Monday, June 19, 2017

Beer, Politics, and a Little Talmud Thrown In For Fun

First, let me admit I was a little overwhelmed by the response to last week's episode. There are a few comments posted beneath that blog, but over a hundred readers took the time to send a real email. I  was blown away by the things people said, all but 2 were very positive, encouraging, and downright lovely. I had email from all over the globe. Go figure. Thank you all for the kind thoughts; every single one is greatly appreciated.

Someone...and I know who you are....asked me to write about Judaism and beer. Well, there's Jewish stuff below, but for the beer part, I have 2 words: SPOTTED COW. You can only get it in Wisconsin, not even in Minnesota, and as far as I'm concerned, it's worth the shlep to Hudson for a 6-pack. I am a long time Guinness stout fan, but there is something unmistakably delicious about Spotted Cow. End of beer part. 

I'm not ready to pull the plug on the blog, but I am thinking about how I am going to handle the ongoing debacle that is American politics. There are days I think people in the White House wake up and say," what can I do to undo something President Obama did?" That is not productive thinking. There's got to be a better way to get around that sinking feeling that there are no facts. Not alternative facts, or flights of twitter fancy, but hard, cold, blunt, unembellished facts about where our government is going and what our expectations are regarding our government.

The health care bill being crafted in secret is scary. The deconstruction of the National Parks and Monuments Registry is scary. The removal of most funding for arts and culture is scary. Promulgating the belief that the coal industry will rise again and the nation will resume its coal consumption is scary. I won't even mention how scary not having FDA food safety inspections is. (See Georgia peanut butter salmonella outbreak.)

Plenty of people are out there publishing real-fact information with the hopes that people, especially our congress-people, might read a bit and get a better understanding of what actions are being undertaken on their behalf. There must be a belief in some kind of tipping point, that place where people begin to wake up to what's happening around them. I'm not completely sure I trust that concept, but is there a better idea out there on how to mitigate the damage?

But wait; there's more.

One part of this conundrum that really has me worried more than everything else is the delegitimization of individuals and the media. Now, we all know every administration yammers on about the press, the correspondents, and even the magazine essayists who cover politics. It is equally well known that a primary step in establishing totalitarianism is control of the press. That's why we have a First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
During this  Monday's press gaggle, however, the White House prohibited recording video or audio footage. This is strange. There was nothing major in today's briefing, other than the usual requests for the White House to explain what it's doing. You can read the transcript for yourself. White House press briefing 06/19/2017. Why this gaggle? Why these reporters? What was the White House afraid of today? I couldn't figure it out. 

Unless it's establishing a new normal.

Barring the use of recording devices underscores the administration's desire to control information in the press. This is not healthy, and it is certainly unconstitutional. So, how do you get around that nasty little problem of the Bill of Rights? You use the freedoms it guarantees to undermine everything around it. 

The undermining began with a lie about Barack Obama's birthplace and citizenship. Born in Hawaii (which was already a state at the time of his birth) to a natural-born American citizen and her non-citizen husband, there is nothing, NOT ONE THING that would call into question his citizenship. But the lie was told and the rest is the world's biggest bull-oney snowball.

The administration has learned from that lesson and is using it. Quite well, actually. They take a little, throw-away statement, and lob it into the instant media universe, then sit back and wait for all the fun and fireworks. Doesn't matter who they're attacking. The deed is done. 

Tonight, in my Talmud class, we were studying Bava Metzia (Chapter 4, 58B) and read the following:
R. Johanan said on the authority of R. Simeon b. Yohai: Verbal wrong is more heinous than monetary wrong, because of the first it is written, 'and thou shalt fear thy God,' but not of the second. R. Eleazar said: The one affects his [the victim's] person, the other [only] his money. R. Samuel b. Nahmani said: For the former restoration is possible, but not for the latter.                                                
I'm sure you're wondering what this has to do with anything. Well, all things considered, this is an important distinction in today's political stratagem.

There's the shitter-twitter stream for your consideration. It almost always denigrates a specific person. That comment is broadcast and read by millions. Whether or not the statement is verifiable and certified true does not matter; the person attacked has no real recourse in defending oneself. The allegation is out there and there is precious little anyone can do to stop the damage. 

