Shabbat Shalom Dec. 26, 2014

Shabbat Shalom
December 26, 2014
Dear family and friends,

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.

Bill Vaughan

However you plan to celebrate the entrance of 2015, I hope it is filled with all of your favorite things…Health, Happiness, Family, Friends and a good piece of Dark Chocolate.  Our travels brings us to Sedona, Arizona for some Hiking, Biking and Pink Jeep tours of the famous (red) Sandstone formations that illuminate the landscape.  I’m sure you’ve heard this 1982 “chart-topper” by Donna Loren entitled, Sedona:

or this critically acclaimed 2012 film staring Frances Fisher about an unexpected visit this slice of beauty.
No News
Prior to vacations, I always write these emails ahead of time to ensure your Friday morning delivery but consistency compromises up-to-the-minute news, so if anything important happened this past week, I’ll include it in next week’s message.
Auld Lang Syne
This soulful Scottish song (thinking of you Jeff Kaye) is a classic New Years Eve staple. It encourages us to remember and appreciate old friends and maybe even rekindle those old relationship (which I try to do each week with these emails). Enjoy the beautiful voice of Julie Andrews as she reminds us of (translation to English) “Times Gone By“:  and here is Harry and Sally’s confusion of the song:
Good Bye 2014
Much has happened in this year of 2014.  There was Good, Bad and Ugly.  Here is a snapshot of it all:
and if you want more details than the above brief glimpse, check out CNN’s list of daily notable events and a tribute to all those we’ve lost this year.
Farewell and thanks for the memories!

Wishing you and your loved ones a Pleasant and Peaceful Shabbat Shalom and a Happy Healthy 2015!

Happy Birthday!
Dec. 26th
1620 – Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth, MA
Dec. 27th
1871 – World’s 1st cat show (Crystal Palace, London)
Dec. 28th
David Gad-Harf
Jordan Orley
Lori Sachs
Marty Liebman
Michael Jonas
Sheri Schiff
Dec. 29th
Patti Aaron
Howard Cash
Linda Samelson
Sharon Eisenshtadt
Dec. 30th
Alicia Blas
Lynne Greenberg Obron
Dec. 31st
Hannan Lis (My Love)
Deana Lockman
Tammi Freedland
Alicia Nelson
Jan. 1st
Jodie Krasnick

