Monthly Archives: December 2011

Strolling by the Beach, Fenced

This is my submission for Straight out of the Camera Sunday.

The individuals are walking towards the entrance to the Santa Monica Pier and to the beach.

I am sorry for the update. I noticed, in one of my comments, that there is a new photo challenge entitled Simply Silver Sunday. I decided to submit a photograph to it, and include the photograph in today’s post. It is a photo I have never posted online, which is one of the rules of submission.

January 1, 2012 – 6 Tevet, 5772



Filed under Photography

New Year-Current Year

SkyWatch Friday time!

Saturday night is New Year’s Eve, a night that is celebratory, a night that welcomes the new year on the Gregorian or Civil calendar. At the stroke of midnight we say good bye to the year 2011 and welcome the year 2012.

For Jews, this is double-fold , as we already welcomed the new year 5772 according to the Hebrew calendar on 1 Tishri. We are still in the current year.

If we look at the Gregorian calendar, tonight will be the last Shabbat in the year 2011, but it is not the last Shabbat celebrated according to the Hebrew calendar. We have many more Shabbosim left before the Hebrew new year of 5773.

Take a moment, tonight at sunset, to reflect on both the worlds we live in…the Jewish world and its many traditions and beliefs, and the modern world which follows the Gregorian calendar. Try to reflect on how you have blended both these worlds into your lives, and how they have become compatible with each other in the scheme of things.

Have a wonderful 2012. Shabbat Shalom!

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

December 30, 2011 – 4 Tevet, 5772


Filed under Judaism, Photography

Water Scenics and Jewish Reflection

A calm day on the canals in Venice, CA.  Check more watery scenes out at Watery Wednesday

The sea, rivers, lakes, ponds, and other watery wonders never fail to bring me happiness and a sense of serenity/calm in which to reflect on my Jewishness.

I see beauty and awe within water scenes, and can’t help but ponder on the visuals before me, and think about how grateful and thankful I am for what inspires me to reflect on Jewish-related subjects.

I remember this particular day, and remember walking the paths in Venice, and crossing over the lovely white bridges, and seeing settings such as this one, before me.  The day was bright and sunny, there was no wind, the stillness resounded with the echoes of nature, as the waves of the sea could be heard in the background.  The melodiousness of the sound of the waves lapping was music to my ears and my heart, causing me to think about the sea and how it intertwines with religions practices.

Many Jews come to Venice or Santa Monica to “cast away their negativeness and sins” during the High Holy Days.  It is an emotional sight to see.

There is so much more I could write about the sea and Jewish beliefs, but I will choose that for another day.

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

December 29, 2011 – 3 Tevet, 5772


Filed under Judaism, Photography

Red Hugs, Jewish News, Books, Mostaccioli

The above photograph is my submission for Ruby Tuesday. Visit Mary for more photos from around the world.

A Jewish man who died on Mount Rainier set off a controversy regarding religion vs science. His death, and subsequent remains, ended up in a courtroom battle with the family fighting for release of his body for burial, against the coroner who wanted to do an autopsy.

You can read the full article, here.

I am currently reading a novel entitled The Emperor of Lies, by Steve Sem-Sandberg. It is over 600 pages long, yet quite the page-turner. A review will be forthcoming, once I finish it. I am about one third of the way through it.

On my to-read shelf is the novel The Girl in the Blue Beret, by Bobbie Ann Mason.

Happy Birthday Scott (my son), who resides in Japan with my daughter-in-law Junko, and grandson Anthony. I can’t believe you are 41! Enjoy your day! I miss and love you.

Some of you have seen my photograph of my mostaccioli dinner that I made on December 25th. It is a true Italian dish, and a recipe handed down to me by my mother, who always made it on Christmas Eve. Yes, Christmas Eve. My mother was not Jewish, my father was. In order to be considered Jewish, I had to convert, years ago. I still make mostaccioli on Christmas Eve, although due to other commitments, I made it on Christmas Day, this year. For me it is a way of remembering and honoring my mother, and my grandmother, two strong women who came before me, two women who held traditons dear.  I don’t celebrate Christmas, I just happen to make mostaccioli on Christmas Eve (there is a major difference).  And, at times, my menorahs are lit, because one of the nights of Hanukkah often falls on that day.

