Monthly Archives: February 2020

Doors, Passages

garnethill synagogue

Sentient beings preexisted before I did, ancestral threads through time, woven within me.  Their lives are coded strands, that now exist within my fibers, veins, arteries, genetics of life.  Without them, and the doors and passages they traveled through, I would not have had my own genesis.

My initial passage, will end with the final closing of a door, a door into an ethereal realm.

Copyright Lorri M.
You may not use my prose without my permission.

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Review: The Overstory

Overstory

I was thoroughly captivated by the beautiful, impactful, stunning, and breathtaking writing by Richard Powers, in The Overstory.  The prose was poetic, within its strong statements, and with the vivid word imagery.

forest

Trees and their beauty, their communal ways of being and protecting not only the earth, man, and their own kind, are memorialized within the pages, and given high honor, within the deep tribute.  Their connection to the earth goes beyond any visual, or perception, or preconceived idea that we have of them.  Powers brings a realized aspect in defining their power, power lasting over 370 million years.

dormant

Trees, although cut down by man, himself, still hold powers of positivity that reign supreme within the landscapes of earth and time.  Their ability to shape so many unseen lives, literally, within the scope of their very being is an amazing feat, not only of nature, but of perseverance within the realms of their very essence.  They are a treasure, and should be held on a pedestal.

trunks

There are basically two stories within the novel, each one affecting the other, dramatically, with activism towards the living world of trees.  The characters weave their own connections, networks, within their staunch beliefs.  Those beliefs eventually branch out to other individuals, and extend to various communities.  The trees, themselves, become strong forces, within the focus of man’s destruction, and also of man’s determination to save them, resisting corporate financial strength and power.

wooded

Trees, living forms, in their own right, have been diminished by man, used, abused, and handled without care.  Their story needed to be told, in a humanistic manner, yet not sugar-coated.  Richard Powers masterfully depicted, with amazing prose and imagery, the magnificence, devotion to man, and power of trees, within the scheme of human need, connectivity, and also man’s love and devotion towards them.

The Overstory won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in fiction.

thecalm2

Copyright Lorri M.

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Review Badenheim 1939

badenheim 1939

The idyllic resort town of Badenheim is not all it appears to be in 1939.  Aharon Appelfeld’s novel, Badenheim 1939, is an extremely beautifully written novel, yet between the pages lurks an underlying sense of doom and gloom.

Badenheim is a resort town somewhere in Austria where Jews go to vacation.  It is known for its arts, poetry readings and for its music festival which is headed by one Dr. Pappenheim.  He has been busy trying to get musicians from Vienna to come to Badenheim to participate in the festival.  He is completely obsessed and involved with managing the event, in all of its necessary arrangements.  He is unaware of all of the subtleties surrounding him and the town.  He overlooks the extremes that are presented by the government, finding excuses for the repressive manipulations.

The residents and vacationers in Badenheim have no idea what is happening, and quite frankly, don’t seem to want to open their eyes to what is occurring around them, as Gentiles leave the town.

Gentiles leave, more Jews arrive, whether by personal desire, or by force.  The government tries to impact the Jews who are there in subtle ways, and then eventually, through more direct maneuvers, and restrictions.  The reader sees the developing circumstances, ones in which the vacationing individuals, turn a blind eye to.

The vacationers are too involved, self-centered, to face the realities of the acts that are encompassing their lives, and suppressing their movements within the town.  Even when walls are built to surround the town, they make excuses for it, unable to fathom what the realities are.

That is the tragedy within the pages.  Appelfeld is masterful in his writing, in depicting the Jews and the situations thrust upon them.  He is cognizant, as a survivor himself, what Jews encountered.  He has taken Badenheim 1939 to a new level of exploration and insight in portraying characters who are obsessed with their own lives, too absorbed with the vacation season to notice the truth behind the restrictions.

Although slim on pages, it is nonetheless extremely forceful in its message.  We know what occurred, we know the horrors, atrocities and defining moments of World War II and the Holocaust.

This is my second reading of this book.  I first read it in 2010.  I finished reading it yesterday, for a book club I belong to.

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Joy and Kindness

butterfly3

Infuse your life with joy, and spread the warmth of it to others!  They will remember the kindness you showered them with.

Smiling at a passing stranger can mean so much, in a day in which they have felt unnoticed, unloved.

Helping someone find an item in a supermarket can lessen a stressful moment they are having.

Writing loving words in a blank card, and sending it to a family member, or friend, can bring joy into their life, upon opening it.

Simple kindnesses not only bring joy to the receiver, but also bring joy to the one who has been kind.  The feeling of knowing you have brought sparkles of happiness into another person’s life, even momentarily, is more than rewarding.  It just feels good, period!

Spread joy.  Be kind, in your mind.

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Review: The World That We Knew

the world that we knew

Alice Hoffman’s books have never ceased to amaze me.  The World That We Knew is another one of her books that I felt amazed and touched by.

The story line had a mystical aspect, yet it was not difficult to suspend my disbelief within specific moments that illuminated nature, love, and the theory of clay being magically brought to a life form.  Magical realism, mystical realism, however you define it, is a powerful force within the pages, especially with the forming of a golem.

Judaism defines a golem as a substance, amorphous, one that is not complete, made from clay or mud.  Golems are also said to not have emotions, and to be, more or less, a slave to the individual who created it.  Ava’s super strength and awareness defined her powers over her human creators in more ways than one.

I enjoyed watching the character of Ava mature, in unpredictable ways.  I felt compassion towards her.  For me, she was the one character who I admired and liked the most, even though she was not a human being.

Her knowledge of events to come, and her strength in upholding her ideals through those difficult situations, gained my respect for her.  Her actions went above and beyond any forces that actual individuals took to enhance or minimize.  She was a willing shero, in every respect.

The Holocaust events depicted were not sugar-coated, but were a central force within the pages, particularly the French partisan angles, during World War II.  Hoffman was masterful with her word-imagery, within the pages.

Once again, Alice Hoffman did not disappoint me.  Her masterful prose created a wonderful story line, filled with magic/mysticism, a feature I have loved, throughout her books that I have read.  I highly recommend The World That We Knew.
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Embracing Serenity

I was searching for an article relating to serenity and Judaism   I found this one, entitled ’Finding Serenity’, by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin.  It offers perspectives on negative attitudes.  Pliskin also details how stress/and or feeling stressed is up to us.  We can change our feelings, and thought processes if we choose to.

serene
I often look to nature to feel a sense of calm on my life.  It works fot me to stand, sit, or walk in a natural environment, such as the ocean, a lake, or a river  I inhale nature’s beauty, fill all of my senses with the wonders before me, or to the right or left of me.  I also meditate for a few minutes within nature’s settings.

river scene

When I meditate, breath, inhale, exhale, listen to the silence, it helps, a little, in the daily scheme of things, no matter the season.  Adding a prayer, afterwards, giving thanks for the serene moments, helps my mindset to remain in that mood.

Overlooking Beauty

Certainly, celebrating Shabbat, helps, but nature is a vital part of my life, bringing me gratitude for gifts of mankind, creatures, and the natural environment.

bayside

We are all a tiny part of the global infinity.

Copyright Lorri M.

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