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.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

There's a Bathroom, Shiva

On The Right: This has nothing to do with building design, restroom accessibility, or home decor. Or, for that matter, politics. This, in fact, has everything to do with how we humans hear what we hear.

Best of Blog
from June 2015

Oh, and life. This has everything to do with life.

Specifically, the life of Dr Oliver Sacks, one of the world's most prolific and fascinating writers. The man who gave us The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Awakenings,  and other neurological gems.

Dr Sacks recently discovered that he has limited time left to live. From The New York Times:
My Own Life
Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer 
A month ago, I felt that I was in good health, even robust health. At 81, I still swim a mile a day. But my luck has run out — a few weeks ago I learned that I have multiple metastases in the liver. Nine years ago it was discovered that I had a rare tumor of the eye, an ocular melanoma. The radiation and lasering to remove the tumor ultimately left me blind in that eye. But though ocular melanomas metastasize in perhaps 50 percent of cases, given the particulars of my own case, the likelihood was much smaller. I am among the unlucky ones. 
I feel grateful that I have been granted nine years of good health and productivity since the original diagnosis, but now I am face to face with dying. The cancer occupies a third of my liver, and though its advance may be slowed, this particular sort of cancer cannot be halted. 
It is up to me now to choose how to live out the months that remain to me ....

Back to how we humans hear what we hear. Dr Sacks has something to say about that, and he took the opportunity to say it in The Times a few days ago:

A few weeks ago, when I heard my assistant Kate say to me, “I am going to choir practice,” I was surprised. I have never, in the 30 years we have worked together, heard her express the slightest interest in singing. But I thought, who knows? Perhaps this is a part of herself she has kept quiet about; perhaps it is a new interest; perhaps her son is in a choir; perhaps .… 
I was fertile with hypotheses, but I did not consider for a moment that I had misheard her. It was only on her return that I found she had been to the chiropractor. 
A few days later, Kate jokingly said, “I’m off to choir practice.” Again I was baffled: Firecrackers? Why was she talking about firecrackers?

Back in 2010, Dr Sacks wrote a revealing piece in The New Yorker about prosopagnosia - also known as face-blindness.
Mild cases can seem comical, but severe prosopagnosia afflicts millions in the U.S.

Why are some of us terrible at recognizing faces? 
It is with our faces that we face the world, from the moment of birth to the moment of death. Our age and our gender are printed on our faces. Our emotions, the open and instinctive emotions that Darwin wrote about, as well as the hidden or repressed ones that Freud wrote about, are displayed on our faces, along with our thoughts and intentions. Though we may admire arms and legs, breasts and buttocks, it is the face, first and last, that is judged “beautiful” in an aesthetic sense, “fine” or “distinguished” in a moral or intellectual sense. And, crucially, it is by our faces that we can be recognized as individuals. Our faces bear the stamp of our experiences and our character; at forty, it is said, a man has the face he deserves.

Abq Jew was so intrigued by this article that he took the test offered at by the Prosopagnosia Research Centers at Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and University College London.

The results confirmed what Abq Jew's family has long known:

Abq Jew can't spot people he knows in a crowd, and can't recognize people he has known forever if his line of sight is broken. His own family wears name tags.

But what was that middle thing again? Oh yeah - mishearing.

Abq Jew does a lot of that, too.

And then there's Bad Moon Rising, the seminal 1969 song by Credence Clearwater Revival. Wherein the verse

There's a bad moon on the rise.

is regularly misheard as

There's a bathroom on the right.

In 2014, ranked the mishearing #5 on Top 10 Misheard Lyrics.

What, Abq Jew hears you ask, was #1? 

That honor goes to Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze. Wherein the verse

‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky.

is regularly misheard as

'Scuse me while I kiss this guy.

Which brings Abq Jew to the website, the Internet's archive of misheard lyrics. Which of course has a special place for John Fogerty and CCR.

This phenomenon - mishearing -  Abq Jew must advise you, has its own name:


Named for

Lady Mondegreen

who never existed. Wikipedia explains:
A mondegreen is a mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of near-homophony, in a way that gives it a new meaning. 
Mondegreens are most often created by a person listening to a poem or a song; the listener, being unable to clearly hear a lyric, substitutes words that sound similar, and make some kind of sense. 
American writer Sylvia Wright coined the term in her essay "The Death of Lady Mondegreen", published in Harper's Magazine in November 1954.
The term was inspired by "...and Lady Mondegreen," a misinterpretation of the line "...and laid him on the green," from the Scottish ballad "The Bonnie Earl o Moray."
Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl o' Moray,
And Lady Mondegreen.  
Wikipedia goes on to say that Ms Wright also appreciated the verse from Psalm 23:

Surely good Mrs Murphy shall follow me
all the days of my life

and further points out that
Sometimes, the modified version of a lyric becomes standard, as is the case with "The Twelve Days of Christmas". 
The original has "four colly birds" (colly means black; in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare wrote "Brief as the lighting in the collied night."); sometime around the turn of the twentieth century, these became calling birds, which is the lyric used in the 1909 Frederic Austin version.
Non-English mondegreens are also possible. Wikipedia gives us two Hebrew examples:
Ghil'ad Zuckermann cites the Hebrew example mukhrakhím liyót saméakh ("we must be happy", with a grammar mistake) instead of (the high-register) úru 'akhím belév saméakh ("wake up, brothers, with a happy heart"), from the well-known song "Háva Nagíla" (Let’s be happy)." 
The Israeli site dedicated to Hebrew mondegreens has coined the term "avatiach" (Hebrew for watermelon) for "mondegreen", named for a common mishearing of Shlomo Artzi's award-winning 1970 song "Ahavtia" ("I loved her", using a form uncommon in spoken Hebrew).

Don't remember CCR?
Don't remember Bad Moon Rising?

Yes, Abq Jew hears you cry, we have wandered a long way from Dr Oliver Sacks and his impending demise. Therefore, Abq Jew wishes to point out that:
  1. Each of us has limited time left to live.
  2. Jewish tradition forbids us from either hastening death or preventing its natural occurrence.

Which of course brings us to the old Jewish joke about ...
The old man is lying on his death bed, attended by his son. He says, “I can smell that your mother is making chopped liver. Get me a cracker with chopped liver.” The son exits to fulfill his father’s request, then returns and says 
“Mom says she is saving it for the shiva.”