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Friday, June 24, 2005

Photo Friday (Vol. XX*XI) [shorn locks edition]

Before we plunge into the business at hand, I have two small bits of 'old business' to mention:

1.  I want to thank one and all who extended birthday wishes in comments, emails and phone calls.  I don't make a big deal out of birthdays other than to indulge in a bit too much introspection... but all of your kind words were better than any party.  Thank you.

2.  In my post this week called 'Connectedness' I neglected to mention another connection to the 'Mississippi Burning' story.  For those of you who saw the film (or are familiar with the events on which it was based), you may remember that one of the secondary characters is a nebby, bespectacled attorney who spends much of the film assisting and advising the two FBI men (Hackman / Defoe).  He is the one they tell to purchase the motel when the owner doesn't want them to use it as a barracks for the crowd of Federal agents who have come to Mississippi.  Anyway, the man on whom that attorney character is based is named Kessler (I don't recall his first name), and he made aliyah many years ago to the Israeli town of Shiloh.  His son lives near me here in Gush Etzion in a settlement called Tekoa. 

Now, on with the show!

Ariella (our eldest) has long thick beautiful brown hair (with auburn highlights) that she likes to  wear in long ponytails or braids.  The problem (if you could call it that) is that when her hair gets very long it becomes very difficult to brush/comb... and is often a source of tears and conflict between Ari and her mother (feel free to share your pain if this sounds at all familiar).

The only thing that has kept any of us sane throughout the later stages of Ari's hair growing is that she has gotten into the habit of donating her hair every couple of years to an organization that makes free wigs for kids with cancer.  Each time the tears have come over the difficulty of managing Ari's hair, the specter of altruism waiting just over the horizon has allowed cooler heads to prevail.

This past week we measured Ari's hair and were relieved to find that it is well in excess of the minimum length for donation... so we summoned the hairdresser to our home.

Here are a couple of before pictures:


Doing the deed:

And the end result:
How glamorous is an 11-year-old allowed to be?

After the hairdresser finished with Ariella, Zahava had her hair done (as long as she was already here, right?)  Zahava is a bit camera shy so I may need to get a court order to be allowed to photograph my beautiful wife with her fab new 'do'.  I'll let you know.

One more thing before I let you go for the weekend.

On my way home from work I often take little detours in search of little known archaeological sites and areas of historical significance.  Luckily, an academic from Ben Gurion University (he works in their nano-technology research facility), who frequently rides with me also enjoys these little jaunts. 

On Wednesday we set off in search of some ruins that were supposed to be situated near the Yatir Forest, north of Beer Sheva.  We followed the dirt track for miles (kilometers, actually) and saw several likely sets ancient stone ruins... but none of them were marked so we weren't sure what we were looking at.

Deep in the middle of nowhere we passed a stone monument with an inscription and stopped to read it.  Israel is dotted with literally thousands of such monuments which designate for whom who a forest was named or what historical event took place nearby.  It is a bit sad that so many of them, like this one, are situated in remote areas where they are seldom seen and appreciated.

I thought I'd rectify the lonely isolation of this one marker and share it with you this week.  One of my readers in particular may find it particularly interesting (as always, click to enlarge the image):
Standing in a remote corner of the Judean Desert is an unlikely forest.  I had the privilege of standing quietly and reading about a little known hero who had no personal stake in the fate of the Jews... yet sacrificed his position, his reputation and all he had spent his entire life trying to become, just to save as many as he could.

The inscription says: "Forest in memory of Dr. Aristides De Sousa Mendes, a righteous gentile.  Portuguese Consul General in Bordeaux in 1940.  Against the orders of his government he issued visas to 10,000 Jews, saving them from certain death.  He was dismissed disgraced and died in poverty."

Somehow, a small stand of trees doesn't seem to be an adequate thank-you for such heroism, but maybe my little side trip wasn't meant to find the ruins of some ancient Jewish settlement, but rather to allow you the opportunity to say this man's name aloud and thank him for his sacrifice.

Shabbat Shalom!


Posted by David Bogner on June 24, 2005 | Permalink


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Tracked on Jun 27, 2005 6:15:04 AM


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Well done!

(on the hero-Mendes mention, of course your kid also looks adorable both pre and post haircut)

Posted by: mnuez | Jun 24, 2005 12:08:48 PM

First of all, thank you so much for posting the photo of the marker in honor of Mendes. I have tears in my eyes! You're right, somehow a small stand of trees in the middle of nowhere seems inadequate... and yet, at least it is there. Now you have shared it with many who would otherwise remain ignorant of its (and his) existence. Thank you!

