Monday, July 27, 2009


Tomorrow would have been Bubbie Channah's 86th birthday. We both have/had birthdays in July. This is my first July without my mother and my first July without phone calls at seven in the morning wishing each other a great wonderful year.

As I still mourn her death I also celebrate her life. She had a great life.

For those of you who don't know, in my mother's later years she became a junk food junkie! Honest! All those years of making us eat vegetables and balanced meals went right out the window the day she met Ronald.

It was love at first sight. She was seventy-four and I don't know how old he was. He didn't have one grey hair in his head of red curls. He was always smiling and happy to see her. She walked downtown every day to go meet him.

I didn't know if I was happy that they met every day, but the walk was wonderful for her. First she had to go down twenty stairs and then cross Ben Yehudah Street and then walk for between ten and fifteen minutes to get to his place.

After was always lunch, she would reverse her path and come home.

She always took her cell phone so I wouldn't worry. She was good about that.

Yes. My mother was addicted to McDonald's!

One day I went with her. Proud as punch, she passed the guard who checked everyone's purse but hers. He knew her, you see.

Then we would say hello to the group of four women who always showed up exactly at 11:00 every day for coffee and a chat. I think they were my mother's age, but they only spoke Hebrew and when they met me we sat for almost a half hour talking as I answered their many questions.
They were wonderful, interesting women who were frustrated that they couldn't sit and talk to Ma.

One day I walked up to the front to get our lunches and an elderly man approached my mother. He spoke with her for a few moments and then walked away.

When I returned to the table she told me that the man had asked her if she was all right. You see, he wasn't used to seeing her sitting there without anything in front of her. He was frightened that she was ill. Somehow she managed to convey to him that her daughter was with her and she was waiting for me.

Usually, when she walked in and approached the counter her food was already waiting for her on a tray. 'But I didn't order yet,' she said. 'Oh, madam. We know exactly what you want. You want a hamburger with the sauce from the Big Mac plus extra chips without salt and diet coke without ice cubes. You want mustard, extra napkins and a knife to cut your hamburger. And sometimes you order a chocolate fudge sundae for desert.

They knew my mom. They loved my mom. My mom was steady income for McDonald's.

I have a photo in my cell phone of Ma sitting in McDonald's happy happy happy.

So, tomorrow, if you don't mind. Go get a hamburger or some chips or a chocolate fudge sundae to toast my mom!

She would love that! Me too.


Have a great day...stay safe...and thanks for dropping in.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


When I was growing up in Windsor, my parents had a lot of expressions they used when trying to emphasize a point. For example, when my Dad handed me my first set of car keys, he said, 'These keys are like a gun and can kill just as easily.'

That was it! I never went over the speed limit...I never drank and drove ( I don't drink so that one was easy)...I never...I never...

But the biggie was this one from Bubbie Channah A'H. No matter what we did or what we wore or what we said this one loomed over our heads...'Ah Shandeh fahr die goyim!' A shame in front of the gentiles. What gentiles? Our neighbours? The people in school? ALL GOYIM. THE ENTIRE WORLD OF GOYIM...STRANGERS...NOT JEWS.


I understood where my parents were coming from. And, funnily enough, all my Jewish friends heard their parents say the very same thing. We had to be careful not to shame ourselves in front of strangers.

When Kennedy was killed...ohmygod!!! then, thank God it wasn't a Jew!
When Martin Luther King was killed...ohmygod!!! then, thank God it wasn't a Jew!

Why? Because over the centuries we learned that any spark could cause a riot or pogrom to burst into flames and then came Hitler...yimach sh'mo...may his name be erased forever. Then for sure we learned how to walk close to the buildings and try not to cast a shaddow.

Now, whether this feeling is valid or not doesn't make any difference. Every Jew watches out for ah shandeh fahr die goyim.

And now we have New Jersey! Are they out of their minds? What the hell is that all about? Mayors and Rabbis and important people and New Jersey and Israel and kidneys? Old Rabbis with long beards being hauled away? Rabbis in handcuffs? Are they out of their minds.?!?

