Imagine writing a blog at the age of 70!  I can remember getting our first tv when we lived on Esplanade. I was 6.  Where did the time go?

Well we have just finished these Holidays of Hanukkah, through Christmas and New Years 2018.  We live in a world where the latter two reign yet like Joseph who always kept his identity, I want to do the same. I didn’t always.  Growing up I never really knew my identity.  You see my parents were rarely home to help form what we kids need to grow up feeling safe.  Some people never feel safe because either the world they live in is far too dangerous or others like my generation who grew up after the war, with one eye looking back at the pain and the other eye looking forward to the hopes of what could be.  A friend of mine, Miriam says it’s because we weren’t licked enough.  They found that out through puppy research. 

You know what!  We are so spoiled in this country;  We haven’t had to fight for anything really, only ourselves.  We don’t know what it means to spend two years in the woods starving while running and hiding in the cold from the Nazis.  I think of that every night when I get into a hot bath and a cozy bed after having eaten whatever and how much food I want.  Thank you God above for that.  The times ahead I am not so sure of but that’s not in my hands. I can only handle what is given for today.  The rest I have to leave up to the Bore Olam.

These last two weeks have been wonderful for me.  I have had the time to contemplate  about how grateful I am for all that I have and how far I have come in finding my own small place in the world.  I am excited that I can learn something new each day.   I think that the changes within are so much more important than trying to change the outside.  We can become so obsessed with how we appear to others outwardly that we can forget something so important. What counts is what is inside. If we just work on that, the rest follows suit.

I meet some people daily at the Residences for the Elderly where I sing and no matter what has happened to their outward bodies, their soul within beams outward like a light. When I see that, there is a joy in me that is inexplicable.  That’s the joy I get when I sing songs and tell stories that awake the spirit within.  That’s my calling.  I believe that we each have a calling on our lives and the only way to connect with it is to listen to the voice within that is from comes from our Creator.  Noah heard it; Abraham heard it; Moses heard it and I believe that I heard it.  We don’t all have stories written about us and we don’t all have to be famous outside our own circles.  We each have a circle of influence within which we have a chance to make a difference.  What difference will I make today?  For one person, for two people or for one thousand.  Does it matter as long as it makes the world a better place?

There are a lot of people who are trying to make the world a worse place.  They are very noisy and seem to having a great impact upon our society but if you are one of those people who care about making a difference, I think there is still time. That’s being a true Shomer Torah – keeper of the Commandments.   

I will make no new year’s vows because the Torah says not to swear about doing something because they are some things that we won’t be able to  keep.  “Let your yes be yes and your no be no” said Rabbi Yeshua.  That’s good advice.  I can remember riding home in my car, seething at the hypocrisy of the President of an organization I once worked for. I cursed him out loud and immediately called my rabbi to annul that vow.  Thank goodness I had that option.  Sounds crazy, I know, but I think that if that’s what it says in the Torah, then it’s good enough for me.

Let us spend our days confronting our issues, dealing with them, asking for help and beginning each day anew. Happy Roman New Year 2018.

So many people were excited about the blood moons and that each of the Holidays had a lunar eclipse. I am certainly a person who is always looking for signs and to me this phenomenon was a display from haShamayim, the heavens for us to marvel at. As I watched the moon slowly disappearing behind a dark shadow, I wondered what our Creator was trying to tell us. Then I thought of our Sukkoth celebration that same afternoon. We gathered branches, decorated the Sukkah, sang, rejoiced, waved the lulav and the etrog and feasted. What a magnificent day!

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Shalom my friends: I wish you all the covering of our Creator during this coming year. May He bring sweetness, shalom and all the desires of your heart into your lives as we honor and are obedient to His call on our lives. Let us shine the light of Torah in a world that seems to be going mad once again. May our names be sealed in His Sefer ha Chaim.

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There is something that connects people to each other from all cultures and all walks of life no matter how rich or poor. I have met a lot of people in my life and there are always those who stand out in the crowd.

One such a person is Faigie who I met at Maimonides and from the first moment, we clicked.  Another is Wanda and and another Rosa. All these ladies are in their 90s and they all survived the Holocaust. Each has their story about survival at the greatest of odds and they all believe in miracles.

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I have to admit I was nervous about coming before 140 people for the Sunday Concert yesterday. What could I do that was new since I have been singing at Maimonides now for over 15 years?  All I could think of was to sit down and as Tevye from Fiddler always did, I looked up and asked God to help me. I knew that this week we will have Holocaust Remembrance Day and next week is coming Yom Atzmaut, the Israel Day Rally. I took out my music and little by little an idea began to formulate in my mind.  As we get older we become more interested in where we came from than when we were young.  Perhaps that is why our Creator tells us to repeat His principles and stories from generation to generation. Eventually we are going to get it.  I thought about the Holocaust and what I read from one or two rabbis and from the teachings of my own rabbi.

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Yom Atzmaut Sameach 5775

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