Monday, September 21, 2020

Mourning Notorious R.B.G.

Baruch Dayan Emet | Nishmata Eden: Could Rosh Hashanah 5781 have been more bittersweet? As we Jews dipped apples in honey and wished each other a good and sweet year, we learned of the death of beloved Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Notorious RBG zl

A tribute: Moment Magazine, North America’s premier Jewish magazine, celebrated its 40th anniversary in June 2015 (see Advice from Notorious R.B.G.).

Moment proudly provided a Symposium on Wisdom for the Next Generation, with contributions from such notables as Theodore Bikel, Ruth Gruber, Walter Laqueur, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, and Elie Wiesel, all of very blessed memory. 

What life experience, advice or piece of wisdom
do you think is most important
to pass on to the next generation?

Jonathan Sacks

 Lehavdil - Rabbi Lord (what a title! only in England!) Jonathan Sacks offered:

Wisdom is free, yet it is also the most expensive thing there is, for we tend to acquire it through failure or disappointment or grief. That is why we try to share our wisdom, so that others will not have to pay the price for it that we paid. Judaism has taught me far more about life than the space allows for here, but I do want to share with you three key lessons I have learned.

First, use your time well. Life is short, too short to waste on television, computer games and unnecessary emails; too short to waste on idle gossip, or envying others for what they have; too short for anger and indignation; too short to waste on criticizing others. “Teach us to number our days,” says Psalm 90, “that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

But any day on which you have done some good to someone has not been wasted.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose death we mourn even as we celebrate her life, certainly used her time well. Here is the wisdom she offered to Moment in 2015.

Let me tell you about an experience I had. It’s a problem that still exists, although not to the same extent.

In the 1970s, I was a teacher at Columbia Law School. I got a call from the head of the lower school at my son James’s school asking me to come down to discuss my lively son’s latest escapade. I got those calls about once a month.

That day, I was particularly weary and I responded to the call,

 “This child has two parents. 
Please alternate calls. It’s his father’s turn.”

So they called Marty. What was James’s offense?

He stole the elevator.

It was one of those hand-operated elevators and the elevator operator had gone out for a smoke.

One of James’s classmates dared him to take the kindergartners up to the top floor, so he did. Marty’s response was 

Elevator

“How far could he take it?”

The school was much more reluctant to call a man away from his work. I think that young women with children are still experiencing that. They’re expected to do it all—do their job but take care of all the family things. The dental checkups, the new shoes.

If you see work and family as part of your life, of every human’s life, then the men should be involved in raising children … And a woman should not feel guilt that she’s working. Raising children is a shared responsibility.
Notorious RBG

How, Abq Jew hears you ask, did the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg become Notorious R.B.G.? This article by Hunter Schwartz in Time Magazine sheds some light.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg goes full Notorious RBG 
Ruth Bader Ginsburg's photo for the "Time 100" is perfect. Wearing a glove, she holds her hand to her face with a slight smirk. The pose looks like something inspired by a rap album cover, and the glove evokes early Madonna. 
She looks like a justice, but she also looks like a rock star. It's the ultimate visual representation of the meme that has become "The Notorious RBG." 
Ginsburg's evolution into a progressive millennial icon has come thanks to her Supreme Court opinions and outspokenness. The "Notorious" Tumblr didn't hurt either.

However, as Abq Jew advances, day by day (the universally approved rate) on Old Age, his favorite picture of Notorious RBG may (that's a caveat) always be

RBG Asleep for SOTU
'Notorious' Ruth Bader Ginsburg 'Wasn't 100 Percent Sober'
at the 2015 State of the Union


RBG Fearless Girl

May the Memory of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
be a Blessing and an Inspiration for Us All

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Rosh Hashanah 5781

Dip Your Apple In The Honey: It's Rosh Hashanah! And, as we begin a New Year, please remember - as Rabbi Adam Rosenbaum of Temple Beth Tzedek in Buffalo, New York has taught us -

There is hope for the world.
There is hope for your life.

The way it is now is not the way it must be. 



