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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘horse’

Talking to a (Man on a) Horse

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

   יְהִי-דָן נָחָשׁ עֲלֵי-דֶרֶךְ שְׁפִיפֹן עֲלֵי אֹרַח הַנּשֵׁךְ עִקְּבֵי-סוּס וַיִּפֹּל רֹכְבוֹ אָחוֹר

Dan will be a serpent by the roadside, a viper along the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider tumbles backward. (Gen. 49:17)

Right wing activist Itamar ben Gvir was arrested by police on Wednesday during a demonstration outside the Knesset, as protesters reacted  to the rejection of a bill that would have saved their homes from needless demolition.

It appeared, as the verse in Genesis suggests, that when dealing with the folks on horseback, the well thought out, logical argument rarely wins the day.

Yori Yanover

Crossword Puzzle – (Mostly) Jews On First

Friday, May 4th, 2012


1. Search engine option

7. Moshe’s stick might have been one

10. Is it ___ ___ or a no?

14. Abandoned

15. ___ ledodi

16. Not happening

17. Like a metaphor

18. Darling Mets announcer?

19. Famous Fort

20. Who’s on first for 66-Across with 13-Down?

23. Utilizes

24. Tempt

25. Took a load off

27. View

28. Whirlpool

31. Who’s on first for 68-Across?

36. Many a Mel Brooks film

38. Wheel

39. Kind of remark

42. Relief

43. See 45-Across

45. Who was on first for 43-Across?

47. Yang’s pal

48. ___ been a while

51. Win over

52. Some strike callers

54. Hillside

58. Who was on first for 49-Down?

61. Big desert

62. Mess up

63. Claim

65. Give off

66. See 20-Across

67. Net fisherman

68. See 31-Across

69. Like Lavan

70. Place for quarters



1. Survivor station

2. Asian poem

3. Singer LeAnn

4. Holy fruit

5. __­_ & Doug (puzzle team)

6. Where a snake once walked

7. Hank who hit homers without steroids

8. Schnozzes

9. Tiny appendage

10. High tops protectorate

11. Me

12. Many sports stars have them

13. See 20-Across

21. Fictional snowmen

22. Good snack on a hot Shabbos afternoon

26. Hollywood’s Gardner

28. Fly

29. ___ a threat

30. Little bit

31. Tiny

32. One from New Zealand

33. Andrews of ESPN

34. Daniel’s famous site

35. Another title for Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

37. Sugar or snow

40. Put out a flame

41. Tokyo, once

44. Hit the bottom, perhaps

46. Shoe fixer

49. See 58-Across

50. Brownish-orange (horse color)

52. Apartments

53. Not cool

55. Museum item

56. Gladiator site

57. Pushed

58. Israel, for most Jews

59. Just ___ ___ too late

60. Space letters

61. Ruby, e.g.

64. Before, for a poet

Yoni Glatt

Resurrection of the Dead: New Police Presence on the Mount of Olives

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

A milestone for the safety and security for Mount of Olives residents, tourists, and graves has arrived in the form of a new police station atop the historic peak.

Just below the Rehavam Zeevi Lookout Point next to the Seven Arches Hotel (formerly known as the Intercontinental) two brand new trailer homes have been placed and converted into a facility that will house up to 24 police personnel at any given time.

The view from the station is dramatic as it overlooks the ancient cemetery, the walls of the Old City, and the Golden Dome atop the Temple Mount. But the police, and lobby groups like the Committee for the Preservation of Har HaZeitim, hope that the new police presence will be especially visible to the criminals who have been responsible for the uptick in violence in and around the Mount of Olives.

The new police station on the Mount of Olives facing west, towards the Old City and the Temple Mount.

Captain Dudi Chayun is the commander of the Tachanat Shalem police station across from the the Old City’s Flower Gate. Now, he is also taking charge of the new facility on the Mount of Olives. I met him there as he was dismounting a police horse. He told me that he occasionally tours the region under his command on horseback to get a closer look at what’s going on.

Captain Dudi Chayun, on left, is the head of the Tachanat Shalem police station. On right is Captian Lior, head of mounted police unit in Jerusalem. The Temple Mount can be seen behind them.

