I’ve always said that grandchildren are the “frosting on the cake.” Just last week, a friend of mine sent me an e-mail that said, “Grandmas are like mommies with frosting.” This says exactly what I’ve been telling my grandchildren whenever I babysit and they cry for their mommies—that a bubbie is just like a mommy. It usually calms them down while I continue to tell them stories of their mommy (or abba) when she or he was little.
Sometimes my kids get me in trouble. They ask me, in front of their kids, to tell them a specific story that they remember but that I don’t have a clue what they are talking about. Then my credibility is lost. My youngest grandchildren already look at me skeptically when I tell them that their parent was once little and lived in my house. So if I don’t remember a story about them, then they really don’t believe me.
Just like the kids love to learn about their parents’ childhoods and family, my husband says that you can tell a lot about people and learn a lot about society by the music that’s popular in a given generation. He especially loves the songs composed after the Six Day War—songs of pride, thanks, and awe, songs about returning to our homeland and the cities of our forefathers.
In the shtetels of Europe, songs were more heartfelt, slow, and pleading. Polish and Russian marching tunes influenced the melodies for many of our tefillos and zemiros. There was more crying, since life was often harsh, cruel, and poor, while the music of the early yishuvim and chalutzim in Israel were songs of building and hope.
Today, Jewish music is upbeat with lots of simcha dancing music. But the beat and tempo of our music sound more like secular music. And secular music has evolved from the innocent American Bandstand days to folk ballads, the Beatles and to heavy metal, influenced by a drug subculture.
TV and movies also reflect the times. TV programs have evolved from family shows where “father knew best” to shows where parents are portrayed as foolish and kids show a lot of chutzpah. Today’s programs are mostly reality shows, which also have a sense of chutzpah in the way people relate and speak to one another.
Last week I watched a short trailer for a movie being released soon called Noah, which is about Noah and the flood. In one scene, Noah explains to his wife what is going to happen and he says, “It’s the end of the world.” The theme of apocalypse has been popular for years, and in light of the world situation today, this is telling us something. What is on the minds of the people of our generation?
So when life becomes too heavy, I turn to the pleasure and pure joy of my grandchildren. The little ones are cute and cuddly, and the older ones ask me to help them study and I have great conversations with them.
As we head towards more heavy, snowy weather predictions, just sing a happy tune, have some cake and hot cocoa—and save the frosting for last!
Chazaq Lecture with Rabbi Benzion Shafier of the Shmuz. This past Sunday night, February 9, Chazaq hosted world-renowned lecturer, author, and founder of “The Shmuz” Rabbi Benzion Shafier live at the Beth Gavriel Center in Forest Hills. The rabbi spoke to the many men and women in the crowd about “How to Get Up after Falling,” which is part of his new series called the Marriage Seminar. For a full listing of upcoming Chazaq events and programs, call 917-617-3636, e-mail Info@Chazaq.org, or visit www.Chazaq.org.
Bnos Malka celebrates Adar Aleph. It’s not exactly magic, but somehow 7 times in 19 years (in the Jewish calendar) there is a leap year. We are fortunate to have not one but two months of Adar. Mishenichnas Adar Marbim Bsimcha! While we’re not going to go into the calculations, we will tell you how Bnos Malka celebrated the first of this year’s two Adar months. The Parents’ Association sponsored two different magic shows (sensing a trend?) performed by one master entertainer. Magician David Levitan amazed and enthralled all of our students. The first show for the younger grades was a magic show featuring disappearing dollar bills, a monkey puppet, and a set of numbered blocks that wouldn’t stay in order.
The students watched and cheered as “Magic David” borrowed a dollar bill, folded it up, and then made it disappear—only to be found again in a whole potato! The set of numbered blocks kept everyone on their toes. No matter which way he turned them, “Magic David” couldn’t get them to stay in order. He tried turning them upside down and then right side up but the blocks were never in the right sequence. The girls got a real thrill out of correcting the magician whenever he thought he had it. Some of the other tricks included making a real live dove appear, and catching coins out of the air. The girls were able to participate and were excited by everything they saw on stage.
The older grades had a completely different show. This time, David Levitan shocked the audience with his mentalist abilities, seemingly able to read the volunteers’ minds. In one trick, one girl had picked out a random word from a book and by looking into the girl’s eyes, “Magic David” was able to write down the word. Then he was able to guess the card another girl was holding, predict the correct serial number from a dollar bill a student was holding, and, in an utterly astounding display, he had one eighth-grader read the mind of another eighth-grader. This magical demonstration was a delightful way to usher in the happiness linked to Adar and it was no illusion that everyone had a magnificent time.
