Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
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Jewish Childhood Blog

"This blog carries the voice of my memoir, past and present, into the future. Feel free to fill out the form with a question or comment. I look forward to a dialog with you."

  —L'chaim, to life, Jeanne

A Jewish Childhood Blog - So What Is So Intriguing About the Dogs of Paris
Friday, 22 July 2016 13:58

Being a dog lover doesn't necessarily mean that I am an aficionado. However, I have lived this long in life and have known my share of dogs and dog breeds. Until Paris.

Each year, I start tracking different breeds, becoming a knowledgeable person when it comes to the different breeds. I know I can't know everything so I ask with limited French, sometimes it becomes slightly tricky.

Last year my friend Afi met me at Luxembourg Gardens with her Yorkshire Terrier Oscar, and thus, it all began this year as last year on June 6th. The best place to dog watch that I know is in the Gardens themselves. The main entrance and off to the left. At times I had spotted 5 or 6 different breeds, but always, this year on a more limited basis Yorkies, Jack Russell Terriers, Chihuahuas, originally from Mexico. I have just to Google, my smarty pants phone for correct spelling.

Both last year and this, the dog most missing, and the favorite of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas (although Alice did have a Chihuahua) was the Standard Poodle. The ones you see them with in photos, see Basket I and II. Click here: gertrude stein's dogs - AOL Image Search Results

A Los Angeles Childhood - Two Suns In A Sunset – Jeu De Paume, Paris, June 2016
Thursday, 23 June 2016 11:32

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, a two person exhibit at Jeu De Paume left me breathless. They use their work to explore the production of knowledge, found documents, personal archives and “poetic” experience in the rewriting of history and construction of what they call “imaginaries.”

They use photos of martyrs, people who have died while fighting for political reasons, posters ravaged by time. Part of them is there, part missing.

In 1960, the Lebanese Rocket Society had much coverage by the media, yet all anyone really saw was smoke, smoke and mirrors.

Imaginary worlds: Fragmentary view of the rocket. Indeed was it real or an illusion? Collective memories contain no traces of the rockets.

Since 1999, the two artists have collected thousands of email scams and frauds. This was a way of getting money from innocents.

There is reference to facts and details from current political, religious and economic situations.

How many of us have received an email from supposedly a dear friend from a foreign country. Broke, robbed, and no way to return home. Aider moi.

Rumors of the world, videos tell stories recounting internet scams. It appears real until actors ask for money. Then credibility evaporates, “…as does the line between truth and falsehood, between documentary and fiction.”

My Jewish Childhood Blog – Musee d’art et Histoire du Judaisme – Paris 2016
Saturday, 18 June 2016 14:51

I sit in the foyer of the Jewish Museum in the 3 Arr. in Paris, the Marais, where in 1998 this hotel in particular was given by the city of Paris as a museum celebrating Jewish heritage from the early 1600s to the current time. It is located in the Hotel de St. Aignan, 71, rue du Temple.

I sit here and eat an apple. A simple act happening all over the world, 2pm. 6-16-16.

I fortify myself for the journey that lies ahead. This visit is my ninth time to visit.

Trepidation: I am a Jew in Paris, a woman, a lesbian. There are three armed soldiers guarding the entrance. I place my pack, my umbrella on a belt to be scanned. See, no guns, just armed with pen and paper.

I walked here from the flat, a new one for me, where I am staying for this trip also in the 3rd. It has been raining, some wind. The bottoms of my pants are wet. My shoes are wet. My pack is damp.

Now I sit here eating my apple. I can see through the entrance doors that the sun has returned.

I pay my entrance fee and get pamphlets for the two special exhibits, Lore Kruger, A Photographer in Exile, 1934-1944. Edouard Moyse, painter of Jewish life in the 19th Century.

I am happy to be back within these walls.

Jewish Childhood Blog – Skipping Around In Paris
Friday, 17 June 2016 12:48

I have decided not to be linear but to jot down things as I remember them not necessarily in the order they occurred.

Right now I’m thinking about Barbie dolls. Why you ask yourself would a woman of my age be thinking about Barbie? We didn’t know about Barbie when I was a child. There was a Sparkle Plenty doll, and one I called Susie whose head was cracking right at the hairline.

But Barbie dolls? In Paris from March 10th to September 10th at the Museum of Decorative Arts, there is such a grand staging of all ages of Barbies including her small dog, Honey, which looks to be a Yorkie or a silky terrier. Of course I choose the latter and change the name to Alice B.

There were seven hundred Barbie dolls, including one which appears to be a slightly full bodied one. Thank you to Mattel. We have all known her since 1959. If we never had one, maybe we have given one as a gift.

Now we return to linear time for a moment. Tuesday I spent at the flat, going out only toward 7p.m. for dinner. I spent the day working on writing a memoir like narrative with a poem embedded in it.

There was talk about possible danger around Paris. There were strikes in transportation but not around the Marais.

A Jewish Childhood Blog – Paris on Sunday. A Day of Opportunities.
Monday, 13 June 2016 15:20

Who would think that the world would go mad and a drizzling day in Paris, after going to the Puce, the Flea Market, having a lovely lunch with a friend, a leisure stroll through a Passage from much earlier days visit.

