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  • Yitzi's Early Musical Influence

    Coincidentally or synchronistically Paul discovered this video then received a phone call from Kathy Ellenberger, the widow of Andy Ellenberger playing the piano in the video, asking if he wanted the Onion River Jazz Band Electro-Voice PA sound system speakers, also seen and heard in the video, and stored high in Andy Ellenberger's garage. Yitzi from a very young age enjoyed sitting in with the Onion River Jazz Band and music has become an important part of his life.

  • Nori Rolls

    Nori Rolls are made for a cooperative meal party. After demonstrating how to create a nori roll using mat, you can allow your guests to try it themselves. I emphasize no more than a cup of rice and small amount of vegetables per roll so not not overfill. Although one of my guests consistently overfilled any type of wrap, she still enjoyed the wonderful flavors all messy on her plate. You will need a sushi mat plus and, ideally, soy sauce dipping bowls for your guests.

  • Memories of You

    Here's a poem written by my son Yitzi Gittelsohn. My additions to the poem about my dear friend Lisa are in blue. Thank you Yitzi for helping me to form my thoughts. Readers are invited to add more comments. Simchat Torah: You left this world on the most joyful day of the year On the holiday of singing and dancing When one cycle ends and the next begins When one leader dies and a whole new world is born And you loved singing and dancing With your exuberant energy You spread vibrancy, a fullness of life, to everyone around you Everyone could feel your care, your love, your passion for life and for your loved ones You listened to all my songs Words in blue from Ellen Gittelsohn You said the words “I love you” more than anyone I know. In your Washington Heights, New York City apartment we enjoyed our visit with Kate, our friend from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, while listening to Stevie Wonder music and dancing. Stacey and You introduced my mom to Joni Mitchell When she was a teenager and lonely in Morrisville, Vermont Having moved from New Jersey Like you moved from New York To a town with one other Jewish family You listened with her to The Blue Album In pajamas, drinking hot chocolate You showed her how to be cozy in the cold Blue songs are like tattoos Your song is like a tattoo For the melody of your life will never leave my mom’s heart Or anyone else who you touched with your warmth You showed me a photo of triangle tattoos that appeared on your friend’s back. You were sure about a UFO connection. The next day I found a red triangle tattoo on my forearm that stayed for six weeks. You called me immediately after I texted you a photo. Now I’m wondering whether it’s from a UFO or if the channel of extraterrestrial, beyond the veil, communication opens up through friendship with you. She was friends with you for 50 years What a deep, long, nourishing knowing of a kindred soul There are so few people who we share that with in this brief existence What a wonderful gift You have given her And everybody you graced with your presence You recently described our friendship as being like the children’s book Toot and Puddle by Holly Hobby. Puddle appreciates the gifts of home and Toot sends Postcards (or texts) from worldly adventures. Toot thinks of Puddle while appreciating the gift of new experiences and Puddle thinks of Toot while appreciating the love and warmth of home. Although I was very comfortable with you sitting in my kitchen chair describing your adventures while I cooked for you, you inspired me to shed shyness and get out and experience the world including traveling to other countries and going with you to Isis Oasis in Northern California where the owner believes she is Cleopatra reincarnated She offers guests unforgettable hugs from her Ocelot who sits in your lap and wraps declawed paws around your neck. What an experience. What a wonderful gift you have given your children Who you loved with a tenacity, a dedication, that forged a home where they felt held What a wonderful gift you have given the world By being your singing, dancing, joyful, loving self in all its fullness We both enjoyed teasing each other about our insecurities. You blamed me for bad weather and other situations beyond my control. I blamed you, in jest, for saying and doing all the things you were afraid you said and did that could be judged or hurt someone’s feelings. What a relief to laugh about feelings of guilt. You have a great sense of humor. Each year, on Simchat Torah, I’ll remember you And how you said goodbye on the most joyful day of the year When everything ends and starts anew The joy of letting go, the joy of all you’ve been, the joy of all you will be In our hearts, like tattoos, you’ll be beautiful And true

