Friday, June 29, 2007


In honor of the introduction of the iPhone by Apple I bring this to you from the old blog..

What is a trend
Is it a means or an end?
How can beauty
..................... yesterday?

Vanish away?

What is beauty?
Real or imagined?
A car that was truly beautiful and desirable in its day
Sitting ugly in the garage bay.
A pair of glasses that was the height of high design
Now hidden away thick in its dusty shrine.
Weren’t they beautiful in their time?
They haven’t changed

We want to know
that you know
and they know
that we have
what you say
and they say
is beautiful
Is desirable
And the minute
That they stop
And you stop
To say so
Then the new scent
And we wait
And see
What you’ll say
And they’ll say
Is beautiful

And that my friend
Is a trend


However I must say to all you Windows users out there that are going gaga over this new phone. We Mac users have known for years that an Operating System and the Hardware that houses it can be beautiful, elegant and easy to use.


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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Summer of 93

Songs are like time capsules.
You hear it....during a stage in your life...
And then you can re-visit that time by listening to the song..
I don’t know about you..but it really works for me..
The all comes back..with the melody..


I recently heard one such song..and it had me traveling back to a great time in my life and the world..
The summer of 1993.
The early 90s were a hopeful time..
Communism was dead..
Barriers were falling..
Peace was in the air..
East..West..Europe..Israel..South Africa..

I found myself in Europe that summer..backpacking with friends of mine..
Hopping trains..hitching rides..
Back then you could bypass a line of 300 cars at a border crossing with a pack of Marlboro..
Back then Americans were heroes..
Wherever you looked...
The wind of change was blowing..
There I am..peering out of a dirty window of a sputtering Russian car..the stench of cheap gas and even cheaper Communist slogans and signs coming down..
Faces softening up..
And always..that song..
That song that celebrates a short lived optimism...
When the most pressing issue was the nature of the Presidents underwear..
When the Ace of Base ruled the European airwaves..
(for those that don't recall..)

But most of all it celebrates a summer of my life..that I will never forget..
A carefree month..getting to know the world..and myself..

Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away
in the wind of change...

Oh..and by the way..this is what the Internet was like back then...

The Internet In 1993 - Watch more free videos

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My God..

I recently watched one of the greatest movies of all time. It’s one of those rare films that I can watch more than once. Superbly acted and superb music...but most of all the message and lessons learned.

The movie is the Academy Award winner for Best Picture in 1984..Amadeus.

Before I begin analyzing it..Here is a broad outline.

In the mid 1700s Austria was at the center of European culture and music.
The court composer in Vienna at the time was a man named Salieri...and this whole movie is narrated from his perspective in an insane asylum some 30 years after these events were alleged to have happened.

How did he end up there?
As a young boy in Italy he was raised in a strict home and could not follow his life passion, music.
One day he made a deal with God that if he finds a way to go to music school he’ll dedicate his life to him.
The next morning his father died.
He was off...and became an accomplished musician and composer. He also kept his promise to God. He was also a deeply religious man and viewed music as a gift from God and musicians as Godly vehicles in this world.

In 1758 a boy was born in Salzberg that would take the world by storm. An absolute musical genius of legendary proportions. By the time he was 4 he was performing for kings. At 8 he wrote his first full symphony and at 12 his first opera.
His name was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
When he came to visit Vienna it was the talk of town and Salieri went to see this divinely gifted young man.
What he saw shocked him to the core. A vulgar, immature, haughty and immoral young man churning out song after song of such genius and longing. This made him intensely jealous, which led him to become angry. Naturally his anger turned to God. The one that gave him his gift, which suddenly seemed mediocre compared to Mozarts (see movie clip).
A few months later Mozart made a mockery of one of Salieris pieces in front of the Emperor. He became enraged.
How can a just God tease him this way??
Why give such a gift to someone so undeserving??
Whereas I devoted my life to celibacy..only to be treated like this??
And so..from that moment on he devotes his life to Mozarts destruction and through that, enact vengeance on God himself.
(The acting of F Murray Abraham (he won the Oscar for his part) is really great.)

The movie ends with an elaborate plot to kill Mozart who ends up dying under mysterious circumstances while writing a Requiem which had been commisioned by a mysterious benefactor (Salieri).
He was 36 years old and composed over 600 pieces of music during his life.

Here’s what I’ve been thinking...

I think, what brought down Salieri was his close relationship with God.
I think that having an intimate relationship with God can sometimes be nothing but a trap and in fact you could be the furthest possible from him at that moment.