Often, it's the suggestion, not the fact, of impropriety that does the damage. Even if proven to be false, the rift is created and belief in what is real is suspended. The endless barrage of alternative facts from BOTH sides of the political spectrum destroys reputations to the point of no recourse. Ever notice how when the stream has nothing else to say, it blames Hillary Clinton for something, anything?

So going back to the one thing we know for certain is a lie, and starting this ball rolling down the hill. That defamation has damaged who we are as a nation, who we are as a people, and worst of all, who we are as inhabitants of this planet. We have allowed verbal wrongs to become common place. We have allowed the stream of verbal wrongs to shape who we are. 

It would take an act of G-d, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or whatever deity to which you subscribe, to get We, the People to pull our collective heads from our asses and begin actually looking at what we're being handed. But it has to happen. Democrat and Republican alike, we need to understand what their plans are for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. If you are counting on Social Security for your retirement income and Medicare for your senior health coverage, you cannot afford to ignore the reality that it is already under the microscope for cutting. 

If we don't read this stuff....if we don't bother to find out what they are pushing through congress, we have no recourse. Millions of We, the People, may find themselves without the guarantees their parents' have. Right now, even the GOP side of the senate is having second thoughts about the AHCA bill. If we sit idly by and ask not what our nation's legislature is doing, then We, the People, just get to eat it up with a plastic spoon. 

(For your amusement: We asked 8 Senators To Explain What The Health Care Bill Is Trying To Do.)

Here's the very bottom line: when we choose to allow our government to diminish the First Amendment and put out only the news they want us to hear, then we have already stopped being Americans. That undermining of the First Amendment is the very tip of the iceberg on which we are currently sitting. Once that is negated, it's over. The rest is just sad, sad commentary.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
If you want to lift your own spirits, grow herbs. 
Even in a pot, the scent is restorative.
There's basil,lavender, chives, mint, rosemary (not in the shot)
with a strawberry pot, a blueberry pot, and a cherry tomato,
just for fun.  

Monday, June 12, 2017

I Shall Wear The Bottoms Of My Trousers Rolled

This afternoon, my Medicare acceptance letter arrived. I will be 65 soon, and turned in my official application about 10 days ago. This means I'm about to be very old. 

I was in New York over the weekend. The occasion was bittersweet on a couple of levels.

From the moment I picked up the rental car and made that right onto the Belt to head east, I was home. Navigating the Belt into the Southern State was second nature. I didn't have to think about what lane to be in or whether getting off at Merrick Avenue to go to the butcher in East Meadow was better than getting off at Bellmore Avenue. I knew. I knew I had to drive all the way around the little shopping center to park by the butcher. I knew. I didn't have to think. And I knew how to cut behind what was once the Associated to take Jacqueline Avenue instead of trying to make that funky left onto Columbus Avenue to go to what had, once upon a time, been our house. I didn't think; I just knew.

Thank you, T.S. Eliot
My cousin and I managed a quick walk on the beach Friday afternoon before Shabbat. Even my feet felt at home. Sand is the  best foot massage on the planet. I rolled up my pants and marched into the surf. The water, salty, cold, and frothy, smelled like beach. My beach. It was perfect. I wish I could bottle that scent. All of me relaxed. The wet, the scent, the cold feet...the whole package... that sense of coming home...even if just for a fleeting moment. Everything I'd been carrying on my shoulders went out with the tide.

Coincidentally, Friday night was Ziggy's yahrzeit, marking 8 years since he had the poor form to leave the building. I decided that as long as I was on the island, I would go say kaddish on Shabbat morning at my home shul. I let my old next-door neighbors know I was coming, and they assured me they would be there since it was the Rabbi Rosenbaum Memorial Scholar-in-Residence weekend. And thankfully, they were. Sitting in that pew, facing the bima where 40 years ago, come July 2nd, Ziggy and I stood under the chuppah, with the afore mentioned Rabbi Rosenbaum, to be married. Who could have imagined the roller coaster we were about to get on?

