Category Archives: Non-Fiction

 

I am currently reading The Book of Lost Names, by Kristin Harmel.  It is based on a true WWII story.  I will write a review when I have finished it.

Open Heart, by Elie Wiesel, is a book I have finished reading for the second time.  I cannot say enough about it, and once again, found it extremely inspiring.

Here is a poem that I have posted in the past, and am posting again, as it speaks to me, in meaningful ways.

Shabbat Day

Skies of other worlds
In the blue-bright air,
Sides of houses
Edge eternity.
Clay-red roofs
Where pigeons – mincing – walk,
Fly the doves – the whir and flutter
Of their soaring wings.
Soundless the yellow butterfly
At its play.
Winds lift white clouds
And sift the sand
From earth-bound stones –
Exalted the light
Of this dazzling Day,
Yet strangely close to home.
-Dobra Levitt

Shabbat Shalom!

Copyright Lorri M.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Historical Fiction, Holocaust/Genocide, Jewish History, Judaism, Lorri's Blog, Memoirs, Non-Fiction, poetry, World War II

Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom

witness lessons from elie wiesels classroom

Witness:  Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom, by Ariel Burger, is a beautifully written tribute to Elie Wiesel.

Elie Wiesel was more than the man most individuals recognize as a Holocaust Survivor, more than the man who wrote about his life, defining it with his memories, and his witnessing horrific, appalling situations.

Burger brings the reader directly into the man who was a professor, a classroom teacher, and mentor to many, including Burger.

With private talks with Wiesel, Burger has brought new definition to his legacy.  His intensity and educational pursuits in teaching are not necessarily known to the world outside of the university campus.  He was a great man, a man of immense knowledge, but also a man of compassion for humanity, humanity as a whole, humanity as one, under the sun.

His faith constantly had him questioning, searching for answers, yet he evoked masterful responses to questions other asked of him, in his classroom setting.  He was a man of structure, of cementing the essences of communication, and fostering the idea that memory bestowed to others, even one person, is the greatest form of witnessing we give.  He felt that once you heard of atrocities, events, instances, from another individual, you then became a witness to that event, that moment, those moments, in time.  For Wiesel, memory was of the utmost importance, capturing the memory and retelling it, was a force for witnessing events of the past, and educating others to carry it forward.

Wiesel was a man of many facets, from his sense of humor, his steadfast determination to be a comforter for others, to his thoughts and perceptions on religion.  I loved the portions regarding Hasidism, and the lore, the Hasidic Tales.  I liked his views on activism, art, humanity, as told through Burger’s prose.

The memoir brings Elie Wiesel’s classroom setting to the reader.  Student exchanges, questions, debates, bring out the masterfulness of the man, and his greatness to humankind.  The reader is exposed to his mode of teaching, his patience, his generosity, his desire to educate others in order for memories to be formed.  I cannot say enough about Witness:  Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom.

The reader also learns about Burger, and the influence that Wiesel had on him, instilling religious thought, theory, questions, conversations, outlook, and the importance of memory, within Burger’s mind.  He is a witness to Wiesel’s memories.

Ariel Burger has given the reader much to ponder about the brilliance, compassion, the greatness, and human side of Wiesel.  His life is defined, in many aspects, through the teachings of Elie Wiesel.  His train of thought, mode of perspective, his religious beliefs, questions, and searching, continue on, through Elie Wiesel’s teachings.

I wish I had been a pupil in his classroom, to physically be within close proximity to Elie Wiesel.  I have admired him for almost sixty years.  I have read his articles, his stories, his books.  His books, and his other works, that I have read, have taught me more than I could ever articulate, but to be sitting in his classroom…

Copyright Lorri M.

 

 

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Filed under Book Reviews, Holocaust/Genocide, Jewish History, Judaism, Lorri's Blog, Memoirs, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized, World War II

Review: The Gift of Rest

Senator Joe Lieberman’s book, The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath, is a work of loveliness that is embracing in many facets.

Senator Lieberman is a devoted and an observant and practicing Jew, and a man who takes time out of his extremely hectic schedule to celebrate Shabbat, whether in synagogue or home, and celebrate the gift of the Sabbath, handed to us through Moses.

I was in awe of his dedication, and the fact that he walks home on Friday, one of his many observances of Shabbat. It matters not if it is raining, he walks, and walks through heavy rains, snow, winds, whatever the weather condition, he walks.

For Senator Lieberman, the Sabbath is a sensual delight.  It fills all of his senses through food and drink, song, family, love, and traditions he and his family practice with deep dedication.  His connection to G-d is defined through these moments of observance.

I enjoyed the aspects of Shabbat and the Sabbath that he practices, such as turning off his computer, TV, etc., and the fact that water is heated in a large urn ahead of time, so he can prepare instant coffee on Saturday morning, without actually boiling water on the Sabbath.  This and so many other family traditions are a part of Senator Lieberman’s routine, as he and his wife prepare for the Sabbath.  It is a part of who he IS.

Each chapter in The Gift of Rest is a work of teaching and insight, filled with how the celebration is fulfilled through prayer, food, tradition and family.  Each chapter ends with his thoughts on “Simple Beginnings”, beginnings meant to inspire the reader to ponder Shabbat, the Sabbath, and instruct the reader on how to proceed.

The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbathis more than an inspiring book. It is, in itself, a gift to the reader, whether Jewish or otherwise.  Senator Lieberman’s prose of insight depict what many of us feel, but cannot articulate.  He writes beautifully and masterfully, teaching, instructing, guiding and affecting the reader as they move through the pages.  His word-visuals breath life and joy into the Jewish celebration of Shabbat and the Sabbath.  His beautiful writings and instructions, along with quotations and bits of humor beckon the reader to ponder how they can incorporate tradition and observance into their own lives within the hectic world we live in.