Blue Stripes

Shabbat Shalom Dec. 26, 2014

Shabbat Shalom Dec. 19, 2014

Happy Hanukah

Shabbat Shalom
December 19, 2014
Dear family and friends,
Hanukah Miracle
Hanukah’s miracle is mirrored in this week’s big new of normalized relations with Cuba and the release (after 5 years) of Jewish American prisoner, Alan Gross. For 18 months, secret negotiations have been easing our way to this point but experiencing the actual “Friendship” status is quite momentous. Since the year I was born (1960) there has been a trade embargo against Cuba and within a few months, the American Embassy will re-open in Havana.  And guess who was instrumental in the secret talks…yes, that would be my favorite Catholic, Pope Francis. By the way, Pope Francis will be visiting the US next September and he just received several impassioned letters and videos from Detroit Catholic school children to encourage a Motown visit.  Fingers crossed.
Alan Gross arriving back home.
On this 3rd day of Hanukah, our home will be filled to the rim with our traditional Family Hanukah Party complete with Hannan’s (with Neal’s assistance) famous Latkes (both regular and sweet potato).  The common theme for Jewish Holidays
is … They tried to kill us, We survived, Let’s eat. But this holiday is a bit different as the Greeks (in the beginning) were only trying to encourage us to assimilate to their ways, but theMaccabees got to a breaking point which created the tension. For more details, here is an interesting 6 minute crash course on the holiday.
And of course, here are a few of my favorite Hanukah videos:
Shake it off
All about the Nes
“Happy” tune with Hanukah lyrics by an Argentina Jewish Group:
Brutal Week
I wish a miracle could have prevented this week’s rampant Bloodshed; A mass killing in Philadelphia, a Hostage attack inSidney, but the most barbaric came from Pakistan as Taliban psychopaths wearing suicide vests, machine-gunned a school, killing 132 children, scores of adults and wounding dozens more. The Taliban proudly took credit for this massacre, in essence, justifying the killing of innocent children. It seems Radical Islamization is this era’s greatest threat, yet just as we’ve defeated past threats we, too, will survive this one. Let’s hope sooner, rather than later.
Shame on the European Court which this week voted to reverse Hamas’ status as a Terrorist organization.
This action will only feed the anti-Israel sentiment already exiting in Europe.  During the Nazi era, there was a legitimate movement to free cities and countries of Jews, calledJudenfrei.  Now, today in 2014, there is a movement to free Israelis (product, culture and people) from European Cities. It’s called Zionistfrei and here is the article about this racism. (if it doesn’t open the first time because it wants you to subscribe to the WSJ online, just copy and paste it in again and it should open): or you can just google:
Rinsing Israel Out of Europe: The Zionistfrei Movement
Stephen Colbert
I write these emails throughout the week and send them to my Constant Contact system Thursday evening to be delivered to you Friday morning.  But when I say Thursday evening, I mean way before midnight and way before the airing of the Colbert Report, so there won’t be any videos of last night’s final episode after 9 (grateful) years.  But, I did find this proof that even Stephen can’t resist his own humor with evidence of these laugh attacks.
Farewell and much thanks to Mr. Stephen Colbert for bringing humor and satirical education to the masses. I look forward to watching him take his new seat on May 20th when he replaces David Letterman.
As the 113th US Senate closed up shop and the final bow forSenator Carl Levin was applauded, the other chamber was bidding farewell to Congressman John Dingell as he cast his last vote as the longest serving congressman during his 59 year service. The next day he was admitted to the hospital (where he will recoup for 3 weeks) with a fractured hip, though his creative juices were still flowing with his last holiday Dingell Jingle in office.
And speaking of politics, the media shifted gears toward the third Bush to consider dibs on the Oval Office. This week Jeb Bush dipped his toe in the presidential campaign waters to see if its warm enough to take the dive. Will we have a deja vu Bush v. Clinton 2016?
Congressman John Dingell and Senator Carl Levin
If you are one of the lucky few who will be traveling on vacation this season and are looking for a good book to read, here is a complete and interactive list of suggestions (history, art, comedy, memoirs, cookbooks, tech, mystery…):
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced it Class of 2015 this week including Sting, Bill Withers, Lou Reed, Green Day, Joan Jett and a special award for Ringo Starr. For the complete list: and for my favorite (frankly only) Green Day song:
The Golden Globes also announced their nominees this month with the films Boyhood and Birdman as my favorite selections. For the full list:
Another noteworthy nominee is Jeffrey Tambor (a Detroit Jewish actor) who plays a transgender character in this internet Comedy/Drama TV series, “Transparent”.  I haven’t seen the show but heard great things about it. This trailer is very captivating:
Salaam is the Arabic word for Peace and this Peaceful song is one of my favorites.  As this holiday season brings hope and optimism, let this song bring Peace to the World.  Beware, you could be humming it all day as it tends to get stuck in your head, though not a bad thing… Enjoy this a cappella version:

Wishing you and your loved ones a Pleasant and PeacefulShabbat Shalom and Happy Haunkah and to my Christian friends, Merry Christmas!

