Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Suddenly Seymour

Getting Down to Tachlis: Yes! Abq Jew is sure that you, his loyal readers, fondly recall Little Shop of Horrors - the sad yet entertaining tale of Seymour Krelborn, Audrey, Mr Mushnik, Orin Scrivello (see Little Shop of Dentistry, of May 2017) and, of course - Audrey II. 

Suddenly Seymour

Well, this blog post is not about that. No, this blog post is about Seymour Tachlis, Abq Jew's long-lost and just-found ... relative. But let's start a little closer to the beginning.

Abq Jew told his story of Finding Old Grandad in February 2019's Blood, Spit & Years. In which Abq Jew stated:

It's a long story that barely anyone knows, but Abq Jew's father, of blessed memory, was semi-adopted. Which is to say: the wonderful lady whom Abq Jew always called Grandma was; but the very interesting character whom others always called Bing and whom Abq Jew always called Gramps was not.

It is only through that semi-adoption that Abq Jew's father acquired the current family name; therefore, except for our small branch of the Tree, we are not related to anyone else with that name.

But we are related - by blood! - to Abq Jew's biological grandfather, whom Abq Jew shall here and henceforth call Robert Beachwood.

The family hasn't heard a peep out of Mr Beachwood since he and Grandma split up in the 1930s. And, of course, nothing from any other of the Beachwoods, who may or may not have been aware of Abq Jew's father's existence.

As also stated, Abq Jew has had his DNA up on 23andMe, MyHeritage, and other websites - for years, with plenty of results. But after attending a webinar with genealogist Jennifer Mendelsohn, Abq Jew decided to spit into the tube for Ancestry, too - Ancestry has by far the largest database.

And then - 

Male Profile

Abq Jew discovered, suddenly, Seymour. Tachlis.

Now, Abq Jew saw that Seymour Tachlis (you know that's not his real name, don't you?) hasn't looked at Ancestry for over a year. So Abq Jew posted a question for members of Tracing the Tribe, a Facebook Group which noted Jewish genealogist Schelley Talalay Dardashti administers.

Here's a question: I've got a relative, let's call him Seymour Tachlis, who just turned up on my AncestryDNA Matches.  
We share 295 cM (4%), with the longest segment being 84 cM. Ancestry says that puts him in nominal 2nd Cousin territory.  
Oh - I haven't got the slightest idea who Seymour Tachlis is or how we could be related. Have Ancestry and I got this right? Now what do I do?

Down to tachlis

Abq Jew received several dozen responses, and learned that -

295 cM (4%) is a lot of shared DNA.

Second Cousins (it could also be 1st Cousins 2x Removed, or a variety of other relatively esoteric full- and half-relationships; for now, let's stick with plain vanilla) would typically mean that -

  • One of Abq Jew's two parents and one of Seymour's two parents were 1st Cousins.
  • One of Abq Jew's four grandparents and one of Seymour's four grandparents were siblings.
  • One of Abq Jew's eight great-grandparents and one of Seymour's eight great-grandparents were the same person - the Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA).

By examining Ancestry's list of Abq Jew's and Seymour Tachlis's Shared Matches, it was clear to Abq Jew that he and Seymour are very probably related via Abq Jew's father's Beachwood branch of the family. 

Alas, they're the side that (mostly) doesn't talk to Abq Jew

In the meantime - Robert Beachwood, Abq Jew's grandfather and the most likely of Abq Jew's relatives to be involved in this mystery, was one of eight siblings. One of those siblings, Boris, was Robert's identical twin. With (according to most sources) identical starting DNA.

Robert and Boris Twins

Great. Now Abq Jew is looking for two of his close relatives,
who both seem to have vanished sometime in the 1930s. 

So - back to 2nd Cousins. We are making progress! It now appears that -

  • Abq Jew's father and one of Seymour's two parents were 1st Cousins.
  • Abq Jew's father's father and one of Seymour's four grandparents were siblings.
  • Abq Jew's father's father's father or mother - Abq Jew's great-grandfather or his great-grandmother -  and one of Seymour's eight great-grandparents were the same person - the Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA).

Has Abq Jew mentioned that, as luck and research would have it, he knows the names of his father's grandparents - and even the names of his father's great-grandparents? Well, he does!

I Knew That

So, Abq Jew hears you, his loyal readers who have stuck with him so far and are therefore reading this - how about Seymour Tachlis? He's got a 61-person Family Tree on Ancestry! What does Seymour know?

First - Seymour knows that his father was Billy Tachlis, Junior. And he knows that his grandfather was Billy Tachlis, Senior. Abq Jew astutely observes that this Sr-Jr naming pattern is not common among us Jews. 

