Sukkot Dinner Pre Shabbat

sukkahnby rochelle blumenfeld copy

I love the painting, above, Succah, by Rochelle Blumenfeld.

Tonight will be spent at the synagogue celebrating Sukkot with a dinner in the synagogue’s Succah.  The Brotherhood is preparing the entire dinner, and doing all of the cleanup before Shabbat service begins.  How nice of them!

The women can sit back and enjoy the fare, without having to lift a finger, except to eat the food.  It is a rare occasion!  But, we are extremely grateful for this moment in time.

honey pot


The honey pot and the plate above were mine.  I treasured them for years.  I lovingly let them go to the next generation before moving back to CA, by handing them over to my daughter.  I know she will treasure them, as I did, with love.

For those who celebrate-Shabbat Shalom! To everyone, enjoy your weekend.


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

Bodies of Water and Prayer


The melodiousness of the sound of the waves lapping is always music to my ears and my heart, causing me to think about the sea and how it intertwines with religions practices.

The sheer beauty and majesty of the sea leaves me in awe and wonderment.

In Southern California, many Jews come to Venice or Santa Monica to “cast away their negativeness and sins (Tashlich)” during Rosh Hashanah. It is an emotional sight to see the Jewish community gathering together, at the sea, heads bowed and heads raised upwards, in prayer.

Prayer and seeking forgiveness on Rosh Hashanah, can also be attained at a river, a lake, a pond, or other sources of water. The water source is symbolic of our sins moving on, and our determination to not repeat the negativity of the past.

two benches

Shabbat Shalom!

I wish you all a Sweet New Year, filled with serenity and joy! Shanah tova!


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Sunday Scenes: Synagogue Simplicity

mickve israel

I have attended many Shabbat and holiday services in synagogues, some have been architectural wonders, like the synagogue in Savannah, Georgia, Mickve Israel, pictured above (photo taken by me a few years ago).


The exterior is grand in appearance, much like the interior, which houses an old Torah brought over on a ship, and other antiquities from the 18th century. Do not get me wrong, I loved the interior, with all of its flourishes, opulence, columns, vaulted ceilings, etc. To be able to pray within the walls of magnificent architecture holds its own place in my heart.

interior syna

But, my heart feels at home, in simplistic surroundings, like in the photograph above, which I took, recently. The exterior and the interior speak to me, and illuminate my experiences while praying and mingling with the congregation. The euphemism, “Home is where the heart is”, holds true for me, while within the simple architectural environment with its basic chairs, understated Bema/Sanctuary around the Torah Ark, etc. (The screen is not a normal part of the interior, and is only used for special screenings.)


My sense of being a part of the Jewish community, a community that has endured so much struggle and hardship, horrific moments and perseverance, through the millennia, is heightened by the subtle and toned-down architectural interior, and the simple Judaica accessories, paintings, etc.

Prayers are elevated within the context of the interior, and resound through me immensely. I am home, each time I attend service or events. My heart fills with the many emotions that prayer reflects, such as sadness, strength, candor, joy, and so much more. I treasure my moments spent within the walls of synagogue simplicity.


“(Proverb) People long to be at home.; Your home is whatever place you long to be.”


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

Dr. Oliver Sacks

I was saddened to hear that Dr. Oliver Sacks has died.

In his own words, in an Op-ED in The New York Times:

And now, weak, short of breath, my once-firm muscles melted away by cancer, I find my thoughts, increasingly, not on the supernatural or spiritual, but on what is meant by living a good and worthwhile life — achieving a sense of peace within oneself. I find my thoughts drifting to the Sabbath, the day of rest, the seventh day of the week, and perhaps the seventh day of one’s life as well, when one can feel that one’s work is done, and one may, in good conscience, rest.

Read MICHIKO KAKUTAN’s tribute to Dr. Oliver Sacks, in today’s (August 30, 2015) New York Times.

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Sunday Scenes: August 30, 2015

private road

I do not ask to walk smooth paths nor bear an easy load. I pray for strength and fortitude to climb the rock strewn road. Give me such courage and I can scale the hardest peaks alone, And transform every stumbling block into a stepping stone. – Gale Brook Burket


Family heirlooms rescued from Nazis were allegedly stolen by Wells Fargo contractors.

Shame on Wells Fargo Bank!


Do you want to learn more about Selichot? If so, visit this link.


Illinois man knocks over nine-foot menorah, and is arrested.


Kirk Douglas and is wife will be donating $80 million in new gifts to various charities!


The Nazi Gold Train has been found, confirmed by Polish Ministry.



Filed under Judaism, Lorri's Blog, Photography, Quotations

Elena Ferrante

Elena Ferrante is an Italian author of several books that have been translated into English. I have read most of them. I am a huge fan of her work. She is an author who has kept her true identity hidden, and retained her not only her identity, but also her sense of Self and her sense of freedom to write what she wants without her identity being thrown into the limelight.

I use the gender ‘she’ when defining her, but in actuality she could be a man. Who knows for sure, only her publisher.

Here is a list of some of her books that I have read:

My Brilliant Friend
The Story of a New Name
Those Who Leave and Those who Stay
The Days of Abandonment
The Lost Daughter
Troubling Love

I gravitate to her stories of life in Italy, specifically, life in Naples. I become mesmerized with her depictions of the harsh realities of the characters within the framework of poverty, hardship and striving to somehow move forward.

Men compete for attention within each other, the same with the women. But, the men and their insecurities seem to rule the moments, quite often, and their lack of esteem outweighs the women and their own longings and lack of confidence. Women grapple with child-rearing and domesticity, while the men strut and swagger as if they owned the women. Women reign in their own goals for careers, while men often flounder in theirs, yet interact as if they were superior. The Italian, male mindset is a force that is difficult to break down. Women are often left beholden to their mate, even if the relationship is lackluster.

The need to move forward is often stifled due to love interests and also due to emotional borders. Yet, within the stifled lives, there is a sense of motivation that crops up when least expected.

Ferrante’s writing is bold, illuminatingly harsh at times, and brilliant on so many levels. She leaves nothing left unsaid, nothing left to the imagination. She uses prose as if the words were an attack on life, with anger spewing forth, and also uses them with quietude and softness. The comparisons within situations is compelling and defining.

Her novels speak volumes (pun intended), as to the history of the social aspects in Naples, as well as the history of the city, itself. Social dysfunctiuns, familial dysfunctions, and familial dysfunctions are treated brashly, realistically, and with a compelling foundation.

Elena Ferrante’s books help me understand the barriers presented by familial bonds, friendship bonds, and the bonds of love and loss, within the social strata of the Italian environment. Her books speak to me, possibly due to my Italian heritage, but also due to the human condition exhibited within the pages. Humanity is explored in depth within the pages of her books.

Her novel, The Story of a Lost Child, will be published in September. I will definitely purchase it.

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