Friday, September 26, 2008

The New Year's a Comin'

Shanah Tovah from Pearliesofwisdom and family.
Wishing all of you and your families a very happy, healthy, prosperous and peaceful New Year.
May it be a good -- even a better! -- year for all of you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's the Little Things...

...that count in a big way.

Today I turned 47. It was a day like any other -- getting the kids up in the morning, getting them to school, picking up groceries and running errands, dealing with the household, etc.

I got homemade b'day cards and email b'day cards; I got Facebook birthday greetings; I got telephone calls from siblings.

There was no option today to go out and celebrate this birthday, but I did celebrate it when I answered the phone just after 8:00 this morning to hear my mother singing me "Happy Birthday" and then my father getting on the phone to wish me a happy birthday and many other blessings.

Having my parents in my life makes for two of the greatest "presence" of all!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Are You There, G-d? It's Me...Pearl.

My husband came home from shul this a.m. and told me that a friend from shul is traveling to NY on Thursday to go to the OHEL, the Lubavitcher Rebbe's final resting ground, where people from all over the world come to pray at Rabbi Schneerson's grave, and often leave a "petek" -- the equivalent of the millions of notes stuffed into the Wailing Wall, notes that have prayers and requests for good health, peace, financial stability. The list goes on and on. The friend asked if we want to write a petek, so I began to write one this evening.

As I was writing, I realized I was writing in Hebrew, and then wondered WHY?? Does G-d only understand Hebrew? Are there not thousands of Lubavitchers who come from the world over to visit the OHEL? Are all the notes that are left at the gravesite written in Hebrew? Highly doubtful -- no doubt they are in Yiddish, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portugese, etc.

The language of prayer can be the language one is most familiar and most comfortable with, but I guess my subconscious had decided that the holiest language should be the language of choice for my prayer representing my hopes and desires for my family.

Let us hope that Rabbi Schneerson is as good an emissary as the thousands he's sent out into the world and that he will be able to get my message straight to G-d... And the fact that my message doesn't need any translation might even speed things up! :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Everyone Loved Molly

Molly Picon, with her geneyvishe oygen (mischievous eyes)

I love this photo of the late, great doyenne of the Yiddish theater, Molly Picon.

Often referred to as the Jewish Helen Hayes, this diminutive actress left her mark on the world.

She was born Margaret Pyekoon on Broome Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan on February 28, 1898.

In 1903, Clara [Molly's mother] took five-year-old Margaret, dressed in red and sporting an elegant fake-fur muff, to the Bijou Theater for a contest. A drunk on the trolley demanded that she do her act then and there. She consented, concluding with an imitation of the drunk himself. Impressed, he collected pennies for her from the other passengers. At the contest, she would add to them the first-prize five-dollar gold piece and the loose change that her first legitimate audience had spontaneously tossed onstage. Margaret/Molly Picon had begun her theatrical career...

Pet Peeve

Listen, people, and listen good. If you're going to post an engagement picture/album, a l'chaim/vort picture/album on, then please...please...please... POST PICTURES OF YOUR WEDDING TOO!

We admired you in your surprise engagement-caught-on-film pics, we admired you and your chattan/kallah in your vort pics -- why stop there?

If it's about "ayin harah," you wouldn't be posting ANY pics of you and your beloved, so don't make that claim.

The people who have the right idea are the ones who do post engagement pics, then wedding pics, then bris/simchat bat pics...we get to see the beautiful, mazeldik progress of your singlehood as it becomes couplehood as it becomes parenthood!

And listen, for people like me, it doesn't help to list your engagement or other simcha WITHOUT posting ANY PICS at all.

So if you're going to do it at all, do it right! Okay???

'Nuf said.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Moment to Ponder -- Part 3

1. Have you ever noticed...

when you're walking in a residential neighborhood and you suddenly smell "that laundry smell" (coming through exterior house vents) indicating that someone is doing laundry...

That smell is ALWAYS the same, no matter whose house it's emanating from. Does that mean that everyone is using Tide or Purex or Arm & Hammer?

It doesn't seem to matter if the detergent/fabric softener you buy is labeled "Fresh Mountain Breeze" or "After the Rain" or "Powdery Clean" -- the end result is that they all smell the same.