Not bad enough we have to live with Madoff now we have the Rabbis? Didn't their mothers warn them about ah shandeh fahr die goyim?

I understand hatred. I live with it every day. Hatred is easy. It is in your face. You can't make a mistake. You know who your enemy is and you learn how to protect yourself.

But anti-Semitism is sneaky. It isn't in your face. You can make a mistake and since you don't know who your enemy is you don't know how to protect yourself.

I experienced two occasions of anti-Semitism in Windsor and didn't stick around for the third. The first was when I was a teen and we were all out canvassing for World Child's Day. A young mother and her little child came up to me where I was standing on Oulette Avenue and came close to my face before she said, 'I don't support anything JEWISH!'

Jewish? World Child's Day? If I remember correctly it was part of a major program from the U.N. We didn't say World Jewish Children's Day....that, thank God, we always took care of privately by ourselves.

The second was even more interesting. Tenth grade. Walkerville High School. We were all gathered in the hall in front of our next class waiting for the bell and Mary Ann turned to me and smiling asked, 'Why do you Jews kill babies to make your bread for Passover?'


The hallway went deadly silent. Thank God, I had heard about the dead babies and blood and matzahs before so I wasn't struck dumb on the spot.

I replied something like are you out of your mind and who told you that stupid thing and why would you even believe something as dumb as that anyway?

The interesting thing was suddenly the football team gathered around me and when the bell rang they walked me into class.

Now you have to realize that that was almost forty years ago. Some things you never forget.

Want to know the best part of the Mary Ann story? Her full name is Mary Ann Martin and she is Paul Martin Sr.'s daughter and Paul Martin Jr.'s sister. And Paul Martin Jr. was Prime Minister of Canada!!! Wonder what other lovly things he learned in that house???

So now the Emperor is Naked. There we are all exposed in front of the world. And I think it is a collective shame. Am I my brother's keeper? I guess I am because I feel sick about this.

I wonder how long it will take before we hear the word Shylock? But, then again, maybe I am just over-reacting.

Bubbie Channah A'H had one more expression that was her litmus paper...'Is it good or bad for the Jews?'

Ma...I think this one is very bad for the Jews. Sorry Ma. Oy!

Shavuah tov...a sweet new week.

Have a great day...stay safe...and thanks for dropping in.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I love going abroad. I don't do it nearly enough, but whenever I do, I feel like a kid in Disneyland. Everything is so big, and so green, and so wet out there. And the people are all so tall. And they are all strangers. A person can hide well among tall strangers.

Not that I ever wanted to hide...what I mean is I can be annonymous--where you dont' have to talk and smile and be smart all the time. Where you can be alone with your thoughts and just watch mankind pass by and daydream and wonder about the people. Did you ever ride on a train and wonder about the families living in those houses you passed along the tracks? That kind of thing.

I did however want to be tall. All my life I wanted to be tall. Bubbie Channah A'H told me that her father told her that if God wanted people to be tall He would have made them a giraffe or a tree!

Honest! She told me. And when I asked her why my Zaidi would say that, she answered,'What was he going to tell his little daughter who was barely five feet tall? Besides, he wasn't so much taller himself.'

Where was I? Yes, abroad.

Whenever I get the chance to travel, I go 'home'...Canada/USA, where my family is. For me a vacation is the chance to reconnect with relatives and people I love so dearly.

Someplace in my heart I still yearn to get to Italy and Scotland. And I don't want to have to bump everyone off so that I don't feel guilty about not going to see them. Vey!

I wanted to go home this summer. But my DIL is expecting any minute now tfu tfu tfu and I promised I would move in with her and the kids for a week or two. She thinks I'm doing her a favour. The truth is how marvellous to be able to spend a week or two with my babies. We do have the best time.

So, khutz l'aretz got pushed back. I'm aiming for December. I'll let you know.

