Monday, December 31, 2018

Spring 2019 @ OASIS Albuquerque

Great Courses of Jewish Interest
Abq Jew is pleased to inform you that
OASIS Albuquerque has just announced
their Spring 2019 line-up of classes!
Registration opens on
Thursday January 3
but you can Wish List your selections now.

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

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

A Passion for Truth Telling
Wednesday 30 January 2019 @ 1:00 pm - #115
Instructor: Paul Citrin
What It Is: In an era when facts are debunked as lies and lies are promoted as truth, we should review and consider the value of truth-telling. Paul Citrin examines the way Judaism has presented the pursuit of truth from the biblical period, through the rabbinic and medieval periods, into contemporary times. Through study and discussion, our goal is to connect to a bedrock value on which society depends.

The French Revolution, Napoleon, & the Jews
Friday 15 February 2019 @ 10:30 am - #69
Instructor: Michael Nutkiewicz
What It Is: The French Revolution set out to establish a constitutional democracy for all inhabitants of France. Yet the authors of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen asked whether Jews should be included as free citizens. Napoleon submitted 12 questions to Jewish leaders to judge whether Jews were "ready" to enter the modern world. Examine the process of Jewish emancipation in the wake of the French Revolution and contrast the French and American political traditions about freedom of conscience and religion.

Pinyin Minyan: The Jews of China, Then & Now
Friday 22 February 2019 @ 10:30 am - #116
Instructor: Jack Shlachter
What It Is: Jews have an interesting history in China, dating back to the Silk Road. Rabbi Jack Shlachter has made seven trips to Beijing since 2014, serving as the High Holiday rabbi for the progressive expatriate Jewish community there. This talk includes photos and memorabilia from these recent trips, as well as an overview of the historical Jewish communities in Kaifeng, Shanghai, and Harbin.

Animals in the Bible
Tuesday 26 February 2019 @ 1:00 pm - #117
Instructor: Shlomo Karni
What It Is: According to the Bible, animals, birds, and creeping things have accompanied mankind since creation. We review the various ways in which the animal world is presented in both the Old Testament and New Testament -- in real-life situations, in fables, in proverbs, in visions, and in symbols. Who was the first zoologist? Ornithologist? Ichthyologist? Where did the medical profession get its symbol? Why does the Bible prohibit yoking together an ox with an ass? When will the lion, like the ox, eat straw?

On the Roads of Sefarad
Wednesday 27 March 2019 @ 10:30 am - #122
Instructor:  Jordan Gendra-Molina
What It Is: Explore the deep heritage left by the Spanish Jewish community over more than 500 years of existence. See how this community adapts to the always changing political circumstances and how they emerge with their own creative solutions in areas such as language, literature, thought, science, and more.

Regular OASIS Albuquerque instructor (and award-winning composer and recording artist) 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:

Clown Prince of Denmark: Pianist Victor Borge
Monday 21 January 2109 @ 10:30 am - #87
What It Is: Børge Rosenbaum (1909-2000), better known to millions as Victor Borge, was a Danish American comedian, conductor, and pianist who achieved lasting popularity through his unique blend of music, comedy, and satire. Often referred to as "The Clown Prince of Denmark," Borge could be found slipping on (and off) the piano bench in radio, television, and live performances. He escaped the Nazi occupation in 1940, and travelled to the US which essentially became his home.

Mr. Wonderful: Sammy Davis Jr.
Monday 11 February 2019 @ 10:30 am - #91
What It Is: Samuel George Davis Jr. (1924-90) began his vaudeville career at age three with his father, Sammy Davis Sr. and the Will Mastin Trio. After returning from a stint in the military, he found lasting success as a singer, dancer, actor, comedian, and impressionist. In 1954, he lost his left eye in a car accident, and several years later decided to convert to Judaism, finding commonalities between the oppression experienced by African-American and Jewish communities.

