Please Forgive Me


Please Forgive Me

Last Friday Jews celebrated Rosh Hashanah (I wrote about it last week). In the Torah, ten days later, which falls on the eve of Sunday the 27th, starts Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement. According to tradition, this is the day when God decides each person’s fate. So Jews are encouraged to make amends and ask forgiveness for the sins they committed over the past year. The holiday is observed with a 25-hour fast and special prayers. However, before asking God, one needs to settle their relationships with people and ask for their forgiveness. Therefore, I am using this opportunity to ask you to forgive me. One of the prayers is to ask God for the forgiveness of the sins, which we did knowingly, as well as for those which only God knows about.

This brings to mind a joke about a man, who while praying tells God, “During the last year you did many things which I did not like, such as, the Coronavirus, fires, tornadoes, and the list goes on. At the same time, I am sure that I had a few transgressions of which you did not approve. So, let’s make a deal; if you forgive me, I will forgive you and we will be even.” Jokes aside, we all have choices of what to do and how to behave. Some call it free will. However, it seems that even our choices come from Torah.

Recently in the weekly portion I was reading that Moses before ending his life’s journey told the Israelites, “See – I have placed before you today the life and good, and the death and evil” (Nitzavim 30:15). And then a few lines later, as to repeat his important message, he said again, “I have placed life and death before you, blessing and curse; and you shall choose life, so that you will choose life, so that you will live, you and your offspring” (Nitzavim 30:19). And then he concludes in the next chapter, “For I know that after my death you will stay from the path that I have commanded you and evil will befall you at the end of days, if you do what is evil in the eyes of Hashem (God), to anger him through your handiwork” (Vayelech 31:29). 

It is estimated that Moses died in 1271 BCE. It seems that years later his prophecy was fulfilled, since humans stray from God’s guidance all time. Therefore, the Torah gave us Yom Kippur, so that at least once a year the Jews can clean their consciousness, and there is hope that in spite of our misbehavior, we will be forgiven and choose to live. I am wishing you good final judgement.

P.S. For this story I decided to share with you some images of flowers without color. Use your imagination of how your life is going to look in full color. Sometime in the near future I will show you my color versions.

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Good & Sweet Year


Good & Sweet Year

If you are reading this story on Friday, September 18th, I am wishing you a Good and Sweet New Year. According to the Jewish calendar, it is the eve of the two day holiday, Rosh Hashanah, which according to Torah, commemorates the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, the first humans, 5781 years ago. Though the Torah is the Jewish Bible, the first humans were the parents of all of humanity, and the celebration of their birthday can be shared with everyone. Rosh Hashanah is translated as Head of the Year; however, it is the seventh month of the Jewish calendar. The first one is in the spring month and is called Nissan. It is considered the New Year from counting the years of kings in ancient Israel. Nissan is the month of the celebration of the festival of Passover. While Rosh Hashanah is the anniversary of the creation of the world, Nissan celebrates the founding of the Jewish people after their exodus from Egypt.

For our family, this New Year is going to be especially memorable. The special event actually started a little bit earlier. On the evening of September 6th, our daughter Tamar gave us a gift, our first granddaughter. So, as far as we are concerned, our Good and Sweet Year started twelve days earlier. Unfortunately, the coronavirus has not only affected the rest of the world, but it has also prevented us from sharing the joy of the miracle of the start of the new life with our daughter and her husband David. To be on the safe side, we will not meet our granddaughter until there is a vaccine, or the virus is under control.

So the question is, how can we have a Good Year if no one knows when the vaccine will be available? When I called my brother, who lives in Toronto, and cannot go to work because of the lockdown, he made a comment, which put everything into proper prospective. “It does not matter how long the coronavirus will last; sooner or later, life will be as it used to be, meanwhile enjoy today!”

Let’s enjoy every day regardless of how many years passed since Adam and Eve appeared in this world. Have a Good and Sweet Year!

P.S. One of the traditions to start Rosh Hashanah is by dipping an apple in honey and eating pomegranate. I am sharing with you my take on those fruits.

Enjoy and Share with a Friend.

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Why and Where to Recharge Your Batteries


Why and Where to
Recharge Your Batteries

Recently our daughter Alona’s boyfriend Jeff shared a recent of his experience with us. He took his car in for an oil change. However, when he tried to turn on the ignition, the engine was dead. Fortunately, he was in the right place. The culprit was the battery, which had survived 260,000 miles.

Many car owners have had similar experiences, when for various reasons, their car battery died. While, the solutions are relatively simple – to carry charging cables and ask friendly drivers to help you, or to call AAA, or another road side assistance service; sooner or later, charging does not work anymore, and you have no choice, but to replace the battery. This relates not only to cars, but to our bodies as well.

