Friday, June 30, 2006

Too young :-(

Two tragedies in the past few days..have been weighing heavily on my heart..

Too young
Too young
It makes you numb
You hear it again and again

But at the end of the day
She was too young
She was a little girl
He had so many years
So many years
So fragile we are
11 years
18 years
Another young body
Thrown into the mass grave
Of our memory
Of our conscious

We’re not built to endure such pain
My pampered brain
Cannot imagine the sorrow
Of this void and empty tomorrow

A parent forced to endure the unendurable
A stretched heart forced to prove how durable

So..we whisper..
And we tsk
And we promise to be better

But at the end of the day

He was so young
Someone’s world


little girl




Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The incredible shrinking Siddur...

There was always this choice growing up.
Choice where to daven.

Can either go to the litvishe shul where they don’t say Korbanos, always say Tachanun and don’t say Tefilla L’Dovid (before the Yom).
Or you can go to the Chassidishe Shul where they say Korbanos, rarely say Tachanun, say Tefilla L’Dovid but daven quicker.

Well I’ve noticed lately that the typical minyan has sort of morphed into this hybrid davening. No Korbanos, Chassidishe Tachanun schedule and forget about Tefilla L’Dovid (I’m surprised it’s still in the siddur).

Another thing I've noticed..
In many shuls the Chazzen doesn’t go to the amud until Borchu which leads me to think that perhaps Psukei Dzimra is about to go the way of Korbanos.

And so..I wonder..

Is the Liturgy shrinking with our attention span?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Three Elevators

In the lobby of a large building.
With Three Elevators.
Each elevator has a little screen atop the door.
To entertain us voyeurs as we wait for it to stop at out floor.
So I let myself fly into the tiny commode
As these vertical travelers unsuspectingly rode
Elevator 1. Floor 12 Going down.
Frum guy after years in Yeshiva enters the workplace..the secular world. Toying with his Treo..fixing his tie.

Elevator 2. Floor 5 Going up.
Frum guy in his 50s going through his midlife crisis rushing to get his stuff to make it home for his shiur. Anxiously watching the floors pass by.

Elevator 3. Floor 2 Going up.
Secular girl feeling down lately. Glowing, still thinking about the class she went to at Aish last night. Peeks at the pamphlets in her hand for the next class.

It suddenly hit me..clear as day.
You doesn’t really matter what floor you’re on...

The only thing that really matters is..



Sunday, June 25, 2006

Here we go...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Walking through Times Square with my iPod

Walking through Times Sq.
Hustling and bustling
Dazzling display of neon light
Flock of pigeons takes flight
Chestnuts roasting..breezy caress
All the worlds a Concert Place..
Perfectly choreographed
Dancing ..swaying
To the strains of Dvoraks New World..
Is that a baton waving in my direction..?
Never mind..
It’s the middle finger
of some babbling cabbie
Defending his yellow box seat

Picking up the tempo a tad
Track 2
All is good again..
Ahh The Beatles.
Accompanying..this grand cast
All the lonely people..
And yellow submarines..
Blending.. grooving..
I’m sorry..did I bump you with my bag?
The look in your eyes..
Your jawing angry mouth
Sends me one feed..
But all I hear is
Love is all you really need...


Wednesday, June 07, 2006


The bus had just dropped her off..she looked like a wreck. Her pretty face streaked with tears, she averted my gaze, although I was a total stranger to her. Just then a soda can slammed into the side of her face and a loud cheer went up..from the gleeful faces at the windows of the departing bus.
I was not the only witness.
It was broad daylight on a busy street.
No one said a thing.
You see.. the victim and perpetrators were 8-9 years old.
I often wonder, at how children can be so, so cruel.
Anyone who grew up overweight, with a funny name, nervous twitch or darker than usual can attest to this.
Ultimately children are selfish creatures, they won't seriously hurt someone but they'll hurt someone enough to entertain themselves.
I wanted so badly at that moment to do something to protect that little girl but she was gone in an instant...but I suppose we could just just continue on our way will be kids.

