Tag Archive: history

Here are some true Jewish traditions. Ones that I took part in are in italics.:

When a child is born, parents choose a name, which is inscribed on the birth certificate. They also choose a Hebrew name but do not give it officially until the brit milah or simchat bat. In Jewish families of European origin (Ashkenazic), a child usually is named after a deceased relative. In families of Mediterranean origin (Sephardic), a child is usually named after a living relative the parents wish to honor.

Brit Milah/Circumcision
Circumcision, or brit milah, is performed to symbolize the covenant between God and Israel. A healthy baby boy is circumcised on the eighth day of life. The ceremony includes giving the child his Hebrew name. Traditionally, circumcision is done by a mohel (a person ritually trained to perform circumcisions). When done by a physician who is not a mohel, circumcision may not meet the requirements of Jewish law.

Simchat Bat Ceremony on the birth of a girl
The birth of a baby girl traditionally is marked in the synagogue, when her parents are called to the Torah on the Sabbath to give the newborn girl her Hebrew name. Baby-naming ceremonies are also held at home or in a synagogue. There is a growing liturgy of rituals surrounding the simchat bat.

Pidyon Ha-Ben Redemption of first born
The pidyon ha-ben ceremony takes place on the 30th day after the birth of a first-born son. The tradition is based on the biblical understanding that first-born sons were dedicated to serve God in the temple. In order to redeem them from that obligation, five shekels were exchanged with the temple priests, who then served in the temple instead of the first-born. The ceremony today involves a symbolic exchange of five silver coins with a descendant of the Kohen family of temple priests. The coins then may be donated to a Jewish charity.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah
At age 13 for a boy, and 12 or 13 for a girl, a child reaches adulthood and becomes a bar or bat mitzvah, a son or daughter of the commandments. The ceremony is a public declaration of the child’s acceptance of the obligations to fully observe the commandments and to participate in the Jewish community. This adult status occurs automatically whether or not a ceremony takes place. When there is a ceremony, it generally is celebrated in the synagogue. The child is called upon to recite the Torah blessings and to read a Torah portion. Friends and family attend the service and generally celebrate afterward with a festive meal. Although most ceremonies occur on Saturdays, they also can take place on Monday, Thursday or on holidays – the other days when Torah is read publicly in the synagogue. Though in the past girls were not called to the Torah, today, in most Conservative, Reform and Renewal synagogues, the ceremonies are the same regardless of gender. The tradition originated with the Reconstructionist movement. In some contemporary Orthodox congregations, the bat mitzvah is marked by a festive meal during which the young woman presents a Torah lesson. For adults who missed the opportunity to have a bar or bat mitzvah, there are study programs available throughout the community.

For Reform and some Conservative Jews, the confirmation year, 10th or 11th grade, represents a special time of celebration and commitment. Typically, the year includes study and meetings with the rabbi, culminating in a special service, often during Shavuot, since that holiday commemorates the receiving of the Torah by the Jewish people.

Conversion to Judaism is a path that requires both personal commitment and an extended period of study. Most rabbis are available to counsel and/or teach potential converts. Because programs and procedures vary, anyone thinking of converting should contact a rabbi and evaluate the programs offered.

Judaism views marriage as a sacred act, essential not only for procreation but also for self-fulfillment. Historically, according to the Talmud, marriage was established in three ways: 1) with money; 2) through a written document presented by the groom to the bride; and 3) through sexual relations. The present-day wedding ceremony incorporates all three symbolically. The presentation of a ring takes the place of exchanging money. The ketubah (marriage contract) is equivalent to the earlier written documents. Among Orthodox and some Conservative Jews, the third custom is represented symbolically by yihud (seclusion) – immediately following the ceremony the couple retire to a private room.