Dream a Little Dream of Me: Mama Cass Elliot
Monday 04 March 2019 @ 10:30 am - #94
What It Is: Ellen Naomi Cohen (1941-74) is perhaps best known as Mama Cass, a member of the Mamas & the Papas. She began her career as a musical comedy actress; after the group broke up, she performed as a solo act, releasing a series of albums. Her tragic death at the age of 32 cut short what might have been a stellar career. In 1998 she was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

How African Americans Invented American Music
Part 2: Plantation to Concert Hall
Thursday 21 March 2019 @ 1:00 pm - #96
What It Is: The focus of this series is the contribution of African American composers, musicians, and entertainers to the tapestry of American Music. An infinite diversity of musical styles, ranging from blues to jazz to rock and roll to house (EDM, or electronic dance music), would not exist were it not for the phenomenal talents of African Americans. Part 2 (of three parts) examines music after Emancipation, as spirituals move to the concert hall and the foundations of jazz are laid. You do not need to have taken Part 1 to enjoy this class.

Swing, Swing, Swing With Benny Goodman
Thursday 11 April 2019 @ 1:00 pm - #99
What It Is: Benjamin David Goodman (1909-86), rose to fame as an American jazz clarinetist and bandleader known as Benny Goodman, or the King of Swing. His band's 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert is legendary, and Goodman was responsible for commissioning many classical works for the clarinet repertoire.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Ivan Goes Home

Secret Departure, Public Return: We Jews, as everyone who has seen Fiddler on the Roof surely recalls, had a blessing for the Tsar of All The Russias:

May God bless and keep the Tsar ... far away from us.

It was therefore a shock, not to mention a surprise, that a recent CNN news story actually had Abq Jew rooting for one of the worst of the Tsars - Ivan the Terrible.

The stolen painting, "Secret Departure of Ivan the Terrible Before the Oprichina"
by Mikhail Panin, was recovered in Connecticut after being missing for decades.

CNN's Mimi Hsin Hsuan Sun reported:
Painting stolen from Ukrainian museum during WWII recovered in Connecticut
(CNN) For 30 years, a large painting of a hunched Russian czar leaving the Kremlin on horseback hung in David Tracy's home. 
Standing over seven feet tall and over eight feet wide, the canvas came into his possession when it was included with a house he bought in Ridgefield, Connecticut, in 1987. 
But when it came time for him and his wife, Gabby, to retire to Maine, they decided to sell the beloved artwork. Little did they know the attempted sale would lead to a meeting with the FBI, a cease-and-desist letter, and an exchange of cultural justice with Ukraine.
The story gets much, much better from there. 

Why does Abq Jew care? See Abq Jew's famous blog posts Adele in Gold and Repent and Return, both of which deal with the return of stolen art.

And no - Abq Jew is not really rooting for Ivan, who really was Terrible. But first - some background.

Ivan the Terrible by Klavdiy Lebedev, 1916

Ivan IV Vasilyevich (25 August 1530 – 28 March [O.S. 18 March] 1584), commonly known as Ivan the Terrible ... was the Grand Prince of Moscow from 1533 to 1547, then Tsar of All Rus' until his death in 1584. The last title was used by all his successors. 
During his reign, Russia conquered the Khanates of Kazan, Astrakhan and Sibir, becoming a multiethnic and multicontinental state spanning approximately 1,560,000 sq mi. He exercised autocratic control over Russia's hereditary nobility and developed a bureaucracy to administer the new territories. He transformed Russia from a medieval state into an empire, though at immense cost to its people, and its broader, long-term economy. 
Historic sources present disparate accounts of Ivan's complex personality: he was described as intelligent and devout, given to rages and prone to episodic outbreaks of mental instability that increased with his age.
Sound like anyone we know (that is, except for the "intelligent and devout" part)? And what was this Oprichnina thing that Ivan the T snuck away before?
The oprichnina was a state policy implemented by Tsar Ivan the Terrible in Russia between 1565 and 1572. The policy included mass repressions against, public executions of, and confiscation of land and property from Russian aristocrats. 
The campaign included creation of a special army that at various times included anywhere from 1 to 6000 men called oprichniki, and the term oprichnina applies both to this force and to the corresponding period of Russian history, and to the territory in which, during that period, the Tsar ruled directly and in which his oprichniki operated.