Many religions incorporate a day of rest within their practice, or a specific time of rest. Whether you are Jewish or not, I highly recommend The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbathto everyone.  It is a wonderfully inspiring, informative and lovely book.  I can not say enough about it.  The book is one of the most beautifully written personal testaments to Jewish tradition and observance I have read.  It sits on one of my bookshelves, along with my Siddorim/books of prayer, and with my inspirational books.  This was my second reading of this book of pure loveliness.

 

© Copyright Lorri M. – 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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Filed under Book Reviews, Jewish History, Judaism, Lorri's Blog, Memoirs, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized

Wanderlust: A History of Walking

Wanderlust:  A History of Walking, by Rebecca Solnit, is an incredible book on so many levels.  I can’t begin to describe all of them.

This book is not only about putting one foot in front of the other, and walking, whether on a neighborhood sidewalk, a forest path, a beach, or even walking in a political, or charitable march, but it is a book about the beginnings of walking.  She takes us to our early ancestors, who fell from trees, and stood upright, to any place our minds can imagine walking, with historical information within the pages.

Some of her illuminations might feel tiresome, or long and drawn out, to some of you, but the content is masterful in every aspect.

Not only does Solnit take us to paths traversed, but she also depicts, vividly, the various ways of walking, and why we walk.  Walking is just as much of a mental feat, or exercise, in her perspective, as it is a mode for a healthy lifestyle, a way to be in the moment, and also a way for emotional comfort during stressful times.

I highly recommend Wanderlust:  A History of Walking, by Rebecca Solnit.

Some of my own travels over the years, have taken me to pathways I never would have dreamed I would see.

Walking, for me, is not only part of my lifestyle, but a factor of meditation, and being in the moment, of whatever path I am walking on.  I find beauty everywhere, and spiritual affirmation, within the moments.

Life’s curves lead me to new beginnings, new situations to adjust to, and the positivity resulting from those curves.

 

Thank you for visiting.  Have a wonderful day.

All photographs, other than the ones attributed to others, are Copyright Lorri M., along with my prose.

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Review: Einstein and the Rabbi: Searching for the Soul

I finished reading Einstein and the Rabbi:  Searching for the Soul, by Rabbi Naomi Levy.

We are all an eternal flicker in the candle of time, and each of us is an illumination of the past, present and future. 

This beautifully written book, exemplifies our connections, and enhances the fact humanity is all encompassing, each of us a minute part of the entire.  One life is all of our lives, connected through human strands.  One death leaves a portion of our souls empty, voided.

Reading this book almost brought me to tears with the beautiful, structured prose, illuminating Rabbi Levy’s concept of soul, and her defining such, through her journey searching for the answers to her questions.

I recommend Einstein and the Rabbi:  Searching for the Soul, to everyone, no matter your faith, and no matter whether you practice any religious faith, or whether you are an atheist.  It offers something for everyone.

The photo above was taken several years ago, inside Temple Mickve Israel, in Savannah, GA.  I was astonished that I was permitted to take a photo of the Torahs in the Ark.

The photograph above is of the front entrance to the Skirball Cultural Center.  They are currently closed due to COVID-19, but their online exhibits and resources are invaluable.

All photographs and writings are the copyright of Lorri M.

 

 

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Review: David Plotz’s Good Book

good book

Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible, by David Plotz is an interesting book on one man’s perception after reading the Bible.

Plotz read the Bible beginning as a child in Hebrew class. He read snippets throughout the years. While at a Bat Mitzvah, he began reading passages of the Torah. This fueled the fire that began his journey to read the entire Bible.

He found the Bible to be weird, especially the language and how it is not always cohesive and/or easy to understand.  He was astonished at some of the stories in the Bible that verge on the bizarre with some of their eccentric and archaic content, such as vengeance, murder, stoning, plagues, slavery, and other forms of physical punishment, etc., and especially regarding the nature of G-d.

Plotz’s train of thought is that scholars and religious leaders have made the interpretation and translation of the Bible difficult and hard to understand, and almost an arduous task to do so.  He feels that most religious leaders (of all faiths) have selected certain sections, chapters, quotations, and etc., from specific books of the Bible to fit what they deem is necessary to hold their congregation in tow.

He also feels that every person should read the Bible, because it holds a wealth of knowledge, and also gives Jews food for thought to argue over.  Where Christian faiths hold Jesus as their savior, Jews have had to argue the facets of the Bible with each other, throughout the centuries, not necessarily accepting the words at face value.  Argument is a Jewish tradition.  This has made them stronger, and has given them the freedom to doubt, to believe, and has bound them, historically, as a separate group of individuals.

When Plotz began reading the Bible, he was an agnostic, and wasn’t overly involved in it. When he finished reading the Bible, his mindset had changed.  In order to find out how, read Good Book yourself. You will come away with a deepening sense regarding how other Jews perceive the Bible.

Good Book, by David Plotz is much more than an interesting look at the Bible through one man’s eyes.  It is a journey of faith, understanding, insight and extreme questioning. His interpretations, feelings and thoughts about his journey are frank, filled with harshness and often with extreme humor.  The reader often finds him amused, awed, disgusted, appalled, yet with the desire to continue forward with his reading.  At times he found the stories difficult to understand, and difficult to read due to their horrific content, yet he found much of the Bible fascinating.

This is my second reading of this book, and reread it, once more, for a book discussion.

© Copyright Lorri M. – 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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