Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Story on New Orleans, Post Katrina and Rivkin Family (old friends of mine)

A good article online about the ordeal of the Rivkin family that stayed in New Orleans during Katrina and were one of the first people on hand to help with the clean up and aftermath.

They are old friends of mine... stayed there by them years back with my ex-husband a few times passing through New Orleans with the babies. Brings back lots of memories of a couple first starting out in a city..knowing few people with a big job to do and looking for ways to make contacts in a town very different from any that they had lived in previously.

Mrs. Rivkin is a Gordon... my ex-husband and I were very close with her family.

They are speaking at Chabad of Lomita on this... my oldest son first went away to Day Camp..the first time I ever let him out of my sight lol for "school" to Chabad of Lomita... brings back such memories.

so.. posting this article because's good and personal in ways still... my daughter goes to Chabad of F.I.U. that is run by her nephew... or second cousin maybe..who knows... so hard to figure who is related to who in my world. I'm getting confused sometimes as to who my kids are related to lol... who is dating who... living where... I have a big family... a lot of friends but when I see something that says South Bay... it takes me back ...

Katrina was life altering for all who lived there...and for all of us who watched on TV.

article below...
Originally published Friday, January 27, 2006Updated Friday, January 27, 2006
"[Katrina] just showed us that no matter how powerful we think we are, it's God's world"
Armed with faith, hope and a community perspective, Chabad rabbi from New Orleans offers light in dark days of disaster.

By Kate McLaughlinDAILY BREEZE

When Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in August, Rabbi Zelig Rivkin was forced to close Chabad New Orleans, where he serves as director, and evacuate to Houston with his wife, Bluma.

It was a trying ordeal, but Rivkin embraced it as an invaluable learning opportunity.
"If someone were to pay me millions of dollars to go through this experience, I wouldn't accept it," the rabbi said. "But if someone were to pay me a million dollars to give up the experience, I wouldn't do that either."

For Rivkin, Katrina offered an opportunity to do good by helping people in need.

It also presented a chance to put life in perspective.

"It just showed us that no matter how powerful we think we are, it's God's world. It's best if we live in consonance with nature and God's will, rather than try to fight it," he said. "I am not going to try to figure out why God does things. I am not going to assume that we're evil people or the city is bad or whatever else people have said has any validity whatsoever."

Rivkin will be sharing his story tonight at Chabad of South Bay in Lomita, where he also will present a video produced by Jewish Educational Media documenting the Chabad movement's disaster response to hurricanes Katrina and Wilma, as well as to the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia.

Members of the 250-year-old Chabad movement, a dynamic force in the Jewish community, are known for their hospitality, intellectualism, optimism and emphasis on religious study.

Founded in Russia, Chabad-Lubavitch, the group's full name, is a branch of Hasidism and is now the largest Jewish educational outreach program in the world, dedicated to the welfare of the Jewish people worldwide.

Chabad of South Bay has a special place in Rivkin's heart. His daughter, Hinda, and her husband, Rabbi Sholom Pinson, are the program directors and organized the evening.

"The main idea behind this event," said Sholom Pinson, "is bringing out the idea of faith and hope in the face of devastation.

"When something like Katrina happens, it's natural to ask how God can do this," Pinson said.

"But something like this makes our faith stronger. Our part is to do what we can do, to rebuild and make the situation the best that it can be, leaving the rest to God."

That is exactly what Pinson's father-in-law has been doing since the hurricane struck two weeks before Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.

"It was Saturday when we got the word about the hurricane," Rivkin recalled. "I got on the computer and saw the projected area of landfall. We immediately started debating staying or leaving."

With the holiday so close, the Rivkins stayed.

Their house and the Chabad House both made it through the storm with relatively minor wind and water damage. The tough decision came a couple of days later, after the levees broke.

"We always feel torn between the obligations to take care of ourselves or to fulfill our role as people who take care of others," Rivkin said. "But we were told that if you can leave you should leave. So we did. I have to admit, there was a lot of apprehension."

Rivkin and his family made their way to Houston, where they were received by friends.
On their first day in Houston, the rabbi and others from local and national Chabad organizations began drafting plans to help their community move forward.

In the days that followed, they rented several apartments in Houston and Memphis for people who had no place to go. They went to the Astrodome, an evacuee center, to see who needed help, and they set up a Web site as an online information clearinghouse for the Jewish community. They arranged for several hundred self-heatingkosher meals to be shipped to those in need, and they organized two search-and-rescue teams.

Although Rivkin's efforts initially focused on restoring the Jewish community, he soon broadened his efforts to include all who needed assistance.

"People heard we were doing search and rescue and we got a number of hits on the Web site," he said. "Word spread very quickly. People were asking, 'Can you go look here, can you go look there,' and so we started going to the addresses that people gave us."

The search-and-rescue teams entered the flooded Gulf city and managed to evacuate 70 people who were stuck in their homes, many of whom were sick and/or elderly. Rivkin's group also assisted storm victims who managed to get out of the city but were left with nothing.

"People sent in money and clothes and things that were needed," Rivkin said. "Trailers came in loaded with brand new things. So we rented a house with a garage and filled it with these things. We advertised in the Houston area and then people came and picked up stuff. These were people I'd never met, people from New Orleans who were evacuated."

Watching the massive outpouring of good will and togetherness made an impression on Rivkin.

"We learned about a tremendous amount of kind and generous people out there who helped in many, many ways, financially, with moral and emotional support, who exhibited a tremendous amount of caring," he said. "Seeing how people responded is a tremendous lesson for all of us, myself included."

In addition to providing material supplies, Rivkin and others also rented a hotel in Monroe, La., and hosted a community Rosh Hashana. More than 140 people came and spent the 2½-day holiday together in what Rivkin said was "one of the most positive and difficult times" that many in attendance had ever experienced.

Rivkin's efforts did not go unnoticed. In a Dec. 6 speech, President Bush commended him and Chabad for their work in the aftermath of the hurricane.