Gaaveh, haughtiness is an expansion of the ME.
The sense of self.
The bigger it gets, the more, more of the world revolves around you, the haughtier you become.
It can get so big that it swallows up God himself.
The world sooo revolves around you that when things fall into place, you start to relate to God in a more intimate way BECAUSE he’s so good to you. You start to feel "spiritual".

But in reality it’s all a trap, you feel good because your ME suddenly encompasses God himself!

Thus when God suddenly “betrays” you, you feel anger and betrayed. Just like a jilted lover feels that intense love turn into intense hatred.

But it’s really your sense of entitlement and your own selfishness that forged this “God” in your own image.

That’s when you need to pick up the pieces, humble yourself and find the real God.



Sunday, June 24, 2007

My son is an addict

Its not easy..
not easy

I wish there was a Betty Ford type facility for these circumstances..
But alas..
There isn't yet..

so we do everything we could..
Hiding them from him..

I feel responsible..

I knew that some of his friends were addicts..
But I just let it pass..

I ignored the signs..

Only those in similar situations
know the strain it causes..
On a family..
a marriage..

When you're awakened at 3am..
by another withdrawal bout..
And you..under the covers..
praying for it to end already..

But you know somehow..
That it'll end..
You can't go on..listening to
the Screams..
of your 3 year old


Thursday, June 21, 2007


So random..

A 5 minute stroll
On a 900 sq ft traffic Island
In Times Sq

And 3 months later..
There I am..
In picture albums..
In Tokyo
my left ear in Mumbai
Skanneatles, NY
All kinda angles..

How random



Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Where have all the thinkers gone?

from prev blog

Where have all the thinkers gone...?
Where is that smoky salon?
Where is the passionate discourse?
Where is the oratory voice gone hoarse..?

The magic of an ideal
The arguments.. so REAL

I close my eyes..and travel back in time..
To a Paris café ..where praising Monet is a crime
To a premier in an Opera hall in Milan..
Where the composer is being booed and hissed on and on
People thinking..relating..
Artists starving..creating
Hope ..never more than a thought away
Money...not worth the time of day
Utopia...swirling around ..steel rim glasses
Teachers..blowing passion into their classes

There was a time when our youth was lost
Seduced by Bukharin and Zhabotinsky
Instead of marijuana and ecstacy
Singing the Internationale with fire in their eyes
Instead of moving to 50 cent as the eye flicker dies



Sunday, June 17, 2007

Who am I?.....Part II

Here's the follow up to the previous post...and the eye opening conclusion.

If you click on the above link you'll hear the end of that NPR audio file that my previous post was based on.It is the touching story of Clive Wearing.
Clive was a musical genius and composer of choral works in England when at a fairly young age catastrophe struck.
He suffered from headaches for a few days and no one could figure out the cause. After 5 days he suddenly lost his memory.
He couldn't remember anything.
He was struck with a freak infection which caused the most extreme case of amnesia ever recorded. Every few minutes his mind would get erased and he'd start his life anew.
However over time it became clear that the only things he remembers is his wifes love and his love for her. Every time she walks into his room his face lights up and he smothers her with kisses..and tells her how much he misses her..etc..
The second thing he remembers is his music.
He was brought into a cathedral and opened a songbook of his own music and he started singing it and remembered his songs enough to be able to conduct his old choir.

In another experiment done on a woman with a similar form of amnesia, her Doctor, who would usually greet her in the morning, she thinking him a total stranger, one morning hid a thumb tack in his hand and pricked her as she shook his hand.
The next day, even though she had no idea who he was hesistated to shake his hand. The fear had somehow carried through where the memory had died.

The clear conclusion here is that at the end of the day, our memory might be suspect and our body might be gone so what are we?

The Torah tells us that the Tochacha comes "Because you have not served Hashem with joy". The Meforshim ask...Is that reason enough to bring all these curses upon us?
The answer is a resounding yes!
One can do mitzvos by rote and yes he will get some sort of reward for that.

One can go through marriage and life interacting with people.
But it will not become him.

Only relationships built on love or fear have any enduring value.
Only actions done with passion become part of who you are.

Because..who are we?

We are the sum of our joys, loves, fears and passions.



Thursday, June 14, 2007

Who am I?

The following might come as a shock to you but have no fear..for the memory of it..need not be trusted...

Fascinating, earth shattering, wow...scary..

