Thursday, April 25, 2024

A Pillar of Fire

And A Goat: We are now cautiously and fearfully watching the antisemitism spreading through our country's universities - including UNM

Students, faculty, and administration. And it's not "just" about Israel  (as if that would be OK). It's very clearly about us. The Jews.

And yet we are enjoying Chol HaMoed Pesach - the holiday's intermediate days - and looking forward (see April 2022's What? Nachshon Again?) to the closing days next week. Abq Jew offers two things to think about.

1. Miracles Await Us

As Abq Jew mentioned a couple of weeks ago (see A Great White Horse), he has been rereading Winter's Tale, Mark Helprin's big, BIG "magic realism" novel of 1983.

Here is a quote from the book - about the Pillar of Fire that we Israelites followed in the desert - that reminds us to think BIG. G-d is with us.

Pillar of Fire

"Do you believe," Virginia asked, "that a pillar of fire actually rose in the desert?"

"No," Hardesty answered. "I don't believe that. I believe that the account of the pillar of fire was merely a metaphor, but for something so much greater and more powerful than just a pillar of fire, that the image, for all its beauty, doesn't even begin to do it justice."

2. Justice Will Come

One little goat - that Father bought for two zuzim - teaches us that actions have consequences. Chad Gadya is a light-hearted, playful song that reminds us that G-d rules the world.

Chad Gadya

,וְאָתָא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וְשָׁחַט לְמַלְאַךְ הַמָּוֶת
דְּשָׁחַט לְשׁוֹחֵט, דְּשָׁחַט לְתוֹרָא, דְּשָּׁתָה לְמַיָא
,דְּכָבָה לְנוּרָא, דְּשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא, דְּהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא
 דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאַָכְלָה לְגַדְיָא
,דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי
 חַד גַּדְיָא,חַד גַּדְיָא

Then the Holy One, Blessed be He,
came and slaughter​​​​​​ed the angel of death
who slaughter​​​​​​ed the butcher who slaughter​​​​​​ed the ox
that drank the water that put out the fire
that burned the stick that bit the dog
that bit the cat that ate the goat
that my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat.

Happy Passover

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

It's Pesach 5784!

Passover Is Almost Here: A time to gather with our friends and family, to celebrate our Holiday of Freedom. And freedom, we must realize, is never - ever - to be taken lightly.

Passover Table

Neither should friends and family be taken lightly. And yes, Abq Jew reiterates this especially in light of the hideous attack by the Islamic Republic of Iran on the State of Israel. As South African author Howard Feldman has noted:

Saturday Night

Saturday night? We haven't slept well - or hardly at all - since October 7th. Alas, there will be empty places at our Seder tables this year.

Let My People Go

And thus ,as we approach Passover 2024 / Pesach 5784, we carry on. In the now-famous words of every Jewish Bubbe and Zayde in the world:

Iron Dome

They tried to kill us.
They failed.
Let's eat!

And what would Passover be without videos? Abq Jew here thoughtfully provides three (3) of the classics. You're welcome!

1. Google Exodus: Best. Passover. Video. Ever.

2. Passover Rhapsody: Second. Best. Passover. Video. Ever.

3. The Passover Prank. Best. Passover. Prank. Video. Ever.

For parents who (especially) miss their kids on Pesach.
Who know that Skype is never enough.

And as the Seders approach, Abq Jew must (he must! he must!) take this opportunity to remind us all that Good News, Salvation and Comfort are just one (1) Pesach visitor away.

Echad Mi Yodaya
Tonight Could Be The Night!

At our Pesach seders
we Jews have been opening our doors to Elijah for thousands of years.

We still believe that Elijah the Prophet will return tonight
and announce the Coming of the Messiah.

When that happens, our first question will be:

Did Elijah remember to send out a press release?

If he did — you may learn the Good News in a few days or weeks.
But you can always hear about Salvation and Comfort at &
Your guide to Jewish life in Albuquerque and beyond

A Zissen Pesach, Albuquerque!
Chag Kasher veSameach, New Mexico!

Happy Passover

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Earthquake + Eclipse = ???

No Rapture + No Apocalypse: The BIG NEWS, of course, is about the Solar Eclipse of April 8, 2024. Which was like totally viewable over much of North America, but NOT in Albuquerque!