My grandmother was an Italian immigrant, who came to the U.S. at the age of seven, with my great grandparents. My mother was first generation American, as my grandfather was also an Italian immigrant.

Mostaccioli on December 24th has been a family tradition since I was a child. And, my children have fond memories of having it on December 24th. It was something we all looked forward to, and my daughter Sarah, still does. She calls it “mom’s famous mostaccioli”. LOL Sarah is Jewish, her husband is Jewish, my grandies are Jewish, but the mostaccioli recipe that has been handed down is definitely born from Italian Catholic roots.

When I get the chance, I will post the recipe in my blog, for all to see and/or use.

December 27, 2011, 1 Tevet, 5772

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


Filed under Holocaust/Genocide, Judaism

Jewaicious Review – They Dared Return

   If you want to read an intense and dramatic book regarding Jewish spies during the Holocaust, then They Dared Return: The True Story of Jewish Spies Behind the Lines in N azi Germany, by Patrick K. O’Donnell is a book for you. From the first page to the last, I was totally engrossed and mesmerized by the story line of the Jewish individuals who were chosen by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) to penetrate and return to their homeland in Germany in order to help fight and destroy the Nazis. They were part of “Operation Greenup”, and their mission was not only covert, but extremely dangerous, not only for them, but their families, many who were in concentration camps.

They Dared Return is a unique World War II story, told from an unusual perspective.
For starters, the Jews involved in “Operation Greenup”, were refugees who managed to escape Germany. That in itself is remarkable, combined with the fact that they involved themselves, voluntarily, to return and try to disintegrate Hitler and the Nazis in hopes of ending the war. The courage and determination that was exhibited by these extraordinary men is beyond comprehension and comparison to anything I have read before.

The story reads like a spy novel or film, when it is entirely factual. That these Jews were able to plan and infiltrate enemy lines and exercise their mission was an incredible feat. Parachuting behind enemy lines in order to gain information on the Nazi stronghold is the situation heroes are made of. The risks they took are almost unfathomable and overwhelming to the mind.

They Dared Return is a fast paced and intriguing page turner. To state that it is an intense book would be an understatement. It is riveting, adventurous, dramatic, and a thriller filled with vivid imagery that filled all of my senses to overflowing. The courage and efforts that were planned and executed are hardcore examples of mental and physical strength endeavored under the most adverse of scenarios.

I am still trying to digest this outstanding book, and all the historical facts presented within the pages. It is a story that will stay with me, and linger within me well into the future.

They Dared Return is a unique exploration into the events encountered by these individuals. It is a story that is rare, and one that needed to be told.

I applaud Patrick K. O’Donnell for his efforts in researching, documenting and bringing us this untold and remarkable Story. They Dared Return: The True Story of Jewish Spies Behind the Lines in Nazi Germany is an invaluable addition to World War II and Holocaust history. It belongs in every home library.

December 26, 2011 – 30 Kislev, 5772

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



Leave a comment

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

Sixth Night of Hanukkah

The above photo was taken on tonight, the sixth night of Hanukkah.  My grandie Emily let me photograph her menorah.

Hanukkah with my family has been wonderful, memorable and filled with the beautiful illuminations of the Hanukkah lights and their meaning.  We try to instill a sense of wonder, joy and responsibility to others within our home environment for Emily and Logan.

In this modern world, with materialism running rampant everywhere you turn, I feel it is important for my grandchildren to focus on others, not just themselves.  Their parents feel the same way.  They need to be aware that others are not as fortunate as they are.

Enjoy the rest of the lights.

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

December 25, 2011 – 29th Kislev, 5772

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized