Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Windmills of Ezekiel

It's Time for Shavuot! Lately, Abq Jew has been thinking a lot about windmills. Why? Because windmills are - like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel. Never ending or beginning on an ever-spinning reel.

Windmills of Your Mind

And also because the Holiday of Shavuot (the Festival of Weeks) fast approaches, getting closer by the ... day. Which brings with it Abq Jew's favorite haftarah reading - Chapter 1 of the Book of Ezekiel (with one verse from Chapter 3 as a chaser). My Jewish Learning tells us:

The haftarah for the first day of Shavuot is Ezekiel 1:1-28, 3:12, which contains the prophet’s most astounding vision of God. Ezekiel describes a remarkable vision of God. 
He sees a Divine Throne-Chariot, whose main feature is a group of four-faced living creatures. His appearance of a manifestation of God connects the haftarah to the Torah reading, where God reveals His will at Mount Sinai.

4 Angels Ezekiel

The JC tells us:

Complementing the awesome revelation of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, which is read from the Torah, is Ezekiel’s vision of the chariot of angels. 

The prophet beholds a quartet of celestial beings, each with four faces, four wings and glittering hooves hovering above a wheel; together they form a chariot that bears aloft the Divine Presence.

The flashing fire that forms the backdrop to this extraordinary spectacle mirrors the pyrotechnics of Sinai. It is the most enigmatic haftarah of the year and trying to fit the details together is like doing a surreal jigsaw puzzle. 

When Moses encounters the glory of God in the cleft in the rock, the Torah provides no description other than record it happened as if it could not be put into words. 

Ezekiel treats us to a literary son et lumière.

His vision became the focus of an early branch of mysticism named after it, Merkavah, the Chariot, whose followers sought to ascend through the heavens to witness the glory of God.

So, maybe that (see 4 Guys Above) is what Ezekiel saw.

Ezekiel Spaceship

Or maybe it was more like the above image: an illustration on the cover of Josef F Blumrich's 1974 book The Spaceships of Ezekiel

In which the then chief of NASA's systems layout branch of the program development office at the Marshall Space Flight Center posits that Ezekiel was not describing a meeting with God in a prophetic vision - but one of several encounters with ancient astronauts in a shuttlecraft from another planet.

Ezekiel Saw the Wheel

And then there's Ezekiel's Wheel: a wheel within a wheel, capable of rotating not only in the forward-backward direction, but also sideways. Did it look like the image above, from the Smithsonian American Art Museum?

Ezekiel Saw the Wheel

Or perhaps like 
the image above, from the Columbus (GA) Museum?

Ezekiel UFO

Or perhaps something even simpler in design, as shown in the illustration above?

Montefiore Windmill

Windmills also go around circles.
You know - sort of like genealogy research.

Abq Jew's beloved daughter-in-law and her mother (Abq Jew's mechuteneste) and all her mother's family have - for as long as Abq Jew has been part of their family - believed that they are related to businesswoman, art collector, and philanthropist Helena Rubinstein.

Helena Rubinstein

There is no reason to doubt them,
and every reason to believe them.

The Rubinstein Connection

And yet the exact identity of The Rubinstein Connection remains - after many years - elusive. A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, as Winston Churchill once said of Russia (still true). To Abq Jew, at any rate. Who nightly loses sleep over it, but dreams of windmills.


And who just can't seem to get the song The Windmills of Your Mind out of his. Thus Wikipedia tells us:

"The Windmills of Your Mind" is a song with music by French composer Michel Legrand and English lyrics written by Americans Alan and Marilyn Bergman

The song was introduced in the film The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. A cover by Sting was used in the 1999 remake of The Thomas Crown Affair.

Now, you can search YouTube (and the rest of the Internet), and you'll find a zillion "covers" of the song by a zillion different artists. But Abq Jew is going to stick with Barbra Streisand's version, because of Babs' crystal clear enunciation of the song's opening word and her glorious articulation of the lyrics that follow.

Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel
Like a snowball down a mountain, or a carnival balloon
Like a carousel that's turning running rings around the moon
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping past the minutes of its face
And the world is like an apple whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind!

Like a tunnel that you follow to a tunnel of its own
Down a hollow to a cavern where the sun has never shone
Like a door that keeps revolving in a half forgotten dream
Or the ripples from a pebble someone tosses in a stream
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping past the minutes of its face
And the world is like an apple whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind!

Keys that jingle in your pocket, words that jangle in your head
Why did summer go so quickly, was it something that you said?
Lovers walking along a shore and leave their footprints in the sand
Is the sound of distant drumming just the fingers of your hand?
Pictures hanging in a hallway and the fragment of a song
Half remembered names and faces, but to whom do they belong?
When you knew that it was over you were suddenly aware
That the autumn leaves were turning to the color of her hair!

Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel
As the images unwind,
like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind!

Alan and Marilyn Bergman and Barbra

The lyrical and surreal stream of consciousness was written by the team (in every respect of the word) of Alan and Marilyn Bergman. About whom Wikipedia tells us:
Alan Bergman (born September 11, 1925) and Marilyn Keith Bergman (born November 10, 1929) are American lyricists and songwriters. 
The pair have been married since 1958 and have written the music and lyrics for numerous celebrated television shows, films, and stage musicals. The Bergmans have won two Academy Awards for Best Original Song and have been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Alan Bergman was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1925, the son of Ruth (Margulies), a homemaker and community volunteer, and Samuel Bergman, who worked in children's clothing sales. He studied at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned his master's degree in music at UCLA. 

Marilyn Bergman was born in 1929, coincidentally at the same Brooklyn hospital where Alan had been born four years earlier, and is the daughter of Edith (Arkin) and Albert A. Katz. Both Alan and Marilyn are from Jewish families. 

And of the Bergmans' relationship with Barbra Streisand, The JC tells us: 

"This is not just long professional relationship," says Marilyn, speaking on the phone from their home in Beverly Hills, "but a deep and lasting personal one."

Blue Circle on Fuchsia

Too many circles? Too many windmills?
Here's one special version by The Muppets!

Abq Jew wishes everyone - except for those firing
rockets toward Ashkelon, his old home town, or toward
any place in the Land of Israel - a Happy Shavuot.
And, please God, a safe one.

Happy Shavuot


Monday, May 3, 2021

Portsmouth Parking & The Jews

Visiting the Granite StateWith great joyMr & Mrs Abq Jew hereby announce that they recently completed their first visit to the new home town of their son Dov the Film Editor; their daughter (in-law) Jessica the Surgeon; their grandchildren Vera and Chuck; and their granddog Dave (see Welcoming New Hampshire)

And, of course, with extreme gratitude (see Vaccines, Ken O'Hara!to 

The Holy One, Blessed Be He

Who Gives of His Wisdom to Humankind

Visiting concurrently and therefore also present in Portsmouth: Mr & Mrs Abq Jew's daughter Alex the Communications Strategist; Alex's boyfriend Jake; and Hugh the Musician, Mrs Abq Jew's brother.

All of Us

Everyone involved in Mr & Mrs Abq Jew's family reunion (except for the grandkids and granddog) had been doubly-vaxxed and -vetted. And (except for the granddog) wore masks in public and washed their hands.

Which left us all free to explore

Market Street
Beautiful Downtown (Market Street), Portsmouth

Now there's a ... boatload of Abq Jew's family history in Portsmouth, which Money Magazine has more than once (!) declared "one of the top five best places to live in America." This, in spite of the fact that the city has no nickname. 

Unlike, for example, Albuquerque, NM, known as Duke City. Or Santa Fe, NM, known as The City Different. Or Rumney, NH, known as the Crutch Capital of the World.

BTW - It turns out that the official State Motto of New Hampshire is NOT

Live Free or Plotz
Abq Jew was misinformed.

But back to Portsmouth family history. Which goes back to Abq Jew's favorite Rosenfield relatives - his grandmother Frances; and his two really great aunts, Clara and Lillian. Back in 1921, Clara married Abq Jew's Great Uncle Ben. 

Later, Ben and Clara had a son, Alfred - Abq Jew's father's first and favorite first cousin. Alfred left Brooklyn and moved to Portsmouth. After a brief intermission, he married Ola. The couple then had children: Michael, Patricia (of blessed memory), Allison, and Shawn. 

Little Harbour School

All of whom attended Vera & Chuck's Little Harbour Elementary School, where Ola taught for may years. And where Ola's relative Nicole currently teaches. 

Ah, Portsmouth!
Looks beautiful, doesn't it?

However. One of the first questions any Portsmouth visitor or resident has to face upon arrival in this beautiful city is -

Will I Find Parking

You, Abq Jew's dear and loyal readers, will surely recall Abq Jew's inexplicable fascination with parking (see March 2013's To See and Not Believe; and June 2013's Parking and Jews and Boston).

And then there's this video of a woman struggling to parallel park her car, which has gone massively viral online after being posted on TikTok. WARNING! You must watch till the end. 

Which, of course, brings up the deeply theological question that Abq Jew hears you, his loyal readers, asking -

What Jews

Abq Jew will explain.

By presenting three (3) four (4) ways to avoid the whole Portsmouth Parking Problem.

Way Number 1: Forget the Car

Remember that - when visiting Portsmouth,
if you don't drive a car or other vehicle,
you don't have to worry about parking.

