Thursday, October 8, 2015

Janet Klein Was Here

And So Were the Holidays: And thus and so Abq Jew missed her performance (on Erev Shabbat Ha'azinu! Oy Vey!) and her workshops the following day. And missed even announcing her then upcoming presence in the Duke City.

For which Abq Jew can only say

To make (alas, but) partial amends, Abq Jew will now ex post facto announce the

Albuquerque Ukulele Festival
Roaring Ukes of the 1920's

Yes, Janet Klein and an unknown (to Abq Jew) number of Her Parlor Boys were at Ukekopelli 2015. Along with Glenn Kostur & The Alpha Cats and Fred Sokolow.

For those of Abq Jew's loyal readers who may not know:
Los Angeles-based Janet Klein & Her Parlor Boys are preeminent exponents of 1920’s & 1930’s early jazz music. Culling their repertoire from the depths of the Jazz Age, they bring vaudeville charm and thrilling melodies to enthusiastic audiences the world over. The vintage-attired band features the effervescent Janet Klein on vocals and ukelele, and Randy Woltz on piano. 
Delivering delightful shows to audiences from the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in Australia, to the Ukulele Hooley Festival in Ireland and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Janet Klein & Her Parlor Boys have the wit, musicianship, panache and pep to keep every venue filled with time traveling mirth and merriment!
Abq Jew is absolutely certain that Janet Klein Was Here because she visited a couple of her new friends on Sunday.

To fully appreciate how well Janet Klein does what she does, you may choose to visit her website and view the Official Videos thereupon. Or you may choose to visit Janet Klein's YouTube channel.

But JK&HPB have groupies with video cameras. So - here is JK (sans HPB) singing one of Abq Jew's new favorites, Irving Berlin's 1915 magnum opus Cohen Owes Me Ninety-seven Dollars.

And even though it's only Thursday ...
Shabbat Shalom, Albuquerque!
Good Shabbos, New Mexico!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Next Year People

Praying for Rain: Nothing, Abq Jew believes, will make a person believe in one or more gods as much as that person's utter and complete dependence on rain - just the right amount in just the right place at just the right time - to live.

In our modern age of ubiquitous supermarkets and world-wide transportation systems, we tend to forget how precarious our situation used to be (and for too many, still is).

This year, as always, we Abq Jews will begin to formally pray for rain on Shemini Atzeret, the Eighth Day of Assembly.

He Causes the Wind to Blow and the Rain to Fall

He causes the wind to blow and the rain to fall.

After Shemini Atzeret, we continue to pray for rain by adding the "He causes" clause (mashiv haruach umorid hageshem) to the daily Amidah.

We continue to pray for rain until the first day of Pesach, when we begin to pray for dew.

My Jewish Learning explains:
Throughout Sukkot we hint at our desire for rain through such rituals as the water libation practiced in the Temple and the four species, particularly the willow, which represents the association of plant growth and water. 
Continuing with the water theme, a particular feature of Shemini Atzeret is the prayer for rain, thus officially beginning Israel’s rainy season. 
Since the land of Israel relies so heavily on substantial rain for its crops, the prayer for rain is recited with a special plaintive melody, and the cantor dons a white kittel (robe), as on Yom Kippur.
And you might think that's the end of it: We start praying for rain in the Land of Israel on Shemini Atzeret. Oh, but there's much more involved!

Bestow Dew and Rain for a Blessing

Chabad explains that the "He causes" clause in the Amidah (mashiv haruach umorid hageshem) is a statement of fact and not a request.

But the "Bestow dew and rain" clause  (Tein tal umatar) that comes later in the daily Amidah is a request - and we don't start saying that until December.

December? Abq Jew hears you ask.
Where does the Torah or the Talmud
speak about December?

To be fair - neither does, exactly. Still, this is going to get really interesting. But it's way, way, way too complicated for this blog post.

How complicated? Abq Jew hears you ask.
How hard can this be?

For starters, see Abq Jew's blog post Nineteen and Twenty-Eight. Do you, Abq Jew's loyal readers, really want to go through that again? Or would you rather get right to the music?

So Abq Jew is going to take the easy way out and refer you to
But Abq Jew assures you:

Despite the efficacy of the Prayer for Rain, no Sukkot pilgrims got wet on their way home from Jerusalem.

Which brings us to Colin Hay. Who those of you of a certain age will surely remember as the lead singer of the Australian group Men at Work, responsible for the classic hit [Do You Come from a Land] Down UnderWikipedia tells us:
Men at Work were an Australian rock band, which formed in 1978. Their founding mainstay was Colin Hay on lead vocals; he formed the group with Jerry Speiser on drums and Ron Strykert on lead guitar. 
They were joined by Greg Ham on flute and keyboards and then John Rees on bass guitar. 
This line-up achieved national and international success in the early 1980s.
At the Grammy Awards of 1983 they won the Best New Artist category; while at the ARIA Music Awards of 1994 they were inducted into the related Hall of Fame. Men at Work have sold over 30 million albums worldwide. 
Colin Hay is now a solo artist in the Singer / Songwriter category. His song Next Year People starkly describes what rain means to those who live with hope for better times.

Please, G-d! May we all be blessed with
good rains when and where they are needed!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Report from Azazel, 5776

B'nai Israel's eScapegoat: Yom Kippur 5765 has come and gone, and Congregation B'nai Israel's eScapegoat (see Our eScapegoat Returns) is no longer roaming the Internet collecting sins.

As all those who attended shul (even for a short period) on Yom Kippur know, that our inscriptions in the Book of Life are

Signed on Rosh Hashanah. Sealed on Yom Kippur.

For most of us, that's about as far as we need to go. This is what we were taught in Sunday School, and this is what we (fervently or un-) believe. But wait!

What many of us do not realize is that our inscriptions
in the Book of Life have not yet been delivered

And until the FedEx box arrives at the Gates of Heaven - and until the KBH (Holy One, Blessed Be He) signs for it - there is still time to repent.

How much time? Abq Jew hears you ask. Until, the Rabbis say, our inscriptions are

Delivered on Hoshanna Rabba.

More on Hoshanna Rabba later. First, let's take a look at the Top 10 Sins that Albuquerque's eScapegoat collected. (Click here to read them all.)

Top 10 Sins of the Abq Jewish Community
1. I haven't attached shul since I moved  to Albuquerque [held over from 5775]. 
2. I lost my patience with co-workers and acted exasperated when they didn't "get it" fast enough! 
3. I have not lived up to my personal commitment to make the world a better place. 
4. I didn't communicate better with my family during the past year. 
5. Sometimes I enjoy schadenfreude just a bit too much. 
6. Being angry ... just plain angry. 
7. Being selfish, self centered, and narcissistic.
8. Not doing enough for G-d. 
9. Lashon hora ... think before I speak! 
10. Don"t ask [also held over from 5775]!!! 

Abq Jew (and, lehavdil, the Rabbis) remind you:

If you didn't repent by Yom Kippur,
you've still got until
what's the name of that holiday again?

For more on Hoshana Rabbah, see The Great Hosanna.

Here is one place - Congregation B'nai IsraelAbq Jew is sure will have services for Hoshana Rabbah:

Until then  ....

Hag Sameach, Albuquerque!
Good Yontif, New Mexico!