Your daughter is lovely and will, I am sure, be much more comfortable this summer! I am going through the same thing with Meital, though she has agreed to cut off several inches in honor of her father's birthday. What is the minimum length for donation? I doubt she has enough length, given that she wants to be left with hair down to her shoulders, rather than her chin, but it would be a good thing to know for such situations in the future.

Shabbat shalom!

Posted by: AmyS | Jun 24, 2005 1:18:52 PM

Wow... didn't realize how long Ari's hair had gotten... it was beautiful! As is she, both before and after the haircut!

Sophie will be donating her hair in July... and is all excited about having it done. I'll have to remember to take pics before, during and afterwards, as well!

That is a beautiful stone and inscription. It's really nice that there are these little snippets of history around to 'find' in your travels.

Shabbat Shalom.

Posted by: Val | Jun 24, 2005 1:34:32 PM

aw Ariella looks so cute!! have an awesome shabbos Mr B.

Posted by: Tonny | Jun 24, 2005 1:44:22 PM

Ariella looks gorgeous - her long hair was pretty, but I think the shorter cut is more sophisticated. She's adorable!

The note about the wonderful Portuguese consul general brought tears to my eyes, as well. And yes, I said his name out loud and thanked him. I hope that somewhere in the cosmos, he knows.

Shabbat shalom.

Posted by: Sarah | Jun 24, 2005 1:58:54 PM

I certainly remember many tearful mornings having my hair 'done'. It finally got to the point where my mum decided she would braid it once a week and i'd just have to cope the rest of the time (ie. don't touch it and hope that it stays reasonably neat!) I'll remember your strategy if I have children; its a beautful idea.

Shabbat shalom.

Posted by: zemirah | Jun 24, 2005 3:09:02 PM

Oh what a gift, David! You were right, I loved it. As a Portie, THANK YOU! He was shamefully treated by our country and forced to go into exile, where he died in poverty bcs of his courage. His family are still scattered all over the globe. May I plug him shamelessly? I wrote a post abt him once, here:


I never do this so please forgive me but it's abt him see, not me, and more people need to know exactly who he was, what he sacrificed so that thousands could live.

"Mississippi Burning" - that movie almost destroyed me, I don't think I could ever watch it again. The way they faced death, proud and standing, will forever be embedded in my bones.

Please tell Ariella she looks absolutely gorgeous with her new haircut, and how lovely to donate it. That is one fabulous-looking child! Children, really - but you knew that.

Posted by: Lioness | Jun 24, 2005 4:27:06 PM

Wow, your daughter is really beautiful.

I really appreciated the picture of that marker. It really struck me how the past and the present converge in the holy land. Just another reason to make Aliyah (God willing soon.)

Thank you. Shabbat Shalom.

Posted by: tmeishar | Jun 24, 2005 4:49:22 PM

As always I enjoyed the photos.

Posted by: Jack | Jun 24, 2005 4:51:53 PM

What an unbelieveable act of generosity for Ariella to donate her hair! She looks great with the new haircut - very chic and just in time for the summer!
As to the monument - none of us probably would ever have seen this or heard of this wonderful person. Kol HaKavod for bringing it to our attention. Shabbat Shalom.

Posted by: essie | Jun 24, 2005 4:59:48 PM

"A righteous gentile" - that's a lovely epitaph! And what an impressive act to be remembered for. It is sad that the monument is hidden away like that, but I am sure that his deeds are recalled and noticed where it matters, and that Dr Mendes has his reward.

Posted by: Clare | Jun 24, 2005 5:06:05 PM

My dear step-daughter has beautiful long hair that is about down to her waist. In the past, it was a battle between her and her parents. She wanted it long, but did not take the time to brush it, and it turned into a tangled jungle and potential breeding ground for you-know-what.

Enter Mirty, the stepmommy. Somehow, I was able to be the "unbiased third party." I told Danielle that she could keep her beautiful long hair, but she must brush it daily and take good care of it. I took her to a very, very nice (read 'expensive') salon for a good cut and style. Then we bought shampoo and conditioner, a detangler spray, and new brushes. Ever since then, she has been taking good care of her hair and it looks beautiful. (I would love to have her donate it, but I don't think that's going to happen. I did suggest it early on.)

Posted by: mirty12 | Jun 24, 2005 5:21:12 PM

mnuez... I'm glad you enjoyed it.

AmyS... As I've said before, thank G-d the children all favor their mother in the looks department. As to the hair issue, it must be 10"/25cm in length (meaning when you cut off the hair you must end up with a ponytail that length. I used to go up to Camp Simcha (a summer camp for kids with cancer) once or twice a summer to play free concerts for the kids with Avraham Fried. On one of those visits I brought Ariella along. On the way home she had told me how helpless she felt being around all those sick kids, and that there was nothing she could do to help them. When she heard about this hair donation program she fell in love with the idea because she finally had a way to help.

