Bubbe Wisdom Blog

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

Ushpizot: Our Honored Female Guests

Succot Chagall

Sukkot celebrates the gathering of the harvest. We eat in temporary dwellings looking above to the stars. As part of the ritual tradition, we welcome the ushpizin, seven male guests, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron and David into the Sukkah.

Women have expanded the tradition to ushpizot,asking instead seven historical Jewish women:
Sarah (Genesis 16:21) with her laughter as her response to God that he will give her a son in her old age; Miriam (Exodus 2:1-9; 15:20-21) the source of water for Israelites wandering in the desert; Deborah (Judges 4-5)is the Bible’s only female military hero and judge; Hannah (I Samuel 25) the model of how people pray while in direct communication with The Divine; Abigail (I Samuel 25:20) known for her hospitality to King David; Huldah (II Kings 22:10-20) the prophet during the time of King Josiah (mid 7th BCE); and Esther (Book of Esther) who revealed her Jewish identity to save fellow Jews from a death decree.

In these trying times, here are the women I want to bring into my Sukkah: Naomi Klein, Rachael Maddow, Beth Greer, Jane Mayer, Jane Goodall, Amy Goodman, and Hillary Clinton to name just seven!

A simple prayer for this holiday of Sukkot:
May the majesty of Your Pure Radiance dwell in our midst.
May our lives be as varied and rich as the stars.
May we inhabit makeshift homes to accept the temporary nature of life.
May we feed all who are hungry and give water to all who are thirsty.
May we listen to voices of responsibility and reason.
May we uphold the virtues that will keep us healthy and give us long life.
May You spread over us the sukkah of peace.

Chag Sukkot Sameach

Friday, September 29th, 2017

Informed Listening

Preet Fired

I have told you before how much I love podcasts. I spend many hours each day listening while I work. It is such a good use of time. Some of my favorites include The Commonwealth Club; How I built This; and The New Yorker Radio Hour.

Recently, Preet Bharara became the latest author of a fascinating podcast: Stay Tuned with Preet

I’ve listened to all three out now and will look forward to a new one posted every Thursday. Really, seriously, find a time to listen- driving, washing the dishes, taking the dog for a walk….. You’ll thank me!

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

Hillary Is Back And Better Than Ever


What Happened” is not one book, but many. It is a candid and blackly funny account of her mood in the direct aftermath of losing to Donald J. Trump. It is a post-mortem, in which she is both coroner and corpse. It is a feminist manifesto. It is a score-settling jubilee. It is a rant against James B. Comey, Bernie Sanders, the media, James B. Comey, Vladimir Putin and James B. Comey. It is a primer on Russian spying. It is a thumping of Trump. (“I sometimes wonder: If you add together his time spent on golf, Twitter and cable news,” she writes, “what’s left?”) JENNIFER SENIOR SEPT. 12, 2017 New York Times

I’ve watched four of Hillary’s interviews– each one better than the last- each one bringing me to tears. She has resurrected herself, clarified her values, owned up to her mistakes, retaken her democratic life and her ability to speak out now when we need her more than ever. My hero now more than ever.

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

Our Creator, Our Sovereign

Alvino Malkanu

“Our Father, our King, inscribe us in a book.” The five petitions of “Inscribe us in a book” correspond to the Five Books of Moses. The first, “Inscribe us in the book of happy life” corresponds to the Book of Genesis, in which the creation of all things, meaning life, is spoken of. The second, “Inscribe us in the book of redemption and salvation” corre­sponds to the Book of Exodus, which speaks of the redemp­tion from Egypt. “Inscribe us in the book of maintenance and sustenance” corresponds to the Book of Leviticus, which speaks of the holy sacrifices and thank-offerings, for the es­sence of sustenance must be in holiness. “Inscribe us in the book of aiding merit” corresponds to the Book of Numbers, which speaks of the Twelve Tribes that camped near their standards, every tribe being a Chariot to its root, that is to say, to the patriarchs, because of whose aiding merit we are alive. “Inscribe us in the book of forgiveness and pardon” corresponds to the Book of Deuteronomy, in which Moses our master upbraids Israel for all they did that was wrong, and which contains the scriptural portion of teshuvah (repentance), by means of which we merit forgiveness and pardon.” Uziel Meisel’s “Tiferet Uziel.” Reprinted from S. Y. Agnon’s anthology “Days of Awe”.