Why December? First of all I have had it up to here with the hot and hotter weather. I'm a Canadian for heaven's sake! Snow! Thunder storms! The Tunnel restaurant! Sigh.

I had these long conversations with myself trying to find a good time to get away. I thought when Bubbie Channah passed away I would be free to take off at a moment's notice and not have to worry about hurrying back ten days later just to make sure she is ok. (You have no idea how I wish I still had to worry about getting back to see how she is.)

Wanna know a secret? Every time I leave Jerusalem and go to Tel Aviv it is like leaving Windsor and going to Detroit. It's just across the way and a whole new world out there.

I always say that whoever lives in Tel Aviv deserves it! I let them fill in the blanks. But Tel Aviv has a lot going for it. And two days ago I decided to get the hell out of here and go sit on the beach and watch the water and write and relax.

I phoned my good friend Frances, who lives fifteen minutes away from Gordon and HaYarkon Streets on the boardwalk and three steps from the Mediterranean Sea, and made a date to meet her on the corner at 9:00 in the morning.

I left Jerusalem by bus at 7:30 and by the appointed time there I was shviting in the heat and mesmerized by the waves and the sound and the sand and the quiet.

Jerusalem is a tense city. For many reasons we have to be. And Tel Aviv is a whole new world. No one checked my one was guarding the LaLaLand Cafe...yup that's its name...and no one cared that we took up residence at one of the many tables in the sand.

I took my new MSI Wind mini 10 inch laptop and my external modum and put some extra money in my wallet and was all set for the day.

We sat in the sand on low tables and chairs. I don't remember the last time I dug my feet in the sand. How lovely. The entire area we were in was covered by huge umbrellas so we had the heat but not the direct sun. And there was a marvellous breeze coming off the Mediterranean.

And the sound of the waves and the children laughing and playing. We spent almost five hours sitting side-by-side writing and talking and drinking. And then it was time to leave.

How relaxing it is to watch and listen to the water. What a treat! Almost as good as being khutz l'aretz.

We are talking about doing it again soon. But next time we may go late afternoon and watch the sun set into the sea. And then have a nice dinner before I pack up and come back home to Jerusalem.

I always know when I am approaching Jerusalem. There is a change in the air the closer you get to the city. It is cooler and fresher and so very very welcoming. Ahhh Jerusalem. It is not an easy city to leave but it is sure a pleasure to come back to.

See, a vacation is only good because it is exactly that...a vacation. It has three parts...the planning...the doing...and the talking about it afterwards.

Thanks for letting me talk about it afterwards. If you want to join me just let me know. It's a big free wonderful beach out there. And all ours to be enjoyed.

Have a great day...stay safe...and thanks for dropping in.

Friday, July 17, 2009


When I was growing up, the only word we used to describe Negroes...that was what they were called way back when...was 'shvartzehs'. My parents and grandparents spoke a lot of Yiddish in the home and that was the yiddish word for 'blacks'.

It may not have been politically correct...but it was the only word in their language. Die Veisseh were the white people.

Our world was divided not between black and white...but rather between yidden and goyim...Jews and Gentiles.

July 1967...I was at my parents house in Windsor when the phone call came from my brother, David, in Detroit. 'Pa! Come get me! They're rioting all over the neighbourhood! Detroit is burning!'

Daddy hopped into the car and went to Detroit to rescue David and a couple of his friends and bring them back from their frat house to our place.

I had to get back to Detroit. Long story but I had to get back to Detroit. So, I hopped into my mustang and drove through the tunnel and on to the expressway. The sky was black with smoke. Huge burned pieces of debris and ash fell like wounded birds onto the expressway. It was terrifying.

The black community was rioting. The worse riots in Detroit history. I saw it. I drove through it. I was part of the people who were under curfew. The militia was called in and tanks rolled up and down the streets destroying the roads.

It took five days.

You have your blacks...and we have ours. No, our blacks don't come from Africa...mind you we do have a great community of Jews from that continent.