Our home was filled with 30 babies (and their parents) last Sunday as we celebrated Hadassa’s first birthday.  Dassi eloquently expressed her gratitude to be surrounded by loving family including Bubbie (Yiddish for grandmother), Imma(Hebrew for mother) and Abba (Hebrew for father) for this momentous occasion.
Gift of Health
The most important birthday gift you can give your children and your community (and frankly the world) is to have them vaccinated.  Major myths about vaccines have been circulating on the blogosphere but knowing the facts is a parents responsibility:
Condolences to Mary Hanlon Stone and her family on the passing of Mary’s father, Art Hanlon.  Art leaves a legacy of 7 children and 15 grandchildren who will forever be grateful for his Wisdom and Traditions.  May his memory and spirit bring comfort to those who mourn his passing.
Harold Wagenberg z”l passed away last week only two weeks after his beloved Elaine died.  May both of their spirits soar together in blissful flight. Condolences to the Wagenberg andStone families on their double loss in two weeks.
My prayers and thoughts are with the large and loving family of
Selma Schwartz z”l who battled the horrible disease of ALS which robs you of movement and voice while keeping your mind fully aware of your body’s imprisonment. Love and hugs go to Selma’s daughter Betsy (Jeff) Heuer, her sister Marcie (Michael) Feldman.  May Selma’s spirit and memories bring comfort to all those who knew and loved her.
Condolences to the family, friends and admirers of
Bill Bonds (a Detroit legend) as he passed away this week at the age of 82.
Happy Birthday!
Dec. 19th
Karl Dorn
Dec. 20th
Michael HarPaz
Dec. 21st
Gina Horwitz
Hannah Moiseev
Helen Katz
Rachel Robinson
Dec. 22nd
1894 – French officer Alfred Dreyfus court-martialed for treason, triggers worldwide charges of anti-Semitism (Dreyfus later vindicated)
Dec. 23rd
1961 – Fidel Castro announces Cuba will release 1,113 prisoners from failed 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion for $62M worth of food & medical supplies
Dec. 24th
Nancy Glen
Dec. 25th
Steve Fisher

Blue Stripes

Shabbat Shalom Dec. 19, 2014

Shabbat Shalom Dec. 12, 2014

Pearl Harbor Memorial
(Attacked Dec. 7, 1941)

