Saturday, April 25, 2009

Celebrating Another ANZAC Day

Last year I copied a post from our friend in Australia (actually our daughter's mother-in-law or our son-in-law's mother, if you prefer, but at any rate, our dear friend!) about ANZAC Day. You can find it on my blog here. For more information, check this out.

To check out her take on ANZAC Day and the tribute to the men and women it commemorates, click on Tessa's Take.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Denver Jewish Examiner

A friend of ours (and son of our good friends) has begun blogging as the Denver Jewish Examiner at

He has some interesting and enlightening ideas. You can check them out at Matan's blog here. (The link is posted on my sidebar, as well, for future reference.)
Leave a comment to let him know you visited.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yom HaShoah 5769: Holocaust Remembrance Program

Holocaust Remembrance Day
The full name of the day commemorating the victims of the Holocaust is Yom HaShoah Ve-HaGevurah—literally the "Day of (the remembrance of) the Holocaust and the Heroism." It is marked on the 27th day in the month of Nisan—a week after the seventh day of Passover, and a week before Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day for Israel's fallen soldiers).

This year we were privileged to attend the Governor's 28th Annual Holocaust Remembrance Program with some friends. It was an amazing program, featuring a woman by the name of Kristine Keren née Krystyna Chiger, who at the age of seven survived in the sewers of Lvov, Poland, for over a year.

Below left is the synopsis given in the program for the event. Below right is a copy of the prayer that was so magnificently chanted by Cantor Zachary Kutner of BMH-BJ Congregation.

The evening's program was presented by the Anti-Defamation League's Mountain States Regional Office.

Yom HaShoah 5769: A Tribute to Martin and Doris Small

In the course of our peripatetic naval career, we lived in many countries and met many fascinating, wonderful people, some even considered great in the world's eyes—admirals, presidents and prime ministers.

Yet perhaps our greatest privilege has been to meet two very special people, Martin Small and Doris, his wife. A few years ago, we met Martin and Doris when they came to our class to share with us about their experiences as holocaust survivors.

You can read Martin's autobiography, Remember Us, which can be obtained at Amazon or at iUniverse. Proceeds from the sale of the book at iUniverse are being donated by the Smalls for an ongoing fund at their synagogue for the purchase of future Torah scrolls.

Last year we were privileged to witness the realization of Martin's dream, as he carried the Torah into his synagogue, a scroll that he had been instrumental in acquiring for his congregation. The story was carried in the local Boulder newspaper here.

For more of Martin's story and pictures of some of his extensive artwork, check out this tribute site or this one.

For many more examples of Martin's creativity in art, try this link.

Among the many accomplishments of their lives, Martin and Doris have been instrumental in the growth of friendship, fellowship, and understanding between members of the Christian and Jewish communities in Colorado. As a token of this friendship with one church in Arvada, Martin created this beautiful work of art, which is on prominent display in that congregation's building.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Birkat HaChamah

Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate day from night; they shall serve as signs for the set times—the days and the years; and they shall serve as lights in the expanse of the sky to shine upon the earth.
Birkat HaChamah, or the Blessing of the Sun, is a special ceremony of Judaism, carried out only once every 28 years, blessing G-d for the sun. It occurred this year on April 8th. The evening of that day was also the first night of Pesach (Passover).

You can read more about this special event on numerous web sites. I first read about it here (on There is more great information here ( and here (Wikipedia).

Kathy and I were privileged to observe the ceremony with the Colorado Springs Chabad (their web site is here) at the Visitor Center of the Garden of the gods.

In our wonderful Colorado wonderland, we have the opportunity to see the sun rising over the mountains (of course, in Denver, the mountains are to the west, so we never actually see the sun rising over the mountains from Denver!).

The Birkat HaChamah, blessing recited for the sun, is actually the same blessing said upon seeing other natural phenomena such as awe-inspiring mountains, deserts, lightning, earthquakes, hurricanes, astronomical phenomena and impressive bodies of water. I found this interesting as we attended the ceremony at the Garden of the gods in Colorado Springs. It seems to me that this park would inspire this blessing every time one were to visit. Check out the following pics from that marvelous location.

Cathedral Spires

Central Garden

Three Graces

Pikes Peak Framed

Sandstone Hogsback

Kissing Camels

Manitou Springs

This April we discovered another favorite Bed & Breakfast in one of our favorite Colorado towns. This Victorian B&B just opened in Manitou Springs last December. For more information, they have a web site here.

Upon arrival, you'll want to park in the back and walk down these steps, then up a few steps to the rear entrance.

There's no parking in the front, and besides, it's 32 steep steps to the front door.

