Thursday, May 28, 2009

Winners, Losers and Other Strangers

As it has been a while since my last posting, I feel the need, some need anyway, to explain my brief absence before moving to today's banter, which I am calling: WINNERS, LOSERS and OTHER STRANGERS.

You see, since my return from death sixteen months ago, and my return from Israel in March, where I learned what "living" is really all about, as opposed to simply "existing", I have tried my best to keep to myself about certain issues and instances that annoy me, or make me happier, for reasons of following the most desirous of all Jewish Mitzvot, or Commandments, those having to do with what we call, "Lashon HaRa", or Evil Tongue. All the while, in doing so, I have been pretty much forced to look out of State for work, and have been commuting between Arizona and California almost bi-weekly since Pesach (Passover) time.

As hard as it is to not, we all do it, speak with an evil tongue, that is, even when we don't mean to, and even when we try so hard to hold our emotions, eventually, we will fall back and speak out of school about someone. Halakha, Jewish Law does, however, permit us to vent, once, and part of my writing today might just seem like I am venting. Anything said in a negative manner, albeit the absolute truth, will be said without naming names - For you to whom these ventilation's are directed, know exactly who you are, and more precisely, exactly why I am venting.

Initially, though, I'd like to start with a few of the positives and address some winners.

WINNER: JONATHAN COOGAN - Jonathan is an old High School buddy who has worked his tail off in the entertainment business for years and years, and has finally gotten a huge, gigantic push with his brilliant one man show,
I'll Give You Something To Cry About". Billed as "An Addictive Comedy", his show is currently playing at The Beverly Hills Playhouse in the Los Angeles area. Check for details. Do NOT miss this show.

WINNERS: RABBI RICHARD CAMRAS and CANTOR RON SNOW - Rabbi Camras and I actually began Hebrew School together at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles when we were maybe 5 or six years old. Now the Senior Rabbi at Shomrei Torah Synagogue (, he along with the Valley's "Coolest Cantor", Ron Snow have brought something amazingly special to the San Fernando Valley. With programming for anyone and everyone, it is simply a wonderful place to be on any Shabbat or Holiday.

WINNER - EXTRA SPECIAL WINNER: KELLEY ALEXANDER, SUPERMOM - You may remember a piece that I wrote back in January about a very talented television writer by the name of Del Shores. He is also a winner this week, but before we get to Del, I need to tell you about Kelley. If you have an encyclopedia handy, please look up FANTASTIC SINGLE MOMS and you will see her picture and caption right on top. Actually, you won't because Kelley is the sort of person who would never seek attention for doing what she does best, being a mom to two delightful teenage daughters, who through much adversity have managed to not only keep a sense of humour about them, but bring home good grades and are star softball players.

The main reason that I bring up Kelley (because she would never allow me to boast about her) is that I learned recently that she is in a competition to begin airing on HGTV this weekend. The show, "The $250,000 Challenge" to air this Sunday at 10/9c! HGTV is giving 5 families in one neighborhood a shot at what everyone wants right now…a quarter of a million dollars! But they’ll have to cut through the competition, in the ultimate home renovation contest, to claim it!If you’ve ever dreamed about paying down your mortgage, peace of mind, or being king of the neighborhood…then you know dreams go along way, but don’t come easy! You can also text keyword HGTV250 to 44881 to be reminded to tune in on Sundays 10/9c. GO KELLEY!!!
If anyone deserves to be a fan favorite, Kelley does. In and of themselves, single moms are tough cookies. They have the hardest job in the world and usually get very little support. This is our chance to support one of the best around.

WINNER: CHANA LURIA - Another super Single Mom with much on her plate, including caring for two wonderful teenagers, fighting an unjust JDS (Jewish Day School) administration (see below under LOSERS), and trying to stay cancer free. (If you see Chana on Facebook, say hello and let her know that you support her 100%). Our prayers are with you, Chanaleh. May you go from Strength to Strength.

COLLECTIVE WINNERS: SINGLE MOMS EVERYWHERE - Please do not feel slighted. You also make this cut, but if I tried to name all of you (that I know, even), we would run out of web space!

WINNERS: KENNETH VonHOPF, GELIE AKHENBLIT and AUSTIN FELDMAN - Network marketers who seem to have a knack for bringing people together. In these difficult times, your groups and vision of business future helps us all.

LOSERS: MAJOR PHOENIX AREA BANKS - who would rather alienate potential customers by charging a person $6 to cash a $20 dollar check. What happened to CUSTOMER SERVICE? It appears gone forever.

WINNER: FAIRFAX HIGH SCHOOL - in Los Angeles by electing, get this, a MALE PROM QUEEN! Only in LA. Only at Fairfax! That building at the corner of Melrose and Fairfax is still an interesting place. Amazing.

WINNER: DEL SHORES - the brilliantly award winning writer and creator of SORDID LIVES, who was able to pick himself up after getting an axe from a backstabbing Cable Network by taking his show on the road to sell out audiences all over the Country. For more info, check out

LOSERS: THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF PHOENIX, ARIZONA - whom, according to statistics reported recently, place the Jewish population of the Valley of the Sun at over 100,000, yet far less than TEN PERCENT is affiliated with a Synagogue. If we are really 100,000 strong, where are we?

WINNERS: THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF GREATER LOS ANGELES - whom in the last ten years have grown significantly in both the City and the Valley and caused Los Angeles to become the largest observant Jewish Community in the World. I am amazed and proud.

LOSER: THE LARGEST JEWISH COMMUNITY DAY SCHOOL IN SAN DIEGO - who for no known reason whatsoever believes that they can bully a family into leaving the school after many years of family support. Here's the worst part, they can get away with it, and they ARE getting away with it. This school believes in Torah Judaism? Right..........

WINNERS: MY FAMILY - for putting up with me these past (almost) two years as I work toward Ordination, and for understanding why I must move to be of service to a Jewish Community elsewhere while there is no Judaic work here. Thank you, and I love you.

OTHER STRANGERS: ARE JUST - friends whom we have yet to meet.

As I write this afternoon, we are on the bridge of Shavuot, when each of us readies ourselves to once again meet at Sinai to accept G-d's Torah. May we all remember that without it, our lives lack direction. May we remember that the richest people are those who are happy with what they possess and may we each remember that we are lucky to have each other.

Chag Shavuot Sameach.

Ahava u'Vrachot, with love and blessings...


1 comment:

  1. that was supposed to be signed by me - oops -Lanee. I was working on a blog at the time Alan please delete the above.

    Alan - you are a good man with a purpose in life - may good things come your way. It is your time to shine and for things to get a little easier.