Equally coincidental, the pew in which we sat was almost immediately to the right of my family's memorial plaques. I could see their names from where I sat. All but Grandpa Ben, mom's dad who died in 1936, danced at our wedding. For better or worse, some of the most important things in my life happened at Beth-El, and sitting there, in that spot, was much more emotional than anticipated. 

The month of May was rough this year. I was grieving the loss of my husband, and my parents, all rolled into one. All that hard work I was too busy to do while I was caring for everyone else still had to be done, and I was finally doing it.

The whole reason I was in New York was to unveil my folks' headstone. My bro and I decided to do one unveiling for both, since they died only months apart. The usual suspects gathered minus a few who could not make it to NY, but gather we did. Tradition dictates what we place a stone atop a headstone when we visit a grave, so I asked everyone to bring a stone from home...and to decorate. Stones had been sent from Milwaukee, Minnesota, and California. Some were painted, some had messages written on them with Sharpies, but all were from the heart. We said the traditional prayers, we sang Psalm 23, we talked, we cried, we mourned....and then we went to lunch. 

We had gone to Ben's Best on Queen's Boulevard after both Mom's and Dad's funerals. And we went this time, too. As I looked at everyone at the table, I was relieved to have everyone there. My two remaining aunts, both of whom live in Florida, were at the table. One is 93, the other 88. How many more times will I see them? How many more times will I get to sit with my cousins and laugh about stupid stuff? Truth is, I love being with them and I have missed so much being so far away.

And I will miss more because my life, for better or worse, is here on the tundra, not on the beach I love so much.

The other, more difficult truth to accept is that with the unveiling of that headstone, a significant chapter of my life has closed. My old life is really over. I am not responsible to or for anyone, not even a dog. My obligations are done. Going forward, I get to be Savta when I'm needed, but I'm not in charge and that's fine with me. I get to make choices for me. 

Which brings me to this blog. 

A recent correspondent wrote, 
I think there can be too much religion in some of your blogs. You might be causing some readers to tune out. Consider toning it down.
Really? My best email comes from the "religious" blogs. Go figure.

But that said, I am tired of writing about politics. So for the next few weeks, I will be trying to figure out what I'm going to do with this, where I'm going to go. If you have a thought, toss it over the fence...either as a comment or an email to

Meanwhile, I am working on the last round of edits for LINGUA GALACTICA...the new novel due out soon. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
There is no manual for grieving, and no one can tell you how to do it.
Allowing yourself time and space when your heart is broken
is the kindest thing you can do for you.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Thoughts While Lying In State: What to do with the Statue of Liberty

I had a few ideas for today's episode, but this morning, when I got up to get ready for work, I found myself bent over the porcelain pony instead of standing under the shower. Not sure why that happened, but I spent the better part of the morning feeling like this was a rinse/repeat scenario. I shan't bore you with the details, but let's just say multiple cups of tea later, I am finally sitting upright without the traditional black plastic wastebasket next to me. I will admit to having texted my erstwhile cousin Laurie to tell her I was barfing my brains out and she should probably check on me once in a while. Which she did. Many times. Another one of the joys of living one knows you're lying in state. 

Although I gave great thought to posting the "Gone Fishing" sign, I won't. There are a couple of things I want to write about, albeit briefly.
Captain Gustav Schröder

How many of you know the name Gustav Schröder? I'm guessing that name doesn't ring too many bells these days. Pity. Everyone should know who he was and what he did. But we'll get back to him in a minute.

Fifty years ago today, June 5th, the Six-Day War began. When it was over, Israel found itself the new landlords of the Golan Heights, Gaza, the West Bank of the Jordan River, the Sinai Peninsula...not exactly what everyone had in mind. Or wanted. Kind of a booby-prize of sorts...

But Israel also held all of Jerusalem. That was the cake, the icing, and all the roses and sprinkles. 

Without going into detail, eventually the Sinai was returned to Egypt. Egypt did not want Gaza back, and it appeared the Jordanians did not want the West Bank back either. Both countries eventually officially relinquished their claims to the territories leaving Israel holding the bag. I think the Egyptians and the Jordanians were laughing all the way to the bank.

