Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The House of Love and Prayer... A Play about the life of Shlomo Carlebach

I was very fortunate to be in the audience of the 3rd night of a 3 night NYC run of The House of Love and Prayer.. The Life, Music and Stories of Shlomo Carlebach. The 2 1/2 + hour performance was thoroughly engaging and delightful from the start. The music had the audience clapping and tapping their feet. As the show ended and the crowd rose to a standing ovation I felt like I could have listened to the music all night long...

A little info on the life of Shlomo Carlebach from Wikipedia....

Shlomo Carlebach's ancestors comprised one of the oldest rabbinical dynasties in pre-Holocaust Germany.

Shlomo Carlebach was born in Berlin, where his father, Rabbi Naftali Carlebach, was an Orthodox Rabbinic Authority. The family fled the Nazis in 1933 and lived in Baden bei Wien, Austria before coming to New York City in 1939. His father became the rabbi of Congregation Kehilath Jacob, a small synagogue on West 79th Street in New York's Upper West Side; Shlomo and his twin brother Eli Chaim took over the rabbinate of the synagogue after their father's death in 1967.

Reb Shlomo studied at several high-level Orthodox yeshivos, including Yeshiva Torah Vodaas and Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin in Brooklyn, New York, and Bais Medrash Gevoha in Lakewood, New Jersey. His voice and musical talents were recognized quite early during his days in yeshiva, when he was often chosen to lead the services as a popular Hazzan ("cantor") for Jewish holidays.

As is engraved on his tombstone, he became a devoted Hasid ("disciple") of Rabbi Joseph Isaac Schneersohn (1880-1950) the sixth Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch. From 1951-1954, he subsequently worked as the first emissaries (shluchim) of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe, until he departed to form his successful model for outreach, literally teaching hundreds of thousands of Jews worldwide

Reb Shlomo and his wife, Neila, had two daughters, Nedara (Dari) and Neshama. Neshama Carlebach is a songwriter and singer with her own following who has written and sung many songs in her father's style.

He died suddenly of a heart attack while travelling on an airplane to relatives in Canada. Seated next to him was the Skverer Rebbe, they were singing the Rebbe's favorite melody, which Shlomo had composed.

Reb Shlomo was very close with many famous Hassidic Rebbes, including the Amshinover Rebbe and Bobover Rebbe. Shlomo is regarded as one of the most successful Kiruv personalities of the 20th century, second only to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, reaching many Jewish souls through his outreach, music and teaching.


Carlebach's approach towards kiruv, or Jewish outreach, was often tinged with controversy:

"He operated outside traditional Jewish structures in style and substance, and spoke about God and His love in a way that could make other rabbis uncomfortable."[3]
At times, he would encourage mixed (men and women) dancing at his concerts and would often kiss woman upon greeting them:

"He was known for literally embracing his female followers—a forbidden practice among Orthodox jews. His standards of comportment were viewed as being too lax by Orthodox colleagues, distancing him from the Haredi establishment which adheres to the laws of shomer negiah (whereby physical contact with a member of the opposite sex is only permitted with one's spouse and very close relatives). An anecdote is told that when Carlebach was asked about his lack of adherence to the laws of shomer negiah by one yeshiva student, he responded (in a manner very uncharacteristic to him), "When your foolish rabbi knows as much as the average gentile about the Torah, come back and ask me the same question."

I had the pleasure of listening to Rabbi Naftali Citron, Spiritual Leader of The Carlebach Shul this summer at The Hampton Synagogue. Rabbi Citron is the great nephew of Reb Shlomo. The Carlebach Shul www.carlebachshul.org is located on West 79th Street in New York City.

Have fun! I always do!

RISA

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Great Websites of My Friends

I feel very fortunate to have many wonderful friends.... Friends that I have had for years and years.... I thought I would share a few websites of some dear friends... Unique and thought provoking....

www.theenchantedworld.com

From "About Us" on their website....
When artist Amy Zerner met author Monte Farber in 1974, an enchanted relationship was formed. Since 1988, they have shared their unique brand of life mastery and artistic excellence with their readers in the more than one million copies of their unique, award-winning works published in nine languages. They claim their multi-dimensional relationship as lovers, creative collaborators and successful entrepreneurs can be attributed partially to their application of the intuition building skills and ancient wisdom they have studied before and during their twenty-seven year marriage and friendship, compassion and a sense of humor comprise the other part.

Amy and Monte are dear friends. I feel truly blessed to have them in my life.


Another great website is that of another dear friend Geo Geller who photographed Jake and Dylan when they were TWO or THREE surfing the internet (in the early days)... Geo's site is quite thought provoking.

www.randomplace.com

I encourage you to visit these two sites. Stay for a while. Explore.

Have Fun! I always do!

RISA

Friday, January 26, 2007

Ron Mueck Exhibition at The Brooklyn Museum

It was so wonderful to finally see the works in person of Ron Mueck, one of my "new" favorite artists. I will tell you his work may not appeal to everyone but it is a must see just for the fact that it is hard to believe the realistic lifelike figures he creates. I encourage you to visit his exhibit at The Brooklyn Museum which will be on until Feb. 4th. It is a must see!!! My interest in Ron Mueck's work started after I had the great fortune of seeing "Two Old Women" in Glenn Furhman's apartment last year during a Women's UJA event. I have always been fascinated by Art that is very realistic and lifelike. Especially sculpture and 3 Dimensional Art. I instantly bonded with this piece as it truly fascinated me. I promise you a visit to the exhibit will be truly worth it!! Also stop into the Museum Cafe for a great lunch and the Museum Shop!
http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/ron_mueck/

Have fun! I always do!

