Thursday, January 31, 2008

Frum Architecture (yaaawn)

K'ah there are so many big new shuls going up. It's good to see communities putting time and effort into glorifying a shul. However one basic ingredient seems to be lacking and that is creativity.
Frum art and architecture seems to be bogged down in the Baroque era.
While some oooh and aaah at the plethora of new Aron Kodesh’s being constructed in shuls..I shake my head dissapointed by the complete lack of creativity.
These days when I want a Shul or Aron to move me..and I mean move me to my core I need to look at the reform and conservative movement or the more modern Orthodox.
Take the Elkins Park Synagogue designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (above) is breathtaking.
Architecture has moved on from the middle ages but we seem to be stuck there.
The ideas of form, space and minimilism are non existent in the frum community.
We think beauty lies in another layer of moulding. A quick look around Boro Park homes will affirm this.
While this type of decorating might be pretty it has the same chance of moving me as elevator music does. Sure it's pretty, but it doesn't change you. It doesn't take you flying...
And so we add another ionic column..another ungepotchket moulding and another medallion and we’re all impressed.
I thank God that the Kosel is not in Boro Park..other wise they’d have put mouldings up long ago.

Here's the idea...
What makes an airplane beautiful? A sports car? Its minimalist form.. Its perfect fusion of function and form.
According to Chabad philosophy mitzvos are not to be adorned with any outside adornments. For instance the Talis has no atara and the Sukkah no decorations. I believe this very idea is being expressed. There is no greater beauty a product can have then when form meets function, and anything added takes away from that.
Its also what makes the Kotel so beautiful..and an apple..
Architecture should perform the same function. ideas expressed in form.

It’s about time we got with the times and embraced these ideals that not only bring beauty but also a sense of peace, balance and tranquility. A purity that we can let in. Instead of the clutter that seems to mirror the clutter within us.


Friday, January 25, 2008

The Newspaper Guy

The whirl of the revolving door brought a sudden gust of cold Manhattan air to Joe Brauns ruddy face as he stepped out of his office building for the 45 minute commute home. He turned right onto 7th Ave and buried his hands into his deep pockets. A very light flurry was falling, dusting his black hair and wool coat with white flakes.
He could easily afford to take a cab to Penn Station but he loved walking. Walking in Times Square at this time of the evening was challenging and exhilarating.
He breathed in deep as the cold air filled his lungs and stepped down onto the street.
Sidewalks are for tourists, he thought to himself. Just then a group of German tourists came toward him, his intuition told him to stay on the outside rim of the camera toting mass but an oncoming car forced him to find a gap inside which he managed to navigate without contact. He chuckled as he remembered an incident 20 years ago, when he was in Berlin for a summer weekend and was taunted by a group of anti-semites. He shouted back at them that when he’s back in New York he’ll taunt the first group of German tourists he sees...he never did...
His eyes drawn to the impossibly bright lights, reflected in his stylish glasses... Pedestrian walking should be a sport. It takes the same skill as does a running back in football, to be able to read the next moves of those walking toward and away from you in split seconds.. He’d be pretty good at it.
Suddenly he felt his phone vibrate he fumbled for it under his coat. It was an email... His chest suddenly tightened as he thought about this huge decision facing him at work. Frank, who used to be his closest buddy at work was double crossing him.. His fingertips were becoming numb so he pulled them out of the finger part of the glove and rolled them into a fist. He noticed a beautiful brunette coming toward him..nose in the air. Ugh hate when they know the world is staring at them.
He was sure that new girl Kathy was fooling around with Frank but what could he do about it? Why do people have affairs anyhow? How do logical sane people suddenly lose all logic and risk everything for that urge? Mmm that kebob smelled good..his mouth watered.. Are we really all just a bunch of mammals deep down with some kind of spirituality that can override the mammal instincts? Suddenly he looked around and all he saw were beasts..sophisticated mammalry hmm he liked that..sophisticated mammalry.. Animals using instincts with class, he almost laughed at this thought.. Watching the mating signals..the reproductive instincts..the feeding holes...the aggressiveness...ahh the Serengeti meets Times Square.. He paused to watch a mariachi band..looked at his watch..had a few minutes to spare..they were playing Yesterday by The Beatles..he loved that song... He was really looking forward to watching a good movie tonight and was hoping his wife would be in the mood... Damnit he forgot to return the book he borrowed from David... It was at his parents house and he wasn’t on talking terms with either of them as they tried dragging him into their quarrels. They should just get divorced already.
He saw a pair of headphones in the window on an electronic store and debated whether or not he had enough time to run in and buy it. He didn’t..He hurried his pace and almost stepped into horse dropping..gosh he wondered what New York streets were like 100 years ago.. Sure, how nice it mustve been to live in simpler times, but in those nostalgic thoughts somehow you never end up stepping in horse droppings.
He was just outside Penn Station now...
“Chalom Chalom” came a familiar voice from the the smile of the Hispanic newspaper guy materialized from the crowd with a New York Times neatly folded..”How are friend?..” Hey..I’m good..How was your day?..oh shoot I don’t have a dollar on me..”don’t worry..u pay me manyana..Have good trip..” he said the cold.. He smiled and said Thank You..
Settling into his window seat he finally relaxed his tired legs.ahh it felt good...
A strange sort of melancholy washed over him as the train disappeared under the Hudson River. He suddenly wondered if that Newspaper Guy was the best friend he had in the world...and dozed off...


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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

observing the observant

I stumbled upon this refreshing piece on CNNs Marquee Blog.

