Sunday, June 06, 2010

And, and -

A close friend is presently directing a Paul Zindel play. I haven't heard that name in a while, since I was a kid and The Pigman was one of my favorite books. It really hit me hard, is still with me.

Speaking of books hitting you hard, a man was visibly shaken is shul yesterday because he'd read The Forward's review of the new book on The Lubavitcher Rebbe. The information in the review sounds credible to me - as it did to this respectable man - and fits with what I've heard before from reliable insiders ( "Neither in Berlin nor Paris did the Schneersons live in Jewish neighborhoods. Indeed, in Paris they resided at the fashionable Hotel Max, on the Left Bank, whose other tenants were a rich international assortment of bohemian artists, musicians and writers. In neither city was Schneerson ever seen in a synagogue, and there is no evidence of his involvement with their small Hasidic communities.") and fits with my own experience ("The authors’ interviews and research make clear that there remain two main positions found among the Lubavitchers: those who admit their messianism openly and those who camouflage it.")

The review ends with these lines, "But the authors do document the lasting effects of Schneerson’s enduring posthumous charisma on his thousands of disciples, especially the shluchim, or messengers, who are to be found facilitating the practice of Judaism in virtually every place on earth where Jews are to be found. The finest aspect of Schneerson’s lasting legacy is their good work, which stands on its own merits with or without the delusional messianism."

Speaking of Lubavitch, George Foreman* has this to say (in a well done profile in the New York Observer)about today's most famous Jewish boxer , "Everybody wants to imitate Mike Tyson. But this Yuri Foreman* seems to carry the baggage of decency, and I like that about him."

On Motzai Shabbos (Saturday night) May 29, 2010 I called my brother to say hi. He told me that I'd called at a historic moment, a perfect game was about to be completed. On Wednesday night, June 2, 2010 I called my father to say hi. He told me that moments before a pitcher had been robbed of a perfect game and that soon the umpire's name would be all over the news.

What are the odds that two perfect games would (almost) be pitched within such a short amount of time - four days - of one another? What are the odds that I'd be on the phone with my two closest living relatives at the time of these two closely occurring (near) perfect games? What are the odds of anything in life; the sun rising, a bird flying, us waking up to live another day?

Judson Mitcham is an incredible poet. He dedicates his book, Somewhere in ECCLESIASTES," "For my mother, and in memory of my father." If/when I put out my poetry book, in the not so distant future, I hope to write something like that in reverse. This poem had me thinking of my mother and her death, five months ago, and the frailty of life, and and and and and.

Last Words
Judson Mitcham
An old woman stands at the casket.
"Don't he look natural?" she asks
I think about the phrase "of natural causes,"
how it indicates a different kind of violence.
I do know what she means,
and both of us admire the awful craft
of the worst undertaking in the world,
the taking under.
She turns from his petrified face. Raised
on her tiptoes, she whispers in my ear,
"I thought so much of your daddy." Odd,
I didn't really think of him at all,
or so it seems, now
that he's a riot in my head.
And everything he gave me,
which was everything he had,
I took that as a given. Only Saturday,
we talked on the telephone a while, but I can't
remember what he said.

* no relation


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