# Tuesday, 01 January 2008

Aryeh Yehuda's Bar Mitzvo seudo

Well, the Big Day finally arrived. Aryeh Yehuda's bar mitzvo seudo went off splendidly, even if I do say so myself! This was in no small part due to the magnificent efforts of my good lady wife, who organised the whole thing.

First off, Aryeh Yehuda said his drosho...

Listening keenly (and not falling asleep as it looks in the picture) were, from right to left, Rabbi Chaim Modche Zahn shlita (head of Beis HaTalmud school), Rabbi Pollak shlita (our Rov) and Rabbi Leibish Rabinowitz shlita (rov of our shul)...

Shlepping nachas by the bucket load were the Boss and myself (she's the one on the right)...

More nachas was shlepped by both sets of doting grandparents. Here are his paternal grandparents...

...and the maternal ones...

All in all, the boy did us proud. Looking cool, calm and collected throughout the whole thing, I think we were more nervous than he was!

Two days later, on Thursday morning, Aryeh Yehuda leined in shul...

On the left is Mattisyohu Black, who taught him the leining. He did a great job!

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# Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Sniff, and it only seems like yesterday that he was in nappies!

OK, so it's been a while since I updated the blog. Sorry.

Anyway, it is now only three weeks to Aryeh Yehuda's bar mitzvo, so it seemed like a good time to add some new pictures of the fella.

A couple of weeks ago, he got his tefillin. In line with an age-old tradition, the first day he put them on, he was helped by the family Rov. Below are a "before" and "after" shot of Rabbi Pollak helping him put on his tefillin...

After a predictably slow start, he is now getting pretty efficient at putting them on and taking them off. The one disadvantage of this is that I now have to wind up my own! Previously, he was doing it for me. Oh well, only a couple of years before Eliyohu starts wearing them... now that's a mind-boggling thought!

To complete the "young man" image, Aryeh Yehuda also got a new suit and hat for the occasion...

Sniff, and it only seems like yesterday that he was in nappies!

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# Monday, 22 October 2007

Some well-painted trucks

The pictures below are all supposedly of trucks that have been painted to look like the side are missing, so you can see the contents. I'm fairly convinced that these are not real, but are rather the product of some imaginative work with an image editor, but I thought they were still funny enough to share...

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# Sunday, 07 October 2007

The children visit the sensory garden

Avid readers of this blog (OK, I can dream can't I?) may remember me mentioning the opening of a sensory garden in memory of my grandparents. Well, we were in Leeds last week, so we took the opportunity of showing the children what had been done. Unfortunately, the garden itself hadn't been tended very well, and was in need of some attention. We were told that this was in hand, and it was being prepared for the winter, following which it would be replanted.

All of which leaves me without much in the way of pictures, except for these two...

The children in front of the plaque

Chana Liba in front of the plaque

This second picture came about when one of the people inside the building by the sensory garden saw us, and came out to say hello. He took a shine to Chana Liba, and gave her a big red flower. She duly posed with it, then waved it around so violently that all the petals fell off! Kind of sums her up really :-)

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# Monday, 17 September 2007

A truly amazing person

I have just seen a one-minute film on the Aish HaTorah web site that made me cry. No, I'm not a soppy person, but I was so moved by this short film, that I couldn't help it.

Please, watch this film, and then read the article about the person. Maybe you won't cry, but if it just makes you think, it will have been worth it.

The film: The Blink Of An Eye
The article: The Hero Within

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# Wednesday, 12 September 2007

How to tell the sex of a fly

A woman walked into the kitchen to find her husband stalking around with a fly swatter.

"What are you doing?" she asked.

"Hunting flies" he responded.

"Oh, killed any?"

"Yep, 3 males, 2 females," he replied.

Intrigued, she asked, "How can you tell them apart?"

He responded, "3 were on a beer can, 2 were on the phone."

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Mary Lou

A guy was sitting quietly reading his paper when his wife sneaked up behind him and whacked him on the head with a frying pan.

"What was that for?" he asked.

"That was for the piece of paper in your pants pocket with the name Mary Lou written on it," she replied.

"Two weeks ago when I went to the races, Mary Lou was the name of one of the horses I bet on," he explained.

She looked satisfied and apologised.