So here is the story behind Secret Departure of Ivan the Terrible Before the Oprichina, the stolen painting. Not literally. Of course. Well, sorta.
On December 3, 1564, Ivan IV departed Moscow on pilgrimage. While such journeys were routine for the throne, Ivan neglected to set the usual arrangements for rule in his absence. Moreover, an unusually large personal guard, a significant number of boyars, and the treasury accompanied him. 
After a month of silence, Ivan finally issued two letters from his fortifications at Aleksandrova Sloboda on January 3. The first addressed the elite of the city and accused them of embezzlement and treason. Further accusations concerned the clergy and their protection of denounced boyars. In conclusion, Ivan announced his abdication. 
The second letter addressed the population of Moscow and claimed “he had no anger against” its citizenry. Divided between Sloboda and Moscow, the boyar court was unable to rule in absence of Ivan and feared the wrath of the Muscovite citizenry. A boyar envoy departed for Aleksandrova Sloboda to beg Ivan to return to the throne. 
Ivan IV agreed to return on condition that he might prosecute people for treason outside legal limitations. He demanded that he might execute and confiscate the land of traitors without interference from the boyar council or church. To pursue his investigations, Ivan decreed the creation of the oprichnina (originally a term for land left to a noble widow, separate from her children's land). He also raised a levy of 100,000 rubles to pay for the oprichnina.
The Oprichniki by Nikolai Nevrev. The painting shows the last minutes of boyarin Feodorov,
arrested for treason. To mock his alleged ambitions on the Tsar's title,
the nobleman was given Tsar's regalia before execution.

And this concludes today's lesson in Russian history.

You're welcome!

OK ... so - back to CNN's Mimi Hsin Hsuan Sun's story about David and Gabby Tracy and the stolen painting. Which Abq Jew provides in its entirety, so you, his loyal readers, don't have to click.
The oil painting they planned to auction off turned out to be an original 1911 painting by Mikhail Panin, titled "Secret Departure of Ivan the Terrible Before the Oprichina," that disappeared from the Dnepropetrovsk Art Museum in Ukraine during World War II, according to a press release from the US Attorney's Office in Washington. 
It depicts the former Russian ruler and his loyal followers secretly leaving the Kremlin for another Russian city. 
The Tracys were notified after the Dnepropetrovsk Art Museum contacted the Washington-based auction house they hired to facilitate the sale. They were asked to immediately stop the auction because the painting was stolen property. 
"It was a big shock. At first I thought it wasn't necessarily true," Gabby Tracy, 84, told CNN Monday. 
After the FBI confirmed to the Tracys that the painting was authentic, they decided to return it to its rightful owners. 
"It was never a question in our mind that we have to do the right patriotic thing," said Gabby, a Holocaust survivor from Slovakia. 
"The fact that it was stolen from a legitimate institution, we're happy to do the right thing."
When David Tracy bought the Ridgefield house in 1987, Gabby, then a friend of his, was the realtor who facilitated the sale. 
Two paintings came with it, one of which was the Panin piece. Years later, when they got married and moved to another house, they couldn't leave it behind. Gabby said they spent $37,000 to build a display area in their new home, designated for the Russian czar they had come to cherish dearly. 
"At many points we could have sold it, but we didn't," Gabby said. "He seems sad, but we learned to love him." 
Gabby said several family reunions and functions were held in front of the painting, and whenever people came into the house, they would be charmed by it, and the Tracys would have a story to tell. 
Authorities have determined that a former member of the Swiss Army had previously owned the house. 
Federal agents say that the Swiss man, who has not been publicly identified, emigrated to the United States in 1947, and then sold the house with the painting to a couple in 1962. That couple eventually moved to Arizona, leaving the painting to David in the Ridgefield house. According to the US Attorney's Office, the Swiss man died in 1986 with no descendants. 
"The recovery of this art looted during World War II reflects the commitment of this office to pursue justice for victims of crime here and abroad," said US Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie K. Liu. "The looting of cultural heritage during World War II was tragic, and we are happy to be able to assist in the efforts to return such items to their rightful owners."
The Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States, Valeriy Chaly, expressed gratitude to the Tracys in a Facebook post, characterizing their willingness to return the painting as a vivid demonstration of the friendship between the US and the Ukrainian people. 
In a written statement, the Ukrainian Embassy said that the repatriation of the painting "sets the first example of achievement of the US-Ukraine cooperation on the official level in returning illegally exported cultural objects." 
Having agreed to waive any claims to the painting, David and Gabby hope to visit it again one day. 
"It would be lovely to go to Ukraine to see it back to the museum where it belongs," Gabby said, adding that she hopes the Ukrainian people appreciate its recovery. 
CNN's Laura Ly contributed to this report.
A photograph of the painting “Secret Departure of Ivan the Terrible Before the Oprichina”
by Mikhail N. Panin in situ at the Dnepropetrovsk State Art Museum c. 1929 in the Ukraine.
The painting went missing in World War II and was recovered when consigned to auction.
(U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District)

