Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
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Jewish Childhood Blog

"This blog carries the voice of my memoir, past and present, into the future. Feel free to fill out the form with a question or comment. I look forward to a dialog with you."

  —L'chaim, to life, Jeanne

My Jewish Childhood - Update from last Blog.
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 21:43

My cousin found the Rhapsody in Blue YouTube. It is so fantastic I had to pass it on to you.

How many of you play instruments? Learn when you were a child? Learn as an adult?

As many of you know, I used to play violin. Even played in the Hollywood Bowl with the L.A. Philharmonic Children's Orchestra. What days they were. Practicing 3-4 hours a day. Taking some time off to play some jazz and some popular songs, especially the melancholy ones like RUBY, from the movie, Ruby Gentry. And I still have some of my sheet music.

Although I tried to play again as an elder adult at the age of 53, some shoulder problems put that on the back burner and even though I had restorative surgery in 2008, I still can't hold the violin properly. So I will either learn to play the violin the way they did before the strolling fiddlers, like a cello, or perhaps that time has passed for me.

In the meantime, I will go to concerts and enjoy the sounds made by others.

In the meantime, I will listen to my cousin Michele with her wonderful solo.

Thanks for reading My Jewish Childhood Blog - update.

Jewish Childhood - Michele Zukovsky, Clarinet - Fifty Years With The L.A. Philharmonic
Monday, 28 October 2013 21:22

As I flip through THE CLARINET, vol. 39, No. 3, June 2012, I see a tribute to my cousin Michele. I see early photos of Michele with her father Kalman Bloch, one of her with the Los Feliz Clarinet Quartet, Michele at the Weber Concert Trio at Aspen. She was 17. Other photos for the 40s when we were kids together, Michele at one of my early birthday parties. Michele in one with her brother Gregory, towering over him as he plays his violin, she her clarinet. Another photo taken with Zubin Mehta, Michele and her father in 2008, and an early photo of the clarinetists of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, 1975.

I remember when Michele went out with my cousin Mike (the other side of the family) for his Senior Prom. In the early years I remember her mother Frances, down at Venice Beach, painting the old Jews sitting on the park bench in front of the bakery where I used to go with my first partner. We would get this wonderful cheesecake about 4 inches high and light as a feather. We would run into Frances on many a Saturday or Sunday, engage in conversation. Talk about my parents, and her kids. Michele's brother Gregory Bloch died in 1989.

A Jewish Childhood - Nine Weddings in Two Days - Equality on One Level Part 2
Tuesday, 24 September 2013 21:49

For the ninth wedding, that happened the Monday after at my synagogue, Temple Beth
Shalom as two women I knew got married with Rabbi Marvin Schwab, our Rabbi, officiating.

They were married under a chuppah, 4 poles with a tallit stretched over it, indicating a new residence, a holy place under which the two nervous women were to take their vows.

I was honored to sign their Ketubah, a Jewish ritual marriage certificate.

The rabbi had asked both of the women to answer six questions. They filled them out with answers from their hearts, of their own free will, which was a central theme in this reform Jewish wedding ceremony, the Rabbi taking great care to make sure that neither was under duress or coerced to join as a married couple, and I, in that moment, again flashed to chattel, arranged marriages, women mostly to men, being sold into the marriage plot.

With the rings, each was asked to place it on their index fingers, and after saying her vows, to place the ring on her own ring finger freely, and because she wanted to.

A Jewish Childhood - Nine Weddings in Two Days - Equality on One Level
Tuesday, 24 September 2013 21:30

Is it in the air or is it just finally time for equality?

Sunday at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Santa Fe, there was an open invitation to anyone who wished to have a church wedding to come on down.

Santa Fe County had just begun a week before to issue wedding licenses to same sex couples. Business in Santa Fe was picking up and all of us who had been waiting for this, rejoiced.

Don't get me wrong. I don't want to get married sex unspecified. I just believe that it is a human right to choose. This is somewhat like my same belief that women should have control over their own bodies.

It is on the same level, and seems odd to me that marriage equality should come through while the latter is still struggling to survive. Are we as women still chattel? I thought we had already wandered forty years in the same desert perchance, and that miracle of miracles, we do, as women have the right to vote.

A Jewish Childhood - Les Chiens de Paris - Dog Sightings around Paris
Thursday, 05 September 2013 20:00

How does one accurately document the dogs of Paris and categorize them according to breeds to see which is the one most popular dog this year in Paris. Of course according to me as the observer in this particular exercise.

Do I count Silky Terriers because I Skype each day with my sister and see my petite chien, Alice B. or her cousin, Tango, the mini poodle? Well deciding that this isn't exactly fair, I discounted those two although technically I did see them in Paris.

So how does one catalog all dogs seen in Paris? Make a graph, a list and use hatch marks so that clear and concise tabulation can be done.

Since the viewing begins at the beginning of my three-week stay in Paris, and this time was totally restricted to Paris, no outside trips, it is a true tabulation.

I've seen dancing dogs, scrapping dogs, dogs getting treats and dogs looking longingly at one another.

Jewish Childhood - Final Sunday in Paris-Chopin and Conversation
Sunday, 11 August 2013 21:40

I arrive at Luxembourg Gardens 45 minutes before the Chopin concert with Francois Demont, piano. All chairs are taken.

I am by a busy snack kiosk sitting in between two people on my left, an elderly woman, and on my right, a couple looking at a map of Paris.

I will not face Chopin but have my back to him. Not meaning any disrespect but after all, a seat within listening distance is a blessing.