  • Engage

    "Engage with people when you want to give. Engage with the creator when you want to receive." David Ghiyam Kabbalah teacher Once again, it was great to get together in person on a beautiful warm evening to share a meal and share our reactions to the above quote. We talked a lot about knowing what we are drawn to but not always knowing where this feeling of desire is leading. Although we can't always see the big picture, we can engage with the creator in this mysterious place. Whether we are confused, conflicted or feel like everything is going our way, it makes sense to keep connecting with source. Then, we have something to give. It was great to hear your examples of looking for a home. It seems that the truth of our desires brings us home and enables us to give. Let me know if Monday, Sept. 12 works for the next meeting. The only other possibility for me is Monday, Sept. 19. Also, because it may be a lot cooler/darker by then, do you want to meet on zoom or in-person inside? At some point, we could continue watching Kabbalah Class 2 followed by discussion

  • Fresh from Our Garden

    You can taste the sunshine on recently picked herbs, edible flowers, tomatoes, berries and everything that comes from our garden.

  • England, Ireland, Israel With Love

    We loved our visit with Lisa, Maria, Teya, Jonah, Dena's partner and Darren in Bristol. The combination of travel and seeing loved ones is the best combination. The second best travel experience is discovering healthy and delish food. The vegan Indian and Persian was clean, fresh and superb with outstanding flavors and delightful presentation. Lisa, Jonah Paul and I went to a beach with an oil rig that had been dragged out of the ocean and turned into a garden, art display and view tower. It was called the sea monster. We flew to Ireland with Lisa and Maria, had lunch in Dublin, then an interesting Yom Kippur celebration. The tourist info retired guy said don’t go to the bog walk. The last people complained of rain. He advised us to go to the lighthouse where we wouldn’t get the eco walk. The waitress at the cafe, where they had a pot of boiled water for one euro on the menu, was also older. She said the bog is nice but we better be wearing boots and we don’t want to park in the first lot because that will mean extra walking. She also urged me to choose the chicken with barley soup with her eyes and tone of voice then threw in “it’s very home made” erasing the objection in my mind to the possibility of factory farmed chicken. Never mind that I already felt guilty for eating on Yom Kippur for health reasons. Lisa had the boiled water. We went for the bog eco walk rather than the lighthouse. It was sunny out so I didn’t force my raincoat over the fake down jacket purchased for 6 euros in a thrift store because Ireland is damp cold in October. After a short distance the dark cloud did drift in and we got the showers that the tourist bureau guy warned us about. He also urged us to never trust an Irish weather forecast predicting a sunny afternoon. I announced that I was turning around and waiting in the car and asked for the car keys. Paul handed me the keys then decided to walk with me giving me his rain pants to wear like a scarf. The rain pants slid off my neck and dropped into a puddle causing me to forget to look out for the dog droppings marking the center of the trail. Paul then gave me excellent instructions for making full use of the terrain to clean the bottom of my sneaker including different ways to scrape and give my shoe a puddle bath. Paul had to open the car door because he had handed me the house key instead of the car key. Good thing he had decided to walk with me. Because the weather cleared it didn’t take much to convince me to force myself with many layers into the raincoat just in case. We returned to Lisa and Maria after parking in the second lot to avoid extra walking. The bog path and Sun offered way more natural beauty than the lighthouse would have. I’m sure of it. Triple spiral anyone? This is an ancient motif that may represent the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. We saw this pattern at New Grange the neolithic burial mound that is older than the pyramids in Egypt or 5000 years old. It's also a passageway and a calendar that shows the light in the blackness during the solstice. Am I sometimes over the top appreciative in a bothersome way. Am I bumping up against God as I feel excitement about subtle but noticeable differences in other countries The hills are a slightly different shade of green The bookstore owner is as cute as a dumpling and loves to talk about his personal mysterious Irish history. I’ve learned about the ancient burial mound passageway. The dappled sun reveals something glittery. The waiter’s humor is different and refreshing. All the food tastes good. Thank you. I also liked the large tree growing out of a rock at the random park we stopped