"He [Rivkin] said, 'Let's take it right to the middle of the storm area to help people,'" Bush noted. "They [Chabad] cleaned up and helped salvage homes; they provided spiritual support for those who lost loved ones. And one of those rescued from New Orleans put it this way: 'In the days after Katrina hit, Chabad saved lives.'"

Rivkin brushed off any notion of heroics.

"We just did what we could to help others," he insisted.

And though Rivkin said meeting with the president was inspirational, he prefers to focus on issues of greater significance.

"The important part we have to focus on is how we respond to the situation," he said. "Do we become selfish and self-absorbed and worry about ourselves, or do we open up to see what we can do collectively for a community?"

In the months following the disaster, Rivkin and others have maintained their focus on restoring the Jewishcommunity in and around New Orleans.

"It's not over," Rikin said. "Things are not back to normal. They're getting better, but not normal. Many people still need different kinds of help, some financial, some emotional. Some need jobs. The people of New Orleans need the country's patience and encouragement, because they're still going through it."

Rivkin said he's hopeful that people everywhere will focus their attention on helping the victims of Katrina in direct and indirect ways.

"The whole world and all the people in it are interconnected," he said. "We can strengthen each other if people, wherever they are, would commit to improving themselves and making themselves better, and dedicate that effort towards New Orleans.

"I don't mean necessarily doing anything in particular for New Orleans or the Gulf region. I mean that in their minds they're thinking we're all one big body and if part of the body strengthens itself, it's going to help all the rest.

"People have the ability to strengthen themselves, make themselves better and realize that they're not alone. And improving things in one place is going to improve people in the other place as well."

Want to go?

•Presentation: Rabbi Zelig Rivkin will share his story of hope, faith and survival in the face of hurricanes Katrina and Wilma, at 8 tonight at Chabad of South Bay, 2173 Lomita Blvd., Lomita.
Find out more
•Go to:, the official Chabad-Lubavitch Web site; and to see what Chabad New Orleans is doing to help storm victims.

Rained in Miami Today...Frontal Passage

One of those days... a front or rather a pre-frontal trough passed through the area bringing a surprise rain shower... a heavy rain shower. It was nice... gray, heavy rain outside washing all the dirt and grime off. I'd put up a link with a satellite shot but might be gone by the time you look. Check out some site like or for radars.

Lying in bed a bit early as I cried uncle and went home early today to rest up. Still getting over a bad case of the flu... listening to a Chaim Dovid CD that I like a lot. Beautiful graphics on the CD :) Very peaceful, very needed. Also a hypnotic quality to the first few tracks on the CD.

Going to watch the news...write or read or just fall asleep. Let the kids make hamburgers.

It was one of those days where I had to play at the Mommy role today and deal with some over zealous Assistant Principle who wants to socialize my son all in one day. I explained that I send him to school to learn and be in class and get grades and get out. Not to have them prepare him for roles in life as it is a job much bigger than what that particular high school can handle. I expect them to teach him. I will work on the socialization and add in some other family help as well as his relationships with several teen group leaders who try and help him and his own counselor. Sorry, I don't give a damn about their mission statement.. just teach him to read and I'll be happy. Of course I said it nicer... though I did point out that if it wasn't for the the magnet students getting perfect scores on their FCat the school would be a F school not a D.

I'm sorry but after 20 years of attending parent teacher meetings I think I should have some sort of special dispensation.

I give the lady who just cme to this school after being at a different high school every year for the last 4... (not a good sign) an explanation for what my 16 year old son did. She tells me "well I don't know him well enough to..." I politely pointed out " well I do, I've known him now for 16 years................" Oh Lord help the good meaning going to change the world types.

If I thought he could pass the GED I'd take him out and let him work. If I thought he could make it in a Yeshiva.. I'd send him. If I wasn't happy with his group therapy session he was doing I would take him out... but... he is there, we sat through one stupid session on following rules because he had on his head phones upon entering the school. Something about the safety of the environment and rules... Call me silly but it makes no sense to take a child out of 2 hours of classes to prove your point vs a simple discussion on the phone.

Headphones... he wasn't burning down the administration building...

The library was fine... busy... okay... people got stuck inside the rain.

Barry, the psychic said that the heavy square is making everyone nuts. I agreed with him ... 5 planets in Aquarius being squared by Jupiter in Scorpio and Saturn in Leo... and Mars in Taurus... yup... sounds about right... meeting today for 2 hours at the high school was like an out of body experience.

I believe today is Rosh Chodesh Shevat... I may paint a tree today... watercolor. Winter almost over... somewhere...not here.

Shuky called from Israel... attended a funeral for a great, old kabbalist who died at the age of 104 or 108... a lot of people.

Life...passing by...bit by bit by hour.

Tried to help two people today who needed help at the library... one needed social worker help. Life fell apart afater the hurricanes of Miami.. she's a mess...not functioning. Another wants to move to Israel..make Aliyah. Everyone these days seems to have a problem they cannot deal with...

We are all people whose lives are threaded together on this our our community. One thing I enjoy about my job is the ability to help others.

Cold front coming through... want to enjoy it a bit.. might be one of the last ones to make it through...

Happy Shevat... hug a tree!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Marking Time

Marking time here.... I do that sometimes. Not much to say... except I really do love my kids very much. They are a great bunch of high energy kids...with dynamic personalities, tremendous loyalty to each other (and their close friends) and they constantly amaze me... like watching a kaliedscope, twisting, turning, rearranging into amazing images.


Hits me lately how there is no end to the things you can do to try and help people... and yet sometimes you just don't know where to start. Know a few people who need help... just people I have met at the library and ... they haven't been able to put their lives back together since the hurricane in ways. I know myself because I have yet to catch up financially where I was before.. I have been running one utility bill behind since then... there is no cushion. Thankfully... it will be okay and I have low needs... however lately a great need is I wish I could travel more. Specifically.... Philly, NY... Boston... and back ... My kids and best friends... grandchild.


