making correct choices, and succeed in understanding the illuminations that self-discovery brings them.

I will suggest more books in an upcoming post.

August 15, 2012 – 27 Av, 5772

8 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Judaism, Non-Fiction, Photography

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?

6 Comments

Filed under Holocaust/Genocide, Judaism, Photography