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Spring 2022 Bryan Goldfeder , BGOLD Glass
Recently, I viewed a short film about activist, Eve Tizzard, https://www.waterbear.com/player/619f7fafafafc06d90d049ca This 9-year proclaimed, “The future is in your hands. Act now.” My Spring Guest Artist, Bryan Goldstein, captures the zeitgeist of this proclamation, with his art, with his projects, with his living. The natural world sustains us. Thinking about respectful relationships extends from family and friends into and onto this planet we all call Earth. Bryan is a Jewish artist living in Lafeyette, Colorado, with a studio in Boulder. His vision is focused on the mindfulness of being Jewish and expressing that through his art. In his Artist Statement, Bryan elucidates this in a mini teaching: The Kabbalists teach us that when the glass vessel holding the world shattered, the shards dispersed throughout all the corners of the world. We are now responsible for the Tikkun Olam, the repair work, of bringing them back together. Each one of BGOLD’s vessels is made by gathering some of those broken shards and melting them back together with spiritual purpose. BGOLD’s current focus on functional Judaica aims to elevate traditional practice; each piece is consciously crafted to fulfill that purpose. Mindful materialism is a theme Bryan is bringing into his work and into himself. Intention is important… He is interested in Ritual and Story and how we use those in art to bring beauty into life. Bryan clarifies, “ We live in material world…and materialism is not a bad thing. I’m trying to put as much of the story into my intentions and creations. Materials have Meaning on multiple levels and want to create something that satiates desires on multiple levels.” Materialism, Bryan says, is not devoid of spirituality. We are at a threshold for shifting the paradigm of good/bad perceptions into a vision of unity. We need to deepen our understanding that materialism is a resource of Source….reSource…a reflection of the divine. The shift, he says is a shift of emphasis: wholeness and not material vs. spiritual. The Threshold is one of a unification, accepting interconnections. For Bryan and his studio, the concept of this threshold is simple. Bryan and his art works are ushering us into a Blessing time of freedom. “We will always lean on others; and will, at other times, be the ones to lean on others. We rely on others to pull through all people into an uplifted state.” Bryan is a visionary and part of the vision of speaking the Truth as balanced living through this moment of seeming unbalance. He struggles with the dichotomies of consumption and his art. Everyone has potential within, there is no need to objectify the people with whom he works and employs. Bryan’s art reflects his intention to be a kind good person and feels that the projects they are working on enable full expression of the individual and group perspectives.
• Mindfulness ~ Workers being cared for in the work environment, mindful of their private environment. Bryan feels that a factor that feeds the climate catastrophe is the lack of mindful materials and mindful creations. And that included the inherent rights of the employer and employees.
• Shifting the paradigm ~ Bran hopes that his efforts will help to shift global practices onto the symbiotic side of a win/win…
• Remembrances and Echad ~ Remembering the ecchad (Oneness)…. Bryan says, “As Jews we have a history of losing everything and finding and reclaiming the Oneness. We need to share our insights.”
• Threshold ~ “I hope we, as a human collective choose right and are blessed with the right path. It seems that humanity is on a threshold with the environment, technology, war vs, peace. We need to decide. I hope humanity is ready for crossing that threshold into unity consciousness.”
As Bryan talks about his Projects, he reiterates that Mindful Materialism is a response to mindless consumption in which society is being crushed. Materialism can be used as a tool for spirituality. “I use trash and recycle glass…elevating the shards of recycle into the beautiful. I have bowls and plates for rituals, as well as for beautiful food that honors the earth and its bounty. In terms of my art I struggle with glass as a foundational element for industrial world….steel, forge, fossil fuel. Is it the right choice? I am using an abundance of fuel to make some beautiful art…. Gratitude is a practice to helps me gain perspective and balance. I am thankful for materials and energy. The intention and story are part of the equation. Making something beautiful is an acknowledgement. I work with material, my team, and people who work with me ---respectful of worker rights and payment, respecting time, maximize safety precautions. I value that. People are not objectified to make work. I practice Seeing. I am trying to use my studio practice to create what I call the new permaculture glass, resilient environment in the production of art.