The Washington Post (of course) also covered this story, adding a bit more information:
Gabby Tracy is a Holocaust survivor. 
She was born in Slovakia and taken to a Jewish ghetto in Budapest when she was about 9 years old. 
Her father, Samuel Weiss, perished in a concentration camp; she was liberated at war’s end.

As we follow our fortunes into the year 2019 of the Common Era,
let us remember the forces for good in our world.
May they ascend and triumph.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

In Memory of Sheila Kronrot

94 Years, 5 Months, 13 Days: Shloshim (the traditional 30 days of mourning) has concluded, but Mr & Mrs Abq Jew are still mourning - and in some ways will always mourn - our beloved Mother, Mother-in-Law, Grandmother, and Great Grand Mama.

Sheila Lee Kronrot was born in New York, New York on June 7, 1924; and passed away in Rio Rancho, New Mexico on November 19, 2018.

Beloved Mother of Hugh Kronrot and Perri (Kronrot) Yellin, Grandmother of Dov Yellin, Alexandra Yellin, and Sara Kronrot. Great Grandmother of Lena Yellin and Violet Yellin. Daughter of Henrietta Eisen and Abraham Oring. Wife of Burton Kronrot, until his death in 1974.

Sheila lived in New York, New York; Hollywood, Florida; Livingston, New Jersey; and the final six years of her life in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

She was an artist, homemaker, businesswoman, retail store manager, and killer Scrabble player. She and her husband Burton were patrons of the arts, and encouraged both of their children to pursue careers in music and art.

She was an avid Shakespeare and poetry enthusiast, traveler, and amateur photographer. She was always interested in people, and remembered the names of everyone she met.

Sheila was interested in politics and current events, and made sure to vote in our recent midterm elections. Even while constrained by old age and in an assisted living home, she shared her interests and talents with her caregivers and visitors.

Sheila supported various animal rescue and advocacy organizations. 

Donations may be made to: 

Animal Humane New Mexico
615 Virginia Street SE
Albuquerque, NM 87L08 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

David, Goliath, and Roger

Archaeology 'R' Us: For the eight days of Hanukkah, we acknowledge the wondrous deeds of the Holy One, Blessed Be He.
You delivered the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and the wanton sinners into the hands of those who occupy themselves with Your Torah. You made a great and holy name for Yourself in Your world, and effected a great deliverance and redemption for Your people Israel to this very day.

On this fast day of 10th of Tevet, we acknowledge that ... sometimes it just doesn't work out that way. It is the first of a series of events which led to the destruction of the First Temple: the beginning of the siege of the Babylonians on Jerusalem.
Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. And in the ninth year of his reign, on the 10th day of the 10th month Nebuchadnezzar moved against Jerusalem with his whole army. He besieged it; and they built towers against it all around. The city continued in a state of siege until the 11th year of King Zedekiah. (Kings II, 25 verse 1-2)
Sometimes, a cynic might say, it's much better to be mighty, many, impure, wicked, wanton sinners - and survive - than to be weak, few, pure, righteous, and occupied with Torah.

And then there is the Biblical story of David and Goliath.

And the Stone.

Roger Stone, that is.
Raconteur, bon vivant, boulevardier – Roger Stone is a seasoned political operative, speaker, pundit,
and New York Times Bestselling Author featured in the Netflix documentary Get Me Roger Stone.