Abq Jew warmly invites you to check out
this now-classic Rosh Hashanah hit from 5772:

Dip Your Apple!


No apples, pomegranates, babies, or smartphones
were harmed in the filming of this video.
Please don't feed babies honey.

===============================

In this time of crazy hope (see Let's All Go Crazy!) mixed with blistering despair, Abq Jew suggests we talk turkey. No, it's not time yet for Thanksgiving - we still have all the Jewish holidays to somehow get through. Together yet separated.

Then Indigenous Peoples' Day (fka Columbus Day) and Halloween.

The Turkey - Robin Moline

Or more specifically - Rebbe Nachman's tale
The Turkey Prince

A prince once became mad and thought that he was a turkey. He felt compelled to sit naked under the table, pecking at bones and pieces of bread, like a turkey. All the royal physicians gave up hope of curing him of this madness. The king grieved tremendously.

A sage arrived and said, “I will undertake to cure him.” The sage undressed and sat naked under the table, next to the prince, picking crumbs and bones. “Who are you?” asked the prince. “What are you doing here?” “And you?” replied the sage. “What are you doing here?” 
“I am a turkey,” said the prince.  
“I’m also a turkey,” answered the sage.
They sat together like this for some time, until they became good friends. 
One day, the sage signaled the king’s servants to throw him shirts. He said to the prince, “What makes you think that a turkey can’t wear a shirt? You can wear a shirt and still be a turkey.” With that, the two of them put on shirts.

After a while, the sage again signaled and they threw him pants. As before, he asked, “What makes you think that you can’t be a turkey if you wear pants?”

The sage continued in this manner until they were both completely dressed. 
Then he signaled for regular food, from the table. The sage then asked the prince, “What makes you think that you will stop being a turkey if you eat good food? You can eat whatever you want and still be a turkey!” They both ate the food.

Finally, the sage said, “What makes you think a turkey must sit under the table? Even a turkey can sit at the table.” 
The sage continued in this manner until the prince was completely cured.
Turkeys Flee

Interpretations? Rebbe Wikipedia tells us:
The main interpretation of this story is that the prince represents a simple Jew who has forgotten his true self, and the sage represents a Hasidic Rebbe who has the cure for his soul. 
Rather than condemn the simple Jew for being non-religious, the Rebbe "descends" to his level to meet him where he is, then shows him how to return to God, step by step, and in a manner that he can accept. 
Some Breslov Hasidim say that the "wise man" is Rebbe Nachman, himself. 
Under the Table

In 1991, Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum, himself a Breslover Hasid, published an entire self-help book based on this story, entitled Under the Table and How to Get Up. 

This book goes, step by step, through the story, expanding each detail into a personal lesson on spiritual growth.

Horse? Mule? Rooster? Turkey? Peacock?  There is some debate as to which barnyard bird was originally being referred to in the story. The parable was originally told in Yiddish, using the word 'אינדיק'. Indian rooster?

Both "The Turkey Prince" and "The Tainted Grain" - Two Timely Tales of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov - will be Zoom discussed on Wednesday, September 23, by Rabbi John Feldman, Dr Michael Nutkiewicz, and Rabbi Dov Gartenberg.

In the meantime -


L'Shana Tova U'Metuka, New Mexico!
A Good & Sweet Year, Albuquerque! 

===============================


Dog

Monday, September 14, 2020

See Belle Run

Forever: It is with great sorrow that Abq Jew confirms that his beloved greyhound Belle Diana (The Huntress) has passed over to the Rainbow Bridge.

Belle Diana

Abq Jew wrote in 2011 (Welcome Home, Belle):

Miracles Do Happen!  We are enormously pleased to welcome our newest and youngest (20 months) Greyhound into our family!

Belle arrived yesterday by chauffeured minivan from Derby Lane in St Petersburg, Florida, the oldest track in the US. There was a kennel fire at Derby Lane a couple of months ago, and James Campbell, the kennel owner / trainer, rushed into the fire and saved all 46 of his dogs. Belle was one of them.