Shabbat Shalom
December 12, 2014
Dear family and friends,
“Peace begins with a Smile” quotes Mother Theresa.  The Peace Train brought smiles to the full house of 3,500 Cat Stevens fans last Sunday night in Boston.  I won’t bemoan the extreme pleasure I felt singing the songs of my youth that are engrained in my brain.  Needless to say, it fulfilled the number one item on my bucket list.  But back to thoseSmiles. Not only can they encourage Peace but they are also heathy for you.  Thanks, Joel Kahn, for sharing the health benefits of a Smile, including Reduced Stress, Released Endorphins and a Confidence Boast… to list a few.
And while you are smiling, remember the 2 most important reasons we are on this Earth (in my opinion).  1. to Enjoy Life’s Pleasures with lots of smiles and 2. Tikkun Olam (to help make this world a better place for future generations). Both missions are equally meaningful and finding the balance is a life-long job. Writing these Shabbat messages certainly fulfills number 1 for me.
Smiles (wishfully) lead to Peace which leads to Happiness which is leads to Bhutan and their efforts to increase and spread (globally) their Gross National Happiness goals. Here is a simple view of that concept:
*See Music Section
I wish Smiles and Peace were this week’s main topics but ugliness took top billing with the release of the Senate Report on Torture. Back when Gitmo and Abu Ghraib operatives were “interrogating” their prisoners, an (incomplete) account of their torture techniques were exposed but apparently the system was even more brutal than originally revealed. (side thought: how can those who did the torturing live with those memories today, let along the tortured). Those approving the torture were convinced it would produce valuable information to save American lives but this week’s disturbing 600 page report questions the results. The report accuses the CIA of major infractions and deception which could put Americans abroad at risk of retaliation. Protective measures have been set to keep the global American community safe while the news spreads. Bottom line… what purpose does the report fulfill. Yes, transparency is important in a democracy but were the interrogators acting within the law or will this lead to prosecution. The debate is on…
More bad news filled this week with the failed rescue attempt in Yemen which caused the death of American journalist, Luke Somers (33), and a South African hostage,Pierre Korkie (56) who was set to be released the next day. This was the 2nd rescue attempt in 10 days with information that Somers was to be killed within 48 hours. 11 others (including a woman and child) were also killed in the raid.
Pierre Korkie and Luke Somers
Rounding out this week’s top ugly stories is the delinquent journalistic and investigative skills exhibited by Rolling Stone Magazine as they covered (we know now) a fake gang rape accusation. Their interest in this sensational story trumped their responsibility as journalists to research the facts. Rape on campus or anywhere is horrific and moremust be done to stop it and even though this case was falsified, hopefully, the University of Virginia and all colleges will improve their safety and reactionary policies of this brutal crime which sadly is often not even reported.
Now onto some news with beauty.  The Royals were on this side of the Pond with their first visit together to NYC. Impressively they flew commercial from London and Prince William also flew commercial (for the day) to DC, all be it, to meet President Obama. Their visit had a philanthropic purpose (for William) to bring awareness of Wildlife Protection and (for Kate) Child Development.  Check out this Royal story by our friend:
Duke and Duchess with King James
Prior to William’s visit, President Obama made his own visit to the Colbert Report and his skills at the comic’s news desk is admirable: Beware, Nation, we are only 6 days out till the last Colbert Report airing on Dec. 18th.
Stephen taped his show in D.C. as he did double duty this week when he hosted the Kennedy Center Tribute to 5 Cultural Icons last Sunday (to be aired Dec. 30th). Those icons were Al Green, Tom Hanks, Patricia McBride, Sting and Lily Tomlin. A star-studded guest list paid tribute to these honorees.
Thank you and Farewell, Kevin Orr, our Detroit Emergency Manager on completing your job in under 2 years and rightsizing our City’s financial calamity. We are back on track for prosperity to return to Motown, though prosperity is a fleeting notion unless our Detroit Schools are restored to their glory.  A new coalition has been set to assist with this major obstacle to greatness.
As Kevin Orr returns to his hometown of D.C. (area), he was “knighted” an official Michigander by Governor Snyder and is welcome back anytime to eat his favorite meal at Buddy’s Pizza.
Our Michigan House approved the Religious Freedom Restoration Act this week as it now heads to our Senate. Many feel this will give Individuals or Businesses the right to discriminate against the Gay Community (or anyone who contradicts their religious beliefs) in regards to government regulations. For example, East Lansing has a LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance that could be challenged by this Religious Freedom Act.  This Statewide Act would allow Michiganders to reverse many City equality laws. This debate is also in progress and I’ll try to keep you updated.
Hong Kong
A greater awareness of politics but not much substantial democratic change occurred during the 74-day Hong Kongpeaceful protest that has ended this week. As they pull down the tents to head home and regroup, the protesters will continue their efforts to bend the communist China stance.
Clearing the tents.  This highway is now open for traffic.
Our government will be spared a shutdown as the Omnibus Bill gets passed (hopefully before) Thursday’s midnight deadline (way past the time I send this email to the system). The bill will keep us funded till September 2015 and it is jammed-packed and filled to the gills with everything that has gone dormant for the whole year. Want to know specifics…Check out this concise A to Z list:
Gratefully included is an (over) 20% increase to Israel for her defense systems and the continued enforcement of Iran’s sanctioning with an increase of 10% to help keep Iran nuclear free.
Our 8-day holiday of miracles arrives Tuesday evening. Hanukah is a celebration of the 2nd Temple’s re-dedication by the Maccabee Heroes.  May our Hanukah Menorah (Hanukia) shine brightly for all to see while we consume excessive amounts of Potato Latkes and Sufganiyot (donuts) all fried in oil to remind us of the miraculous oil that stayed lit for 8 days.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Pleasant and Peaceful Shabbat Shalom and Happy Haunkah!

