Monthly Archives: October 2012

Sky and Earth

Some days, it is the simple skyscape or landscape that encompasses the beauty of nature and its profoundness.

Visit Michelle, at Nature Notes Wednesday, to see more photos from around the globe.

October 16, 2012 – 30 Tishrei, 5773

No permission is granted to publish or use my reviews, writings or photography in any aspect without my written permission.

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Review – Dinner With Lenny

Dinner With Lenny: The Last Long Interview With Leonard Bernstein, by Jonathan Cott, is a book I could not put down and read straight through. In fact, I read it a second time.

The last interview is an amazing accomplishment, both in writing, interviewing and in inspiration.

Leonard Bernstein’s words are profound, as was his life and career as a renowned composer, conductor, pianist and so much more. There is a little known fact: Bernstein was an activist for humanity, and always tried to instill humanistic values within his life and the lives of others. He was an educator, not only concerning music, but concerning the rights and lives of individuals who were repressed.

The interview is amazing in scope, spanning the life of Bernstein, spanning his many accomplishment, and spanning his ideals and ideas, from politics to pop music, to rock and roll. His outlook on religion is encompassed within the pages, as are some of the personal facets of his life.

Jonathan Cott has given the reader much to ponder regarding one of the greatest musical figures of the twentieth century. Leonard Bernstein’s words reflect honesty, humor, integrity, love of life and love of mankind. He was an amazing musician, composer, pianist, etc., but more importantly, an amazing person, whose kindness and fight for the rights of others will live on through the generations.

Dinner With Lenny: The Last Long Interview With Leonard Bernstein, will be published in January of 2013. I am fortunate to have an unedited copy of this fantastic book, through LibraryThing. Thank you very much to LibraryThing and to Oxford University Press for the review copy.

October 15, 2012 – 29 Tishrei, 5773

No permission is granted to publish or use my reviews, writings or photography in any aspect without my written permission.

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Shadows and Benches

I am late for Shadow Shot Sunday. My submission is below.

Visit Shadow Shot Sunday for more shadowy photos.

National Novel Writing Month begins November 1, 2012, and runs through November 30, 2012. It is a challenging month for those of us who want to try to write a novel in thirty days, but nonetheless a great adventure in writing. Check out the website for more information.

I am thrilled to own the recently published The Brontes – Wild Genius on the Moors: The Story of a Literary Family (it is actually a republication of the biography, but with newly added facts and information. I am an avid fan of the Brontes, and have been since my teenage years. Visiting the Bronte Parsonage in Haworth, England, in 1993 only served to foster my already passion for their works, stories, poems, and any biographies and/or information on their lives. I buy all books relating to them, and have quite a collection.

The book has almost 1,000 pages, not including illustrations, notes and an index.

Check out Skirball Cultural Center’s upcoming events.

The National Council of Jewish Women Thrift Shops have some upcoming shopping days for those in need. Here is a link to their Los Angeles area shops, along with the dates for discounted merchandise, which is already discounted seven days a week.

I can’t wait to get started, which will be some time today.

October 15, 2012 – 29 Tishrei, 5773

© 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.

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Unexpected Result Browsing the TV Menu

The other night, Wednesday, I was browsing the TV menu, to see if there was anything of interest to watch. To my surprise, and totally unexpected, I saw a description with the words “Jewish refugees” on the screen, in regards to a show I have never watched, “Ghost Hunters“. Who NU?! The episode was entitled “Ghostly Refuge”.

Of course, I had to watch the show to see what it was about. Apparently one of the Ghost Hunters’ clients had received calls and information of sightings at Fort Ontario, located in Oswego, New York. Some had seen soldiers, some had seen individuals.

The copyright holder of this file photograph allows anyone to use it for any purpose, provided that a mention to “Ad Meskens” be included.

What is interesting and intriguing (through my research after the show ended), is the fact that Fort Ontario, built by the British in the 1700’s has not only been a source for enlisted men in the various wars, including the French Indian War, the American Revolutionary War, the American Civil War, and others, but it also was a haven for Jewish Refugees from August 1944 to February 1946.