Hamas won overwhelmingly in the election in the Mid-East... Heard Bush say something about a vote against the status quo and corrupt financial practices of the other party and he sounded even he couldn't believe he had to find some sort of sound bite for this one... Better luck tomorrow Condi trying to put a good spin on something that should have come as no shock in the world to you... Hamas has been running the show for years... What a joke... yeah, democracy bites sometimes doesn't it?


I want to see the Johnny Cash movie... I need time and money...

I want to do a lot of things. Putting together a wish list for what I want... breaking it down.

Yud Shvat... Purim... Breaking my life down into weeks.. months... no more of "this minute" and planning out things...


Sometimes you sit down... look at your life and decide what you want.. what you can't live with or without and sometimes you have to... like Bush didn't get a vote in the Hamas elections... sometimes for some unknown reason we don't get a vote... hurts, aches... kick the ache in the head from where it came and ... keep going...

Make a plan... leave open an option.... a back door... and move on..

Only one back door in my life I suppose I would ever try and take... otherwise... its onward, march, march.. march.


I didn't watch Smallville tonight. Nope.. I don't watch Smallville at all... ever...anymore.

Kids did... I didn't need ... Knew who would die in tonight's episode... his father... wasn't a doubt in my mind. It's not the real world... but our world sometimes... maybe they will find a way to bring him back to life... again. At least on the tv screen .... can't do that in real life .. can you?

No back doors... and besides you aren't my back door why am I typing about you?

... Fathers...

There are a few I have loved... a few I have hated. Mine.. I loved him. He's gone too.

Sorry... didn't mean to make this so depressing... it's not.. it's about life...

The future... kids... some quote I guess applies from F. Scott Fitzgerald on no second acts in life.. have to look it up some time...when I have time.. or make some time.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Much To Do About Somethings....

Much To Do About Somethings…

So much going on in the world.

Weather wise we have half the population of the world living in the part that believes they are suffering from Global Warming and the other part of the population wondering why there is so much to do about Global Warming.

Seems its cold in Europe-Russia and parts of Asia.

Maybe what we have is a Global Temperature Imbalance… May I suggest someone drop Alfalfa Capsules into the atmosphere and it may rebalance the energy? Hey.. worked with my son’s flu symptoms… add a drop of garlic and the rest of the world will smell like Italy and Sicily.

Tell my brother in Greece about Global Warming.. he spent the sunset hours of today feeling the snow falling across his happy little face on a balcony in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Global indeed!

In the tropics…………… we have a small, cute area of persistent weather that is moving inland in the Western Caribbean… spells an early season down there if this trend continues and seeing as it has continued since last April or May.. expect an active Caribbean come …come… well come whenever the 2006 Hurricane Season unofficially comes ………..

Even greater loop thanks to Jim Williams of fame…
wishful thinking indeed.. what a loop… and be glad it’s January and not June..

On the political perspective my brother in Greece wants to know why America obsesses on the “I” countries when most of South America is beginning to turn socialistic and there are crazy things going on in our own hemisphere…

That again would be an imbalance… Canada goes hard right, South America hard left..
Hmmmnnn is that Hemispheric Imbalance???

Books.. Let’s talk about books.

Put myself on hold for new copy of Cell.. I seriously doubt anything Stephen King is going to write about cell phones can scare me these days but if there is a secret message being transmitted from mine… the ones in the boxes on the floor UNOPENED including the little Sidekick that I kick around nightly just for fun… trust me I don’t scare easy and we will see who gets kicked around on this one. Annoyed maybe, scared no… you want your cell phone back you can come and get it yourself… all the way from wherever you sent it from……….. ringie dingie back at you!

Regarding the Middle East… Elmer Ehud has now made President Bush look like the Brain Surgeon of speakers…

He has just validated every argument for us having a country in the Middle East.. he feels that we shouldn’t try to live in a place we are out numbered…

I’m sure there are many Arabs in Israel who wonder on that too… including the leader of Iran…

Seems to me Israel should worry on Iran.. America should worry on why we are stuck in the middle between Leftist South America and Right Wing Canada…

We need a hero in the Middle East and Elmer Ehud ain’t it… neither was Mr. Sharon …

Stubbornness and small-minded ness is no excuse for integrity and backbone. There is nothing worse than a politician who refuses to stand up for a cause and capitulates himself back and forth into the sea… a sea that Nassar wanted to push all the Jews into once upon a time. The President of Iran remembers… does anyone else?

“"In order to ensure the existence of a Jewish national home, we will not be able to continue ruling over the territories in which the majority of the Palestinian population lives," he said on Tuesday. “

Monday, January 23, 2006

There's Something Tropical About the Western Caribbean

I doubt anything will come from it... I mean there are long shots and longer shots but no matter how you look at it... here is a shot of something Tropical in the Western Caribbean.

Trackers are talking on it...web sites are blogging on it and weather watchers are peaking views at it...

The point is not whether or not it will develop but that we are even looking at it and more so...that it is even there at all...

Something to think on the Western Caribbean!

Winter in Miami... Pictures of Crown Heights

Birds chirping, flowers blooming again on broken branches... blue skies, tourists with germs everywhere.. coughing, sneezing... making all of us sick...

Yeah... I'm sick. Very sick. Home today half day. My 102 fever broke around 6am and I felt well enough to go into work to do the morning shift on the desk which was good because 2 people were in the emergency room with various ailments, two other people called in with the flu and there was no one else there but me. adult services. My daughter Shayna HATES when I use that phrase... adult.. not childrens room.. you get it right?

So... still no fever... but feel so sick.

Watching One Life to Live and General Hospital and talking to my daughter Dee about her playpen friends she still hangs with years later...

Chabad...such a small world. You can go to Austraila, Israel or China and back and still hang with your friends like nothing ever changed.

