In his 1899 Harper’s Monthly essay, “Concerning the Jews”, Mark Twain concludes his reflection on the Jewish people with a question.
All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?
There is no secret.
At least not to those of us who understand Jewish history and our eternal covenant with HaShem.
The Jewish people are immortal because of their adherence to the Torah.
My father, Rabbi Chaplain Abraham Avrech, z’l, passed away on March 15, 2014, which the Jewish calendar translates into the 13th of Adar. Thus, last night — Jewish holidays begin after sundown — commenced the fourth Yahrzeit, memorial, without my father’s physical presence in this world. My father was 94 years old.
He is gone, but he is certainly not forgotten.
I ponder the astonishing trajectory of my father’s life. Born in a tiny impoverished Polish town, my father and his family emigrated to America where they found the liberty to live as Jews and Americans.
It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of Karen’s mother
Rebbetzin Celia Singer צילה בת חנה שרה
My beloved mother-in-law passed away yesterday, surrounded by family.
“I wonder what shoes she’ll be wearing,” Karen says.
Karen and I are on our way to a late afternoon barbecue given by friends here in LA, a couple we have known since we moved to California over 20 years ago. Like us, they are from New York, orthodox Jews from humble circumstances who have achieved a nice slice of the American dream here in the golden West.
“Sarah,” (not her real name) “definitely has a thing for killer high heels. Never seems to wear the same pair twice,” I say.
“Wouldn’t you love to see her closet?”
Karen and I are walking to the barbecue. Our friend’s house is just a quarter mile from Casa Avrech. There’s a cool breeze from Santa Monica and the sky looks like a technicolor dream.
Though Los Angeles is a city built for the automobile, walking around our neighborhood presents a striking array of unexpected images.
Arriving at our friend’s house, we are delighted to find a wonderful and lively group. I fall into conversation with a rock music executive who laments the dominance of Rap.
“The stuff gives me a migraine,” he says.
Which, naturally, leads to a looong, excruciatingly detailed conversation about migraines, triggers and, sigh, medication. We sound like a couple of hypochondriac yentas.
Karen’s sitting with our hostess, discussing children, grandchildren and no doubt, footwear.
Now I’m getting advice from a friend, a builder and real-estate developer, who built a spectacular home in Pacific Palisades.
Karen and I have been renovating a small, I mean tiny, bathroom in Casa Avrech and I’m kvetching about endless delays, workmen who head off to pick up supplies, and don’t return for several days, and the ballooning budget which is giving me sleepless nights. The job was supposed to take ten days to two weeks. We’re into the seventh week of construction. No end in sight.
“Welcome to my life,” my friend chuckles. It took him over ten years to build his dream house and he went over budget by 250%, sort of like a James Cameron film.
There’s all sorts of excitement across the yard.
Several women are clustered around Karen. [Read more…] about Friday Footwear