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Columbus, Ohio, Community Will Observe Yom HaZikaron


The Columbus Jewish community observance of Israel’s Memorial Day for soldiers and Terror Attack Victims, Yom HaZikaron, will be held at the JCC on College Avenue on Tuesday, April 24.

The doors will open at 7:00 pm so that people can tour an exhibit dedicated to fallen soldiers and terror victims. “There will be an exhibition leading to the auditorium that will highlight some of these many bereaved families. During the ceremony, we will unite with the grief of other families through prayers (read by community rabbis and cantors), video clips, personal stories, poems, and song,” said Eran Rosenberg, event chair.

The theme of this years program is “ Bereavement Strikes Twice.” The ceremony starts at 7:15 pm. It will include readings, a speaker, and a choir made up of singers from Agudas Achim, Beth Shalom, Beth Tikvah, Temple Israel, and Koleinu, the Jewish Community Choir.

The choir will sing ”The Star Spangled Banner” conducted by Gail Rose, and “Hatikva”, conducted by Cantor Jack Chomsky . Both are conductors for Koleinu, the Columbus Community Choir.

Cindy Leland from Agudas Achim wrote the arrangement for an Israeli memorial song. “The choir will sing a memorial song that is used in ceremonies in Israel, ‘Rikma Enoshit Achat ‘(We are all one human fabric) written by Moti Hamet,” said Leland.

The keynote speaker is Prof. Paul Liptz, a lecturer and professor at Tel Aviv University and Hebrew Union College. He has visited, lectured and conducted workshops in over twenty countries He has worked with many American groups as a Scholar in Central and Eastern Russia.       Liptz’s topic will be, “From Yom HaZikaron to Yom HaAtzmaut: Lost Lives for the Jewish State.”

Here is an excerpt from this years program: “We dedicate this Yom HaZikaron ceremony to those Israeli families who have lost their loved ones—more than one—parents who lost their two sons; a woman who lost her husband and her son; No death in the Israeli army is ever taken lightly. As we know, this is a place where every father, son, brother, cousin or boyfriend has to serve, but the tragedy of having more than one death in the same family is heartbreaking and apparent to all.”

In Israel, Yom HaZikaron begins in the evening marking a day of mourning and honoring the fallen, and ends the following evening, when Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day begins. A small committee organized this event: Eran Rosenberg, Noam Even, Community Shaliach (Israeli Emissary) for the Jewish Federation, and Sigi Even.

Dancing With the Stars Motown night is a winner!


Smokey Robinson and The Temptations were featured guests. They brought me back to the good old days. They alternated singing their famous songs while couples danced. They both sounded just the way I remember them. I felt 16. How about you?

Gladys Knight did a competent job. She has real class, and this is the best she’s done. You could tell she was remembering that she is a star!

I thought Roshon Fegan did a classy job, but the judges didn’t agree. What do they want? Geez!

Maria Menounos She’s a terrific dancer and lived up to her other dances tonight. The judges liked her too.

Katherine Jenkins  did an expert job. Almost a triple score. She looked perfect. I’m starting to be so jealous of her. Beauty and grace. It’s just not fair. Oh, and she’s an opera singer too.

Don Driver Don kept his shirt on this week. Surprise! This guy looks great when he dances. Len gave him a big compliment. He told him he “exploded.” Len sees him as becoming a great dancer. Apparently, he doesn’t follow football, and doesn’t know he already picked a career. Don is frustrated because Len hasn’t given him a 10 yet!

Melissa Gilbert did a  Viennese Waltz. Half-pint looked glamorous and beautiful in her green gown. I thought she danced beautifully. She looks like she’s got a thing for Maks. Bruno thought she has a thing for Maks too. Who wouldn’t? They gave her 8’s. One of them should’ve given them a 9. Give me a break.

Jaleel White  did a Cha Cha Jaleel and was in his element. He reminded me of the old Erkel. He was sharp and precise. He showed what a great dancer he is. I hardly noticed Kim this time, and she’s a terrific dancer. Len said, “You’re back.” Bruno “Biggest sizzler of the season” Carrie Ann” A Game. Jaleel’s mom was all excited.

William levy  Smoky Robinson sang. Levy did a Rhumba. OMG this guy looks fabulous just standing still. He did a lot of shaking and gyrating. Not the best dance moves.

Carrie Ann said, ” On Behalf of all the women, thank you, but not enough dancing” Len said, “ On the raunchy side.” All right! I agree with Len and Carrie Ann.I suspect Bruno is a little in love with Levy. Who can blame him? 

Smokin' (Smokey Robinson album)

Smokin' (Smokey Robinson album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia

Smoky Robinson sang “Tears of a Clown.” Two pros did a great dance to it.

All the dancers did a Cha-Cha Motown dance marathon They were all very entertaining in their colorful costumes, and sexy moves. Gladys and Tristan were the first to go! Boo, age discrimination. William Levy came in next to last. He moved his feet this time, and even slid across the floor! Katherine and Mark won.  They earned 10 points.

Dancing With the Stars is the most entertaining show on TV. Agree or disagree. I’d appreciate your comments.

