Monday, September 30, 2013


Real link to post in which I first used this trick.  Creating fake link, then cancel it, to make "Compose" window accessible.
Don't know how this will format, but the usual crazy rules probably apply--I can't edit a post created in this manner because the cursor is "frozen"--I can only backspace and delete.

I noticed that, when I look at my posts in the New Post, Close window, the numbers of views given for any post don't necessarily make sense--how can I have no views on a post with six comments?!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Parashat B'reshit, 5774/2013 edition

Basics here.

Here's a link to a previous Parashat/Parshat B'reshit/B'reishit/Bereshit (whichever) post of mine, with links to previous ones by me and other folks.

My new thoughts for this year:

  • Given the knowledge available to the ancient author(s)--I'm speaking from a non-traditional perspective--they were actually surprisingly accurate in describing the creation of the world.  The creation story that appears first in this parashah (weekly Torah reading) says that both water creatures and birds preceded humans.  Those of us who accept the theory of evolution assert that all life on earth started in the oceans, and also, that birds are the only direct living descendants of the dinosaurs.
  • I've changed my mind about Adam having been intersex (androgynous/having both male and female sex organs):  Once HaShem creates Adam as both male and female, everything HaShem says to them is in the plural.  Adam is not one intersex being, but, rather, the (first male and female of the) human race.
  • The creation story that appears second in this parashah (beginning with chapter 2, verse 4) which is, according to my husband, actually an older story derived from Babylonian mythology, is completely human-centric and not particularly concerned about the rest of creation.  It is an attempt to explain why females have painful childbirth, why, after the fact in an already-patriarchal society, women are subservient to men, why men have to work for a living, and, in passing, why the snake is one of the few land animals that has no legs.  In addition, it presents the descendants of Kayin/Cain as archetypes:  Yaval as the father of cattle herders, Yuval the father of musicians; Tuval-Kayin the father of metal smiths.  Also noteworthy is not only the fact that the now-male Adam and his wife Chavah/Eve don't become aware of their sexuality until after eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, but also the fact that they first show signs of human ingenuity thereafter, manipulating the material available to them--fig leaves--to create something original--clothing--for the first time.
  • An attempt is made at the end of the story that appears second to knit both stories together:  Shet/Seth is born and is described as a replacement for the murdered Hevel/Abel.  However, with the continuation, beginning with chapter 5, of the interrupted "evolution" story, the birth of Shet is mentioned again, but the story of Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden), the snake, and Kayin and Hevel simply vanish from Parashat B'reshit, never to reappear.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Up on the rooftop, quick, quick, quick . . .

Testing Heck of a way to write a blog post--start out by inserting a link, then cancel the link and the "Compose" window remains accessible.

Can't edit--I can't go back to anything written above.  Oh, well.

Ahem, as I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself, it wouldn't do me much good to go "down through the chimney," with or without old Saint Nick--my employer's sukkah is on the roof, so "up in the elevator" is more like it.  I had about 10 minutes to eat my last official meal in a sukkah for this year before they closed the office for Shemini Atzeret, so I made it fast:  part of a gluten-free oat roll, 1 mozzarella cheese stick, and a couple of gluten-free cookies, topped off with Birkat HaMazon/Grace After Meals and a quick return to my office lest the security guard accidentally lock me out on the roof!  Pardon any errors--I can't make any corrections except by backspacing and deleting, as the cursor is semi-frozen in "forward-only" mode.  Chag Sameach, all!Stumbled on this "work-around" by accident.

Shemini Atzeret begins at sundown: Chag Sameach!

I'm not a "cheap date" anymore :(

No longer can my husband and I share appetizers and desserts.

What did I, or any other person with gluten intolerance, do to deserve this?  Not only is this not just deserts, it's also not just desserts--no more pasta, pizza, pita, laffa, matzah balls, muffins, crackers, croissants, blintzes, bourekas, bagels, lukshen kugels, coucous, kreplach/dumplings/wontons, noodles and oodles of other yummy foods.

