A Grain of Sand

"I will multiply you as the stars in heaven and as the sand upon the shore." - Genesis 22:17

"I can see the master's hand in every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand." - Dylan, Every Grain of Sand (on Shot of Love)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Soulfood Presents: Metal from the Shtetl

August 23rd, Rock and Soul Cafe, time TBA but probably 7ish.

We'll be trying to figure out why so many Jews are Metal artists: most recently, the guys from Anvil, but of course the illustrious Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Dee Snider, C.C. DeVille, Slash, etc.

What is this about? Anger? Loudness?

We'll be enjoying frosty beverages and probably some food; join us.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Meditations on Jewish Psychedelia, Vol III

Does God revive the dead? Many Jews think that resurrection is a Christian belief, some strange holdover from the Jesus cult. Makes sense; I mean, they think that God died and was resurrected...so that must be their territory. Well, as in many other cases, the Christians stole our best chops.

Resurrection of the dead is a traditional Jewish belief. Three times a day we bless God for being m'chayeh ha-meitim, the one who gives life to the dead.

I don't spend a lot of time thinking about hearing Sammy Davis Junior crooning again in the afterlife, so for me the prayer doesn't bring much on that level. I have been struggling recently with another kind of deadness - a lack of umph/enthusiasm. Part of it has to do with returning from the emotional high of Israel and part of it is just who I am.

When I meditate daily to M'chayeh ha-meitim, I'm thinking of the possibility of coming out of these periodic slumps, a struggle that in itself is life-affirming. So, I pray for a kind of life-giving, if not for bodily resurrection...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Loving Exile (On Main Street)

Listening a lot these days to the Stones' Exile on Main Street. What a glorious set of songs. The band at their apex, I think.

Also, what a great title - a Chasidic title, almost, in its use of galut (exile) not as a location in space but as a state of mind. It is possible to be in the "right place" and in a state of mind (or soul) that feels like exile.

I've been trying to listen to other albums, but this keeps demanding another play. Yesterday I put in a CD that I love so I could finally kick the Exile habit. It was Yonatan Razel's Sach Ha-Kol, an album of beautiful religious music in Hebrew. I couldn't listen to more than a song or two because it was so....one dimensional. Exile on Main St. is so textured and has a hundred years (at least) of musical tradition pouring out of it, each strain bouncing off the other.

Anyway, if you are a fan of the Stones and don't know the album, get a copy. The Yonatan Razel album is beautiful as well.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Uncle Sam and Iran

What do the United States and Iran have in common? They both use torture to get information from people they consider to be grave threats to their national security. And neither side calls it torture. Enhanced interrogation, intensive interrogation: let's call the whole thing off.

From an article in UTV news:

Fellow prisoners are reported to have heard screams of pain from Tajzadeh, a former deputy interior minister, and Ramezanzadeh, who was Khatami's government spokesman, during interrogations at [the prison] Evin's section 209, which is reserved for political prisoners and run by the hardline intelligence ministry.

Do those Americans who supported enhanced interrogation in this country support Iranian hardliners using those same techniques? I'd rather not be in their company.