Tuesday, July 27, 2004


We just completed the Fast of the 9th Av (Tisha B’Av) which commemorates the destruction of the 1st (586 BCE) and 2nd (70 CE) Temples in Jerusalem.  This culminated a three week period of mourning that began with another Fast, albeit a minor one (minor ones are from dawn to dusk), whereas Tisha B’Av along with Yom Kippur are 25 hour fasts.


I find fasting to be rather spiritual, particularly as we get to the end of the day and your body starts to consume its stored energy. You really do reach a higher spiritual plane.  Tisha B’Av is supposed to be a melancholy time as the House of the Lord was laid to ruin.  As I was sitting on the floor last night at synagogue (another sign of mourning), listening to the words of Eichah, the book of Lamentations written by Jeremiah, which we read on this somber day, I was reminded of all of the places around the world I’ve been on this holiday, including Tokyo among them.  I then thought of a quote that has been attributed to Napoleon, who was walking by a synagogue in Acre when the French were there and asked what the wailing coming from within was. He was told that the Jews inside were mourning the loss of their Temple and he said something along the lines of “A people who remember with such intensity will never forget.”


Well, we had some intensity today. My wife didn’t fare as well. I begged her to eat, seeing as she’s a nursing mother. Stubborn as she is, however, she didn’t and eventually got so dehydrated, I think, that she had dry heaves and then threw up. Not a pleasant sight, but certainly a strong reminder of the pain and suffering that our ancestors must have felt on this day.


And now...it's pouring, and I do mean, pouring outside. It's like G-d is saying to us, "ok, now we're beginning the spiritual cleansing process that will lead us over the next 7 weeks to the Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year.)"

Monday, July 19, 2004

I just got a new passport. Normally, that wouldn't be a major event, but it accompanied the retirement of my old passport.  So what, you say. Well, the old passport probably had 50 or so stamps in it, a bunch of visas, and few other official stickers. It had an addendum to the normal section. I mean, it was a work of art, but more than that, it symbolized an amazing era of my life. I was young, relatively carefree, and able to jet-set around the world. I saw most of Europe, a nice portion of Asia, parts of Africa and South America, (and we don't even talk about the US).  Those days are gone, not for good, but for the time being.  Now, when I have an impulse to travel somewhere, I think about the opportunity cost of the trip...yes, I could go to Chile or wherever for 1.5 weeks, but I could also save that money for my daughter's education.  What's more, if I did go for 1.5 weeks, I'd miss my family terribly.  Does that mean I won't travel anymore? I doubt it, there will be trips, but only those that are necessary, either for work, or for some key event, like a trip to Israel, perhaps.  But, though it may seem ignorant, I feel like I've seen what I need to see. Not that I've seen it all or ever could, but I do believe that for now, the physical travel experiences I've had have provided me with the wide perspective that I need at this juncture.
In the meantime, I've decided on another type of journey. I've been re-reading a book called I Dare You by a man named Danforth (he's the founder of Ralston Purina and his son was a US Senator from Missouri). He talk about the four buckets of your life, one of which is the spiritual bucket. Danforth challenges his readers to go on a spiritual adventure, which got me thinking.
I remember sitting in my dorm room in Regensburg, Germany, meticulously planning my summer trips through Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, looking at timetables and reading every guide book.  I had no real idea how to travel on my own and I was a bit intimidated and overcautious, I suspect.  At the beginning, I thought it was about seeing the sites and checking off a checklist. Ok, I saw the fountains in Bern, Switzerland! 
Over time, however, I recognized that travel was more than a checklist and I realized that it was the journey, not necessarily the destination.  It was the people, not always the places. It was being able to sit and reflect just in a new surrounding.
I feel like I am ready for a spiritual adventure, the idea of it excites me, but for now I am also like that young 21 year old in a dorm room in Regensburg. I don't really know how to do it, so I will be very methodical and cautious, but I do know that the only way to do it is to do it.
More on this later, I am sure.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Big milestone for Calanit today. First Cheerio!! She gnawed on a roll on Saturday, but devoured the cereal today. Very exciting and very cute.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Went to the funeral of my wife's grandmother today. She had 14 grandchildren and over 20 great grandchildren. Almost all of the grandchildren spoke...and beautifully, I might add. What was sad, however, was the fact that two of her children have a very difficult relationship and there was an undercurrent of tension, at least that I felt, during the ceremony. It's so sad when families have internal strife.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

My grandfather once told me that the three biggest decisions you make in your life are
1. who you marry
2. when you have your first child
3. when you buy your first home

Well, 2 of them are done, and we're starting to contemplate the 3rd. I think it's fear of commitment all over again. More on this in the days and weeks to come, I'm sure, but man, this feels like a very big decision.
Has anyone been watching the Ken Jennings Show recently? I mean, "Jeopardy." This guy is unbelievable. He's won 27 days in a row and the scores he's racking up are impressive. At one point, he was averaging $33,000 per show. Crazy. He's like the Hank Aaron of Jeopardy or Muhammad Ali. Someone will defeat him at some point, the only question is how long will this go on and how much money will he make before he's finished?

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

If you can digitize it, do it.
That's basically my motto. I recently bought a DVD Recorder on eBay as well as some DVD+R and DVD+RW disks (as opposed to DVD-R, a difference I have now learned) and my wife and I are in the process of transferring all of our VHS tapes to DVD. It's great. We're saving space and improving productivity, since with the creation of our DVD library (on an Excel spreadsheet), we're in a position to find the video we want much more quickly. I am very excited about this process as it is consistent with my digital lifestyle.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Let's not forget what July 4th is all about. So easy to take things for granted. The USA is an amazing concept. Appreciate that by reading the Declaration of Independence.
One of my major objectives as a husband has been to pull my wife more and more into the digital age. As an avid dancer, she has about 100 videotapes of her past performances. Whenever she needs to choreograph, she looks through all of them to find the right dance. It's very inefficient.

I purchased a DVD recorder/player (region-free so we can watch Israeli DVD's also) so she can transfer and videos and more efficiently manager her collection.

There was some reservation, but last night, she began the process and it is my hope that she will slowly continue to do it (I taught her the methodology for transferring.)

As I watcher her type in the names of the dances, I was swelling up with joy and pride!

One digital day at a time.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

There are just some things you have to experience to fully understand. You can read all you want, but it's just not the same. Entrepreneurship and being your own boss is one of them. You don't know what it's like until you're there. Being a parent is another one. It's just impossible to explain to someone who isn't a parent what it is really like. I've tried, but having been on that side of the abyss, I know it's not all getting through.
At one point I said that "when a couple has a baby, the man responsible for it suddenly loses all knowledge and the woman gains it."

Two days ago, Calanit had a cold. Runny nose and a bit of a cough, but nothing ridiculous. She was generally herself, but with a bit of a cold.

Tamar said, "I want to take her to the doctor." I challenged her. Though I'm no expert, I spent 12 hours in the Pediatric ER with Tamar's brother, a Pediatrician and saw 80% of the parents just go home because their kids had a virus. I said "there's nothing wrong with her, you're overreacting and a hypochondriac."

"Sometimes kids get ear infections with colds. I want to be sure."

I called a Nurse healthline to which we have access and relayed the information. They said, "she's sick, only go to the doctor if her fever is over 105 (which it wasn't)."

Tamar insisted. Sure enough, she took Calanit to the doctor who discovered the beginnings of an ear infection, which antibiotics will hopefully treat and spare her some discomfort.

Shows how much I know...