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January 21, 2017 / 23 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Silver Spring’

Events In The West

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Events In The West: This Shabbos Judy Klitsner of the Pardes Institute in Yerushalayim will be the scholar-in-residence at Emek Beracha in Palo Alto, CA… On November 16, EDOS in Denver is hosting Rabbi Shalom Hammer as its scholar-in-residence.

Kollel Updates: The “Wednesday Night Kollel” has resumed at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Valley Village, CA… “Thursday night is Parshah and Cholent night” takes place at the Linked Kollel in the Pico-Robertson area of L.A.


Mazel Tov – Birth: Derek and Lynette Brown, a daughter (Grandparents Andrew and Joli Altshule).


Mazel Tov – Births: Matt and Ariella Rosenblatt, a son (Grandparents Elon and Renee Winkler)… Nota and Tova Berger, a daughter… Eli and Dini Goldman, a daughter… Rabbi Naftoli and Devori Berger, a daughter… Rabbi Aryeh and Tehila Rosenfeld, a daughter… Rabbi Moshe and Miriam Chill, a son… Rabbi Yonasan and Tirtza Quinn, a daughter… Rabbi Moshe and Chaya Kupfer, a son (Grandparents Rabbi Baruch and Elaine Kupfer)… Michael and Dina Spirvak, a son (Grandparents Eddie and Debbie Herbst)… Saul and Melissa Ives, a daughter (Grandparents Robert and Annie Ives)… Yosef and Alana Adelman, a son (Grandparents Yisroel and Rivie Adelman; David and Ruth Adatto)… Yitzy and Libby Weiss of Toronto, a daughter (Grandparents Ira and Judy Weiss)… David and Rikki Mazlin of Yerushalayim, a daughter (Grandparents Steve and Renee Mazlin; Shmulik and Beverly Kroll)… Nesanel and Hadassah Zhivalyuk, a son (Grandmother Elianna Weiss)… Benyamin and Adina Benarouche, a daughter (Grandparents Israel and Jacqueline Benarouche; David and Marlene Eisenberg)… Yosef and Naomi Manela, a son.

Mazel Tov – Bar Mitzvahs: Isaac Goor, son of Avi and Pamela Goor… Nosson Rubnitz, son of Rabbi Moshe and Estie Rubnitz… Shmuel Khoshbakhsh, son of Nasir and Jackie Khoshbakhsh… Yaakov Gewirtz, son of Yossi and Carrie Gewirtz.

Mazel Tov – Weddings: Sarit Pogrow to Yisroel Thaler… Mordechai Stern, son of Rabbi Eli and Robin Stern, to Sori Raizman of Chicago… Avi Zuman, son of Dr. Betzalel and Devorah Zuman, to Rivka Feder of Lakewood, NJ.


Mazel Tov – Birth: Mat and Shiri Twito, a daughter.

Mazel Tov – Bas Mitzvah: Zoe Levin, daughter of Dan Levin and Galyn Susman.


Welcome: Eliot and Sandy Klugman, formerly of Palo Alto, CA


Mazel Tov – Birth: Chili and Yocheved Birnbaum, a daughter (Grandparents Stan and Cathy Hoffman).


Mazel Tov – Births: Avi and Rachel Wizenfeld, two daughters (Grandparents Isaac and Cecelie Wizenfeld)… Aryeh and Ellie Freylicher, a son (Grandparents Alexander and Ritz Freylicher).

Mazel Tov – Engagements: Yehuda Jawary, son of Ron and Beth Jawary, to Sarah Klein of Silver Spring, MD… Bina Mintz, daughter of Phil and Sarah Mintz, to Yoni Oscherowitz, daughter of Errol and Marlene Oscherowitz.


Mazel Tov – Birth: David and Jessica Ribner of Washington, D.C., a daughter (Grandparents Drs. Moshe and Marilyn Levi).

Jeanne Litvin

Awkward Timing

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Welcome once again to “You’re Asking Me?” where we answer any and all questions sent in by readers. It’s a lot like all the other “ask the expert” columns, except that, whereas the other experts are interested in giving you a well-researched answer, our interest is more in meeting our deadlines so we can get back to looking for our car keys. Most of the time, we tackle advice questions, but once in a while we have to take a break from those, because of the lawsuits.

Dear Mordechai,

Why do garbage trucks always come in the wee hours of the morning?

A.S., Monsey

Dear A.,

They want to beat traffic.

I don’t know how it helps, though. It’s not like they don’t stop in front of every house anyway.

