Ghosts linger around my Passover table 


The Passover of 2016 was tinged with sadness because I couldn’t help thinking of my childhood.  My parents and grandparents faded from sight; one right after the other, mostly without warning.

Grandma was a small, stout lady, with a face that I can’t really ever forget because I look so much like her, especially in my 66th year. My grandfather, was short in stature, but high on everyone’s respect list. He had a head full of beautiful white hair.

I remember going along with my tall, handsome, adored daddy to pick them up at their apartment. My grandmother would have her coat on, and announce to my grandfather that “the machine is outside, and it was time to go.” Why she didn’t just refer to it as the car was a mystery to me. I do remember she wore red old-fashioned shoes, a longish skirt, and a long sleeve blouse. She always carried a  black purse that held Dentyne gum. She would offer this special treat randomly to all her grandchildren.

We’d arrive at my house where we ate the standard dinner we always ate at holidays, it didn’t really matter which one. Mom was in charge and she didn’t appreciate any help.

There was always chopped liver and matzah ball soup, my mother’s tie to her ethnic background. We’d all gathered around  the kitchen table, my grandparents sitting next to each other on one side, my mother, wearing her blue apron, always up during the meal serving us.  My father and

My dapper grandpa, Harry Zelivyansky

My dapper grandpa, Harry Zelivyansky

My Grandmother, Miriam Zelivyansky when she was young.

My Grandmother, Miriam Zelivyansky when she was young.

Marilyn, Mom, Dad and me .

Marilyn, Mom, Dad and me .

My sister Marilyn and I with my dad outside of Grandma and Grandpa's house,

My sister Marilyn and I with my dad outside of Grandma and Grandpa’s house,

L to R: Eileen, Dad holding me, and Marilyn.

L to R: Eileen, Dad holding me, and Marilyn.

two sisters and I would take our familiar seats. It was usually turkey, sometimes a roast, salad, sweet potatoes, and a vegetable.

The Seder I remember was not too formal. I do remember my grandfather singing some prayers. He had a beautiful voice that I can almost hear when I close my eyes and concentrate.

Little did I know that one day my grandparents and parents would be long gone, but their presence would always linger; they’re always around me, like a loving purple aura.

This year I particularly missed them all, but I’m grateful for the love that is still there.

 

Remembering my father (and mother) on Father’s day


My parents before they were married.

My parents before they were married.

I have a confession to make. Sometimes, I close my eyes in my bedroom, and pretend, only for a minute, that I’m back home in my old bedroom. I visualize where the bed was, my dresser, and the closet.  I think about where the other rooms of the house were situated and what they looked like.

Sometimes, when I’m remembering, I hug the pillow and remember how it felt to hug my parents. How comforting it was, and how safe and loved I used to feel with them.

I had a special relationship with both of them. I was the baby of the family and lived alone with them from the age of 13. I did miss having my two newly married sisters living with us, but I enjoyed hanging out with my old parents. We went out to eat a lot, saw movies, and attended the theater. (My old parents were somewhere in their late 40’s and early 50’s.)

Sometimes, I try to remember them talking in the kitchen on a Sunday morning. I can see my mother sitting at the table, newspaper not too far from her. (She loved to read that newspaper cover to cover.) My father is standing up, probably doing some chore. They’re talking about his job, or what they’re going to do in the future.

I can almost hear the comfortable din of their voices. She saying, “Hank, why don’t you get some blintzes from Solomon’s?” (We used to get blintzes from the local delicatessen every Sunday.) Before he ever left the house he would always give her a quick kiss. Before too long he’d come back with the scrumptious Solomon blintzes. All my mother had to do was heat them on the stove.

After we eat our blintzes, my father is going to go out and do outside chores like mowing the lawn or shoveling the snow. He might run some errands.

Sometimes, I’d tag along with him. I was crazy about my father. He’d talk to me like an equal, and was a good listener. He always made me feel loved and important.

He had a friend who owned a car wash, so about every weekend I’d go with him to watch the car get cleaned. I’d carefully watch the car go through the stages, while he kidded around with his friend. I could see that Dad could get along with everyone.