The marriage takes place under a chuppah (marriage canopy), symbolizing the home that the couple will make together as well as God’s presence. The chuppah may be a highly decorated fabric canopy or a simple tallit (prayer shawl), supported by four poles. The main elements of the ceremony are: 1) Kiddush erusin, (sanctification of betrothal), 2) betrothal blessing, 3) presentation of the ring, 4) reading of the ketubah and its presentation to the bride, 5) recitation of sheva brachot (seven marriage blessings), 6) nissuin (drinking of the wine to sanctify the marriage) and 7) breaking the glass (to remember the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem even at joyous occasions).
Additional traditions that may occur in a wedding ceremony are the bedeken, in which the groom places the veil over his bride’s face; encircling of the groom by the bride; recitation of a portion of Psalm 118 and a sermon by the officiant. Rejoicing continues during a festive meal. No weddings occur between Passover and Shavuot because they are days of mourning.

According to Jewish law, a couple is considered legally married, even after a civil divorce, until the wife obtains a get (religious divorce document) from the husband. Reform Judaism generally does not require a get, but Conservative and Orthodox Jews consider remarriage without a get to be adultery. Israeli law requires a get before remarriage. A Jewish divorce does not require establishment of fault. There must instead be mutual agreement to dissolution of the marriage and the written document (get) of dissolution handed to the wife.

The Jewish traditions related to death and mourning are intended to recognize death as a part of life. The traditions of preparing the body, sitting Shiva (a seven-day period of mourning immediately following a funeral), saying Kaddish (prayer for the dead), and observing Yahrzeit (anniversary of a death), all guide Jews through a difficult period. These familiar customs and rituals provide for mourning, grief and re-emphasizing the true nature of life. The body of the deceased is treated with respect, ritually washed, wrapped in a plain white shroud and placed in a plain pine coffin before burial. During Shiva, the departed is remembered with tears and reverence. Mourning is restricted to a maximum period of one year. The Kaddish prayer is said by the mourners for this period of time, on the anniversary of the death and at Yizkor services in the synagogue. A Yahrzeit candle is lit for the seven days of mourning as well as on the anniversary of the death and at Yizkor services (held on Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Passover and Shavuot).

Chanukat Habayit Dedicating a home
Within 30 days of moving into a new house or apartment, mezuzot must be put up. In Israel this is done immediately. A mezuzah is a small container that holds a handwritten scroll of parchment with Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21 on the front and the word Shaddai (Almighty), on the back. These verses remind the residents and visitors of the home of God as they pass through the door. A mezuzah is placed on every door except the bathroom, on the upper third of the doorpost, on the right side as one enters the room.

I have not performed Chanukat Habayit for quite some time. Though… I have tried to always have my elemental masks up within a year of moving into a place. My Pidyon Ha-Ben was done by my father paying 5 shekels to my great uncle Ben Conn (Kohen)

For starters here’s your reference link.

Life on Mars is a stunningly original series from the BBC. Part Sci-Fi.. but predominantly Cop Show.

Sam Tyler (played in the UK by the amazingly talented John Simm (and yes, bluerose I can hear you squee)) is a homicide detective. While solving a huge case he is hit by a car. The accident looks near fatal. When he awakes on the road where he was hit he is completely unharmed… except for one minor issue. It is now 1973. He is still very much Detective Sam Tyler with all of his memories solidly in tact. He’s just 35 years in the past. (35? Cripes)… He is on record as a transfer to the department he’s in. Now he’s a cop with modern training reliving the police mentality of 30+ years ago. Occasionally, Sam’s ‘real world’ “reaches out” to him in bizarre ways making you wonder the all important question, “What is actually real?”

The show and acting were so amazing that the ratings went through the roof, Simm was tapped to play a fairly big role on Doctor Who (another sigh from bluerose among others) and the show has been picked up for reworking for American audiences.

Which leads to the real purpose of this post. “Good Idea? Bad Idea?”

I will say now that reworking the show for American audiences is an amazingly Good idea.

