(*This post was written in 2011 right before I made aliyah to Jerusalem. It is now 2017 and I have been living in Jerusalem for the last 6 years and counting. Please visit my new blog ModestJerusalem.com to see where life has taken me.)
“כל העולם כולו גשר צר מאוד, והעיקר – לא לפחד כלל”
“All the world is a very narrow bridge, and the most important thing is not to fear at all.” Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
I was feeling a bit of pressure before posting this morning, as I was not sure what to write for my last post before, gd willing, I head to Jerusalem and why I started this blog in the first place!
First, tomorrow (Friday) morning, if there is not another severe blizzard or snow storm, I will be heading to the Colorful Caribbean for a week-long vacation with my family and another close family–there will be about 12 of us!
After hopefully an eventful time with my partner in crime, aka my brother David who I have barely seen as he lives in Seattle, I will head to Jerusalem the following day, b’h.
Also, what has been going on not only in Egypt, but also in Uganda with the death of Gay Activist, David Kato….I felt Cafe Avra not newsworthy right now. Perhaps, depending on how events unfold, by the time I get to Jerusalem there might be different a story to tell.
I also plan to attend a Vigil this afternoon (Thursday Feb 3rd) outside the United Nations in New York for David Kato.
For those interested in attending (from 4pm-6pm), here are the details:http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=173287156049188
So why “All the world is a very narrow bridge, and the most important thing is not to fear at all.” as my title?
“כל העולם כולו גשר צר מאוד, והעיקר – לא לפחד כלל”
This is a Jewish Quote, which turned into a song we sing very frequently on Shabbat and other Jewish occasions by a very famous Rabbi from the 18th/19th century, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. It would take pages to go into detail on how important this Rabbi has been for Jews all over the world; he attracted thousands of followers during his lifetime and his influence continues until today.
I was thinking about this quote quite often lately, humming the tune in my head, while watching the news unfold on TV and simultaneously anticipating my journey to Israel.
The most important thing is not to fear at all.
To me, this quote means…we struggle each day…we laugh, we cry, we sing, we dance, we fall, we rise up again. But this is the course of life, and if we have faith that everything is for good in this world and we stick on the right path, we will be okay.
Sometimes when things are very hard, it is always for good. We shouldn’t always look for the easy way out of situations. We should feel lucky and blessed when gd gives us challenges we need to overcome.
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov also said, amongst many wise quotes, “It is a great mitzvah to always be happy”.
“It is even good to do silly things in order to cheer oneself up.”
As Cafe Avra is also a photo blog, which photography can definitely be a way to cheer oneself up, especially when you take pictures with my non-zoom lens (35mm) and have to get VERY close to some quite eclectic people.
In this post I would like to share some photos I have taken around New York, and to a few places I travelled the last few weeks: Philadelphia, Washington DC and Boston. They are all mostly unfinished photo projects I started, or random shots captured that I deemed semi-newsworthy @ the time, but never made it up on this website.
I hope you can enjoy! Caribbean….here I come:)
First, here is my attempt at, in some way, of documenting some of the older Jewish landmarks of the East Village and Lower East Side in New York. In my attempt of a human attachment to older establishments, I met Susan Dalton outside Moshe’s Bakery who lived on Second Avenue when the Jewish Community was thriving here, at least 30 to 40 years ago. Very eclectic woman, lets put it that way. At Ben Ari Arts store on Avenue A near my old apartment in the East Village, I got to speak with the owner who funny enough used to sell Jewish Kiddush cups to my old Reform synagogue in New Jersey and we spoke about how the Reform movement is dying and how his orders from many Reform Synagogues have plummeted. Interesting…
Buddha Bodai is a wonderful, kosher, vegan chinese restaurant in the middle of China Town…to those who know me understand my relationship with american-style chinese food! I think the Chinese woman passer-by got confused with the Hebrew on the sign.
Please ignore the random Driedel picture…when I visited my old college roommate in Philadelphia, we visited another friend in old, historic Doylestown(kind of random town USA)…but it was Hanukah Time, and hey! Big Driedel, why not?
If I have my camera with me, and I see any sort of protest, I do like to try to capture the moment. This is probably not the right time to say this, but I really appreciate when those take the time to go to the streets, and let me tell you how COLD this winter has been to stand outside all day, and let others know (friends and strangers alike) what truly matters to them. Whatever political affiliations you feel towards Israel & the Muslim World right now due to what is happening in Egypt, I am sure everyone is fascinated to watch the Egyptian people at this moment in time.
On International Human Rights Day, which was on December 10th, I went outside the United Nations building in New York to see who might be outside, and probably due to below zero temperatures, we only had one group which, again, you have to truly appreciate their commitment to standing outside all day in the cold. The Alliance for Democracy in Vietnam.
The other photo was taken on another freezing cold afternoon when I was heading back from Washington DC to New York. I was staying in Georgetown and had to take the bus near the Four Seasons Hotel. Here we have construction workers looking for better wages and health care for their families. I am not trying to get involved, but again, it was so cold outside you must give them credit for standing outside on behalf of ALL the employees! Both these stories as you can see did not have enough back story to share in a post earlier on this winter.
Last week in Boston I went to visit a Kenyan family of a friend of mine from Nairobi, Steve Olet,who ran the Nairobi Half Marathon with me back in October( see photo–scroll down: https://cafeavra.org/2010/11/24/reflections-part-1/) I visited his Mom, Grace, who has been in the US for the last 4 years, and his sister, Janety, who has been here for the last 10 years! She has 4 lovely children, two of which came to the US with the Grandmom, Grace, 4 years agao, and the other two Xannaya and DQ in the photos were born here. I just had the time to visit for about 2 days, but I really enjoyed spending time with this lovely Kenya family, laughing at DQ (he is a very funny 2-year-old), making chapatis and mandazis, and trying to set up a Skype Call with Steve in Kenya( using Keisha’s-the other girl in the photo’s computer–she also has a Mac with built-in webcam) . At the time I was in Kenya, Steve hadn’t seen his Mom in 4 years and sister in 10 years. Steve doesn’t have a computer, let alone a webcam. With some technical difficulties, we finally got both sides working and Steve got to see his family for the first time in a very, very long time. Was a beautiful moment. I truly appreciated their hospitality and openeing their home to me in Boston last week.
Well that is it!
It it the small things in life, no?
Let’s keep walking along that narrow bridge….