Grapevine: Making the most of every day

Some of us have a quirk about looking for things Jewish in anything.

Men gesticulate on the banks of a lake in Uman in September 2010. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Men gesticulate on the banks of a lake in Uman in September 2010.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
ELUL IS the month of inspiration and reconciliation. Therefore, in addition to its regular comprehensive program for the month, the OU Center is featuring three inspirational evenings, the first of which will be held at the Great Synagogue on Sunday. It will be held in conjunction with the Gush Katif Bridal Fund, which ensures that every bride from the former Gush Katif community has a bridal gown and the necessary household furnishings and appliances to start married life. The iconic Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi will be the guest speaker.
But it is the second lecture at the OU’s premises, down the road from the Great Synagogue at 22 Keren Hayesod Street, that is likely to draw a larger crowd. Speaker Chani Weinstein, 32, and mother of three, literally lives every day as if it were her last. Weinstein has incurable cancer with which she was diagnosed seven years ago. None of her doctors have been able to tell her even approximately how much time she has left. Medically, she has defied the odds and has not only lived longer than anticipated but actually gives the impression of being healthy. She makes the most of every day, works out, is not afraid to try new things and shares her experiences good and bad on Facebook, in a blog and in her bestselling book In the Land of the Living.
Because she is such a positive person and because she is so articulate and refuses to feel sorry for herself, she is in high demand as a speaker, giving fresh hope to others with life-threatening illnesses.
She will be speaking at the OU on Wednesday, September 2, at 8 p.m.
THIS WEEK at Mercaz Harav Kook, in the Rav Kook Museum and on the Mount of Olives – as well as elsewhere in Jerusalem, Israel and the Jewish world – rabbis, yeshiva students and people who follow the teaching of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, the first chief rabbi in British Mandate-controlled Palestine, gathered to honor Kook’s memory on the 80th anniversary of his death. When British governor of Jerusalem Ronald Storrs belittled the importance of the Western Wall, then known as the Wailing Wall, and offered to build a magnificent wall of Jerusalem stone, Kook declined and said, “There are people with a heart of stone, and there are stones with human hearts.”
His words were immortalized in the song “Hakotel,” for which the lyrics were written by Yossi Gamzu and the music by Dubi Zeltzer.
SOME OF us have a quirk about looking for things Jewish in anything.
Sometimes it’s a case of Jewish paranoia, but more often than not it’s something positive, such as finding Jewish heroes and heroines in literature or studying the works of Jewish writers and composers such as Felix Mendelssohn, Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schoenberg, Kurt Weill, Franz Kafka, Primo Levi, Marcel Proust and Isaac Bashevis Singer, or basking in the glory of Jewish artists such as Marc Chagall, Chaim Soutine, Amedio Modigliani or Camille Pissarro.
The Lapidot group of the Jerusalem branch of Emunah is interested in Jewish Aspects of the Opera. To glean more information on the subject, it will host an evening discussion in conjunction with AACI at the AACI Glassman Family Center in Talpiot on Wednesday, September 2, at 7:30 p.m. The donation fee towards Emunah and AACI projects is NIS 50.
IT’S NOT only Breslaver Hassidim who travel in their multitudes to Uman in Ukraine for the High Holy Days to pray at the grave of their founder, Rabbi Nahman. It’s become a kind of annual in thing for other hassidic groups and even non-observant Jews. Even though the Jewish influx to Uman is a boost for business, including in the oldest profession, it also provokes anti-Semitism. But neither that nor the primitive conditions have deterred the numbers from increasing from year to year.
However, this year there is a problem for those who want to fly at the last minute because Rosh Hashana falls on Sunday night, September 13, and people want to make sure that they get there well before sunset on Sunday so they can ascertain where they are staying and get some sense of their bearings. Certain rabbinical authorities have therefore asked Transportation Minister Israel Katz to authorize additional flights from Ben-Gurion Airport on Saturday night to ensure that all those who want to go to Uman will be able to do so and will get there on time.