Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Two Words

In the past few weeks I have read a lot of advice about how to make changes in the New Year: how to keep a resolution; why you should never make a resolution; how to shed excess pounds and excess baggage; how to cleanse your body of toxins; how to bid farewell to toxic people.

Lots of advice is available to us; much of it good.

My two cents?

Two words:

Choose Joy.

I don’t mean hedonism nor selfishness.
We still must work for peace and justice - not to mention food on the table and a roof over our heads.

I am talking about an internal shift.
An attitude of gratitude? Yes.
The Golden Rule? Yes.
Generosity? Yes.
Engaging with the world well intentioned, with kindness and respect? Yes.

But in addition to those; even more than those, I urge you to choose joy.

This, from David Buskin and Robin Batteau, is the “Choose Joy” theme song. ;o)

Here’s to a Happy, Healthy - and Joyous New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

With Honor

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Their Music Is A Blessing

It was five years ago this month that Chuck and I first visited The National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts. It was a wonderful, powerful and influential experience for us. (I wrote about it here.) Right after that first visit I went in search of Yiddish music. That was how I discovered and fell in love with The Barry Sisters.

Born in the 1920s in the Bronx, New York, Clara and Minnie Bagelman began performing as children. They eventually took the stage names Claire and Merna Barry. First generation Jewish girls of Ashkenazi descent, they sang in Yiddish, Hebrew, English and other languages. They became international stars known as The Barry Sisters. They appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show sixteen times, so chances are good I saw them more than once. But unfortunately my strongest memories of that show are mostly of The Beatles, Topo Gigio and various comedians.

Claire and Merna have powerful, beautiful voices. Their singing can be haunting, moving, exhilarating and charming. Yes, some of the arrangements are certainly of an era and to some, may feel a little dated; a little campy; a little schmaltzy. But I grew up listening to Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Tony Mottola, Perry Como, Doris Day, Tony Bennett, Patti Page - - - you get the idea! So when I first heard The Barry Sisters, I was an immediate fan.

The photo above is one of my favorites. It was used on their album “Their Greatest Yiddish Hits”. That was the album that drew me in. You can still find many reissued and compilation albums for The Barry Sisters on Amazon and elsewhere.

Sadly, Merna died in 1976. She was only 51 years of age.
Her sister Claire died last Monday. She was 94.
Zichrona liveracha ~ May their memories be a blessing.

The Jewish Daily Forward published a nice write-up about Claire’s passing.

Here is Claire’s more comprehensive obituary from the Music section of The New York Times.

And here is Merna’s 1976 obituary, also from The New York Times.

Aleha hashalom ~ Peace be upon them

This is one of my favorite songs by The Barry Sisters...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bigger Than Ferguson

Tonight's protests are not just about Mike Brown, Darren Wilson, the grand jury, Robert McCulloch and Ferguson, Missouri.
The roots of this distress are old; they run deep and wide.

I feel the echoes of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, the protests against the Vietnam War.

I also feel the rumblings of the more recent Citizens United and Voting Rights Act decisions in the Supreme Court.

As Michael Brown's parents wrote: "We respectfully ask that you please keep your protests peaceful. Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction. Let's not just make noise, let's make a difference."

May these protests be peaceful.

May good come from these actions.

With the internet there is the opportunity to communicate and organize. The Ferguson National Response Network is just one example.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

John Fitzgerald Kennedy
May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963

May he always be an inspiration; may he always spur us to action.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

With Honor & Humble Gratitude

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month...

“On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us re-consecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Presidential Proclamation

Honoring all who served

Honoring all who were wounded 

Honoring all who gave their lives

You stood in our stead
You stood for our country, for our constitution

You stood for our freedom, for our liberty

You have our gratitude, our respect, our memory

We pledge our service, our advocacy, our work for peace…

Dad ~ 1942

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election Day! What To Wear...

We can wear an evening gown or PJs with Bunny Slippers! Voting is what matters!