Now, I am a BritShow purist and will watch shows on BBC, BBC America, YouTube, etc. Some shows work.. some don’t. And many of the current Brit fans are reeling from the US abortions that were, “Coupling, Men Behaving Badly, and Red Dwarf.” Yes… I’ve seen both Red Dwarf American Pilots. Yes… I attended the US taping of the “Giggle Loop” episode of Coupling. So I know of what I speak.

But, for every bad import there are the good ones. “The Office” and “Weakest Link” are very strong recent imports. On top of that are the classic ones that people don’t realize aren’t American at all. “All in the Family”, “Sanford and Son” and “Three’s Company”. In the case of those, you’re dealing with extreme rewrites.

So why did Red Dwarf and Coupling fail? In both cases.. the humour of the series was very British in nature. Thus is was more risque than American audiences are used to. Further it had a flavour (note the spelling) that doesn’t necessarily translate. For Red Dwarf fans.. one has to realize that Rimmer is a stock British personality. The closest we get to that in the states is “Frank Burns” (who frankly isn’t funny). In the case of Coupling the comedy was so complex and interdependent that by taking off pieces, it fell apart.

So with comedy you either have to stay 100% faithful or you have to overhaul.

So… Why is “Life on Mars” a good idea. The allure of this show isn’t patently British. The plot isn’t extraordinarily new. In case you think it’s a new concept I strongly suggest reading, “An Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” So.. will the show be the same or different. Personally, I hope the show is a bit different. As much as I am a BritShow traditionalist there are certain issues at play.

First, the average American television watcher doesn’t know about the original or if they do… they haven’t seen it. As much as we may love British television. American productions companies are not producing for the small percentage of BritPurists. For those of us in that group there is Sci-Fi, BBCAmerica, and PBS. So.. the show needs to appeal to the general mass of America. Some may say that this will ‘ruin’ the show. Truthfully, one needs to let go of a show, an actor, etc as easily as one should accept a new cast for a Shakepeare reworking. It’s a different entity based on a good strong foundation.

Second, the show really needs to be redone for the US audiences based on culture. In the 1970s detailed cultural exchange between Brittain and the US was for the rich and well travelled. Television shows RARELY crossed the pond. And frankly, post vietnam US in the early 1970s was not the same as it was in the UK. Police were similar, but different. In the US television mindset police fell into two and only two types: Barney Miller and Starsky&Hutch. That’s the TV that the over 30 crowd grew up on huddled over their secret Black and White TV’s as kids behind their parents backs at night. As a result, the show needs to recapture the 70’s of the television audience.

I think Life on Mars has a great deal of potential. They need to remain true to the underlying mystery of where reality lies and let the history and characters take the show as they may. The basic plot is proven.

Such is my 47 cents. (Well, it’s the value of what you can buy today for what you could have spent 2 cents on in 73)

A long day.. but-

I must be having a good transit between communication and family.

In the past week I’ve been contacted by 3 old Order members from L.A. that I don’t chat with very often. I also got to emails that made me very happy.

First – The relative the ex-actress. Many friends know that I have a somewhat distant relative who was a fairly famous child actress for about 15 years. I’d been emailing her about my genealogical research. Her letters have been pleasant… but reserved. In my last email to her I gave her a lot of research information and mentioned my great Aunt. “Aunt Fanny”. Yes, I think every Jew has (or should have) one.

Fan was my paternal grandmother’s sister. “Great Aunt”. Fan was also the first cousin to my relative’s father. So she also considered her an “Aunt”. Even though technically… blah blah blah… It was Aunt Fanny. Well, Aunt Fanny opened the dam. The letter I got this morning was warm… It was open. I think I learned more about my cousin in this one letter than I have over the years as a ‘fan-relative’ studying the public material. I felt like I got to sit with a relative and have a family chat. I’m working on my response.