Like Fruma and I ... there we were in Long Beach and she was moving to Pittsburgh and felt like I would never see her again... years later we live around the corner in Miami.. together again. Then again I wish I could get to Vegas and see two of my old best friends... money, money.. I need money. Money to travel and go see my kids... my best friend in Maine... to wander up and down Kingston Avenue and go in Judaica and buy things... seforim (books), pictures... maybe something special... I have a list if anyone wants to see it..

So.... a small joy of doing nothing but watching soaps... (which I do like once every six months) and talking to my daughter on IM.. sucking on a honey cough drop.... drinking peach tea with honey and ... watching this video spread over and over cause its beautiful...

Oh... I get it...she's trying to get me to pay for her to read some email that someone sent her on Mit Mazel... cute... knew there was a punchline to this story about Goldblatts and Greenspans and Dees lol...

Okay..I'm going to go check my temperature, see if I want to put out money for my daughter's account... she spent hers on Venice... figures...

How bout this... someone send me a ticket to NY to see my kids, walk up and down Kingston, go see Mrs. G... daven a bit in 770.... see my daughter in Philly who can come in... oh and give me a gift card at Judaica and..... I want a bagel with coffee... vegetable spread, and just sit and watch the world go by on Kingston.

Then.........I'll fly back south to Miami.. figure there should be a table... everyone else from NY is in Miami on Winter Vacation.

Got to run.. Zalmy's home asking about the cake that Mendy made earlier just to have in case anyone was hungry...............

chow for now.. cough cough Bobbi

Friday, January 20, 2006

Hurricane Dreams...

Wake up and go online to check my mail and someone sent me this link...

Dreams of hurricanes dance in their head...still... trackers are trackers, chasers are chasers.. its in their blood, in their soul... the weather is their muse and it calls them...

Earlier in the week the models were spilling out possible scenarios for "something" to develop. Seems they were not blowing out of their ass or whatever that colorful guy phrase is..

Something down there is twisting though I don't think it will endanger anyone even if something forms.

Either way... you can see it if you watch the loop.

As for me... woke up early, couldn't sleep and made part of Shabbos dinner at 5am.. fighting off one of those chest colds that is going around.. can't breathe, dry cough... achy, want to go back to bed but can't... the reference desk awaits at work.

Luckily, today is a short day for me.. coming home to make Shabbos... some of the kids are going away to Chabad on campus and I'll be home with the younger ones... should be quiet, should rest... then again Yaffa always says.. never say "should"..

And... feel sort of revived myself despite feeling sick as a puppy dog.. had a fun, good talk with an old friend last night. Nice to be able to talk to someone on so many levels... multi-talented, smart ass.. mean friend lol ... Giggling, oh gosh cough cough.. laughing with tears in my eyes.

So.... I was wrong, wrong, wrong... wrong... with that secret am going to work.

Good shabbos.. watch the tropics and personally told friends on hurricanecity I think someone should do a REALITY TV show on the Clean up in New Orleans.. follow a few families around, like you know in that stupid movie EDTV... you know stay with them.. through the mud cleaning, the stress of going through such a tragedy... the second and third thoughts on "what if" and me there is more drama and comedy and drama going on down there as people try to dig out, rebuild and bring a city back to life.. with a four month deadline... rolling eyes..


Thursday, January 19, 2006

PROBLEM with Global Warming... Russia

Somehow Russia found a way to get around the whole global warming issue... seems those in Moscow do not.. I repeat NOT believe in global warming.. coldest winter since the 1920s...

Think this might make people in the Western Hemisphere wonder if there is an unbalance in the climate and the planet.. not "warming" on a GLOBAL scale.

If you are skeptical.. book a flight.. sure Jet Blue will go there soon.. JFK to Moscow.. you tell me if the planet is warming up?

As for the guy on the tower.. turns out was a POW flag... and his brother disapeered over 40 years ago and he feels he wasn't lost at sea but...some anti-Castro thing..

Boy..just when you think the past is dead and buried it just comes along and bites you in the ass.

Bobbi... warming up in Miami

PROBLEM with Global Warming... Russia

Somehow Russia found a way to get around the whole global warming issue... seems those in Moscow do not.. I repeat NOT believe in global warming.. coldest winter since the 1920s...

Think this might make people in the Western Hemisphere wonder if there is an unbalance in the climate and the planet.. not "warming" on a GLOBAL scale.

If you are skeptical.. book a flight.. sure Jet Blue will go there soon.. JFK to Moscow.. you tell me if the planet is warming up?

As for the guy on the tower.. turns out was a POW flag... and his brother disapeered over 40 years ago and he feels he wasn't lost at sea but...some anti-Castro thing..

Boy..just when you think the past is dead and buried it just comes along and bites you in the ass.

Bobbi... warming up in Miami

Man in Miami Climbs Radio Tower.. old Radio Tower

Really old... where's those old Miamians that would be laughing their ass off when you need them?

So...turns out he is upset about the fact that his brother disapeered 30 years ago or so and he has finally lost it... he's protesting. Wants someone to help. Boy do I know THAT feeling. Though don't think raising the PLO flag endears anyone to him but am sure as most Miami stories..there is more to the story ...


Pentagon has a fire.. Tel Aviv had a bombing..

what a day... what next?

Miami..where the "fun" happens..


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Chabad Helps A Little, Gives A Lot in New Orleans... cleaning up after Katrina

I meant to post this on Friday but I left work early to go home and cook for Shabbos and got busy with a search for Challah... never got back to posting it.... so I guess there will be two back to back Tulane Posts...though not on purpose.

Yes... the weather department mentioned a cold weekend up north and snow birds flew south immediately on Jet Blue and bought out all of the local freshly baked Challahs in Miami. It is a sign winter has arrived when you go into your local, neighborhood kosher market and it is full of people you have never seen before and there is no Challah (egg bread) left on the shelves.