Nope! The Duke City averages about 372 sunny days per year. Which is one reason why Mr & Mrs Abq Jew love it here! But on Monday, it was cloudy.

But never mind! Here is what the eclipse looked like at totality. 

Solar Eclipse

Abq Jew must point out (he must! he must!) to all the amateur and professional photographers out there that no matter where on Earth you viewed it from or whose camera you used to get the shot, this is what the eclipse looked like at totality.

There was, alas, no Rapture recorded, at least as far as Abq Jew - who remained at home, on Earth, indoors - could tell.

Rapture Evangelicals

Which means that Abq Jew in all likelihood wasted $12.99 on the paperback edition (only $2.99 on Kindle!) of

Profit Rapture
How to Profit from the Coming Rapture
Getting Ahead When You're Left Behind

But maybe not. The first edition was published in 2008, but the wise advice it offers remains true today. And tomorrow. And even on Tuesday, April 23,when the Rapture is again on the schedule. 

Yes, that's the First Day of Passover, aka the Second Seder, which leaves us all wondering how many places to set at our table.

NJ Earthquake

And before the Eclipse and the Rapture, there was the Earthquake. The Great New York City Earthquake of April 5, 2024. Which, like oh so many "Great NYC" events, actually took place in New Jersey, the Garden State.

Please excuse Abq Jew (or not) - but he grew up in California, the Golden State. 4.8 on the Richter Scale is barely enough to waken you from a light nap. Hiding under the table? Standing in a doorway? Racing to an open area outside? Then let's talk.

So while we're getting ready for Passover, Lior Zaltzman of Kveller - who has written similar articles in the past - claims that 
Robin Williams’ Retelling of the Passover Story Is a Must-Watch     It's absolutely brilliant.

A lot of performances and videos deserve a place in your family’s Passover canon — they include Six13’s Passover sea shanty, The Prince of Egypt, and Jack Black’s rendition of Chad Gadya.

But I’m here today to propose a new addition to your family’s playlist: a Robin Williams retelling of the Passover story from his 2002 comedy special “Robin Williams Live on Broadway.”

It’s just two minutes long, but it’s so precise and so delightful, and Williams tells it with so much charisma. 

Williams, who passed away in 2014, once called himself an “honorary Jew” and even tweeted a picture of himself wearing a yarmulke shortly before he died, asking if he’d missed his true career calling as rabbi. 

This video certainly has us believing he would have made an awesome Jewish lay leader.

Pesach Taylor Swift

And if that isn't enough to get you and yours Pesachdik, Eliana Jordan of The Jewish Chronicle points us to this year's 

Taylor Swift Haggadah
The Unofficial Taylor Swift Haggadah

Which asks (and answers) such hotly engrossing questions as

Taylor Swift 4 Sons

So as long as we're talking about Passover and the Haggadah, let's talk about

Climate Change
Climate Change

Sunny Hostin of ABC's The View recently claimed - live, on air, to an audience of at least a few hundred - that Climate Change was the cause of The Great NYC Earthquake and The Total NA Solar Eclipse. 

And one more thing.
Cicadas: The Eleventh Plague of 2024
Just what we needed ....

UCONN 2024

The University of Connecticut cheerfully announces that
In 2024, 13-year Brood XIX, which is the largest of all periodical cicada broods, will co-emerge with 17-year Brood XIII; these two broods are adjacent (but not significantly overlapping) in north-central Illinois.

And furthermore proclaims

2024 is a special year for periodical cicadas:

  • For the first time since 2015 a 13-year brood will emerge in the same year as a 17-year brood.
  • For the first time since 1998 adjacent 13-and 17-year broods will emerge in the same year.
  • For the first time since 1803 Brood XIX and XIII will co-emerge.
  • You will be able to see all seven named periodical cicada species as adults in the same year, which will not happen again until 2037. You will not see all seven named species emerge in the state of Illinois again until 2041.
Purdue Basketball

And Purdue gloomily reminds us that
Cicadas aren’t a “Plague of Locusts.” In some areas people call cicadas locusts, but cicadas can’t eat crops like locusts. They only drink trees.

