Category Archives: Judaism

Book Review: In the Image

In The Image, by Dara Horn is one of those books that evolves through the characters’ coming of age, journeying towards peace and acceptance, and sojourning towards spiritual identity. One young girl (Leora)l learns to accept the death of her best friend, through the slide images of her best friend’s grandfather. Leora learns to overcome her fear of loss and allows herself to fall in love.

“Accidents of fate are rarely fatal accidents, but once in a while they are.”

The grandfather (Bill Landsmann) learns to accept his own life, which is built frame by frame, upon his slides, through the images he has photographed during his travels. His life has been preserved on film slides. Landsmann has to learn to leave his past behind, including his childhood and his abusive father. He must learn to accept, and to let go, and not just assimilate within the fabrics of New York City. For him the images represent his life, concrete proof of his childhood in Europe, and proof he existed (We all want validation of our existence). Landsmann has to learn to move forward, in order to find the spiritual identity and peace he is searching for.

Bill’s frames are also subjects that entwine good and evil entwine within the pages, as Bill recalls incidents of his life through his slides.

Leora and Landsmann lean on each other, each one helping the other to overcome their fears, each one helping to free the other from their self-imposed emotional isolation.

I will not write any more on the story line, as you should read it for yourself.

The symbolism and undertones within In the Image are strong, and leave one amazed at the masterful writing and story line. The word visuals and images are clearly defined through Dara Horn’s words. The novel is brilliant and vibrant with imagery. Age is a state of mind, a number we define ourselves with, but one can be 70 and still be coming of age.

In the Image, by Dara Horn, touches on coming of age, for all age groups, as most of us are in a constant state of growth and coming of age, no matter what year or stage of life we are in.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, Judaism, Lorri's Blog, Novels

Lithuania Holocaust Escape Tunnel

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The New York Times published this story. “A team of archaeologists and mapmakers say they have uncovered a forgotten tunnel that 80 Jews dug largely by hand as they tried to escape from a Nazi extermination site in Lithuania about 70 years ago.” Read the rest of the story at this NY Times link.

This article reminds me of Father Patrick Dubois and his extensive research into the Holocaust and genocidal practices. His book, The Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest’s Journey to Uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1.5 Million Jews, is extremely compelling and important.

Here is a link to a New York Times article regarding Father Patrick Dubois and his unending endeavors.

Let us always remember the lives of those who came before us.

Shabbat Shalom!

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

Lorri M. News-April 19, 2016

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It’s Tuesday! Yes, indeed! Tuesday is here! Not that there is anything special occurring in my life, but I wanted to begin this post in a positive manner!

I do have some news to share, since the last time I posted: The April 2016 Jewish Book Carnival is up, hosted by Heidi Estrin on The Book of Life! There is so much to browse through! Go visit!

The Pulitzer Prizes were announced this past Monday, April 18, 2016. You can view the winners, here. I absolutely loved the fact that the Play, ‘Hamilton’, by Lin-Manuel Miranda, won in the ‘Letters Drama and Music category! The play has sparked much enthusiasm across America!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

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Filed under Artistic Work, Judaism, Lorri's Blog, news, Photography

Sunday Scenes: April 10, 2016

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Passover is almost upon us. I always enjoy spreading hummus on a piece of matzah. I do this throughout the year, but during Passover, matzah is significant to the Jewish population. To put it very simply, Passover signifies the the release by G-d of the Jews from slavery and captivity. There was no time to allow the bread they were baking to rise, as they had to leave quickly. So, this bread of ‘release from slavery and captivity’ is embedded in the Passover Seder meal ritual.

Here is a recipe for hummus, one that can be made quickly, and one where you can delete or add spices to your taste.

Ingredients:
1 15 ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed-save the juice.
1 clove of minced garlic (1 1/2 for spicier)
1/4 cup of olive oil-Keep more aside for serving purposes
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt (or a bit more depending on taste)
1/4 teaspoon of paprika
2-3 drops of tabasco sauce (if you want spicier hummus)
2 tablespoons of tahini-optional

Directions:
Puree the chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, ground cumin, kosher salt, and/or tabasco sauce and tahini if you are using them, until the texture is smooth and creamy. Add 1-2 teaspoons of water or the saved juice from the chickpeas to get to your preferred consistency. Some like a thicker texture, so go by your standards.

Transfer to a bowl. Drizzle some olive oil over the hummus, and sprinkle the paprika over it. If you want, swoosh the olive oil and paprika very lightly with a toothpick or the side of a knife to give it a visual flair.

If you are not serving it immediately, refrigerate it, covered.