Belle was scheduled to be adopted out - she never raced - until a spider bite (!) almost got her put down. But the Naples / Fort Myers chapter of  Greyhound Pets of America stopped that. Belle was treated for the spider bite and recovered - then got an infected cuticle that, again, almost delayed her departure.

But we wanted to adopt Belle, and no one else. To us, she is one in a million. (To the Greyhound racing industry, she is one of a million.) 

So when Belle arrived and we saw how bad her toe actually looked - and that she was hopping around on three legs - we took her to our [then] local Greyhound vet, Dr George Abernathy of Sunrise Veterinary Clinic

Today he removed the infected nail - but, fortunately, did not have to remove the toe.  We'll change the dressing tomorrow, then , in two weeks, remove her sutures.  Then - watch out!  Belle is awfully fast on three legs - we can hardly wait to see her race Henry (her big brother) on all four!

Belle 2016

Mrs Abq Jew writes:

We had Belle longer than any of our other hounds. She came to us still a land shark, the survivor of a kennel fire and an untreated abscess that almost cost her her life. Thankfully the rescue group paid for treatment and she recovered, albeit with an untreated infection in a toe.

Belle’s first experience with us was going for surgery - which saved her toe, sans the nail. Her older brother Henry welcomed her home, and she became our little princess, beautiful, pesky and independent. She was so smart, letting Henry do the heavy lifting of following me around. Henry would chase Belle in the backyard just enough to get her to run back and forth 10 times and be exhausted.

When Henry passed (August 10, 2015; See Henry Run) we feared Belle might be upset as an only dog. She wasn’t. Instead, Belle decided she had to take over the job of supervising me; letting me know when it was time to wake up, serve meals, offer treats, go outside, or visit friends. She would get into bed with Mr Abq Jew before sunrise - and be ready to welcome the new day, and us, with jumps and whirlies.

Later (September 26, 2016), Belle welcomed May-May as her slightly older sister, eventually allowing May-May to play with the toys. May-May was afraid to be alone. and Belle reassured her that all was well if Mr & Mrs Abq Jew went out for a few hours.

After Belle was diagnosed with kidney disease, we knew the day might come when May-May could be alone. Belle did well on her new food and medication regimen, but we didn’t want May-May left alone.  

So we adopted (May 14, 2019; Ziggy's Home) Ziggy Bubba, a young and Very Large Borzoi / Greyhound / Je Ne Sais Quoi boy. 

Belle loved Ziggy from the start. She decided he was her son, and schooled him in backyard laps, the joy of toys, and lining up for treats and challah on Shabbat. She would leave him a little food in her bowl, as he liked to steal her food if she turned her back or walked away from her dish.

Belle fought her illness for 3½ years, still wanting to lead the pack, still watching over the other two. Our house seems to be empty without her. She is with Henry now. We all miss her.

Freedom

Dear Friends in Placitas write:

So much love and mindfulness and her whole sweet and loving heart that Belle gave to you. 

This is what they do, our companions, living with us in our homes. It is so very hard to say goodbye  -which means God Be With Ye. We were so very sad to hear your news. 

We were happy to have met Belle. What I remember is when we were seated around your table for dinner that I would feel a nudge - and there, on my lap, would be Belle, with very large eyes looking up at me.

Here is a long-distance, social-distancing embrace for you both today. What a day this is. And, of course, her memory will be for a blessing in your lives for all times, as she crosses the Rainbow Bridge.

Freedom

Belle At The Track

Although Belle was born and raised on the track, due to her persistent infections, she never raced. She probably had no racing name - she'd been known since forever as Belle. 

But Belle (like all track hounds) had tattoos. Left ear: 51093. Right ear: 79B (we think). Which, when Abq Jew looked it up on TrackInfo.com, showed that

TrackInfo

Belle's parents appear to be State of the Art and Bohemian Rhea, and that Belle had a number of siblings, with names beginning with letters C, D, E, G, I, and J.

There's no B name (also no A or F or H). Abq Jew believes that Belle is the B, not listed because she has no track record - but has no proof.