In reality, this war never ended; it has flared up again and again and again. Despite the removal of settlements and attempts to have working governments in both Gaza and the West Bank, there is no peace, nor will there ever be peace until both sides stop lying to themselves...and each other. Revisionist history on both sides is not a foundation for trust. You cannot teach suicide bombing to kindergartners and expect Israeli parents to say, "Oh, how cute!" In the same breath, you cannot continue to use eminent domain to build luxury apartments and expect the local population to be thrilled. 

There are abuses on both sides. I am not a fan of Netanyahu by anyone's standard. He has done more to damage the State of Israel with his ruling coalition than any other PM in Israel's history. And it's not just about the territories. This is also very much about the treatment of Jews by Jews. Women and non-haredi Jews are denied full rights of participation because the religious courts deny them the ability to marry, to divorce, to practice their kind of Judaism. Jews denying Jews the right to pray. What a concept.

At the same time, the ongoing barrage of missiles and hate-tunnels coming from Gaza do nothing to help a people so desperately in need of help. They need food and plumbing and electricity...and a government that puts the needs of the people first. Many agencies and countries and companies have attempted to step up to the cause, yet little funding ever reaches the ground. It's a vicious cycle with no end in sight. 


However angry I get with the government of Israel, it does not change my hardliner stand, my core belief, my absolute certainty that Israel has a right to exist as Israel. Just as there are Christian countries, and Buddhist countries, and Islamic countries, Israel can be a Jewish country. It's okay to have your calendar based on the Jewish calendar, just like the US one is based on the Christian holiday cycle. You can practice whatever religion you want in Israel...other religions are not regulated by the rabbinic courts and have total freedom of practice....and just about every religion in the world can be found there. They are not second class citizens. They are not denied full civil rights. There is no special tax for a church or a mosque or a temple. But Israel is a Jewish state and has a right to remain so. 

BDS is nothing but a shield for anti-Semitism. It punishes Palestinians by stanching economic growth. Academic boycotts are ridiculous because academia should be about sharing ideas, not stopping them from being discussed. Roger Waters is an idiot because he completely misses the point that audiences in Israel are not Jewish-only. EVERYONE goes. You wanna reach people...throw a concert. If you sing it, they will come. Anyone who tells you they want to boycott, ban, or otherwise stop people from supporting or sharing information about Israel is nothing more than someone who wants Jews to be dead.

And speaking about people wanting Jews to be dead, Gustav Schröder was not one of them.

On May 13th, 1939, Gustav Schröder, captain of the MS St. Louis, departed Hamburg, Germany for Havana, Cuba with 937 passengers, most of them Jewish refugees fleeing Germany. He made that voyage a delightful experience for his passengers that had been so badly treated in Germany. Everything was done to make everyone a first class guest on board. 

When they reached Havana, on May 27th, they were denied a docking berth and dropped anchor at the end of the harbor. Eventually, 29 passengers were permitted to disembark: 4 Spanish citizens, 2 Cuban nationals, one attempted suicide needing medical attention, and 22 Jews with valid US visas. The rest were turned away.
Prohibited from landing in Cuba, the St. Louis and the remaining 907 refugees[10] headed towards the United States. Captain Schröder circled off the coast of Florida, hoping for permission to enter the United States. Cordell Hull, Secretary of State, advised Roosevelt not to accept the Jews, however. Captain Schröder considered running aground along the coast to allow the refugees to escape, but, acting on Cordell Hull's instructions, US Coast Guard vessels shadowed the ship and prevented such a move.   (from Wikipedia)
On June 7th, 1939, the captain informed his passengers they were out of options and headed back to Europe where death loomed waiting for them. 

They landed in Antwerp on June 17th, with 907 passengers. Again, Captain Schröder negotiated on behalf of his passengers with nations that did not want them at all.