Live your values.
Love your country.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

ALS, Ice and Israel

With all the discussion about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and the Ice Bucket Challenge, I wanted to share some encouraging news. In 2011, BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics of Israel and Hadassah Hospital in Israel treated a patient who had ALS with a new autologous stem cell technology called Nurown. The 75 year old patient, Rabbi Refael Shmulevitz, improved!

As of April 2014, a US Patent was granted and, pending FDA approval, Brainstorm plans to hold Phase II clinical trials at Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Massachusetts Memorial Hospital and the Mayo Clinic. It's possible that this type of treatment could also help folks with Parkinson's and Multiple Sclerosis. So whether you are dumping ice water on your head or writing a check, progress is being made!

Monday, August 11, 2014


On Suicide” was written by Jennifer Michael Hecht and posted on January 11, 2010.
I refer to it simply as “Stay”.
It is one of the most poignant, powerful, passionate and compassionate messages I have ever read against suicide. She wrote it after the suicides of two friends.

Because Robin Williams committed suicide within the last 24 hours, I felt compelled to post excerpts from Ms. Hecht’s post here:

“So I want to say this, and forgive me the strangeness of it.  Don’t kill yourself.  Life has always been almost too hard to bear, for a lot of the people, a lot of the time.  It’s awful.  But it isn’t too hard to bear, it’s only almost too hard to bear.”

“...if you are even a tiny bit staying alive for the sake of the community, as a favor to the rest of us, I need to make it clear to you that we are grateful that you stay.  I am grateful that you stay alive.”

“The truth is I want you to live for your sake, not for ours.  But the injunction is true and real.  Anyway, some part of you doesn’t want to end it all, and I’m talking to her or him, to that part of you.  I’m throwing you a rope, you don’t have to explain it to the monster in you, just tell the monster it can do whatever it wants, but not that.  Later we’ll get rid of the monster, for now just hang on to the rope.”

I want very much to publish Ms. Hecht’s full article, but I do not own the rights. So I urge you to go to her original post and read it in its entirety. “On Suicide

Then print it out and hang onto it. You may never need to read it again yourself. But if you ever do or if you want to give a copy to a friend, you will be relieved you have it to hand.

Thank you Jennifer Michael Hecht. We are so grateful you have stayed and that you wrote this...

Robin Williams

He inspired me, taught me much and always made me laugh.

Monday, April 28, 2014


It has been two years since my sister Karen's death. We all miss her. Our 90 year old mother grieves and wonders how she could still be here, while her eldest child is gone. I can give her no answers. All I can do is acknowledge our loss and remind her of the happy memories; the laughter shared.
Zichrona liveracha ~ Her memory is a blessing...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

U2 on the Couch

The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon launched yesterday and it was fantastic!
As I Tweeted last night: "Jimmy Fallon could have done a Mic Drop at the end of the show and retired! Thank Heavens he didn't!"
This moment was one of many exceptionally fine ones.

Or go here to watch the video: U2 On Jimmy Fallon - Ordinary Love

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Ladies and Gentlemen!
Start Your Engines!

I'd be happy to mention what number storm this is for this winter.
But I lost count a long time ago!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I love this song.
I really like this video.

And in case you missed a highlight of a particularly good Grammy Awards Show, here is the marvelous Carole King performing with Sara Bareilles!

Thank you Carole King!

Thank you Sara Bareilles!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Layout and paper by LMR/Pink Granite. Software: Apple iPhoto ‘08 & Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Mac. Transparency: Street Grunge Scratch by Brandy Hackman. Texture: Grunge Textures 1 - Scratches/Grids by Lori Cook (both available from Scrap Girls). Font: Hypatia Sans Pro.

Happy Birthday Gail!

”Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Gail
Happy Birthday to you -
and many more!

Today is my sister Gail’s birthday!
Enjoy every minute Gail!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Glenn Murphy, Oisin O’Callaghan & Ronan Scolard

University College Dublin brought Glenn Murphy from Waterford, Oisin O’Callaghan from Cork & Ronan Scolard from Dublin, Ireland together. They have exquisite harmonies and strong voices. And they have created lovely arrangements. Enjoy!

I’ll Be There For You

500 Miles

When Somebody Loved Me