Looking Back, Looking Ahead!

Days of Atonement, clarity, introspection, meditation, taking in the moment are ways I see the High Holidays. The time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur serves as a time to take stock of the past year, and think about the future.

Usually I start with creating the ritual meal. Shopping items include chicken, matza meal, noodles, apples, gefilte fish, Manischwitz Concord Grape Wine, and a round challah (getting harder, and harder to find).  The meal takes a lot of preparation and while I chop and peel I remember the past year. The lose of my parents is with me daily. I do take some comfort in knowing they are together. But this time the holiday felt different.

In the process of moving I get to look at a lot of accumulated stuff. 47 years of marriage, 31years in the same house, and only in the past month have we become “empty nesters”.  I inherited much from my parents. I found some home movies from early 1960s that I transferred onto a DVD. Technology has come a long way from a Super 8mm film camera. Back to the time of silent movies with exaggerated movements.

October begins a new chapter for the Frankel’s with the move to Fair Oaks (6 miles away).  Not so much distance, but a reset nevertheless. Still don’t know exactly how we plan to arrange our “stuff”. Luckily we have a 3 car garage, and that is where our boxes will go. Then we have another chance to decide about stuff before it finds a place in our new home. I feel excited, and I hope that enthusiasm continues.

Selling a house is not fun.  My house has never been so clean. My Libby is into the routine, and as long as I have her food ready, she jumps into the car in a moments notice.  Trying not to take feedback personally. I just hope that process does not drag on. Listed for not quite a month, and it is starting to feel old. Yesterday was the first day I didn’t go overboard and pick up every little thing.  Thinking maybe that a watched pot does not boil, a spotless house does not sell? My mother would say, “You just need one buyer, and for every house there is one buyer.” Patience. My friend Anne came over and blessed my house to release any negative spirits that may be preventing its sale.  An open house is scheduled for Sunday.  We are doing all we can!

In the coming year I plan to research my family roots. I started my family genealogy while studying for my Libraian credential in 1983. That was before Internet, computer software, and the end of the Cold War. Now there are so many ways wto proceed. New documents are coming on line all the time. I joined the Jewish Genealogy Society of Sacramento and participated in 2 classes. I am not sure where this will lead. Perhaps a book documenting my family history. Maybe just continued research into the Shoah and its  meaning in my life. Maybe a way to establish connections with other researchers and librarians. I hesitate to involve myself in another group, but maybe I do this for just that reason – to overcome.

I’m not usually comfortable joining a group, but being part of my 2nd Gen group encourages me to try and feel a part of something bigger than myself. I learn, find support and appreciate my CVHEN (Central Valley Holocaust Educators Network) 2nd Gen friends. After so many years, I finally have people I can count on. Photography helped to crack through my isolation. Despite the difficulties I encountered I could use my camera to refocus my thoughts. Getting out with friends, doing something, and creating is the key. I hope I don’t let my friends down. I plan to be mindful and appreciate my friends.

Thinking back over the past year I tried, but may not have succeeded in taking a step back around my family. The role of care taker may have placed me a position of power, and I may have sent the message that I know what is best. There is a delicate balance between taking care, and allowing space. I plan to be more mindful of this. The balance between decision making, and indecision. Some decisions I made were hard, yet I made up my mind for what I hope will be best for my family.

As is said at this time, “May you be inscribed in the Book of Life.”

The Legacy of the Holocaust

Last weekend I attended my first World Federation Conference of Child Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.

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Waiting at the Sacramento Airport with friends

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Flying into Burbank Airport

Eleven members of the 2 Gen group from Sacramento participated.

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Photographer at the conference is documenting survivors and descendents for a project

About 600 attendees sat down to meals at the Marriott.

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So many enjoying a meal together. Plenty to eat, plenty to talk about!

The almost 600 attendees participated in many workshops, some panel discussions, dancing, and plenty of good food.

We gather for dinner with friends.

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You can’t be serious! (Kidding.  I didn’t actually listen to conversation)

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It’s all good.

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A 4 day information packed conference with many workshop choices for each generation

The second generation made up the largest group. There is an age difference between the survivors who were over 16 at the end of the war, and those who were under 16 years old at the end of 1945. The personal stories varied, the impact of the Holocaust differed, and the perceptions proved dissimilar.

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Second Generation group broke up into smaller groups after the introductions.

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Candle lighting ceremony

Sarah Moskovitz is honored for her work with child survivors

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Here my friend visits with Sarah

We listened to the lawyer who represented the family in the real life story of Woman in Gold.  