I had an acquaintance whose parents were divorced, and the father would take the kids somewhere special every Sunday. I didn’t know it was because they were divorced. (In those days people kept divorces quiet.) So, I kept pleading with my dad take me out on Sunday without my mother. He did it once. We went to the planetarium at the Cleveland Science museum. We looked up at the pretend stars in the planetarium and listened to the lecture. I loved having my daddy all to myself. (I only hope my mother wasn’t too hurt.)

My parents sometimes took me to a local amusement park, Euclid Beach. My mother would park herself on a bench and my dad would go on rides with me in the park. This was a big feat for him because he was really not too crazy about amusement park rides.

One time we got on a ferris wheel and before it started, he asked the ride attendant to let us off. Another time we were on an Over the Falls” ride and the power went out. We were stuck on the ride for about 20 minutes. I wasn’t worried cause I was with my dad. (Years later, he told me he was nervous about my mother being alone, and us getting stuck on the ride.)

My dad  always took time to get dressed for work as a Cleveland Policeman. After he shined his shoes, and put on his uniform with the golden badge, and completed it with his hat, he didn’t look like Daddy anymore; he looked liked a king. I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world to have such a good-looking, important father.

My parents were so close, that I can’t remember my father on this Father’s Day without including both my parents.

Happy Father’s Day to them both, wherever their souls ended up. If there is such a place, I have no doubt that they are together.

Trying out yoga again! Downward dog was never so hard!


English: downward dog posture I took this pict...

English: downward dog posture I took this picture for use in the Anahata Yoga instruction manual. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, I decided to go and do a yoga class. This is part of my resolve to do something different every week. I am on my never-ending journey to maintain my health.  I have been stepping up the exercise and feel a lot better than a month ago! (I am also trying to eat smartly).

I used to do yoga about 6 years ago. I’ll be honest, I never much liked it. First of all, I have a lot of weight to hold up when I’m up on all fours. Downward dog is not my favorite position to be in . (Maybe it’s because I am allergic to dogs.)  Your hands are lower than your legs, and you have to hold your behind straight up. in the air. Not ever owning a dog, I’m not sure whether dogs actually do this yoga position.

Knowing I might not make it through the class, I did the elliptical machine for 20 minutes beforehand. I put it on heart rate zone, and it got my heart-rate up to 132 which I think is a little high for a 62-year-old woman who is overweight. So, I already was sweating when I went in the yoga class.

The instructor was making the room all dark and playing exotic music. These yoga instructors are all spiritual types who weigh hardly anything. They are real flexible and can do all sorts of tricks with their bodies.  They also spout off smatterings of pithy sayings coming from Eastern philosophy. I like that part.

Anyway, I was already tired after I was sitting Indian style. It must be cause I’m so weak. My back does not want to be straight.  Then I figured out that my pants were actually too tight around the waist. Not a good beginning. If you go, make sure your pants are loose! That’s why they make yoga pants.

I was bound and determined to make it through the class . One thing I should have known from experience is it’s not smart to eat cereal and drink 2 cups of coffee before you point your head towards the floor.   I reviewed my morning breakfast during downward dog. I was glad my breakfast stayed where it was. Then, for some unknown reason my eyes and nose began running. (Downward dog?)  I was having an allergy attack while I was trying to stretch my arm around my right side while putting my left foot in front of my right foot. Then my glasses kept falling off my head. So, I kept removing them, but I couldn’t see the instructor, so I had to keep putting them on and off.

I actually wanted to leave after the first 10 minutes, but I’m proud to say I did the entire class. Not like everyone else, but I did what I could. Which wasn’t a whole lot, but the sweat was pouring off my forehead.

The instructor was very sweet, and kept giving modifications for my benefit. In yoga they usually stress doing what you can, and not worrying about what other people are doing. I’m fine with that!

One thing I do know about yoga is that stretching and breathing is a good thing. I was so happy when we got to the part where we relax. I wasn’t expecting the instructor to put a towel around my eyes.  That was a little strange. Usually they put it on your body.

