Bubbe Wisdom Blog

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

Voters of Alabama: It’s Time To Stand Up


If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. Desmond Tutu

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing. Albert Einstein

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. Thomas Jefferson

Standing up to bullies is the hallmark of a civilized society. Robert Reich

One does not have to operate with great malice to do great harm. The absence of empathy and absence of understanding are sufficient. Charles M. Blow

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest it. Elie Wiesel

I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody. Lily Tomlin

It’s time for you, Alabama, to take a good look at yourselves and decide whether you really want to be represented at the highest levels of government for six long years by a grim theocrat who was removed from his chief justice position once for insisting on displaying the Ten Commandments in his courtroom, and then suspended years later because he refused to accept the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage and now has clear multiple allegations of sexual harassment and mis-conduct. The man known as the Ayatollah of Alabama isn’t likely to burnish the reputation of your state as a sane and safe place. Stand up! We are counting on you!

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

The Viking River Cruise: A Review

Amsterdam Fun

Basal Graffiti

Breisah Church

Love Locks in Colgne

Swiss Choclates

Rhine Castles

WWII School Bag

After a great night’s sleep in my own bed, I declare myself a contented alumni of The Rhine Getaway Viking River Cruise- an organization that is well organized, friendly, considerate, tasteful, all with the aim of continued loyal patronage.

There’s so much to say- ask for specific details as to your interests- today I will give you my top ten experiences ala David Letterman. See more on my instagram.

10. Helping Steve to discover Graffiti.
9. The foods particularly, the breads, cheeses and chocolates.
8. A hike in the Black Forest on a portion of the El Camino. This would have ranked higher if it had been longer and less rushed.
7. Getting to know the smaller German cities and towns: Cologne, Rudesheim, Koblenz, Speyer, Strasbourg, and Breisach and Kinderdijk in the Netherlands with its windmills.
6. The art museums in general and particularly seeing Chagall’s early work 1911-1919 contextualized in an exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Basal and separately the grounds of the Riehen in Basal.
5. The transportation system in Basal.
4. Purchasing marijuana in a Amsterdam cafe.
3. Sailing along the Rhine Valley with a great view of vineyards and castles.
2. Meetin a quiltmaker from Colorado Springs who was a 60 year ago graduate of Mastbaum Vocational High School also where I had my first teaching job after Drexel plus the variety of interesting people aboard the ship.
1.Touring Jewish Amsterdam with a private guide after also viewing the Ann Frank House.

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

An Open Letter to the Democratic Leadership in SWPA


An Open Letter to the Democratic Leadership in SWPA – Congressman Mike Doyle; Allegheny County Chair, Nancy Patton Mills; Westmoreland County Chair, Lorraine Petrosky; Greene County Chair, Maddie Loring; Washington County Chair, Linda Andrews – and State Party Chair Marcel Groen:

The 18th District Campaign Coalition, the Joint Midterm Committee of Rise Up Mt. Lebanon and 412 Resistance, and Progress 18 PA (formerly Mondays With Murphy) have been working since January to aggregate the grassroots energy across the four counties in the 18th District in preparation for an all-out effort to put a Democrat in this seat in Congress. Both the presence of a dramatically activated base as well as the circumstances that have precipitated this special election make this race, with the right Democratic candidate, truly winnable.

Though the abrupt resignation of Congressman Tim Murphy has changed both the procedures and the timeframe for this effort, the members of this coalition stand ready to mobilize on behalf of a strong nominee, one who is willing to take a stand on priority issues and inspire the volunteers and voters crucial to this effort.

Specifically, we believe only a nominee who will co-sponsor H.R. 676 (Medicare for All), will robustly support efforts to combat climate change, and will stand up for unabridged reproductive rights, racial justice, humane immigration policy, strong unions, sensible gun legislation, and full civil rights for the LGBTQ community will get the Democrats and Independents to the polls.

Most importantly, we ask that you remain mindful that you and the committee members are acting in this as proxies for the people of this district. It is our hope that we can work together to win the first national-level special election since the debacle of 2016 and set the standard for the 2018 midterms.


Progress 18 PA: 515 members
412 Resistance – 697 members
Peter’s Township Citizens for Democracy: 90 members
Pennsylvania Together: 2,000 members statewide
La Resistance: 512 members
Mt. Lebanon Rise Up: 300 members
Upper St. Clair Progressive Network: 268 members
Democrats for Action, Responsibility, and Truth (DART): 112 members Order of the Phoenix: 7,500 members in SWPA

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

Judaism Lesson 2: The Hebrew Calendar

moon cycle

new moon

Everyone is always trying to figure out when each Jewish holiday will happen on our civil calendar. The reason for this is that the Jewish calendar is determined by the revolution of the moon around the Earth as opposed to the civil calendar that sets the lengths of the months to fit within a regular 12 month year.

This makes the Jewish calendar harder to follow. There are approximately 12.4 lunar months in every solar year, making a 12-month lunar calendar 11 days shorter than a solar year and a 13-month lunar 19 longer than a solar year. To compensate for this, the Jewish calendar uses a 12-month lunar calendar with an occasional extra month of Adar, called Adar II, inserted before the regular Adar.

Our lunar month, Rosh Chodesh meaning head of the month, begins when the first sliver of moon becomes visible after the darkness of no moon. According to an ancient tradition, the holiday was a reward given to the women of Israel because they refused to surrender their jewelry for the creation of the golden calf (Exodus 32). Today, Jewish feminists have taken this holiday to add new rituals and meaningful celebrations for women. Women of the Wall come together to celebrate each Rosh Hodesh at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

The year on the Jewish calendar represents the number of years since creation, calculated by adding up the ages of people in the Bible. This does not necessarily mean that the universe has existed for only 5700 years as we understand years, but rather marks the beginning of Judaism as we know it today. This year is 5778. Jews do not use the words A.D. and B.C. to refer to the years on the civil calendar because these refer to Jesus as the son of God. Instead we use the abbreviations C.E. (Common Era) and B.C.E. (Before the Common Era).

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

Resistant One


The human personality is not a steady, simple thing; it changes from moment to moment. This mutability is disturbing to the homeostasis of the ego.

So we have come this far and have ingested all the truths, and still there is uncertainty and suffering. Why is that? It is because- even as we learn and metabolize the eternal constancies- the one who is searching is the one who is simultaneously resisting this knowledge at every turn. This resistant one is the unhealed ego.

The unhealed ego can never find the real God, the real Self. It is not that this ego is bad in any way. It simply does not know how to look in the right place. It is the wrong too for the job. It’s like using a sewing needle to garden. It just won’t work. But before we can get to the solution, we need to understand the problem: The unhealed ego only feels safe with things that are the way they were. It does not feel safe with the unknown, even if that unknown will be closer to what it wants: the great mystery of life.

So today, simply get to know the problem. Watch how your ego keeps trying to keep you safe by making the next moment into what went before. Get to know the power that confusion holds for you. Get to know- without judgment or condemnation- how much it limits your life.

The Instruction Manual For Receiving God; Page 79; Jason Shulman

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

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