Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The First of Elul (September 1st this year)

the first of Elul, 5758
a foggy morning on Mt. Kearsarge, NH

we ascend as our ancestors did
to pray and listen to the voice
of the shofar as it sounds
from the top of a mountain

we hear it call us
to return to our Jewish roots
as partners with each other
and with God

to begin the month of Elul
with a loud "tekiah"
a wake up to repent
to turn and return
to make new, make better
make a difference
to forgive and be forgiven

a call to prayer, to song,
to meditate
to leave behind our spiritual fog
and feel the divine presence

our voices rise in song
as we descend the mountain
the fog lifts
a gentle rain falls
and we understand why Jews
have always loved mountains

©1998 Linda H. Feinberg

Chapter Seventeen US Military Strategy

The president says, "Now, for the rest of the morning I want to hear and see what the three of you planned for an attack."

Presentations are made to the president and the four of them debate the strengths and weakness of each approach.

"It is now almost noon," spoke the president, "I'm having Janet send down an assortment of cold drinks and sandwiches for us to have lunch. Let's break now and go into our second scenario afterwards."

"Sir, if I may," asks the admiral, "Why is it that your staff and the Joint Chief are absent from this meeting?"

"Fair question, I knew all of you were thinking of it. I have to make the final decision. There will be plenty of time for my staff to get their political comments into the picture, before I do. I also feel that when someone is promoted to Joint Chief of Staff, they get politically involved and may not give me the military answers I am looking for. Gentlemen, you are the ones with your asses on the line after I make that decision. I expect better responses from the three of you. That is why I said that nothing will go out of this room."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

the unveiling at Montefiore Cemetery

fascinated by cemeteries
we find ourselves wandering again
18 years after our second date to one
only this time in Queens, New York
not Manchester, New Hampshire
I read some of the Hebrew lettering on the stones
and am glad that I still remember my aleph bet

we stop and pray at a cousin's grave
his son beside him, dead at 30
I don't know how anyone
can bear the death of a child
but somehow we go on
some find strength in faith
others destroy themselves with alcohol
or pills, trying to deaden the pain

we walk to the site of the Lubavitcher rebbe's grave
and find a stone building over it, like a small temple
a steady stream of mourners remove their shoes
then enter to pray and ask for blessings
hasidim in black hats and long coats
one with Nike sneakers that seem incongruous
with his payes, beard and other garments
the physical death of this leader
did not end his spiritual legacy
or his inspirational messages to his followers
to lead a life of meaning

there are many gates here
the names of the donors inscribed on them
they remind me of transitions
from one world to the next
some too soon, others in their time
old stones shaped like trees with cut branches
mark the graves of young children
or the ones who died cut off in their prime

we finally reach the right gate
leading to the Feinberg headstone
"Chayah Gittel" "Aryeh Leib"
my aunt and uncle
no longer with us physically
but a baby boy already bears
my uncle's Hebrew name
a beautiful tradition continues

copyright 2003 Linda H. Feinberg (Tishrei/Heshvan 5764)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Chapter Sixteen Getting to Russia

Arriving at the airport the driver leaves them off at the front entrance, and quickly departs without even saying have a good trip. At the inside monitor they check on their departure time. Their flight to Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad) is on schedule, so they check their luggage and proceed through security. Their carry on bags will go into the racks above their seats.

On their way to the gate they stop and browse at a newsstand. Each of them buys a Pakistani newspaper.

Sitting at the gate, Kamil leans over to to Hamid and whispers, "There is a man standing by the entrance to the newsstand. He followed us around when we were inside. I may be getting paranoid now, but for some reason I think we have a tail."

Knowing enough not to look around and seem obvious Hamid says, "When we board the flight let's see what he does. It may be airport security or it could be someone Jibril ordered to follow us. I wouldn't put that past him."

Thirty minutes later Kamil and Hamid board the plane and take their seats. The man from in front of the newsstand boards as well, and takes his seat two rows behind them.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chapter Fifteen It's a Go!

Ariel said, "When everything is set up for a launch date this is where we want you to go.

"There are a number of nuclear sites our intelligence and U. S. intelligence have identified. We know of another site no one seems to be talking about yet.

"We want you to monitor the site at Bampur. Our people think this out of the way location is doing uranium enrichment. We suspect its out of the way location was chosen so others would not consider it a possible site. We haven't heard a peep about this place yet. We suspect the security might be relaxed in order for it not to be a dead give away to anyone watching.

"Afterwards, we want you to monitor the military installation at Bandar Abbas. Security there could be problematic. We are looking for you to intercept communications and see what you can learn about their Kilo subs."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Swimming Frog

One unfinished painting from the class with Lian Zhen. This painting was on sized (single) rice paper using Chinese pigments & brushes. He was teaching us to do a painting in the half detail and half spontaneous style in this lesson. The frog was supposed to be swimming and looking up at the water lilies. I never got to the point of connecting the water lily stems. We were supposed to be looking at the splatters in a creative way, pulling out images of fish, tadpoles, clams etc. I liked the splattering and making mess parts, but I don't think I will finish the picture. It was a good learning experience.

Monday, August 11, 2008


After spending a full week painting (watercolor & Chinese art with Lian Quan Zhen at Omega, it took me a full week after my vacation (which wasn't a true vacation) to catch up with my business (Z-Best Bookkeeping). I loved the class, but haven't started painting again. I hope I will get inspired soon. I have lots of ideas. We didn't actually get to finish anything we started in the class, just learned many new techniques. I loved watching the demos and talking to the other students. I hope to incorporate some of the techniques into my own style of art.

Before I went to Omega, one of my clients insisted I take a portfolio of my cards with me. I thought that was a bit silly as I assumed the class would be filled with other artists who were undoubtedly better and why would they buy my art. I was wrong and sold quite a few cards. So, I have started putting them up on the FLICKR website where I have other photos. Today I posted the ones that I have available as small cards. As I have time, I will put more up.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

montaƱas verdes

connecting with a classmate from my college Spanish classes
forty years ago brings a few words of Spanish to my mind
she moved south to a place of sun and heat
I chose the north with its snow, ice and beautiful green mountains

our paths diverged in other ways
mine as a wandering Jew who went through a divorce
before settling down again in my chosen place
in a city, but near enough to my beloved mountains,
woods and lakes with my new love many years ago

again, as senior women, our paths diverge
as we move into the autumn of our lives
grateful for each day I still have my husband
and sorrowful for my friends who have lost
or are losing their life partners

are there any words to say to offer comfort?
I don’t know them. I can only offer to listen,
to be kind, to invite for shabbat dinner on occasion.

may your memories bring you some comfort
may you find joy and peace in each sunrise
and know that a rainbow appears after a storm

copyright 2008 Linda H. Feinberg