One comforting thought...
Thank goodness kids are too little to pick on us

I'll huff..and I'll puff...and blow your brick facade down..

Growing up, it seemed things were simpler. There were Brick houses and stucco houses, there were vynil and aluminum side houses and wood slat houses. I’m not sure when I started noticing this, but suddenly I’m seeing more and more homes with fake brick fronts.
Now as an artist and as someone with a strong aesthetic sensitivity I find these very unnerving.

In Art there is this concept of form = function = beauty. An apple is a beautiful’s an apple, it fills its function perfectly. You turn it around, and it’s an apple every way you look at it. It has functional integrity, truth and beauty. A brick house or a stucco house or a siding house is, even in a dilapidated state is beautiful in that its form meets its function and it’s a home.

When I walk down the street and see a home with a fake brick front, I’m thinking... who are you kidding? If I happen to stand across the street at a 45 degree angle and look at your house I might be fooled into thinking it’s brick? You couldn’t even fool the Big Bag Wolf with that false front. Sometimes I walk down certain streets and I feel like I’m on a Hollywood set with all the false fronts.

But then I think back to my simpler childhood and I find that the people reflected this phenomenon as well. People were true to themselves. There were those that wore grey hats, and those that wore black hats, those that wore straw hats and those that wore none. The “grey hatters” wore grey hats and the “black hatters” guessed hats.
Today the “grey,straw and hatless” all wear black hats. They all put up false fronts.

There is a quote from the Chozeh of Lublin...
A Rosha (wicked person) that knows he’s a far better than a Tzaddik (righteous person) that knows he’s a Tzaddik.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Me and my shower

Ok I admit shower life has been pretty dull for a pretty long time now. Just a boring shower head with boring soap and shampoo and since I shower early in the morning I don’t even get to sing anymore. For awhile now I’ve been suspecting that my wife has a far more exciting shower experience with all those scrunchy pink things and scrubs lying around.

A few weeks ago I decided to spice up my time under the spray. I went out and splurged on a new super shower head for $200. Wow, my shower time has increased by 50% and I just get lost under the hot super spray of that huge head.
After a few days I started playing around with the different settings.
I’ll be honest with you, I don’t get most of them. First there’s the limp “we’re almost out of water” setting...why would anyone choose that? Then there’s the painful setting that feels like thousands of needles shooting into you at once...sort of what it must feel like in some medieval battle with all the arrows coming down at once. Then there’s the “massage” setting.... I mean my 3 year old son gives better and stronger massages than that. Well the one I like and use, is the strong, wide and steady rainlike spray with the center pulsing a little harder..mmmm

On to the soap and shampoo. I don’t shop much so I’m sort of out of the loop when it comes to what’s out there. I’ve been using Irish Spring soap and a mixture of Pert, VO and a few other shampoos.
I had an eye opening experience last week when I went to my sister for shabbos. I’m taking a shower and there on the windowsill is about 30 types of shampoo. For a second I thought I was standing naked in aisle 14!
When did Snapple start making Shampoo?
There’s Strawberry, Raspberry, Strawberry Kiwi, Strawberry Banana, Chamomile, Vanilla, Green Apple, Apple Cinnamon...yum to name a few.
Now I know where my grandmothers ever present scent comes from, she must use Onion Garlic shampoo.
Then there’s shampoo for oily hair, dry hair (how do you lather it in?), damaged hair, oily damaged hair, very oily hair, oily hair with dandruff, healthy hair and damaged dry healthy hair with oily dandruff. And then there was one copy of each in conditioner. What I don't get is sister covers her hair and my brother in law is bald.
I felt real deprived. The shower experience has evolved and I’ve been left behind.
I’ve got some serious catching up to do.
After all is said and done..the shower is one of the last places on earth where you can truly get away from it cell emails..just you... the steam..and the cleansing cascade of water....