Showing posts from January, 2013

You sure don't look Jewish

Jewish mother and son, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. The story is told of the Jewish congregation in Tokyo, one August day. Their rabbi died and there was no local replacement. They contacted the synagogue in New York and asked for help. Sure enough, a rabbi from the US would be available in time for the High Holidays (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur). Not to worry.

A couple weeks later, the email arrived at the Japanese synagogue with flight details. The president of the synagogue and the gabbai went to collect (fetch) the rabbi from Haneda, the airport in Tokyo. They held the sign "Rabbi Cohen" and waited outside customs.

Finally, a bearded man came out of the customs queue and approached the Japanese men. "I'm Rabbi Cohen," he stated.

"Funny," the president of the synagogue said, "you shue no look-a Jewish!"

What does it mean to 'look Jewish?" Does Kirk Douglas or Adam Sandler or Woody Allen or Gwyneth Paltrow, Naomi Watts or Natalie…

Not as they seem

21/365 Classic vanishing point, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. Of course if you were walking next to me yesterday at Bondi Junction, you would know that the boards on the building to my right are actually lined up nice and neat, all in a row. They are parallel lines, and not angled as you see. But that's the thing about photography. Sometimes things are not as they seem.

We learned that in art class in 4th grade, where certain colors combined to form an entirely different one and are not as they seem. Or where the vanishing point as evidenced here is the place where all these parallel lines converge. A good artist must consider those when he begins a piece, especially concerning perspective.

Each day we are met with opportunities to conclude, to decide, to judge, almost from the moment the opportunity arrives. And if we are wise, we are slow to judge, and proper in our evaluation of things. I don't do that all the time, and I'm guessing you don't either.

If we set our min…


Putting it away, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. Delays are normal in my neighborhood. Almost daily I watch as the crew from the local Council comes to continue repairs on the drainage ditch outside my house. It was supposed to be a two-day job, but due to concerns up near Council chambers (another hole in the street), our boys were required up there. OK, that happens. Job postponed.

The photo I took the other day of the hamper project is all about your being able to buy things now, but not really. You set aside funds weekly, and they keep your layby (US folks read: Lay away) materials until needed later, hopefully you will have paid it off by Christmas for giving then. Sensible delaying.

Winston Churchill said, “Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed.” That quote can keep me going for days!

Sometimes delays are useful or imposed or granted or required. Sometimes they are annoying, as in peak hour traffic conditions when I need to be somewhere faster on the other…

You don't see him

18/365 Cutting concrete, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. This speedy saw is ripping through my street, and readying the drainage area for a new, replacement drain. That will be nice, I hope, and prevent the collection of the leaves and puddles in front of my driveway like it has for 14 years.

I like the power of the saw. I like the precision. I like the energy it produces and by which it runs. And I liked the fellow who was holding the saw and causing all the stir.

Except you don't see him, do you? You know he's there. How else will the saw be running so well and with such ease and propriety? I even put this photo in the 'set' (like a scrapbook) titled, "People at work." But you don't see the workman.

Next month is the Jewish holiday of Purim, the celebration of the saving of the Jewish people in Shushan when Esther, the queen, approached Ahashuerus the king, and managed to get the curse of death off our people. Great story. Well worth the read, if you haven…

Hottest day in history

Yup, true temps, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. Back in 2011 I was in Kansas City when the summer temp hit a whopping 109, and I could barely move. That's 42.4 celsius and way over the top of usual for that city and for most cities. That said, you will know how blazingly hot and stifling the weather was yesterday here in Sydney when the mercury hit 45.8 degrees in the city at 2.55pm. The previous high of 45.3 degrees was recorded in January 1939 at Observatory Hill.

For your information, 45.8 Celsius is 114.44 degrees Fahrenheit. That's sizzling. And our air conditioner at the office went out a few days earlier and the soonest the repairman could come is Monday to come. So we turned on the fan. We wished for better days, and we carried on.

What do you do when the weather heats up? What do you do in winter when the snow knocks out your plans in Jerusalem (last week) for an outdoor activity? Or when ice and rain ruin something for which you longed? Weather comes and weather goes.…

The long and winding road

The long and winding road, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. Barry McGuire (New Christy Minstrels) sang a song circa 1975 "Happy Road."

"Why it's a happy road
That I'm traveling on.
I just can't help myself
You've got me singing a happy song.

Sun is shining
I know it won't be long
Until your happy road is
Taking me home."

This chorus is full of great confidence. No matter when we pass away, we know the Lord will guide us. That sounded like a sub-theme in the poem. By the way, McGuire is still alive and kicking and doing concerts throughout the US and elsewhere.

In the same song McGuire wrote, "[I've] been out on the highway 39 years... sometimes it feels just like a day."

Trails. Happy road. 39 years. Sometimes it feels just like a day.

McGuire continued his poem, "I've seen a lot of heartaches
I've shared a lot of tears,
But then You came
And you took 'em all away."

Has God taken all my sorrows away? Not yet. Has God m…