Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Walk in Williamsburg, Brooklyn - Part 2

I have some routes I take through neighborhoods in which I photograph. But I hadn't been to Williamsburg for quite a long time, so I just made a right turn on Williamsburg Street West because I saw a group of men standing in front of what turned out to be Congregation Yetev Lev D'Satmar, a very large synagogue within the Satmar community of Chassidim.

As I walked towards the group, two men walked in my direction. When they got close one of them made a joking comment to me about taking a photo of him, and so began a conversation that took an interesting twist. Turns out that the mother of the other of the two men came from the same town in Hungary that was the home of my paternal grandparents. And my grandmother's maiden name was the same as his mother's. So we may very well be mishpucha.

It's a small world!

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Walk in Williamsburg, Brooklyn - Part 1

In the beautiful crisp autumnal weather yesterday I took a walk through the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. It's been an up and coming gentrifying neighborhood for several years now, but mostly on the north side of Broadway. The area between Lee Avenue and Flushing Avenue is the heart and soul of the Satmar Chassidic community. The sect is one of the more closed and insular of all the Chassidim, and they maintain very traditional Eastern European modes of dress. Generally, they are very camera shy because many tourists visit the area to photograph the 'peculiar' dress and culture, especially on Saturday which is the Sabbath day of rest - seems inconsiderate to me. I've had some stand-offish reactions from people, but recently the community has become more open and accepting.  I usually try to start conversations with people along the way. This time I was very surprised by a chat I had with a gentleman on Williamsburg Street West. More on that next time.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Another Upsherin

An upsherin is usually a gathering of friends and family, so it's almost always rather informal - and a bit chaotic. Makes for some interesting situations, but very spontaneous and difficult photo ops. Kids running all over, parents walking in front of the camera, that kind of stuff. And very informal lighting, so at this occasion flash was necessary. This is one of those events that is going to take a great deal of trial and error, and practice to get right.

Sunday, November 13, 2016


The great American pastime is a game that's played for about six months and culminates in a contest between two teams, one from each league, who play a series of up to seven games to determine who is the world champion. This year the two teams were the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians.

The Chicago Cubs won the world series because they beat the Cleveland Indians in four out of the possible seven games. The Cleveland Indians scored 33 runs over the course of the seven games while the Chicago Cubs scored only 27.

Does it seem reasonable that because the Indians scored more runs than the Cubs that the world series title should be stripped from the Cubs and awarded to the Indians?

Just sayin'............

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Vote

I took walk this afternoon by Trump Tower on Fifth Ave in NYC. I usually try to stay away from politically opinionated rants. But this past election and the resultant reaction is just too much. Even so, I don't have much patience. The  uneducated seem to think that because Hillary won a small percentage advantage in the popular vote, she deserves to be called President, and that not to do so would be a perversion of our democracy. Of course, if it had been the other way around and Trump had won that advantage in the popular vote but lost the electoral college vote, these selfsame righteous liberals would be totally mute.

So for the great unwashed, here's a video to explain why our founding fathers (that would be Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison) set up the Constitutional system of elections the way they did. And grow up!

Monday, November 7, 2016


Yesterday's post was the event.

Another young lad today. His upsherin is later this month. I had the opportunity this past weekend to photograph him with long hair. I'll post the 'after' shots at a later date.

Sunday, November 6, 2016


A Jewish boy's third birthday is the first milestone of his life. For the first three years he takes in all the sights and sounds around him, and his parent's loving care. He's a receiver. But at age three, he becomes a producer and becomes ready to share his unique gifts. For the first three years, his hair is allowed to grow without cutting. On his third birthday, friends and family are invited to a hair cutting ceremony, in Yiddish it's called an upsherin. From here on, the boy wears a kippah and tzitzit (ritual fringes) and is slowly trained to recite blessings and the Shema (the most important words in Judaism). He begins his Jewish education and the world begins to benefit from him.