Of those passengers:
  • 288  (31.76%) were allowed to transfer via other steamers to the United Kingdom
  • 224  (24.70%) were accepted by France
  • 214  (23.59%) were accepted by Belgium
  • 181  (19.96%) were accepted by the Netherlands

We know the following thanks to researchers Scott Miller and Sarah Ogilvie of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum:
Of the 620 St. Louis passengers who returned to continental Europe, we determined that eighty-seven were able to emigrate before Germany invaded western Europe on May 10, 1940. Two hundred fifty-four passengers in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands after that date died during the Holocaust. Most of these people were murdered in the killing centers of Auschwitz and Sobibór; the rest died in internment camps, in hiding or attempting to evade the Nazis. Three hundred sixty-five of the 620 passengers who returned to continental Europe survived the war. Of the 288 passengers sent to Britain, the vast majority were alive at war's end.                               Refuge Denied: The St. Louis Passengers and the Holocaust                                                   Scott Miller and Sarah Ogilvie, Univ. of Wisconsin Press (2010).
Captain Schröder was more than courageous; he took on the world. It cost him his career and probably a lot more we don't know about. He was charged with war crimes during the de-nazification period, but charges were dropped when several of the passengers of the St. Louis came forward to speak out on his behalf. He was honored by the German government in 1957 with the Order of Merit for "services to the people and the land in the rescue of refugees." Despite the recognition, he lived in poverty until the end of his life. He passed away in 1959. Posthumously named one of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad VaShem in 1993.

But what does Gustav Schröder have to do with anything?

This guy recognized the need for a refugee people to land. He could not find one that would grant them safe haven, so he did the best he could. He got as many as he could to safety and negotiated with France, Belgium, and the Netherlands in good faith for the rest. He could not possibly know they, too, would be overrun. 

In the final analysis, Israel was the answer to our Voyage of the Damned.  Today's refugees are fleeing their homes; their Voyage of the Damned is just beginning. We should be joining together with our European allies to figure out how to provide shelter and safety. We are not doing that. 

Once upon a time, I would've expected America to step up to the plate. After all, isn't that what the statue in the harbor says? 

And if the symbol no longer applies, maybe we should retire Lady Liberty to the covfefe heap with all those Confederate statues?

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
No person is all good or all bad.
Remember that the next time
you're making a snap judgment because
it's probably wrong.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day 2017: What Comes Next?

Monday, May 29th, 2017 marks the 564th anniversary of the fall of Constantinople to the Turks. It was also John F. Kennedy's 100th birthday. And it is also the 64th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norga reaching the summit of Everest. 

In this country, it also happens to be Memorial Day

One should never say, Happy Memorial Day. It is not a happy kinda day no matter what the local retail establishments are telling you about their sales and promotions. This is a day to remember those who have honored this nation with the ultimate sacrifice and by a natural extension, those who served but who no longer march beside us. 

On this particular Memorial Day, I recall with love, affection, and great respect the veterans of my family: my dad, my mother and father-in-law, my step-mother-in-law, and my uncles. All of them held the Constitution to be as sacred a document as any holy book. All of them believed those truths to be self-evident. And every one of them went to war knowing they might be putting their lives on the line for We, the People and our Constitution. It doesn't get more sacred than that. Those who died, from the American Revolution forward, died so we could be living in a place where all men (and women) are created equal. If we lower our expectations, if we lower the bar of what is and is not acceptable behavior, if we stand by and do nothing as the Constitution is under siege, we are not doing our collective job as We, the People; we are betraying those who died in defense of exactly that. 

Unless you're Ivanka....and then it's time to party:

I can't say I'm not worried about our country. I am. I worry about a guy who goes to Europe to visit our allies, embarrasses himself and the nation with his lack of knowledge, understanding, and basic diplomacy, then comes back heralding what a great success the trip was. Chancellor Angela Merkel, a scientist and politician all rolled into one Teutonic powerhouse, disagreed with that assessment. At a rally in Munich on Saturday, she said,
Die Zeiten, in denen wir uns auf andere völlig verlassen konnten, die sind ein Stück vorbei. Das habe ich in den letzten Tagen erlebt.Wir Europäer müssen unser Schicksal wirklich in die eigene Hand nehmen.
The times when we could completely rely on others are a bit over. I have experienced this in the last days. We Europeans really have to take our fate into their own hands. 
That was a not-so-veiled admonishment that America and Great Britain can no longer be counted upon to be reliable partners. She's not wrong, you know. The British have their own issues  with Brexit, and that takes up a whole lotta space right now, rightfully so. But what's America's excuse? A guy who sits on the throne at 3 a.m. sending out ridiculous tweets? Yep. That's the one. The least he could do is spell-check.