As a native New Yorker, who lived the first 25 years of my life there, I had never heard about the fact that Fort Ontario was used as a Jewish Refugee Camp. Below is an excerpt taken from the Fort Ontario website.

Between 1944 and 1946 Fort Ontario was used as an emergency refugee center, the only one of its kind in the country, for 982 victims of the Nazi Holocaust. Apparently, this was authorized by a special order from former president Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1946 the fort was transferred to the State of New York Initially used to house veterans and their families during the post-war period, development of the fort as a State Historic Site began in 1949.

 

The episode was interesting in the aspect of the Ghost Hunters trying to find some trace of ghosts. The equipment they used was definitely high tech, and they did come up with some intriguing evidence, but of course, no definite proof of seeing or speaking with soldiers or Holocaust Survivors.

Tonight, during Shabbat prayers, I will remember those 982 individuals who were transported from Italy to Fort Ontario, and remember all of those involved in their care and their transition from the horrors of the Holocaust to the safe haven at Fort Ontario.

Shabbat Shalom!

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Review – In My Mother’s House

“In My Mother’s House”, by Margaret McMullan is a poignant book that leaves us to question the meaning of religion and identity, and question the strength of familial ties.

“Before you, before your father, I had another life. Sometimes I feel as though I were another person altogether. I know that what had to do with me, does have something to do with you.”

The intensity of those words echo within the lines and pages of this compelling and well written novel. Generations of women, mothers and daughters, are woven into a tapestry of time and place. Beginning in Austria, the story weaves through England, Mississipi, and Chicago, the threads of relationships often taut and unyielding, as mother and daughter struggle to find their identities.

Genevieve, the mother, and Jenny, the daughter, both lived in Austria before World War II, and both escaped from Austria. Wiith that escape, Genevieve leaves behind her sense of Self, her identity, in order for her and her daughter to reinvent themselves in a new country.

But, the past never leaves, and it remains as a constant, as the quilt of time appears, pieces sewn together, as stories are told from both perspective. McMullan infuses the historical aspect, with every life detail, in a brilliantly written novel. It is written so explicitly, that we visualize what life was like, as McMullan’s prose cuts through our senses, each one becoming alive with the scents, sounds, sights, tastes and touches of Austria, before its collapse.

Genevieve constantly struggles to shield her daughter from the past, but Jenny constantly strives to find out about the past, and comes closer with each step to her Jewish ancestry, even going so far as to convert to Judaism. Every fiber of her being searches for her identity, and every fiber of Genevieve’s being tries to surpress her past, in order to forget the familial horrors. Time sometimes changes things, but most often, it doesn’t, the past lingers on…in our minds and emotions.

They are mother and daughter, yet their lives are parallel, and McMullan’s use of alternating chapters reinforces and strengthens that theory. A mother tries to close the gap in time’s fabric by silence, a daughter tries to open the tight stitch work through constant questions and research.

This is a book about familial ties, feeling connected, and a book about self-identity, assimilation, and redemption. I recommend this well-written achievement to everyone who is trying to understand war, and its effects on family connections, before, during and after-the-fact. “In My Mother’s House” is compelling, and Margaret McMullan takes us back through time, into one of history’s darkest periods, with sensitivity, excellence, and with insight into the human condition under extreme adversity.

I personally own, and have read, this book.
© 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.

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Strength on Wednesday

The photograph above was taken a few years back. It is one of my favorite black and white captures, because, for me, it symbolizes strength, a quality that many Jewish individuals possess.

This wasn’t always apparent, as back in the time continuum, Jews were more or less taught through the generations to be quiet, lead a low profile, not act aggressively or make others notice them. World War II, changed that perception, for obvious reasons.

The Jews began to perceive their silence differently, especially the Jews in Israel. They wanted the world to recognize the depth of their despair and disposal of life. They wanted remembrance for inflictions caused and for the deaths of those murdered. Their strength, began to illuminate their inner and external surroundings.

The oaks and the pines, and their brethren of the wood, have seen so many suns rise and set, so many seasons come and go, and so many generations pass into silence, that we may well wonder what “the story of the trees” would be to us if they had tongues to tell it, or we ears fine enough to understand. Anonymous

I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves, traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far! ~John Muir

Visit Rambling Woods to see more nature photographs.

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