Sunday, May 22, 2016
Thursday, May 19, 2016
"The world is for the instant of the Sabbath reconnected with a primal wholeness." Aviva Zornberg, Bewilderments, page 190
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
I get why I used to want to write here so much. I am changing, it seems. I am living life. I am writing differently, and less publicly.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Eleven years ago I posted these haiku (I thought then that the plural was haikus) (no, it's not).
PS - Also wrote this 11 years ago today:
"During a break in the afternoon I finished The History of Love. I really liked this book. It's the kind of book that the less you know about it going in, the better. I wish I knew someone else who read it that I could discuss it with. I'm a hard sell when it comes to books. I need to be pulled in or you lose me. And this was quite compelling."
Sunday, May 08, 2016
Aviva Zornberg: What Changes For Moshe
I was blessed to hear a transformative, truly profound talk by Aviva Zorberg today. I'd like to share it all. here are some of the points buzzing in my head. Twice G-d told Moshe to take himself and go down from the mountain. But Moshe wanted to go up. He wants to live in the heavenly realm, and asks repeatedly to "cross over." In the end he doesn't gt the crossover he asks for. He gets a different crossover, one that connects not to his relationship with G-d, but one that relates to his people. He makes himself vulnerable to them, tells them how G-d shut him sown when he asked to enter the land. This human sharing gave them a beer chance of hearing his very raw and real tochachah...
This somewhere between an abstract and a teaser. It does not do her talk justice. Hopefully one day in writing and/or in living I will do justice to her thesis.
Sunday, May 01, 2016
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Idea For Skit
Monday, April 25, 2016
like sea and dry land. Sometimes memory
is the solid ground we stand on,
sometimes memory is the sea that covers all things
like the Flood. And forgetting is the dry land that saves, like Ararat.
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
MY PRAYER THIS PESACH
May Pesach come to us as a redemption. May it be more than a burdensome time of plans, preparations, expectations, more than glorified busyness. May we feel Divine release from what we are enslaved to. May we see the answers that we've cried for come to us. May we be blessed to cooperate and let our redemption unfold.
The first and main thing the Jews had to do before being redeemed was to want it. They cried and their redemption arrived. Then they had to do little but cooperate, as their new lives unfolded. May we merit seeing the experience of our ancestors clear the path for us, their children.
Sunday, April 17, 2016
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
A Pause, A Few Words
I hesitate. That's a lot of what I do. Sometimes it serves me well, sometimes not so much. And there are odd times when in retrospect I needed to be more hesitant. This applies to my writing here, and to everything.
I take a minute now, mid-day, to pray though blogging. I yearn for the right balance between caution and action. May G-d bless me and you and everyone with wisdom and health and safety and all the ands we want and need.
Tuesday, April 05, 2016
13 Questions to Ask Before Getting Married
I Find This Fascinating.
I think one of the greatest writers who ever lived is Dante. I have read “The Divine Comedy” many times. The main thing he is saying is that you are not punished for your sins. You are punished by them. When you have done something that is not the best you could have done, you’ve changed yourself. What you have become, that is your punishment. - Anne Perry
One of the zero
He sits, his head in his hands
Sighing out the day
One of the zero
the zero who read the rules
wasting time in school
He doesn't stand out
from the zero who stand out.
One of the zero
He checks the option;
yes, he agrees to the rules
which he didn't read
"One of the zero,"
he ponders the sound of it
wanting to be more
Just one thing to find
Whatever that one thing is
One can't be enough
There is not one song
that I know all the words to
I realized today
Just when it seems that
you can't possibly succeed
try just one more time
Some days are jazzy,
other ones are rock and roll-
sometimes they're the blues
In some languages
poems and songs share one name
But not in English
"Fly like an eagle,"
Steve Miller's band sings-
And I will- one day
Reb Shlomo Carlebach
was the only one ever
to say I looked "sharp"
One G-d, One G-d, One
And many, many of me;
We believe in him
- Ner le'echad... le'meah -
Can serve one hundred
with both eyes on the same thing
But one looks away
In class- just one pen;
for me it's like forgetting
layers of clothing
I write haiku; rinse, repeat
Until one strikes you
Okay, just please not the glue.
