Monday, August 17, 2015

A Subtle Shift....

She could barely decipher it....
The subtlety was, in fact, shrouded in subterfuge and fog...
And yet, her senses were wildly awakened by it....
That feeling of "Anticipation"....of "Satisfaction" even....
enveloped her in its warm, pink, fluffiness....
And as she stood there.....STILL...... SILENT....
it occurred to her, ever-so-delicately....
and with heightened INCREDULITY ...............
that she was.........

Wait for it...........

"""HAPPY""".
And so it went....
 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Tisha B'Av

On Tisha B'Av we mourn, yet again, the Destruction of the Beit Hamikdash.(Holy Temple).... Tonight , as we begin our 24 hour Fast, we are reminded, so unfortuna...tely, that we are a People who are historically,continuously,
placed in Precarious positions... Unfortunately, the state of the world today resonates in all too familiar ways... Wishing you a Safe and Easy Fast..... and continued strength in times of Oppression....
Toby Gotesman Schneier



Sunday, March 8, 2015

Bits of Nostalgia Floating in the Atmosphere...

It's no big Epiphany on my part...
that we, as human beings, are HIGHLY susceptible to moments of
 REVERIE...
MEMORY...
LONGING.....
Deja vu...
We can SMELL the aroma of Apple Pie and be lifted back to a long ago scene in our Mom's kitchen...
We can hear the slight hint of a Melody, and without even being cognizant of
 WHAT the actual song IS,,,,,,,
 we are suddenly 16 years old again, with a pack of our girlfriends, driving through the streets of Portland on a Saturday night...
We can see a COLOR even,,,,, and have a STRIKING moment of unbridled sadness about a parent who is no longer with us....
a parent who wore a SHIRT of that PRECISE BLUE.....
The aforementioned are PURE, MUSCLE MEMORIES...
Completely uncontrollable....
Impossible to Eradicate, even IF we wanted to do so..
So ART is simply, at least from my abstracted perspective,
the NOTION that we can SOLIDIFY these moments in some kind of encapsulated way...
so as to SHARE them somehow....


 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Frank Note....

Having grown up in a home where both parents were Auschwitz Survivors,
I am ALL too aware of the Gargantuan Losses and Upheavals that our people have endured...
We Speak about it, Write about it, Paint about it....Light Candles about it,
Create Staggering Film about it....
We BREATH , SLEEP, & EAT the HOLOCAUST....
We OWN it....
To the extent that I'm beginning to sense a kind of perverse PRIDE around it....
As though, somehow, those TORTURED, CALAMITOUS YEARS are being held up as a BANNER of sorts....
In fact, in some VERY DRASTIC cases, I'm relatively certain that there are people in MY generation who have somehow convinced themselves that it is THEY whom actually SURVIVED THE CAMPS...........
I am 150% with everybody about NEVER FORGETTING and keeping the STORY ALIVE and FLOWING to our children...
However, I fear that we may have lost site of JUST PLAIN, OLD "LIVING"....
We CANNOT ONLY LIVE, BREATH, SLEEP, EAT, PAINT, FILM, & WRITE about the HOLOCAUST!!
We MUST LOOK and GROW and FOCUS FORWARD.... We MUST...
If NOT, the NAZIS continue to WIN OVER AND OVER....
Ecclesiastes said, "For every thing there is a SEASON..."
I, for one, CANNOT and WILL NOT be SAD ALL THE TIME....
Life has many startling and magnificent layers....
Yes, the PAST is EVER-PRESENT in our lives....
But the PRESENT and FUTURE are EVER-PRESENT as well.....
Maybe just kick it down a notch or two ?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Never Forget...

Never Forget....

Holocaust Remembrance....
We remember the plague of German Reach to exterminate and annihilate our people...
The unimaginable reality that this Evil Force had such power...such legs beneath it...
We remember that MILLIONS of innocents were heaped in piles as though they were old, stained burlap...
ready to be burnt as a result of only their uselessness...
We remember that our simple ability to "trust" was forever lost during these calamitous years...
We became something MORE than a "PEOPLE"...
We became a "CAUSE" somehow...
Indignant...Defiant....
Our innocence was buried along with our families beneath the rubble of bodies there in the
notorious "Camps"....
We now are forever saddled with the almost insurmountable MISSION of
"moving on"....of "living well"....
of attaining success...happiness...even freedom ....
while all at once "putting history aside" and "NEVER FORGETTING"....
And we SHALL BE TRIUMPHANT ....
for ultimately...
This is our destiny....

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Liberation from Auschwitz...