Therefore - since (of course) any ancestral member of Abq Jew's family must have been Jewish - let's leave Billy and jump right over to Seymour's mother's side of the family.

Yep. Good old Rhonda (not her real name), may she live to 120 (she's 83 now). Who was married to Billy Tachlis, Junior when Seymour was born. And who sometime thereafter married a guy named Johnny Carson. Really. NOT. 

So - who were Rhonda's parents? Who were Rhonda's people?

Oooh Interedting

Seymour Tachlis - remember him? - claims that his mother's father was Henry Ford. Or something like that. And his mother was Clara Jane ... well, Ford. But before Clara Jane was a Ford, she was a ......?

Well, Seymour and Abq Jew and Clara Jane's gravestone agree that Clara Jane's father's name was Abraham. Seymour claims that it was Abraham Ezrokovitz, whose wife was Esther Ezrokovitz. 

But based on the research Abq Jew has done, Abq Jew believes that it was Abraham Rosenthal, whose wife was Esther Rosenthal. And Esther's father was Jacob Ezrokovits. 

The records are far from clear, and there seem to be extra people wandering around Seymour's Tree. At the same time, there are people - like Henry Ford's people - who are missing.

Please Tell Me More

Abq Jew would love to tell you more - but he doesn't know any more. 

Any or all of Abq Jew's assumptions or presumptions could be wrong. Or AncestryDNA's calculations may be off by a half- or full generation or so.

However - Abq Jew figured that Seymour Tachlis must surely know more - so Abq Jew has been trying, via a number of different methods, to get in touch with Seymour. After all, we've gotta have stories to share!

God loves stories

DNA never lies, but it sure 
doesn't tell the whole story. 

That was a couple of weeks ago. 
It's still been over a year since Seymour has looked at Ancestry. 
There have been no messages; no calls; no notes; no letters. 

Audrey II

So - why hasn't Seymour contacted Abq Jew?
What's going on here? 

Well, there's an entire plethora - indeed, a veritable bolus - of reasons why Seymour might not want to / be able to talk to Abq Jew. For example -

Seymour is no longer with us. Seymour is in the hospital.
Seymour is on a long vacation. Seymour is in prison.
Seymour is on the lam. Seymour is on his way to Stockholm
to receive the Nobel Prize. Or just maybe -

Extended Warranty

Seymour doesn't want to talk to Abq Jew
about his car's extended warranty.

Yes, this is the fun part of genealogy ....

Einstein Genealogy

More to follow, Billy Nader!

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Just One Look

And They're Engaged! Mr & Mrs Abq Jew are thrilled, thrilled to announce the engagement of our wonderful daughter Alex to the equally wonderful Jake.

We wish you mazeltov! Long life, love, happiness, and prosperity!

Jake's father also posted: 

My son had a big week. First he had a birthday, and then he got engaged! Congrats to him and my future daughter-in-law, Alex! 
Wishing them a lifetime
of health, adventure and happiness.

Abq Jew has examined this statement - and cheerfully looks forward to having a mechutan (son-in-law's father) who does not use the Oxford comma. May this be the one thing about which we ever disagree! To Life! To Life! L'Chaim!

And in other news - Abq Jew is having a hard time concentrating on anything not engagement-related. So here is the official live video of Linda Ronstadt singing Just One Look, from the 1980 album Live in Hollywood.

Abq Jew has been waiting, often impatiently,
to post this - to celebrate this blessed day!

Linda Ronstadt is, as many of you know, one of Abq Jew's favorite singers. During her long career, she has chosen to sing so many different types of music - and all of them, excellently. Although now (alas) retired, Linda was "blessed with [arguably] the most sterling set of pipes of her generation."

And, as many of you know, Linda Ronstadt always had the best musicians in her backup band. To start with - the Stone Poneys (Linda, Bobby Kimmel, and the late Kenny Edwards). Then Don Henley and the late Glenn Frey of the Eagles. And several (but not a lot) more - Linda stuck with the good ones, and the good ones stuck with her.

This live ensemble includes Billy Payne on piano, with Wendy Waldman and the late Kenny Edwards on backup vocals. But Abq Jew knows the two Questions you want to ask -
1. Where's the Jewish content in the song?
2. Who's the guy playing the cowbell?

As it turns out, "Just One Look" does effectively and beautifully deal with the very Jewish concept of bashert - that is, one's destined partner. For those of you (if any) not familiar with the term -
Bashert, the Yiddish word for destiny, is most commonly used to describe a soul mate; but it also means a lot more: “it was meant to be.”