Actually, it depends what you call “wee.” To me, the “wee hours of the morning” is anytime before noon. I think they like seeing you run out with your shirt half buttoned and one shoe on, screaming “Wait!” and holding a full, dripping garbage bag over your head, like they’re not coming again in three days. This is why they always make enough noise to wake you up.

For years, I always assumed that garbage trucks went around all day, and that they just passed my house early in the morning. But so far I’ve lived in several different places, and wherever I’ve lived, they somehow managed to get there between the hours of 5 and 8 in the morning. So I’m beginning to think those are the only hours that they work. I guess they know that if they did it during the day, people would be chasing them down the block half dressed all day long, and it would take them forever to get anywhere.

Another reason they take garbage early in the morning is that in total, it amounts to less garbage for them to take, because:

A. Chances are you’ll forget to bring out the garbage the night before, and

B. If you do remember, the garbage will sit out on the curb all night, and the longer it sits there, the more chance there is that people will drive by and say things like, “Hey, a broken toaster! I can use one of those!”

Dear Mordechai,

Why do there seem to be more Hatzolah calls on Shabbos?

Y.S., Queens

Dear Y,

Obviously, it’s because you’re in charge of your own kids. And by “in charge,” we mean letting them watch themselves while you take a nap. When do you suppose they came up with that contest to see who could jump off a higher step? There is only one way that game ends. Unless there’s an adult sleeping in the basement.

Another reason more people call Hatzolah is that Hatzolah members are more up-to-date on what you can and can’t do on Shabbos. For example, let’s say your kid is hurt – would you be able to drive him to the hospital? Or do you have to make him drive himself? Hatzolah knows these answers. My heart actually goes out to the people who live where there is no Hatzolah, and are never sure what they’re allowed to tell the non-Jewish ambulance drivers straight out, and what they have to hint to them.

“My son broke his arm.”

“So you want us to take him to the hospital?”

“Um… My son broke his arm.”

“Okay, I think the father is going into shock. Load him in as well.”

Dear Mordechai,

Why do things never work out when you try to show someone something?

A.J., Silver Spring

Dear A.,

I blame their negative energy, and the look on their face that says, “Really? This guy dragged me away from what I was doing for this?” And it never helps that he starts off with, “Okay, but this better be quick.”

This also happens when you’re trying to show someone something cute that you just discovered your kid can do. Your kid doesn’t want to perform for this guy. It’s usually something mundane that you would never make a big deal about if a bigger person did it, and the kid knows that. He’s thinking, “I didn’t learn to walk so I could perform. I learned to walk so I could stop dragging lollies across the carpet. I never would have shown you if I knew you were going to sell tickets.”

Mordechai Schmutter

Are There Jewish Aspects To Annie Leibovitz’s Photographs?

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

Annie Leibovitz: At Work
By Annie Leibovitz
Random House, 240 pages, November, 2008, $40


The other photographers snapped their pictures of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the outgoing president as he boarded his helicopter, Marine One, officially marked “United States of America.” But Annie Leibovitz took a different approach to her photo of the 37th president – the only one to resign in office.

In her “Richard Nixon leaving the White House, Washington, D.C.” (1974), shot for Rolling Stone magazine, the president is invisible inside the helicopter, which has already lifted off the ground. Three officers hold their hats to prevent them from flying off with the wind gusts as they roll up the red carpet, and the clouded ghost of the Washington Monument peers out from behind the front of the helicopter. Leibovitz uses the medium of photography, usually wielded to capture presence, to portray the subject’s absence. After all, the story was one of Nixon’s departure for his misdeeds, and it only made sense to show the president’s exile by excluding him from the photo shoot.



Annie Leibovitz. “Richard Nixon leaving the White House, Washington, D.C.” 1974. All photographs © Annie Leibovitz. From Annie Leibovitz: At Work (Random House, 2008)



“It wasn’t the kind of picture that most magazines would want to run or had room to run then, but a lot can be said in those moments in between the main moments,” Leibovitz writes in her new book, Annie Leibovitz: At Work. She had been sent to Washington with Hunter S. Thompson to cover Nixon’s resignation. But it quickly became clear to the Rolling Stone editors that Hunter, who was no fan of Nixon’s, had resisted the urge of all the rest of the photographers to flock to the White House and had stayed at the hotel with no intention of filing a story. Instead, they chose to run Leibovitz’s photos without any fresh copy from Hunter.


