10/17/21

Is the Film "The Endless Summer" Jewish?

My favorite movie is Bruce Brown's, The Endless Summer. No, it wasn't Jewish at all that is, until I made it into a metaphor for my quest for perfect Jewish spirituality and the inspiration for my book cover (see below). I haven't found any other Jewish connections to the film or the poster.

Vanity Fair has a story about the famous iconic Endless Summer movie poster. "One Summer, Forever: The Endless Summer poster is 50 years old, and it hasn't aged a minute. Kitchen-table project turned pop-culture phenomenon, the Day-Glo movie promo created by John Van Hamersveld for his friend Bruce Brown’s 1964 documentary is still selling the dream—on T-shirts, TV shows, beer bottles, and dorm walls. Lili Anolik looks back at the moment an iconic image was born, the social upheaval it presaged, and the surfer-dude-slash-designer whose life it changed."

In 1966 I saw a film that documented two boys seeking simple perfection in a quasi-mystical sport. IMDB sums up, "Brown follows two young surfers around the world in search of the perfect wave, and ends up finding quite a few in addition to some colorful local characters."

The film spoke to me, as it did to many others of a more idealistic age. The essence of surfing of course is the wave. And the lover of surfing no doubt wants to embark on the quest for the best wave. To experience the performance of the essence is to find the perfect wave.

Brown's two surfer dudes found one in South Africa, see the video clip below.

Are Coronary Stents Kosher?

Yes, coronary stents are kosher. In fact they are a miraculous invention.

What are they? Wikipedia says: "A coronary stent is a tube placed in the coronary arteries that supply the heart, to keep the arteries open in the treatment of coronary heart disease. It is used in a procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Stents reduce chest pain and have been shown to improve survivability in the event of an acute myocardial infarction."

The coronary stent was invented by Julio Palmaz. The stainless steel, insertable mesh stent is expanded once inside the body to hold an artery open and allow blood to flow more freely. Palmaz secured funding for the development of the stent from restaurant owner Phil Romano (Fuddruckers and The Macaroni Grill). Palmaz co-developed the stent with Dr. Richard Schatz, a cardiologist at the time at the Brooke Army Medical Center. We would guess that Schatz is Jewish. They patented their invention in 1985.

The coronary stent is one of the greatest inventions of our time. The stent can be inserted through a small puncture in the groin or wrist and via balloon angioplasty it can open up quickly and with little to no pain a 99% occluded major coronary artery. The procedure takes about an hour and the patient is ambulatory after four hours and can resume many of his favorite activities :-) within one day.

To a person (like me) with CAD this rapid and amazing restoration of a person's quality of life is a true medical miracle of our times.

9/27/21

Pandemic Kohelet: An Israelite Form of Meditation: Ecclesiastes is a cynical reflection on life’s futility that we can resonate to now more than ever.

I think you will like this article published on TheTorah.com! Kohelet: An Israelite Form of Meditation. Ecclesiastes is a cynical reflection on life’s futility. The constant sonorous repetition, visualizations, and references to breath serve as a sustained meditation to help free the reader’s soul from the agonizing struggle of life.

   

Is Matt Amodio Jewish?

Is Matt Amodio, the astounding Jeopardy champion with over $1 Million in winnings, Jewish? 

Yes indeed Matt is a Jew according to celebrity columnist Nate Bloom - see this column.  

More up to date information will be posted here as we get it.

6/30/21

10 Years Ago: Tzvee and Talmud Hullin on the FYI Page 3 of the Jewish Standard

Click to Enlarge
Ten Years Ago: Larry Yudelson of the Jewish Standard of Teaneck wrote me up for their page three FYI column.

The Jewish Standard, Teaneck NJ
July 8, 2011


FYI
Local author puts Talmud translation on the web

As the seven-year cycle of daily Talmud study known as Daf Yomi began a new tractate last month, Tzvee Zahavy found himself running low on blog ideas.

Zahavy, a Teaneck resident, professor and rabbi, is also a blogger.

As the Daf Yomi project approached the beginning of the Babylonian Talmud tractate Hullin, Zahavy realized that he already had content.

"I figured it would be a service both to me in my own studies, and to my readers, if each day for 142 in all, I shared on my blog the text of my English translation of one page of the Talmud text," he said.