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Unleavened Pound Cake

Ingredients:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar (I use sugar substitute)
4 eggs (I use egg substitute for cholesterol purposes)
1 1/2 tsp.vanilla + a dribble more
1/4 tsp.nutmeg
2 c. flour (for Passover I used 5 /8 cup of potato starch for each cup of flour mentioned in unleavened recipe)
1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:
Cream butter, gradually adding sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time. Sift together flour, salt and nutmeg.

Gradually add dry ingredients to egg mixture and beat until thoroughly blended. Turn batter into greased loaf pan or bundt cake pan. Bake at 325° for 1 hour. Cool cake in pan. Check after 50 minutes to make sure it doesn’t overcook, as ovens vary. Makes one loaf or bundt cake.

Don’t be alarmed that it won’t turn out to be as high as normal, remember, it is an unleavened pound cake.

~~~
Please take a moment to look up to the skies, and to the nature surrounding you, and reflect on events that have transpired where you live, in your personal life, in the world, and within your family. Be well, stay safe.

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Filed under Jewish History, Judaism, Lorri's Blog, Photography

Pre Passover Kosher Cooking Carnival & More

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-Batya – A Jewish Grandmother – is asking for links for her planned pre-Passover Jewish Cooking Carnival.

She wants “links to your favorite Passover food posts, or your recipes, tips etc.”  You can read more about it, here.

-Nobel Prize-winning author Imre Kertész died on March 31 at age 86.

-David Grossman’s novella ‘Falling Out of Time’ will make its world premier on the Theater J stage.

The 90-minute meditative drama, which runs through April 17 in the Goldman Theater of the Washington, D.C., Jewish Community Center, is in parts thought-provoking, wrenching and captivating.

I have read ‘Falling Out of Time, an extremely compelling,  intense and poetic novella, several times over, and cannot fathom the intensity a stage adaption will bring to the audience.

-‘Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American‘ is an exhibit opening on April 7th, at the Skirball Cultural Center, in Beverly Hills, CA.

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Filed under Judaism, Lorri's Blog, Photography

Review: The Coffee Trader

The Coffee Trader, by David Liss, is a book of intrigue and an absorbing historical nove.

I became so wrapped up in the historical aspect that I felt as if I had traveled back in time and place. My senses were infused with Liss’ extremely detailed prose. With his strong word-imagery, Liss transports the reader to Seventeenth Century Amsterdam. It is the aftermath of the Spanish Inquisition, and the Dutch city is streaming with Jews who fled Spain. In fact, many others, from all over Europe have come to Amsterdam to try to make some money.

Much of the money is earned through scheming within the commodities exchange in the city. It is the first of its type in the world. The exchange is very active, not only with honest individuals but also with schemers and villains who try to scam those looking to invest their money securely and/or invest in an honest, yet, quick return (Does any of this sound familiar?).

Miguel Lienzo is a Portugese Jew, one of the refugees who managed to flee the Inquisition, and reside within the Sephardic Jewish community. He has invested his money unwisely as of late, finding himself in financial distress. Not only that, but he has gained enemies along the way, after encouraging others to follow suit with his advice.

There is also another person, a client of Miguel’s who feels he was unjustly sent into poverty through dealings with Miguel. He wants what he deems is his share of the money invested returned to him. Miguel avoids him whenever possible, and feels he owes him nothing. Investments are risky, and you take a risk when involving yourself in them.

Miguel’s financial status leaves him basically broke, and he goes to live in the basement of his brother’s home. Daniel, his brother, is married to Hannah, who seems to be a passive woman. Not all is what it appears to be.

Miguel has become friends with a Dutch widow named Geertruid Damuis. Together, he and Geertruid plan to gain the upper hand of the coffee market, a new offering in the commodities market in Amsterdam. They keep their enterprise a secret, as they want to succeed in their venture.

This is seemingly Miguel’s last chance at success, and if he fails he will become an outcast, not only within the market but the Jewish community and the Amsterdam commodity community.

Trust becomes an enormous issue within the commodities exchange. Many questions arise, lening themselves to today’s financial arena, with the ongoing elevator ride of speculations and the stock market. Drama is abundant, and deceitful practices are plentiful in Amsterdam.

Times and situations don’t seem to have changed much in the 350 plus years that have elapsed since then.

Does he fail? Does he succeed? It is up to you to find out, as I don’t want to insert any spoilers in this review.

Suffice it to say that Liss is brilliant in his writing, and his details to the most minute areas of life in Amsterdam are impeccable. Considering the time period, the fact that he manages to portray daily life so extensively is incredible, almost overwhelming. He read over thirty books in order to paint the setting accurately, and it shows in his masterful and beautiful prose. This reader became totally involved in The Coffee Trader due to David Liss‘ sense of time and ability to create imagery that depicts seventeenth century Amsterdam with perfection.

I was enthralled and recommend The Coffee Trader to everyone.

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Jewish History, Judaism, Lorri's Blog