Find out about surviving musicians of the Holocaust: Another Yom Hashoa story


On November 15, 1936, a statue of Felix Mendelssohn, a famous Jewish composer, was destroyed in Leipzig, Germany.This signaled the beginning of discrimination against Jewish musicians in Nazi Germany.

After that, the music of Jewish musicians and composers was no longer heard in concert halls and opera houses. However, the musicians weren’t completely silenced. They were forced to play music in ghettos, concentration camps, and for the Nazis’ special private events.

Imagine being forced to flawlessly play music while your enemies were marching your relatives and friends to the gas chambers. In Auschwitz alone, there were six orchestras.

Theresienstadt―Terezin was a camp in Czechoslovakia, where musicians, including children, were deported. Although they were starving and desolate, they could forget about their misery for seconds at a time ― while singing, playing instruments, performing, and composing music. The Nazis used these camps for propaganda purposes.

Representatives of the Danish Red Cross and the International Red Cross were fooled when they inspected the camp in 1944. Gardens had been planted, and the barracks renovated. They watched a children’s opera. They didn’t know that many of the residents had been deported to Auschwitz to be killed.

Although the Holocaust ended years ago, unbelievably, there are still a handful of these musicians still alive.These survivors are being documented by a notable Israeli composer, Dr. Nurit Jugend.

She’s composed over thirty works, and orchestras all over the world have played her musical compositions. This includes the Haifa Symphony Orchestra, and the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra under Zubin Mehta.

She is a lecturer at Stanford University and all over the world. Not only is she asking the musicians about their lives, but she is reuniting some of them after years of separation. She has also interviewed their children and grandchildren. She wants to document their stories before they are gone.

Recently I got the opportunity to speak with Dr. Nurit Jugend about this project. She was very forthcoming about what she’s learned from the participants, and why it is so important to get this project completed. What follows are some excerpts from our interview:

Q.What motivated a busy composer to make a film about the Holocaust?

A. My initial research about music during the Holocaust led me to the survivors and their stories. I immediately knew that I had to capture them on film before it was too late, and this opened the door to documentary film making.

Q. What did you want to find out when you started this project?

A. I knew that works had been composed during this period of time in the ghettos and the camps. I wondered what kind of music was being composed. How had it sounded? How did people under such circumstances such as sickness and death survive? How did they find it in themselves?

Q. What impressed you most about the survivors that you’ve met?

A. I was impressed with how they found some joy from music during the Holocaust as they were forced to play for the Nazis. I expected these people to reject music because it was forced from them. I was really surprised that none of the people I interviewed lost their love, passion or need for music.

Quite the opposite, they believe it saved their lives. It had an emotional meaning. These people are full of hope, able to look at life and see the beauty and the joy

Q .Can you tell me something about your experiences with the survivors?

A. One of the survivors Alex Tamir, who lives in Jerusalem, did contribute feelings of particular intimacy and deep excitement due, to his unique creativity of the song “Ponar” (shtilar shtilar) when he was 11 years old in ghetto Vilna. …A beautiful, quite difficult and melancholic song which became the hymn and song of hope and spiritual resistance among Jews in the ghettos and the Jewish brigade. It spread from camp to camp and became very well-known, ….I was very moved to learn that the person who wrote this song is still alive and meeting with him in person was one of the most memorable days I’ve spent in my life at his home in Jerusalem.

Q.How have some of the survivor’s used their experience from the Holocaust in a positive way?

A. Chaim plays the accordion, talks about his experiences, and goes to high schools and plays them the music he played during that period of time. Greta played one of the leading roles in an opera at Terezin when she was a child. She talks to children and tells them what it was like to experience the Holocaust as a child. Anita, a cellist, toured Europe, especially in Germany. She told about her experience as a musician in Auschwitz. They used music as a means to educate the world about the Holocaust. I do interview their children and grandchildren. Survivors do talk about music making in the family. I believe that making music in these families is a way to communicate about their experience. Many of the survivors insisted on teaching their children the music they played during the Holocaust.

Q. What do you want to accomplish with this documentary?

A. I want to raise questions. I want to look at the Holocaust through a different perspective. I want to talk about music making and what role that had in the concentration camps and ghettos. I want the film to come from a more uplifting and positive place. For these musicians, music was able to provide physical need and emotional escape. It saved their lives.

The film’s mission is to educate future generations about the Holocaust and strive for more tolerance and acceptance among people worldwide. Their stories have not all been recorded yet. We are running out of time. Soon, they will all be gone. I want to find them, identify them, make sure they’re still capable of telling their stories.

To find out more about this project, look at the website: http://www.theyplayedfortheirlives.com. You can donate money to help this project.

It is a special way to commemorate all the musicians who died during the Holocaust, especially during this month of April, the month of Yom Hashoa, when we remember the Holocaust victims.

RIP Jonathan Frid (Barnabas Collins)


Barnabas Collins

Barnabas Collins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jonathan Frid died on Friday from natural causes.   I was really surprised when I read that he was 87.  It seems like only a few years ago that I was watching him play Barnabas Collins in the soap opera, Dark Shadows

His age shouldn’t surprise me because I watched it when I was 16, and the name of this blog is Joy at 60.  Time really is fleeting.   

