How Do You Jew An educational, informational, conversational blog and (someday) podcast about Judaism, Jewish practices, customs, and rituals, Israel, and whatever else we decide to talk about.

March 10, 2011

Why I Love Hadag Nahash – למה אני אוהב את הדג נחש

This is not an exhaustive list, but I’m immersing myself in old and new material (מקומי and otherwise) in preparation for tonight’s live show at Porter’s Pub at UCSD (link to Facebook event page; go there or ping me directly for ticket info – $20 for non-students).

1. Crowd-sourced video for BaSalon shel Salomon (In Salomon’s Living Room – בסלון של סלומון):

2. Creative video for Shir Nehama (Consolation Song – שיר נחמה) featuring the beautiful Middle Eastern steel guitar work of Yehuda Keisar:

3. Brutally hard-hitting video for Od Ach Echad (One More Brother – עוד אח אחד). Visually this will really only hit hard if you’re Israeli, but the lyrical sentiment is powerful no matter where you’re from.

4. Great live performance of Halifot (Suits – חליפות) featuring the wonderful backing vocals of the very pregnant Liora Yitzhak, whose child (now a toddler if I have the recording date right) will grow up to either be this band’s biggest fan or will hate them passionately, but may never understand why.

5. Another of their huge social commentary hits with an added layer of irony added visually – Shirat haSticker (The Sticker Song – שירת הסטיקר). The lyrics were written/compiled by David Grossman, a prominent Israeli author and peace activist, from political and social bumper stickers found in Israel:

6. Misparim (Numbers – מספרים) is a now somewhat out-of-date song about some significant statistics in Israeli society (and Sha’anan Street’s personal life) that still beautifully illustrates the band’s style. It’s out of date only in terms of some of the real numbers reported (e.g., unemployment rate and monthly salaries of executives), not in terms of how unjust and significant the gaps still are. This is a fan-made video; I couldn’t find an official one. TRIGGER WARNING (TW): Brief still images of terrorist attacks, including WTC.

7. There is no number 7. Come down and enjoy the show with me tonight!

November 4, 2007

Parenting, literally and figuratively.

Parenting is hard. I’m not complaining, mind you, just stating a fact. Allow me to illustrate with two anecdotes.

Having a fever of 102°F sucks.
Being less than 13 months old with a fever of 102°F sucks a couple of ways. First, you have no idea why you feel so crappy; you have no life experience on which to base a conclusion. Second, you can’t communicate to your caretakers exactly what hurts or feels bad, so you get frustrated, which just exacerbates your already crappy situation.
Being the parent of an infant with a 102°F fever also sucks in multiple ways. I am cognizant of all the ways my baby’s situation sucks, which sucks for me too. Plus, when there’s no easily discernible cause for the fever, I find myself (with, since I’m exceedingly lucky, my lovely wife) grasping for possible causes, treatments and cures without getting too panicky or frustrated.

The good news is, barring major disease or infection, the suckiness goes away in relatively short order. And so it was over this weekend, when Hadarya developed said fever on Saturday evening, after an intense afternoon of playing at D’s birthday party. Jenn and I had one of the most difficult nights we’ve experienced as parents, up frequently with our daughter, trying to calm and soothe her. And today, other than a wacky, nap-less existence and a steady 100° fever most of the day, things were almost normal. Hadarya has tended to do these sort of things on weekends when it’s least disruptive to our work schedule, which some might see as considerate, and normal for her is so great that it’s easy to forget the tough, sleepless nights and whiny, fussy days. we’re still not entirely out of the woods, as she’s been waking up crying intermittently as I write this, but hopefully we’ll get through this night not too much worse for the wear.

On to parenting of another sort, and the letting go that it entails: Immediately upon my arrival in San Diego in 1999, I visited the Hillel house at SDSU and became active there, as I had been at UCLA, particularly on Israel-related events. Through Hillel, I connected with the larger Jewish community, including the Israel Center, the local Federation‘s Israel activities hub. (It was this connection that hooked me up with a memorable gig as a counselor on a teen summer trip to Israel. That’s a story for another time.) One of the first major events I had a hand in was the annual commemoration of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination. I don’t know off the top of my head if the San Diego Jewish community held a ceremony to mark the anniversary before I arrived, but organizing this event and ensuring the participation of a variety of youth, student, and other community groups was one of my pet projects in those first years.