• Helping people to uplift their awareness of their worth. Being Compassionate toward others during their trauma dramas
• I’m just an artist and hopeful others can be uplifted to a higher plateau of who they are.
THE PEOPLE'S PLOT
Bryan writes: April 2019 - The People's Plot was a public installation in downtown Boulder, CO on an abandoned garden bed. The process began with adding fresh soil and compost to the plot before the planting of glass. The glass was then removed making way for vegetables and pollinator habitat. This project brought awareness to the community surrounding this land and helped pressure the apartment complex to take responsibility for allowing plants and pollinators to be part of their capitalist housing project as well.
From BGOLD website: April 2018 -- Glass Corn grows from mined materials and fossil fuel just like commodity corn does. The 90 million acres in US corn production are resource reliant and environmentally destructive. Mainstream corn production, similar to mainstream glass blowing, is powered by fossil fuel, but there are environmentally sustainable ways to do both. Hazon is a Jewish environmental organization that focuses on bettering our communities through healthier practices. Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, can shine through the food we eat, the things we buy, and the art we make. Commodity Corn is profit driven; the profits from this glass corn will go directly to Hazon and to furthering our shared mission.
THE WATER PITCHER of PEACE People from Israel, Iran and America came together to work as a team for the life force of Water. Bryan describes his project: BGOLD brought together people from Israel, Iran, and America to work on the same team to make a powerful piece. They discussed the importance of uniting around water, as nature knows no borders and water issues affect everyone. This short film tells that story and brings us back to the studio during the annual Gas to Glass Channukah celebration. Proceeds from this project benefit the Arava Institute in Israel, a school bringing many different people together to work towards sustainable solutions. Here is a video for a call to action, A worthwhile 7:24 minutes of sharing, learning and fun that speaks more about Bryan’s vision of what Mindful Materialism means. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSJnRN7Xi-s
THE BOULDER APPLE TREE PROJECT
You can read Bryan’s on-line magazine to learn more about this unique fusion of environmentally conscious groups and glass art apples. The Apple resonates in symbology with the Talking Stick to share ideas in a real time connection of action. https://www.bgoldglass.com/_files/ugd/50187d_0fc0a79819024d3f85db3eb5ec74ae22.pdf
SPACE TRASH PROJECT
Bryan’s developing project on Space Trash highlights a continual educational process of gathering and sharing ideas with foundation groundwork for stewardship society. Lately, he has been working with scientists in learning and strengthening his awareness of the impact space debris is having on people and the environment. They worked on collaborative workshops, installations In thinking about the future, Bryan wants to nurture the relationships and connections with scientists. Commonality of materials brought Bryan into the orbit of scientists. Elements like heavy metals and silica are the same materials used in glass production. He says, “We talked about equity issues. We can’t just turn off satellites.” He envisions his studio expanding to include a space in which engineers have access.
Brian is forging the way to meet the current threshold and be the change that is needed for the world today. Currently, he is on Sabbatical. As a Jew, he is mindfully living this Shmita year. Schmita is a Jewish value of resting the earth, reflection on where we are in our existing purpose endeavors, and the renewal that comes with a year of returning to our Source for that reflection. In order to ensure his economic livelihood he had to prepare for this year with production work. He views this Shmita year as a time to stop production, cultivation, and releasing debts. Bryan shares that “This 7th year, Shmita, is, in practical practice, a Threshold year. It takes Trust that there is enough. It is the end of one cycle and the beginning of another It is a needed practice of stepping back, release the continuous economic growth and find the joy and abundance of all that is right here now.”
Winter 2021 - 2022 Guest Artist: Sandy Bleifer
Lustrous and grounded integrity are hallmarks of the art of Sandy Bleifer. The scope of her developed expression includes personal history, social debate, political and environmental discourse. Fluidity between the statement and the creative keep her audience fully engaged piquing intellect, heart, and creativity on every level. Audience dialogue is a flowing of energy with a letting go of bias; boundaries are expanded, more inclusive. Her primary material is paper, and as an artist, Sandy is in dialogue with all elements of her creative ventures. Sometimes the dialogue takes on a visceral interaction, sometimes poignant, sometimes transformative, uplifting all to a new level of understanding. The viewer’s imagination is invited into the inquisitive nature of reality. How does she accomplish this masterful dialogue? Sandy says, “My medium drives my message. All of my work for the last 40 years examines the expressive possibilities of paper…. Paper is not a passive recipient of a subject but an active participant in the artistic process. The expressive potential of a particular paper or paper manipulation technique reveals the common ground between the paper and the subject matter of the piece. Throughout my work, I manipulate the tendencies of papers to approximate the properties of skin, which allows the paper to express vulnerabilities and resilience of the human condition.”
