November 19, 2006-
OK, so everyone is an author and everyone's
thoughts are worth recording- not.
Fortunately, mine are.
So there WILL be an attempt to write stuff, which will be
initially boring and quite soon thereafter, dated.
By the way, I alone am responsible at this point for the colors
used in these pages. They are probably similar to those of our old
web page (Geocities- RIP), and are the direct result of my
impaired color sensibility. Does it hurt your eyes?
January 20, 2009
In addition to this being Barack Obama's historical Inauguration
Day, it's the first time I'm touching this page since- unbelievable-
November 2006. Can anyone make a claim to such profound laziness?
This is the centenary of Leon Loberant's birth and I would like
to celebrate at least with some words and pictures.
If Josh will just help me upload.
Time does fly:
It's already October, we're "acharei ha'Chagim". Josh has shown
me for the nth time how to get started.
So let's see if these changes actually appear in the site. Hold
on a sec.
End of October- added CV, changed a couple of little things-
nearly there- links??
It's 2010, January 16th, a beautiful sunny day in the midst of
winter in Nahariya.
In Haiti, it's hell, beyond comprehension and well beyond hope.
In Europe and the US it's true winter, from which we have
recently returned, specifically from the lake storms off Lake Erie!
We are currently planning for upcoming trips in the coming year,
Poland, China, Munich, Copenhagen, Belgium all in 2010. Lots of fodder for writing.
But just now, I am considering the past, namely the old old days
in the Bronx, because at this juncture, with social networking
sites, the past has come to life in the persons of classmates from
PS 90, from JHS 22, from Bronx Science.
Marvelously, unexpectedly we are making a second trip to China
courtesy of Peter Lighte, whose daughters are being bat-mitzvahed
year after year, Hattie last year, Tillie this year. One of Peter's
invitees was Evelyn Reiss, classmate from 6-5 PS 90. Need to find
out if she's arriving this year also. And with Peter's networking,
my Facebook communications now include Lennie Barham, good friend
from the old neighborhood, and Ronnie Ellel, classmate from the old
days. As Lennie remarked in the initial communication, there is
something odd reconnecting after nearly half a century. There is.
Just think, that when we were kids in the Bronx in the early 60's, a
perspective of a half century would have put us in the years prior
to World War I. How is that possible? We would surely have said, my
gosh that time is irrelevant to us, who in the world cares about
styles, music, literature, from that long-ago era. But for me, maybe
for my contemporaries, the early 60's in the Bronx is quite
relevant. Is that because of the seeming dominance of the
So between Yahoo! and Facebook and other internet phenomena here
I am in touch with these folks and others. And sometimes just
incredible coincidences. Last year we had a special lecture at our
hospital on the topic of Bloodless Medicine, the rational use of
transfusions, and our attempt to minimize the unnecessary
administration of blood. Our two lecturers were prominent professors
from NY and NJ. Since I am involved in Partnership 2000, the origin
of this cooperative program, I attended dinner for our honored
lecturers. Schmoozing of course includes playing the game of Jewish
geography, which resulted in our discovering that two of us had
attended Bronx High School of Science. "Oh, really, when did you
graduate?" "1965" "Me, too" "Wait, what's your name again?" That's
the disadvantage of almost 900 members of the graduating class- I
knew relatively few of them, obviously including Professor Arnold
Friedman, head of Ob-Gyn at Beth Israel.
I am certain that for some people, the distant past is well
forgotten. For some reason, I enjoy tripping to those carefree days
in the Bronx. Probably because I remember those days so positively.
Good friends, interesting experiences, novel stuff happening every
day, school was fun, the future was ahead. Playing in the
schoolyard, riding David Siegel's bike around the neighborhood (I
couldn't have my own- too dangerous), going to the Earl or the
Loew's 161st, mooning over various girls (they didn't moon back,
sad), begging tickets outside Yankee Stadium, endless experiences.
And I suppose the fact that I've saved a lot of the artifacts of
that age (like a personal anthropology collection)- autograph albums
with Evelyn's and Nancy's and Madeleine's and Peter's good wishes,
22 Review's, Science Survey's- indicates that this interest is not
There are clearly sad aspects to looking toward the past. I
mentioned to Lennie that I remember fondly the group of four
friends- me and Lennie and David and Warren- and a few years ago
read that Warren had died. Bob Scher, a good friend in childhood and
an acquaintance through the years, passed away shortly after his
retirement from teaching about seven years ago. Even classmates from
medical school are gone.
I have shared childhood memories with our kids and grandkids.
What lessons, what perspectives might help them, might make me more
of a real person to them, I have no idea. I know precious little of
my parents' childhood. Their totally dislocated lives certainly
didn't encourage their dwelling on childhood memories. At the very
least our grandkids have grandparents to try to share the past. So many of us Bronxites never even had a grandparent to share with.
Enough for now, since I've started to ramble.
