Marilyn is resting tonight, under heavy sedation, at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. Doctors say Marilyn came through 5 hours of surgery “successfully”. Surgery included a bypass, a valve REPLACED with tissue and a “MYECTONY” procedure. They shaved a piece of fleshy muscle that was pressing on her heart. That supposedly relieved some of the pressure on the valve hopefully improving her breathing. Marilyn is being closely monitored overnight for possible bleeding around her heart. Our good friend, Cherrie is staying at Beth Israel with Marilyn and providing eyes and ears for me. I’m hoping Marilyn will be able to see and talk with me tomorrow. Meantime, I’m back home, spending some quality time with our dogs who are strangely quiet tonight. They miss Marilyn. So do I!! Hopefully, I’ll have another update tomorrow evening. I think I just wrenched my shoulder patting myself on the back for posting my SECOND blog!! Who would’ve thought I could do it?? Again, thanks for all the support and prayers.



I’m keeping this short because there’s not much to report. Yesterday (Wednesday), Marilyn successfully went through cardiac catheterization procedure at Beth Israel hospital in Boston. She just went into surgery (1pm). Doctors first must drain fluid buildup found in her lungs before proceeding with heart valve surgery. They still hope it’s a repair job rather than replacement. Marilyn is in good spirits but very, very tired. I’m heading back to Beth Israel from our Uxbridge home after I’ve taken care of our four furry kids who miss Mom. I’ll try to keep all of you up to date as best as possible. This will be the first time I’ve actually posted something without Marilyn’s help. I’m also posting updates when possible on Facebook. Thanks to all for your prayers and support.



When I was immigrating to Israel, I asked my friend — a rabbi — whether or not Jews believe in reincarnation.

He said “Which Jews? Where? When?” Beliefs in reincarnation transcend religious, ethnic and historical borders. Almost every known religion has incorporated it at some point and in some place.

Teepee as kaleidoscope

Since Jews have no dogma pertaining to the afterlife — or even if there is an afterlife — we can choose to believe as we like.

I’ll take Reincarnation, thanks. With a side of Heaven in case I need a vacation.


Judaism is a religion, but even more it’s a philosophy and an ethnicity. An identity. We have special foods, customs, stories derived from wherever “our people” came from — or at least came from most recently.

It was during the time among the Babylonians, and later among the Persians, we incorporated into our folklore shedim (demons) and dibbukim (migrant spirits) as well as the concept of angels and demons (derived from Zoroastrianism). These influences have become a permanent part of Jewish literature, right through today.

So Jews, like other ethnic groups, have our folk tales and mythology. One characters who appears frequently in Jewish folklore is — of all people — Alexander the Great.  As a kid, no one was more surprised than I was to find Alexander showing up in stories from the Talmud.

Excerpt from : 


The Universal and Unique Nature of Jewish Folklore

Solveig Eggerz
Fall 1995

On Alexander the Great’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the wise men of the city come out to meet the conqueror and demonstrate through word play what Alexander would have learned about himself had he but read the Talmud.


Alexander Learns Virtue

He asks these questions of the wise men:

“Who is wise?”

“He who can foresee the future,” answer the wise men.

“Who is a hero?”

“He who conquers himself.”

“Who is rich?”

“He who rests content with what he has.”

“By what means does man preserve his life?”

“When he kills himself.” (Talmudist notes: By this they meant when a man destroys within himself all passion.)

“By what means does a man bring about his own death?”

“When he clings to life.” (Talmudist notes: When he holds on to his passions and belongs to them.)

“What should a man do who wants to win friends?”

“He should flee from glory and should despise dominion and kingship,” the wise men conclude.

At the end of the Judaization process, the Alexander is a humbled dictator. Although the lesson does not transform him into Moses, the Talmudic dialectics bring Alexander the Great down a notch or two and make him a better man and a more benevolent dictator.