Thursday, March 31, 2011

Update Re Bini Breuer Davening CD

OK -

I'm starting to feel like Lucy in the classic I Love Lucy episode where she decides to bottle and sell her family recipe for "Aunt Martha's Salad Dressing" and gets more orders than she ever imagined.

Overnight, I've sold out of the stock I have on hand.
I'm going to keep a tally of all the orders that come in now, and we'll make one big order when they're all in to save on shipping.

I guess there are A LOT of people still interested in preserving these melodies ;)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bini Breuer releases German Jewish Davening CD

For those of you who appreciate the traditions of German Jewish davening, Bini Breuer is happy to release “Ohr Ponecho 2” – another album in a series of German Jewish tefillah melodies. More than half the songs are performed with the children from Beis Chorev in Jerusalem.

The album contains a selection of poems which circle the yomim tovim of the year: Kaddeishim, Shir Hamaalos, Yidgal, Lecha Dodi, Peyutei Chagim, Hotzoas Sefer Torah, Anim Zemiros and more.

The main purpose of creating this album is to spread the glorious heritage of German Jewry that is in danger of becoming forgotten or lost.

The album can be obtained by calling in Israell: 050-5715001

or by emailing

I receive no compensation for telling you about this CD, nor do I receive any revenue from the sales. I just think that the melodies are lovely and that many of my readers may enjoy the music as well.

With permission of the artist, I have uploaded a sample of this CD is here.

(Link) Those of you who read my blog on GOOGLE READER, for some strange reason, do not see the embedded music player. Go to the actual blog (just this one time) and click the "play" button. It's there. I promise ;)

Wednesday's Wacky Signs

Not to be confused with those cheap "imitation" fake watches.... No siree!

Hat Tip: Yekke Wannabe

Monday, March 28, 2011

Popping In To Show Some Signs Of Life...

Yes, I haven't posted in a week.
Yes, I'm fine.
I wasn't kidding when I said that you are not allowed to utter the "P" word, until after Purim (the first in the "P" word series). But then it begins with a vengeance.
Now that Purim is over, posts may be a bit spottier, due to Pesach cleaning, prep and shopping.

Yesterday was our annual Pesach Shopping Day. It is a day approached with much trepidation. I get to go to one of my least favorite locales for an all day grocery, meat, housewares etc. shopping marathon.

I must admit that yesterday was not as unpleasant as some previous trips I have made. I was able to find most of the items on my list and even a few items that weren't on my list.

We also had fun playing our version of the old game show The Price is Right. As we approached the register, our back straining in order to keep our overladen carts on a steady course, we all took a guess at the "actual retail value" of the approaching stash. The person whose guess is the closest (without going over) is the winner. Guess which savvy shopper actually came in UNDER everybody's guess at each store :D ?

So what thoughts ran through my head today?

First of all - I get NO MONEY and NO FREEBIES, COMPENSATION OR ANYTHING, from the guys over at Glatt Mart, but I just have to tell you that I've never met a nicer, more accommodating bunch of butchers than they have over there. You guys ROCK!!!

Secondly, can someone please explain to me why I need FIFTEEN pounds of sugar for ONE WEEK?!?!? (I won't mention that they dovetail with the two 96 ounce bottles of oil ....sheesh)

Why, when I call my credit card company on Friday to warn them, so that the guy in the fraud protection department doesn't have a coronary when the transactions begin rolling in, do they still reject my card at the first stop? (and believe me, the first stop wasn't even the biggest....)

Why do I habitually pick up items that I seldom (or never) buy during the year? Do we really NEED chocolate syrup? (sorry guys... it was a 'no') Gefilte fish in a jar? (blech!) Coconut covered marshmallows?? OK - this one is a KEEPER - I just don't know why, but it wouldn't be Pesach without them ... which brings me to this cartoon:

I guess I'm not the only one..... What do YOU buy that becomes part of "that Yom Tov feeling"?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Grammen Greatness

It's a pity that the camera wasn't rolling when Susan and Simcha, who had to be in Baltimore at the last minute and missed joining us for the first time in years, called in their HYSTERICAL Purim act - an Abbott and Costello Learn Hebrew routine.
It WAS rolling though, when Joey did his now much awaited (though not quite award-winning) grammen.
We did.

UPDATE: Hadassah's post on the grammen and the seudah is available here.