RISA

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sleeping .......

Not being a great sleeper... as in rarely if ever do I sleep straight through the night... I find myself trying to linger in bed especially in those early morning hours when I do finally feel like I could sleep for hours.... My perfect recipe is a slightly soft mattress... 3 or 4 king size down pillows... a room that is no hotter than 65 degrees preferably 63 and a big mushy down comforter enveloped in a Pratesi duvet... Very decadent.... So OK I did finally pull myself out of bed at 1:00 PM this afternoon.... Having pressed the snooze button a million times before that. Made a toasted everything bagel and a great cup of coffee... Hmmm the greatest luxury in life is not having to do anything... So we should all cherish those times when we can stay in bed a bit longer.. and just relax and enjoy doing nothing at all!!

Have fun! I always do!

RISA

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

American Idol should be ASHAMED!!

I haven't watched American Idol for that many seasons and I have to say I am embarassed to admit I have watched for the last two nights. All I can say is that the producers should be ashamed!! I have a great sense of humor and love a good joke any day of the week. What were they thinking??? All I have watched both nights is people making fools of themselves. I am hoping this must be a joke?? Some of the people even border on mentally impaired. I guess the goal of American Idol is to poke fun!! Is it so hard to get ratings that we need to stoop down to this level?? Very sad!!

Have fun! I always do!

RISA

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Thank you in Action.....

When I receive a gift it is immediately acknowledged with a thank you note. I have been doing this since I was a child and because of this I have acquired a taste for beautiful stationery. I have tried to instill this in my children albeit it is tough but hopefully as they get older it won't be. Acknowledging and then showing your appreciation for a gift by writing the "gift giver" a personal note is a "must"!!! We all lead busy lives but can't use that as an excuse for not having having good manners. It is shocking to me how many people do not follow this... I would think it would be natural. As natural as bringing a gift to someone when they invite you to their home?? Don't we all do this?? Well since I mentioned stationery I will tell you some of my favorites.. For sure Mrs. John L. Strong which can be found at Barney, NY and then Cranes, Smythson, fabulous papers and choices at Kate's Paperie www.katespaperie.com ... Great choices online at www.finestationery.com and www.chelseapaper.com

BTW My special thanks to y'all for reading my blog!!!!

Have fun! I always do!

RISA

Monday, January 8, 2007

I Thought I said PLAIN!!!

I am not the type who redoes the menu when I dine out.(Daily LOL!!) My biggest requests are dressing on the side or lemon with my diet coke. My children are another story.. Although they have matured greatly in their dining tastes and will try new things every now and then when they say "plain" they mean PLAIN!!! You would think when you say plain just plain with nothing on it.. the kitchen would understand?? But is it the kitchen?? If the waiter didn't explicitly convey your request to them whose fault is it? I will say that at least 75% of the time the order doesn't come as requested. I can't even tell you the countless times we have seen "green stuff" on pizza and pasta... wasabi on sushi.. lettuce and tomato(my son will just puke).. sauces on top instead of on the side... oyyyy... This is just a parent's worst nightmare!!! Especially those with young kids.. How many times have we all picked the "green stuff" off the food!! Tonight while eating at a local restaurant in town.. The boys both ordered Shwarma and we told the waiter plain with nothing on it at least 3 times!! Of course when it came one had salad on it. Major no no!! I stared at my sister and said I know I told the waiter plain and she said yes you did.. He got all flustered and had the nerve to go back to the kitchen and tell them that I was wrong.. I think he said something like that blah blah lady... Unbelievable! Is there any hope for change???

Have fun! I always do!

RISA

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Service as a Regular

This morning we went to our favorite local coffee shop (diner) in Center Moriches. The "UnHamptons"... Lucy one of the owners greets us immediately with a Kiss and a Happy New Year. The place is bustling with locals. We've barely sat down and a hot delicious cup of coffee is placed in front of me with a bowl of half and half's... I see our waiter grab a large glass and go for the ice and bowl of pre sliced lemon. I know he is getting me a diet coke before I have even asked for it. What service!!! Then he comes to the table to take our order.. always the same.. He even says two hot chocolates.. one with whipped cream and one without.. The boys say no two with whipped cream. I am amazed as they have changed their standard order. The waiter is shocked.. Then as Lucy brings over the hot chocolates she says.. WOW you both want whipped cream?? She said I had already made one with and one without so its overflowing a bit after I put the whipped cream on top. WOW that is personal service!!! And always with a smile no matter how busy the place is. Wouldn't it be nice to always be treated like a regular everywhere?

Have fun! I always do!

RISA

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Service or the Lack of...........

It amazes me that we are living in a world that when you receive good service it is almost a suprise. How sad and thoroughly frustrating. You would think that buying high ticket items at luxury shops, eating at expensive restaurants, staying at lavish hotels and giving your business to high end firms would somewhat ensure this. NOT!!!! (As said by Borat!! LOL!!) You get better service at McDonalds!! How many times have you been in an expensive restaurant with great food and lousy service?? Turns the whole meal on its head... Or having to wait 10 minutes for a glass of water after you've asked 3 times. Inexcusable!!

Is it a new generation of workers? Are the younger generation not being trained properly by their employers? Prices keep rising.. Technology is moving at breakneck speed. People are still needed and they need to be properly trained in their job functions to deal with customers. Every customer deserves proper respect and timely service no matter what price point they are shopping or dining at.

I hope the trend changes for the better although I am not holding out much hope for this.

Have fun!! I always do!!

RISA