Portsmouth Map

It is perfectly OK to visit Portsmouth without a car or other vehicle. The city (especially the downtown) is relatively compact and extremely (and beautifully) walkable. All you have to do is get there. 

Pedestrial Light

So, you say you're going to walk around? Portsmouth tries to make walking around as safe as possible, with pedestrian crossing signals that will actually tell you when to WAIT and when to GO. Moreover - drivers in Portsmouth strangely seem to stop when pedestrians approach a crosswalk. 

This confused Mr & Mrs Abq Jew no end.

Way Number 2: Buy a Home

Remember that - if you buy a home in Portsmouth
that includes a garage, a carport, or at least a driveway,
you don't have to worry about parking.

Price, as it turns out, may be one slight, relatively minor ... impediment to buying a home in Portsmouth. Remember Abq Jew's relatives Alfred and Ola? Back in the day, the family (even then, with two wage-earners) lived at

238 Lincoln Ave

238 Lincoln Ave, Portsmouth NH 03801

These days, Zillow tells us, the house has 2,124 square feet of living space; 4 bedrooms, and 1.5 bathrooms. It's currently off the market. But ...

Its sale Zestimate® is $947,811.
Its rent Zestimate® is $3,500/month.
Doesn't work for you? Then let's move on to -

Way Number 3: Pay to Park

Remember that - if you do decide to visit
with a car or other vehicle - 
has plenty of public parking available.
You don't have to worry about parking.

Parking Portsmouth

And by public, Abq Jew means: PAID. Typical rates:

The Hanover Parking Facility charges $2.00 per hour; Max Rate: $40; Lost Ticket: $40; $5.00 All day parking on Sundays for Portsmouth Residents. The garage is open 24 hours a day. 

Visitors may park overnight up to a maximum of seven days. You can also purchase a monthly pass at the Hanover Garage ($200.00 for residents, $275 for non-residents).

Way Number 4: Pray to Park

Remember that - if you join Portsmouth's historic
Temple Israel - you don't have to worry about parking.

Wait What

First, a little background. Introducing -

Temple Israel

Temple Israel of Portsmouth

Temple Israel of Portsmouth was established in 1905 in the historic Puddle Dock neighborhood of Portsmouth and has resided at 200 State Street, the former First Methodist Church, since 1912. 

It has been recognized as the oldest permanent Jewish house of worship in New Hampshire by the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation.

Temple History

The Temple, made up of about 300 families from 40 communities around the NH Seacoast, is affiliated with United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. 

The Temple’s Religious School serves about 70 children ages 5-13, and its Early Learning Center is a Montessori-inspired preschool that brings Jewish values and culture to children ages 2 years 9 months to 6 years.

 For more information,
visit or call (603) 436-5301.

Yes, Abq Jew can here you wondering -

How Work

Here's how.

Temple Israel Map

That blacktop, my friends, right around Temple Israel, right there at 200 State Street, the heart of Downtown Portsmouth, right near Market Square and the Old North Church - that's a parking lot.

Now, some of that parking lot belongs to the auto repair shop that is leasing space from Temple Israel. But most of that parking lot belongs to, and can be used by, Temple Israel's membership.

Which is to say - your membership to Temple Israel includes the benefit of 

Temple Israel Logo

Free parking in Temple Israel’s lot
in downtown Portsmouth!
However -

Write a Check

In order to receive your free parking with Temple Israel membership, you're gonna have to write a check first. How big a check? Well, for Mr & Mrs Abq Jew, it'd be $1,045 for the first year; and $1,790 per year thereafter. Including the Cemetery, Building, and Security funds. And did Abq Jew mention free parking?

The Party Band

Everyone involved in Mr & Mrs Abq Jew's family reunion (except for the granddog, although Portsmouth is proudly dog-friendly) was wandering through Downtown that Sunday when we came upon The Party Band of Lowell, MA performing right there, in front of the Old North Church. Homegrown, unadulterated, unplugged FUN.

But, as Dorothy always reminds us -

No Place Like Home

There's no place like home.

Left Turn ABQ


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Summer 2021 @ OASIS Abq

Great Courses of Jewish Interest

Jewish Star

Abq Jew is pleased to inform you that
OASIS Albuquerque has just announced
their Summer 2021 line-up of classes!
Registration opens on
Wednesday May 5
but you can Wish List your selections now.

OASIS Albuquerque Executive Director Kathleen Raskob and her staff continue (as always) to bring you new and interesting class offerings, and continues to make sure there are plenty of courses of Jewish interest.

OASIS Albuquerque

This summer, OASIS Albuquerque will offer classes via Zoom only.

This session's courses and instructors include, but are by no means limited to:


Judaism and Jews:
A Religion? A Culture? An Ethnicity?