Avinu Malkeinu

Avinu malkeinu sh’ma kolenu. Avinu malkeinu chatanu l’faneycha
Holy One, hear our voice. Holy One, we have sinned before Thee

Avinu malkeinu chamol aleynu, Ve’al olaleynu vetapeinu
Holy One, have compassion for us, and also on our children

Avinu malkeinu Kaleh dever, vecherev vera’av mealeynu
Holy One, bring an end to pestilence, war and famine around us

Avinu malkeinu kaleh chol tsar Umastin mealeynu
Holy One, bring an end to all trouble and oppression around us

Avinu malkeinu, Avinu malkeinu, Kat’veinu besefer chayim tovim
Holy one, Holy One, inscribe us in the book of life

Avinu malkeinu chadesh aleynu, Chadesh aleynu shanah tovah
Holy One, renew upon us, renew upon us a good year

Sh’ma kolenu, Sh’ma kolenu , Sh’ma kolenu
Hear our voice, hear our voice, hear our voice

Avinu malkeinu, Avinu malkeinu, Chadesh aleynu shanah tovah
Holy One, Holy One, renew upon us a good year

Avinu malkeinu, Sh’ma kolenu, Sh’ma kolenu, Sh’ma kolenu
Holy One, hear our voice, hear our voice, hear our voice

Sunday, September 17th, 2017


Butterfly Installation

Butterfly Panel

Butterfly Prayer


I watched the ZooKeeper’s Wife last night. In this touching story, one of the holocaust victims is represented and then remembered by a Butterfly pin that she gives to the ZooKeeper’s Wife as she is leaving her to escape. Butterflies are a powerful symbol of transformation, delicate and beautiful but fragile and short lived.

The Butterfly Project opening today at the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh uses that same image. Inspired by the poem “I Never Saw Another Butterfly” by Pavel Friedmann, a young Czech living in the Terezin Concentration Camp, the Project is a tribute to the lives of the young people lost in the Holocaust. Over 300 children painted individual butterflies learning about the children lost and invisioning a future using the lessons learned from the Holocaust to create a free, tolerant world.

My artist job was to integrate the butterflies into a meaningful, warm-hearted exhibit. I used red ribbons to attach the butterflies to the quilts. Red ribbons ward off the evil eye, fooling the evil, who is attracted to the red and away from the butterfly. I placed the butterflies in a beautiful landscaped environment and I offer them the blessing we bestow on our children every Shabbat.

The Butterfly Project Pittsburgh Exhibit is on view through December: Mondays,Wednesdays,and Fridays 10:00 a.m.– 2:00 p.m. Let me know what you think!

Friday, September 8th, 2017

Hebrew Lesson I- Rosh Hashanah-Head of the Year


Our Jewish calendar revolves around the moon, different from our daily English calendar that revolves around the sun. Because of this our day begin at sunset when the moon comes up in the sky. Every Jewish month begins with the sliver of a new moon and all Jewish Holidays occur according to the waxing and waning of the moon.

Normally we call the beginning of each new moon and month Rosh Chodesh but the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei is called Rosh HaShanah meaning head of the year.

Customs observed on Rosh HaShanah include the sounding of the shofar to bring us to the importance of the moment; special blessings to welcome the year; eating a round challah, symbolizing the circle of life; eating sweet foods with honey hoping for a sweet New Year; and extend wishes for a good year: L’Shanah tovah.

Reform Jews celebrate one day of Rosh HaShanah, while Conservative, Orthodox and Reconstructionist Jews observe two days. Reading the torah on Rosh Hashanah, we learn about Abraham and Sarah and the birth of their only son, Isaac.

One meaningful practice that I have always followed for Rosh HaShanah is Tashlich, a ceremony where we go to a body of running water to cast away all of of our bad traits by symbolically tossing bread into the water. This physical act inspires us to remember our actions, right our wrongs, and refocus ourselves for the New Year.

L’Shana Tov to all!!!

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

Compassion For Self


Have compassion for your ego. It is doing two important jobs at once, which often puts it into agonizing conflict with itself. The ego’s first job is to maintain the integrity of the individual, personal self. It simultaneously has the job of seeking out the larger view in which the personal self is only a part. Both are needed.

God needs knees. Knees need God.

One one hand, we must sincerely ask for what we want. On the other hand, we must express gratefulness for what is already there, with no thought that God is not already present, with no thought that there is something we do not have. This is the proper way to talk to God: hungry gratefulness. Reader! Please have compassion for your poor ego doing so much sincere work!

The Instruction Manual for Receiving God; Jason Shulman; page 113

Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

20/20: The Studio Museum in Harlem and Carnegie Museum of Art


Red People Pope

With All Eyes on the South, the Most Important Art Show in America Is Underway in Pittsburgh; John Ortved for Vogue Magazine

Powerful exhibit at the Carnegie, read the review in Vogue which is how it came to my attention. Many important artists I’ve followed for years like Jenny Holzer, Kara Walker, Jasper Johns, Louise Nevelson, and Teenie Harris, but also included: the simple poster drawings of a new artist for me, William Pope.L. His 8.5 X 11 framed statements pepper throughout the walls of the show and help to bring the work into a collective statement of where we have been, where we are and how far we have to go. Start with going to see the exhibit there till the end of the year.

