May 7, 2013

  • David and Catherine are home from college – David’s third year and Catherine’s first at Michigan Tech.  We went out to dinner with them and Barb last night and then back to their house for the first bonfire of the season.  David is home for a week and then goes back to Michigan Tech for six weeks’ preparation for a six-week stint in India working on a water project.  Catherine will be working at the home games of the local baseball team, the Loons.


    Spring has finally sprung in Michigan, and the days are beautiful.  We earned them.


May 4, 2013



    Let’s all band together to stamp out “executive insect execution.” 

    Perhaps it’s best not to mention that I just finished spraying around the perimeter of our finished basement to kill the creepy crawlers that like to move in.  And that I do it every month.  No, no need to mention that at all.

May 3, 2013

  • The other day USA Today had an article titled, “Wanted: Millennials Who Know How to Interview.”  It told how some  young people in this age of high unemployment and a sluggish economy interview poorly and even bizarrely.  Some recent grads text or take calls during interviews, dress inappropriately, use slang or overly casual language, and exhibit other oddball behavior. It causes recruiters to rule out otherwise qualified candidates.  It’s thought that many young people have stunted social skills from all their tweeting and texting.

    Examples:  A graduate student seeking a management position took a call on his smartphone during the interview. The call wasn’t an emergency, and it ruined his near-certain chances for a job offer.

    A man in his late 20s brought his father to an interview.  The father of another applicant called to negotiate a higher salary after his son was offered a job.

    A college senior brought her cat into an interview.  She put the cat on the interviewer’s desk and played with it.  Surprisingly, she didn’t get a job offer.

    Hey, 18 to 34-year-olds, study the art of the interview, why don’t you?

May 1, 2013

April 30, 2013

  • (This is a very moving letter.  I hope Israel never gets to the point that we have where solemn holidays become just a reason to picnic and party instead of being a time of remembrance.)


    Dear Lois,

    Last week we saw the last of the rains, later than usual, and today we are having hot, dry winds from the desert. This is a great opportunity to wash any sweaters or jackets which must be laundered by hand and have them dry quickly.   Mutty, Shira, and the children are heading to the Sea of Galilee for 2 days, and Chocolada has just realized that they have abandoned her here. A dog’s life.

    Our spring holidays are almost over:  we were at Mutty’s for the Passover Seder, and all of us were at David and Mia’s for a barbeque the next day. Holocaust and Heroism Day is a solemn day, as you can imagine. There are local ceremonies, and names of known victims are announced at the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) and broadcast. A siren announces 2 minutes of silence. All pedestrians stand at attention; drivers exit their vehicles and stand outside. When I reached the library, situated in the clubhouse of the “Central European Immigrants Society” (they don’t use the word “German”), they were just ending a small ceremony and lighting candles.

    A week later is Memorial Day for those who were killed in Israel’s wars and for terror victims. Sunday night, the eve of Memorial Day, we went to a ceremony at the nearby neighborhood where Fridel grew up and where his father’s name is on the memorial . Children from all the neighborhood schools participated, as well as the neighborhood Rabbi and relatives of the fallen. Each community has such a ceremony. On Monday morning another siren, and ceremonies at all the Military cemeteries. We go to the town of Zichron Yaakov, where Fridel’s father is buried.

    Monday evening Memorial Day ends and Independence Day begins with fireworks. At a ceremony in Jerusalem the flag is raised from half mast, and is passed from one army unit to another until next Independence Day. On Independence day every National Park, beach and backyard is full of people barbequing, hiking, swimming, etc. Morning television features the annual International Bible Quiz for Jewish Youth. In the evening the prestigious Israel Prizes are awarded in the fields of History, Jewish Studies, Music, Art, Law, Science, and Life Work.  This televised ceremony ends the holiday officially.

    Each year the rightness of the sudden switch from  ”mourning to celebration” is debated. However, the consensus is that it is necessary to remember the terrible price that we have paid for our independent state.

    Last month we were in Tel Aviv, not my favorite place, for a study vacation. The highlights were a visit to the building where the State of Israel was declared in May, 1948, an exciting backstage visit at the Israel Opera and meeting three charming sopranos, and the modest house of David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister. A theatre performance by the “Please Touch” troupe which consists of blind and deaf actors was unforgettable.  At the end the audience was asked to go up onto the stage and talk to the actors via their helpers. Everyone did!

    Love, Marsha

    View of Tel Aviv from Jaffa

    Declaration of Independence room, chosen because high windows afforded protection from bullets.

    Restored building on Rothschild Boulevard.  The city is encouraging restoration of period buildings.

    One of Tel Aviv’s parks.  This one features groups of columns.  Each group contains names of soldiers killed in a specific war.

    Metal images outside Tel Aviv Art Museum.

    Susan Dalal Center of the Arts, housed in a restored school building.

    “Grandma’s Ice Cream.”  It was good, too.

    Nostalgic Toy Museum.

April 29, 2013


    But to paraphrase W. C. Fields’ tombstone, “I’d rather be in Philadelphia”

    Several months ago my computer came down with a virus that wouldn’t let the firewall work on the anti-virus program.  I called McAfee and they couldn’t fix it.  They gave me a phone number of someone who could fix it, and it turned out to be someone with a heavy accent (what else is new?).  With my moderate hearing loss, it was fun and games understanding him.  He took control of my computer and took care of the firewall problem.

    Several weeks later I realized that I couldn’t update any of my software – a result of what the guy did to fix the firewall thing.  Soon I was getting messages that I wasn’t running genuine Windows 7, although I was.  Finally the whole computer went belly-up.

    Richard worked on it for hours and hours but ultimately we had to take it to a shop.  They wiped the hard drive clean, reinstalled Windows 7 and put all the files back in.  We had to reinstall all the programs ourselves, which was, of course, a problem.  Richard helped get the files connected to the various programs, and now things are back in good order.  Except I don’t have Publisher which for some crazy reason can’t be downloaded as part of Microsoft Office.  Computers are a tool of Satan.

    But I’m back, and will celebrate tomorrow by uploading a Letter From Israel.

    And yes, David, “I should have gotten Apple.”  Be quiet.

April 21, 2013

  • Michigan Tech’s Spring Fling was cancelled the other day (David was a prime organizer) merely because there were 40 inches of snow on the ground with another foot expected that day, the temps were in the mid-20s to mid-30s, and the wind was gusting up to 40 MPH. 

    What kinda buncha wimps are we raising these days? 

April 18, 2013

  • Headline of the day:

    “Acetaminophen Eases Existential Anxiety.”  Grabs your attention, doesn’t it?  Existential anxiety comes from thinking about death.  Where’s the Tylenol?

April 17, 2013


    According to World magazine, the council in a city in Britain had decided to make their roads safer by removing apostrophes from signs around the town. A study claimed apostrophes on signs confuse people.  The Apostrophe Preservation Society objected strongly, and public outcry prompted the council to recommend returning apostrophes to town signs.

    The Apostrophe Preservation Society, huh?  Where do I go to sign up?

April 16, 2013

  • Yesterday we saw people running from the explosions (and I probably would have been among them), but we also saw people running toward them – police, medical people, just-plain-citizens wanting to help.  They saw unspeakable sights but stayed to do what they could to help the injured.  Hospital personnel worked heroically to tend to the wounded as they poured into the hospitals.  Nurses, aides, orderies – all pitched in to help.  Many lives must have been saved by their quick work and dedicated service.

    Yes, there are many helpers in the world.