Winter has arrived and you have to go shopping on thursday to be sure you will get what you want. No more.. running in last minute at 3pm to pick up just a few things.

A strong cold front arrived... along with the snow birds ...

Turkey Hawks back circling the court house and Snow Birds swooping down grabbing all the stuff off the shelves. Is anyone left in Brooklyn I wonder sometimes this time of year.

Oh.. yes.. my son and daughter.

So... back to the blog :)

Over this past winter break college students from various parts of the country participated in going down to New Orleans on a Chabad sponsored trip to help clean up as much as they could. They worked in synagogues, they worked in cemetaries, they worked helping locals who have had problems cleaning up themselves.

I'm sure that the memories of their winter vacation will stay with them for years... as they will have witnessed first hand what many only witnessed while watching CNN and Fox... to see hurricane damage or more so flood damage first hand is humbling. The power of water when on a rampage ... beats almost any other possible damage from a weather event.

Just the weight of the water can wash out roads, buckle highways and foundations to buildings that were once thought of as historic or rustic and are now crumbling in places and need repair.

Many students from many parts of the country and many different types of youth groups have gone down and helped... I know people who went on this trip and so that is the link I have... you can multiply their work by the number of others from all walks of life who have given their time to help others recover their lives after Katrina rerouted many lives this summer.

In the case of Jews.. .Orthodox Jews we hold Torah Scrolls sacred, as we do prayer books and they are treated with the same care you would treat an injured person, they are even buried as opposed to being thrown out. I have heard from students that went from the University of Miami that to see prayer books that had been used for hundreds of years in syngaogues there ruined, destroyed and covered in mud is painful and sad.

Trees oddly are also compared to people...they have lives, they grace our lives and touch us deeply in ways. When a large ficus tree is gone, uprooted and cut away bit by bit... it leaves an ache..a scar of sorts upon the land. Every Shabbos I pass a house I never saw before... there was a beautifully large, carefully trimmed big ficus tree that covered the front yard and was a local landmark. Some say that the tree was over 100 years old and planted by early settlers in the North Miami Beach area... either way.. it's gone, and every time I pass it... the ghost of that tree lingers.

The road back to normal is a slow road... faster in Miami than New Orleans.

People have died and are still being found. Just the other day it was announced that the body of one of the Cowsill Family Band members was found drowned in New Orleans ... a casualty of Katrina.

People... trees... memories... all gone, all uprooted... and survivors are trying to put back the pieces of their lives.

If you know of a group that is going and you know someone who can give your time.. keep it in mind, it will take months to finish the clean up and there is a race against time right now for the people of New Orleans especially to clean up their city.

Lastly... a note... though many people think that Jews are all from New York it is not true. Jews lived and worked in the South for years before the first immigrant landed at Ellis Island on ship trying to escape Russia or Hungary. German Jews lived and worked all over the South in the early and mid 1800s, before that Sephardic Jews with ties to the Caribbean lived in places like Savannah and Charleston ...and New Orleans. English Jews were at home in the South way back when... The Vice President of the Confederacy was a Jew.. Judah Benjamin. There is a heritage that goes back to the early 1800s in the south.. even further and New Orleans was a city that hosted many Jewish families... way back when. The synagogues and cemetaries that were destroyed are centuries old in some areas.

My grandmother lived in the Garden District.. many Jews did. This is not the first time a storm has affected their lives... they have been lucky like most of us across the Hurricane Belt... places like Tampa and Jacksonville... places like Miami and Galveston... history repeats eventually given enough time.

In the mid 1970s Chabad went to New Orleans and set up a Chabad House near the campus of Tulane University and they have had a strong presence in and around the university there for years. For a Miami kid growing up here to get into Tulane was akin in some parts of the country to getting in to Harvard or Yale.. a big deal.

Not enough has been written about the history of Jews in the South, maybe in ways people will learn more now about New Orleans while it is being rebuilt than they knew before. It is more than just the French Market. It is more than just a riverboat ride up the Mississippi.. It was and is a city that was made up of many minorities, many people from all walks of faith, from all life styles.

As a friend on Hurricane City told me... they wanted to help someone locally who needed help, for free... the only caveat being one day that person should help another in need. it goes... you Help a little... you help a lot... and for those kids who traveled down to New Orleans and helped do what they could....they will remember forever I am sure... it should only be the beginning of lives spent trying to help people... to do a mitzvah.. a good deed.


From Oregon Daily Emerald....
Salvaging homes, restoring lives
Two UO students spent part of their winter break clearing out ravaged houses in New Orleans
By Philip Ossie BladineNews Reporter
January 12, 2006

For one week during winter break, Matt Peterson and Laneia Seumalo scooped muck, carted out moldy furniture, gutted waterlogged homes and heard one tear-jerking story after another in Hurricane Katrina-ravaged New Orleans.

“You don’t realize the full impact of what happened until you’re there,” Seumalo said.

The two University students joined students from more than 30 U.S. colleges to converge in New Orleans to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, part of a joint project between the Chabad on Campus National Foundation and Lubavitch Rabbi Yochanan Rivkin, director of the Chabad Jewish Student Center at Tulane, whose efforts have been praised by President Bush.

“You go into a house and find everything on the floor,” Seumalo said.

“It’s a mess,” Peterson added. “There is bed stuff in the kitchen, books in the fireplace and there is six inches of mud over all of it.”

Peterson said they went through about 25 houses in the seven days they were there, raking everything out of the house and taking sledge hammers to walls. The goal was to salvage the frame of each house.

“All these people had hurricane insurance, but they were without flood insurance. So they are getting no help financially,” Peterson said.

With each destroyed house came a unique case, but most stories were essentially the same.
“A lot of people said ‘I lost everything, but thank God I survived,’” Peterson said.

There was one man who collected precious Judaic art, antiques and Salvador Dali paintings. At one residence, an elderly couple walked through their home of 50 years, which never once had water damage.