According to Chayun the new facility is really a sub-station whose purpose is to create continuity, a regular beat, between Mt. Scopus to the north and the Mt. of Olives to the south. The main artery that connects these two points is ridgeback road atop the Mt. of Olives which passes through the Arab neighborhood of A-Tur.

Of late A-Tur has become violent. Rocks have been thrown at Jewish drivers heading to the Mt. of Olives lookout, and seven cars belonging to the small Jewish community nearby have been burned. Grave desecration, is also part of toxic mix. But Captain Chayun is confident that the added police presence will help reverse the negative trends.

Jewish life is returning the the Mount of Olives. The famous Israeli flag above the Choshen building signifies Jewish presence.

In the last week, a sting operation took place where an undercover officer, dressed as an Orthodox Jew, drove through A-Tur and was pelted with stones by two youths. They were promptly arrested, and admitted the act under interrogation. Captain Chayun hopes they will be prosecuted.

The new station, at a cost of 1.2 million NIS, will have a permanent detective on premises, 3 patrol cars, and is slated to monitor the 137 cameras in and around the Mount of Olives Cemetery. The police have also begun an effort of community outreach: a meeting between the police and the Muchtarim (village elders) of A-Tur is scheduled for later this week. According to Captian Chayun: “The Arab residents will also benefit from the added services the station will provide.”

The new police station on the Mount of Olives, the Rechavam Zeevi Lookout is in the background.

Harvey Schwartz, Chairman of the Israeli Steering Committee of International Committee for the Preservation of Har HaZeitim,was pleased with the stronger police presence which the committee has been fighting for. Harvey told me: “We have worked very hard for a long time, especially Abe and Menachem Lubinsky of Brooklyn, who have put in endless hours, days, and trips to Israel for the sole purpose of seeing the rehabilitation of Har HaZeitim, so that it should ultimately get the respect and treatment that it deserves. We consider this [Police station] to be an extremely significant development.”

The added police presence will ensure that tourists on the Mount of Olives will be safe. The Seven Arches Hotel atop the Mount of Olives in background.

Jeff Daube, the Israel director of the Zionist Organization of America, and co-chair of the International Committee, told me that erecting a new station took a multifaceted effort, including talking with the American State Department: “My office went over to Congress and the State Department and we let them know there was a significant number of Americans visiting the Mount of Olives cemetery who were subject to violence, stonings and harassment; that Americans were coming here and finding the graves of their loved ones desecrated and vandalized. We emphasized to U.S. leadership that their constituents, American voters, are being affected by this.”

Yishai Fleisher

Off To The Races

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Of the taking of polls there is no end, particularly in a presidential election year. Although it’s considered the better part of wisdom to feign at least a healthy disregard, if not an active disdain, for the preponderance of polling, the truth is that political junkies couldn’t live without a steady dose of polls.

The more obnoxiously pretentious a pundit the more likely he or she is to routinely decry the ubiquity of polls. The common lament from the smugly high-minded is that the media’s fascination with polls gives too much weight to the horse race aspect of a campaign, at the expense of the important and weighty discussions of policy for which voters presumably hunger.

Too much weight to the horse race? The Monitor says: Give us more of the horse race! Imagine for a moment a presidential campaign bereft of polls and the horse-race atmosphere they so helpfully foster. Venture a thought as to the dreariness – the despair, really – of having to actually pay attention to a scripted bore like Mitt Romney drone on and on about being a successful businessman or a strutting popinjay like Barack Obama insist after three largely dreadful years in office that he still represents hope and change.

Too much weight to the horse race? Would anyone even pretend to read books like Theodore White’s Making of the President series if they were simply compilations of stump speeches and position papers?

Richard Ben Cramer wrote arguably the best book ever on presidential politics, a thousand-page opus on the 1988 campaign called What It Takes: The Way to the White House, and it’s such a great read precisely because he knew better than to indulge in detailed analysis of tax plans and trade initiatives.

All the books worth reading on presidential elections are heavy on the dramatics and blessedly light on the kind of stuff that keeps policy wonks up at night. The interest is in the narrative, the story line – the plot, if you will.

Sure, the readers of the best campaign books come away possessing a not insubstantial acquaintance with the candidates’ positions on at least some the major issues of the day, but the story is driven by the personalities, the gossip, the constant and obsessive polling by news organizations, and the campaigns themselves.

In other words, it all comes down to the much-maligned horse race.