Val... I'm sure Sophie's beautiful hair will make a wonderful wig! Please tell her how proud I am of her.

Tonny... I'll let her know you think she's cute (and watch her blush). Shabbat Shalom.

Sarah... If you'd ever like to come visit his small forest let me know... I'd be happy to take you there (that goes for anyone else who might be reading this).

Zemirah... The 'don't touch it and hope for the best' method was only successful some of the time. IF she had a tiyul (hike) with school or her youth group, her hair would come home looking like a bird's nest.

Lioness... I had a feeling you would enjoy the picture. Next time you are in Israel I'll show you where it is. As to the plug, so long as it is context with what is being discussed here I never have problems with people linking to their own, or other people's posts. Thank you for sharing the link.

Tmeishar... When Ariella reads all these comments she is going to feel like such a star! I'm glad you enjoyed the post... especially the picture of the marker.

Jack... Had Doctor Bean stopped bringing over your 'tang'? You have not been yourself for a week or more! Seriously, I hope everything is OK.

Essie... That is what always makes me scratch my head when bloggers and journalers say they have nothing to say. Don't they realize that nearly everything they see during a typical day... everyone they meet... and most of their experiences are ALL new to their readers. If we weren't interested in vicariously experiences we wouldn't be reading all these sites, right?

Clare... Rightous Gentile is a term Jews reserve for very special people who put their lives at risk to save us. He was an inspirational example fo the RG. As to the location of the marker... Israel is obsessed with planting trees and forests. Not all of them can be in accessible spots. :-)

Mirty... It sounds like you handled a potentially sticky problem with tact and sensitivity. Good for you. If she ever changes her mind there will (unfortunately) always be kids who need the donations for wigs.

Posted by: David | Jun 24, 2005 5:29:45 PM

I found you on someone else's blogroll and thought I would visit. What a terrific site! Great pictures and great stories. Thank you so much for sharing.

Posted by: Mona | Jun 24, 2005 7:05:37 PM

my goodness I missed your birthday.. I have been busy - but no excuse-- Happy Belated then.
And do let Ariella know the new 'do' is FABuLOUs!
how short and summery.

Posted by: lisa | Jun 24, 2005 7:07:38 PM

Wow. Thank you for posting about this remarkable man. When I hear about people like this I am amazed and wonder if I or anyone I know would risk their lives or even their reputation to save the lives of people of another faith.

There's a book called Forging freedom about
Forging Freedom about the brave exploits of Jaap Penraat, a young Dutch man, who risked his life during World War II to save the lives of over 400 Jews.

http://www.kimel.net/rescuers.html lists several such people.

One of the people on the list CHUIBE SUGIHARA is well represented in a Japanese film. I don't remember the speaker's name but I could find out. A woman (who is not Jewish herself)feels it is important and goes around showing this film and speaking about this man.

Posted by: neil fleischmann | Jun 24, 2005 11:13:22 PM

My whole life I've been a fan of long hair, but your daughter looks adorable with short hair!

Posted by: Jim | Jun 24, 2005 11:58:29 PM

Wow. Another great post on two great topics.

Your daughter is a doll.

We all have a personal stake in the fate of the Jews. (I'm not trying to tear apart your lovely words. I know exactly what you mean.)

Posted by: Alice | Jun 25, 2005 12:55:18 AM

Ari is so x 10^6 cute. (That's so with 6 o's.)

A peaceful Sabbath to y'all.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jun 25, 2005 1:11:50 AM

Thats really kind of Ariella to do that. My niece also did the same thing. The first time I took my son to the cancer clinic it was around Halloween here in Canada. We first had to go and get a blood sample taken. Being my first time to the Cancer clinic I was not used to seeing children with Cancer or on treatment. The little girl ahead of us was 4 years old and was about 3 months into her 2 years of treatment. She was dressed up as a princess and everyone told her how pretty she was. But she had absolutely no hair and her face was quite swollen from steriods. I was shocked because I knew that my son would soon look just like her. We came to know this girl and her Mom fairly well. After about a year she started to go to school and the children teased her because she had no hair. She was very upset and so they got a wig for her which was very pretty and she really liked it. So please give a BIG hug to Ariella for me and let her know how that what she has done is so special to these little children. Infact, more special than I hope she ever truly realizes. Thank-you.

Posted by: Dave B. | Jun 25, 2005 7:02:14 AM

Awesome photos David and a very lovely daughter you have there.