Abq Jew looked Belle up on Greyhound-Data.com, without success - again, never registered to race, so no track record. But Abq Jew did find 

Bally's Indy

a nice photo of Indy, Belle's brother. who was transferred to Adopt a Greyhound Atlanta for adoption.

Abq Jew: Some Final Words

Belle lived with us, and we lived with Belle, for 9½ years. Of that time, Belle spent 4½ years with Henry - who taught her everything she needed to know. After Henry passed, Belle - for 13 months, until we adopted May-May - became an only dog.

And really came into her own. She showed us how smart she was - an attribute carefully hidden while Henry was around. When May-May arrived, Belle ditched her Baby Belle persona and started to become Mama Belle.

When Ziggy arrived, Belle immediately claimed him as her long-lost son - he had the same red-on-white markings. Although he was twice her size. 

Still - they adored each other. Ziggy added at least a year to Belle's life, and lovingly added life to her final months.

During her too-short time with us, Belle was always in charge. Even when she trembled and hid from thunderstorms and (even worse) firecrackers. 

She gave us kisses (our only greyhound who ever has) and chattered her teeth (as many as she had left) to show her happiness. And Belle would sleep in Abq Jew's bed - whether or not he was there.

Orange Line

Belle has joined our beloved greyhounds Henry Nahum and Samson Tigerdog at the Rainbow Bridge, where, Mr & Mrs Abq Jew are sure, they are running free and playing together.

In tribute to Belle (and Henry and Sammy, and all other sighthounds), Abq Jew can do no better than the new folk song Ashokan Farewell.

"Ashokan Farewell" is a piece of music composed by American folk musician Jay Ungar in 1982. 

For many years it served as a goodnight or farewell waltz at the annual Ashokan Fiddle & Dance Camps run by Ungar and his wife Molly Mason, who gave the tune its name, at the Ashokan Field Campus of SUNY New Paltz (now the Ashokan Center) in Upstate New York.

The tune was used as the title theme of the 1990 PBS television miniseries The Civil War. Despite its late date of composition, it was included in the 1991 compilation album Songs of the Civil War

The Civil War drew the greatest attention to the piece. It is played 25 times throughout the eleven-hour series, including during the emotional reading of Sullivan Ballou's letter to his wife in the first episode. 

The song underlies nearly an hour of film. Viewers of The Civil War frequently believe the melody is a traditional tune from the Civil War era; in fact, it is the only modern composition on the film's soundtrack, as all other music is authentic 19th-century music. 

Freedom

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Teach Your Children

Diligently: As we approach the High Holidays, Abq Jew must confess that he has (well, had) come up short with regard (not regards) to the mitzvah of teaching his children diligently. At least, one of them. And she knows who she is.

Cherry Garcia

As we Jews have all learned since we were babies, from the very first paragraph of the Shema prayer (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) - 

 וְשִׁנַּנְתָּם לְבָנֶיךָ וְדִבַּרְתָּ בָּם
 בְּשִׁבְתְּךָ בְּבֵיתֶךָ וּבְלֶכְתְּךָ בַדֶּרֶךְ
 וּבְשָׁכְבְּךָ וּבְקוּמֶךָ
וּקְשַׁרְתָּ֥ם לְא֖וֹת עַל־יָדֶ֑ך
 וְהָי֥וּ לְטֹטָפֹ֖ת בֵּ֥ין עֵינֶֽיךָ
וּכְתַבְתָּ֛ם עַל־מְזוּזֹ֥ת בֵּיתֶ֖ךָ
וּבִשְׁעָרֶֽיךָ

You shall teach God's words diligently to your children,
and shall talk of them when you sit in your house,
when you walk by the way, when you lie down,
and when you rise up. You shall bind them
as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets
between your eyes. You shall write them
on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

It's a mitzvah to teach God's words to our children. 
At all times, and in all places. 

Lest we come to believe that 'these words' are only what is written for us in the Torah, or what has been passed down to us in the Mishna, or what has been interpreted for us in the Gemara, or what has been explained to us in the rabbinic writings - the Talmud (Kiddushin 29a) tells us - 

והאב חייב בבנו ... וללמדו אומנות
וי"א אף להשיטו במים

A father is obligated to teach his son a trade.
And some say: A father is also obligated to teach his son to swim. 