Zahavy translated Hullin as part of a series that was completed in 1995 by Professor Zahavy and others, called, "The Talmud of Babylonia. An American Translation." Sales of the set have been modest, in the thousands, he said.

The translation is now available in a new edition from a Christian publisher, Hendrickson, in both print and digital formats.

Artscroll’s English version of the Talmud is better selling, Zahavy said because it is Orthodox-approved and non-academic.

Zahavy said that the general public does not go out in great numbers to buy and read books of and about the Talmud. “Back in the late sixties, author Norman Mailer told us students in a lecture at Yeshiva College that he read the Soncino English Talmud every night at bedtime,” Zahavy said. “We saw that he was trying to impress us and he didn’t. We all knew that the Talmud is always studied seriously - it is never read at bedtime.”

Zahavy’s newest book is called “God’s Favorite Prayers.” The volume will be published in print and digital formats this summer by Talmudic Books, a new imprint that Zahavy started. He is confident that it will sell better than his Talmud translations.“More people pray than study,” he said.

--Larry Yudelson

6/12/21

Yahrzeit of my mother Edith Zahavy

We are observing the 21st Yahrzeit of my mother Edith Zahavy (aleha hashalom).

We miss her so very much. She would have loved to see the progress of her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and take pride in all of their accomplishments. She would have loved to read books to her great-grandchildren and to watch them play and grow.

She was born in NYC and attended the public schools in Washington Heights. She watched from her classroom window as they built the George Washington Bridge.

She graduated from Hunter High School, Hunter College and went on to a career in public service at the OPA and then into the field education. Together with my dad, she founded the Park East Day School when my father was rabbi at the Park East Synagogue, then called Congregation Zichron Ephraim. She subsequently taught in NYC public schools for many years.

She is interred on Har Hamenuchot in Jerusalem. Her beautiful memorial photo site is here.

4/12/21

Yahrzeit of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, great Torah Sage and the Quintessential Scribe

My teacher and rebbe Rav Aharon Lichtenstein passed away six years ago.

He was awarded the Israel Prize 2014 in Jewish religious literature.

He was one of the finest teachers that I studied with in college - a genius as an educator and a sincere and compassionate human being. He is the person that I chose to personify the quintessential scribe personality of prayer in my book "God's Favorite Prayers (p. 71 ff)." Here is the excerpt.

The Scribe’s Prayers


I had the privilege of studying in Rav Aharon Lichtenstein’s Talmud shiur (class) for two years, 1966-1968. Each December, he invited us talmidim (disciples) to his house for latkes (potato pancakes) on Hanukkah. There, in his apartment, we sat with his little kids and his wife Tovah, daughter of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik. The latkes were good and the Lichtensteins appeared to be a regular family. For some reason, that surprised me.

Once, during the years that I was in his shiur, while I was out with some of the guys playing basketball on the courts between the Yeshiva College dorms, Rav Aharon, a lanky, thin and tall man, came walking by. One of us had the chutzpah to ask him to join the ball game. He said okay and he played aggressively—and just like a regular guy. For some reason, that blew my mind.

And, one year, in our student play, the Yeshiva College Purim shpiel, a satiric revue for the holiday, I played the role of Rav Aharon. In my performance, I hemmed and hawed and exaggerated my rebbe’s mannerisms much more than I should have. And there in the audience sat my rebbe, laughing heartily along with us. For some reason, that really blew my mind.

3/25/21

Jewish Standard Feature Article on my Polychrome Historical Haggadah, the beautiful Color-coded Haggadah that reveals the Seder's history

Thanks to all of you who have purchased my Haggadah on Amazon. 

Happy Spring!

Jewish Standard Feature Article: 

Color-coded Haggadah highlights seder’s origins: The Polychrome Historical Haggadah

Teaneck rabbi reprints classic work of seven-hued scholarship

By Larry Yudelson

Who wrote the Haggadah?

We know who wrote the Hogwarts Haggadah. (Moshe Rosenberg.) We know who wrote the Rav Kook Haggadah. (Bezalel Naor.) We even know who wrote the ArtScroll Family Haggadah. (Nosson Scherman.)

But who wrote the original text?

Like all the siddur and other classic works of Judaism, the Haggadah dates back to before people started putting title pages and copyright notices on their books and listing them on Amazon. So we don’t really know.