Just across the street from the Avenue Hotel is an historic restaurant, the Stagecoach Inn, where we enjoyed a quiet dinner. Their web site is here.

Here's Kathy in the front parlor of the Avenue Hotel B&B.

Another view of the front parlor.

Here's Kathy at breakfast. My apologies for the fuzziness of the photo. We forgot to bring our own camera, and I'll blame the picture quality on the $20 cheapie we bought at Walgreen's.

Before driving back to Denver, we enjoyed one last soak in the Avenue's hot tub.

Waving "adios" to Manitou Springs and its Avenue Hotel B&B but hoping it's just "hasta luego."

The owners and operators of the Avenue Hotel B&B, Gwenn and Randy, are a lovely couple, and we had fully intended to post their picture with our thanks, but once again I must blame our disposable camera for the picture not turning out. Anyway, thanks Gwenn and Randy for a wonderful, relaxing night at your elegantly restored Victorian masterpiece.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Bike MS: Virginia's Ocean to Bay Ride 2009

When’s the last time you put in 150 miles on a bicycle? Never, you say? Well, our cousins are riding 150 miles in support of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Hampton Roads, Virginia, and we thought you might be interested in hearing about it.

The daffodils are reaching toward the sky in Virginia, hinting that spring is standing by the door, waiting to burst through. For Bob and Emily, that means preparation for the annual Multiple Sclerosis 150-mile Bike Ride. They will be beginning a regular routine of training on their bikes to prepare for the MS150. Not that this will be anything new for them. Veteran bike riders, in 1976 they rode from coast to coast in celebration of the nation’s bicentennial.

They will also be cranking up their annual fundraising routine. This is the fourth year that Bob and Em have offered their time and effort to help find a cure for this condition. It is not only the money they raise, but the effort they put into the event that will help those with the disease. Nevertheless, funds are needed for research to find a cure.

They have a friend, Lisa, who will allow them to hold a fundraising event in her wine shop on the evening of April 3. She is also running some MS "specials" in her restaurant during the preceding week. So - if you are local to Gloucester, Virginia, please visit Lisa's establishment, “Rosemary and Wine,” during the week of March 31 through April 3.

In addition, Bob provides bike tune-ups for anyone interested in making a donation (if you live in the area and are interested, we can put you in touch). If you are not in Virginia, their websites are up and running and the links are below, should you care to make a donation:

Some of us have been conditioned to think that a small gift is not worth giving, but it was the Jewish sage Maimonides who said that a hundred small gifts are better than one large gift. If a hundred people give a dollar, the blessing of giving is spread to a hundred people. If we each give a dollar a hundred times, we get into the habit of giving. No gift is too small. The spirit of giving is the thing. (Of course, Maimonides lived in the 12th century, so perhaps ten dollars to allow for inflation!)

Emily and Bob love participating in this event and are serious about providing funds for MS research. They will ride the 150 miles, but they need us to help raise the donations. What a wonderful day it will be when no one will have to hear the words "you have MS". I know we are all asked daily to give to this or that organization, but if you want to be part of this effort, give a donation, whether small or large.

The ride is held on the last weekend in May. It starts in the southern part of Eastern Shore, Virginia, in a small town called Cape Charles. On Saturday the riders wind their way 75 miles north to a YMCA camp called Silver Beach, where they spend the night. The following day is another winding route of 75 miles that returns them to their cars. This is a big event with many generous sponsors and tremendous support from the Hampton Roads MS chapter. They will have at least 600 riders and raise close to a million dollars. In their four years of participation, Bob and Emily have had all sorts of experiences. They have ridden in blasting heat as well as a serious Nor'easter, but one constant factor on the Eastern Shore is wind. At least it can be counted on to help about as much as it holds back.

So, revel in the fact that you do not have to hop on your bike and ride 150 miles to help find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis. All it takes is a couple flicks of your mouse finger to support Bob and Emily as they support the Multiple Sclerosis Society. And if you cannot make a donation, how about sending a link to this post to your friends? Thank you and bless you.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Happy Birthday, Bonnie!

Some birthday pictures from years past (and present). Not exactly sure where this was. On one of three continents in one of five countries (actually, I can narrow it down a little more than that. I think it's probably Spain). For 25 years, we never had just one geographical reference to call home, but our security was in knowing that home was wherever we all were!

Birthdays are a magical time, like this unicorn.

Not long ago, Bonnie's friend from when we lived in Maryland made touch via Facebook. This picture is from her friend's birthday. I couldn't resist posting it (with permission) in wishing Bonnie a Happy Birthday.

So, "Happy Birthday, Bon." We love you!
And here she is—all grown up. Read the account of her birthday celebration here.