Wednesday May 26 @ 12:30 - #69zm
Instructor: Harry Rosenfeld
What It Is: What is Judaism? Throughout the centuries, scholars have looked at and debated the question. How has the answer changed over time? In ancient times, Judaism was considered a nationality with religious rites. In Christian and Muslim worlds, Judaism was seen as a religion. The Nazis defined Judaism as a race. 20th century American Jews and non-Jews alike understood Judaism to be a religion and an ethnicity. Just how different is the definition of Judaism in the 21st Century than in centuries past?

Adam & Eve

Love, Laments, Libations and Longing:
Jewish Poetry from Medieval Spain
Wednesday June 2 @ 2:30 - #70zm
Instructor: Paul Citrin
What It Is: Jews lived in Spain for nearly one thousand years under Visigothic, Moslem and Catholic rulers. Under Arab Moslem rulers, Jewish culture especially flourished. Influenced by Arab poets, Jews began  to write verse. Jewish Spanish poetry, written in Hebrew, addresses both spiritual and secular realms of life including love, loss, joy, friendship, and redemption from exile. This poetry may be the most elegant since the songs of the Psalmist who wrote two millennia earlier. This material touches hearts and make you smile.

Memoir Writing Workshop:
How to Tell Your Story
Thursday June 3 @ 10:00 - #67zm
Instructor:  Norma Libman
What It Is: Everyone has a story to tell, and now is the time to tell yours. In this memoir writing workshop, Norma Libman shows you how to retrieve memories you thought were forgotten, how to get them written down, and how to organize them into your own life story. Bring paper and pen for writing exercises and you will have written a start to your memoir when the workshop is over. Please bring a hard surface to write on (notebook or clipboard). Limited enrollment.

Abq Downtown

Albuquerque Retailing:
The Cook & Gardenswartz Families
Thursday June 17 @ 10:00 - #96zm
Instructor: Noel Pugach
What It Is: Explore the history, role, and impact of the Cook and Gardenswartz families on the creation and development of the sports retailing business in Albuquerque and the region. H. Cook opened for business in 1939 and quickly prospered. Subsequently, members of the families expanded into other lines of commercial activity. What contributed to their success? How did they affect the commercial and general culture? What insights does such a study provide on the history and economy of New Mexico?

Another Way Forward

Another Way Forward:
Grassroots Solutions for New Mexico

Wednesday July 7 @ 10:00 - #6zm
Instructor: Dede Feldman
What It Is: Grassroots Solutions from New Mexico is a tour through innovative organizations and inspiring local leaders who are changing the world from the bottom up, one classroom, one clinic, one neighborhood at a time. Together they point to an alternative form of community and economic development and present alternatives in a challenging time. Hear about asparagus farmers, EMTs, neighborhood hell raisers, radical teachers and health care reformers. This class is based on Feldman’s book, Another Way Forward: Grassroots Solutions from New Mexico

Babylonian Talmud

Introduction to the Talmud
Tuesday July 20 @ 10:00 - #74zm
Instructor: Shlomo Karni
What It Is: The Talmud is a post-Biblical encyclopedic body of Jewish civil and religious laws. It constitutes the greatest contributions to rabbinical literature in the history of Judaism. Shlomo Karni examines its historical evolution and its contents and structure. The class reads and discusses a few short selections. 

Jewish and Other Ethnic
Agricultural Settlements of the 19th Century

Monday August 16 @ 12:30 - #46zm
Instructor: Naomi Sandweiss
What It Is: One typically thinks of Eastern European Jewish immigrants arriving in the US to live in crowded urban centers. Yet, Jews were settled in isolated farming communities throughout the US in the 19th century, largely funded and organized by well-meaning Jewish charitable organizations. Learn about the many varieties of Jewish (and other Ethnic) agricultural settlements and how the pioneers adapted to their newfound prairie and rural existence in the US.


But Wait

Jane Ellen Farewell

Beloved OASIS Albuquerque instructor (and award-winning composer and recording artist, and soon-to-be Floridian) Jane Ellen also continues (as always) to bring you new and interesting class offerings, and continues to make sure there are plenty of courses of musical and Jewish interest.

Jane's courses this session include, but are by no means limited to:

Stephen Sondheim
Putting It Together
Thursday August 19 @ 10:00 - #62zm
What It Is: Although Stephen Sondheim (1930- ) has a reputation for penning songs that people cannot sing along with, few would deny his unique place in American theater history. Beginning with early collaborations with Leonard Bernstein on West Side Story and Jule Styne on Gypsy, Sondheim’s passion to control both words and music have culminated in works such as Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, and Into the Woods; and a new theatrical format: the concept musical.