After food the tables are moved out of the way and it is time to dance. Everyone gets into the action.

On the last day after the closing ceremony we went to the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. This is a small museum with a lot of information.

I connected with my cousin who I have not seen in at least 46 years. It was a very, very short visit, but at least there was at least a reconnection.

After the convention I tried to talk to my mother. She is feeling very alone right now. After 69 years together with my Dad she is alone. Recently I discovered a letter she wrote to her Uncle Lazar Kahan in Shanghai after the war. Unaware that he passed away right after the war ended the letter was given back to my mother probably by his wife, Shoshana. In the letter she described her terrible journey. Before the age of 19 my mother endured the arrest and murder by the Nazis of my grandfather, Israel Kahan, journalist and owner of Lodzer Nachrichten, moving into the Lodz Ghetto with her mother, and its liquidation in August 1944. My mother and Grandmother were transported to Auschwitz August 1944 where they were separated and my Grandmother was gassed. My mother was sent to work camps as slave labor and ended up in Bergen Belsen. The English liberated the camp in May 1945, but not before she endured death marches trying to stay one step ahead of the Allies.  Liberation, a brief stay in Sweden to recuperate, and a ship brought her to New York. War is over and everyone wants to move on. No psychological help is offered, no knowledge of PTSD. The letter she writes demonstrates that very real damage has been done. Alone, feeling guilty, seeing life without hourly fears, having no support system my mother poured out her feelings in this letter. A couple of months later my Dad enters her life, and she finds a quiet understanding. And then time to start living, start a family, and participate in the American dream.

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Alina and Arthur pose in May 2016, a couple of months before my Dad’s passing

Both my parents gave testimony in the Shoah project started by Steven Spielberg. This is my family legacy.

The Getty Center: Art, Architecture and Gardens Oh My!

Much to my surprise I found a “real” attraction in Los Angeles that doesn’t require a bank account to enjoy. Nothing intentionally fake, or glitzy. Solid entertainment.

While living in Southern California about 35 years ago I visited the Getty Museum, now called The Getty Villa. This second campus, The Getty Center opened in 1997, and I spent a day taking in some of the art, architecture, gardens, and wonderful views.

Parking is the only expense to enjoy this venue. After parking I took a tram up the mountain to the entrance.

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Tram run from parking facility to the entrance

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One of many outdoor sculptures

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Having some fun

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Visiting with my brother

The only way to describe this place is VAST!  The architecture is large.1606_12_Getty_1000280

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The garden area seems to be part architecture in nature.

With the diverse nature of the flowers, I imagine that the look of the garden changes continuously.

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Combination water sculpture, garden area, and wishing well

 

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The architectural details astound from the inside. Looking down.

 

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Or looking up.

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The building frames the view of Los Angeles

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View of Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean

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Another view looking out on the Getty Center and another garden

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There is a research center on this campus

The day is over, and the tram is ready to take us back to the parking garage

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Even the tram line pays attention to architecture and gardens

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Thinking about the beach, and so I sampled from the artist.

The art work inside included all genres, and from all time periods. Exhibits are constantly changing. To find out what is new there is a very complete website.  Should I find myself in the area I will make a return trip.

 

 

 

Ananda’s Crystal Hermitage Gardens

Two months ago I visited Ananda Village. It is located in Nevada City, Ca. This place of natural beauty is a hidden gem in Northern California. According to the literature provided, “Ananda started in the late 1960s by Swami Kriyananda. It is one of the longest existing cooperative spiritual communities in the world and is home to about 250 on 800 acres.

The garden began in the 1980’s and the day I visited the tulips were putting on a show. Just take a look.

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Tulips planted and color coordinated

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Planted over a few months so that the blooming season is extended.

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Love the way the colors pop

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Such a peaceful location

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Along with the tulips, the Dogwoods were blossoming.

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Can you tell I like the Dogwood blossom?

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More Dogwood blossoms. I prefer the white ones though.

This is a memorial to Swami Kriyananda.

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Moksha Mandir (Temple of Soul Liberation)

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I liked the color and shape of the Temple

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A splash of coordinated color

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Sunlight through the tulip

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Unusual texture for a tulip

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Where does this peaceful path lead?

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Serenity

Swami Kriyananda wrote,”Increasingly I was coming to see Crystal Hermitage (in terms of) light, space and harmony.” “Everywhere, I decided, there should be a sense of space, of expansion. Everyone who came here should be blessed with a feeling of peace and of joyful harmony.”  I think he succeeded.