Rabbi YY Wenglin a.k.a. “The Harvard Chassid.” Sunday, February 16, 8:00 p.m. Rabbi Wenglin graduated cum laude in history and literature from Harvard University and with a JD from UCLA School of Law. This former Bloomingdale’s executive and full-time unique chassid is back from Israel to share a brilliant, mind-blowing, and exciting evening. Rabbi Wenglin will be speaking at Congregation Ahavas Yisroel, 147-02 73rd Avenue, about “Taking It Up a Notch, With a Passion.” For men and women. Donations welcome to JInspire Queens, l’zecher nishmas Chaya Bracha bas Chaim Yaakov and Miriam bas Rav Dovid hacohen.
B’kavod Innovative Programming for Seniors and Their Families. 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. (women), 11:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. (men). Cong. Degel Israel, Kew Gardens Hills (Rabbi Sheinfeld, 68th Drive, Main Street entrance). Divrei Torah, activities peppered with music, good food, and friendship. Collation sponsored by Seasons of Kew Gardens Hills. For more information, call 646-543-9818 or e-mail email@example.com. Women: February 19, 1:00 p.m. Rabbi Noach Isaac Oelbaum “Chovos Halevavos: Bitachon and Human Relations.” Men: February 24, 1:00 p.m. Rabbi Eli Mansour: “How to Approach Tefillah.” Women: February 26, 1:00 p.m. Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi: “Blessed Women.”
Ezra Academy dinner. February 22, 9:00 p.m. at Temple Torah 54-27 Little Neck Parkway. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pre-Purim concert. National Council of Young Israel in conjunction with the Queens Jewish Community Council. February 23, 7:30 p.m. Queens College, Colden Auditorium, Kissena Boulevard and the LIE service road. Featuring Avraham Fried, Lipa Schmeltzer, NY Boys Choir, and Michoel Pruzansky. Call 718-544-9033 for more information.
Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim Annual Chinese Auction. Saturday night, March 1 at Cong. Shaare Tova 82-33 Lefferts Boulevard, Kew Gardens. Free valet parking is being provided. www.KollelAuction.org.
Community Casino Night at Queens Jewish Center 66-05 108th Street, Forest Hills. Saturday, March 1, 8:30 p.m. $40 for single admission includes $500 in casino money, $70 for couples admission includes $1,000 in casino money. At the end of the event, all casino money will be traded in for tickets to be entered to win one of the gift auction prize packages, including slot machine; tickets to Mets and Yankee games; gift certificates to local stores and restaurants; headphones and watches; and much more. For more information, call 718-459-8432 or e-mail CasinoNight@MyQJC.org or http://www.doitinperson.com/QJCCasinoNight.
Shabbat Across America and Canada at Home. Friday, March 7. Have you experienced the magic of NJOP’s Shabbat Across America and Canada? Have you wanted to participate but couldn’t? Do you love the idea of creating an evening of warm inspiration, simple peace, and beautiful tradition? For the first time, you can officially recreate the spirit of Shabbat Across America and Canada at home or at another private venue of your choosing. The Jewish poet/philosopher, Achad Ha’am, noted that more than the Jews have kept the Shabbat, the Shabbat has kept the Jews. On one special night, tens of thousands of North American Jews will come together in spiritual unison with Jews across the continent and with thousands of years of tradition. Now is your chance to be counted in this campaign that encourages Jews of all backgrounds to come together and celebrate what unifies us all: The Shabbat.
Host a traditional Friday-night Shabbat dinner at your home with family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues—anyone who would appreciate a warm Shabbat dinner. NJOP provides everything you need to get started, including the Shabbat Across America and Canada at Home Guide, Shabbat blessings and prayers, traditional recipes from America’s top chefs like Wolfgang Puck, plus the world’s best chicken-soup recipe.
Prior to Shabbat, everyone is encouraged to share how they are celebrating Shabbat with their Twitter followers, Instagram followers, and Facebook friends. And don’t forget to use the hashtag #ShabbatAtHome!
For more information, contact Rabbi Elly Krimsky, program director of the NJOP, at 646-871-0021. Visit www.njop.org.
Mazal Tov . . .
To Rabbi and Mrs. Moshe Bilitzky on the marriage of their daughter Shulamis to Shloimy Frenkel. Mazal tov to the grandparents Rabbi and Mrs. Meyer Bilitzky and the entire family.
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Chanita Teitz is a real-estate broker at Astor Brokerage in Kew Gardens Hills, serving the entire Queens vicinity. For all your real-estate needs, call her at 718-263-4500 or e-mail email@example.com.