In addition to Cramer’s What It Takes, the following are some recommended books on presidential elections:

The Real Making of the President: Kennedy, Nixon and the 1960 Election by William Rorabaugh – A much needed counter to Theodore White’s The Making of the President 1960. Rorabaugh convincingly shows how White got many important things wrong due to his shameless worship of John Kennedy.

1960: LBJ vs. JFK vs. Nixon by David Pietrusza – Another corrective to the flaws in White’s work. Pietrusza and Rorabaugh wrote their books decades after the 1960 election, so they had a more expansive and dispassionate perspective than White, as well as access to information the Kennedy camp worked hard to keep from the public.

An American Melodrama by Lewis Chester, Godfrey Hodgson and Bruce Page – A richly textured account of the pivotal 1968 Nixon-Humphrey-Wallace race by three British journalists; far superior to Theodore White’s Making of the President 1968.

Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin – Purists lamented the book’s all-out gossipy tone, but no one challenged its accuracy. The book was such a sensation that the authors have already been paid a hefty sum to dish out the same treatment to the candidates in the 2012 campaign.

Marathon: The Pursuit of the Presidency 1972-1976 by Jules Witcover – Despite Witcover’s plodding prose spread out over 700 pages, the book is about as in-depth an account as one can imagine, covering four of the most eventful years in the country’s history and an election that gave us the Jimmy Carter presidency.

Jason Maoz

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 10/28/10

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Dear Rachel,

These days we often hear the lament of the younger generation being obsessed with a sense of entitlement and of children who want, want, and want some more. Well, maybe we ought to take a second look at the adults raising them. Why should children be any different from their parents and want less?

I know a “grown-up” who is never happy with what she has, regardless of how loaded she is (and believe me, she’s got plenty). Just as soon as someone else has “it,” she wants “it” too. Her constant cravings, I might add, make her one unhappy person.

Some people are simply never satisfied and are constantly striving to attain more and more worldly goods. If only their cravings would be of a spiritual kind, they’d possibly end up gaining something of value.

We need to impress upon our children, while they are still young, that being envious of others is a trait that will leave them embittered and miserable all of their lives. Though I didn’t know this woman in her younger years, I am quite sure that her envious streak manifested itself in her childhood.

The irony is that we never really know what troubles lurk on the other side of the opulent entranceway to our neighbor’s mansion. Instead of focusing on another’s good fortune, let’s revel in our own! We’ll all be better off for it.

I’ll keep mine; you can keep yours

Dear Keep,

A man once approached Reb Meir Premishlaner to bemoan the fact that someone was threatening his livelihood. The Rebbe responded by asking him if he ever saw a horse drinking water from a lake. All the while the horse drinks it stomps the ground with his feet, the reason being that he sees another horse there that wants to drink (its reflection) and it is fearful that the other horse will drink up all the water. We all know that there is enough water in the lake for many horses, continued Reb Meir, and no one can touch that which belongs to you.

As the Rebbe told his worried visitor, the one who has faith in Hashem and believes that everything comes from Him, knows there’s no purpose to envying anyone else.

Envy (being desirous of what another has) and jealousy (additionally not farginning the other to have) not only create a state of unhappiness but threaten the wellbeing of both the person being coveted and the one doing the coveting – so much so that the Shemonei Esrei prayer (among others) includes an entreaty that we be safeguarded from being consumed by envy and from being exposed to the flawed trait in another, directed at us.

The Korlitzer Rebbe, in the sefer Chazon Ish, writes that contemplating another’s success with an evil eye can completely disrupt that success and Shlomo HaMelech (in Mishlei) puts it this way: “The life of the body is a heart at peace, while envy rots the bones.”

So what steps can we take to protect our children from the scourge of begrudging others their due? Teaching by example is number one. A calm and serene home environment will imbue our children with a healthy sense of self. (Children readily perceive a parent’s discontentedness.)

We can further instill self-confidence in our young ones by loving them unconditionally. Siblings are not created equal; their personalities differ, as do their natural talents and intellectual capabilities – which can unfortunately lead some parents to openly favor one child over the other. The overlooked child will inevitably develop feelings of inadequacy and the bitter seed of envy will take root.

Every neshama is special and has something special to offer. The big bonus of helping each individual child reach his/her potential: a satisfied and self-confident adult who is less likely to chase elusive dreams and long for what everybody else seems to have.