Then there was email number two. My first year of college was very difficult. I was fairly socially inept. (Was?)… I became friends with a girl. CP. I adored her. I crushed on her. But I also respected the hell out of her. She became a very close friend without me even realizing it. Sadly… right out of college she married a guy she knew and vanished. I lost contact with her entirely. I got the impression shortly out of college that she wanted to put it and everyone behind her. So I never followed-up. Also back then… keeping touch.. not as easy.

About a week ago, I literally stumbled across her online. Now… you have to understand… Me… College… We’re talking 1987. Do the math. I saw pictures… and to be honest… Age hasn’t done her any harm. She looks as radiant as the day I remember her. So… I dropped her a message. (New name and all). I was brief and direct. But did say that she was a very fond part of my college days and I did miss keeping in touch.

Today, I got a mail from her (thru the web service we were both on) saying that she would have responded sooner but that she doesn’t check the web site. She gave me her email and wanted to catch up. Saying also that she had fond memories.

So… interaction wise… The day has been good. Good emails and IMs with loves as well. Good work done. And Daycare will start next week. :$)

More soon-

I used to have memorized a list of major city area codes. It was easy because they were all clumped with similar numbers

212-NYC 312 Chicago 412 Pgh 512-Austin
213-LA 313 Detroit 413 W.Mass
214-Dallas 314 St.L.

Coming across a page in wikipedia… I now understand why the big cities were all clumped.

The Area Code system started back in the days of Rotary Dial.

Instead of pressing a button to create a combination of two notes to identify a number, you turned a dial which would click the line for a count equal to the number. Thus “212” sounded like:
“Fwip-click-click, fwip-click, fwip-click-click”

As a result, the original area codes were passed out to cities based on population to minimize the amount of clicks you had to dial to get thru the the city.

So by clicks:

5 6 7 8
212 NYC 213 LA 214 Dallas 215 Phila
312 Chicago 313 Detroit 314 St. L.
412 Pgh. 413 W. Mass
512 Austin

In the initial plan, 605 (SD), 704 (NC), 803(SC) were the original losers with 21 clicks to dial (0 was 10 clicks).

With the advent of tone dialing, the reason an area code is assigned now is to reduce confusion among customers. This is why you get areas with 206, 425, and 360.

So nifty technology history.

A DST Story

Many, many, many years ago…

I was a professional DJ. I’d say I paid my way thru college but to be honest… we’re talking minimum wage and part time hours.

It was enjoyable. I pulled several stunts. One favourite got me temporarily fired by the Station Manager. Now to be honest… this pr*#k was looking for any reason to fire me… because he was sleeping with a 20 yr old girl that he wanted to give my job to. None-the-less this was a temporary firing because I had the Asst. SM’s permission while the SM was out of town.

It was DST overnight. My 7 hour shift. Midnight – 6 am. I took requests from midnight to 2am. Any request we’d not only play… but when the clocks turned at 2:59 to 2:00 am … we’d play the whole hour again. Breaking only for updates in news and weather. Which overnight… really only changed insofar as the temperature.

So I played an hour of requests… recording my hour… and after an hour… I played it back. The listeners were amused. The Station Manager… not so much. He demanded that the ASM fire me. The ASM told him that he’d blessed the stunt and wasn’t about to fire me.

A few months later the bas&%#d would frame me for theft and I’d be quietly released. Four months later he tried the stunt on another DJ and got caught. I got my job back with a raise at the cost of his… (and promising not to sue)… but by then.. the light of Top-40 professional radio… just didn’t burn as brightly.

I am reminded of this.. partially because dear faerievixen2 wished me a happy DST tonight. (REMEMBER… NOT ALL YOUR CLOCKS HAVE COMPUTERS THAT UNDERSTAND THE NEW DATES!!!!)

But also because I’ve managed to unpack something that I didn’t unpack in Sno’mish. And let me tell you… Vinyl in good condition can still sound better than anything you might buy on iTunes or Amazon’s download service.

When princekermit gets back.. I have a certain London cast album to play for him 😉