Wish me luck readjusting my entire diet.  Since it's almost impossible to find gluten-free versions of any of the above in restaurants, I guess I'll never have lasagna again unless I--gasp!--learn how to cook.  Can anyone recommend a good kosher and gluten-free cookbook, especially one for rank beginners?  When it comes to cuisine, I'm pretty green, as you may recollect.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Two divas and a referee

Our regular cantor wanted to lead both the Shacharit and Musaf services.  Our guest cantor wanted to lead both the Shacharit and Musaf services.  My poor husband, as "acting rabbi" (for lack of a better description), ended up stuck in the middle.  'Twas not his favorite kind of sandwich.  :( 
Sof davar/end of story:  The guest cantor led Musaf.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Renovation news: Chaos reigns, as usual

"Gingi," the red-headed kitchen, is as complete as she's going to get until we recover sufficiently financially from the cost of the basic renovations to buy a kitchen island to replace the table--since the kitchen is a bit small to eat in anyway, we'd rather have more storage space that we can both reach without using a stepladder.  We chose a mostly-white tile back-splash--when I have a spare minute, I'll post an updated photo--because we figured that, with a multicolored floor and counter-top, if we put any more colors up there, the kitchen would look like Joseph's Technicolor Dreamcoat.  :)

I'm sorry to say that, when I finally took the urn out of the breakfront and put it on the counter-top, I was dismayed to discover that I'd lost the wire with which to plug it in.  The Punster thinks that it got thrown out by accident during the construction confusion.  So, unless we do a quick shopping trip tomorrow, we still won't have hot water for tea this Shabbat/Sabbath.  Oy.  [October 1, 2013 update:  Found the wire!]

On the plus side, the bathroom is now almost complete, I'm happy to report.

We may need to bring back the granite folks, though--they finally sealed the granite counter-top in the kitchen after two months (!), but the counter-top still shows water stains.  !#$%^&!!!  And the dishwasher is showing an "error" message, so we'll have to figure that out between or after the upcoming  Chagim/Major Holidays (Sukkot [which begins tomorrow at sundown], Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah.)

Speaking of Sukkot beginning tomorrow night, can anyone give us a hand with "Yom-Tov mode" oven timer programming?  My husband, who's the more technically-adept of us, can't figure out how to program the oven to turn on the day after he sets the timer.  Assistance would be appreciated.

Sukkot primer (repost)

See here for the basics.

See my FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2012 post for the details.

Title of new recording:"Sex, Drugs, Money, Guns":(

Is anyone surprised that there was shooting at this recording's release party?

The older I get, the better I understand the decision of some of our more right-wing co-religionists to avoid almost all modern popular culture.  Are these the things that contemporary pop music and culture are about?  Seriously, what has happened to communal values?  With no apologies to the late Michael Jackson--a talented man, to be sure, but with some serious, um, quirks--when, and, for that matter, why, did it become acceptable for a person to grab his (or her) crotch in public at all, much less in performances attended by hundreds of people and on videos seen by millions?  Why on earth did Madonna go prancing around the stage in a bra and crucifix, thus showing public disrespect for her own religion?  Why did kd lang bother wearing a shirt, when it was unbuttoned so far down that her entire bra was visible?  When, and why, did twerking becoming acceptable behavior for a nationwide (and international?) telecast?  Compare the clothing worn by entertainers these days to the gown worn by the recently-deceased singer Eydie Gorme in the video linked here--it's so high-cut that she could have passed for Orthodox in some of the more "Modern" synagogues.

Entertainers certainly aren't the only ones.  What about the general public?  When, and why, did it become acceptable for woman to wear low-cut clothing to work (and even synagogue?) and for men to wear shorts so short, or pants slung so low, that their underwear shows?  What about guys who wear pants so tight . . . (words only--no visuals).  Once upon a time, one could spot a prostitute by the way she was dressed.  No more--nowadays, so many people wear what Robert Avrech has ever so delicately dubbed "slut-wear" that it's hard to tell the difference.  Sigh.  Been there, blogged that.  (I recommend that you click on the links, including the ones in the comments.)