I said not the glue
I've never had a coffee-
unlike Bob Dylan
"make one thing perfectly clear"
I yearn to do that
the party of the first part
or another one
in one way or the other:
depends how you turn
is rarer than one might think
cherish such a thing
That's the one I see right now
Not of tuition
Sunday, April 03, 2016
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Wednesday, March 09, 2016
Tuesday, March 08, 2016
Sunday, March 06, 2016
Writing is always
a try at a magic trick
an enormous leap
Forceful jumps that leap
freely springing off the ground
maybe I need these
Rarely do I stand
between Egypt and the sea
where I need to leap
Perhaps it is time
for a precipitous passage
via leaps and bounds
Once we have landed
it's time to look and prepare
for the next leap up
Saturday, March 05, 2016
Everyone Has A Name By Zelda
As Translated Here
that God gives
and one’s father and mother give.
that stature and the curve of one’s smile give
and the weave of one’s clothing gives.
that the mountains give
and the walls of one’s city give.
that the stars give
and one’s neighbors give.
that one’s offenses give
and one’s longing gives.
that enemies give
and love for others gives.
birthday celebrations give
and one’s work gives.
that the seasons of the year give
and our blindness gives.
that the sea gives
one’s death gives.
Letter From Steinbeck to His Son
November 10, 1958
We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.
First — if you are in love — that’s a good thing — that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.
Second — There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you — of kindness and consideration and respect — not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.
You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply — of course it isn’t puppy love.
But I don’t think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it — and that I can tell you.
Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.
The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.
If you love someone — there is no possible harm in saying so — only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.
Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.
It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another — but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.
Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I’m glad you have it.
We will be glad to meet Susan. She will be very welcome. But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to. She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can.
And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.
Tuesday, March 01, 2016
From Inside Two Workdays of the Week
Monday 1:43 PM - Lacking time to write, yet I feel I should. So much to do. But writing is like breathing. I am running from recommendation wring to teaching to guiding to meetings. Staff meeting in fifteen.
Pausing to drink in the silence and solitude of this brief moment.
Thank you G-d for the gift of life, of love, of feeling, of thinking, of doing, and of being. As I inhale and exhale I contemplate all I have to be grateful for in my life.
Tuesday 1:38 PM - Just called a teacher of mine from graduate school. It was over twenty years ago. I spoke too long on the answer machine. I wanted to tell her directly. I couldn't not say, even into a recording device that she was the best facilitator of discussions of any teacher I ever had and that I remember her so fondly.
Saturday, February 27, 2016
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Remember: despite how open, peaceful, and loving you attempt to be, people can only meet you, as deeply as they’ve met themselves. — Matt Kahn
Monday, February 22, 2016
7:26 AM - Lately I have been answering the question of what to write and where to write it by writing here. I am trying right now to do a free flow. That reminds me of a story I heard Rabbi Frand tell on Shabbos (as part of the
A spider lives inside my head
Who weaves a strange and wondrous web
Of silken threads and silver strings
To catch all sorts of flying things,
Like crumbs of thought and bits of smiles
And specks of dried-up tears,
And dust of dreams that catch and cling
For years and years and years . . .
Friday, February 19, 2016
Fri Feb 19 - 11ish AM (Forgot to note the exact time when I wrote this) Sometimes my work feels non stop to me, bottomless, and ever fulfilling. Four tests this week, two of them today. The teaching is balanced with my caseload of guidees. Pausing now for a second after giving tests to classes in a way that involved them overlapping and taking some time from another teacher because it's Friday and it's science testing week and I went out my way to schedule this test the day after their bio test. And there were two kids who need and are mandated to do the test orally, And one student was overwhelmed and left the paper blank, And and and.
And now a haiku:
Warning and surrendering
with red and white flags
2:49 PM - Just got home a few minutes ago, and it's Erev Shabbos. Feeling tired. My job/my life keep me busy.
I do give a lot. And I like being worried about and looked out for too. I jump to care for others but/and I appreciate being cared for and about too and I am grateful for when I experience that in my life. (Details omitted due to tact.)
2:54 PM - I feel like it's been a long time since I wrote of Zelda.
3:04 PM - Here's one:
May we catch Shabbos
as she flutters
down upon us
wearing a flower
in her sunlit hair.
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
7:07 AM - Time fascinates me as I try to not just to squeak through it, but to use it, and often - like now, to muse it.
11:13 AM - Taught a class, gave a test. Now breathing for a moment. Soon, off to a poetry competition for the rest of the day.
