Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I received news of the passing of a cousin last night. We had met just 7 years ago through a geneology search that was really the result of a chance happening. The search produced a long lost branch of my family. And for the last 7 years the members of this branch have been emailing to me and so many of my family almost daily. My cousin, Craig, hailed from Madison, Wisconsin and proved to be a very funny guy, a wonderful photographer, a very active advocate for the disabled, all the while battling many medical conditions on all fronts.

When Craig's son was to be married in New Hampshire a few years ago, he asked if we would come to the wedding since we lived in Connecticut at the time. We, along with some Massachusetts cousins, jumped at the chance to meet him and his family. What a wonderful time we had, not only meeting him but several members of this "new" branch.

Despite his medical issues, Craig's resilience, indomitable spirit, perseverance, and optimistic outlook resonated with everyone. He always looked at the glass as being half full. No matter how things were going, he always ended his emails with the idea that "life is good and he was still cuddly and studly." His emails were full of interesting information, commentary on all sorts of things, wonderful photographs chronicling his city of Madison (which is beautiful) and generally keeping us all informed about so many things.

In sending my condolences to the group email, I was astonished and saddened to find out that another cousin's wife, had passed away in July. Everyone on the group email list has different groupings and somehow I had not received that email.

And so, the tears are flowing today. Sometimes it's just a hard day.

Monday, October 26, 2009


There is an ad on TV begging for people to let the government know we don't want a tax on juice drinks and soda. Notice what the two specific drinks are? Juice drinks. Not fruit juice. And soda???? The spokesperson in the ad is a young mother. She says she's been taxed enough so please don't tax sodas and juice drinks.

A juice drink has, literally, no nutritional value, very little actual juice (picture a piece of fruit being waved over the bottle), loaded with sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup and other stuff not suitable for healthy consumption. And soda???? Lots of nutrition there.

How stupid to portray a parent who couldn't care less for the health of her children. The ad simply screams: Please save my pennies so I can buy my kids sodas so their teeth can rot, they can develop diabetes, and get fat from the sugar. I need to buy them fake juice drinks for the same reasons.

How creepy this is!!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


The HuffPost headline reads, "AP Asks If Obama Is "Obnoxiously Articulate."

Jeezzzzzzzzz, really? Obnoxiously ARTICULATE??? After listening to "Samurai George" for eight of the longest years of my life, slash, jab, thrust and quickly kill the English language by eliminating normal syntax and deep intellectual thought and replacing it with garbled goobledegook designed to obfuscate and mislead, it is a breath of fresh air and a reawakening of the long dead brain cells which had been so imbedded in the political atmosphere.

At last we have an intelligent, ARTICULATE, thoughtful individual in the White House who can speak eloquently, with great knowledge who has brought back a sense of pride to the office of POTUS. He speaks with the proof that he actually LISTENED in school.

AP, get over it!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


My mother, of blessed memory, was one of those people who "made do" with very little. But she was incredibly intelligent and imbued with a deep sense of "Tikkun Olam," healing the world.

For as long as I can remember, she was always involved with organizations which helped people. When I was a child, I remember our doorbell ringing, some men in black coats and hats standing downstairs and mom going down to talk to them. Subsequently, she was on the phone for what seemed like hours, making many calls and finally, after the last call, hanging up with a satisfied look on her face. When I asked what that was all about, she merely shrugged and said that she was able to "get something for someone." This happened many, many times.

As the years went by, I noticed that she would be on the telephone asking about furniture, groceries, monetary help, rental apartments, jobs, etc. and where she could acquire such items. What I didn't know and learned about or figured out many years later was that my mother was a one-woman resettlement agent for refugees from the Holocaust. And she did this on her own, utilizing the connections she had made through her volunteer work. No one could say "no" to Fannie. It was years later that it dawned on me that neighbors who had lived downstairs from us were survivors. She and they never said a word.

As a teenager (yes, before cell phones) I could not talk on the phone at night because she was always on it, listening for hours to tales of woe from her friends. And she would dispense advice much like the Dear Abby columns of today. And it wasn't always advice. Sometimes she would be able to find money or groceries for them to tide them over when things were tough. So many times she would say to me, with that twinkle in her eye, "If I hung out a shingle I could make a lot of money doing this."

All these things she did for others were, for the most part, done anonymously. She vigorously guarded her privacy and would not allow her name to be used in connection with any of these "good works." However, one day a certificate of appreciation came in the mail from a prominent Boston Jewish organization with her name emblazoned on it, along with a wonderful letter praising her. As she read the letter, I saw my mother gasp and her face blushed into a deep red. She was totally embarrassed by the recognition. She had been invited to the luncheon where these were given out and she had elected not to go and be publicly acknowledged.

While doing all these things, she worked full time as an Executive Secretary at our local Jewish Community Center, a non-profit offering no benefits (except that the building was right next door to our house) and not a lot of money. She was friends with everyone who walked through those doors, adults and children alike.

My mother never talked to me about the work she did. I just observed her actions and only really understood the enormity of her wonderful work long after I left the house. She is an inspiration to me and is the exemplar of the spirit of Maimonides' eighth degree of tzedakah.