Monthly Archives: February 2014

Friday Thoughts

birds lake

I finished reading Amos Oz’s novel, A Perfect Peace.

Set in Israel, as most of his books are, it was quite the insightful story. The 1960s kibbutz setting emphasized the harshness and the difficulties the individuals had to go through in order to find a sense of place, sense of Self and sense of peace.

The characters were floundering for varied reasons, and their mindsets were brought to the forefront by Oz’s masterful writing. From first-generation disenchantment with kibbutz life in the stifling environment, where “privacy” is only a word, to the almost guinea pig atmosphere of life, Oz confronts the issues of daily life with strength and uncompromising honesty.

Through Oz’s honest appraisal, the reader is given privy to the corruption that runs rampant throughout the kibbutz and the state. It is not an idealistic story in that respect. Some of the less than ideal situations causes much disharmony within the kibbutz, where life is stifling to begin with. In the view of a few of the first generation to be born on an Israel kibbutz, kibbutz life defined as stifling would be an understatement.

We are given access to the mindsets of the characters, and their disillusions, anger and rage, questioning of ethics and questioning of participation in the humane along with the non-humane running of a tight ship, almost in a tyrannical fashion. Lack of motivation leads one man in particular, named Yoni, to want to leave the kibbutz in order to find what he believes he is missing. He feels there must be something better and more worthwhile outside of the confines of his daily life.

Yet, another individual tries to move in, and is in constant fear of being turned away, and of not being accepted and liked by others. His trials and tribulations take different paths than Yoni.

Oz understood the social, political, emotional and environmental aspects. I applaud Amos Oz for his excellent and brilliant word-images he presents us, and for his mastery in not only conveying corruption, but also in conveying the kibbutz life in all of its essences. I recommend A Perfect Peace to everyone.

This was not actually a review, but more of a post written because of the thoughts within my own mind regarding kibbutz life in respect from those who founded them, and those who became the first generation of the founders. Kibbutz life affected the first-generation in ways that have not usually been written about. Life was not easy, was harsh, was not conceived as individualistic. Each individual was a part of the whole, part of the kibbutz community. Each child seemingly had more than one mother and father.

How this upbringing impacted the children gives one food for thought. Most of the adults were escaping a pogrom, escaping Holocaust-related events, tyranny, antisemitic abuse, escaping in order to find a better life. The kibbutz was a form of communal effort and struggles, some of which did not afford the adults the dreams they had wished for.

Those dreams were quashed and their children were raised with firm hands and old ideas and ideals. In essence, their own dreams (children’s) were not given any credence, and they came to regard them as not able to be fulfilled. The story line was quite illuminating in that respect.

Shabbat Shalom!

Update: I am sorry for the update. I want to make something clear. My thoughts in reference to kibbutz life are not meant to be in anyway reflective of a negative attitude on my part. I have relatives and have friends who spent part of their teen years or young adult years on one, and had wonderful experiences. The book details one kibbutz of many, and a few individuals living in that kibbutz, along with their own baggage.

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Lake Bench

bench

“They sat on a park bench, held hands, and told each other their stories hour after hour. They were not lonely anymore. They had found and been found by their 100% perfect other. What a wonderful thing it is to find and be found by your 100% perfect other. It’s a miracle, a cosmic miracle.”
-Haruki Murakami

“Always find a time to sit on a humid autumn bench to feed the poor birds or to think the dying leaves!”
-Mehmet Murat ildan

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female

The photograph above, of a female cardinal, was taken about four years ago in VA, during the wintertime. A straggler who decided to stay behind.

Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter. Who would think that those branches would turn green again and blossom, but we hope it, we know it.” –

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

egret on path

The wintertime photograph of the Great White Egret was taken last week, while I was walking on a path at the lake.


“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you dies each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person had died for no reason
.”
– Ernest Hemingway

I am sorry for the update…I inadvertently called the female cardinal a “female robin”, and had to correct my mistake.

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Sunday Scenes- February 16, 2014

yellow boat

It is Sunday, once again, and time for Sunday Scenes. Sunday Scenes does not necessarily imply there will be a photograph, but there usually is. It is just my way of titling my blog post on a given Sunday.

First off, why not go and browse the links at Havel Havelim, the Jewish Blogger’s Carnival.

Did you know that Shel Silverstein’s book, The Giving Tree has turned fifty years old? You will be able to read it digitally, through HarperCollins Publishing.

To The Point: Posters by Dan Reisinger, is an exhibit at the Skirball Cultural Center, through April 20, 2014.

I finished reading Goliath’s Head, by Alan Fleishman. It was quite compelling.

Let us remember Sid Caesar, and his amazing contributions to comedy and TV. z”l

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Sunday Scenes: February 9, 2014

Roar!

Roar!

According to the Talmud, the lion is “the king of beasts”. The Bible has over one hundred references to the lion, whether they be metaphors, word-images, or poems and/or stories. The Lion of Judah is an extremely strong and important symbol, and can be found on many synagogue Arks, as part of the design.

Years ago, while researching my ancestry, I found that the name “Judah” belonged to one of my Great, Great, Great Grandfathers. That name is taken from the Hebrew “Yehudah” and is associated with the lion. Yehudah was one of the twelve sons of Jacob.

The names “Aryeh”, “Ari”, “Ariel” are derivatives. The Yiddish of “Judah” and “Aryeh” is commonly known as “Judah Aryeh”, “Judah Leib”, and “Aryeh Leib”. Also, “Yidel and Yudel” are common Yiddish offshoots. The English “Jude” stems from “Judah”. There are so many variants, and each child that is named, is done so for of personal reasons.

The above names are male versions, and there are female versions, as well, such as both “Ari and Ariel”, (which are also male names) and so on. “Arielle and Areilla” are female versions.

The list goes on and on for both male and female derivatives.

I find that name meanings are important within the familial fold. They can often tell a lot about time and place, and history. Names can be illuminating forces throughout generations, carried on as given names or middle names. For me, names are fascinating. They tell their own ancestral stories.

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Face Today

benchfacing

Pick the day. Enjoy it – to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come… The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present – and I don’t want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future.
-Audrey Hepburn

Face today’s illuminations
the negatives and positives
the nature and the nurture
accepting the environment
for tomorrow may not occur
-Anonymous

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