According to the Baal Shem Tov, a craving, a desire, in a human being is like salty water for a thirsty person. Not only does it fail to quench his thirst, it makes him even thirstier. The same applies to a desire a person gives in to; indulging the craving will only intensify it until it will do him in.

Hashem provides each of us with our specific needs. If you had your eye on a house and it was sold to someone else before you had a chance to act on your desire, then it wasn’t meant for you. If you got to the sale way past the time you had planned on getting there and still found the robe you had set your heart on, it wasn’t sheer luck – it was meant for you to own.

Appreciate what comes your way and fargin (be happy for) your friend’s acquisitions. You, my dear reader, have the right attitude. Thank you for sharing your invaluable insight.

* * * * *

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The Aesthetic Of Mishigaas: Affirming Life, Denouncing Art Tom Barron And Arthur Yanoff At Stageworks

Wednesday, November 24th, 2004

“Abstraction Now”
The Gallery at Stageworks
41 Cross Street, Hudson, New York
Hung October 2-31, 2004

“You know, I don’t really see so well anymore,” said Tom Barron as we stood in Arthur Yanoff’s Great Barrington studio, trying to safely navigate amongst the blizzard of paper shavings that littered the floor.

” That’s why we are abstract painters,” Arthur responded nonchalantly.

I couldn’t help but chuckle. Tom wore a button down shirt, jeans, and longish silvery hair, while Arthur sported an ultramarine shirt that made his sports jacket look greenish, completing the outfit with pointy boots and a black hat. Tom and Arthur are an interesting duo; they both shudder at the mention of academics – which they affiliate with idolatry and sentimentalization – and yet they can out-theorize any critic I know.

I first met Tom in 1997 when I walked into his “Drawing And Painting The Way You Really See” class at the Brookline Arts Center with a paint brush in my sweaty little palm, quite comfortable with the notion that I was a budding Rembrandt. My friend Michael and I would later rename the course “Drawing and Painting the Way Tom Sees,” because for the life of us, we couldn’t understand what we were doing wrong. Ultimately, I found that Tom’s insistence that it is deceitful to draw the table’s fourth leg while a cloth in fact renders it invisible – is a very convincing argument.

Tom’s notion of realistic sight and his statement about his failing vision are not meant to be cute. He says that, “You must make your lack of seeing precise, and if you see precisely, you must make it blurry.” He admits that while painting a beautiful landscape, he always messed it up a bit – it didn’t feel “right” until then – and in a particularly chaotic scene, he found himself infusing it with order. This move of disrupting the orderly and making the orderly chaotic underscores a common aesthetic that Tom and Arthur share. They call it “mishigaas”.

“I am so glad you asked me that,” Arthur said when I brought mishigaas up at the end of a very painful stream of academic questions. To Arthur, it means “the fun and flexibility of being able to push something around, to not be afraid of it and to prevent the experience or the subject from suffocating you.” Arthur says, “Before there was a world, G-d created mishigaas” (tohu vavohu?).

“The thing about play is that it comes in all different sizes … I think all the great painters had that sense of play.” Mondrian, Picasso and Clem Greenberg are all players in Arthur’s mishigaas coloring book, while Tom cites Flaubert’s “La Légende de Saint Julien l’Hospitalier” and Alfred Jarry’s dramas as card carrying members of the playful club.

To Tom, mishigaas means that, “Life is porous. Everything changes in relation to everything else; it’s not hermetically sealed.” And therein lies the enemy that terrorizes the model of mishigaas: idolatry.

“Idolatry is an act of sentimentality,” Tom says. “It is not realistic. I see our work as being very realistic.” This connectedness of all things, this network of relations of forms in fact conforms to a realistic model in a way that an isolated form that stands alone fails to anticipate. Idolatry champions itself as significant and relevant in its own right, rather than part of a larger network of meaning.

Tom and Arthur have a history of this kind of rhetoric that synthesizes their Jewish identity with their art. Arthur has shown the “Western Wall Project” at Deborah Davis Fine Art; “Steerage to Ellis Island: Little Round Light” in the show “Rural Artists With Urban Sensibilities” in New Hampshire; an exhibit at the Yeshiva University Museum in 1996; and work pertaining to Isaac Luria in Santa Fe.