As we leave the happy, happy months of Adar Alef Adar Rishon Adar I and Adar Bet Adar Sheni Adar II, we begin the Month of Miracles: Datsun, as it was known to the ancients. 

Nissan Aries

Or, as we call it today, after our exile in Babylonia: Nissan.

Hamsa Blue

Actually - as we all know - none of the months, weeks, days, or nights since October 7th has been truly, deeply happy. Especially the nights. The news we receive has been terrible, and sometimes even worse. 

And yet we keep going.

Jews do not despair

Monday, April 1, 2024

A Great White Horse

Athansor: This winter (and even now, during New Mexico's windy days of spring) Abq Jew has been rereading Winter's Tale, Mark Helprin's big, BIG "magic realism" novel of 1983.


In which Athansor, a great white horse - the stuff of legends - gallops with Peter Lake through an imaginary New York, leaping impossible distances and effecting impossible escapes. It's a great story, and Mark Helprin's beautifully descriptive writing is such a pleasure to read. 

Andrews Sisters

For reasons that Abq Jew cannot even begin to explain, thinking about Winter's Tale started him to thinking about The Andrew Sisters, who had their first major hit with "Bei Mir Bistu Shein" - the world's "best-known and longest-reigning Yiddish theater song of all time" - in 1937.

Abq Jew can't remember anything anymore - he is ashamed to admit that he had to look up The Andrews Sisters to jog his memory on which one was Maxene, which one was Patty, and which one was LaVerne. 

So - for those of us who also can't recall the particulars of American Yiddish theater (Mr & Mrs Abq Jew once lived a stone's throw from Second Avenue, when the 2ND AVE DELI was on Second Avenue), Wikipedia reminds us:

"Bei Mir Bistu Shein" (Yiddish: בײַ מיר ביסטו שיין, "To Me You're Beautiful") is a popular Yiddish song written by lyricist Jacob Jacobs and composer Sholom Secunda for a 1932 Yiddish language comedy musical, I Would If I Could (in Yiddish, Men Ken Lebn Nor Men Lost Nisht, "You could live, but they don't let you"), which closed after one season at the Parkway Theatre in Brooklyn, New York City. 

Five years after its 1932 composition, English lyrics were written for the tune by Sammy Cahn and Saul Chaplin, and the English version of the song became a worldwide hit when recorded by The Andrews Sisters in November 1937.

Paddington Bear Station

Since 1937, everyone and his brother and sister and assorted other relatives has recorded his or her or their own versions of "Bei Mir Bistu Shein" - from The Barry Sisters to Bette Midler & Paul Simon to The Hot Sardines to Zoe & Cloyd.

And then there's The Bear Missed The Train, written and performed by the Smith Street Society Jazz Band sometime around 1964. 

Abq Jew recalls that Al "Jazzbo" Collins used it as the theme on his late night jazz show in San Francisco - which Abq Jew and his father, Richard W Yellin  z"l, listened to on their way home from Giants games at Candlestick Park.

Aliens in America Gothic

Speaking of Aliens in America (which Abq Jew acknowledges we were not), Abq Jew would like to take this opportunity to remind all of us that there are three (3) places in the United States of America where nearly everyone agrees aliens have landed.

Abq Jew
refers to (of course):

Ellis Island

Ellis Island, New York

Grover's Mill

Grover's Mill, New Jersey


Roswell, New Mexico

Abq Jew has visited Ellis Island many times - he is, after all (actually before all), a New Yorker. And the grandson of immigrants.

Intel Logo

And once upon a time, when Abq Jew was working on the Digital Video Interactive (DVI) project at Intel's PRO Princeton Operation (located in Plainsboro, but Princeton has more yichus), the team had a picnic lunch near the War of the Worlds historical marker down the road.

Abq Jew has visited New Mexico since 2001, owned a home here since 2008, lived here since 2010, and pleads nolo contendere to the charge that he has not yet made the opportunity to visit Roswell, right in his own backyard.

Which brings us to the Great Swiss Spaghetti Harvest of 1957, which Abq Jew remembers quite clearly. A mild winter and the virtual disappearance of pests like the spaghetti weevil had resulted in a bumper spaghetti crop in - of all places - Switzerland, otherwise known for its seafood.

I love Purim