We do know that most of the text we use today is found in the earliest Jewish liturgical manuscripts, which date from the ninth century. And the outline accords with the teachings of the Mishna from six centuries earlier.

But who put this together, and exactly when?

Truth be told, we don’t know.

Now, however, a Teaneck rabbi — and Jewish Standard columnist — has republished a classic work that highlights all the different pieces of the jigsaw puzzle.

“We are having a conversation with Jews across all periods of history,” Rabbi Tzvee Zahavy said. “This is not just something we’re doing with our family. We’re having a dialogue across the ages.”

This month, Rabbi Zahavy reissued the Polychrome Historical Haggadah. Originally published in 1974, it was the work of Rabbi Jacob Freedman of Springfield, Massachusetts. It highlights the different levels of the Haggadah by putting each stratum in a different color. Biblical verses are black. Mishna passages are red. And so on — until contemporary additions like the Hatikvah, appropriately in Israeli-flag blue.

It is a seven-hued rainbow.

Download Online a Free Passover Seder Haggadah

Here are several of the best places you can go online to download a free Passover Haggadah for your Seder.
I give Chabad credit for a great resource if you want a wide selection of free Hebrew Haggadahs.  
Download Hebrew Haggadahs here.

My new Haggadah is not free - but it is really fantastic!
I thought you might be interested in this new for 2017 reprint of a classic haggadah with a foreword that I added - available from Amazon. - Tzvee

The Polychrome Historical Haggadah                            
The Polychrome Historical Haggadah 
by Jacob Freedman et al.
  Learn more                      
Library Makes 1,000 Rare Haggadahs Available Free Online
An illustration of King David praising G-d in a rare Haggadah published in 1710 in Frankfurt am Maine, Germany
An illustration of King David praising G-d in a rare Haggadah published in 1710 in Frankfurt am Maine, Germany

The central Chabad-Lubavitch library in New York made 1,000 Passover Haggadahs, many of them rare, available on the Internet for browsing by the public. The Agudas Chasidei Chabad Library has one of the largest collections of the Passover orders of service in the world.

Housed at the Lubavitch World Headquarters, the library's Haggadah collection began years ago with a nucleus of some 400 volumes purchased on behalf of the Sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, of righteous memory, by renowned collector and bibliographer Shmuel Wiener in 1924.

The posting at ChabadLibraryBooks.com represents close to half of the library's total Haggadah collection and is part of chief librarian Rabbi Sholom Ber Levine's goal of making the library more accessible to the public. All told, the library possesses more than 2,200 editions of the Haggadah. Although the rarest of the books, all handwritten, are not yet available, Levine is looking for ways to post them next year. Hebrew Books, directed by Chaim Rosenberg, collaborated on the project.

2/19/21

Was Rush Limbaugh Jewish?

Yes, Rush Limbaugh was a Jew. Rush's Conservative Gentile persona was a successful act that earned him record multi-million dollar contracts in the radio business.

Rush's real name was Ronald Levy. He was born on the upper West Side of Manhattan. His father was a dermatologist and his mother a junior high school librarian. He attended the Ramaz School where he excelled at floor hockey and then Amherst College where he double-majored in art history and chemistry.

Rush was accepted to Albert Einstein Medical School of Yeshiva University. He had to withdraw during his first semester because he could not control his mocking derisive laughter when confronted with the illnesses and infirmities of the hospital patients.

Happy Purim everybody. א פריילעכן פורים
Rush! Rush! Rush! !רָשׁ! רָשׁ! רָשׁ
חַג פּוּרִים, חַג פּוּרִים,
חַג גָּדוֹל לַיְּהוּדִים!
מַסֵּכוֹת, רַעֲשָׁנִים,
שִׁירִים וְרִקּוּדִים!

הָבָה נַרְעִישֶׁהָ:
רָשׁ רָשׁ רָשׁ!
הָבָה נַרְעִישֶׁהָ:
רָשׁ רָשׁ רָשׁ!
הָבָה נַרְעִישֶׁהָ:
רָשׁ רָשׁ רָשׁ!
בָּרַעֲשָׁנִים
//this is satirical Purim Torah - edited to past tense 7 Adar 5781 - reposted from 5769//