Whether or not he was entitled to be in the front row, shoving someone aside is just not done. Whether it's another child on the playground or a fellow head of state, we teach our children bullying is not acceptable in any form, and one would certainly expect his parents would have done the same. Thank goodness that Montenegro's Prime Minister, Duško Markovićwas the adult in the room, and said:
This was an inoffensive situation. I do not see it in any other way. I had the opportunity today to thank President Trump personally for his support, speedy ratification of the Accession Protocol in the U.S. Senate, the overall support for Montenegro’s Euro-Atlantic integration and of course the further development of our bilateral relations. But,when journalists are differently commenting this scene , I want to tell you that it is natural for the President of the United States to be in the first row.

If you think for one New York minute that the Prime Minister was even mildly not offended, well, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you. For all I know, Mr. Marković's the beast that ate Yugoslavia; who knows. In this time at this moment, he took the high road and, quite frankly, set the adult example for the toddler-in-chief. No matter what he thought at the exact moment he's being shoved aside, he declined to criticize of embarrass the head-of-state of another country. Not that the lesson will stick.

Say what you want about this president, but do not defend the streams-of-incontinence that come out of the oval potty in the middle of the night, and do not defend school yard bully behavior. 

New French president Emmanuel Macron took on the toddler directly with the simplest of gestures: the handshake.  As President Macron  told Le Journal du Dimanche:
 Ma poignée de main avec lui, ce n'est pas innocent, ce n'est pas l'alpha et l'oméga d'une politique mais un moment de vérité. Il faut montrer qu'on ne fera pas de petites concessions, même symboliques, mais ne rien surmédiatiser non plus.
My handshake with him is not innocent, it is not the alpha and omega of a policy but a moment of truth. We must show that we will not make small concessions, even symbolic ones, but we must not over-mediate either. 
What an interesting tidbit of diplomacy! Old fashioned, yet so modern. So direct, so subtle, so French. As they say in France, "Yasher koach, Monsieur Le President!"

There were so many moments of monumental chagrin during this trip, it's hard to pick just one as my favorite. Certainly the "Having a great time, wish you were here," note in the guestbook at Yad Vashem would be amongst the top contenders. Wandering out of his meeting with Bibi, only to be led back in by his handlers was another fond memory. And who can forget his speech at NATO, when he completely misunderstood how the treaty organization is funded and works. Ever hear of Article 5?  Apparently, our feckless leader has not. This is kind of a key issue here. 

Best picture, however must go to the Vatican. You cannot possibly beat the family picture.  

The Addams family does Rome. 

The Wifely Person's tip o'the week comes from the Free Melania Movement:

Dress for the job you want.....

NOTE TO MY READERS: Thank you to all who wrote to say the first word was Sunday, not Monday. For reasons I cannot possibly explain, the final version of what I saw said MONDAY. When I started the episode, it was indeed Sunday, and therein lies the error. I thought I corrected the first line early on.  How it appeared corrected on my side, but not outside remains a mystery to me. That said, the appropriate Ziggyism is "99% of all computer issues can be isolated between the keyboard and the chair."  I will own the error. <sigh>

Monday, May 22, 2017

Lasting Peach At Last!

Over the weekend, We, the People learned that not only did the first daughter and her husband get a rabbinic indulgence (not authorized by their home Rabbi Haskel Lookstein who made that point very clear in his own statement) but the Saudis pledged $100,000,000 to an as-yet-unnamed foundation proposed and spearheaded by Ivanka for encouraging women entrepreneurs

Wait! Didn't her father rail and rail and rail and rail about the Clinton Foundation? And the guy who complained about President Obama bowing his head when he received an honor from the Saudi king not only bows but curtsies? Excuse me while I go barf into a bit bucket. 