2. Have you ever stopped to realize...

that some of the qualities you don't care for in another person, some of those idiosyncracies that irritate you...are often qualities you yourself are guilty of having and displaying.

3. Have you ever tried to...

get a bit of information from someone who doesn't want to share by making an accusatory or know-it-all statement about the fact and immediately that person corrects you -- so now you know that bit of information that they were concealing.

Yes, it's a rather low tactic, and not one that I adhere to, but rather one that I often fall victim to!

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Moment to Ponder -- Part 2

1. Have you ever wondered...

... if it's only you who thinks in moments of crisis/tragedy/conflict that make international headlines, "I wonder if there were any Jews on that flight... I wonder if so-and-so who was killed in that avalanche is a Jew -- it sounds like a Jewish name.... I hope there were no Jews on that that 10-car that tsunami devastation..."

Of course I have feelings for everyone, but for me it always comes back to being a Jew and recognizing fellow Jews.

When I heard about the plane crash yesterday in Russia, my reaction was "I hope there were no Jews on that flight" and was saddened to learn that a Jewish family of four were indeed killed in that accident.

2. Have you ever thought it might be nice to...

...ask that stranger beside you in the elevator where they bought their purse. But then you debate with yourself too long and the person gets off the elevator before you get the chance to ask them.

3. Have you ever tried to...

...see if your foot is really as long as your forearm between wrist and elbow -- as the theory holds.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Moment to Ponder


1. found yourself just humming mindlessly and then suddenly stopping to actually listen to yourself and see what it is you've been humming?

That just happened to me; I was taking the dog for a late-night walk and was humming up the street and then I listened to myself. I was humming the late Luther Vandross's "Dance with My Father." I don't know why I was doing so -- as my husband is in his year of mourning, we don't listen to music in the home when he's in earshot, so it wasn't as if I'd heard it on the radio anytime recently. But I knew that I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness when I realized what I'd been humming.
Thank G-d my father is alive; he is not aging very well and has great difficulty even walking these days, much less dancing. Perhaps my subconscious was just telling me that I wish my father "of old" were back to dance with me, were back to his old, familiar self...

2. found yourself hiding in your own home or apartment when someone came to visit, not answering the peal of the doorbell or the rapping of a knock or the annoyance of a buzzer.

That has happened to us; we've "hidden out" from another family, not wanting to be social on a particular Shabbat afternoon, and telling the kids to be quiet, so the family wouldn't hear our giggles on the other side of the door.

3. wondered what it might've been like knowing your spouse as a child (Robert Avrech is an exception, having known his wife Karen since he was nine years old) -- ie. if you would have gotten on as children as you do in adult life

4. taken the time to tell someone how much they mean to you

5. allowed yourself to feel guilty over something you truly didn't have to

6. pondered why THE $100,000 PYRAMID went off the air, when it was such a good game show

Mazel Tov...

(from Yeshiva World News blog)

Israel: A Grandmother of 7 Gives Birth to Her 19th

Blei Ayin Hora

September 14, 2008

After 8 boys and 10 girls, Sima Zalmanov, 47, from Tzfas, gave birth to a boy last week, her 19th child blei ayin hora. The new boy was born in Rebecca Ziff Hospital in Tzfas, where the staff knows her well.

Sima admits, “It came as a surprise. I thought at this age, I would not have more children but we are excited over the gift”.

Sima, who has been married for 27 years, is the principal of the city’s Chabad high school for girls. Her eldest child, a son, is 26. Six of the couple’s children are married.

Sima and her husband are waiting for the birth of their eighth grandchild due next month I”YH.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Found Poem...

Earlier this evening I found this poem I'd written 3 1/2 years ago, on March 10, 2005. I actually recall being moved by the scene to write the poem....

The Face in the Window

It is midnight, and I am doing a final walk in the house for the night,
picking up forgotten books,
straightening sofa pillows,
looking in on my dear children
fast asleep in their beds,
the moon peering down
upon them through a
crack between
window and window shade

a crease of light
haloing their heads
as they sigh in their sleep --

my little treasures

Interestingly enough, I went into my blog archives after typing this poem to see if perhaps I HAD perhaps posted the original on March 10, 2005. I had, but it was slightly different, no doubt revised as I typed it on my blog.