On a related note:
One of the moments that struck me in Michael Moore's powerful and beautiful (and political and sincere and snarky) new movie (which is sadly doing poorly in theaters because he is too ill to promote it) was the following. Finland has the best stats in the world for education. They do it very differently than in The US. Very little school time, very little homework, very few private schools. When Moore informs them that poetry is left out of school curriculum one teacher's sad reaction was so visceral, so representative of a high truth that she and I both know to be true. Life without poetry is a very incomplete life. (In the same segment he interviews a teacher who says that his number one goal is for students to be happy people. He asks the teacher what he teaches. Math.)
7:27 PM - Pushing myself to write a bit, as quickly as I can (I type slowly) now I have the urge to take an online test where I'm told how many words I type a minute.) Going to make dinner.
8 PM - Took test -
"Your score: 143 CPM (that is 29 WPM)."
Made spare ribs.
Left dad message.
10:18 PM - So much is not our fault and yet is our responsibility.
11:15 PM - Hareini mocheil lechol mi shehich'is oti...
Good night and G-d bless.
Saturday, February 13, 2016
In His Image:The Image of G-d In man - By Rabbi Yuval Cherlow
Wed Feb 10
8:59 AM - Shady Grove by Pierce Pettis plays. I'm in my classroom on this Rosh Chodesh Adar Alef. Class starts at 9:10 and I'm preparing and juggling and breathing and trying. Sometimes trying can be trying.
2:53 PM - Another breath at work.
Fri Feb 12
11:24 AM - I love writing, but don't always have the time. Work is often non-stop. Thank G-d for my blessed job of being there to guide and teach kids. Yesterday there was no free second. Not really today either. I am taking a very brief pause now to express gratitude to G-d for all the good in my life.
MoSh"K Feb 13
6:31 PM - Hodu laHashem Ki Tov. Besides other aspects that were challenging this past week was the fact that my computer and phone were down. No landline. No internet. Verizon texted me that all was fixed but it wasn't. I didn't get to get to them. But today a wonderful repairman showed up at my door, unscheduled by me, at his own convenience and it took him a while but he got the job done. So here I am soon after Shabbos grateful to have a dial tone and a connection (of at least one kind). The gentleman shared a bit with me. He has roots in Etheopia. His father was disappointed in him, or so he always felt. He thought it was because he was short. A time came when his father told him that he loved him and was proud of him. He felt he was spurned (his word to me) and because of it he shined (my word to him). His fradmother told him he owes his father thanks for motivating him. Sometimes it was a bit much for him. The family would go on vacations and he's be left behind (ostensibly to work and take care of the family business). Now he looks back and is grateful for it all. And I am grateful to him for visiting me today, being so understanding of my needs to keep Shabbos, being a big mentsch in every way. I am grateful. And now, just back from Shul there are things to do other than writing here. but I love writing here and grateful for this outlet and hope to be back here soon, tonight.
7:03 PM - Came up with this:
3 Stages of a Relationship With Me
1. You remember everything!
2. Do you have to remember everything?
3. Stop remembering everything.
7:32 PM - Spoke to dad. Having chicken soup. Glad to have a moment to write, though work looms. I replied to one school parent just now via email and owe another a call back from Friday.
7:50 PM - I just watched a short interview with Marina Abramovic on a TV version of The New Yorker magazine on Amazon. She is now, at this stage of her career, focused, on what it means to be conscious. her latest project was to have people walk in a room for as long as they like with headphones on that block out all noise and blindfolds that black all sight. Here's a review of it.
8:45 PM - Got so much to write, and yet have other (not necessarily better) things to do than blog, so signing off for now.
Tuesday, February 09, 2016
The Other Donkey Story
A man and woman marry. The man owns a donkey. He and his wife journey. He has her ride on the donkey and he follows behind. A stranger stops him: "You need to balance things; look out for yourself too. "So he rides on the donkey and has his wife walk behind. Another man stops him: "What's wrong with you? Letting your wife walk while you ride the donkey!" So he and his wife both walk behind the donkey. Someone stops him: It's ridiculous that you both walk and the donkey walks with no-one riding on her." So he and his wife get on the donkey, A Bedouin from a passing caravan stops him: "You can't see your donkey's face, but he's clearly about to be crushed from the weight of the two of you." So the man and his wife get off the donkey and together they carry the donkey the rest of the way.
What meaning to you see in this story?
Sunday, February 07, 2016
Thursday, February 04, 2016
The Long Groove Story
I like this inside joke. You have to know the footsteps story to get it.