Hope you enjoy this (educational) Hanukah Song with a popular tune.
Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of Bob Dylan or Frank Sinatra but I do appreciate the admiration that many have so, with that in mind, here is a song from Bob Dylan’s new tribute album to Frank Sinatra coming out this Feb. calledShadows in the Night:
* Always loved this Donovan Happiness Song.  This youtube has some great photos:
Happy Birthday!
Dec. 12th
Carol Blumberg Tarnowsky
Lauren Kepes
Wendy Cohen Kohlenberg
Dec. 13th
Elise Goldsmith Schostak
Liz Cooper Guz
Dec. 14th
Ashley Israel
Marc Shaye
Dec. 15th
Dana Siegel
Dec. 16th
Avi Gruber
Dec. 17th
Simcha Tolwin
Natalie Newman
Dec. 18th
Jeff Mark (dear brother)
Henna Tolwin
Jane Smitt

Blue Stripes

Shabbat Shalom Dec. 12, 2014

Shabbat Shalom Dec. 5, 2014

Shabbat Shalom
December 5, 2014
Dear family and friends,
Full House
Our holiday weekend was gratefully filled with family and friends including (daughter) Liat and Andrew who were in from Eugene via Marquette; (son) Mataan who was here from his senior year at University of Michigan; (daughter)Ariella, (son-in-law)Tzvi and grandbaby Hadassa (13 months) were here from their upstairs bedroom as they live with us till their new house is ready and (son) Aviv shared his High School Senior year Thanksgiving with all of us.  I hope your home, too, was filled with the holiday essentials: Food, Family, Friends and Festivities.
During last week’s busiest travel days of the year, do you ever wonder what happens to lost or unclaimed luggage. Well it all travels to the small town of Scottsboro, Alabama where shoppers can purchase various forgotten items, like wedding dresses, mink coats, Rolex watches and guitars at the Unclaimed Baggage Center…but only in person, no online shopping available. As you can imagine, this is one of Alabama’s top tourist attractions:
Hill Street Blues
Ferguson, Cleveland, Staten Island…we’ve got a major problem in this country that needs major alterations. Everyday innocent lives are lost to a cycle of anger, brutality, power struggle, mistrust and fear.  If we don’t work to correct this downward spiral, more bloodshed will continue to fill our headlines everyday.
Different Strokes
Of course there can’t be one week without mayhem in the Middle East and this week is no exception.  The fury last Sunday was targeted at the efforts of Peace with an arson attack on the only coexistence school in Jerusalem where Arabs and Jews learn side by side. Sadly (and shamefully) evidence points to the extreme right wing elements of our own Jewish Community who most likely set ablaze the first grade classroom of the Max Rayne Hand in Hand Bilingual School.  But anger against the perpetrators and support of the school was evident the next morning when many from all walks of Jerusalem life came out to fortify the school.
House of Cards
Speaking of Jerusalem, Israel’s capital and home of the Knesset, there is much rumbling going on in Bibi’s “house” as his current centrist coalition is tumbling and it looks like Israeli elections will take place March 17th (two years early). Bibi would prefer a more Right Wing coalition though I’m not so sure that would be the best for the people of our homeland.  This will be Israel’s 20th Knesset in 66 years. Let’s hope 20 is the lucky number…
PM David Ben Gurion at the first
Constituent Assembly, which was the
first name of the Knesset.
Planet Earth
600,000 gallons of crude oil leaked from a pipeline near the Israeli resort city of Eilat causing the worst environmental disaster in the nation’s history. The accident was caused by a construction crew and the clean up will take several years. Thankfully the arid climate will prevent rain from washing the oil into any waterways.
Oil spill across the Israeli desert
St. Elsewhere

Since 1988, Dec. 1st has been dedicated to spotlighting the deadly disease of AIDS.  Currently 34 Million people are living with HIV and in its destructive path, it has claimed the lives of 35 Million souls. Modern medicine has broken the death grip of the disease but many of those infected with HIV have poor access to the medications they need to survive.  Also the stigma against the gay community (as they were the most vulnerable in this country to the disease) is slowly lifting as the FDA is now considering lifting the ban on blood donations from gay men which has been in affect since the early 1980s.