Mrs Betty Bowers
America's Best Christian

Abq Jew was this morning tipped off by the gloriously inimitable Mrs Betty Bowers herself (see Onward, Christian Soldiers!) that
Trump confidant Roger Stone is selling rocks to pay legal bills for lying. They are warranted to be “an exact replica of the stone David used to take down Goliath.”
EVANGELICALS NOTE: Trump & Russians aren’t the only grifters who think you are the most gullible people in the USA.
Abq Jew felt compelled to investigate. Why not? Heaven knows everything else is being investigated!

And sure enough, right there on Roger Stone's very own website

is, indeed, the stone cold product under discussion.

Here’s your chance to own your very own “Roger” Stone paperweight -
signed by the New York Times Bestselling author, legendary political operative
and Trump intimate himself.  LIMITED EDITION.
The perfect Christmas Gift for the Trump supporter, InfoWarrior or Stonetrooper.
David made good use of a similar artifact against Goliath. Order yours today!

Abq Jew is, as he is sure many of you, his loyal readers are -

Farblunget, Farklempt, and Fartoost. 
Not the name of Abq Jew's law firm. But it could be.

An image of GPS tracking of multiple wolves in six different packs around
Voyageurs National Park shows how much the wolf packs avoid each other's range.
Except for that one chutzpadik white wolf.

Friday, December 14, 2018

A New Milestone: 750,000 Page Views

To Life! To Life! L'Chaim!  Early in the evening of Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - in the middle of a cold yet (as always) beautiful week in New Mexico - this Abq Jew Blog achieved 750,000 (three-quarters of a million!) All Time Page Views.

We achieved 700,550 All Time Page Views
on July 8, 2018 - about 5 months ago.

That's about 315 Page Views per Day.
Plus 4,500 Facebook Likes and 2,800 Twitter Followers.
Thank you!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Wanna Be Our Interim Rabbi?

Just Answer These Five Three Questions: As many of us in the Albuquerque Jewish community recall, Rabbi Arthur Flicker of Congregation B'nai Israel stepped down at the end of June 2016.

B'nai Israel then established a search committee that identified and secured the services of a "new" rabbi.

Not as well as we all had hoped.
As many of us in the Albuquerque Jewish community also recall.

There is a new B'nai Israel search committee now, that has just posted what used to be known (way back, when Abq Jew was very, very young) as a Help Wanted ad on the website

Yes, amazingly (or perhaps not), there is such a website.
The goal of is to continue helping connect rabbis with opportunities for paid work anywhere (full-time, part-time, or even one-time): pulpit work, nonprofit, Hillel, school, or a new kind of venue. 
Rabbis Without Borders is a program of CLAL- The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.

You can read the full ad right here. It begins
Seeking Interim Rabbi in the Land of Enchantment 
Congregation B’nai Israel, a vibrant Conservative egalitarian Jewish community in Albuquerque, New Mexico, seeks an experienced interim rabbi for 1-3 years to serve our spiritual, communal, and educational needs in the heart of the Southwest.  
After a few years without consistent rabbinical leadership, our community seeks an individual to guide our lay membership. We are looking for a steady hand who can help us heal from past divisions and guide us toward a unified future.

Which of course brings to Abq Jew's misfiring mind the glorious flick Monty Python and the Holy Grail
And his 2016 classic Wanna Be Our Rabbi?

What are the questions that Abq Jew would like to ask each candidate? Abq Jew joyfully recalls (as he is sure you also do) The Bridge of Death. As every Monty Python fan knows, the first two questions are always

What is your name? What is your quest?

