Some thoughts

As of now its in the middle of a identity crisis, I am not sure which way its headed.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

"Ugly Americans"

Browsing the news today, I came across two articles about rude tourists who are compared to "rude ugly Americans.

One was about horeds of cheap Chinamen overrunning Thailand, the other about our dear British cousins who overrun Prague and the like with cheap stag parties.

Something tells me the Canadians are behind this latest subliminal America bashing.

*******

A small though we spoke about last night after our third drink staring at the candle on our table.

While the flame tries to return to its source, always trying to go higher, its the wicks job to keep it in tuned with what needs to be done, and to keep it from flying away above, where there would be no light from it above, as it would be consumed in its source, and there would be no light below as the wick would lose its soul.

Its the same thing with us down here on this world, our bodies the wick, the soul our flame. Just as with the candle, we must recognize that we are here on this world for one reason only, to give light.

Happy Chanukah.


"All I want is freedom, a world with no more night"

Monday, December 26, 2005

Chanukah

Its that time of year again, a time usually busy with parties or sharing the light with others. A time that while the weather may be cold and dark outside, we fill the house, ourselves and the world with light.

Although its only the second night, I feel kind of lost.

In years past I spent Chanukah on army bases near Chevron. Went around Paris giving out menorahs, and popping into parties. And spend a Chanukah in Belgium doing more less the same thing.

This year however for the first time in seven years I am home, having just returned from ten days in the big easy, doing the same things I would usually do on Chanukah; Try to spread some yiddishkeit, drink with my fellow Jews, sing the nights away, go thru places that looked like war zones, and in general keep busy doing good things.

So while I sit here bored by my computer, tying to figure out what I should be doing with myself for the next week, I cant help but wonder if for me, this year Chanukah came a week early.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Orleans Update

Monday, first day of real work.

After spending Sunday picking everyone up from the airport, and getting things ready, Monday was our first day of work.

The cars left to the work zones after breakfast at about 9:30, the main group went to the main Shul of New Orleans that had sat for three weeks with eight feet of water. The goal was to round up all the siforim from the whole shul to be brought to the cemetery and buried on Tuesday, while some were filling up the wheel barrels with waterlogged and moldy siforim, others were taking out the carpet from the main sanctuary.

Like most of New Orleans, the entire shul was covered with a coating of mud and mold, sitting in one of the deserted hallways in the trash was a picture of what the shul used to look like, what was once bright, clean and lively, now sat deserted and dirty and unsure of its future.

While cleaning out the sanctuary, one of the students found a Sefer Torah. All that was left was the mantle, the Atzey Chaim, and a bit of ruined wet parchment. It was raised with reverence, and placed in the trailer together with the few thousand books already there.
When the work was finished at the shul, the trailer was brought to the cemetery, where we offloaded it to be buried tomorrow.

A second group was busy doing demolition work on the water logged walls and floors of the home of an older Jewish couple, the man from Budapest, and the woman from Israel. They had only gotten three feet of water in their house.

A third group was busy painting a Local Charter school, so that it should be ready for the next semester.

The one word everyone could find to describe this, is surreal. Its hard to look around at the utter destruction, the waste, the neighborhoods where you don’t see another human. No cars, no life, you can just walk into the houses and site on the couch where the owners haven’t been back since the storm, and call it real.
Now I am sitting here in the chabad house, after having super that was catered by a Persian member of the community who owns a restaurant in the French quarter, while the student watch a video on the hurricane. I only have internet back at the house where I am staying so this will have to be uploaded later.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Regards from New Orleans

I was supposed to post this after shabbos, but was too busy.

Regards from New Orleans.

Sitting here on my friends laptop at 12:45 am, in the Chabad House here in the big easy, having just finished putting together welcome bags for the 50 odd students that are coming tomorrow, to spend a week here helping to clean out shuls and peoples houses, as part of the Chabad on Campus New Orleans rebuilding effort.

Shabbos here was very nice; it was the first shabbos minyan since the hurricane. At the meal by the Sholiach the guests were all telling their tales, as for some of them it was their first time getting together. We heard from one woman who left town four days after the storm hit, with her two dogs and three guns, another one told how she snuck in right when the water started going down, all in all it was quite interesting.

Driving from the airport on Friday morning, it was a weird sight. There were houses that looked as if they were rotting for years, some were being put back together, street are still being cleared of dibre and trash from houses that are being gutted. Every house has a color marking by the front door, showing which National Guard unit checked it, and if there were any dead bodied inside, the town still seems pretty dead with only about 30 percent of the resident around. Even with the mess, and the rebuilding you cant help but notice what a beautiful city this place is/was.

I will try to post more later, with some pics.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Hunter hill

Ok so I borrow that name from my brothers brother in law who used it to make fun of our premier ski "resort" here on the east coast. However truth be told its not that bad.

Having a season pass and my own pair of skis kind of makes it feel like I am skiing for free. Conditions on Sunday were gantz fine, it wasn't even bad for a Sunday. After having been up the night before drinking, it wasn't a bad day of skiing with only 3 1/2 hours of sleep. We even had a minyan for mincha afterwards. So far six ski days this season and counting.

I always wondered what the spam people are thinking when they send me th
e same piece of junk mail six times in one day. My current average of spam received is about 24 a day.

After having said all that, its time to finish planning this road trip I am taking my brothers on for their mid winter vacation.

My free drink offer is still on for this next pic.





Thursday, December 08, 2005

A diffrent type of view


Sitting here on the east cost, looking at some pictures of places where I have been, and the time I spent being there, had me thinking about where I am today.

I daven, I learn, I work a little, even manage to travel and ski a little. But almost all of it seems boring.

I miss being able to sit on top of the hill, look down, and feel accomplished, feel that I am serving a purpose, then the drinking, and the vacation seemed like vacation. Now it feels more like I go on vacation to do something.

I don't know, maybe I just miss the bullets flying around.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A room with a view

(Free drink to anyone who can tell me where this pic was taken)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Tables, Benches and floors

Being that I haven't posted in a while I will share some nonsense I thought up.

Dancing on the bench the other night, I noticed a few things.

There were some of us on the floor, others on the benches, some on the backs of the benches, and even some on the tables.

Dancing there, I wondered why couldn't we all just dance on the floor, and if not on the floor, then why not stick with the bench and keep off the tables.

Then I understood why we were dancing, we were dancing because we felt connected, so we had to get off the floor and leave our selfish selves behind. For some of us the bench was as high as we got, others reached the tables, the thing that we eat from.