Which brings Abq Jew to the joint topics
of Cherry Garcia and Jerry Garcia.

Cherry Garcia Jerry

Of the Beatles, and of (lehavdil) Queen, the progeny of which Abq Jew speaks knows the complete oeuvre, largely thanks to Mrs Abq Jew's concerted efforts. But of Jefferson Airplane, the Lovin' Spoonful, the Grateful Dead - and other important musicians?

Not so much. To wit:

Abq Jew recently discovered that said progeny (living in Brooklyn, with a 2020 MPA from Columbia University, looking for additional gainful employment) could not, when directly questioned, rejoin

To whom is Ben & Jerry's
Cherry Garcia ice cream a tribute?

eScapegoat
shanda for the klezmorim!
And a personal embarrassment for 
Abq Jew.
Fortunately, the Day of Atonement approaches. 

The Four Sons

In the meantime: Skipping ahead six months, the Passover Haggadah tells us:

As for the child who does not know how to question,
you must begin for him. Or her.

So Abq Jew here provides this Cherry Garcia explanation, from the Ben & Jerry website:

Our euphorically edible tribute to guitarist Jerry Garcia & Grateful Dead fans everywhere, it’s the first ice cream [introduced in 1987] named for a rock legend and the most famous of our fan-suggested flavors.

Jerry Garcia

And as for the great Jerry Garcia himself, Wikipedia tells us:

Jerome John Garcia (August 1, 1942 – August 9, 1995) was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist, best known for being a principal songwriter, the lead guitarist and a vocalist with the rock band the Grateful Dead, of which he was a founding member and which came to prominence during the counterculture of the 1960s. 

Although he disavowed the role, Garcia was viewed by many as the leader or "spokesman" of the group.

Garcia was also renowned for his musical and technical ability, particularly his ability to play a variety of instruments, and his ability to sustain long improvisations with the Grateful Dead.  

Old & In The Way 

Garcia also founded and participated in a variety of side projects, including Old & In the Way and  the Jerry Garcia / David Grisman acoustic duo. He also released several solo albums, and contributed to a number of albums by other artists over the years as a session musician. 

Jerry Garcia Banjo

Yes, Jerry Garcia played bluegrass banjo for the group Old & In the Way. 

But the session gig for which he is most famous - indeed, renowned - is his pedal steel intro, backup, and outro (yes, there is such a word) for the hit single Teach Your Children by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young from their album Déjà Vu, released in 1970. 

About the song, Wikipedia tells us:

"Teach Your Children" is a song by Graham Nash. Although it was written when Nash was a member of the Hollies, it was never recorded by that group in a studio, although a 1983 live recording does exist.

Nash, who is also a photographer and collector of photographs, has stated in an interview that the immediate inspiration for the song came from a famous photograph by Diane Arbus, Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park.

The image, which depicts a child with an angry expression holding the toy weapon, prompted Nash to reflect on the societal implications of messages given to children about war and other issues.

And about Jerry Garcia's pedal steel work:

The recording features Jerry Garcia on pedal steel guitar. Garcia taught himself how to play the instrument during his tenure with the New Riders of the Purple Sage.

He told Lon Goddard of the British music newspaper Record Mirror in an interview that he recorded a series of pieces on the steel guitar and spliced them together in the studio to create the backing and solo. 

Garcia had made an arrangement that in return for his playing steel guitar on "Teach Your Children," CSNY would help members of the Grateful Dead improve their vocal harmony for their upcoming albums, Workingman's Dead and American Beauty.

Here is Rhino Records' Official Music Video:


And then there's The Jewish Question.

Jews for Jerry

First of all: Jerry Garcia, of blessed memory, who was raised Roman Catholic, was not, in all likelihood, a Member Of The Tribe. However: The possibility does exist that he is a descendant of conversos who were forced to flee Spain in 1492.

Seth Rogovy, in The Secret Jewish History of The Grateful Dead, his June 2015 article for The Forward, has more to say on the subject.