It is time to stroll back to Republique and go toward my new flat. I stop to take a photo of the statue and square at that infamous location. Where last November 13th, after bombings and shootings in a nightclub and a café, the world would be left trembling because for all of us, we have an image of where in our culture, our lives, our people have been killed for no good reason.

So I take my photo. I come back, sit down to do some writing, work on the new memoir, correct and edit a new poem. I decide to have some cherries, some chocolate, some coffee, and check facebook. I see that there has been an attack in my country, a mass shooting. I turn on CNN. I see the attack in the Gay club in Florida. I am angry. I am enraged. I am in tears. I am in Paris. You are stateside. And we say to each other, where the hell can we be safe?

Tell me what crosses your mind, female, lesbian or not, still a woman, still in the image of the 18th century buildings of Boulevard Houssman. I think of my visit to Pere Lachaise and some of the bodies placed in the ground, like others bound in to each other and here and now, killing of gay men by a new plague, terrorism. Hatred has gone mad. The whole worldturned into a shooting range.  Tomorrow I will reflect on the rest of my trip. There is joy in writing, within familiar sights in the city of light. There was another more loving time. Yet, an echo from the past reminds me, never forget,

Thank you for reading my Jewish Childhood Blog.

A Jewish Childhood – A Change of Place
Thursday, 09 June 2016 10:52

Paris holds magic for me. Each year I return. This year I am in a new apartment in the 3rd arr.

From the Latin Quarter two blocks from Luxembourg Gardens in the 5th to the Marais, the old Jewish sector, where I find the Jewish Museum and the Pompidou Center, and yes, the Picasso Museum.

Yesterday I flew in, went to my new apartment, then off to a writer’s workshop with Cecilia Wolloch. Last year, seven new poems came out of 7 days. This year, 5 days and who knows what will turn up. Certainly, it will inform the second memoir I am working on. The first, Saving Myself: A Los Angeles Childhood, and this new one: Just Now. I am into the second draft and have brought 55 pages to work on. In between, I tell myself.

The rains that brought the floods to Paris, have subsided. Yesterday we had sunshine, and now coming in through the front windows, more sun.

Soon, I will walk the mile or so to the café where we have our writing workshop.

I will get a decaf (decaf, espresso, a Perrier and work until the rest of the group show up. Then work shopping our new writing from yesterday. Two of the women who are in the group, lived in the States but now live here in this city of light. Three of us still live in the United States. Who knows what time will bring.

Thank you for reading A Jewish Childhood Blog.

My Jewish Childhood - Paris 2015 Musee d'art et d'histoire du Judaisme
Saturday, 04 July 2015 14:23

Of course, the moment I saw the word magic in the title of the latest exhibit at the Jewish Museum in the Marais, I was hooked. When I saw the Angels and Demons in the Jewish Tradition, I had to get there.

My first week was spent in a master poetry workshop, seven intense days. After a short breather, I headed past the Pompidou to the Museum. I love the Marais area, and have included it in more than one poem.

When I arrived at the Museum, I had received a text that a friend of a friend was also there with two of her friends, so we met up. After descriptions of what each of us looked like, we did manage to find each other. After that initial meeting, we all but one, spent much time together, but that is another story.

The exhibit included more than 300 works and documents, from ancient Near East, the Roman Empire, Byzantium, the Ottoman Empire, Central Asia, the Middle East, the Maghreb and the Ashkenazi world, from the Middle Ages to today.

A Jewish Childhood – Paris 2015 – An evening at Dorothy’s Gallery
Tuesday, 23 June 2015 09:02

If I lived in Paris, each day a new adventure with the sun leaving the day at 10:30 PM. The latitude and longitude brings magic.

The freedom I experience in my second country enhances me in a completely novel way.

I cannot imagine what it would be like. Here for three weeks each year, and this year more than ever, openness, friends greet me, welcome me back. Talk deep, about what it is like for us in the troisieme age.

Jewish Childhood Paris 2015 - A poem floats free in Paris
Wednesday, 17 June 2015 10:30

I have been chasing my birth mother, Alice, around the city of Paris. She is elusive and has escaped for the past seven years. There is a thin veil between  this world and the other. It is very difficult to puncture it and bring it into my time. Writing poetry is that way, right on the tip of my tongue, shy about leaping onto the page.

This last week I took a master poetry class in Paris. For some reason, the location, in the Marais, the time of year, almost her yortzeit, the anniversary of Alice’s death, something about the sound of my fountain pen which I had just refilled that morning, writing on blank unlined paper, took on the voice of my mother, who died in 1943. She wrote herself onto the page. How do I explain that? I can’t. Just something about writing poetry.  The poem comes forward invited in by my desire to make that contact. Why this past week? You can make up as many reasons as I can.

Thanks for joining me on my adventure and reading A Jewish Childhood Blog.  

A Jewish Childhood Paris 2015
Saturday, 13 June 2015 14:22

I find myself sleeping in this morning after an energy-packed seven day master poetry class with Cecilia Woloch. Seven new poems was a challenge for me. I have decided over a period of years to dialog with the queens in Luxembourg Gardens. Who says that stone don’t talk. Of course, one has to sneak up on them and have a code word. It all takes time and faith. I have begun on that adventure. Jeanne, Queen of Navarre. She is my prototype, and of course, I don’t want to give too much of it away. All I can say is that once completed, she will be the paradigm from which I will continue. So you can see that I have built in longevity for myself in this mission.

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