And the guy playing the cowbell turns out to be Peter Asher. The Peter of British pop duo Peter and Gordon. He later became Linda's manager and producer. James Taylor's, too. But in the beginning -
Asher was born at the Central Middlesex Hospital to Richard and Margaret Asher, née Eliot. His father was a consultant in blood and mental diseases at the Central Middlesex Hospital, as well as being a broadcaster and the author of notable medical articles. 
Asher's mother was a professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. One of her pupils there was George Martin. Asher is the brother of Clare Asher, a radio actress and school inspector, and Jane Asher. His family is Jewish.

And in conclusion - Mr & Mrs Abq Jew can't say this enough - here's another

Jake Alex Laughing
 Mazeltov! Mazeltov! Mazeltov!

Monday, March 14, 2022

The Jews and The Irish

If It Wasn't For: The Jews and the Irish. The Irish and The Jews. Yes! One glorious day! For the first time in perhaps centuries, the twin drinking holidays of Purim and (lehavdil) St Patrick's Day will coincide completely this year.

They came close in 2014 - the twins at least showed up on the same weekend. But this Thursday is special. So here is (from 2017):

Best of Blog

The Irish and The Jews

The Irish writer Brendan Behan once remarked, “Others have a nationality. The Irish and the Jews have a psychosis.”

Rory Fitzgerald wrote in the Jerusalem Post in 2010 -
That may be putting matters a little harshly, but [Brendan Behan] was on to something: These two ancient peoples were destined to wander the world as outsiders, knowing suspicion and derision wherever they went. Through it all, both maintained tight and close bonds with their own kin, even in the farthest corners of the earth.
So here we are, getting ready for St Patrick's Day (March 17, as Abq Jew is not sure we in New Mexico all know) and the celebration of everything Irish. 

The shamrock - a young sprig of clover - is, as we all know, a symbol of Ireland.
Saint Patrick, Ireland's patron saint, is said to have used it as a metaphor for the Christian Holy Trinity. 
The name shamrock comes from Irish seamróg [ˈʃamˠɾˠoːɡ], which is the diminutive of the Irish word for clover (seamair) and means simply "little clover" or "young clover".
A metaphor for the Christian Holy Trinity.

How about us Jews? Don't we get a Holy Trinity, too?

Yes, we do!

We Jews have our own set of Trinities! There are, in fact, lots of threes in Judaism -
  • Noah had three sons: Ham, Shem and Japheth
  • The Three Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
  • The prophet Balaam beat his donkey three times.
  • The prophet Jonah spent three days and nights in the belly of a large fish
  • Three divisions of the Written Torah: Torah (Five Book of Moses), Nevi'im (Prophets), Ketuvim (Writings)
  • Three divisions of the Jewish people: Kohen, Levite, Yisrael
  • Three daily prayers: Shacharit, Mincha, Maariv
  • Three Shabbat meals
  • Shabbat ends when three stars are visible in the night sky
  • Three Pilgrimage Festivals: Passover, Shavuot, Sukkot
  • Three matzos on the Passover Seder table
  • The Three Weeks, a period of mourning bridging the fast days of Seventeenth of Tammuz and Tisha B'Av
  • Three cardinal sins for which a Jew must die rather than transgress: idolatry, murder, sexual immorality
  • A Beth Din is composed of three members
Many more sets of threes appear in Pirkei Avot, a compilation of the ethical teachings and maxims of Mishnaic-period Rabbis.

The first verse of Pirkei Avot tells us
Moses received the Torah from Sinai and transmitted it to Joshua; Joshua to the elders; the elders to the prophets; and the prophets handed it down to the men of the Great Assembly. They said three things: 
Be deliberate in judgment, raise up many disciples, and make a fence around the Torah.
Plenty of the following verses also tell us "three things," But it is the second verse to which Abq Jew wishes to draw your attention.
Shimon the Righteous was one of the last survivors of the Great Assembly. He used to say: 
On three things the world is sustained: on the Torah, on worship, and on deeds of lovingkindness.
Here is how Abq Jew interprets Shimon HaTzaddik's three things.

Torah provides a framework for how to live in society.
In the Five Books of Moses, in the Talmud, and in the later Codes,
we see not only ritual laws - between Man and God -
but civil laws - between Man and Man.

Worship brings faith (and not the other way around).
Faith leads to stability, to confidence, and to hope -
that, together, we can build a world based upon justice.

Lovingkindness is absolutely necessary,
because justice alone is both too much and too little.
In a world of pure justice, who would live?

    Any one of these three things - Torah, worship, or lovingkindness - would not be enough. Indeed, any two of these things would not be enough. But these three things together enable us to build a sturdy structure for living in the world.

