Monthly Archives: November 2013

Chag Sameach!

I came across this touching story this morning, while reading articles on CNN. Imagine a non-Jewish family willing to hide you, your mother and other family members for two years! Imagine being able to give thanks, after 70 years, to one of the individuals who saved your life during the Holocaust! The article describes this, and so much more.

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Put on your yarmulke,
Here comes Hanukkah!
So much funukah,
To celebrate Hanukkah!
Hanukkah is the festival of lights.
Instead of one day of presents, we have eight crazy nights.
Adam Sandler
The Hanukkah Song

Books: Children


Sammy Spider’s First Hanukkah
My grandies love this book.

The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes My grandie girlie-girl loves this story.

Mrs. Greenberg’s Messy Hanukkah I so love this book!

Chag Hanukkah Sameach!

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Filed under Holocaust/Genocide, Jewish History, Judaism, Lorri's Blog

Hanukkah is Almost Upon Us

Menorah Artwork hanging on exterior wall at Skirball Cultural Center

Menorah Artwork hanging on exterior wall at Skirball Cultural Center

Hanukkah is almost upon us. The house has been decorated by my grandies, and looks festive with its blue and white illuminations, with a touch of silver thrown in, here and there. Hanukkah books related to their age are spread on various tables for them to look through, read, and/or have us read to them.

Kindle the taper like the steadfast star
Ablaze on evening’s forehead o’er the earth,
And add each night a lustre till afar
An eightfold splendor shine above thy hearth.
~Emma Lazarus, “The Feast of Lights”

Menorot

Menorot


The miracle, of course, was not that the oil for the sacred light –
in a little cruse – lasted as long as they say;
but that the courage of the Maccabees lasted to this day:
let that nourish my flickering spirit.

~Charles Reznikoff, “Meditations on the Fall and Winter Holidays”

Menorah at Skirball Cultural Center

Menorah at Skirball Cultural Center

Books recently finished reading:

The Perfume Collector


The Paris Architect


The Book Thief

The Grandchildren of the Ghetto

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Sunday Scenes – November 24, 2013

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The above photos were captured standing outside at The Monterey Bay Aquarium, while viewing the sea from above. I do no know the people in the photographs. The sun was out, the ocean showed its illuminating and stunning blueness.

It was a wonderful tour, wandering through the aquarium. And, the location is perfect, as it overlooks the sea in all its wonder and vastness. From jellyfish to sea otters, puffins to penguins, the aquarium was a place of marvel. I will be posting more photographs, eventually.

Shavua Tov!

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Monarch Migration

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The monarch butterfly sanctuary was a wonderful place, filled with wooded darkness and the light streaming through the trees. The paths were nice to walk along. I so many butterflies, some individually and some in groups, around flowers and on the tree trunks. I didn’t take as many photographs as I thought, because I was mesmerized by the beauty illuminating before me. I wanted to watch, because one minute they were there, the next minute they flitted off.
~~~
I only ask to be free. The butterflies are free.
-Charles Dickens

Literature and butterflies are the two sweetest passions known to man.
-Vladimir Nabokov

Without butterflies, the world would soon have few flowers. There is enough room in the sky for all flyers.
-Trina Paulus

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Lorri M. Review: The Rise of David Levinsky

theriseofdavidlev The rise of David Levinsky, by Abraham Cahan, is true-to-life in its depiction of the Jewish immigrant experience, leaving nothing to the imagination.

David Levinsky is a Hasidic Jew living a strict Torah-filled life in a Russian village. He comes from a family of poverty, and one that is stringent in Torah study. He is unhappy in his situation, and eventually sails to America, disembarking in New York City.

From the minute he finds himself standing on American soil, Levinsky’s journey begins, taking him into the heart of socialization and cultural displacement, a displacement he avidly tries to overcome. Assimilation and secularism are part of his learning experiences.

He is a fast learner, as far as trying to fit into society’s demands. He is insightful as far as his exterior environment, and realizes that in order to succeed he must learn to speak English, not act as if he is a greenhorn, dress as if he is successful, and coordinate his mannerisms to an ideal that will let him succeed. He has programmed himself to not only fit in, but also to a mode of obtaining financial stability. All this, he manages to eventually accomplish, within the realm of his goals of being a proper, shrewd and prosperous businessman.

The streets of New York City are depicted with amazing clarity. Cahan knows from where those streets lead, as he, himself was a Jewish immigrant, arriving in Philadelphia in 1882, and then quickly traveling to New York City. He eventually worked his way up, through his social learnings, and eventually founded the Jewish Daily Forward.

His story could almost be Levinsky’s story. The learnings and social stigmas that Levinsky had to overcome in order to succeed in business, are portrayed with brutal clarity within the novel. I am sure Cahan’s own immigrant and assimilation experiences fill many of the pages.

The latter part of the 19th century is detailed in every aspect. I was amazed at the incredible details that exhaled from the pages. From there, through the early 20th century, the reader is taken back in time to every conceivable issue, from religion to education, sex to romantic, social to assimilation, business to materialism, and so much more. Each facet of society and its doings are examined, especially those involving the lower east side of New York City.

Levinsky’s desire for success and desire to become rich are documented through all of his dealings. From business banking to storefronts, cloak making and competititors, and eventual warehouses, each facet of his business dealings incorporate his very desire to build an empire, and build it he does.

Within those structures, he also involves himself with women, and the women that he finds most attractive are ones that he can not have. His wealth and empire can not buy him love. His sense of home and family is lacking. Levinsky rose in stature and success, yet his reputation and the respect he gained did not foster a sense of family or belonging within his environment. He gained financial success beyond his wildest dreams, only to fail in the romance department.

I read The Rise of David Levinsky always mindful of when it was written, always mindful of the language, grammar, and usage of slang, Yiddish and linguistics of the time period. I felt that to be extremely important in order to gain a sense of time and socialization.

Cahan has given this reader a sense of the late 19th century-early twentieth century New York City. My senses were filled with the streets of New York, the homes of New York, the business wheelings and dealings of New York. They were filled with the experience of immigrant life in all of its ugliness, hardships, demeaning attitudes, strivings to survive and so much more. I applaud Abraham Cahan for his accomplishment.

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

Sunday Scenes

redwoodsTuesday I will be off to the CA Monterey Peninsula, for one specific reason. I will be staying with my brother and his wife, and we will be going to the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary to see the monarch butterflies that have migrated there for the winter. I am hoping to take some nice photographs, but of course, it is up to the butterflies, and whether they spread their gorgeous wings.

Of course, we will wander around after that, and end up who knows where…maybe a hike, maybe a winery, maybe wander within the redwood trees, maybe here or there on the spur of the moment.

I will return Thursday night. I hope you all have a nice week!

November 10, 2013

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Filed under Judaism, Lorri's Blog, Photography