Happy New Year 5775

Because of Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s 2014 war with Hamas, postings have recently shifted to Facebook to enable more interactive dialog. Please PM me if you are interested in joining the conversation.

Meantime, I want to wish everybody שנה טובה ומתוקה. May you be inscribed for a sweet, happy and productive and all round fabulous 5775.

We’re having a Muppet phase in our house right now so I’ll let the softies have the last word for now. (click on photo for link).

muppet Shana Tova


UN Holocaust Memorial Day

Today, January 27th, is the UN designated day for remembrance of the Holocaust.

This short film was produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

path to genocide

From the Holocaust museum website:

This 38-minute film examines the Nazis’ rise and consolidation of power in Germany. Using rare footage, the film explores their ideology, propaganda, and persecution of Jews and other victims. It also outlines the path by which the Nazis and their collaborators led a state to war and to the murder of millions of people. By providing a concise overview of the Holocaust and those involved, this resource is intended to provoke reflection and discussion about the role of ordinary people, institutions, and nations between 1918 and 1945.

Rosetta Stone Update

A few weeks ago, I posted about trying to teach my daughter, who is five, Hebrew. Kids should start second (and third) languages as young as possible. In an ideal world, their parents speak one language to them, and the outside world another. I’ve known several families who did this with success. Alas, I am not a native (or even adequate) speaker of Hebrew. So I’m relying on whatever lessons and tutors I can put together for Avital, to help her learn.

We’re trying Rosetta Stone. On the plus side, she really likes it, and can stay engaged for an hour doing the exercises. It’s also clear that she’s learning words, and her reading is really taking off. The difficulty will be to practice! Not because we don’t know Hebrew speakers, but because it’s hard to force yourself to speak a foreign language when everyone knows your native language.

In any case, here is a short video to illustrate her progress. Way to go!

Natalie has neshamah

Just fabulous, Natalie Dessay with Michael Legrand. Click on picture for link.

YouTube song ND

It takes a very special artistic talent to walk the fine line between schmaltz that is slushy and sentimental and schmaltz that is meltingly powerful.

Please note, this is not a judgement on the merits of one versus the other, there’s definitely a place for all varieties of schmaltz and sometimes you’re in the mood for the sentimental type (I adore Rick Moranis’ “My mother’s brisket & other love songs”).

Listening to Natalie’s rendition of this song gives me goosebumps. And I’ve never seen Yentl (the movie) or read the story. I just adore this artist and it’s an extra special oomph to know she’s a member of the tribe.

The song is from her new album, “Entre elle et lui”. I wonder if we could have this CD available at the Chanukah fair?

Entre elle et lui#Ruth

Frozen Time, Liquid Memories

frozen time liquid memories

The film commemorates seventy years since two round-ups of the Jews, one in Novi Sad (today Serbia) in January 1942, and the other in Vel d’Hiv, Paris in July 1942. In Serbian and French with English subtitles. 60 minutes, followed by discussion with the filmmaker.

I unfortunately could not make this event because of work commitments but would appreciate hearing an account from anybody who was present.