    And while we're talking about threes - remember, if you catch a leprechaun and set him free, the leprechaun will grant you three wishes!

    Which brings us back to the Irish and the Jews. Specifically - to William JeromeJean Schwartz, and Billy Murray. Look - another Trinity!

    This Trinity wrote (Jerome, Schwartz, in 1912) and performed (Murray) the classic tune If It Wasn't For the Irish and The Jews.
    William Jerome (William Jerome Flannery, September 30, 1865 – June 25, 1932) was an American songwriter, born in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York of Irish immigrant parents, Mary Donnellan and Patrick Flannery. He collaborated with numerous well-known composers and performers of the era, but is best-remembered for his decade-long association with Jean Schwartz with whom he created many popular songs and musical shows in the 1900s and early 1910s.
    Jean Schwartz (November 4, 1878 – November 30, 1956) was a Hungarian-born American songwriter. Schwartz was born in Budapest, Hungary. His family moved to New York City when he was 13 years old. He took various music-related jobs including demonstrating and selling sheet music in department stores before being hired as a staff pianist and song-plugger by the Shapiro-Bernstein Publishing House of Tin Pan Alley. He published his first composition, a cakewalk, in 1899. He became known as an accomplished lyricist, although he also continued to write music. In 1901, he began a successful collaboration with William Jerome.
    William Thomas "Billy" Murray (May 25, 1877 – August 17, 1954) was one of the most popular singers in the United States in the early decades of the 20th century. While he received star billing in Vaudeville, he was best known for his prolific work in the recording studio, making records for almost every record label of the era. Billy Murray was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Patrick and Julia (Kelleher) Murray, immigrants from County Kerry, Ireland. 

    One immigrant and two immigrants' sons!
    Making good in America!

    Tuesday, March 8, 2022

    1.25 Million Page Views

    To Life! To Life! L'Chaim! Sometime in the early evening of Monday, March 7, 2022  - as we Children of Israel were following the tragic war in Ukraine while praying for peace and preparing for the celebration of our victory on Purim - this Abq Jew Blog achieved 

    1,250,000 = 1.25 Million
    One and a Quarter Million All Time Page Views

    1.25 Million Page Views

    We achieved 1,000,000 All Time Page Views
    on October 10, 2020 - just 16+ months ago.

    That's about 486 Page Views per Day.
    And 1,341published blog posts.
    Plus 4,200 Facebook Likes and 3,600 Twitter Followers.
    Thank you!

    Abq Jew published his first blog post on September 19, 2010. Eleven years and 5+ months later (4,188 days), this Abq Jew Blog has achieved 1,250,000 (1.25 Million) Page Views. That's about 300 Page Views per Day, averaged over 11+ years.

    To break it down even further (as Abq Jew is delighted to do), this Abq Jew Blog took about
    • Four years and 2 weeks to achieve its first 250,000 Page Views on October 1, 2014. That's about 170 Page Views per day.
    • Two years and 2½ months to achieve its second 250,000 Page Views on December 17, 2016. That's about 309 Page Views per day.
    • Two years to achieve its third 250,000 Page Views on December 14, 2018. That's about 340 Page Views per day.
    • One year and 10 months to achieve its fourth 250,000 Page Views on October 10, 2020. That's about 375 Page Views per day. 
    • One year and 4+ months to achieve its fifth 250,000 Page Views on March 7, 2022. That's about 486 Page Views per day. 

    Technical Writer

    1,250,000 is a robust 1.25 million.
    During Abq Jew's entire 30+ years as a technical writer,
    probably no more than 36,000 (SWAG*)
    ever read what he wrote - manuals, guides,
    online help, training documents, procedures.
    Therefore: 1.25M in 11+ years is a big deal.
    * SWAG = Scientific Wild Ass Guess

    Little Kids Big Dogs

    But there's more to it than that.

    Old King Cole was a merry old soul
    And a merry old soul was he;
    He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl
    And he called for his fiddlers three.

    Looks pretty simple, eh what? But, in its original form, this well-known nursery rhyme is awfully redundant and terribly repetitious. Let's see if we can write it more, shall we say, technically.

    Old King Cole was a merry old soul.
    He called for his:
          • Pipe
          • Bowl
          • Three (3) fiddlers
    Now isn't that better? Try reading this version to your toddler! The redundancy and repetition have been eliminated, and only the pertinent facts are presented - clearly and unambiguously. It's even got a bullet list! 

    that's how Abq Jew wrote, 
    for 30+ award-winning years, 
    before moving to Albuquerque
    and becoming Abq Jew.

    So, Abq Jew queries: How do you know good technical writing when you see it? Among other things (like, say, accuracy), 

    When technical writing is good,
    you can't tell who wrote it.