Making your way around the convention center floor here in Las Vegas, one would think that the most striking thing would be the brightest and the loudest... the shiniest and the slickest. And true, there is plenty of eye-candy here at CES (Consumer Electronics Association show).

Arriving late in the game, I took the opportunity today to stroll the floor in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Why limit myself to just one of the three buildings in this sprawling facility, you might ask?

It is really almost too much to take in all in one sitting. A simple stroll is not going to cover it. An endurance march might. In fact, at one point, I thought that I had actually seen all that the Central building had to offer until I looked at a map which showed me the difference between "where you are," and where you still need to go.

But amidst the hustling booth barkers, the babes, the booming sound-systems and crowds, one of the most striking things I have seen so far was the most silent.

There, just off the convention floor was a crowd of maybe two-dozen Orthodox and Hassidic Jews, quietly at prayer. Amid the sensory overload and non-stop movement of CES, here in Las Vegas of all places, was this reverent and spiritual time-out that would not be interrupted by passing crowds, panoramic LED displays or in my case, curious bloggers stopping to look in on this most personal moment.

The ultimate in noise-cancellation...


Thursday, January 17, 2008


oh this masquerade..
this grand grand
game we play
in the grandest
of ballrooms..
we call earth
this ball
of marble
in darkness
who ya kiddin?
take a mask...
and join the farce..
get lost...
in the music
of course..
Pick a mask..
from the wall..
join the dizzying
rouge smiles..
chaulky white..
hide yourself well..
let the lies..create a shell
of beauty...and hell..
pleasant smile
unimaginable pain
adoring eyes
extravagant beauty...
gruesome uglinity

shhh {whispersss}
don't look..
____ mask..__fell off..
dispose of her..
the show..Must go on

raise the volume..
link hands..
all ye
skeletons of
the closet..

round n round n round..
beautiful lies...
keep the world
they do

the winds of truth...
howling at the
the shuddering windows..
holding back
the wind that would...
rip the mask off..
and destroy.
Destroy civilization..
in one Glorious.


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Monday, January 14, 2008

go figure...


..New Hampshire pollsters moonlighting as New York weather forecasters....


Sunday, January 13, 2008

The March of Fate...

I don’t usually comment on political matters.
The reason for this is that I’ve become somewhat of a fatalist over the years.

Lev M’lachim b’Yad Hashem (The heart of rulers are in the hang of God).

Watching history move and events occur and watching people kicking and screaming trying to stop the flow of fate is almost comical if viewed in fast-forward retrospective motion.
For instance in Israel.
Whether I like it or not for the past 20 years I’ve been saying that one day the Palestinians will have a state and that Israel will be forced back to close to the 1967 border. These comments have brought me nothing but scorn and derision at countless Shabbos tables. Yet, it just seems rediculous to think otherwise. The uproar people make when the obvious facts are stated is confounding. Yes Israel IS occupying another people. How can you possibly say that they’re not?
True, we might feel justified in doing so. But the hard facts cannot be changed. Israel has never made the slightest inclination of even pretending to prepare for a future in which all of the Land of Israel from The Jordan to the Meditteranean will once be under normal Israeli rule.
I can still remember as a kid visiting Chevron and the tour guide openly mocking the submissive pre-intifadeh Palestinians. And I remember thinking to myself, oh man..this is gonna blow up in our faces one day.

In Israel you have a right wing population that serves in the army and is willing to face some of these challenges head by laying their life on the line for their fading religious ideal.
You also have a left wing population that serves in the army as well and is sick and tired of war and so is willing to grasp onto even the smallest of straws in the hope of achieving peace.

And then there’s the Charedi/American group totally removed from reality, in their comfortable bubble tsking..and shaking their heads when anyone speaks of the facts on the ground. Facts that fly in the face of a pre-illusion of something that simply does not exist.
And then theres the inevitable march of history.
Yes the world marches toward a date with a messianic destiny, but no one knows how and when it all plays out.
And so it goes..the march toward inevitability...
Bulging veins..
I’ve lived through it all..
Netanyahu gives back Chevron...
Sharon gives back Gaza..
Back to Netanyahu..
And the masses don’t see it..
Do you need someone like Kahana himself to give back Jerusalem to realize that the march of fate doesn’t let anyone stand in the way?

In American politics it’s the same. I try looking more at character then policies because policies can change so fast, especially if your heart and mind is controlled by heavenly strings.
I’ve always liked John McCain and so I hope he makes it all the way to the White House.
His strong character and the fact that he doesn’t march goose stepping behind blanket conservative ideas makes him well suited to lead.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

audience of one


Bank Authorization Now Being Perfomed.....

in D minor...


Monday, January 07, 2008

night wanderer...

Dark...empty house
dark....without sight
Guided by touch..
My soul...sleep walking
My body..relishes sleep
My dreams..illusions
Journeys of delusions
Dancing fantasy
Gliding sleep walk
Long halls in the dark
Billowing drapes
Hands cluch
Guided by touch

But soon the sun will break free
The singing night owl will fade quietly

My eyes will open

And I hope and pray..
I'll be

where I was



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Thursday, January 03, 2008


oh how we love to mock..
her ineptitude..
standing blind..
with her scales..
I suppose she's needed
a society cannot function..
but..shes pretty entertaining..
the glove won't fit..
seduced by dapper
lawyers..and befuddled
by clueless jurors..
oh dna...
"monster" after "monster"
oh we know...we know
we laugh...and
and yet..
we have absolutely
no problem...
putting people to death..
using the very same
it might
be funny..
until..just once


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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

the myth..the moment...the reality...


Its never too late...

............oops too late..