These are some of the reactions going through mind as I was laying there listening to a one hour special about memory on NPR.
It was all about memory and its inner workings...and it just got my mind going..

Studies show that everytime you see or experience something, unlike previous assumptions that a memory of the event was stored away somewhere to be taken out and viewed later, no such thing happens.
Instead every time you “remember” the event you formulate it anew in your mind. You make up a whole new scenario based on a suggestion of an occurrence.
Imagine someone whispers in your mind “you’re standing on a purple hill overlooking a silvery sea full of frolicking pink dolphins”, your mind just created an image based on this outside suggestion.
Now imagine this suggestor is you...and the suggestion is the last time you conjured up this event...
The more times you “remember” this event the more it will change because it is based on the prior suggestion which is based on the suggestion that preceded it...
So the people with the most accurate “memories” are those with amnesia!
It made so much sense.
When I was 4 years old I suffered a bad injury and for years I had a somewhat vivid memory of that event. That is until I happened to be discussing it with my parents one rainy shabbos afternoon (wait, was it rainy?) and they said that there was such a glaring impossibility in my memory that it cannot be true. It simply could not have happened as I remembered it happening. That means, either this memory was suggested to me outside of myself or it changed so much over time that it ceased to bear any resemblance to an actual event.

Scientists working on rats were able to make rats forget occurences as they were occuring by injecting a chemical during the event, blocking a memory from ever registering.
But then they discovered something unbelievable which helped confirm this theory. Even after the event occurred, by injecting the same chemical during a “remembering” of the event they were able to achieve the same result and erase the memory.
That means that when we remember we’re not bringing up a stored memory but formulating a new event based on a suggestive whisper and this new event was not being allowed to be the basis of any further suggestions.

Then I thought about the body.
Scientists have long known that virtually every part of the body regenerates itself over time.
The skin takes..about 2 weeks! (Every 2 weeks your skin is a completely new skin than the one 2 weeks ago).
The bones take about 10 years..
And the organs fluctuate. With liver turning over every 300-500 days and the heart taking a lot longer..
The average cell in your body is 7 to 10 years old.

So stop and think for a moment. The person that you were 15-20 years ago is not here anymore.
So who am I?
Can I trust these memories of my past floating around my head..?
The body is gone and even the memories don’t really exist.
Its like every moment is your first..which I suppose can be a good thing.

So then I thought..wait a second..why am I getting all bent out of shape because of my lost injury memory..?
It’s not like it happened to me...




Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Dolphin Show 7:30pm rsvp

Hello Rabbi Lake
Sholum this is..
You’re part of a select group
Join us in circa
In Prime Grill
We’re collecting for...
Pass the coleslaw
The check
Parlor meeting..
Mmm this cake is good
Breakfast at out house..
Hot dishes..
Can we count on you?
Yes, the shiur is 2pm
Don’t worry..lunch will be served
Lunch n learn
Learn n lunch..
Buffet and pray..

What am I??
Do we need to be fed and nuzzled to perform?



Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Blue Shirt

This was a big day for Boruch. A really big day. Today was the first day he was going to be wearing a colored shirt since 8th grade. It’s been 4 years since he left Yeshiva and he’d been building up the courage for about a year now. The final decision finally came during breakfast last Sunday. He was spacing out while eating his sunny side up noting how its shape looked just like the State of Minnesota when he just decided to go for it and headed out to the store.

After shaving extra carefully he slowly opened the starched cotton blue shirt letting the white packaging fall to the floor, sliding the cool fabric over his arms and shoulders and buttoning up. He gingerly looked into the mirror. Its remarkable how different the color of your shirt can make you look. He found a tie that matched and tightly fastened it around his broad neck pulling down the crisp collars.

Walking out the front door was terrifying, yet thrilling at the same time. He hoped he wouldn’t meet anyone he knew and walked briskly head erect, trying not let the invisible pollin tickle his throat.
A few minutes later he was standing on the train holding his Wall Street Journal and looking around. He felt confident and good. He felt handsome. He felt eyes looking his way and that made him feel good. Turning his head slightly he caught a beautiful brunette looking his way. After smiling slightly he turned to the left only to see a smartly dressed redhead staring at him. He was flying now. So this is what its like....

Breezing into his office he was greeted by the ever present warm smile on the face of Lisa the beautiful new receptionist from Minneapolis.

"Good morning Barry"
"Good morning Lisa..notice anything different..?"
“psst Barry..come closer”..she said, looking around furtively
He leaned closer and watched her lips mouth softly..
“You’ve got a tissue hanging from your nose..”



