Friday, December 25, 2009


Ahoy Mateys! This humorous musical produces a fun and relaxing atmosphere for family, friends and children. The costumes were creative and colorful, and the music was very professional. I went with a young lass, my friend Chaya, for an afternoon performance of the Pirates of Penzance at the Hirsch Theatre in Jerusalem. Of course, we allowed her mom, Rene, to go along for the ride since she was holding the doubloons.

In the beginning of the performance, the main character, Frederic, along with his Pirate mateys, are celebrating with "Yo Ho Ho" what they believe to be his 21st birthday. Due to his nursemaid being hard of hearing, she had misunderstood his father's desire for him to become an 'apprentice pilot' and instead turned him over to a band of buccaneers of the high seas when he was a wee lad to serve as an 'apprentice pirate' until his 21st birthday.
But a dilemma unfolds when it is brought to everyone's attention that Frederic was born on February 29 which only comes every four years on leap year – Aye! Aye! Mateys, that 'ere's the truth! So when they calculate the years versus the birthdays, he may be 21 years old, but he has only had five birthdays! – Oy vey!
Although, the gentlemen of fortune were considered 'scallywags' within society, this particular band of Pirates was totally unsuccessful as bandits of the seas, and considered total failures with no booty 'n plunder, and known only for their merciful kindness to their victims. They claimed they were lilly-livered cowards with no stomach for criminal activity since they were nothing but innocent orphans cast upon the sea of misfortune.
The dilemma broadens when Frederic meets a refined young lass on the beach. The fortunate meeting eventually introduces him to the landlubbers of high society until it is discovered there is a 'pirate among them'!
Life for the town turns topsy-turvy as the rumor-mill churns! 'Pirates among us! They're coming to steal your doubloons!' Oy vey!
The town constable and his tribe shudder at the mere mention of "PIRATE"! Assuming the worst conduct imaginable is thrown at the community's doorstep – coming to steal everyone's pieces o' eight - it is their responsibility to rid the town of the scallywags and send them to fiddlers green! But HOW?
They begin to ponder a strategy, when an elderly military General, who acclaims fame, not by military feats but by wealth, comes to the rescue with his numerous unwed lasses who have become enamored with the tenderhearted simpletons.
The concluded strategy is a wedding, Aye! Pieces o' eight! Is a purty good booty for each lass!

Aye! Aye! with a hearty Yo, Ho, Ho!, a little Jewish flavor was added to the performance in Israel. A rabbi shows up hoisting a wedding chuppa, instead of ol' Jolly Roger! Each callah grabs a shy chatan and passes through receiving the blessing of the rabbi.

Aye! Aye! Mateys! the buccaneers have plundered the General's household, but it’s the lasses who take home the booty!
In the end, Queen Victoria appears to pardon each of them.
My thanks to Chaya and her mom, Rene, for my wonderful birthday present 2009!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Why 9 Lights at Hanukkah?

חנוכה = Hanukkah, from חנוך = education, but also means dedication
חנוכיה = Hanukkiah (9 branch candle-holder used only at Hanukkah)
8 lights represent the miracle for 8 days in which oil reproduced itself
1 light is the 'shamash', the servant candle which lights the 8
Compared to:
מנורה = Menorah, the 7 branch candelabra which rested in the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) & illuminated the inner sanctuary. It was lit with a special processed olive oil from the olive press. The Menorah, the olive and its oil are the symbols of present-day Israel: the olive branch represents the supernatural peace of Hashem which rests over the Jewish People; olives must endure the pressure of the olive press to become the purest olive oil, a reminder of the struggle for the Jews to survive their dispersion among the nations; and the Menorah represents the nation of Israel, a light among the nations. Yet, more than that, the light represents the illuminated face of Hashem upon His people, and the fulfillment of prophecy that He will return this people to their homeland from the 4 corners of the world, NOT for their sakes, BUT for His namesake!