And all I could think of was EVITA: (ACT II) And The Money Keeps Rolling In


    Forgive my intrusion, but fine as those sentiments sound
    Little has changed for us peasants down here on the ground
    I hate to sound childish, ungrateful, I don't like to moan
    But do you now represent anyone's cause but your own?
    Everything done will be justified by my foundation 

    Eva's pretty hands reached out and they reached wide
    Now you may feel it should have been a voluntary cause
    But that's not the point my friends
    When the money keeps rolling in, you don't ask how
    Think of all the people guaranteed a good time now
    Eva's called the hungry to her, open up the doors
    Never been a fund like the Foundation Eva Peron
If Ivanka starts wearing her hair in a chignon, standing on balconies with her arms raised, fingers together, it's too late. We're doomed. 

Getting back to flying on Shabbat for a moment...well, I'm not about to go down that road. Whatever the level of their observance, it's their business. If they want to fly on Shabbat, that's for them to decide. However, issuing a press release saying a rabbi said it's okay was really kind of specious. We used to call the guys one hunted up to get an agreeing position, Rent-a-Rabbis. Pay 'em enough and they'll tell you shrimp isn't shellfish. But unless you're the one seeking out the rent-a-rabbi to condone something you're doing, you don't get to comment because to do so would be lashon harah...evil tongue. You don't have to like, approve, condone, or even believe in what they do...but this little piece should be left alone. The only one who should be judging this behavior is G-d...and She ain't talking. 

Meanwhile, it's time for Amateur Hour! Somewhere on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean that's not the Middle East, the Toddler-in-Chief is, according to today's WH Press Release packet, promoting lasting peach:

This has got to be Ben and Jerry's newest flavor, dontacha think? Americans love anything peach. Including impeachment. [note: the above line was written before Colbert said it in the monologue. Obviously, great minds think alike.]

Come on, folks, you cannot make this stuff up. The text itself would fail a 5th grade grammar test. Doesn't anyone read this stuff before they hit the send button?????1  People! Do your jobs! You can write all the nonsense you want, but for heaven's sake, get a spell/grammar checker! You are embarrassing the rest of We, the People! 

There's no reason to do a blow-by-blow run of embarrassing moments from this Mideast Fiesta; what's the point? The toddler is already a global laughing stock. His instability really is starting to get to me. His staff works really hard to cover his ADD, but it's getting harder and harder to pretend everything is all right. 

"You see the mob takes the Fifth; if you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?"                                  candidate Trump ~ September 2016

While I was sitting here working on tonight's episode, I heard Flynn is pleading the Fifth. He called Hillary Clinton a "mob lady." Can't wait to see what he calls Flynn. 

His speeches have been ridiculous, childish, and downright dangerous. He told the Saudis he's gonna get them "a good deal" from American manufacturers. What's he gonna do? Give 'em coupons for bomb parts? I wanna know what the secret discount code is for bazookas.

And he's indicated he will ignore human rights issues with the Saudis. Sure. Let's just forget about that part of what We, the People are supposed to stand for.

This is all nothing but a smokescreen. The real fireworks are waiting the wings for his return. The whole Russia thing is seething beneath the surface and will explode shortly. A friend with contacts on the inside said this administration is so sloppy, so lazy, and so uniquely unqualified to be running a government of any size, that it actually requires much more work to make sure every "t" is crossed and every "i" is dotted. There is no room for error because ultimately, this guy is unable to control his impulses. 

The picture of 45 standing at the Kotel  bothered me more than I expected. I've been there, albeit a long time ago, and G-d willing, I'll be returning there next fall. But the Kotel is the last remnant of an aspect of Judaism, a physical space that, these days, is more profane than holy in the way the plaza and access to the wall is administered. There is a war being waged in that space, a war of faith, of belief, and of human rights. Because of his lack of commitment to human rights, his very presence desecrates that space. What he does in his private life is private, but when he openly brags about sexual molestation of women, brags about his extra-marital relations, then, without missing a beat, tells us how to be religious....well, that's the height of hypocrisy. His palm on that stone desecrates that which cannot be desecrated. 

So sit back and wait for it. It's coming and it's gonna be good. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
The US is one of the longest lasting democracies on record.
It won't be pretty, but We, the People, will survive this this administration.

 1: Note to know who you are....not a peep about me and typos!