G6's Rule Of Thumb Learned Through Experience

Take the group photo at Purim Seudah BEFORE anybody sits down to eat.
The table is clean.
The participants are clean.
They're also motivated to get this over with and get on with the meal. :D
Respect the rights of those who wish to be left out of the photo (except Joey).
This is what you get.

Purim Seudah this year was probably the best one EVER!
We were super honoured (see, Hadassah, I got it right this time!) to host among others Hadassah of In the Pink blog fame. I must tell you that her whole family are some of the nicest and coolest people I have met in a long time.
Grammen to follow shortly.
High speed internet upload, my foot......

Purim Seudah - The Calm Before The Storm....

These are the BEFORE pics.
After to follow shortly.
One thing I WILL say - it was definitely one of the BEST PURIM SEUDAHS EVER!!!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011



I know, I know it's pretty crazy isn't it? I really don't want to believe it myself. I wasn't going to put it on here, because it will be obvious soon enough, but thought I needed to make it official.

So now you know, it's official. We are EXPECTING a full table at Purim Seudah!! Elbow to elbow.

Wait! What did you think I meant? LOL

Friday, March 18, 2011

Good Shabbos - Getting Into The Purim Spirit

While the Haman Men hanging from the chandelier are still conspicuously absent, a few of the decorations have managed to sneak in to our Shabbos dining area.
So much to do, so little time.
Good Shabbos to all.
Have a wonderful, safe and RESPONSIBLE Purim.

Food Photo Friday - I Got One Laugh and One Sympathy Hug

Sometimes in life, in order to make a good omelet, you've got to break some eggs.
I tried.
I really did.
I thought it would be fun (not to mention loving, caring and all that other good stuff...) to bake a special Purim themed challah for this weekend.
I hoped it would come out looking somewhat like a hamantashen.
Now bear in mind Avram's poppy seed allergy and the limitations that it puts on me.
Here are the results.

I don't think it's THAT bad, but I'm not sure my family agreed. One family member, after looking positively puzzled at what it was meant to represent, unabashedly laughed out loud upon hearing the explanation. Another family member gave me a sympathy hug (then muttered that it more resembled said family member's nose than a hamantash).
I don't care.
I like it.
Pass the salt.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Gs Get Crafty - Purim Style

It all started with a little idea I had for the Senior Center where I work.
I thought it would be fun to throw a Shushan Purim Masquerade.
But what if some of the seniors didn't know how or where to procure a costume?
That was easily fixed.
This week, we held a pre-masquerade Mask Making Project.
It looked like such fun but unfortunately, I was stuck in the office doing actual WORK, so I missed out on all the crafty goodness.
I did have the chutzpah foresight to ask the instructor if she would leave us some leftover materials so that I could make some more after she left. She was happy to oblige so as not to shlep all the stuff back with her.
So tonight was Family Craft Night at chez G6.
I think our mask creations, which I hope to display this weekend and then use at the center on Monday, came out pretty well, don't you? Of course Joey marches to his own drummer. I bet you can't guess which mask he made.....

Monday, March 14, 2011

MyHeadcoverings Giveaway Follow Up

You might remember that a short while ago I ran a giveaway sponsored by
Blog reader Doobie won a Milano Wigrip.
Last week I received the following communication from her.
I thought you might be interested.

"I have been wearing the Milano WiGrip for about a week now and I am loving it. I never wear my shaitel all day. I almost always take my shaitel off as soon as I come home to put on something more comfortable, most often the hand-tied Israeli kafiyahs, but I will put anything on if it’s convenient (read: right next to my shaitel head!).
This WiGrip is so comfortable without any pins or clips digging into my hair that I am able to wear my shaitel all day, and I hardly notice it. Seriously, my children keep asking me where I am going because they come home at the end of the day and I am still wearing it!
I have also tried the WiGrip with the crocheted snoods that always fall back because they are so slippery and heavy, and it kept those on as well. Not only is it more comfortable because it’s not constantly moving, but I also love that I don’t have to keep worrying about too much hair showing as it slips back.
The WiGrip worked so wellwith the Israeli hand-tied headscarves which I usually wear with bobby pins to keep them from moving. Again, the WiGrip was more comfortable than pins and did keep it from moving. Plus, it is so thin that it was barely noticeable under the headscarf.
So, overall I am really thrilled with this prize and would recommend it to anyone who covers her hair. One other point worth noting: The package came very quickly, directly from including a short personalized note congratulating me on winning the Guesswhoscoming2dinner blog giveaway!
Thanks G6 for the opportunity to try a product I would have only window shopped but now know is totally worth the price. We love your blog keep up the good work and keep those contests coming ;)"
I hear you, Doobie and thanks for the feedback!
All I can say right now (the details are still being finalized), is that all you cooks in the audience should stay tuned for the next giveaway :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Don't Forget To Spring Forward

On Sunday March 13 at 2 a.m., Daylight Saving Time begins in the United States.
Whose bright idea was it to have my office OPEN this Sunday?
Losing an hour of sleep and waking up early on a Sunday morning is DEFINITELY not a good combination.....