Thursday, June 07, 2007

True Love

from prev blog

L’cha Dodi...Likraas Kalah
Every week...I dance for you
I dance with joy
I dance with shame
Every week you find me
Laying in the mud
You lift me
Embrace me
My mind cannot fathom
So my heart takes over..
Your love
Your love for me
As you take me in you arms
I hold you
Mold you to me
You hold me...kiss me
A tear escapes from
My heart
As I whisper..
It’s you I love
You’re my one and only
You whisper back..I know..I know
And hold me tighter still
I try to commit to memory
The sweetness of your lips
The scent of roses
I look into your eyes and I promise
I promise to love you and no other
Please let me feel you this intensely
Every minute...every moment
Hoping deep down
That you won’t have to come looking for me
Next week..
That I won’t have to avert my eyes
In shame
As you lift me from the mud...into your arms..

Good Shabbos


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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

umm hello?...

1..2...3...4...5 pure white sheep...6...7...8...

Pray tell..what were to happen
If during my attempt at nappin
The me in my head
Were to fall asleep
While counting sheep
before the me in my bed




Sunday, June 03, 2007

The forgotten tragedy

from old blog with changes

Lviv, Galitzia, Poland 20th Sivan 5449 (1689)

Counting down the hours to the end of the fast I try to fall asleep but sleep won't come.
The sound of the door jolts me awake and I my Zeidie shuffle into the room on one leg and a stick settling into his favorite chair at the window.
The late afternoon sun was casting long shadows through the bare room, his sad eyes staring into the distance..taking in the familiar steppes, rolling hills and tattered village.
Those eyes that have been witness to the greatest tragedy that has befallen us since the destruction of Jerusalem 1500 years ago.
The destruction of the glorious communities of Poland, Galitzia, Volhynia, Ukraine and Lithuania.

By invitation of Casimir The Great the Jews prospered here for 300 years. We enjoyed unparalleled freedom and peace. Our Rabbis organized a broad pseudo-government that enjoyed almost complete autonomy. The Council of the Four Lands made sure everyone was taken care of, settled all court cases and was led by the greatest leaders of their time including the Taz and the Shach.

All this came to a shattering and devastating end in 1648-1649.
In the year 1648 Ukranian Cossacks organized a militia under the rabid anti-semite Bogdan Chmelniecki. They came sweeping in from the Eastern Steppes like a sudden thunderstorm in midday. The attacks against the Jews began almost immediately and thus 2 years of hell began.
The massacres began on the 20th of Sivan 1648 when the Cossach hordes entered Nemirov and slaughtered the entire community Including the Gadol Hador R' Yechiel of Nemirov.
The community had been hiding in the fortress under Polish protection. When the Poles fled the Cossacks used the abandoned Polish banners to trick the Jews into opening the gates.
These years have been come to be known as Tach v’Tat.
The Cossacks were fierce warriors and were expert horse riders. They came thundering in to town after town on their swift and powerful horses, swords drawn and overwhelmed the defenseless Jews. The drunken shouts, terrified screams of child murdered, girls violated and houses burned still echoing in our ears.

After 2 years the incomprehensible numbers stare us in the face.
Well over 100,000 men women and children killed.
Entire villages wiped out.
Entire regions reduced to poverty and starvation.

How does one bury ones entire family?
How does one pick up the pieces?

Sure during the crusades we’d suffered a few hundred here..a few hundred there.
During other troublesome times..there have been massacres.
But never on this scale...

in 1650 the remnants of the Council held a meeting and decided to revive the 20th of Sivan as a day of fasting and prayer already mentioned by Rabbeinu Tam in reference to a massacre that happened on that day during the times of the Crusades.

Every year on the 20th of Sivan Jews will gather and say special selichos composed for the occasion and fast. This goes without saying.

40 years have passed since 1649 and the last survivors are passing on swiftly..on to a better place to rejoin the 100,000 that await them.
Who will bear witness to what happened?
Will future generations remember?
Remember our tragedy?

Thank you for listening to my tale...


In 2011 I can re-visit that debate of so long ago. I can hear the Rabbis discussing whether or not to institute a day of fasting and davening.
Once the memories fade of these troubling times, will anyone stop and remember?
Will anyone still fast? Are we wasting our time.
I'm sure other Rabbis replied, but how can we ever forget such a traumatic event?

Will anyone 300 years from now pause and think about the Holocaust?