The third question, we surely recall, varies, with distinctly varying outcomes. Here are some of Abq Jew's possibilities. You're welcome!
1. How many roads must a man walk down before they call him a man? Yes and how many roads must a woman walk down before they call her a woman? Are these numbers the same? Discuss. 
2. You live in T or C. You are a guest at a Sunday wedding that will inexplicably take place at a megashul in downtown Pittsburgh. You are staying the weekend at the Steeler Stele, a 42-storey architectural wonder that offers self-directed elevators and electronic room keys. Your room is on the 27th floor. The Friday night Oneg Shabbat runs a bit late, and you stay at shul for the Hashkama Minyan on Saturday. Describe where, when, how, and why you take your Shabbos nap. 
3. You are the new rabbi in a a well-established congregation. Every week on the Sabbath, a fight erupts during the service. When it comes time to recite the Shema prayer, half of the congregation stands and the other half sits. The people who are standing yell at the people who are sitting, "Stand up!" while the people who are sitting yell at the people who are standing, "Sit down!" Should the congregation stand or sit for the Shema? What is the tradition? 
Hint: The Story of Shabbat 505
4. According to some (but, of course, not all) commentators, the purpose of performing mitzvot is to guide us in living good lives, being good people, and doing good things in the world. Describe in discrete mathematical terms the exact correlation between performing mitzvot and being a good person. Carefully but completely explain why there is a need for kosher food in our prison system.
5. Your local JCC offers excellent facilities for exercise and very good Jewish programming. It also offers no pleasantly functional performance space ("theater") and no kosher food service (although pescatarian fare is available). Your synagogue currently offers a beautiful sanctuary (with comfortable seats, good sight lines, and superb acoustics) and full meat and dairy kosher food service. How can your synagogue work with the JCC to provide a magnificent performance space, outstanding kosher dining, and terrific Jewish programming? 
6. Your new synagogue has a strong tradition of congregational singing during worship services, often with instrumental accompaniment. You are not comfortable with this arrangement. If the instrumentalists promise not to tune their instruments, will this ameliorate your concerns? If not, describe the concrete steps (or earthen ramp) you will take to transform the choir into a powerhouse a capella group (like Pizmon or, lehavdil, the Maccabeats) suitable for weddings and b'nai mitzvah.
7Who wrote the Five Books of Moses? Who wrote the Book of Mormon? Who wrote the Book of Love?
Maftir. If and only if the candidate responds both earnestly and meaningfully to the above questions, he or she may be entitled to attempt the tie-breaker. Which is (Abq Jew's favorite!)
Define the universe. Give three examples.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Sunday in the Park

Art Institute of Chicago: “Bedlam,” “scandal,” and “hilarity” were among the epithets used to describe what is now considered Georges Seurat’s greatest work, and one of the most remarkable paintings of the nineteenth century, when it was first exhibited in Paris.

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte—1884, Georges Seurat

Abq Jew is proud to announce that he has just learned that the website of the Art Institute of Chicago has recently been redesigned.

Actually, Abq Jew is just thrilled to announce that he is capable, at his advanced age, of learning anything. But Abq Jew digresses.

Famed art blogger Jason Kottke informs us that, as part of their first website design upgrade in 6 years -
The Art Institute has placed more than 52,000 high-resolution images from their collection online, available to all comers without restriction.
Which means that you can see La Grande Jatte - depending on your device, of course - at a resolution of 1692 x 1127, instead of the above 468 x 312.

Of La Grande Jatte, the Art Institute tells us
Seurat labored extensively over A Sunday on La Grande Jatte—1884, reworking the original as well as completing numerous preliminary drawings and oil sketches (the Art Institute has one such sketch and two drawings). 
With what resembles scientific precision, the artist tackled the issues of color, light, and form. Inspired by research in optical and color theory, he juxtaposed tiny dabs of colors that, through optical blending, form a single and, he believed, more brilliantly luminous hue. 
To make the experience of the painting even more intense, he surrounded the canvas with a frame of painted dashes and dots, which he, in turn, enclosed with a pure white wood frame, similar to the one with which the painting is exhibited today. 
The very immobility of the figures and the shadows they cast makes them forever silent and enigmatic. Like all great master-pieces, La Grande Jatte continues to fascinate and elude.
The Touch, Linda Apple

Which, for better or for worse, reminds Abq Jew of a story ....
A young couple, Wilbur and Kay, were exploring the exhibits at the Art Institute of Chicago one Sunday afternoon, when they came upon George Seurat's masterpiece of pointillism, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte-1884.

Wilbur, excited to experience this famous painting up close, immediately called his wife over and exclaimed -
Kay, Seurat! Seurat!