So if you're looking for a real post, I suggest you read last year's. I'm going to bed now......

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wishing Everyone A Wonderful Shabbos

Keep coming to Dinner.....

Food Photo Friday - Wimpel Cake

OK, now that you all know what a wimpel is, and much of the background surrounding the minhag, what would a family celebration be without a little CAKE?

After much deliberation as to what kind of special cake to bake (Torah Cake? Aleph Bais Cake?), it struck me (actually it struck Avram) that why not just make a WIMPEL cake?

I attempted to keep the colors and decoration of the fondant wimpel along the same theme as the actual wimpel, though my handiwork is far more rudimentary.

I must say that the cake - chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, topped with chocolate glaze - tasted as good as it looked, which to my mind is mandatory.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Oldest Wimpel at Khal Adath Jeshurun / Breuer's

My recent post about my grandson's wimpel and explanation of the minhag in general, has generated a lot of interest both on and offline.

I thought that since I've presented the NEWEST wimpel in our shul's collection (hundreds, to be sure), it might be appropriate to show you the OLDEST one as well.

Following is an article that Avram wrote for the KAJ Newsletter approximately one year ago.

Our Oldest Wimpel

This past Shabbos, the oldest wimpel amongst our kehilla's large collection was once again wrapped around the sefer torah.

The wimpel was donated to our Bais Haknesses by its owner Mr. Hermann Loebenberg z"l. Mr. Loebenberg was born in Waechtersbach, Germany on December 24, 1877 / 18 Teves 5638. Waechtersbach, 35 miles northeast of Frankfurt am Main, was a small town with a population of approximately 1,200. The first mention of a Jewish community in Waechtersbach was in 1643. In the late 19th - early 20th century the Jews consisted of approximately 5% of the population. The last shul there was built in 1895 which also contained a mikveh and a school. Mr.Loebenberg was appointed chazan of the shul in 1924 as well as a trustee.

With the rise of antisemitism in the mid 1930's many of the Jews began to move from Waechtersbach. The Loebenbergs sent their two daughters and son to family in Paris and London. Finally, in August 1938, Mr. Loebenberg, being the last Jewish inhabitant of Waechtersbach, sold the shul building for 8,000 RM, which he donated to a nearby Jewish community and to a fund for the upkeep of the Jewish cemetery, and moved with his wife to Frankfurt am Main and then, via London, to New York in 1940 bringing his treasured wimpel with him.

Mr. Loebenberg was a member of our kehilla until his passing in 1969. His two daughters, Mrs. Dora Stern o"h and yb"l Mrs. Ann Baranker, with their husbands and children, also became members of the kehilla. Our beautiful green Shabbos poroches was donated in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Loebenberg by their son and daughters. Approximately five years ago the author was approached by Mr. Loebenberg's granddaughter, Ms. Jane Baranker, with the request that the wimpel be returned to the family as, she assumed, due to its age, that it was no longer usable. After discovering that the wimpel was actually in excellent condition, the family happily agreed to have the wimpel remain in circulation. A concerted effort has been made each year since, to use the wimpel on the Shabbos closest to Mr. Loebenberg's date of birth.

In addition, Mr. Loebenberg also brought to America his son’s wimpel. Leopold Loebenberg was born in 1920 and his wimpel is currently in circulation alongside his father’s.

A Tech Post For The Young At Heart

I love David Pogue.

For the uninitiated, he writes a technology column for the New York Times and this recent piece, entitled The Fading Sounds of Analog Technology, made me smile a bit wistfully, and a bit nostalgically.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and I'm interested in your thoughts on it.
"I’ve always loved the musical “Company,” a Broadway show by Stephen Sondheim that opened in 1970. It was about a 35-year-old Manhattan guy, still unmarried even though all of his best friends are married couples. The set, the tone and the score were all ultrachic, ultramodern, ultraurban. So urban and modern, in fact, that the first thing you hear as the show begins is a busy signal — in its day, the ultimate technological symbol of a fast-paced, full-up lifestyle.