The class was finally over and I said my final  Namaste. I will say I felt terrific when it was over.

I’ll try again next week.

I would recommend yoga. From past experience, it helps burn calories and gets oxygen going through you body.  You’re so happy when it’s finally over too!

Do you have an exercise you don’t enjoy, but do it because you feel better when it’s over!

Imagine by John Lennon


 

Nice dream, huh? I respect all religions. I wish everybody else would. Talk about overreaction. It’s not the first time either. More wars were fought over religion. Some things never change.

 

Favoritism, Talent and Leadership!: Do they go hand-in-hand?


 

leadership

leadership (Photo credit: Ed Gaillard)

 
Is showing favoritism a part of being human? Is it inevitable? Do people do that because it’s the natural order of things? Do you need to show favoritism to get things accomplished? Is it fanciful to think there should be more equality?

Maybe the reasons socialism and communism didn’t work is because somebody always has to be on top. That means somebody always has to be at the bottom.

Whenever you belong to a group, the outstanding people always rise to the top. No matter what kind of group it is. It can be in school, work, or for fun.

What was your experience with kids sports?
I remember when my children played amateur sports some coaches would never give some of the kids a chance to play. All they wanted was the win, so they would only allow the talented kids to play.

There were some outstanding coaches who realized every kid should have a chance, so they would give everyone an opportunity to play. Some of the disgruntled parents of the “Stars” would have a fit because they wanted their kids to always be featured.

 

I’m sure the Olympic heroes who will be celebrated this week were all the “stars” that were played. Do you think any of them rose from the bottom?

 

English: The Olympic Flag flying in Victoria, ...

English: The Olympic Flag flying in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, outside the provincial legislature of British Columbia, in recognition of Vancouver’s hosting of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

School leaders
Once when I was teaching school, I allowed some of the students who were never leaders become leaders during a school activity. They were thrilled to be given this opportunity.

Guess what happened?

The natural leaders, who would’ve been assigned in the first place took the leadership positions anyway.

Sometimes, I feel that people who are overlooked should get a chance anyway. Have you ever been in a group where equality really goes on?

Have you ever seen where a shy person given a chance, develops into a leader.

Do you think there is a better way?

What do you think?

 

 

Do you gossip or commit Loshon Hora?


I took this list off of my mother’s refrigerator after she passed away. Maybe it’s the most valuable thing she left me.

Being human, I have committed Loshon Hora, otherwise known as gossip. At times, it’s come back to haunt me. I’m sure everyone has had the same experience.

This list was Sponsored by Aish Ha Torah. They are an orthodox Jewish organization.


"Treasure" by Alfred Tibor, sculptor living in Columbus, Ohio.

However, they did not think Loshon Hora up.  It’s been a part of Jewish tradition for centuries. I first learned about it when taking a class at a Reform synagogue.

The Ten rules of Loshon Hora

1. Say only positive statements. Derogatory statements, even if true, are forbidden.

2. Promote people’s well being. Any statement that can cause someone physical, financial, or emotional harm is also loshon hora.

3. Humor is great, but make sure jokes aren’t at someone else’s expense.

4.Be kind to yourself. speaking badly even about yourself is loshon hora

5.Loshon hora cannot be communicated in any manner, be it through writing, body language or verbal hints.

6. It is loshon hora to speak against a community or to make harmful remarks about children—even your own.

7.Communicate with your spouse, but not loshon hora

8, It is forbidden to listen to loshon hora

9. Always give people the benefit of the doubt.

10. Loshon hora is permitted, or even required when warning a person about potential harm, for example, a potential business or marriage partner.

At the end of the list it says, “Words can hurt. Words can heal”

Do you think these rules pertain to today’s society?  Do you engage in gossip? What do you think would happen if everyone followed these rules?

Aren’t we getting more gossipy as time goes on? Turn on the Fox Channel or CNN and you will be listening to nothing but gossip! Is news gossip?

If you think the list for Loshon Hora is valuable, feel free to share it.