In light of the theme of transcendence, life is renewed with vitality. Emancipation is available in the openness of the hearts. PERSONNA, a series of paper casts that reflect her personal experience with life and death, gently invites viewers to face their own vicissitudes with compassion. T There are two sets of Series within PERSONA: ANGELS and CIRCUS. Life can be stifled by our stories, and ossification, when we are "stuck” can block our path of productivity. Sandy demonstrates that art and creatively responding to what we experience sets us on a path to freedom. The rich dynamic of these PERSONA paper works were elegantly choreographed by Linda Gold, of Santa Monica Community College in her video, CIRCUS, for the CSM Dance Program. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_59Zgdqnh8. Organic movement in Sandy’s art is articulated with grace, in even the most devastating themes, like the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Memorial Exhibition and her HOLOCAUST Series. Hiroshima/Nagasaki was powerfully captured on video https://sandybleifer.com/social-practice/
In her COVID Mask Series, actual newspaper clippings were used. Impermanence and the interrelated nature of reality are highlighted by the use of paper masks. Sandy writes, “The Covid Masks were created during the pandemic and in the middle of my PAPER +Leaves Series which paired actual dried leaves with papers (and sometimes plastic). The disposable masks received photo transfers of actual newspaper clippings of nurses, Covid victims, hospital equipment, etc. Leaves represented the life force that was in jeopardy. The masks are presented as a “wearable” to underscore how personal all of this is to us.” The caring for and of all people during the pandemic leaves the viewer with an appreciative gratitude of service and an honoring of life. Sandy’s art, through well-developed themes, captures my heart and soul. Because I feel transformations within myself as I view Sandy’s art, I respond to the invitation to pause. I listen with my eyes and reflect on the innate Wisdom, available to all. It takes courage to say: WAKE UP! Her clarion call is accompanied by a peaceful, calm openness that honors the friend that she is … she lives creativity. Such sensitivities encourage me to slow down and respect the people, nature and threads that surround me. I learn to go deeper, listen more deeply, and respond with a reverence and veneration of all of Life
Link to Sandy Bleifer: https://sandybleifer.com/
AUTUMN NEWS GUEST ARTIST:
Sometimes when I work on a tapestry, I listen to music. I enjoy music that layers and weaves light in and through my imaginative journeys. The words and sounds seem to meld in the conversation of the heart, the soul. As a weaver I am intrigued and inspired by the textures that are created in vibrations. A few years ago, I participated in An Artist A Day series. I met Erik Nielsen and have enjoyed our developing friendship. His music is a creative wonderment. I often listen to his compositions to keep me focused on an inner vision. Because his music tells a story for me with the shapes of sounds, I am able to structure the threads of a tapestry.
I am very appreciative of friendships that support loving choices. One of the choices I have made is to create art, writing and work that nurtures the challenging transitional paths that so many people traverse: hospice, illnesses, and among them, dementia.
Erik has been working on an opera based on the writings of Dana Walrath and her mother’s experience of living through Alzheimer’s. The relevance is timely. Very few, if any, families escape dementia. With both Erik and Dana, there is an honoring of human dignity with the writing and with the music. This art is seen through the lens of compassion, not seen through the lens of fear.
When asked how he begins a vocal or choral composition, he replied that the words have to come first…without the words, he comments, “What action is happening? ---What mood am I conveying? The words have to come first because my job is to enhance them, make them bigger than they were before…. not louder; but a broader scope . The music is magnifying the text.”
Erik is a natural storyteller. Through various examples, he illustrated that many singer/songwriters need the music to come first. Concert composers often need/want the words to come first.