“Every Jewish artist is a Jew first, no matter what we say,” Arthur says. “I am not an art worshipper. That’s like idol worship to say that I am a painter who is also a Jew.”

Arthur’s grandfather, a Lubavicher Chassid, did not allow any paintings on his walls, and no photographs of him can be found. Arthur cites many halachic opinions on the matter, but “the Jewish artist who comes out of a Jewish tradition can’t help but be aware of these conflicts.”

An art history student at Harvard University, Tom dropped out his senior year to study painting with Jason Berger and his wife, Marilyn Powers. “If I loved art more than life, I thought I’d become an art historian, but I loved life more than art, so I became a painter,” Tom says.

He followed Berger and Powers to Portugal, France and Mexico on their annual four-month long trips abroad. He recalls going to Normandy and thinking that the landscape looked like a Corot, a Pissarro and a Renoir. “These painters weren’t making this up,” he says. Having thought that painters had great imaginations, he now saw that painting was about observing life, rather than imagination. “Even to this day, I don’t have an imagination,” he says.

Tom learnt figurative landscape painting from Berger and Powers. During the mid ’80s and ’90s, he exhibited gouache (opaque watercolors) landscapes that he painted in Israel (in Bet Shemesh) at galleries in Tel Aviv – Stern Gallery, Horace Richter Gallery and Tel Aviv Museum ? and Nomi Blumenthal has a painting of Tom’s hanging in her office in the Knesset.

Tom’s extensive teaching experience has included the Boston Jewish education haunt of the JCC and Maimonides School, amongst other settings. In 1987, when Tom’s paintings were evolving from figurative to abstract, a wall text at an exhibition of his work declared: “Concerned that by painting the landscape he was violating the second commandment, Barron was comforted by his family. His mother said, ‘What makes you think your paintings look like anything?’ and his father said, ‘What do you think you are trying to do, fool G-d?'”

“Why do we have to define ourselves through a European aesthetic and Hellenism?” Tom’s paintings ask, especially the painting “Horse and Soldier.” Based on a still life that Tom painted from observation, “Horse” refers to Psalm 147, “He delighteth not in the strength of the horse,” and it shows a wrestling doll – the Russian Nikolai Volkoff – a horse and a chair with two hats on it, one black and the other an official World Wrestling Federation (WWF) hat. A miniature Ten Commandments, made by Tom’s friend, the late Elle Koplow, sits on the chair, and a picture of Andre the Giant also figures prominently into the composition. Tom notes that people can draw political implications of the Russian falling off the horse, but “Everything is placed for compositional reasons, not literal ones.”

Arthur’s “Wind: 6-25-04” shows two cloudy objects, an orange on top and a green on the bottom, with curly red lines and brush strokes dancing about the boundary where the “clouds” meet the deep blue background. It evokes sense of ruach and a certain soulfulness that arises out of the energetic, yet contemplative lines.

This painting, like Tom’s, is a different brand of painting than the kitschy, Jewish “calendar art” genre that utilizes ritual objects and narrative to convey a certain sentimentalized Jewish aesthetics. A painting of a Chassid hardly makes the painter a religious Jew, or the painting a religious experience. Arthur cites de Kooning who tried to donate a painting of his to a church, which turned him down (it is now kicking itself, to be sure).

There is something deeply religious and introspective in Tom’s and Arthur’s work. Although the viewer can’t register them as Jewish upon first sight, something Jewish creeps up in de Kooning’s and Neuman’s and Rothko’s work. If you know how and where to look for it, you will find a vocabulary that says, “My whole excitement is playing with life. Painting is not an end in itself; it is a vehicle for expressing my relationship. And that, I think, is pretty Jewish,” Tom says, claiming that his and Arthur’s work is influenced as much by Walt Disney as by Raphael. And ultimately, it is also something refreshing beyond words to talk on the phone with a knowledgeable painter like Arthur who offers me a “Zei gezunt” before he hangs up.

“Abstraction Now!” will hang at the Shelnutt Gallery at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) from November 12 until December 20, on 15th Street and Sage Avenue in Troy, New York. The gallery can be reached at (518) 276-6505.

Menachem Wecker edits the Arts and Culture Section of the Yeshiva University Commentator. As an artist, he has trained at the Massachusetts College of Art. Menachem may be contacted at: mwecker@gmail.com

Menachem Wecker

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