Little Mosque on the Prairie (yes, this is a real TV show)

We need more voices like Queen Rania of Jordan who spoke out against the violent highjacking of the Arab world at Abu Dhabi’s Media Summit.  Granted, she lives in a safe environment where her life won’t be threatened but there most be more Arab and Muslim leaders who can cultivate her message into a movement.

Top Chef

Israel is a melting pot of Jews from 70 different nations. During the formation of modern Israel, 850,000 Jews were expelled from all Arab countries.  This past Sunday Israel held its first annual ceremony to commemorate

the Jewish Expulsion.

Sephardic Jews (of Arab descent) and Ashkenazi Jewish (of European descent) comprise the fabric of our vibrant tapestry. This mishmash contributes to the culinary excellence of our culture which is exhibited in (this tasting) of a PBS documentary.  I hope this whets your appetite to visit Israel (for the food alone): And for one more Arab Jewish culinary story, check out this Iraqi Jew who opened a pop-up restaurant in Dubai featuring the foods of his ancestors. The Iraqi Jewish history in this article is interesting with the caveat of a very left wing opinion regarding Israel.


10 heroes will be honored this Sunday at CNN’s 8th annual Heroes Tribute show with one local Rabbi in the contest for the top honor and the grand prize of $100,000 for his life-altering, pro-impact institution, Kids Kicking Cancer, which teaches martial arts empowering techniques to kids battling the pain, fear and challenges of fighting a potentially fatal disease.  Good luck Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg.

Your Hit Parade

For my musical selection this week, I’ve chosen the smooth vocals of Joseph Buchanan and his beautiful rendition ofOne Day. Hope you enjoy:  Also on the musical front, this Sunday (after 35 years of waiting), I will be seeing my all time favorite musician. If you’ve been receiving these emails, you know its Cat Stevens/Yusuf who will be performing at Boston’s Wang Theatre.  I’ve loved his music since my teenage years but instead of sharing his most popular songs with you, here is one of his most obscure and one of my favorites, Banaple Gas:  And to preempt your reply concerns about his conversion to Islam, take a look at this article that talks about his brother, who converted to Judaism and lived in Israel.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Pleasant and Peaceful Shabbat Shalom.

Condolences to dear friends Fern and Brian Kepes and their family on the passing of Fern’s father, Paul “Red” Hoberman z”l. May the memories of Paul’s 84 years and his loving spirit bring comfort to his wife (of 60 years), Eileen, and their beloved family.

Sadly, Mira Segal of Tel Aviv and Hannan’s first cousin passed away unexpectedly this week at the age of 51.  We are sending love, prayers and condolences to her parents, siblings, children and extended family and friends. May her spirit and memories bring comfort to those who loved her.

Condolences to Rolling Stones fans on the death of Bobby Keys, famed Saxophonist well known for his sweet Brown Sugar tracks. He also jammed with Buddy Holly, John Lennon and Eric Clapton.

Women of the Wall
Please join us in supporting Women of the Wall (WOW) to allow prayer equality at the Western Wall.
We are helping them with their Team WOW Marathon:
Wednesday December 10th (6pm)
ADL Gala Honors Senator Carl Levin
Torch of Liberty Award
For more info, please contact Jaimee Wine or 248-535-7553
Tuesday April 14th (Save the Date)
The Emily Stillman Foundation’s A Night of Laughs will help encourage organ/tissue donation and raise awareness of Meningococcal Disease. More details of this event to come…
Happy Birthday!
Dec. 5th
Julie Weisberg Schlafer
Dec. 6th
Wendy Kirsch
Nick Lalla
Dr. Jeff Forman
Dec. 7th
Fran Victor
Dec. 8th
Aliyah Schneider
Dec. 9th
Ronda Ferber
Avi Brandvain
Dec. 10th
Neal Elyakin (Happy 60th dear friend)
Penny Blumenstein
Susan Slablotsky
Roz Blanck
Brian and Fern Kepes (happy 25th)
Dec. 11th
Dale Rubin

Blue Stripes

Shabbat Shalom Dec. 5, 2014