But when I went to see the revival of the show in 2006, the busy signal was gone. Mr. Sondheim later told me that nobody knows what it is anymore.

I had to admit that he was right. When’s the last time you heard one? These days, voice mail (or just sending a text message) has almost completely eliminated the busy signal. Still, that left the opening number of “Company” stripped of the original idea — and a really clever one — that had inspired it!

Then there’s the record-scratch sound, still used frequently in ads and comic scenes to indicate someone’s train of thought going off the rails. Isn’t it weird that we still use that sound? For the most part, the last 20 years’ worth of viewers and listeners have never even heard that sound in real life! (In a 2008 NPR segment, the host asked some teenagers if they could identify the sound. They couldn’t. “I have no idea…. I know I saw it on TV.”)

And then there’s the rewind/fast-forward gibberish sounds — of TAPE. What will they do in the movies, now that random-access digital video formats deprive producers of that audience-cuing sound?

What about modem-dialing shrieks? Sure, we’re all thrilled to have always-on Internet connections. But wasn’t there something satisfying, something understandable, about that staticky call-and-response from our computers to the mother ship?

We’re losing the dial tone, too. Cellphones don’t have dial tones. Only landlines do, and those are rapidly disappearing. And without the dial tone, how will movie producers ever indicate that someone’s hung up on a character? (Even though that was an unrealistic depiction to begin with.)

Funny thing is, we’re replacing these sounds mainly with … nothing! What’s the sound of broadband? Of rewinding a CD?

The point, of course, is that as digital technology takes over, we’re losing the sounds of analog technologies. And sometimes that’s a real loss. Cash registers don’t go “ka-ching” anymore, either. But we still SAY “ka-ching,” and there’s your proof — sometimes, our culture simply cries out for a certain audio meme, a certain sonic cue that used to have real meaning.

Every now and then, in fact, you find a case where the old analog audio cue is so important, the manufacturer actually installs a recorded version of it — right into the otherwise silent digital device — because the sound has a purpose. Digital cameras, for example, play a digitized version of an analog shutter. I recently tested an electric motorcycle that plays a recording of a gas motorcycle, just so you don’t mow down unsuspecting citizens sharing the roadway with you.

I’m not going to play Andy Rooney here and bemoan the pace of technological progress. Something’s always lost when we move from one format to another; that’s just the way it goes.

At the same time, I’d like to commemorate the loss of those record scratches, busy signals, tape-rewinding chatters, and ka-chings. Maybe with a moment of silence."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Minhag Of Bringing a Wimpel To Shul

(posted by Avram)

(Eliezer's Wimpel - click for detail)

This morning we had the zechus of seeing our grandson, Eliezer, bring his wimpel to shul. For those of you who are not familiar with this custom let me give you a brief definition of what a wimpel is. At the bris, a fabric, usually made of linen or cotton, is placed on the pillow underneath the baby. Afterwards it is cut and sewn into a long strip, approximately 9-10 feet in length . On this cloth is either painted or embroidered the name of the boy, his date of birth and the wish that he should grow to learn Torah, get married and do good deeds. Some wimpels are simple - with just the words - and others are more elaborate with various decorations and pictures included, which illustrate the text or are appropriate to that particular family or time of year when the child was born. Often the father or mother, if they are able to, will make the wimpel. Over the years KAJ has had a number of talented people who have produced some beautiful works of art. Two of them were Rev. Ruben Eschwege and Mr. Ernst Moller. Today many of the wimpels, as was my grandson’s, are made by Mrs. Annette Kirschner.

The wimpel is then brought by the child as a gift to the shul on his first visit and wrapped around the sefer torah for geliloh. The age at which the child brings the wimpel varies by individual custom. In the early years at KAJ almost all the boys brought their wimpels at around the age of one year old. It was arranged for a non-Jew to bring the boy to shul on Shabbos, as he usually was not able to walk yet. This seems to have been an old custom as the famous painting by Moritz Oppenheim of a child bringing a wimpel to shul depicts the father carrying a young child, hence the German expression for bringing the wimpel “Das Schultragen” (carrying to shul). Others have the custom of bringing the wimpel at age three when the boy can walk on his own. Beginning approximately thirty years ago, it was no longer permitted to have a non-Jew bring the child to shul on Shabbos so those who still want to keep the minhag of bringing the child at one year do so either on Yom Tov or on a weekday when there is kerias hatorah.