I’d heard a new movie of Dark shadows was coming out in May, and I was really looking forward to it’s premiere. I think Johnny Depp will make a perfect Barnabas Collins.  He is one of the few actors I enjoy watching because he seems to know he’s acting, not playing himself.  I thought he made a terrific Edward Scissorhands.

I used to come home from high school, and watch Dark Shadows at 4:00. (Why I remember that, I couldn’t tell you.)  The acting was over the top, but that’s one of the things I liked about it.

The best vampire of all was Jonathan Frid, Barnabas Collins.  He started out a bad vampire, but he did some things to help people too. He was regretful about being a vampire—he felt a little pang of guilt every time he had to turn a human into a vampire by biting their necks and drinking their blood

He was the vampire you loved to hate, but then loved again. He bit a series of necks. I lost interest after a few years.  The series ran until 1971. It seemed to be too much of the same thing. They also waved a lot of crosses around, so the unlucky vampire couldn’t come out  of his wooden casket and turn other hapless live human beings into vampires.

Frid was an accomplished stage actor before he took on the role of Barnabas Collins, but he was best known for his vampire role. He made a movie, and a nice living representing Barnabas at  Dark Shadow events.

I thought the Twilight series was a bit of a rip off of Dark Shadows but I only attended one movie, and haven’t read the books yet.

The producers of the new Dark Shadows movie must appreciate the timing of his death. It’s due to come out in May, and  Frid has a small cameo in it. Now, I really want to see the movie. I have a feeling I’ll be waiting in line with all the other Baby Boomers.

Did you watch Dark Shadows? What do you remember about it?

In honor of Yom Hashoa, a story of survival and triumph


Sundown marks the beginning of Yom HaShoah (Ho...

Sundown marks the beginning of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) in Israel as flags are at half-mast. Français : Drapeaux en berne le soir de Yom HaShoah (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yom Hashoa is a day where we commemorate Holocaust survivors. It usually occurs around April.

Here the story of a woman, Fran, who went through the Holocaust, but didn’t let it defeat her.

Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, has a special meaning for a vibrant woman. Her childhood was spent hiding from the Nazis during WWII.

Today, Fran leads a fulfilling life. This busy wife, mother, and grandmother has a busy career in sales.  In addition, she finds time to do volunteer work.

Fran remembers living in France during World War II. She lived with her parents, and sister, Gloria, in a two bedroom apartment. “I remember the apartment. My mother was always amazed at how much I could remember, but they were not good memories,” said Fran.

When Fran was a small child, there was a knock at their door in the middle of the night.  She remembers her father being taken away by French citizens sympathetic to the Nazis. She never saw him again. Many years later, she discovered that he died in Auschwitz, a German Concentration Camp.

At first, the men were the only ones taken away. No one believed that people would arrest and kill women and children too.

Fran’s mother hoped that they could continue living in their home. Several days after her father was taken, they returned to the apartment. “It was padlocked. All our possessions were gone,”  said Fran.

The two sisters, and her mother moved in with a Jewish friend, Berthe, who lived on the other side of Paris with her son, Armand.

Fortunately, there were non-Jewish  people who were willing to risk their lives for them.  The landlady of an apartment building distracted some soldiers when the family was hiding in a closet.  A neighbor pretended the children were his own, so they wouldn’t be taken away by Nazis.

Fran remembers her mother reassuring them. “She never wanted us to be frightened,” said Fran.

Soon, things became so dangerous that Fran’s mother hid in the forest with others. The girls were placed in non-Jewish homes in the French countryside. Fran remembers her mother trying to see the girls at night. Sometimes, she would give the foster families a little money so the girls could have more food to eat. “We sometimes lived on one or two pieces of bread a day,” Fran recalled.

As a result of poor living conditions,  Fran contracted childhood tuberculosis. She stayed in a TB sanitarium run by Catholic nuns. “The nuns were wonderful to me,” Fran said. Consequently, Fran adopted Catholicism into her life.

The war wasn’t officially  over for Fran until the family was reunited, and moved back to their two room apartment.

Fran wanted to attend church, and her mother would say to her, “Go ahead because wherever you go, God will hear you. Pray that your father comes back… Someday you will be a Jew again.”

Unfortunately, her mother became ill, and died. Fran was devastated.

When Fran was eleven and her sister twelve, the girls came to America by boat. “The struggle didn’t end when we landed in America,” said Fran. She was shuttled between relatives and given away for adoption. The hardest obstacle she faced was being separated from her beloved sister.

After many years of struggle, Fran found happiness and stability with her husband and their four children. They have six grandchildren.

Her mother’s prophecy came true—Fran found her way back to Judaism.

There is much more to this story, and Fran tells it when she speaks to schools and organizations about the Holocaust.

The only tangible reminders she has of her early life are some photographs.

Fran still has a close relationship with her sister.  Although Fran’s life has been tumultuous, she is a happy person.

“ Tragedy becomes a part of you, but you can choose to be positive about life,” Fran explained.