Some Thoughts And Reflections During The Jewish New Year

“God gave us the gift of life.  We don’t need any more.”–Allan Sherman from The Rape of APE

Another year has passed.  To the Jews, the coming of the harvest during the closest new moon marks the beginning of another year.  It is not surprising that the festival, Rosh Hashanah(literally, the head of the year) is one of the most sacred to the Jews, and, indeed, has implications for all.  The Jewish New Year is more than the turning of the calendar, it is a time to reflect on what has been and to recognize one’s actions.  For me the previous year was truly “laden with happiness and tears”.  I lost my Mom on June 21, one week after her 90th birthday.  But, in the loss, my Dad and I formed a stronger bond.  “We will get through this together”.  Nevertheless, I was forced to face a new emptiness:   For the first time, I went to Oregon without either of my parents, surrounded by family portraits.  It wasn’t easy.  Towards the end of summer, I lost my dear friend, Don Donegan, who had been Chair of the Board of Directors of Medford Education International and had taught me much of what I know about business.  His home was Black Oaks, located on a beautiful stretch of the Rogue River.  I made many a trip to visit him on Pine Gate Way amid a crowd of llamas.  Those visits are over.  However, there were also joys.   I made new friends through the Eagle Point Writer’s Critique Group.  I saw Warm Springs Falls for the first time and walked down the re-named T’lomikh Falls on the Rogue River.  Another year.

What follows are some miscellaneous and scattered thoughts that come from a troubled mind:

The term “religious” fanaticism is a strange one.  When we think about a Lewis Carroll fanatic, do we mean someone that takes joy in ripping up editions of Alice in Wonderland?  Hardly.  Does a Beethoven fanatic spend time recklessly destroying CDs of Beethoven’s symphonies?  Absolutely not.  Yet, the people we often call “religious” fanatics, go about gleefully destroying God’s creations.  Does that make any sense?  Wouldn’t a religious fanatic weep when a new child was born,  kiss the trees,  or bless the stars, rejoicing in God’s creations, not destroying them?  I think so.  My belief is that there is a fanatically-oriented personality that grasps “religion”, which is often a dark mask for the groping hands of power.  By calling such charlatans “religious'” fanatics, we are often elevating criminals to a higher level.  We are, in some sense, giving validation to their nefarious deeds.  We know the power of words.  Human history has choked on them.  “Words are no shoddier than what they peddle.”  Beckett.  But when I witness the current atrocities in the Middle East, I am reminded of lines from Waiting from Godot:

Pozzo:  I am Pozzo!  Pozzo!  Does that name mean nothing to you?  I said does that name mean nothing to you?

Estragon:  I once knew a family called Gozzo.  The mother had “the clap”.

I will finish this post with lines from my dear friend, Sarah Seff Rolfe, taken from her poem, Quasars at Dacca:  “Earth, a tiny bead spinning in space, and still learning.”

May all of you enjoy a year of discovery, peace, understanding, and joy.

A Little Humor And A Little Wisdom

While I was doing my usual spring cleaning and dust was flying about, I found the following items:

1.  “You don’t have to worry about termites in Montana, they just freeze!”  –Elsie Birkholz

2.  “Cohen was a lovely husband, but he’s no good frozen.”  –Allan Sherman, “J.C. Cohen” from For Swingin’ Livers Only!

3.  The first words that a single mother’s child learns to say:  “Ma-ma”, “Mo-ney.”

4.  Russians are very proud that they don’t resemble Eastern or Western civilization!

5.  “A critic is a person who can turn something into nothing.”  –Hans Christian Andersen

6.  “A lifetime is more

than sufficiently long

for people to get what there is of it

wrong!”  –Piet Hein, from Grooks

7.  “The interesting thing is not actually reaching B, but in how one gets from A to B.”  –Don Juan, The Art of Seduction

8.  “The way to deal with something deadly serious is to try to treat it a little lightly.”  –Mrs Which, from Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time

What Is A Bubu?

In comedian Allan Sherman’s song, “Chim Chim Cheree”, (a clever satire of American advertising  based on a Sherman Brothers’ song from Mary Poppins) on the record My Name is Allan, the line “And I sharpen my bubu, and use it to shave” , causes peals of laughter from the audience, but does anyone know what a bubu is?IMG_4689