“I seldom write my own text. Pre-existing material has to be the story. “
Erik considers himself as a storyteller. His music creates images…a story emerges.
“Stories are probably the most important forms of communication for a human being. Stories are not restricted to the oral /verbal or written word: dancers tell stories all the time…stories are written in the colors, shapes, and lines of colors in a tapestry. Painters tell stories. I am a musical storyteller. My stories have an arc. I think of this before I begin writing the actual musical notes. What is the story I am trying to tell? ~ A single movement or multiple movements? What is the emotion? I don’t answer this completely…and at the beginning, I am wanting to get a story. Then the story begins to reveal itself. I get a sense of what I need to do in relationship with the music. Words have a built-in structure that helps me create the form of a piece, but the process of discovering the story and developing it is just as true in a purely instrumental work.”
How did Erik’s relationship with Dana take shape, I wonder. After the success of the first opera he had composed, A Fleeting Animal, Erik realized writing opera was important to him as a composer. He says he was searching for a topic for a new opera, and he needed the topic to have some kind of social relevance. However, he was struggling to find a suitable story until his wife, Jackie, mentioned that she knew Dana and her work and suggested he check it out. In 2018 when he saw the descriptions of the book, Aliceheimer’s, he became excited. He connected with Dana through her website, and they met to discuss collaborating. With Covid and many “life things” the opera went on hiatus, but they used the time to discuss structure and which parts of the book to use.
“The book only covers the time in Alice’s life when she was with Dana. The book ends with her going on to getting extended care. The first act of the opera covers the same time frame as the book, and the second act takes place while Alice is in residential care.” As a librettist, Dana sent pages of text. Erik says that what takes 10 seconds to say, takes 30 seconds to sing so he often doesn’t need a lot of text. “There was an acceptance in the discussion of writing and revision.” There was a sculpting of sounds and words with each other. It was a room filled with a respectful process. As Erik related, “Dana is terrific to work with; and she is unrelentingly positive!” They would listen to each other and comment and ask questions and continue to sculpt. There was always room for each other.
When the libretto was complete, Erik began composing. He had a plan, his “arc” that he had spoken of earlier. He worked on a scene at a time and there was an ease in the work because he already had a plan. He knew how many scenes there would be in each act; and the location of each scene was in a place on that preplanned arc.
“The first act is very nonlinear because of the dementia. Alice lives in a perpetual present. But that “present” is not like your present or my present, necessarily. It might be…. It might be that she is present here right now. Also, it might be that she is here and five years old and experiencing regret because of how she treated her younger brother who had Downs Syndrome. Or she might be in the present, but her house is surrounded by pirates. She may have awakened from a dream where she had broccoli growing out of her ears, which is how the opera starts. The first act jumps around all over the place. Scenes in the opera are drawn upon Alice’s experience. Alice is the narrator. We’re on her time, especially in the first act. The second act is more linear because she is in care. So, the opera follows this slow decline until the end of the opera when she dies. Therefore, having a very firm grip where a particular scene fits into that scenario is even more important. “
Erik gives me clarification on the musical process. “Saying all that, I have a general idea of the kind of mood that I want. I know where the mood is going to change: Generally speaking, dark or light, fast or slow. But I am still prepared to be surprised. Just because I know the direction, I don’t know exactly what the music will sound like. That is something I will get a sense of and work it out. I’ll get an idea and sometimes it works and sometimes I’ll say, ’this was the wrong idea.’ That is part of the process. The actual notes come quite far along on the process. For me, at least, and not all composers work the same, for me, I have to have an idea of where I am heading before I walk out the door…Otherwise I will walk around in circles. Even if I do know where this scene is supposed to go, and what the mood is supposed to be doesn’t mean that I won’t get stuck. That’s part of the process. Sometimes the ideas just won’t come. Or that they are hiding, and sometimes in plain sight. Sometimes I’ll work for days without a breakthrough and an idea re-emerges. It isn’t like turning on a faucet. If it were easy, then everybody would be an artist.”