One man asked the group to “keep an eye out for a snowglobe with a picture of my son and his ashes in it,” Peterson said.

“We worked the whole day, and in the seventh hour we finally found it,” Peterson said. “It was nice to give him back the one thing he wanted most.” Martin Lewiston, a retired surgeon, told the group there was no way, emotionally, he could have repaired his home by himself and that the group had given him hope, which he hadn’t had since Katrina struck, Peterson said.
Peterson said the hardest thing for him was gutting a 100-year-old synagogue and seeing the many Torahs, the most sacred of Jewish texts, that were ruined.

“It meant so much to so many people,” he said. “We listened as Jacob, a board member, told us through tears about his experiences there over the last 20 years.”

On the last day, the group buried thousands of Judaic holy books and objects, a ceremony as sacred as burying a person.

The recovery mission was part of Chabad on Campus’ ongoing relief effort. Chabad provides a variety of services and an open house for Jewish students and faculty on every college campus, said Rabbi Asi Spiegel, the director of the University’s Chabad Jewish Center. When disaster strikes, Chabad becomes an agency for helping all people, not just Jewish people.

“This comes from deep teachings of Judaism to help those in need,” Spiegel said. “The feedback from the missions have been amazing. We may do another one during spring break.”
Seumalo and Peterson both said they would go back if the chance comes.

“All the students came from different places and have different backgrounds, but we worked together beautifully,” Seumalo said. “But there is still so much left to do.”

“When you’re doing a holy job, there is no ego,” Peterson said. “You’re ready to drop whatever you’re doing to help somebody. The orders are given in a matter-of-fact way, maybe there was a ‘please,’ maybe not — it didn’t matter.”

Peterson also recommends to anyone that wants to donate money to go through the Chabad House of Tulane University.

“Every penny goes to the right place,” he said.

Tulane University Re-Opens

A new term is beginning at Tulane University. And, this particular Winter Term is historic in scope and will be remembered forever as the year Tulane went on.. after picking up the pieces and moved on after Wilma.

For New Orleans, their future will always be an "After Wilma" issue. Indeed in some areas, any future will depend in some neighborhoods on how many came back, how many rebuilt and how it was rebuilt. So far the local government has given the home owners a mere 4 months to get back on track and home. Does that mean home owners or renters... am wondering because so much of that property is owned I am sure and rented out at low income rates and ... how is that decided, either way life must go on damn soon in Nola or it won't go on the way it did.

Is that right or wrong?

If you are a homeowner who has lived there most of your life, struggled to keep the mortgage paid, the taxes covered and called it your home.. you are outraged. If you are some selfish person living in some other area far away you want to know why your dollars should pay for people living below sea level. What goes around comes around and you could be complaining about New Orleans in some town in Alaska that months from now complains that the Government should rebuild your town after a volcano. IF La Palma goes and that mythological often predicted tidal wave occurs and knocks out the East Coast... there won't be any money left anywhere to rebuild New Orleans let alone Miami, Charleston, Washington or New York City let alone Boston.

So... time will tell what happens in New Orleans but this week...the University that is it's most shiniest educational gem re-opens.

Link to the University's website is below. I've always felt it's best to go to the source, of course, for the real news...the real story so... read it for yourself here.

Either way...we are indeed ...moving on... After Wilma...

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Windy Day in Miami-Full Moon ... Sholom Dov Ber

So windy. Hasn't been this windy since Hurricane Wilma blew through town and this cold front has indeed blown around quite a few things that were left hanging asunder after the hurricane. I heard a few people lost roof shingles... my neighbors fence blew down; leaves are everywhere.
It's a cold, clear, windy night in Miami.

A big, golden full moon rose tonight over the Ocean, hung low over the City for a long time.

Nice windy day.

I fell down today..not sure the wind didn't do it. I was walking carefully, watching my steps and suddenly I was down on the ground, skinned my left knee like when I was a little Capricornian girl skinning my knees falling on roller skates. Luckily, no one was around.. hate when people fuss. I picked myself off, improvised a bandae from some nearby kleenex that stopped the mild oozing blood the way men who shave stick a tissue over their booboo. And, with the booboo on my knee I went on into Shul (temple) and decided to deal with it later.

It made me think on life... a little anyway. Funny how one person can fall, get back up and keep going and another person can't find a way to get up. They get upset, decide they have to go home, take care of it, nurse thier wound, replay why they fell, what it means... get angry at the place where they fell and decided never to shop at that market again..or sue... or complain or freak out...and others... get up, go on... keep moving. Went home later... washed it off well (no place to do it there.. long, typical story lol) and put stuff on it and took care of it but it did make me think on life. And, truth is... I don't know if it was the wind, my footing or what.. but like my friend Sharon said about when she fell a few years ago and broke her shoulder.. "was like something just pushed her down... suddenly she was on the ground." Not like when I went flying back in May and landed on my tush. The floor in the kitchen was slippery, I even almost tripped and didn't think the whole floor was slippery. This time... I just fell slam down. Happens.

The truth is..sometimes in life you are walking along down a certain path and for no reason you can understand looking back.. "something happens" and you fall, you slip, you slide, you lose your footing, your direction, everything goes topsy turvy and takes months, years to get back on the track you chose. Looking can remember the hows and whys of the time and what was difficult but not how you actually fell... just something happens. A time comes when you are not yourself, someone or something touches your achilles heel, pulls at you... tugs at you... and you find yourself not thinking and doing things you could not believe you could do.

Sometimes as a wise old man eating Lays potato chips told Sharon in Publix..."sometimes there is no why.... "

So... there I was on the ground, picking myself up... trying to pretend it didn't hurt like hell and going on about my life.

It was a beautiful day. And, very windy. Very probably the wind did push me down but I do love the wind. You felt like you could fly today.. like a bird... infact my glasses went flying :)

Last night my brother and his wife were over for dinner with their child. Some of my kids were at a shabbatone (sabbath party) and still are...hope the Panthers won, they went to a hockey game after Shabbos. Tomorrow it's Disneyland. Youth group... you know an excuse to party, hang and do something connected to your temple.. etc...