Friday, August 25th, 2017

My Favorite New Material Find


This toxic political situation has garnished way too much of my attention, so much so, that I have wanted to share this information since I discovered it at the beginning of the summer, but as always, better late than never.

In the old days, I would go to great lengths to obtain any piece of clothing that has made of hemp. It started at the Lilith Fair where I purchased the nicest jumper I have ever owned- until this year. You may not be familiar with hemp used in clothing but you are most certainly familiar with rayon, a cellulosic fiber derived from wood pulp since 1938. It usually has a high luster quality, giving it a bright shine, some comparing it’s feel to silk.

My new favorite fabric is Modal, the second generation of rayon. Modal is a high wet modulus rayon, which has virtually the same properties as regular rayon plus high wet strength and extra softness, making it especially useful for body contact clothing such as lingerie and undergarments. This is how I am enjoying it- in both my favorite new pjs and yoga tops.

Modal is wear resistant and can be machine washed and tumble dried without shrinking or getting pulled out of shape. It performs much like cotton and can be mercerized for increased strength and luster. Modal is about fifty percent more water-absorbent per unit volume than cotton. It’s designed to dye just like cotton and is color-fast when washed in warm water. Textiles made from modal are resistant to shrinkage, fading and graying. Check it out- probably on sale at your local Macys!

Friday, August 25th, 2017

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters


I. I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost…I am helpless
It isn’t my fault. It takes me forever to find a way out.

II. I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall again.
I can’t believe I’m in the same place. But, it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.

III. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in… it’s a habit. My eyes are open, I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

IV. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

V. I walk down another street.

Portia Nelson

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

Truth To Power

PA Article 1 Section 27

Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar; Traveler, there is no path, the path must be forged as you walk.
Antonio Machado, Border of a Dream: Selected Poems

Article 1, Section 27 of the state constitution, also referred to as the Environmental Rights Amendment, passed by referendum in 1971: The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.

A decade after AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH brought the climate crisis into popular culture, Former Vice President Al Gore continues his tireless fight with An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power that shows that while the stakes have never been higher, the perils of climate change can be overcome with human ingenuity and passion.

Scientists Agree;There are real dangers;It’s our duty; We have the means; It makes economic sense; We’re doing it together.
What you can do to take part in solving the climate crisis.

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

The Result Of A President Bigot

Large Adult Goat

Imagine if these people faced actual oppression.
Nobody is trying to legislate away their right to marry.
Nobody is trying to make them buy insurance to pay for “male health care.”

The law never…
Enslaved their great-grandparents
Robbed their grandparents
Imprisoned their parents
Shot them when unarmed.

There is no massive effort at the state and local level to disenfranchise them of the vote. There is no history of centuries of bad science dedicated to “proving” their intellectual inferiority. There is no travel ban on them because of their religion. There is no danger for them when they carry dangerous weapons publicly.

Their churches were never burned. Their lawns were never decorated with burning crosses. Their ancestors never hung from trees.

Their mothers aren’t being torn away by ICE troopers and sent away forever. They won’t be forced to leave the only country they ever knew. The president has not set up a hotline to report crime committed at their hands.

They are chanting “We will not be replaced.” Replaced… as what?

I’ll tell you.

Replaced as the only voice in public discussions. Replaced as the only bodies in the public arena. Replaced as the only life that matters.

THIS is ‘white people’ oppression: We used to be the only voice. Now we hold the only microphone. THIS is ‘white man’ oppression. We face criticism now. We were free from it, because others feared the consequences.

THIS is ‘oppression’ of white Christians in this country. Christmas used to be the only holiday acknowledged, now it’s not.

I would so love to see these people get all the oppression they insist they receive, just for a year. Just to see.

Give them a world where you ACTUALLY can’t say Christmas. A world where the name “Geoff” on a resume puts it in the trash. Give them a world where they suddenly get a 20% pay cut, and then 70 women every day tell them to smile more.

Give them a world where their polo shirt makes people nervous, so they’re kicked off the flight from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis.

Give them a world where they inherited nothing but a very real understanding of what oppression really f**king is.

Give them a world where if they pulled up on a campus with torches lit and started throwing hands, the cops would punch their eyes out. Put THAT in your Tiki torches and light it, you sorry Nazi b*****es.
Julius Goat@JuliusGoat

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