And what happens when there is an impasse? Erik laughs and says he sits in front of the piano and will often stare at it for hours. “I try things out, I listen. When things are not going well, I am easily distracted, I walk around and keep looking at the clock. When is my time up because nothing is happening? I have to stick with that, even when it feels as if nothing is going on because things are actually working inside; I am just not aware of it. It is probably similar for every creative artist. How we get out of it is more individual. My father was a writer. At the end of the day, when he had completed his work, he would stick a piece of paper into the typewriter. He would type anything just so he would not have to come to a blank piece of paper in the morning.”
We pause and consider Alice again. There is a deep listening compassion. When our loved ones seem to be at an impasse, we breathe into our kind hearts. “Dana and I hope that this opera will help others. From the beginning we talked about the process of having a relative go through this journey. The standard narrative about any kind of dementia is very pessimistic: ‘You’re losing your relative. Get used to it. She’s going to go away; and you won’t recognize the person anymore. It is just going to be terrible the whole time. And this is not to say that it isn’t sad, that it isn’t hard. And that there aren’t a lot of tears. There are. AND there are ways of connecting to people if you can find the keys. Observe closely and work on this connection.”
Erik has the utmost respect for Dana and her deep compassionate listening. “She was able to key into what her mother was really trying to talk about and was able to ask questions to elicit clarity for her mother.” As an example, from the book, and not the opera, Dana asked her mother: “What year are you in? Are you in 1945?” She simply reassured her mother that she was safe, and that was enough. Erik states, “It amazes me that she would have that sort of insight.” He continues, “There are gleanings, shining moments. Those are the things that people need to find. Those moments can be funny. They can be touching. They can be tear inducing; but somewhere inside your loved one is there trying to communicate.” It is important that one tries to go where they are with acceptance, not where they had been. As Erik says, “It is a hard lesson to learn. Learning to communicate and listening though a loved one is fading before your eyes, took me a long time. Recognize where the person is and go there and stay there. With this opera people are going to get insight because it is the person with dementia who is singing. There is no chorus, no other singers. There are happy moments in this opera, good things, and sad things and hard things. I try to find a way musically to make sure Alice is expressing herself to the audience in the most effective way possible. There is a whole range of human emotion; and I have tried to do justice to it with the dynamics of music.”
Erik and I discussed our creative place within our center that surrounds us during the process of creating art. It is about taking a leap into the unknown to imagine what we want to bring to life. We find an equivalent in our respective artistic language to convey colors, sounds, emotions to the audience. There are multi-layered impulses. There are many approaches to communicating artistic language and storytelling. We do indeed stand on the shoulder of giants. We both are very influenced by a diversity of cultures, ethnicities, styles, people. Erik says, “My music is my voice.” I resonate with that about my approach to tapestry weaving. We discover new things as we give voice to the “ideal,” that “core,” that we are trying to communicate. The final collaboration is with the audience, the viewer. It creates a dialogue. We are influenced by our sense of place. The landscape within which we express our art influences our sense of identity as a creative person.
As a Vermonter, Erik identifies with the rural. “I tend toward the spacious, sometimes toward the contemplative. There is tension, but not a constant motion or repetition. The natural world has a tremendous influence on my work. I draw on it for spiritual sustenance. And that makes a big difference to me as a composer. If I feel as if I am getting something from my environment, that makes it easier for me to be creative.” Dialog creates a healthy relationship.
Whatever language in which communication expresses its deepest authentic voice, connections are crucial. Strong healthy relationships….Yes, in life, in art, in anything we do, we can choose a more creative, more loving approach. As my Qigong teacher, Chunyi Lin says: “Good, Better, Best!” Erik and Dana have demonstrated “Best,” and have offered an invitation to take that into our world. To learn more about the opera, Aliceheimer’s and all of Erik’s creative ventures, please go to https://www.eriknielsenmusic.com/
My guest artist for this season is Hanna Rose Shell and her book: Shoddy: From Devil’s Dust to the Renaissance of Rags—
AAS: Hanna, before we start, tells us a little about you and how this books came about.
