A Few Verses Before Passover

Just a few verses combining the events of the day. The life of this world never seizes to amaze, both in good and bad ways.   Oh Egypt, “how the mighty has fallen”! Egypt, the giant of old With your gold and your gems, with you valley of kings Where does your golden queen cry…

Jewish Places of the (Not-So-Distant) Past

כח  אַל-תַּסֵּג, גְּבוּל עוֹלָם–    אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ אֲבוֹתֶיךָ. 28 Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.  Proverbs – מִשְׁלֵי I love to go to museums. Art, history, architecture, objets d’art, furniture, you name it. Certainly, I look at many things through the prism of the relations to Jews and Judaism. What’s better than to…

Parshat ha Shavuah Verses – Bo

  “Go!”, He said. “Don’t ask for reasons, do as I say” Your people will leave this cursed place And you will be the leader. Now and forever.   כב  וַיֵּט מֹשֶׁה אֶת-יָדוֹ, עַל-הַשָּׁמָיִם; וַיְהִי חֹשֶׁךְ-אֲפֵלָה בְּכָל-אֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם, שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים. 22 And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in…

Casale Monferrato Synagogue

This is just a quick post that I simply had to make. I stumbled upon amazing pictures of a historic synagogue in Italy, built in 1599 and situated between Milan and Turin. The website has the following text accompanying the amazing photographs of the shul: “Casale Monferrato congregation began renting its current building on September 17,…

New Random (Sad?) Verses

  New world order is coming Is it new indeed? Listen to Navi, read the books Everything happens the way He said Don’t hide from the real truth Nothing else matters in the end of days     What has the world come to? Jews hating each other for the fun of the rest of them Will…

Shakespeare in my Heart

Today, when the world, the weather, and my soul are squeezed with pain and cold, I am reminded of my favorite Shakespeare sonnet. I would say it myself, but why? He wrote it so much better I could ever do. I would only add the word “blood” in every line of his, though: Tir’d with…

No Change in 2017

World: All the same – death, terror, blood, tears Same in my life – my heart bleeding My soul crying – for what? Not for the happiness, just for the hope of its running shade

Jerusalem Exhibition

Can we have hope or certainty in East or West or anywhere but in the one land full of gates that face the open gates of heaven? —Judah ha-Levi (1075–1141), Jewish poet and philosopher This Sunday I finally made it to the Jerusalem Exhibition at the Met  with the best group of people – my…

Sweet Smells of Autumn

What is happening now in New York is called Indian Summer in the US and Бабье лето in Russia It is really the perfect weather for Sukkot. This year it came so late that I was worried about sitting in a cold and wet sukkah. However, Gd gave us a miracle of this warmth that somehow allows…

Bits of Words Before the Hagim

We are almost at the end of Elul. And this means that the talk around us is about teshuva. Everyone tries to be more critical of themselves, more open to prayer, tzedakah, and understanding of the other. Everyone is thinking of doing more mitzvot. And, looks like everyone is preaching. Zniut! Wow, if we could only save the world by…

The Ghetto and Beyond

I decided to spend my Sunday and Monday at the Center for Jewish History attending a conference about the Jewish ghetto. The distinguished panel of presenters came from the top universities in the United States, Israel and Italy. A new Medici archives project was presenting materials ranging from general community related papers to personal stories of the individual…

Reading Shivhei ha-Besht

My love of learning anything concerning Jewish history brought me this time to a class on early Hasidism. The book I bought for the class was first published in Hebrew in 1814 or 1815 from an earlier manuscript written by Rabbi Dov Ber ben Shmuel. The stories are remarkable on several levels, but what they made…