Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Sukkot is one of the most amazing holidays in the Jewish calendar. It celebrates the fertility of the land. It makes clear our dependence on forces beyond our control. It gets us outdoors during one of the most spectacular times of the year. It makes us a participant in the changing of the seasons and the continuity of life. We don't just decorate a tree, we entwine a vine of the fruitfulness of life around our soul.
Ufros aleinu, sukkat schlomecha is baked on the tiles above our kitchen and hangs as a sign in our sukkah. Spread over us the shelter of your peace.

This year the main decorative motif of our sukkah is corn. One of the oldest food plants modified by humans and a mainstay of sustenance for modern human life. Given to us by Native Americans working with the Wondrous Heritage of the Earth.

Relaxing under the shelter of the Sukkah with the motif of the exodus from Egypt and the entry into the wilderness with confidence in the continuity of life with our efforts and the presence of What Is Given to us.
The Sukkah in context even in the Adirondacks!

Great holiday!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Esther butchers a chicken summer of '10

Esther arrived a few days early for the summer family reunion. This allowed for some special time and special activities with her. One of these activities was butchering some of our home raised chickens. Esther was very interested in participating in the harvest of our summer's work raising chickens for our own consumption. We really believe in 'Knowing who we eat'. It was moving to introduce Esther to a way of living that she otherwise would not have exposure to - living in Santa Cruz in an academic community. It was fulfilling for me to pass on a tradition that I learned from my parents to my grandchild. I am grateful for this kind of opportunity.Esther brings the chicken up from the henhouse for slaughter!

Esther plucks the chicken of it's feathers

Esther pulls the innards from the chicken

Esther preparing the gizzard - chicken's stomach for cleaning

She does an excellent job and is not at all squeamish. Congratulations!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Visit to the Orchard with Tovah

This last week we spent a few days in Northampton with Mitch, Bekah, and Tovah. One of the things Happy and I did was spend a couple of hours with Tovah picking apples and eating Whoopi Pies at an orchard in Westhampton. Happy thinks that Grandpa Joe might be a bad influence on Tovah, but I think I'm fighting an uphill battle. There are too many people working on the other side for my influence to run very deep. Here are some pictures and a short video.

Tovah was an energetic picker and bag stuffer

Winsome, anyone?

But the Whoopie Pie after all that hard outdoor work was best of all!

Friday, September 10, 2010

More pictures from Esther's Bat Mitzvah in June

The last post covered the basic Bat Mitzvah ceremony. Here are additional pictures of friends and family.
Juan and Mom
Aunt Deborah sitting between Uncle Michael and Grandpa Joe.

Uncle Michael in discussion with Tovah.

Mitch, Bekah, and Tovah

Maria and Tovah.

Jenna and Maria

Aunt Miriam and Uncle Bruce

Bracha and Esther

Dad, Orkida, and Raphael


Happy and Grandpa Joe

Hiatus performing the night before the Bat Mitzvah - Miguel and Samson

Miguel and his Fans

Lunch on the Wharf - Maria and Jenna

The Tannen sisters with Bracha on the wharf with the amusement park in the background

Juan reads to Esther as part of the ceremony

Aunt Deborah and Uncle Michael


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Esther's Bat Mitzvah in June '10

In early June, Esther celebrated her Bat Mitzvah in Santa Cruz, California with friends and family. A number of the family were able to spend a long weekned in Santa Cruz, celebrate with Esther, and renew their connections. Some pictures follow:

Esther's Mom and Dad honor her accomplishments.

Left to right - Cousin Bracha, Grandma Naomi, in Aliyah. Grandpa Joe reading, and Seffi - who supported Esther in the ceremony.

Brother Samson raises the Torah. Aunt Jenna is at left.

The Ceremony ends with Havdalah.