    Whereas, with more creative styles - 

    Creative writing can't be good 
    if you can't tell who wrote it.

    After 30+ years of writing (and editing, and publishing) technically, it is an honor and a privilege to be able to write - for 11+ years - creatively. 

    For which Abq Jew must say to you, his loyal readers -

    Thank you!

    Abq Jew can imagine y'all asking - what were Abq Jew's most popular blog posts over the years? Here, then, are


    Abq Jew's Top 7 Blog Posts

    7. Maestro Rabbenu Placido Domingo
    March 30, 2016

    3. You've Got Hate Mail!
    February 1, 2017

    2. Christopher Columbus, MOT?
    May 30, 2012

    1. Rabbinic Activism in New Mexico
    May 12, 2014

    Banjo Gets Worse Elevator

    More to follow, Billy Nader!
    If you like what Abq Jew does - please 

    Wednesday, March 2, 2022

    Play La Marseillaise

    As Time Goes By: Yes, we have all seen Casablanca - more than once, more than twice, about a zillion times - and so we all remember the scene where Victor Laszlo leads the patrons of Rick's Cafe in the singing of the French national anthem.

    Play Les Marseillaise

    The song, Wikipedia tells us -

    was written in 1792 by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle in Strasbourg after the declaration of war by France against Austria, and was originally titled "Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin" ("War Song for the Army of the Rhine").

    The French National Convention adopted it as the Republic's anthem in 1795. The song acquired its nickname after being sung in Paris by volunteers from Marseille marching to the capital. 

    And about the film, Wikipedia continues - 

    Much of the emotional impact of the film, for the audience in 1942, has been attributed to the large proportion of European exiles and refugees who were extras or played minor roles (in addition to leading actors Paul Henreid, Conrad Veidt and Peter Lorre), such as Louis V. Arco, Trude Berliner, Ilka Grünig, Ludwig Stössel, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski, and Wolfgang Zilzer. 

    A witness to the filming of the "duel of the anthems" sequence said he saw many of the actors crying and "realized that they were all real refugees".

    Madeleine LeBeau

    And then there's the story of Madeleine Lebeau (Yvonne) and her husband Marcel Dalio (Emil).

    Lebeau married actor Marcel Dalio in 1939; it was his second marriage. They had met while performing a play together. 

    In June 1940, Lebeau and Dalio (who was Jewish) fled Paris ahead of the invading German Army and reached Lisbon. They are presumed to have received transit visas from [Portuguese consul] Aristides de Sousa Mendes, allowing them to enter Spain and journey on to Portugal. It took them two months to obtain visas to Chile.

    However, when their ship, the S.S. Quanza, stopped in Mexico, they were stranded, along with around 200 other passengers, when the Chilean visas they had purchased turned out to be forgeries. Eventually, they were able to get temporary Canadian passports and entered the United States.

    Lebeau's best moments in Casablanca are during the scene when French nationals sing "La Marseillaise", drowning out a group of German soldiers singing "Die Wacht am Rhein". 

    The camera captures the (genuine) tears on her face, and later at the end of the anthem when she cries out -

    Vive la France ! Vive la démocratie !

    Lebeau was the last surviving credited cast member of Casablanca.

    As for Marcel Dalio -

    The advancing German Nazi army in occupied France used posters of his face as a representative of "a typical Jew". All other members of Dalio's family died in Nazi concentration camps.

    Ukraine Colors

    Now, Abq Jew knows that you, his loyal readers, know that Ukraine (of course) has its own national anthem, Ukraine Is Not Yet Lost.

    A wonderful, stirring, inspiring song. Which contains the lyrics "And we'll show that we, brothers, are of the Cossack nation!"  Which, to be honest, gave Abq Jew pause. And yet - yes, there were Jewish Cossacks. 

    In fact, Wikipedia tells us, there were Jewish Ukrainian Cossacks. And -

    Of the different branches of Cossacks, the only one that documents allowing Jews into their society were the Cossacks of Ukraine.
    French Flag

    But Abq Jew will go out on a limb here and claim that "La Marseillaise" - yes, the French national anthem - has become the international hymn of freedom and resistance to tyranny. 

    In that spirit - and, especially, to lift the spirits of the people of Ukraine and those who support them - Abq Jew presents the most powerful performance he has ever heard.

    Performance by Mireille Mathieu at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in 1989 for its 100th anniversary. According to reports at the time, "Mathieu sang the anthem of France so grandly and shrewdly that tears welled up across the country, many patriotic citizens even needed medical treatment." Ten years later, she was awarded the Medal of the French Legion of Honor.

    Volodymyr Zelensky