And whatever happened to being neatly dressed?  As recently as when our grad-school-student son was a kid, no one would have been caught dead in public wearing torn clothing or clothing with holes in it.  I put plenty of iron-on patches on the knees of our son's pants (and often had to stitch them a bit anyway because they peeled off around the edges).  Nowadays, clothing manufacturers deliberately rip jeans, and wearers go around looking threadbare.  Why would anyone want to look like a literally poor slob?  When did poverty and/or a slovenly appearance become goals to aim for?

Sadly, I haven't even gotten to the "drugs, money, guns" part.  Haven't we had enough shootings, lately?  When did drugs and guns become something to sing about?  As for money,it's certainly nice to have, but it has its limitations.  The Beatles may have said it best:  "Money can't buy me love."

I just don't get it.

Wish me good luck trying to sleep off a cold . . .

with a couple of construction guys drilling in the bathroom.  We had hoped that the renovations would be completed before Rosh HaShanah.  Oh, well.

Monday, September 16, 2013

An interesting discussion on DovBear's blog

See here.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Down for the count on Erev Yom Kippur :(

Yesterday, my nose was running so much that I needed to grab a tissue every time I bent down.  Last night, I was coughing my fool head off, which made sleeping quite a challenge.  Best guess:  I think I have the flu.  :(  I'll either get to a doctor today or not, but, either way, I don't know whether I'll be able to fast in this condition.  I wish everyone else an easy and meaningful fast.  G'mar Tov (roughly, may you be sealed in the Book of Life).

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

" . . . mi va-eish (who by fire) . . . "

Every time I hear those words in the U-n'taneh Tokef prayer--" . . . who will live and who will die . . ."-- on the Yamim Noraim/Days of Awe (High Holidays/High Holy Days), I'm reminded of how close I came to losing my sister on what we Americans simply call "9/11," September 11, 2001.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Four new posts, as promised

I can publish posts a lot more quickly when they're already 90% written in e-mails--just copy, paste, and add the links.

An unexpected dividend

You may remember that our local Conservative synagogue finally went egalitarian about two and a half months ago.  The first woman to have an aliyah on a regular Shabbat (Sabbath)--a woman easily old enough to be my mother--surprised me some when she put on a tallit before having her aliyah.  The following Shabbat, another woman who had an aliyah, following her example, did likewise.  A Shabbat or two later, a third woman went up for an aliyah, and Olah Number One insisted that a tallit be brought from the rack to the reading stand for her.
When the Ritual Committee voted to have our synagogue go egalitarian, we never made a ruling requiring women to wear a tallit when having an aliyah.  The precedent was set by the women themselves.
The next surprise was that a couple of the women who'd had aliyot stopped taking off the tallitot after their aliyot, and began wearing tallitot as a matter of course, from the beginning of the service.
The biggest surprise of all, though, occurred when Olah Number One showed up in shul one Shabbat morning a few weeks ago wearing her own tallit.  After having usually been the shul's lone female tallit wearer for more than a quarter of a century, I was tickled to see someone else leading the way.

Happy Landings

It's official, folks--the ancient elevator in our apartment building is now being replaced, and all residents who live above the first floor will be tromping up the stairs for at least the next six weeks.  Fortunately for us, we've done this every Shabbat (Sabbath) and Yom Tov (major Jewish holiday) for years, so we're used to it, though I'll grant you that I find it harder while wearing my usual weekday backpack.  Also fortunately, the management office has parked a folding chair on every landing.  This may prove helpful to my poor husband, who's going to be stuck not only replacing the laundry cart with a bag of dirty clothes thrown over his shoulder like a Continental soldier (hear here), but, far worse, figuring out how to haul a wheeled case full of textbooks and papers (for the college classes that he teaches) down and back up the stairs four days and/or nights every week until the new elevator is installed and inspected.  Methinks he's going to get quite a work-out.