Hanna: I am a lifelong textile lover, and thrifter, as well as a historian, filmmaker and professor at the University of Colorado Boulder. My first book, published in 2012, was about the history of camouflage Hide and Seek: Camouflage Photography and the Media of Reconnaissance, and emerged out of my fascination with relationships among animal skins, textile prints, and photographic technology. I made a film about the international trade in secondhand clothing (called Secondhand) and it was while working on that that I first discovered the amazing entity called shoddy. That was the kernel for my book Shoddy: From Devil’s Dust to the Renaissance oof Rags, as well as accompanying photographs and installation work.
AAS: So often, technology (or some “other”: government, science, the media) is demonized. It seems to be an effort to shift some internal conflict into some blame. Blame doesn’t really work for me in my personal development; so, I am personally drawn to an inner element of being human. Many of my mentors have indicated that everything can be used as a tool for transformation and growth. Life is messy. Transformation, it seems, is possible when we embrace our awkward history and recycle it into our transformational process. We become more human and less automaton. For me, it is practicing and living this kind of acceptance that separates the integrity of true art from a convenient formula of “pretty” craft finely perfected in technique, which has its place and purpose as well. Art sings within my heart and soul.. Hanna, I am drawn by the statement in your prologue: “This book’s purpose is not only to challenge and provoke, but also to reveal the hidden graces of the shoddy world, beauties, both terrible and tender.” How would you like people to approach your book?
Hanna: I hope, above all, that my book, and my approach to this unusual and long-overlooked material shoddy, can give people a new perspective not only about the clothes they wear, but also about some of the deeper parts of their own identity. I want people to think about the manifold ways the past can be recycled into the present.
AAS You talk about the world of shoddy, elements can be applied to what we read in the media about the excess of our modern culture. You state: “The result of excess, among other things, was a new genre of and possibilities for salvaged clothing.” Do you envision shoddy as a source of renewal of environmental issues today?
Hanna: Absolutely. I truly hope that the history of shoddy - in all its beautiful and ugly glory - can provide some inspiration as people try to navigate how to balance the realities of capitalism with the need to produce clothing in a way that is both environmentally and ethically responsible.
AAS: How would shoddy be different from the thrift clothing that exists today, or would it simply augment the industry?
Hanna: It is very hard to shred and respin the vast majority of fibers people wear today. Most clothes are made of cotton and synthetic fibers, neither of which retain sufficient tensile strength after wear, and breaking down in a grinding process. What IS possible, is a kind of pressing or variation on felting of these materials. And this is indeed a process which I refer to as modern-day shoddy. It’s what we see in, for example, moving blankets (also referred to as emergency blankets).
AAS: Are there measures in lace today to protect workers from the dust?
Hanna: In terms of the dust alone, wearing proper masks can certainly prevent the kind of lung damage that was for so long prevalent in the industry. Though as we know, people don’t always wear masks when they should. Certainly, since the early decades of the shoddy industry, various levels of filtration have been added, so as to sequester away as much fibrous dust as possible.
AAS: Do you feel that the shoddy world of today can be protected from the political rhetoric of the past?
Hanna: I got so fascinated while I was writing the book in the political rhetoric that became connected to the shoddy industry. What a surprise it was that so many different important politicians and political theorists would have decided to use “rags” and this strange material made from shredded up old clothes as a metaphor for everything from the evil of capitalism to the dislike of immigrant communities. I feel like that power is amazing, that old clothes could have such big political meanings for people. I guess I’d say that I hope that, perhaps, at some point shoddy could be re-connected to political rhetoric, but to a political rhetoric that is, hopefully, more forward looking.
AAS: This book is well written and researched and is penned with an artistic flair of impassioned drive and light. The audience base is varied. The historical analyst will enjoy well documented historical developments of the material through history, including the interlacing of Civil War events with the textile and its philosophical corollary. The technical engineer will savor the illustrations, descriptions and photographs of the drag picker, the devil, as it was called, and will appreciate the political intrigue that developed from its inception; and how the design travelled across the Atlantic to the US. Political scientists will discover all of these aspects intertwined with shoddy discourse from Oliver Wendell Holes, Disraeli, and exchanges from Marx and Engles. Even medical aficionados will be able to read about contagion concern from medieval times through the late 19th century. As a textile enthusiast, I am very interested in an environmentally “new” material to be on the lookout for in the marketplace and how to introduce it in ecological themed tapestries. Philosophically, the book stirs my imagination and has me questioning the use and application of shoddy in my studio. The photographs are exquisite. Selections include Civil War documents, New Yorker cartoons, heaps of shoddy in fields and samples on display. This book is a fusion of diversity. As Hanna Rose concludes:
“And shoddy as an economic structure and cultural logic—in ways Marx had anticipated and in ways he might not have --- helped to form connections of international commerce that persist today”
Textiles have impacted history and culture throughout time. They celebrate our ethnic diversity on this planet, and at times, influence the development of cultures and discriminate the classes. This is an in-depth reflection of who we are, where we came from and what the ramifications of this study are on future generations.