For a group with a significant Jewish following, there was never much on the surface that was Jewish about The Grateful Dead. 

Over the course of the band’s 30-year existence from 1965 to 1995, at least a dozen musicians held positions in the band, but only one member, drummer/percussionist [Michael Steven] Hart[man], was Jewish. 

Born ... in Brooklyn, and raised in the heavily Jewish Five Towns area of Long Island, Hart is best known for bringing non-Western rhythms and time signatures to the band from Asia, Africa and Latin America, but these never included any Jewish nuances.

Still, Jews were, and to this day remain, a visible presence among the fanatical followers of the Dead, who are known as Deadheads. 

In the tent villages that popped up around arenas and stadiums wherever the band was playing, there was often a contingent of “Jews for Jerry” integrating their own version of Jewish practice with the rituals of Deadheadism, including wandering around, following their Moses-like leaders to an unknown destination, often in search of a “miracle” in the form of a concert ticket or manna from heaven — a decent meal.

Today, Jews for Jerry lives on as a Facebook group ....

Pendemic Weeks


What A Long Strange Trip It's Been


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Fall 2020 @ OASIS Abq

 Great Courses of Jewish Interest
Abq Jew is pleased to inform you that
OASIS Albuquerque has just announced
their Fall 2020 line-up of classes!
Registration opens on
Wednesday September 2
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.


Because of the uncertainty of our current circumstances, please note that class dates, 
locations, and other details are subject to change. Please visit the Oasis website
or call the Oasis office (505) 884-4529 for up-to-date information.

This fall, OASIS Albuquerque will continue to offer classes three ways - livestream (via Zoom) only; in-person only; and their hybrid model - livestream & in-person at the same time. 

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

Memoir
Memoir Writing Workshop:
How to Tell Your Story
Thursdays 24 Sep 2020 - #94
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.


How to Criticize Properly:
A Jewish Perspective

Wednesday 4 Nov 2020 - #100
Instructor: Dov Gartenberg
What It Is: Have you ever felt the need to criticize a loved one, friend, or associate? Has it gone well or has it bombed? The rabbis, the sages of Jewish tradition, grappled with the issue of proper criticism based on their reading of Leviticus 19:17. We take a journey through Jewish literature and beyond on the ethics of personal criticism.

Elijah

Elijah: Jewish Prophet,
Christian Saint, Muslim Guide
Thursday 5 Nov 2020 - #101
Instructor: Christopher Zugger
What It Is: Elijah is the greatest of the Jewish prophets and one of the leading figures in overcoming idolatry and restoring the worship of God. He is also the spiritual founder of the Carmelite Order of the Catholic Church, a mystical guide for Muslims, a popular saint for Arab Christians, and the announcer to Eastern Christians of the coming of Jesus on Christmas Eve. How did Elijah evolve into so many figures? And how can such different people of faith find a place of unity in this man of the desert?

Rudolfo Anaya

Rudolfo Anaya &
the Bless Me, Ultima Landscape Park
Thursday 12 Nov 2020 - #126
Instructor: Dianne Layden
What It Is: The city of Santa Rosa, New Mexico, dedicated the Rudolfo Anaya Bless Me, Ultima Landscape Park in March 2008 to honor the internationally acclaimed author, a native son, and his classic 1972 coming-of-age novel, which takes place in Santa Rosa. This remarkable public monument features bronze works by sculptor Reynaldo "Sonny" Rivera. Anaya's life and works are discussed, and a 2015 film (25 min) about Anaya by local filmmaker David Ellis is shown.

Middle East Map

The Middle East &
American Policy: Creeping Disengagement
Monday 23 Nov 2020 - #21
Instructor:  Emile Nakhleh
What It Is: Examine the diminishing significance of the Middle East in American global strategic planning and the creeping disengagement from that region. The pluses and pitfalls of disengagement are examined in the context of regional war, entrenched autocracy, terrorism, COVID-19, plummeting oil prices, and possible Israeli annexation of West Bank areas.