Too costly, either way

You can go to Fairway and get a bag of six challah rolls for about $4--each roll weighs in at about 170 calories.  Or you spent roughly a whopping $7 for a bag of six gluten-free oat rolls found in the frozen-foods section of Seasons kosher supermarket on the Upper West Side of Manhattan--I don't know whether they're available at other branches of Seasons--and be dismayed to discover that each roll weighs in at roughly a whopping 230 calories.  The wheat-intolerant fellow congregant who kindly gave me a box of spelt matzah (before I realized that I couldn't tolerate spelt, either) had warned me that gluten-free bakeries try to compensate for the lack of gluten by using tons of fat in their products, and boy, was he right!  So now I'm faced with a dilemma--I can't eat a whole gluten-free oat roll because it's too fattening, and I hate to throw out part of one because it's so expensive!  Does anyone have a good recipe for gluten-free-oat-roll-based bread pudding?

Raised speaking Spanish? I'm not so sure

An obituary for singer Eydie Gorme has been posted on our synagogue bulletin board for weeks, and I keep being bothered by one detail--why does this obituary and others say that Edith Garmezano's parents spoke Spanish and English at home?  If her Sefardic father was from Sicily and her Sefardic mother from Turkey, how likely is it that either one grew up speaking Spanish?  Isn't it more likely that young Edith grew up speaking Ladino, and learned Spanish in school?

4 posts written & waiting--be patient, please

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Shanah Tovah

Best  wishes for a happy and healthy new year.

[My first Android post, just in time for this new start.   First assignment for next year--figure
out how to copy from e-mail instead of typing (and retyping) on this tiny keyboard.]

Monday, September 02, 2013

Double trouble

I can't eat white potatoes because they aggravate my gout, giving me severe pain in the big toe, and I can't eat bread, noodles, pasta, or pizza because I'm gluten-intolerant.  Well, just about every restaurant serves bread and white potatoes, but I'm learning the hard way that far fewer restaurants serve rice.  Looks like there'll be many occasions when rice pudding will be the only "starch" on a restaurant menu that I can eat. Fortunately, my lactose intolerance isn't too severe--I can still handle moderate amounts of  (preferably low-fat) dairy.  Just forget about butter, cream cheese, sour cream, and whipped cream.

The good news is that I can still eat one scoop of ice cream (but not two).  I'm counting my blessings.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Yes, Virginia, some very nice folks live in NYC

Posted on the bulletin board in the lobby of our apartment building:
"To all our neighbors:
We are available on [one day of the week] from 9:00 am-10:30 am to carry items (like groceries) to your apartment while the elevator is being renovated.  Please leave a note under our door with your phone number or email address and what kind of help you need.
[Her & Him
Apt." X"]"

Bagels & cream cheese with lox: I'm down to 1 out of the 3

While everyone else at shul (synagogue) was chowing down on the above, Ms. Lactose-Intolerant and Gluten-Intolerant here had to content herself with lox on Rice Thins with nothing but a slice of tomato.  I regret to inform you that a slice or two of smoked fish without the usual accompaniments is not very filling at all.  I went home hungry.  Oh, well, that's what our 'fridge is for.

Gastroscopy test results show no shows of Celiac

The gastroscopy test that I took this past Friday at my gastroenterologist's office shows no sign of Celiac Disease.  (They put you on a very light version of anesthesia ["twilight sleep"] that knocks you out for only about 45 minutes, then quite literally stick a camera down your throat and take photos of your intestines.)  Since I've been avoiding wheat on weekdays for years (staying away from baked goods to keep what's left of my figure), and since I've nearly eliminated gluten from my diet in recent weeks, I don't know how reliable that result is, but, in any case, it's clear that going gluten-free (or close to it) helps keep me from spending excessive amounts of time in the Ladies Room.

Between the holidays and some crazy deadlines at the office, I'll have to wait until October to be tested for Crohn's Disease.
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