I see no hope in getting closer. My deal with Chopin seemed ill fated. First, I get there too late, and it rains, and well this is number three. I find the task scouring the Gardens for just one chair. Just be here now. There has to be a reason. There is something to learn.

The park is very busy. The first sunny day in weeks, well one other day, as evidenced with me wearing an Aloha shirt, with my friend, Sherry.

It's good hearing the music of the French language. Listening to all the voices, children with comments and demands, two older women, probably my age. I have no desire to figure out words or messages. I just want the music of the language while I await Chopin.

Smart phone in my pocket, I take it out to capture a few reminders of the Gardens for when I go home.

Jewish Childhood - Pride, Making New Friends, The Gardens
Tuesday, 06 August 2013 19:40

Dear Friends,

I will share two days in my Paris life. Day l

When I come downstairs to get into my day, the streets are cordoned off and two policemen stand at the ready. It seems like everything has stopped. I still have to make 10 copies of a poem for the Shakespeare and Company critique, take some more memoirs, as the bookshop is sold out, and want to stop by the Gardens for my daily sit and walk.

As I move toward Boulevard St. Michel, I see large crowds of people on both sides of the street, and rainbow colored flags. It's Gay Pride in Paris, a special celebration since it is now possible for same sex couples to marry in France, something really big to celebrate. Since there were many people picketing right before the law was passed, I expected to see some of this but there was none. So I marched down the center of the street with the crowd proud to be part of something so big. and if last year is any indication, 800,000. Here are some photos taken during the parade.

Click here: Paris Marks Gay Pride 2013 One Month After France Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage (PHOTOS)

A Jewish Childhood- Musee Marmottan Monet Marie Laurencin Retrospective Part 2
Sunday, 28 July 2013 17:37

In 1925 Marie Laurencin hires a twenty year-old maid, Suzanne Moreau, who also became her lover. She adopted Susanne Moreau in 1954, whom she shared the simple pleasures of friendship and love. It was she who oversaw Marie Laurencin's funeral. She is buried in Pere Lachaise and I add her to the list to be honored in my visit next year.

Many of Marie Laurencin's paintings contain a dog, or cat or horse, or bird. Portraits of that period feature two women in interior settings, or often alone with their pets, a feline, a cheval. The painting with the horse was considered strong and iconic and marked her identity as a woman artist.

I find her work fascinating. La Danse, with funny fluffy white dog, 1921, portrait of Jean Cocteau. Diana a la Chase, 1921, Le Fete au Chateau, all women avec two dogs. It is impossible to say much more without having the catalog in front of you. To say that she created a large body of work with almost two thousand oil paintings, watercolors, three thousand engravings, as well as numerous theater sets. Click here: Marie Laurencin Exhibition at the Musee Marmottan Monet in Paris-France fr

A Jewish Childhood- Musee Marmottan Monet Marie Laurencin Retrospective
Thursday, 25 July 2013 18:44

Wonder of wonders. With just two buses, I can get all the way on the edge of Paris to this wonderful museum. I take the 63 Bus to the end of the line. Everyone gets off the bus and I ask the bus driver if he knows where the museum is. He tells me in French ‘he's on his break, don't bother him’. A woman on the street hears him and offers to point me in the right direction. We cross the busy street and on our left there is a park, the Bois de Boulogne, tout droit, straight ahead and just follow the road. I do and my footsteps begin to get the rhythm on the pavement of one that has been here before, last year for the retrospective of Berthe Morisot. One foot in front of the other and at a certain point, I cross the street taking me away from the park. At the end of a long block, voila. Here is the museum 2, rue Louis Boilly, 16th arrondisement.

Originally a hunting lodge on the edge of Bois de Boulogne, it was purchased by Jules Marmottan in 1882, and converted into a museum in 1934.

When I first heard of this 92-piece retrospective of Laurencin's work, I recalled seeing some of her paintings at Musee D'Orsay and also at L'Orangerie, downstairs, Monet's water lilies above. I even bought a postcard of her work.

A Jewish Chidhood - Shopping for Sardines and the Happy Days diner on St. Michel
Saturday, 20 July 2013 14:25

I sit waiting for my Badoit and frites avec Heinz and Herbes de Provence. Something new to try after shopping for French sardines I hope will suit the taste of my friend, along, of course, with some Herbes de Provence.

Just the scent of the herbes sprinkled on the frites is wonderful and my first Badoit, 1778, a great year for mineral water.

So how did I get here? Well, pas mal, not bad on the frites and it's hard to dispute the mineral water.  Click here: HD Diner

The day starts out around nine with some writing, checking emails and then the decision. Should I go to Musee Marmottan Monet exhibit today or tomorrow? After posting another Blog, I decide on tomorrow. But for today...

Right now it is dessert. You see, it is a day of decadence where dessert always comes after frites. So it's a vanilla with chocolate sauce and whipping cream, a classic one you would find in a diner, no matter what country.

After all of that, another afternoon in the Gardens, Another Woody Allen Paris day a la Midnight in Paris, but no rain. I rather enjoy these days. I don't have to wear one of the Aloha shirts I am so fond of and which I brought 4 different silk ones.

I see a cross between a Cairn and Westie, one Jack Russell terrier, a small Yorkie, a ginger colored Mini Poodle. Earlier I saw a Yellow Lab, a Golden Lab, and one Black Paris dog, a combination of je ne sais quoi.

This is a taste of the day. Hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed eating the food and taking the snaps.

Thanks for keeping up with me in Paris and reading A Jewish Childhood Blog.

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