The Nixon story is just one of many that Leibovitz tells in the new book. Her photographic exploits are legendary. She took pictures of Al Sharpton at the PrimaDonna Beauty Care Center in Brooklyn in 1988, O.J. Simpson during his trial in 1995, and of Arnold Schwarzenegger at the Mr. Olympia bodybuilding competition he won in South Africa in 1975. Her official photo of the Bush administration in 2001 included former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Vice President Richard Cheney, former President George W. Bush, former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card Jr., former CIA Director George Tenet, and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.



Annie Leibovitz. “Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace, London.” 2007


The book is a how-to guide of sorts for aspiring photographers, with a “Ten Most-Asked Questions” section at the end. The first question touches on Leibovitz’s advice to a young photographer. “I’ve said about a million times that the best thing a young photographer can do is to stay close to home,” Leibovitz answers. “Of course there are many good photographs that have nothing to do with staying close to home, and I guess what I’m really saying is that you should take pictures of something that has meaning to you.”

Leibovitz hints in the book to her Jewish heritage. She lived on a kibbutz in Israel in 1969 and studied Hebrew, and she covered the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 for Rolling Stone. In the book, Leibovitz remembers traveling through the war zone into Beirut with a writer and being very disturbed by the ways other photographers covered the war.

“One of my most vivid memories of the trip,” she writes, “is of watching some wire service photographers rearrange a scene at an observation post in an abandoned villa in the hills overlooking the city. It was a slow day in terms of fighting, and they were moving the rifles around to make a better picture. That confused and shocked me.” The wire photographers’ scene seems to have been as staged as Leibovitz’s Nixon shot was real.



Annie Leibovitz. “Annie with Nick Rogers, Houston, Texas.” 2008


In an interview, Annie’s brother, Phil Leibovitz, who lives in Bethesda, Md., said that Annie’s religious identity actually does inform her work. The two grew up in Silver Spring, Md., on a street where half of the families were Orthodox, Phil estimated. The Young Israel, where Rabbi Gedaliah Anemer remains the rabbi, was on the same street.

One way that living in Silver Spring might have impacted Annie’s work, Phil said, was that one of her art teachers at Northwood High School told her she would never be an artist. “Maybe it was a motivator,” he said.

Several of the photographs in Leibovitz’s previous book, Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life: 1990-2000 feature her parents and family in Silver Spring. “My parents renewing their marriage vows, Washington, D.C.” (1992) shows the guests of honor sitting to the right, surrounded by family and friends in a ballroom. Annie’s father wears a kippa. In a later series, “Judean Memorial Gardens, Olney, Maryland” (February 6, 2005), Leibovitz photographed her father Samuel’s military funeral. Per the Jewish custom, mourners throw fistfuls of dirt over the grave.

According to Phil, Annie is Zionistic, and “She is not overly religious, but she sees the importance of raising her kids Jewish. Our parents taught us that.” He added that some of the Israel pictures, like one of Golda Meir, were among Annie’s favorites.



Cover shot. Annie Leibovitz: At Work


Leibovitz’s 1969 gelatin silver print, “Kibbutz Amir, Israel” is in the collection of the Jewish Museum in New York. The photo, which does not appear in the new book, could pass as a variation on the absurdist play “The Chairs” (Les Chaises, 1952) by Eugene Ionesco, wherein more and more chairs get added to the stage. Leibovitz’s photograph has the eerie feel of a Twilight Zone set – a clearing in a forest, devoid of human presence, with 10 ladders of varying sizes standing in the grass. The bags lying in the foreground are a clue to the subject: an orchard in which the ladders help the farmers pick fruit.

It is hard to say whether photographs of kibbutz orchards, Jewish funerals, and Israeli politicians amount to Jewish art. There do not seem to be any direct quotes from Leibovitz about whether her Jewish identity – however she defines it – informs her photographs, or even a specific body of works. Even if there was such a quote, the artist does not necessarily get to have the final word, even on her own work. And yet, Leibovitz’s time on the kibbutz does seem to have impacted her in a meaningful way. It might not have shaped her photographic vision as much as Hunter Thompson or Tom Wolfe did, but perhaps enough, that Jewish viewers who seek Jewish content and themes in her work are not merely projecting.

Menachem Wecker welcomes comments at mwecker@gmail.com. He is a painter and writer, and resides in Washington, D.C.

Menachem Wecker

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/are-there-jewish-aspects-to-annie-leibovitzs-photographs/2009/02/04/

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