A wintery reminder to many today on what they left behind up north. I saw a lady today sitting outside in a lawn chair "in the sun" trying read a Nora Roberts novel. I smiled, wished her Good Shabbos and said with a smile, "I'm guessing you are trying to get some must be visiting from up north." (Mind you everyone from Miami was dressed like they were living in Greenland NOT sunbathing) She laughed, nodded, and complained that SHE was cold.

Miami in the winter.

This is the dark of winter in some places...but we forget in Miami.

Today while eating cholent (a hot sabbath stew cooked overnight in a crock pot) I commented how it is only possible to understand how nice a cholent was in Russia when people needed to come home to a HOT meal on a COLD winter day whereas in Miami people often buy Deli and make salads for Shabbos Lunch instead of the traditional Cholent that I make each week for my kids and all their friends who hang out here. Today..for a few moments you could close your eyes and picture all those Jews of long ago who looked forward in Russia or France to some hot meal on Shabbos after Temple... and didn't opt for a deli sandwich or salad.

On days like this can almost touch the rest of the world... stuck in winter.

A beautiful moon, a beautiful Shabbos day.

Saw an old friend today at Laz's house in the after... Yudi Simon who just got married, he looked cute in his Kapota, cute new wife, starting out on a new life. Nice to see someone who you have watched for years grow, evolve... from who he was to who he is... awesome sometimes. Makes you smile. New new new... so nice sometimes.

So... since its off-season I am going to stay off-topic a little here and go with the flow..with the wind, while I wait for the teens to get back from their NCSY evening.

This week I obsessed several times over an old, great video called The Lamplighter, put out by Chabad years ago which had the most fantastic music on it...sort of a music video from the early days of music videos. It told he story of a Lamplighter... someone who lights lamps but not just in far off Russia on a cold, moonless night but lights people's neshoma.. their soul. They reach out and touch a spark... God I always loved that video. Has a part where Yeshiva students go around and give people Lchaims and wish them well (long story, hard to explain) to the tune of an Israeli Rock Star singing "I believe" and there is one part where they stop at a light and hand an Israeli Traffic Cop a small shot of vodka and he makes a Lchaim back at them. Everyone always cracked up during that part..said "only in Israel" you'd see that. Great scene, wonderful video. Tried to find it online..did.. might order it for myself when I have some extra money. Bright, happy video... very alive and fun. Upbeat.

Then I read something in a book by accident and it explained the meaning of a lamplighter and how the Rebbe, 5th Lubavitcher Rebbe spoke of Lubavitchers being lamplighters.

And, I smiled because in the butterfly of chaos theories... it all connected. My father's favorite Chabad Lubavitch Rabbi was Rabbi Sholom DovBer (5th Lubavitcher rebbe) and in his later years, he would talk about him all the time. Often saying "well we almost have the same name".. Shmuel Ber.. Sholom DovBer...hey it worked for Daddy. Made him happy, he used to smile broadly when explaining it to people..especially those last years before we lost him to Alzheimers and death..

Three times this week I came across things, totally randomly that mentioned Rav Dov Ber.

Today while looking for a book that Sharon left here in Miami that I wanted to read I came across another book. Read a whole long Dvar Torah.. and there it the end and I realized someone, somewhere... in heaven or just around wants me to study more on him...for whatever reason. Well if you believe in the Chaos theory of the universe. is a tidbit... from the hit parade of long ago..

"As the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom DovBer, of blessed memory, said at he dedication of a Yeshiva--"By starting this Yeshiva, I kindle the lights that he, the Baal Shem Tov, and the Rabbeim bequeathed to us..." This he continued, "will cause the overflowing of the wellsprings (spreading of Torah) and consequently the coming of the Moshiah, speedily in our days."

who knew? butterflies beating their wings trying to make sense of it all on a cold, windy night in Miami... bravo for the Lamplighters of the world, we need more of them.

happy january 15... Bobbi

if anyone wants to give charity...this is my cause of the week.... going to give my birthday charity to them...

Friday, January 13, 2006

Friday the 13 - Weather Party in the South

Storms are predicted across the south as a "front" rushes through bringing with it chances for thunderstorms across the area. Okay...thundershowers but hey it is something. It's possible.

Possible hail and twisters predicted for parts of the South.

Last night I heard a noise I hadn't heard in what seemed like ages.... Rain.

Night time rain, heavy and hard covering the street for about 5 minutes or less... fast little shower, brief little storm. Nice of Hashem (God) to water my flowers for me. If it hadn't rained last night I might not have believed the possiblity of thunderstorms for later today...but I'm suddenly a believer.

So... wild weather for Friday the 13th..wear your weather mask and come to the party.

As for me.. working half day today, going shopping for Shabbos and home to cook... having company.

Woke up this morning to discussion of twisters in Mississippi and pulled myself out of bed and put two chickens with garlic cloves and a splash of red wine into the oven. Eggplants baking nearby.

Now all I have to do is figure out what I want to serve with it... Yellow Rice probably...

Looking at a nice 3 day vacation or in my case 3 and a half...

Daughter turning 14..... baby daughter turning 14... wild... absolutely wild.

Have a good weekend, a great shabbos and if by chance Hashem decides to send you some much needed rain in South Florida today... give thanks and smile.

Taste the rain...


Thursday, January 12, 2006

La Nina wants to dance the Conga

Everyone get up on your feet cause La Nina seems to be coming out of the closet and is no longer a cross dresser.

Okay..being silly.

Love when these names get bantered around... time for sound bites and nice graphic spreads. has a nice one running currently.

I do know temps have been on the mild side up north and not sure how all of this correlates...will see... if it verifies as they say in forecast land.

I do know my daughter from Philly called to tell me it felt like Spring.. usually this time of year she cries she is freezing and misses Miami. Probably by this weekend she will be changing her tune.