by Esther Sadeh
The blooming of Kalaniot brings me to HAIFA, Israel’s port city which sits along the Mediterranean Sea. The city spreads from the port to the mountain, where I was pregnant with my first son Eligar, and when my husband and I lived, on Carmel Mountain. At the time, my husband was working on his Master’s degree at the Technion, and I worked as a Travel Agent. The view from the mountain was wonderful, specially in the springtime. The fields had Kalaniot blooming in vibrant red, pink, purple, and whites. I remember walking in the flowering fields with my husband, friends, and later the stroller in the fields. Later on, as my husband and I journeyed to France there were amazingly similar views and memories of life and the colorful Kalaniot that bloom throughout the Mediterranean Sea countries. I love the name Kalaniot as it has Kala, a bride of bright colors, a delight to our soul.
This brings me to Tel Aviv where I spent my childhood. Tel Aviv was in the beginning of my history, abound with fields of flowers, especially during spring, and walking with my friends on the fields, and bringing Kalaniot to my mother. We named the British soldiers Kalaniot, because of the red beret they wore.
In Israel, one of the most popular songs at the time was Kalaniot by Shoshana Damari, who had a deep and dramatic voice, which was also a reminder of how successful Yemenite Jews acclimated and contributed to Israel’s culture. When Natan Alterman (composer) and Moshe Vilensky (song writer) introduced the song Kalaniot, it became an international sensation. It was song filled of a small world of flowers that tie together in the web off life, the peoples of the Mediterranean region.
That time in history saw many immigrants who came to Israel, specially the Jews from Yemen.
It felt like the unification of the country was underway: myself of Poland heritage and Yemenites of Damari all listening to her accent made a feeling of ONE. No wonder that period was a unique time.
And the song: Kalaniot (Anemones) Kalaniot by Alterman and Vinesky
Link to Shoshana Damari: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaL7mllWVG4
Kalaniot of dew and grace /charm
The evening comes, the sunset on the hill burn
I am dreaming and my eyes see
the proud descended young girl descendent
To the valley, and it blazes with fire of kalaniot ( anemones).
She’ll pick flowers to put in a bundle,
And in the path covered by dew to Mother she rushes-
Calling out to her:
Look what I brought in the basket.
Subset on the hill will blaze and gp out
But kalaniot will always boom.
Storme will thunder and roar greatly
But kalaniot will always bloom.
Years pass, the sunset blazes again
The girl g grew, her beauty is endless,
Going the Vally with heart chosen
And again kalaniot bloom in it.
Her heart chosen extend hands to her
And she’s laughing and bedewed
She whisper to him between the kisses
Look what I gatherer in the basket.’
The does of love will be forgotten
But kalaniot always bloom.
For the vows are light as smoke,
But kalaniot are always the same.
Years passed, suns blazes in the hill.
The girls is grandma already friends
Her granddaughter goes to the garden’
And again kalaniot bloom in it.