It is traditional that if the child has the privilege to have a grandfather or even great-grandfather present, they are given the kibbud of hagboh and geliloh and the young boy hands over the wimpel to be used. Afterwards the father takes the child over to the rav who benches him. On a personal note, I vividly recall that when the fathers would carry their sons over to my late grandfather, Rav Breuer zt”l , who was already over ninety years old at the time, he would never let them lower the child to him, but he would always stand up to bentch the child and wish the father mazel tov. A true example of kovod habrios.

Over the years KAJ has amassed a rather large collection of wimpels. Contrary to a popular misconception, the wimpels are rotated every Shabbos. Although it may take some time, each one is being used. Often, if possible, the wimpel of a bar mitzvah boy or chosson will be used on the Shabbos of the bar-mitvah or aufruf. From time to time we have had requests from people to have their wimpels returned. In most cases the requests are denied as these wimpels were given as gifts to the shul and no longer belong to the donors. Unless a specific stipulation is made at the time when the wimpel is donated, once a wimpel is brought to the shul it has the kedushah of any other of the klei kodesh and cannot be taken home to be put in a drawer or even hung up. Recently I have had a number of experiences where a child brings the wimpel to shul on Shabbos morning with great fanfare followed by an elaborate Kiddush. But what most people don’t know is that the wimpel was brought only on the condition that after Shabbos the wimpel is taken back to be kept at home for “safekeeping”. To me this just doesn’t make any sense.

I am proud that my grandson’s wimpel will join the collection, which already includes his father’s and grandfather’s wimpel. As the sixth generation of our family to be a part of our illustrious kehilla it is my fervent wish and prayer that this will be just the beginning of his participation in the many traditions both as an individual and a member of the tzibbur of which we are so proud.

(Eliezer's father's Wimpel)

(Eliezer's Grandfather's Wimpel {Avram's})
I am told that the light green was once copper ink - now verdigris

P.S. from G6 - Stay tuned for Food Photo Friday to see my Wimpel Cake Creation! Mmmmm, Mmmmm Chocolately Goodness.

There has been so much interest in this post, and the minhag that inspired it, that I have added another post about wimpels above.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Food Photo Friday - What Kind Of Haman Men?!?!

You may recall my post and photograph of Haman Men Baking Results from last year.
Well, THIS is what happens when you let Joey help with the process....
There's "One Star General Alien" Haman Man, "Conehead" Haman Man, "Silently Judgmental" Haman Man, "Struck By Lightening" Haman Man and "Big Dipper Confused" Haman Man.
Apparently, I caught him and stopped him before he got to "Mildly Bemused" Haman Man.

So this year, if you stop by our home on Purim and see something odd swinging from our chandelier, or your child arrives home clutching a deformed confection, you know who to blame.......

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Nobody Likes To See This On A Thursday Morning

First off let me tell you all that EVERYBODY'S FINE!
(When my kids were small and they would call me from school in seemingly urgent tones about such cataclysmal disasters as a forgotten lunchbox or a misplaced homework, they were well trained to begin the phone call with "everybody's fine", so I didn't have to spend even 30 heart-stopping seconds wondering which limb was fractured...)

But before I was even fortified with my morning coffee, I encountered this scene outside shul on my way to work today:

No less than five firetrucks with lights and sirens were pulling up outside our Beis Haknesses as the elementary school boys were being evacuated (to my place of business, I might add... and in a VERY ORDERLY FASHION).

Further disconcerting was this sight INSIDE the shul, accompanied by a very acrid smell of smoke.

It is a very unsettling and upsetting feeling to stand inside a shul and smell burning, I will tell you that!

There was much walking around with fancy thermal camera detectors, but time passed and though the smell was still as strong as ever, no heat sources were being picked up. In the end, the most low-tech device won out. "The nose knows", as they say, and one fireman just "followed his nose" until he isolated the strongest odor coming from a bookcase in the back of shul.

Some unloading, unscrewing and prying the bookshelf, followed the ultimate "sniff test", confirming that the smell was coming from a transformer in the floor under the bookcase. It could have been much worse and boruch Hashem everyone is fine.

We now return you your regular programming.
This has been G6 reporting.....