As the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz draws near,
I find myself in an unusual kind of  'vortex' of Emotion & Sentiment & even of Longing...
It is as if I am floating above myself somehow....
in a kind of ethereal mist...
The mist is Citrine in color....Drab in a way...
Somewhat acerbic to the tongue ..
I am WATCHING....
GUARDING....
REMEMBERING...
DIS-MEMBERING...
ALL in the 3rd person...
And the Black & White Stripes are undulating and OOZING in gelatinous form.....
through the broken wires of cyclone fencing...
The stripes are dancing actually....
And I find myself TRAPPED in the citrine bubble above myself....
Knocking MADLY.....Trying desperately to GET MY OWN ATTENTION...
And my Parents are there...
Digging a hole in the dirt beneath the fence...
with their torn and bloody hands...
And the color of the RED blood, as seen through my GREEN mist is STARTLING in its utter subtlety...
And I can see, as clear as day, that there is an ANGEL sitting on the branch of an apple tree...
And she is feeding my parents bits of apple soaked in honey and wine...
The wine is RED....just as the blood....
And somehow I KNOW that THEY are indeed FREE...
But I am not...


 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Elephant(s) on the Screen...

The woman sat in deep contemplation , reflecting on the peculiar happenings of the day before...
She was a painter....a good one....dedicated to her craft...
She painted 8+ hours per day and had been doing so for over 15 years..

The attack was BRUTAL...  SUDDEN....
She was completely thrown off her game....

2 Female "Elephants" had shown their tusks in a most deliberate fashion...
They HATED her....DESPISED her...
But the peculiar thing was that SHE HADNT EVEN KNOWN THEM...
One of them, the MOST VICIOUS, was a complete stranger...
And the other one, oddly, had offered MUSEUM INTRODUCTIONS only a short while before said incident took place...

Being ambushed was not completely new to her...
I mean.... HIGH SCHOOL, right?
She chuckled...
She stood 5 feet 9 inches in stocking feet, had never been too bad on the eyes, and was used to a certain amount of envy or indignation or whatever it was...
After all, she'd been in public life forever....

So WHY did THIS thing trouble her SO MUCH ?
She'd been CYBER BULLIED...Badly, to be sure....
And after all, this was not only ILLEGAL, but potentially HARMFUL to her business...to her life...

So she could ROCK THEIR WORLDS APART with lawsuits....
or she could issue a threat of legal action were they EVER to mention her name again under ANY circumstances...
She certainly wasn't shy...
or she could "TURN THE OTHER CHEEK"....
lol
She was pretty sure that her people never did that! 

But aside from all of the above-captioned HOOPLA, there was a bigger issue at stake ...
She had felt warm and cozy and understood in the group....
(foreign feelings for her to be sure!)
And the Mistress of the Group was a FINE, almost ANGELIC woman....
a real TZADEKET....as were some of the people...

The fact was that she had simply been asked by SO MANY people for the prices of her art...
and she was SO uncomfortable sharing this kind of black and white minutiae anyway...
....(which was ABSURD..)
and the Mistress had kindly and gently prodded her forward,
in order to "CELEBRATE ACCOMPLISHMENTS" and REVEL IN COLOR"...
And so she had done so...
Shared the colors and shapes and internal meanderings of her soul, only to then be THWARTED and HUMILIATED by the 2 Elephants...

But HERE was the REAL PROBLEM:
The people had remained SILENT while watching the debacle unfold...
It was as if they were SWITZERLAND during that cataclysmic war...
Parve...Quiet...  Unhelpful...
The only ones who came to her rescue had been the Wonderful Mistress and one close friend...
THIS fact she found to be DEVASTATING, UNFORGIVABLE even...

Re-Entering the scene would be somewhat awkward and even clumsy...
So the woman decided to blog about it in order to assuage and even buffer her disconcertion....

And so it went...


 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Chanukah....

And as the bits of flame still flickered from the almost-done Chanukah candles...
On this 5th night of the holiday...
She was reminded of a time long ago....
In her childhood home...
Of the small living room in the 100 year old house....
(This was long before "OLD" was considered 'chic'!)
Of the family TV and the TIN-FOIL, all scrunched up and re-used, placed beneath the menorah by her mom in some sacrosanct moment of willful reverence...
of the smell of her Bobbi's (Zichrona Livracha) famous Latkes...
Greasy and Gigantic and SUPER FATTENING...
 but..........OH SO yummy...
Of her Mom and her Bobbi peeling potatoes and grating them 'til their hands were chapped and red....
of her Dad(Zichrono Livracha) ,in his big, red, velvet chair....
listening to his favorite Chazanim.......
 singing those old, liturgical songs on the record player....
She thought of her brother, Mike, (Zichrono Livracha)....(Yup..Him too.....)
surrounded, as it were, by girlfriends...There were always teenage girls visiting Mike at home...
What she wouldn't give to be back there again.......
swaddled into that Mellifluous and Cozy Blanket of
 Unenlightened Parenting and Cemented Tradition....
She was reminded of all those times she'd heard people saying that,
"You don't know how good something is until it's gone..."
And in this moment of Pure Nostalgia, she wept...
Tears of Anguish....of Longing.....of Missing those integral people...
Those Beautiful People...
And so it went........