January 23, 2010
A great quiet shabbat. In preparation for our April visit to
China, including something called "Jewish Shanghai", we watched the
DVD this morning of a 2005 documentary, Shanghai Ghetto. An
engrossing history of the unexpected refuge in Shanghai, China for
thousands of European (mostly German) Jews who were refused entry to
ALL other destinations in the world. The historical footage is
accompanied by personal interviews with individuals who were
children in Germany and Shanghai. What an incredible testimony of
very-little-known Jewish history.
January 29, 2010
Transmitting Your Jeans to Your Grandson
So 60 is the new 50 etc etc.
And looking back 50 years now is looking back.....what 20, 25 years
back fifty years ago??
And what are grandparents today, parents-and-a half??
Eddie Bauer had this great sale on jeans, but even more they offered
specific sizes with any length you want- well with my close-to-syndromic
short legs, I asked for 27 1/2 inch length, and they fit perfectly!
20 bucks a pair.
So now I have these replaced old jeans which I can't wear to work, not even
in Israel. And I have a brainstorm- offer them to Adar, who's 14.
got three pairs of jeans which fit him more or less, and are already
distressed, even with holes in the thighs.
Now, I never knew my grandparents, but I find it hard to imagine in
the old days that a teenage grandson would consider inheriting his
grandpa's old pants.
So, does this support the "this is the new that" theory or does it
reflect the basic unchanging male fashions over the last lots of
years? The main thing is that my jeans have preserved for yet
A couple of weeks ago we went to Carmiel with 3 grandkids and one of
their friends to see Voca People, a unique a capella singing group.
We had front row center seats and had a glorious hour and a half
with these talented folks. Since the Voca People are into audience
participation, Eden even got to be a part of the show:
We have become culture vultures. Attended an astounding Ute
Lemper concert 3 days ago in Tel Aviv, more than two hours of
songs in German, French, English all delivered brilliantly. Echoes
of Weill, Brecht, Brel, Piaf, Dietrich, but all personalized by this
This CD is a wonderful introduction to Ute Lemper:
And this CD of her absolute specialty:
June 18, 2010
What an incredibly busy three months, China, Poland, Munich,
Partnership 2000....I am just not enough of the type A to deal with
all that in real time, and write journals. Due respect to those who
This weekend is in Jerusalem, about to go to a kabbalat shabbat with
friends from USA and Israel from Partnership 2000. Yesterday we were
with them, and also with a separate group from a sister synagogue in
Louisville, Kentucky. And last night in Jerusalem we were attacked
by a psychotic haredi, and the ladies had water poured on them from
a second floor balcony.
So. yes, there's plenty of material for creative bloggery, and I
promise myself the time. Not only that, but I have notes from some
of the activities of the past months that I simply have to
transcribe. Time and motivation will arrive.
July 7- On Saturday, off to the US. What a year for travel!
But meanwhile, a recommendation. At one of our annual hospital ERG
courses we hosted a very special lecturer, one Ishmael Khaldi, who
spoke about his experiences in the diplomatic corps of Israel as a
representative of the state of Israel in California. He has written
a book about his amazing life's adventure:
A Shepherd’s Journey
"Born into a poor, traditional Bedouin village in northern Israel, Ishmael Khaldi grew to become Israel’s first Bedouin diplomat. In this short book, he tells a remarkable story of transformation, from his modest village roots to his triumph as a diplomat and voice of reason in the Middle East. His road has not been an easy one. From his early days as a sheep herder, to his schoolboy "fights" with Arab kids [fellahin= farmers], his terrifying first forays into the mysterious New York subway system, and his later remarkable friendships with secular and religious Jews and Muslims on two continents, Ishmael’s life has been full of adventure and pathos, humor and love. This is a story that will inspire, educate, and charm, told with authenticity and passion, as only a Bedouin can tell it!
"..Anyone who doubts that Israel is a diverse and vibrant democracy should read Ishmael Khaldi's story. Where else but in Israel could a young Bedouin man go from sheepherder, sleeping under the stars, to a diplomat, representing his country abroad. This is the story of one remarkable young man, and one remarkable young country “---
Alan Dershowitz, author of The Case for Israel."
October 2, 2010
The time slips by unnoticed. The July visit to the US is a blur-
hospital meeting at the Chicago Midway Airport, first time in
Milwaukee on hospital and synagogue business, two days hosted by my
cousins in Chicago, and of course a weekend in Pittsburgh, with an
unexpected reunion with a med school classmate. Travels continued in
August to Euroson in Copenhagen (stayed with Benjie et al of course)
and then September to the ESUR conference in Bruges combined with
Rosh Hashanah with the Belgian cousins and a side trip to Zeeland.
And not a minute to blog, upload pictures, etc. Only on Facebook.
And in 2 weeks, another trip to the US to celebrate the 25th
anniversary of their Maimonides Society with friends in the Lehigh
Valley, hopefully combined with visits to friends and family.
Pictures and bloggery to follow.