Georg Cantor Aleph0

Georg Cantor:
The Mathematics of Infinity
& the Rules of Mathematics
Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 - #114
Instructor: David Metzler
What It Is: In 1869, Georg Cantor found that answering an unsolved problem about oscillating functions forced him to develop a huge hierarchy of infinite sets of different sizes. When he published these and other results on infinite sets, he set off a revolution in mathematics that reworked the subject from its foundations and caused considerable controversy. Learn where Cantor's ideas originated and why they were so disturbing, yet so fruitful.

Queen Esther

The History of Crypto-Jews
in New Spain & New Mexico
Tuesday 1 Dec - #129
Instructor: Stefanie Beninato
What It Is: Learn about a lesser-known aspect of Southwestern history by exploring the settlement of New Spain by Sephardic Jews, many of whom practiced Judaism secretly (Crypto-Jews). Learn how and why many Hispanics in New Mexico did not know of this ancestry or, if they did, how they hid it from the agents of the Inquisition. Understand how these ethnic roots affect cultural identity and contemporary issues in New Mexico today. Presented in partnership with the Historical Society of New Mexico.



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:


Tom & Jerry:
Discovering Simon & Garfunkel
Wednesday 23 Sep 2020 - #78
What It Is: As kids they appeared in a production of Alice in Wonderland together; in high school they performed as Tom & Jerry, reaching #49 on the national music charts. But it wasn't until the 1960s, after a lot of false starts, that this duo began to find their niche together in the vanguard of the Greenwich Village music scene. Paul Simon (1941- ) and Art Garfunkel (1941- ) touched the hearts of a generation and continue to do so, both together and individually.


The Hysterically Funny
Stan Freberg
Friday 11 Dec 2020 - #89
What It Is: Whether rewriting American history, spoofing the monotone of Joe Friday in Dragnet, satirizing Harry Belafonte's "Day-O" ("I don't dig spiders, man!"), or ridiculing The Platters' hit "The Great Pretender," Stan Freberg (1926-2015) has achieved legendary status in American pop culture. His works were often controversial, and sometimes his label refused to release certain songs, but in a career spanning seven decades, he remained active as a voice actor, comedian, radio personality, author, and recording artist.


Tuesday, September 1, 2020

End Times at Lord & Taylor

Attention, Shoppers! It is with a very heavy heart that Abq Jew reports (via The New York Times, of course) an (alas) not unforeseen tragedy for all past, present, and future New Yorkers:

Lord & Taylor

After Nearly 200 Years, Lord & Taylor Goes Out of Business

Lord & Taylor, one of the country's oldest department store chains, is going out of business after filing for bankruptcy earlier this month.

The retailer was sold just a year ago for $100 million to Le Tote, a San Francisco online clothing rental company, by Canadian parent Hudson's Bay Co.

Lord & Taylor will permanently close its remaining 38 stores and shut down its website, the company said Thursday. It is currently holding going out of business sales in stores and online.

Founded as a dry goods store in 1826, Lord & Taylor has struggled for years as more people shop online and in other stores. But the pandemic has changed the way people shop, accelerated the shift to online shopping, mostly to the benefit of big retailers like Amazon, Target and Walmart.

Since COVID-19 began to spread in the U.S, several clothing sellers have gone bankrupt, including Brooks Brothers, Neiman Marcus and J.C. Penney.

Lord & Taylor was shrinking even before the pandemic.

Last year, it closed its 11-story flagship store on New York’s Fifth Avenue, which it owned for more than a century. Amazon.com, the online shopping giant, is turning the building into an office for its tech workers.

It was only three years ago (see Sad Times at Lord & Taylor) that, with a heavy heart, Abq Jew reported (via The New York Times, of course) an (alas) not unforeseen tragedy for all past, present, and future New Yorkers:

Lord & Taylor Building, Icon of New York Retail,
Will Become WeWork Headquarters
From the moment its doors opened more than a century ago, the Lord & Taylor building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan has stood as a monument to old-school retail. 
Complete with a grand entrance arch and copper cornice, the 676,000-square-foot store is a temple of urban commerce — and was named a New York City landmark a decade ago. 
But now, the forces buffeting the retail industry are diminishing Lord & Taylor’s presence as a New York institution. 
The company that owns the department store chain, Hudson’s Bay, said Tuesday that it was selling off the flagship store to WeWork, a seven-year-old start-up whose office-sharing model is helping to reinvent the concept of work space.
In selling its Italian Renaissance-style building to a WeWork joint venture for $850 million, Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay are acknowledging that even the grand physical shopping spaces of old are now worth more as office space catering to millennials.