More impressed with the Art Institute's other collections, she took one bored look at the painting and replied -
Whatever, Wilby, Wilby.

Abq Jew would like to apologize to everyone he has offended with this old, obscure reference to old, but hardly obscure, Doris Day. And her famous song.
"Que Será, Será (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)", first published in 1956, is a popular song written by the songwriting team of Jay Livingston (born Jacob Harold Levison) and Ray Evans (born Raymond Bernard Evans). 
The song was introduced in the Alfred Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), starring Doris Day [born Doris Mary Kappelhoff on April 3, 1922, and still going strong, Ken O'Hara] and James Stewart (born James Maitland Stewart)in the lead roles.

To show how Abq Jew's mind works these days - when it works at all ....

Abq Jew learned about the Art Institute of Chicago's web redesign etc from Jill Wine-Banks (born Jill Wine and raised in Chicago, where her father was a CPA), whom he follows (@JillWineBanks) on Twitter.

ICYMI - She is a United States lawyer who was one of the prosecutors during the Watergate scandal, and is now an NBC News and MSNBC Contributor. Who tweeted -
The Chicago Art Institute has a great treasure trove of beauty that I have enjoyed from childhood to today. Thanks [Pleasantville (@watercooler13)]for sharing this link so you don't have to be in Chicago to see the collection. It's one of the best museums in the world.
This turns out to be a very Jewish story ....

Sunday, December 2, 2018

From Darkness to Lights

Hanukkah Lights, That Is: Alas, Mr & Mrs Abq Jew are just now standing up after a non-traditional yet solemn week of sitting shiva for Great Grand Mama.

Only to discover that light will tonight overtake the darkness, as we and Jews all over the world begin our celebration of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights.

There is a story in the Talmud of two processions – a wedding procession and a funeral procession – that meet at an intersection too narrow to allow both to pass. One of the processions will need to step aside to allow the other to progress; but which one should go first? 
The rabbis concluded that the wedding procession should get the right of way. Why? Because hope and optimism about the future (as represented by the bride and groom) should always take precedence over the past. We are a people who believe in the future – even in the face of sadness.

And thus we celebrate!

1. Lior Zalzman of Hey Alma reminds us that 
Gal Gadot as a Singing Mermaid is the Best Hanukkah Present 
Ten years ago, a Hanukkah miracle took place. I would’ve gone my whole life without knowing about it, but then I put “Hanukkah” and “Gal Gadot” into Google (don’t ask), and my life changed forever, through one glorious music video of… 

This song is from the Festigal, Israel’s most theatrical event for kids: Parents pay the big bucks for their kids to attend this musical theatrical event, which takes place once a year, always during Hanukkah. It features a bunch of Israeli celebs (not all professional singers) all singing songs on one theme, which is how I discovered that… 
This song is from 2008: Looking back at the themes of Festigals through the years, the 2008 one had a nautical theme. It was titled “Tfos Ta’Festigal” which is a play on words on the Hebrew saying “tfos ta’gal” which means to catch a wave. Or catch a Gal — a Gal Gadot! (That’s right, Gal Gadot’s first name literally means wave, and Gadot is riverbanks, so she was obviously born for this!!!)
And BTW - Hey Alma is "for ladies with chutzpah. A new place for women to talk about working, dating, TV-binging, yummy eating, bat mitzvah reminiscing, quasi-adulting, and the world around us." Abq Jew knows quite a few such ladies. Many, blessedly, in his own family.

2. Students at the Technion shows us
Lighting the Hanukkah Menorah the Hard Way at Technion 
Happy Hanukkah from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. Students from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering don't take the the easy way out when lighting the menorah this year.

3. Jewish a capella group Six13 presents
Bohemian Chanukah 
Is this just fantasy? No, it's our Chanukah tribute to one of the greatest and most epic songs of all time. Ready, Freddie? Kindle the lights, remember the Maccabees, and rock on. CHAG SAMEACH!

According to other faith traditions, the month of December may (or may not) bring a variety of non-Hanukkahish holidays. In recognition thereof, yet knowing that once you see this you cannot unsee it, Abq Jew presents -