Three days later he was sitting in his chair reading again when she whacked him with an even bigger frying pan, knocking him out cold. When he came round, he asked, "What was that for?"

"Your horse phoned."

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# Sunday, 09 September 2007

Eggy soliders

Is it just me, or does everyone have fond memories of eggy soliders? For those not in the know, this is when you get soft boiled eggs, and you cut toast into long slices. These slices are dipped in the soft yolk of the egg and eaten.

No, I have no idea why they are called "soldiers," but they always were, and it seems they still are. How do I know? Simple? Someone has invented a cute device for making perfect soldiers.

Ah, this is what modern technology is all about!

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You know you spend too much time in front of a computer when...

You know you spend too much time in front of a computer when you are in the middle of learning gemorro, and you glance at the bottom right-hand corner of the page to see what time it is!

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# Tuesday, 04 September 2007

Are you a piccolo player or a violinist?

Some years ago, we went to hear Beethoven's Sixth Symphony being played by the Halle Orchestra. Being one of my favourite pieces of music, it was an altogether excellent evening off. However, one thing bothered me...

During the recital, one man sat in the middle of the orchestra, apparently not doing anything. He was dressed in the same black jacket with tails as all the other men in the orchestra, but he did not seem to have a musical instrument with him, and sat there with his arms folded all evening.

Now I can understand anyone wanting to sit listening to Beethoven's Sixth, but why would they choose to do it in a black jacket with tails, sitting in the middle of the orchestra?

The riddle was finally solved during the fourth movement, "The Thunderstorm." This movement wonderfully depicts the scene of a sudden thunderstorm in the middle of a countryside outing (which is the theme of the whole symphony). Right in the middle of this piece, the man in question unfolded his arms (gasp!) and reached into the inside pocket of the aforementioned jacket, and withdrew a piccolo.

For those of you not familiar with a piccolo, it is a bit like a small flute. However, when I say "small," I mean small enough to fit in the inside pocket of a jacket (with or without tails). Here is a picture of a piccolo to add some visual interest to this otherwise long and apparently pointless story...

a piccolo

During the peak of the thunderstorm, the man put the piccolo to his mouth and played the three solitary notes (two in close succession, then one shortly afterwards) that Beethoven deemed appropriate. He then put the piccolo back in his pocket, folded his arms once again and sat there motionless until the end of the symphony.

At the time, I was amused by this, but didn't really give it much further thought. However, it came back to mind the other day, and it sparked an interesting (to me) observation in life that I thought I would share with you.

Some people go through life and really join in. Whenever there is anything going on, they are involved. They are a bit like the violins. Like them or not, it's hard to find a symphony ever written that doesn't have loads of violins at its heart. In many ways, they are the fried onions of classical music.

[In case anyone is wondering at that rather strange analogy, I should point out that my father firmly believes that all cooking should begin with fried onions. They form the basis of all his savoury delights. Since violins form the basis of pretty much all orchestral music, it seemed like a good analogy]

Other people sit there with their arms folded for most of the time. Just once in a while they will pull out their piccolo and play a couple of notes, but then they will quietly put it away again and resume their silence. These people rarely make much impression on life. That's not necessarily a good or bad thing, it's just an observation.

So, it occurred to me to wonder, am I a piccolo player or a violinist? How about you? Feel free to leave a comment if you like. I won't be offended if you don't though :-D

P.S. I showed this blog post to the Boss, and just to prove once again that women are more intelligent and deeper thinkers than men, she added the following observation:

Sure, some people sit there inactive most of the time, but when they do make some movement, it is significant. The piccolo may only have played three notes, but they had a very deep effect on the mood of the music. Similarly, kettle drums (my favourite) are sadly not a featured instrument in many pieces, but they nevertheless play in important part when they are used. So the observation is still valid, but the conclusion is more complex.

I think this is getting too philosophical for my little brain! Maybe we need to contemplate it further before releasing Silver's Observations On The Significance Of Musical Instruments In Everyday Life (or SOOTSOMIIEL for short - just rolls off the tongue doesn't it?). Remember you saw it here first!

Your comments are welcome. Just click the "comments" link below and tell us (politely) what you think. You don't need to leave your e-mail address and web site unless you want to, but it would be nice if you filled in your name so we know who actually reads this stuff!

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