To Jewish New Yorkers - especially those who grew up (or whose parents, or, more likely, grandparents grew up) in the shmatte business - Lord & Taylor has always meant two things:

1. Beautiful Christmas window displays.
2. Jokes* about the Lord & Taylor name.


Actually, as joke mavens know, it's really only one joke. But told in so many ways! There's the Babylonian version; and the version that appears in the Yerushalmi; and, of course, the version found on a petek in the Cairo Genizah ....

The Lord & Taylor Name
Schwartz, a poor tailor, had two daughters, and he wanted to provide them both with lavish weddings but couldn't really afford it. 
One day in the temple, he was deep in prayer and asked God to help him find a way to give his first daughter a beautiful wedding. God whispered into his ear, "Make wide lapels.....make wide lapels....." 
So Schwartz the tailor started manufacturing hundreds of suits, all of which were made with wide lapels. These suits sold like wildfire and were the new rage, bringing Schwartz plenty of money to entertain many wedding guests with an opulent feast at his first daughter's wedding. 
A few years later, his second daughter was getting married and Schwartz was in temple again, praying to God to help him out. After much beseeching and pleading, God whispered, "Make narrow ties.....make narrow ties." 
So Schwartz started turning out thousands of narrow ties, which turned out to be the latest trend in men's neckwear. This brought him lots and lots of money and his second daughter was able to have a wonderful, expensive wedding, too. 
After his daughters were married, Schwartz the tailor went back to the synagogue and prayed to God, thanking Him for helping out. 
He was so grateful to God that Schwartz told Him he would be opening up a store and would name it "God and Schwartz" to honor him. 
Then he heard a little voice from God in his ear: "No......Call it Lord & Taylor!"

The Lord & Taylor Name
A Jewish tailor moved to the United States and decided to start a tailor shop in his suburb. He named it "Schneider" meaning Tailor. 
He did alright, but one night he was praying to God and asked, "How can I have better business?" to which God replied, "Add my name to to your shop" so he renamed his shop "God and Schneider" and he did even better. 
In fact, he did so well, he decided to move to the city. In the city, he did not do so well, so again he prayed to God and asked, "God, I'm not doing well anymore, how can I make my store prosperous again?" to which God replied, "You must make your name more English for the city people." 
So he again renamed his store, this time to "Lord and Taylor."

The Lord & Taylor Name
Three Jewish men arrive in NYC from Europe, and decide to meet again in 20 years to see how they all made out in America. 20 years pass... 
The first man asks the second, "So, nu? How’d you do?" 
He replies: Vell, you know...ven I came to this country I had no idea vhat to do with myself to make a livink. So I looked at my last name. Goldstein. So I vent into the gold business. And oy, did I make a FORTUNE!" 
He turns to the next man and asks, "So nu, how ‘bout you?" 
He says "Vell, like you I had no idea vhat I vas going to do in this vast country to make a livink, so I too, looked to my last name. Silverberg. So I vent into silver. And oy, did I make a fortune!" 
So they both turn to the last man and say, "And you? Vat happened to you?" So the third man said, "Vell, I too had no idea how I vas to make a livink here in America, so I looked at my last name. 
Taylor. I said, das no good. I never make money as a tailor. So I went to shul and prayed. I said "God, if you make me a wealthy man, I promise to make You my partner." 
So the first man said, "So, vat happened?" 
The man replied, "Vas the matter? You never heard of Lord and Taylor?"

Abq Jew knows what you, his loyal readers, are asking now -

How will we get into the Christmas spirit
without Lord & Taylor?

To which Abq Jew offers just one response:


HappHolidays!
Yes, it's only October ....