Since then, I’ve remained an active participant in that ceremony (and the Yom HaZikaron ceremony), whatever form it took. My participation has included MCing the event, translating songs, poems, speeches, and other readings for inclusion in the ceremony, and other duties. This year, I was so busy being a dad and dealing with other things that I didn’t notice that I hadn’t been contacted about the ceremony until I saw community-wide publicity for it. I was so impressed by the professional quality of the publicity materials and elated about the ceremony’s change of venue (to the JCC, which we’d tried and failed repeatedly to utilize over the last several years) that it didn’t dawn on me until more recently that I still hadn’t been contacted about participating.

Lunch this past week with my good buddy Ronen, the outgoing Maccabi shaliach, cleared up a great deal of my confusion, and made me anxious to see what the ceremony would be like, now that it had grown up and gone off on its own, so to speak. I was one of a couple of hundred people in the audience in the theater at the JCC tonight, and there were definitely mixed feelings, as I imagine there will be when I watch my actual children taking their first (literal and figurative) steps. Other than the jarringly theatrical biographical vignettes (performed by the J*Company kids, who are, after all, a theater group), the biggest misstep as far as I was concerned was the use of my translation of Chaim Chefer’s powerful poem Hayinu keCholmim (We Were As Dreamers) without any credit given. While I’m assuming goodwill and/or ignorance on the part of the organizers and granting that they may not have known who translated the piece, I’ll be writing the Israeli community shaliach a letter voicing my disappointment at 1) not being consulted at all on this year’s ceremony, and 2) not being recognized, even privately, for the work I did in the past, like this translation.

The ceremony wasn’t all bad by any means. Another friend, Jessie Blank, performed a beautiful, powerful rendition of Naomi Shemer’s Oh Captain, My Captain, a gut-wrenching, heartbreaking free translation of the Walt Whitman elegy for Lincoln that Shemer wrote in the days immediately following Rabin’s murder. And the always reliable Zeji Ozeri (why, yes, he’s a friend of mine too, why do you ask?) led the singing of Shir LaShalom; neither listening to that singer nor that song will ever get old. Finally, Prof. Michael Bar-Zohar, a former MK and friend of Yitzhak Rabin, who’s written biographies of Ben Gurion and Shimon Peres, shared some personal anecdotes that made me feel more directly connected to Israel and the events and personalities of Nov. 4, 1995, this year than many previous years.
Aside: Huh. So this is what it feels like to blog daily. I like it!

February 13, 2007

This magic is no trick

Filed under: Family,Good News,Hillel — howdoyoujew @ 14:05

SDSU’s paper of record, The Daily Aztec, reports today about the local chapter of Camp Kesem, founded, I’m proud to say, by Hillel students at Stanford in 2000. Worthy, dontcha think?

May 10, 2006

Hooray for Hillel!

Filed under: Hillel,San Diego Jewish Community,SDSU,UCSD — howdoyoujew @ 23:05

Hillel of San Diego is having a good month. Last night, the San Diego City Council brought a half-decade-long legal and logistical process to a close by voting to approve the sale of an unused parcel of city-owned land to Hillel at UCSD. Up until now, UCSD Hillel has not had a home, and many of the residents in the neighborhood where this parcel sits were determined to keep Hillel out of their proverbial back yard. While some members of both camps raised the ugly specter of antisemitism in the course of the long debate, in the end it came down to mundane, albeit important land-use regulations, and Hillel (and the law) prevailed, to the benefit of the community at large, and the Jewish college students at UCSD.

Coincidentally, an even longer process regarding the relocation and/or building of a new facility for Hillel at SDSU is coming to its conclusion in the days ahead. According to my sources (I sit on the Board of Directors, so this is on good authority), we should be closing escrow on our new location early next week (the Board is meeting tomorrow to approve getting a loan for the purchase price). This struggle has gone on for nearly TWENTY years, and involved private party land owners and the SDSU bureaucracy. Getting to this point makes me (and Jenn, both of us SDSU alumni) very proud to be a Hillel member, supporter, and lay leader.

Speaking of my wife, I need to get to bed if I want to keep her. Laila tov.

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