Time will tell though soon enough if the Lady of the Ocean Currents is or isn't in charge.

..............beautiful weather in Miami tonight :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Surfers Down Under Try to Surf Clare.. beautiful day in Miami

Beautiful day... really, really, really beautiful day.

I felt sick... called in sick... going in late, very late... watching the Turkey Hawks circle high in the sky in the breeze.

A butterfly... black and purple, flew into my bedroom through the window that is wide open. A big one... watched him fly about the room.. into the bathroom. Worried it would get hurt, stuck... wondering on how to get it out. The butterfly flew out of the bathroom, circled the room once and then flew back across the room and right out the window. Never saw anything like that happen ever. All the other windows have screens... just the one he flew in through didn't. Beautiful... really beautiful.

Going to finish watching the Soap Opera that I haven't watched in at least a year... read the article about the Gulf Stream possibly dying or... well...doing what it did in that movie and go into ye olde library.

Refreshed, wiser, more relaxed and beautifully inspired.

And...down under... surfers flirted with waves from Clare...something they share with surfers in Miami... in LA... and way down in Mexico.

Surfers will be surfers... on the wave or the web.

Bobbi :)

Monday, January 09, 2006

Austraila gets a hurricane...Cyclone Clare..Delhi gets a wicked winter...

And the beat goes on... and the beat goes on..

There's a song I don't remember the name to and am not going to google the lyrics but the gyst is there is something going on here...what it is ain't exactly clear..

Global Warming, Global Winter or Global Hype? Time will tell as climate tracks the ongoing watch on weather. Weather is day to day...climate is more...and time will tell if this is all global warming or just a lot of hot air.

Either way... Austraila is about to get a full fledge hurricane... cyclone if you wish to be geographically correct. A cold front is going to push through into Miami next Sunday according to my local weather. New Delhi is getting a harsh winter that has not hit so hard in 70 years according to the links on Drudge.

The tragic mining disaster we have watched play out possibly was indeed a weather story as lightning may have created the spark that blew the mine onto our nations newspapers and broken many of our hearts to watch once again... miners trapped miles below the surface with a new... but twist.

And, I think alot this year on the winter of 1977 when we thought we were entering a brand new ice age. My ex-husband and I had a friend who lived in Chicago... after weeks and weeks of barely working and having a car that was buried under snow..he moved with his wife and new family to L.A. Still lives there.. It snowed in Miami... Paul Harvey talked and talked and talked on a new Ice Age... and went on.

So.... if you like to watch things swirl...twirl their way across the satellite loops and you are going into hurricane withdrawal... look down below and watch Clare spin her way towards Western Austraila.

Take care everyone...hope life is treating you well... Bobbi

Friday, January 06, 2006

Cold Front Choo Choo its way into Florida.. Zeta dances in the ocean

While Zeta is dancing out in the ocean...far away somewhere between here and there... a cold front is chugging its way through the South Florida area. Looks gray and white outside, like if we had moisture it could snow. Which would be absolutely perfect with me... I mean if you needed another year with snow in Miami...would this be it?

But, alas....too dry and not cold enough yet.

Watch Zeta spin a bit if you have time today....she is an oddity that is beyond comprehension. Like some of my friends............ But, you got to admire her fight to survive.

Am going back to the beginning and calling this storm a She... a real little Capricorn storm.. trying to make a purpose and a plan for what seems to be meteorolgocal and geological insanity these days.

Good Shabbos.... Have a wonderful weekend..

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Zeta Hangs On .... moving South for the Winter

Seems that Zeta is a snowbird...heading SW for the winter and warmer water temps in a kick ass all out race to survive.

This storm's theme song should be the song from Against All Odds.

It's tenacity or denial to deal with reality should be admired by crazy people everywhere who refuse to accept reality and move on with the Calendar Year.

You know those people who leave a small pumpkin on the kitchen window sill way after Halloween, on past Thanksgiving and can't bring themselves to take it down even after Chanukah and the New Year...

You know those people who just can't put their Christmas Tree away even after most the decorations have been packed carefully away...

You know those people who can't bring themselves to pack up their Red Sox jerseys and wear their football jerseys... even when the team goes into hibernation and is being pulled apart like baseball teams are these days's not over til it's over people.

Well, this morning.... as cool air filtered through my bedroom windows and I took out a warm skirt to wear to work unlike my usual silky skirts and wondered how cold it will go tonight... I turned on the weather radio to hear the temps the old fashioned, old school way and ... first thing I hear while reaching for a sweater top is... "Tropical Storm Zeta, Advisory..."

And, I giggle... and then I coughed because my winter cold is gone but the cough has remained and I thought, while giggling and coughing.. "THIS IS RIDICULOUS"

So...I'm crying Uncle, no not Uncle Bob but ... Uncle Zeta and posting a bit because it seems the Hurricane Season is not yet over... not if Zeta has anything to say about it.

Heard the guys at the NHC are getting tired of writing out of season...

But..... as for us hard edge hurricane fanatics... we keep receiving advisories, we smile, we shake our head at the absurdity of it all and keep on tracking.

Provides a nice counternote to more sad, depressing stories like the minors and the pathetic that story played out ... knowing the miners had found safety for a while yet no one found them in time.

Time... a heavy issue... an important element in life.

It either plays for you or against you... time doesn't stand still, for no man or woman.

Then again..we haven't established yet what sex Zeta is... Zeta is a piece of a puzzle that refuses to end. Watch and enjoy... despite all the outcry over Global Warming and Future 365 day a year hurricane seasons I doubt we will see a Zeta in January again any time soon..

But what do I know?

I'll take that pumpkin off the kitchen counter when I am good and ready :)

Bobbi, go Red Sox... and Dolphins...
Dolphins have the longest winning streak of any team in the Leaque right now yet they didn't win the games when they needed to... again... it's all in the timing...