at to have a leg stretch. Maybe it's the newness and maybe it's spending time with loved ones that makes everything seem magical. Last night I wanted more control after Maria and I searched the youthful pub oriented streets for take away food finally settling on the Vietnamese staffed by a nice young Irish man. It was simply a window outside a leisure club or pub for police. We weren’t allowed to wait inside with the police club members. This morning while meditating I had the sense that all my thoughts and fears were shaping a path so it was unnecessary to judge anything. Rather than simply I’m afraid of a person doing something I don’t like and I’m afraid because I want to control this person’s behavior, it’s more like, as in the book Right Use of Will, the spirit or God connected part of me is lovingly meeting or embracing the fearful part knowing that with the awareness of spirit I can know that the fear is simply shaping a path towards the light like a stem breaking out of a seed and growing towards the sun. Walked a lot in Galway Ireland and never found an adequate pub. We did hear a lot of good street music. All my worries become transformed while reaching towards the Sun. I’m thinking about Lisa G and want to send an Ireland photo. Tiring hindsight type day. Yay we’re in Israel with Yitzi. The weather is perfect and we’re staying on an organic farm kibbutz. I dreamt that someone was giving me plants that turned into three dogs that turned into peacock type long feathers to enable me to carry the plants. The dream characters had a baby who spoke in à sophisticated 1940s Hollywood style. “He sounds like Fred Astaire” I remarked to the parents. Woke up and meditated on the deck at our Kibbutz Harduf Airbnb There are birds, trees, hills and the sun in the east Uphill hikes are challenging for me. We have constant opportunities to either give in to destructive reactionary behavior or wake up to love. Lisa S told me about Rabbi Sheva Gold explaining “double arrow” meaning we had a quick destructive reaction then (number two) gave in to beating ourselves up rather than waking up to love. That’s the trickiest. Resist reacting to your reaction of responding irritably just because you’re tired from a long steep hike in the Israeli desert climate and watch what happens. Fun day in Acco with Paul and Yitzi. It’s festive during Sukkot. I love how Acco is such a peaceful place with Arabs and Jews living side by side. We ate in a very delish restaurant called Roots owned by a Muslim a Christian and a Jew. There was warm feelings there and it was kosher. Maybe there is a new kosher that combines long established kashrut “roots” with what I imagine as sustainable food practices, peace and love. As the waiter and Yitzi spoke a mixture of Hebrew and English I sensed warmth and kindness. He brought us each a tiny sip glass of lemonade and Arak that enhances the marvelous flavors of the best babaganoush ever, other yummy middle eastern spreads, and other worldly cucumber and tomato salad with perfect pita crunch appetizer. Then we had the most perfectly cooked, flavorful and delicate sea bass. There was a moment of sadness when Yitzi mentioned how long it will be until he sees us again. I am appreciative of our wonderful week together in the land of Israel. Today we were in ancient Caesarea with beach and Roman ruins. Then some traffic and gas station confusion till we reached our Airbnb in the Ein Karem neighborhood of Jerusalem. Do cats howl in high pitches at the moon in the middle of the night? It was actually coyotes. Is temporarily letting go of my afternoon yoga and meditation routine an okay thing because I’m traveling, experiencing new things and spending a precious week with my son. Earlier in the evening a chorus of dogs were barking as a prelude to the street concert. The chorus of coyotes took over deep into the quiet night of hilly, artsy, ancient Ein Karem. Contrast offers constant opportunities for transformation and connection with God. Only then can there be receiving and giving. The Director of Pardes invited us to Shabbat dinner. A friend of David and Tobie's who lives in a fruit orchard in En Karem invited us to Shabbat lunch. We met really nice people who treated us to delicious food. It was a beautiful day and I’m so grateful and happy to spend quality time with Yitzi. This morning we read Ecclesiastes that offers a reflection on time, breathing, appreciating and much more. The day we had to leave there was a delay at the gas station because I had to ask for help from the young woman attendant who was busy taking photos of an insect crawling on a plastic cup. The shuttle had to turn around so a man could grab his backpack. The driver didn’t hear him the first five times because she was talking on her phone. Before that we took a beautiful early morning Ein Karem neighborhood walk for 30 min to a really lovely cafe with a garden. A great way to end a star week.