Wednesday, February 03, 2016
Tuesday, February 02, 2016
Sunday, January 31, 2016
"The persistent feeling that this movie so beautifully creates is that even when the world is bestowing blessings upon us, it’s still at the bottom a sad place, and the key to an emotionally healthy existence involves some rooted acceptance of that." - Glenn Kenny, in his review of the film Brooklyn.
I relate to what he says here. To put it slightly differently I think that being emotionally adult means to live with contradictions. In so many ways, what we see, feel, think, do...
"I would say the lowest paying job in America is improviser, right underneath poet, and person who makes no attempt to have a job." - Adam McKay, director of The Big Short, talking about his past to Stephen Colbert
In the Shenk Shul today I looked at a Pirkei Avot sefer on the shelf. I found this pshat very interesting: Al tehi baz lechol adam... - Don't denigrate any individual. Eventually everyone has their moment and their positive mazal. The end letters of baz lechol adam are the letters that form the word mazal. They come at the end because in the end is when it becomes clear that, as the mishnah goes on to say, in the end - everyone has their time and place when they shine.
SHORT YITRO THOUGHT - My dear friend Pinny Bulman shared his take about the mizbeach. His thought is that the mizbeach experience was meant to resemble and bring to mind Har Sinai. Thus, no metal in its making, made of stone, must be approached by going up a slope. And the idea behind this is that the Sinai experience has to be reciprocated. G-d gave us the Torah and now we give Him our service at this altar, the flip side of our receiving revelation.
at least not in the long term
Yet you can't just sleep
Is only sleep sleep?
I want to replicate sleep
What else counts like sleep?
Sometimes sleep's a dream
But life is not but a dream
And so we need sleep
Sleep takes our faith
a mini facing of death
who had everything but sleep
I lie here and sigh
Laying on my bed
You hurt me deep inside me
From so far away
Is what keeps me up at night
And what helps me sleep
the book falls out of my hands
little is as sweet
Friday, January 29, 2016
All There Really May Be is This Moment
OK, here we go... free writing, i don't know what to write and yet and yet and yet I write now for release for catharsis. The first time I heard that word was in a piece by Rabbi Soloveichik. If i'm no mistaken, in that piece he writes something along the lines of how in the whitewashed walls of the halls of the hospital where his wife died he could not find G-d.
Of the various people who have come to me for advise over the years, one couple one couple comes to mind. Each having previously been in several relationships, they were seriously debating what to do with the one they were in with each other. I felt, as I often do that people need to face their own stuff in order to build a relationship with someone else. As a friend told me twenty years ago- you have to be one before you can be 2. That friend has since been married and divorced. We always judge, but The Rabbis teach us to not judge harshly...
Here's Catharsis in full, online. I wish Rabbi Soleveichik spoke more to me.
I make the mistake of seeing someone not own something they're doing, and then i assume they are aware of this, but that's the whole idea of their not owning it... they don't want to admit...
I exercised today and saw I was then dowm 0.2 pounds. And I thought, if i lose that much every day forever one day my body will disappear. Then i remembered that one day my body will disappear anyway.
I just completed some clean up work with the dear woman who cleans for me. It's amazing and frustrating what I find while sorting through stuff. The wonderful part is pictures and other memories that animate me. The most upsetting piece is the amount of checks I find that are too old to cash. That is something I need to find help and strength toward actually changing. Of course I don't want to work for money and then throw it away. I need to process and progress in this area. Sigh.
Life dances away
as the afterlife steps in
visits for this day
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Monday, January 25, 2016
An NPR Day
I'm grateful for this stay-cation day at home, with Leonard Lopate on the radio. He interviewed Ian Buruma about his new book which features letters between his grandparents. The grandfather was very funny and the grandma more complicated, so he puts it in one moment of this interview. 45 was their code for being Jewish, he doesn't know why.
"The past is always with us." - William Falkner. Lopate quotes this while talking with Tessa Hadley , who just released The Past. They're discussing how writing is crafted, and how memoirs are more like fiction than we admit because the past is a great mystery that we can't actually walk back inside. Yet, she does, in her writing, get inside things, says Lopate. A boy gets a haircut. And he changes. His grandfather was a vicar and a poet and he becomes a philosopher/critic.. She tries to capture the bit by bit chaos of momentary existence, she says. She published her first novel at 46 and is unsure why she didn't write anything she was pleased with till then, but she didn't. She thinks it's because she was trying to be A.R. Gurney, rather than walking inside her own imagination and speaking of what she knows. In the long run the imitating helped her have some heft when she opened he door to the home she knew. She's presently honeymooning with a new novel, while not doubting that disenchantment will come.
