Sunday, February 27, 2011

I am priceless!

Judy and I came back from our vacation to New Orleans this past Thursday night.  We had a fun time visiting all the sites and listening to all the live music.  As you can well imagine if America is the Treifa Medinah then New Orleans has to be its capital. There is not one vegetarian restaurant in all of N.O! The kosher restaurant was too far away and we didn't have a car.

Although there is a Jewish community in N.O. (when we took the Canal St. trolley, we passed two shuls and a JCC), N.O. is a very Christian city.  Sections are known as parishes.  Even their football team is called "The Saints." So when we passed the only shop that had any Judaica on Canal St., we had to go in.  In the window there were Silver Shabbat Candle Sticks and a Keter (crown) for a miniature Torah.  Judy checked out the price of the candlesticks and they were asking for $1500.00 dollars!  For that price we wanted to know what was its history.  A young saleswoman told us that it dates back to Israel in the 1950s and is an antique.

I just looked at her and said, "I was born in the early 50's, that must make me an antique too!"  She was so flabbergasted with that remark that couldn't retort back. Besides being created in God's image, I am also priceless because I'm an antique.  No wonder nobody carded me to get into a N.O.'s bar.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Next Generation

Today I went to JTS to listen to Micah Liben's senior sermon.  I was representing the greater Greene-Markowitz family today.  The Libens and us are so intertwined.  We are Ramah friends who have shared a bathroom and there are few things more intimate than that.  Dan was my hevruta in Framingham and his son Micah and my son Roni married the Markowitz sisters.  So we're almost related.  Thanks to Fran, Roni got a tip about his eventual job at Ropes and Grey.  First of all, it was grand to be with these great friends at a simcha (and not going broke because it's a wedding!).  We were able to catch up.  I learned that Jonah is making Aliya this summer now that he is graduating college.  He has already joined a gar'in.  Kol Hakavod.

Micah gave an excellent sermon.  It was well put together, cogent, funny at times, and his delivery was quite good.  This sermon will  probably be the last one he gives wherein he cites the Malbim, Rambam, Midrash, Gemarra, and Rabbi Harold Kushner all in one sermon.  He spoke about raising children and tied it into the inauguration of Aaron and his sons into the priesthood.  He posits perhaps Nadav and Avihu were not seeking a power grab, but rather didn't want to go into the family business.  The acted out by offering up that strange fire.  His basic thesis is parents have an obligation to mold, shape, educate their children; however, there will come a time when they will have to step back and allow the children to make their own decisions even if those decisions are not congruent with their own hopes and dreams for their children.  At that juncture all parents can do is love them.

I found it interesting that that was part of Hillel's thesis when he gave his sermon at my shul a year ago. Two rabbis sons going into the family business and charting their own path that is the same but at the same time different from their fathers.

Both Dan and Fran, the proud parents, were beaming.  They had every right to.  Yasher koach to Micah and to them for doing such a fine job raising the next generation.