No, the people I am referring to have chosen to be black by the dress they wear. Black suits and shoes. Our shvartzehs are religious Jews and they are rioting.
As if Jerusalem didn't have enough problems!

My wonderful Jerusalem. They don't want a parking lot to be open downtown on Shabbat. They are protesting the arrest of a terrible lady who is suspected of abusing her young child.

So they are out in the street throwing stones and setting tires on fire and causing all sorts of trouble.

I will not discuss here right or wrong. I have my opinion. They have theirs.

But, here's what I think. You don't like something? Talk to your mayor...congressman...a good looking neighbour...the guy who runs the makolet. But, don't take things into your own hands. What the hell is wrong with you?

And, what about live and let live? My biggest problem with the religious community is that they want to be accepted in every name it they have a rule and a comment and a philosophy and a rabbi who can get his entire congregation out into the streets before the ink is dry on the page.

Ok, ok...freedom of speech. But that does not include burning, hurting our police and soldiers and throwing stones.

They're lucky. They're lucky because the rest of us...die veisseh are not amassing and picking up even bigger stones to throw at them from the other side of the street.

You don't want to park your car on Shabbat? Stay home! You don't want to eat in a restaurant? Stay home! You don't want to go the movies on Shabbat? Stay home!

The parking theatre is not in their neighbourhoods. So, maybe they should butt out of my business? Maybe, on Shabbat they should enjoy their cholent and their families and their day of rest.

I know...I know. Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish homeland. Jerusalem should not be like any other city in the world. Jerusalem does not have public transportation on the sabbath. Jerusalem is Jerusalem just because.

Bubbie Channah had a favourite joke. It went something like this: Bessie went with her beau, Sol to a baseball game for the very first time. All of a sudden the batter missed another pitch and started to walk to first plate. When Bessie asked what was going on, Sol said, 'That's Willie Mays. He got four balls and can walk to first base.' Bessie looked at her boyfriend, and then back at the baseball diamond. Then, standing up, she shouted at the top of her lungs, 'You walk proud Willie Mays! You got four balls! You walk proud!'

Whenever someone did anything spectacular in the family, my mother would get a twinkle in her eye and shout, 'You walk proud Willie Mays!'

I don't think my mother would be proud today of her fellow Jerusalemites. I know I'm not.

In my heart I am cheering for our mayor Nir Barkat. And hope he can juggle enough to keep Jerusalem both secular as well as religious.

Maybe I should Facebook him. 'You walk proud Nir Barkat!'

We'll see. If he manages to pull this white rabbit out of the black hat I just might send him a copy of this blog.

Shabbat shalom.

Have a great day...stay safe...and thanks for dropping in.

Who? What?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


I don't know who this man is...but what he says scares me a lot.

And as you can guess I agree with everything he says.

And have been saying something like that for a long time.

What is happening to the greatest country in the world baffles me.

Please look at this and let me know what you think...before it is taken off YouTube.

Someone once called George W. Bush Darth Vader...and was told that President Bush may be Darth Vader but who was The Emperor? The answer then was Vice President Cheyney. Obama is Darth Vader...who in the world is The Emperor? Someone is running the store and whoever it is is doing exactly what this man says.

(P.S. Thanks C. for sending me this video!)

Please scroll down and read and listen and then let me know what you think.
Have a great day...stay safe...and thanks for dropping in.

"He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself." Thomas Paine

Performance Sciences, Inc.
James W. Crafton
P.O. Box 190
Evergreen, CO 80437
Direct: 303.445.9062

Importance: High

I thought I better send this before they take this down. He needs to run for
Presdient and I'd definitely go for a rally in Washington, DC

This guy's video on you tube has been so popular that Obama called him
personally. He said that he was very disturbed with the video
and invited him to the White House. Obama also said he wanted the White
House to handle the Press and not to talk about the video or the White House
visit. That's interesting.

Watch it now. This may be the best six minutes invested in your future.
You may have to turn your Sound Control up some.