Poetry in Mo...o...o...o...tion

On one of the blogs that I like to read, Jack's Shack, Jack posts snippets of fiction-in-progress. So I decided this morning to take his example and post a poem that I started to write last night -- ahem, I mean this morning at about 12:10. But I had to stop because I was literally falling asleep at the wheel -- keyboard -- as I was typing. So here, for your reading pleasure, is the start of "The Face in the Window."

The Face in the Window

It is midnight, and I am doing a final walkabout in the house.
Picking up forgotten books, straightening sofa pillows, securing the
dog for the night.
I look in on my dear children, fast asleep in their beds,
a sliver of moon peering down upon them through a crack between
window and window shade,
a crease of light
haloing the heads
of these little treasures as they sigh in their sleep.

I lock the front door, then glance out the beveled side window at
the snow beyond.
The yellowish light in front of the house casts a warm glow,
beckoning me out of doors.
But I cannot wander out, although it might be nice to pirouette on
the front lawn amidst the white down feather blanket of snow.

posted by torontopearl at 3/10/2005 08:55:00 AM

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A Joke for You

Dick Cheney and George W. Bush are having breakfast at the White House.

The attractive waitress asks Cheney what he would like, and he replies, 'I'd like a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit.''

'And what can I get for you, Mr. President?' she asked.

George W. looks up from his menu and replies with his trademark wink and slight grin, 'How abouta quickie this morning?''

'Why, Mr. President!' the waitress exclaims, 'how rude! You're starting to act like PresidentClinton.' The waitress storms away.

Cheney leans over to Bush and whispers....'It's pronounced 'quiche'.'

Monday, September 08, 2008

Controversy on Campus

What are people's thoughts on this current going-on at Yeshiva University?

Even though I have a nephew in third year at Yeshiva University, I'm not very informed about the student body, the faculty and the basic premise of the university. In my little mind, I always thought that every campus division -- Cardozo, Albert Einstein, Wurzweiler, etc. -- maintained an Orthodox student body, but my misconceptions about that have been corrected.

It is a university backed by a lot of private funding, and the donors no doubt wish to maintain some kind of image for the university.

If a teacher is not Orthodox or even Jewish, is that teacher's private life not deemed private? Does the administration have the right to force a professor to resign if the values they hold differ from that of the majority of the students/faculty? Does this particular, transgendered professor, change the way he/she teaches if she wears a dress as opposed to pants?

Yeshiva University is located in New York City, one of the largest metropolitan/cosmopolitan centers in the world. New York City features just about every type of person, and no doubt sometimes life in the city or inner city can be like a circus side show. No doubt the university does not want to mimic this image on their own campuses...

I'm curious to hear any thoughts about this professor and this one, as well.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Monday, September 01, 2008

Sounds of Silence

I took my daughter this afternoon to see MAMA MIA, the sing-along version. She'd already seen the plain MAMA MIA about 5 weeks ago and I'd seen the stage version about 10 years ago.

It was a gorgeous sunny afternoon on the last day of a long weekend, but I still thought the theater might be crowded, as the sing-along version came out on Friday. We got there when the box office opened and eventually found our way into the theater.

Including us, there was a total of about 10 people in the theater, and I believe that all of them were women.

When the lyrics came onto the screen whenever a ABBA song came on, do you think that ANYBODY sang along? If so, they were using sign language in the dark, 'cause I sure heard no voices!

Were people afraid to sing because of the small number of people sitting in the darkened theater? Would it have been more inviting to sing if there had been a capacity seating and one's voice could've been drowned out among hundreds of others?

I have no problems singing, and I know I have a good voice, but the couple of times I alone opened my mouth to sing -- even quietly -- my daughter did not want to hear of it! She was embarrassed because I would've been the only one singing.

Truth be told, I was somewhat disappointed not to hear voices belting out out "S.O.S." or "Mama Mia" or "Voulez Vous". It was not a sing-along version of the movie I was at, but probably more of a quiet hum-along.

When the character on-screen was singing, "I Have a Dream," I guess that nobody in the audience took into account the lyrics, " I have a dream, a song to sing..."