Tuesday, January 31, 2006

How the Punk Rocker kept Chaim the Rocker frum

This American Life episode - June 25,2004

Act 1

That's Funny, You Don't Look Jewish. Chaim and Billy both lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, just blocks away from each other, in worlds that almost never collided. Chaim was a Hasidic Jew – he'd never heard pop music or watched MTV. Billy Campion, known as the rocker Vic Thrill, was the star of an underground band. Billy put Chaim, who took on the name Curly Oxide, into the band, and in just one year, he leapt from the 19th Century into the 21st. David Segal, rock critic for the Washington Post, reports. (39 minutes)

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Monday, January 30, 2006

Falk Zolf's story of his father's Slavita Shas

The Slavuta Talmud

Sabbath at night. Outside, the wind is blowing. Rain is falling. A willow tree taps with its thin branches against the window, as though it wanted someone to let it inside, to protect it from the cold and the rain. In mother’s house, the walls stand bare naked, like an orphaned child, who has no father and no mother. The rain lashed against it and the wind blew through it from all sides, and it was painful to see how it suffered. All the while, tears never ceased to flow from mother’s eyes. Only on Sabbath did her eyes rest from weeping, because one doesn’t dare to diminish that holy day with tears. But now, after sundown, with the grey week once more upon us, with hunger and need standing by our door, one was once more permitted to cry. She sat on the small bench facing the warm oven, peeling potatoes, because soon the children would be returning from synagogue, hungry as usual, and so she would fortify them with a warm potato, they should have the strength to fall asleep.
Father was now more uneasy than ever. He paced back and forth in the house, this way and that way. His high, scholarly brow was creased with furrows. It was clear that he was deeply troubled. He smoked one cigarette after another...and everytime he let out a breath of smoke from his mouth, he also let our a sigh, a muffled cough. And he talked to himself, making somehow such wild gesticulations, as though he were arguing with someone:
"What does one do? What is the answer? How to finish off that naked house? And with the High Holidays already here, and winter coming? And the children going naked and barefoot! Already now it’s the second or third Sabbath that we’ve had to make the blessing over black bread! So what do we do? What will be the outcome?"
It was alreadty time for "first repentances"...but father made no move go to prayers. He had absolutely no desire to go to the House of Study. He was terrified at the thought of running into one of his debt-holders, his "creditors", face to face. He felt their stares would pierce him to the bone. "So what do we do? From where will come my help?"
For a long time father stood before the glass cabinet, where he kept his holy books. These were a wedding present from Grandfather Jeremiah on his wedding. His breathing became heavy, and he bit his lip. For a long time he stared at the old Talmud. It was a very old set; a collector’s item, published in Slavuta, bound in thick wooden covers, covered with dark brown leather. He gave a strange look at them, as though he was seeing them for the first time. Quickly he tore himself away from them...as he spun around, he caught sight of mothers shocked, silent stare. Knowing that she knew what he was thinking, and unable to face her, he darted about the house, back and forth, as though trying to drive from his mind the painful thoughts, which had begun to churn in his brain. He nervously twirled a strand from his long, blond beard...his face darkened as though shrouded by a heavy black cloud...his brow was furrowed with wrinkles. He stopped once more in front of the book-case, stared motionless at it, and then tore himself away for the last time, even as the dark, heavy volumes seemed to beg of him: "don’t send us away..."
The next evening Mayer Fisher, the book-dealer with the yellow, pointy beard, came in from town. He went straight to the small book-case, opened up the little doors, pulled out a volume and began to examine it from all sides, shaking his head and whispering something to himself....
The whole time, father was seated at the table, bent over a book, his head propped up by his elbows...he kept swaying nervously, back and forth, as though he wanted all the more quickly to drive something away. Mother sat on the other side of the table, with a ball of wool in her lap, needle and sock in her hands. The whole time she didn’t stir, terrified to lift her eyes. She sat there frozen, immobile...
The moment the book-dealer started to haul the books outside to his wagon, mother broke into tears, as though were dragging away one of her own children...and when we children saw her crying so, we also began to cry. Father tore himself suddenly from his place, leaving the open book where it lay, and ran outside, slamming the door so hard that the walls shook.
When it was all over, there lay on the table a few paper "three’s", "fivers", and a couple of "ten’s", looking faded under the dim light of the gas-lamp, which stood next to the overturned brass mortar. We children held on tightly to each other like frightened sheep, terrified to look up at the open-doored, empty book-case.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sholom Aleichem's Reb Moshe-Velvel Baal Hagoleh

Click,listen and enjoy
A high percentage of American Jews can trace their roots to the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The Lower East Side Tenement Museum preserves a bit of that history.

Click here for a tour
Lower East Side Fish Market - circa 1903
Warning not for the squeamish.

Story of Selecting and Selling Kosher meat - circa 1930
Colin Powell and Yiddish

July 4th all year round and from the comfort of your home.

Fire away

Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski - The Truth about Gambling in the Jewish Community
Video 39 minutes and 16 seconds
The Jewish Observer on the net
Sanz on the Net

Bobov 48th

Bobov 45th

Klausenberg- USA
Breaking News

Soap in Yale's dorm bathrooms!
Pinchos Lipschutz of the Yated
Yated's mission is to spread Daas Torah

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Lecture by Rabbi Nathan Kamenetzky at YU on March 10, 2005.
The title of the lecture was
Of Bans, Earthquakes and Tsunamis