Monday, July 25, 2016

Politics Make Strange Bedfellows

  I have always loved political parodies that abound in merchandise around Manhattan during presidential elections. This election cycle has had so much to mock and little I wish was serious. I found this gem of a window of a bookstore yesterday. I just had to share it. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Kol Isha

     Once upon a time Matisyahu was a hasidic reggae singer. Now he is "just" a Jewish reggae singer. The world of secular music can be very difficult for a frum performer to retain frumkeit.
      What happens if you are a woman with a gifted voice and you would like to sing professinally?
Bulletproof Stockings which is now just Perle is trying to figure out what that path might be . She has a band with two other women and has formed a group that will only perform for  female audiences.
It must be difficult for Perle to perform for a women only audience. When you hear her sing you realize that someone with such a voice should be singing in the secular music scene. She is that good. However she is dedicated to only performing in front of women. This is also difficult because her songs do not exactly evoke bais yaakov. The JCC Manhattan where Perle performed their first gig was the more appropriate venue . There was a diverse group of young and old, religious and less religious . In fact more younger women than older women were there .
      Though it may be difficult for Perle to find a large audience for her brand of kol isha concerts when she does she will be better off than Matisyahu . Though there is always temptation, performing at a JCC way more wholesome than the typical secular music scene. Bulletproof Stockings had performed at the Bitter End a few years ago, but being a kol isha event makes it a bit more sheltered as well. In a way being a woman singer who observes the laws of kol isha really is a blessing. It prevents a frum woman from getting into some very unkosher situations where kol isha is only the tip of the iceberg.
      I give Perle a  lot of credit for trying to carve out a space for herself. She is trying to use her talent and stay within a level of religious observance. Its not perfect but she is making the effort. It takes a lot of guts, I wish her well.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

     I recently visited  the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. I have been there before but I had not explored as much of the grounds as I had on my recent visit. Perhaps it was because on this recent visit I went by myself.
     
The water lilies
      I visited my the water lilies which is one of my personal favorites.
      I discovered the fragrance garden which has actually been part of the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens since 1955. The fragrance garden was created with blind children in mind so they could enjoy the gardens. This garden was a model for other botanical gardens. The plants in this part of the garden are fragrant and may be touched.

the fragrance garden
 Another part of the garden that I had never seen was the rose garden. I don't know why I had never seen the rose garden before  as its been around since the 1920's and I have usually visited the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens in the summer.
     I had also never seen the arc of roses or the Japanese river area.
      I didn't realize that the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens had been around since 1912.  Who knew ? All of Brooklyn was probably more bucolic then.
       There is something about nature that is so relaxing. Something so needed in all of this New York City living. I need to visit the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens more this summer and you should too. The pictures tell only part of the story. One has to visit the actual gardens to   experience the full effect. You won't regret it.

the rose garden

the arc of roses
braille in the fragrance garden


the Japanese letter and river

I'm Having a Glass of Wine

    As a kid I could not wait to be able to vote. I thought it was the coolest thing. Now that I am more than old enough to vote I wish there were better choices. I really do not like either choice. Why can't we have a do over for the primaries and get some better candidates?
    The truth  is there isn't usually a candidate that I especially love but there usually a clearer better of two evils choice. Instead of a democrat and a republican there are two democrats running.    Couldn't the republicans have come up with a better candidate? They had four years to come up with a good one. Now we have two democrat candidates and though I am a registered democrat I don't like either candidate. Who knows, I might not have liked a different republican candidate either but I may have voted for them if they had been one of the choices.  I will wait to see who the vice president choices are. Hilary might be going to jail after the election so its important to know who her choice for vice president is. I want to know who Trump is choosing because that might make me more comfortable voting for him. Now I feel more like sitting this one out.

 I saw a very prolific quiz on Facebook the other day :
    Democrat
     Republican
  x I'm having a glass of wine
 
 This sums up how I feel about the 2016 election.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Diaspora - Simcha L'Artzecha

    Just a little blast from the past to rev up your Sunday !!

Love is Important

     There has been so much death and destruction in the world lately that it makes one think about what is important in life. Some people pontificate about living life to the fullest because every day might be their last. Interesting, but kind of depressing . If one has to go to work everyday or has responsibilities it is hard to really do that. And what about sleeping? Does one really have time to sleep when living like each day is one's last day?
      Fortunately I have another answer. I think that its important to spend time with one's loved ones and to make sure that they know how much one cares about them. I think one should also spend as much time as one can doing what one enjoys. We don't have control over everything, but these things we can do.
       Life is short, but it is possible to make it count.
     

Monday, July 4, 2016

In Sickness and in Health

     Its always heartbreaking to hear that someone one knows is ill . It is especially sad when it is someone one used to be close friends with but one no longer is friends with. Even worse if this person was not ill one would be trying one;s darnedest to steer clear of.
     The first stage one goes through is anger that this person has to be sick. They always seemed to love the attention of being the sick one anyway , but now they are really sick. It can make a person feel like all their compassion for them as the sick person who liked to milk the sympathy card has been long depleted. But now they really are sick.  %&*.  One knows its not right to feel this way. Of course there is also denial. Maybe they really aren't as sick as it seems. Maybe or hopefully they are yet again  exaggerating . But in one's heart of hearts one knows they aren't exaggerating.
       Then there is guilt. There is the fear that when one does actually visit this ex-friend that they will not be happy . They will be angry at how the friendship had deteriorated. In sickness there are few filters left.
       One waits. One prays. One hopes the decree will be reversed . One hopes this ex-friend will get better. But they don't . They get worse. Time is running out and one knows one has to face the music. One has to visit them . Not because of possible future regrets, but to honor that past friendship.
      Visiting someone in hospice is one of the most deeply depressing things to do. What does one say to someone who is waiting at death's door? It helps to look online for hints of what to say to someone in an advanced stage of cancer. It helps, but it does not totally prepare a person for what one is about to encounter.
      It is surreal to encounter someone stripped of there memories but with their personality remaining. Perhaps they can really remember but they cannot express their thoughts anymore. It is hard to tell. Not sure if one is recognized but not sure that one isn't. For the first ten minutes she does not speak at all. So I just talk. She is shaking. Its hard to take in. She tries to tell me what has happened to her and how its for the best but she cannot fully express it. She is frustrated. Considering all she has been through she looks very good.  The nurse says she does not know what she is saying when my friend seems agitated at me for not understanding her questions, but she cannot find the words. Maybe she really did have recognition because she very clearly says  that no one really knows the real her and that she really is a very fragile soft person. This was something that she would have said  had she been her usual self.  She tries to ask if it seems like she is out of it but the nurse interrupts her and says that she doesn't know what she is saying . She argues back and then stops. It seems she does understand .She keeps tapping her wrist . She wants to know the time. Is glad to know its not too late. When the nurse asks her how to say amen in Hebrew she perks up. The nurse does not think she knows what is going on because she does not know her. When she asks her questions she answers partially and I finish her sentence when the nurse keeps pressing her.  She nods when I answer for her.
     Her being in this state sort of gives others time to say goodbye. Then again, it seems cruel to say goodbye to someone who may not understand that this is goodbye. It seems cruel to try to make amends when the person can hear but not kick back.
      When I left I shook her hand. She gave a firm handshake. I hugged her and said. abi gezunt. and she firmly replied abi gezunt back. From her response I think that she was glad that I visited. I really could not say goodbye. It was just too sad.