  • Roasted Lemons

    Here's a lemony recipe from Eating Well that can easily be vegan or meat and turned into a cooperative meal: Quinoa, Chicken (or plant protein) & Broccoli Salad with Roasted Lemon Dressing

  • Compassion Will Change the World

    I don't know what your politics are. I don't even know what politics are. Sniffing out your kindness is what's important. What do dog noses have that humans don't? They possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to about six million in us. And the part of a dog's brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is about 40 times greater than ours. -from The Phoenix Veterinary Center. I can smell kindness even when it's buried deep inside of you. When my family takes me for an exotic walk (a new trail discovered on Google Maps or, Dad's favorite, paper maps) I have a lot of energy for a fourteen year old dog because I'm discovering an avalanche of new smells and the stories they tell. We all had a good time on last Saturday's exotic walk in Richmond, VT. However, ticks were discovered on the way home. After my family spent time checking, washing and worrying we all settled in for a cozy evening at home. I can still smell compassion even through dark periods of disease threats. Here's a poem written by Yitzi Gittelsohn relevant to the theme of compassion: Each curse is a blessing waiting to be transformed Take the peach tree Cursed by blight Producing but a few wrinkled hard fruit Year after year But somehow, in spite of its curse It persists Year after year Managing a few beautiful blossoms A few fruits all the more sweet For the fact they came from darkness, from dis-ease Take the words Cursed by ill-will That came from my mouth last night Like the fruit of my inner photosynthesis Yet the light must have sat too long inside me Fermenting into something foul and musty So when they came forth into the world as the fruit of speech They tasted stale on my tongue, made my mouth dry, parched for some water to cleanse it Spit those cursed words out, man Find a clean spring, though all you see is mud Let the harsh cold liquid burn your poisoned throat And drip down into your blackened heart Feel the agent of pure sight, of clarity Painfully transform your stewing soul into a vessel for love Bit by bit Season by season Year after year Persist like the cursed peach tree And wrestle out a few beautiful blossoms A few wrinkled fruits For the whole admiring world to see Yes, indeed each curse is a blessing waiting to be transformed Like a fallen angel who flaps its wings and sings, “I was holy, I was high!” And in doing so causes earthquakes, causes tidal waves Like a fallen angel who is tired, scared, and in a strange land Who has nothing left to do but to curl up like a baby and ask the great earth it has fallen on to hold it, comfort it, love it Like a fallen angel who, in its sweet repose after a long hard night, dreams not that it is lifted back to its lofty heights But that God Herself bends down To kiss that sleeping fallen angel goodnight And now, upon waking, remembering that all is one, the angel sees the most brilliant sunrise And though it has not moved, not budged one inch Like the cursed peach tree Like me and you in our stewing It now sees the blessing of this strange land it has fallen to It now sees it’s still an angel and it’s in a new sort of heaven: A peculiar heaven where every curse, like a fallen angel, Is a blessing waiting to be transformed

  • A Positive Experience

    Dad tested Covid positive last week after having cold symptoms. Yitzi and Mom offered to take me for a walk on this snowy spring morning, but Dad insisted that walking and playing fetch with me always makes him feel better and it did. This is our routine.

  • Sweet Georgia Brown and Yoga

    Mom really likes this new book The Promise of Shabbat: Yoga Poses for Happy Kids.written by her cousin Lisa Schreiber and Illustrated by Jacqui Gerber. It teaches kids and their parents how to use the practice of yoga to enhance the joy of Shabbat. Practice downward dog. Maybe you will learn unconditional love! Even though I sometimes practice the senior downward dog, I know that I will be rejuvenated like when kids in the book feel a little down but know that they can choose to be happy by practicing this pose or other poses. This warm family centered book shows kids and their parents how to initiate happiness through the practice of yoga, so by the time Shabbat arrives, joy, rest and rejuvenation will feel natural.

  • Georgia and Mia

    Sometimes my family goes away and leaves me with Mia the dog's family or Mia's family goes away and she stays at our house. Doug Goodman (Mia's Dad) took the above photo of me and Mia sharing a sunbeam. Even though I miss my family when they go away, I feel unconditional love when I see my friend.

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