"If you've met one person with autism, then you've met one person with autism." So quotes an author now being interviewed by Lopate. The term was coined in around 1911 about schizophrenics who sometimes went deeply into themselves. Later it became a term for something that stood alone. Fact: autistic people often have perfect pitch. Echolalia is when a person repeats a prase over and over again. Donald T. used to repeat, "I could put a little comma." Eventually he was blessed to get unstuck from his echalalia. His life is told as part of this new book, In A Different Key. He has lived a full life.
Bruno Bettelheim said that kids got autism as a defense mechanism because their mothers were cold to them, refrigerator moms. He was wrong, but he spoke from with authority based on his experience in the Holocaust, seeing how people withdrew... This approach caused great damage.
The authors are talking now about Willowbrook and Geraldo in 1972. From the late 1890s there were these kind of expose's every 10-15 years but they didn't stick. The shame that came was strong. People were told to put their kids into institutions and care for the rest of their kids instead. This was normative, protocol, how society was. Cattle prods and electric shock were used. ABA - applied behavior analysis - was and is still used, but now it's applied in a better way, positively reinforcing. Interesting stuff, talking now about Aspergers, how creative the people who have it often are.
"You see what you think you see," - Caren Zucker, co-author of In A Different Key.
I'm still listening but going to hold off on writing a play by play. Wishing everyoe a good NPR ornon-NPR day.
Thursday, January 21, 2016
This week was the anniversary of Poe's death.
Here's a poem of his that I find striking.
By Edgar Allan Poe
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes! - that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.
If you are cold, tea will warm you;
If you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are excited, it will calm you. ~ Gladstone
"Tea Weather" by La-Chapeliere-Folle
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
By Edwin Arlington Robinson
Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.
And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
'Good-morning,' and he glittered when he walked.
And he was rich - yes, richer than a king -
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.
So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.
I was exposed to this poem in elementary school and it has stayed with me. Paul Simon did a great job adapting it and made a strong choice in repeating the chorus at the end.
Muriel Rukeyser wrote, "The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
One day I hope, please G-d, to write a piece about stories including all the great insights out there that I can find. There are many great quotes and they are part of my story.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Four hours till vacation. Many people, in one way or another, have prematurely upped and gone. I'm grabbing a pocketful of solitude. And breathing. So many physical realities can be notched down on our totem pole of things that matter. And noises. And even thoughts. I'm praying from personal space. I'm reaching back for old dreams and realizing we're still connected. I'm honing in on a wisp of fresh energy and placing it in a jar so I will remember.
Saturday, January 16, 2016
אל תאמר לכשאפנה אשנה, שמא לא תפנה
I have liked blogging from the start. Been doing it a long time because I like it, believe in it.
Been thinking about Pirkei Avot. Just searched the words "pirkei avot" here and this is one of the ideas that came up:
The mishnah says not to say that when you'll have time (ke'she'efneh) then you'll learn (eshneh) because you may never find the time. The Tifferet Yisrael notes that eshneh, usually translated to mean to study, is more precisely translated as reviewing. It's easier to learn something the first time. It's harder to review. The key to integrating what we learn is reviewing it. Yet, reviewing is easily neglected- and that's what this mishnah is telling us to to resist doing; don't learn something one and say I'll reflect on it, review t, lock it in later. Do it now.
Friday, January 15, 2016
Real feel temperatures
make me wonder what is real;
is it what I feel?
What truly exists?
Not imagined or supposed
Bonafide, for real
Can real be ideal
How to balance what we feel
Should our brains appeal?
They are not real, yet
they ruin many endings:
Gray does not feel great
as it grates away color
and yet if feels real
Diet Coke and cake
is nothing to make fun of
Better than real Coke
Like our broken hearts
What we think is half is whole
In the most real way
These Jewish haiku,
some short poems by a Jew:
When I'm in a dream
I struggle as though it's real
As when I'm awake
He looks at it and
realizes all at once
that this is his life
"We were like dreamers"
we will one day say of life
that we thought was real
Wanting to be real
For a dose of truth
The Torah tells us
"Justice, justice shall ye seek"
your way, and for real
And having said that
I will unsay what I said
and say what I mean
Sometimes I want to
Clear the slate and start over
Sometimes I am real
Sometimes we rise up
To the expected level
And make a dream real
What really exists
not imagined or dismissed
true and actual
By Max Ehrman