And the girls calls to her: “look grands what I Brought you”
In conclusion, the song is my Life, I love it, may the kalaniot remind us of the relationship between us and nature and beauty. No wonder I always surround with images of Kalaniot (painting, murals and the flowers). Kalaniot, Kalaniot…
On Eagle’s Wings:
By Esther Sadeh
I’m flying on Eagle Wings… dreaming and listening to my brain. I stop and enjoy it. I was listening to Rabbi Marc, and I was inspired by the beautiful poem he read on Eagle Wings. I can’t be more lucky that Rabbi Jack, also, composed a song on Eagle Wings, which I love. In Hebrew, Va’essa Otchem al Kanfei Nesharim Ve’avi etchem ally, and in English before you on Eagle Wings and brought you to me (from Torah Parashat Yitro). If you believe in next world (Olam Haba), I probably would be a bird. No wonder in my teens I was a Bird Watcher. No wonder I was attracted to Willy (my husband) because he always preached YOU CAN DO IT no matter of obstacles you meet. I hear Willy, my late husband, saying it to us now.
As an adult and being in the world of business I fell in love with Jonathan Seagull’ book, which is a story that is timeless and inspirational. It is the story for people who follow their hearts and make their own rules, and for people there is more living than meets their eyes. How many people in life doing are doing this? Probably rare and very few.
I imagine to continue for a few more years after surviving health issues. Though, I cannot wait to become a bird. I probably will enjoy flying high, enjoying the view of calm, beautiful sceneries, like nature in the mountains, which I love. These days, days with Covid 19, I am learning how to live differently. In my apartment, I’m going deeper into myself, going deeper in my Compassionate Listening, exercising almost every day by computer, trying new recipes, talking by phone to more people, expressing my love to my family and friends, and of course to have new hobbies including writing stories Life is too short. I realize that one of these days I‘ll be closer to Willy (my husband). But more important to see all of you from above with love flying high.
by Esther Sadeh
Can you imagine Israel? Every Hanukkah, the bakeries, kiosks, and homes are ready with jellied doughnuts, which we call in Hebrew, sufganiyot. Can you imagine it becoming popular all over the world? The word sufganiyot comes from the Greek, sufan, for sponge or from the Arabic word, senj, which means frying doughnut. How about it? I feel great to know that in making sufganiyot during Hanukkah Jewish and Arab peoples will eat in community. Perhaps peace between Jews and Arabs is not far away. Maybe this is a miracle for some, but with more compassion to each other and respect for one another, it is possible. Peace is complicated to solve, but there is hope. Now, back to the promise of jellied doughnuts. Around 1485, such donuts first appeared in Germany as two circular shapes with jelly filling. They were called, Beliners or Bismarks; and because of their delight, they spread all over Europe. They were not kosher because they were made with lard and dairy. So, the Polish Jews replaced the lard with oil and called them Ponchkas. Since my mother comes from Poland, I remember her doing this the long way with yeast. With the establishment of Israel whereupon Jews immigrated from Europe to escape antisemitism, sufganiyot, coming from the heritage of Berliners and Ponchkas and rooted in the cultures in the etymology of sufan and senj, became all the rage. It is indeed a small, connected world; a MISH MASH of CREATION. Sufganiyot symbolize that a miracle is always happening; a MIRACLE during Hanukkah, which is also known as the holiday of Lights.In my youth, I remember walking in the street hoping for delicious sufganiyot, and always talking to my friends about where to find the best ones. Coming to the United States, I found a similar doughnut, which is very close in taste. The traditional sufganiyot are shaped like a circle with jelly inside. It has become traditional during Hanukkah because of the story of the Miracles of Oil. So, our Israeli community in the United States came out to share recipes; sometimes they were challenging to follow, taking too much time, and sometimes they were easy. Regardless, it was meaningful to be together to make sufganiyot. These days matters are more complicated. We are gluten free or vegan, for example, so everyone is confused. For years, I prepared the dough ahead of time and waited for the guests to arrive. The best is when the sufaniyot are fresh. I love it when every person participates in the cooking and eating. If you are ambitious to engage in the miracles and cultural heritage of the sufganiyot, here is my favorite recipe:
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups sour cream (can substitute vegan sour cream)
2 TBS sugarPinch of salt
2 TBS vanilla
Oil for frying
Take a spoon and put them in the hot oil and they will pop up. SERVE THEM WITH CHOCOLATE AND BERRY SAUCE. Then have a joyous time to see the LIGHTS and MIRACLES. BON APPETIT!!! Serve with chocolate Hanukkah Gelt, which symbolizes old days, no gifts, just money given to the kids to play the Dreidel games.