'Righteous gentile' is a term Rabbis use to describe Noahides too. I hope i'll have one of those put up for me someday without the 'He was dismissed disgraced and died in poverty' part. All for Israel.

Posted by: kakarizz | Jun 25, 2005 9:44:29 AM

David, the Mendes thing got to me. I’d like to know more about him; his story after the event.I wonder if it can be known? After saving 10,000 souls he was left to die in poverty.Why?

Posted by: Scott#1 | Jun 25, 2005 12:05:02 PM

Thanks for the Mendes photo/writeup. My family are big fans of him, because one cousin was rescued thanks to his efforts. Her newest grandson has the middle name "Aristedes" in honor of the man who saved his grandmother's family, and the fishie sweater I'm currently knitting is for this little fellow.

Posted by: savtadotty | Jun 25, 2005 2:42:34 PM

Mona... Well, thank you so much for the compliments! I'm pleased as punch that you stopped by. I can't promise much, but if you stop by often enough I'm bound to say something clever or insightful. :-)

Weese... considering the post was up for all of 13 hours before my birthday officially rode off into the sunset I think you can be forgiven a slight delay in conveying wishes. It really is the thought that counts. Thanks.

neil fleischmann... I pass plaques and markers like this one nearly every day and rarely take notice. I guess the fact that this one was so far from civilization I figured that it needed a little advertising help. I am so pleased that so many people were as moved as I was with the message it contained.

Jim... I've also always been a fan of long hair, but my lovely wife also recently cut off a bunch of her locks and looks as beautiful as ever. I'm sure there are lots of psychologists out there who could put a name on this prejudice for long hair.

Alice... Thank you for the kind words about Ariella's new 'do'. As to the other thing, I agree that everyone does have a stake in the fate of the Jews... it's just that there seems to be some disagreement over what that fate should be. I know what you meant, though. No worries. :-)

Doctor Bean... Thanks for explaining that. I didn't do so good in math (or so well either, for that matter).

Dave... I am going upstairs to read your comment to Ariella. Before you guys came to Israel I had told the kids about your (actually Joshua's) story. I'm still sad that we didn't get to meet you, but I know it will mean the world to Ariella to hear your words.

Kakarizz... An admirable wish.

Scott#1... I don't know much about him, but if you follow the link that Lioness was nice enough to share with us (above) you should get a lot of useful info. She lives in Portugal and has done some serious research on the man.

Savtadotty... Wow, talk about making a connection. Thanks for telling me (us) about that! Knowing that he save thousands of people from certain death is one thing, but being able to make a personal connection to one of them is very special and makes his heroism come to life.

Posted by: David | Jun 25, 2005 10:24:43 PM

she looks exactly like you

Posted by: Maria | Jun 26, 2005 4:35:23 AM

Jack... Had Doctor Bean stopped bringing over your 'tang'? You have not been yourself for a week or more! Seriously, I hope everything is OK.

Things are just fine here, busy but just fine.

Posted by: Jack | Jun 26, 2005 5:58:05 AM

Still computerless at home; typing this after work.

Kol ha-kavod to Ariella. She looks terrific with long hair or short, and it's absolutely lovely of her to donate her hair to such a good cause.

When she gets older, there is another way she can potentially help some cancer patients (as can the rest of us): by joining the bone-marrow registry. It's easy to do, and as far as I know, they don't even need to take blood for the initial test anymore. I think they just swab the inside of the cheek.

And ... well, I'd been keeping it to myself but I can say it here: I've been planning to make a hair donation since July 2003, when a dear friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer. Although he is an adult, he loves children and has quite a bit of the kid in him still, so I decided that when my hair gets long enough I will donate it in his honor. What I affectionately term my "mop" will be ready for shearing in a few more months.

Posted by: Rahel | Jun 26, 2005 12:50:27 PM

P.S. Regarding Sr. de Sousa Mendes: I notice that the Hebrew text on the monument does not include the fact that he died in poverty and disgrace. I wonder why not. True, these days more Hebrew-speakers than ever speak fluent English, but I think it's important for Hebrew-speakers, too, to know the enormity of the sacrifice this extraordinary man made for our sake.

Posted by: Rahel | Jun 26, 2005 12:55:46 PM

Hello David,

lelated congrats to your birthday.

May I ask you a favor? Could you please give me the address of the organisation Ariella has donated her hair to? I would like to get my eldest to consider it as well.


Posted by: Ruth | Jun 27, 2005 12:30:02 PM

Can we cut hair and send it to Israel?
How long must it be?
Where do we send it?
Thank you.

Posted by: Gayle | Aug 14, 2005 5:05:06 PM

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