I heard about Jeff’s experience during our visit to Laguna Beach, where Alona and Jeff rented an apartment for a month and invited us to spend a few days with them to recharge our batteries. Jeff was born and grew up in Laguna Beach, which is situated in Orange County, Southern California, and naturally knows his way around. Because of the volume of work in the office, both myself and my wife Elfa felt exhausted, and though our stay was for only three days, it gave us an opportunity to relax, a change of scenery, to walk on the beach and to photograph (I returned with over 1200 images) and, yes, to recharge. Max stayed with his dog sitter, but we saw plenty of dogs all around us.

We were reminded that the coronavirus is still around only by the masks some had on their faces. All of the restaurants were open and served very good food at the outdoor terraces. With the local population of about twenty-three thousand, there is an estimated six million tourists who visit the community, annually.

As a boy, Jeff used to skateboard down the hills and catch waves on his surfboard. He told us about his childhood experiences and how the area had changed since. In the morning, we went for a walk on the beach, and in the afternoon we drove to other surrounding towns, and then returned to the beach to watch the sunset. We could easily stay there for longer, but we missed Max, and he missed us. Perhaps next year we will drive down there together with him and stay longer.

P.S. Part of the recharging process is to do more of what you love, for me this is photography. It was difficult to pick up just four images. Besides photographing people I encountered on the beach, I also captured images of flowers, some of them, which I photographed, ended up on Instagram. 

Enjoy and Share with a Friend.

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What We Can Learn From Ants


What We Can Learn From Ants

Have you ever had invasion of ants on your kitchen counter or in the bathroom? I tried different methods to get rid of them, however every winter, when it rains, they are back. I decided to write about ants after coming across an article in the July 25, 2020 publication of Popular Science, “Ants could help us beat future pandemics”, written by Michael Schulson. What surprised me was that scientists have been studying how deadly pathogens affect ant colonies, even before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Turns out that “Social insects like black garden ants are some of the most successful creatures on the planet. Their strong cooperative systems protect the general health and well-being of both leaders and individuals in the colony.” Scientists discovered that “Some of those methods can seem alien. Others, including simple immunization-like behavior and forms of insect social distancing, can seem eerily familiar.” But what especially struck me was the question – “What if pathogens were not an incidental nuisance to colonies, but a profound threat that shaped the very evolution of their societies?” This question prompted me to think about our current pandemic. What if, for some mysterious reason, COVID-19 also serves as a tool in the process of human evolution?

The article is based on the research done by many scientists. One of them is Natalie Stroeymeyt from the University of Bristol in the UK. According to her, “Human public health departments are only a couple of centuries old, while ant societies have been evolving for millions of years”. “It’s very rare to find a colony collapsing under the weight of a pathogen,” Stroeymeyt writes. “We know that their mechanisms are extremely effective.” Can we learn from ants or stubbornly try on our own?

P.S. Since ants are quite small, it is challenging to photograph them. I was fortunate to be able to capture four images last year on my trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Enjoy and Share with A Friend.

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I Do Not Believe It


I Do Not Believe It

We recently spent a weekend relaxing at home. While I was reading a newspaper, my wife Elfa was checking emails on her iPad. Suddenly she exclaimed a few times, “I do not believe it!” In this case it was a video of a cat who fell into a pool. Seeing the cat, a dog jumped in and carried the cat to safety on his (or her) back. There are many other circumstances or events in our lives which can lead to these expressions. I thought about it when a friend sent an email titled, “Fascinating Errors of Judgement”. After reading it, I decided to share some of the quotes with you, with my title “I Do Not Believe It”.

1. ”A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth’s atmosphere”
“The New York Times”, 1936.

2. ”The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.”
Sir William Preece, Chief Engineer, British Post Office, 1878.

3. ”There will never be a bigger plane built.”
A Boeing engineer, after the first flight of the 247, a twin plane that holds ten people.

4. ”There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.”
Ken Olson, President, Chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) 1977 World Future meeting in Boston.

5. ”No one will pay good money to get from Berlin to Potsdam in one hour when one can ride his horse there in one day for free.”
King William I of Prussia, on train in 1864.

6. ”Television won’t last because people will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.”
Darryl Zanuck, movie producer, 20th Century Fox, 1946.

7. ”I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943.

8. ”Reagan doesn’t have that presidential look.”
United Artists executive after rejecting Reagan as lead in the 1964 film “The Best Man”.

9. ”We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.”
Deca Recording Company on declining to sign the Beatles, 1962.

10. ”The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad.”
The President of Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyers not to invest in the Ford Motor Co., 1903

Reading those quotes I ask myself, what are the statements which experts make today related to different aspects in our lives, including the Coronavirus, to which the next generation will exclaim, “I do not believe it.”

P.S. When I was putting together this story, I thought about which of my images to share with you, which look unbelievable, or at least look incredulous. I hope while seeing these four images you will exclaim, “I do not believe that this is a photo!”

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