Archive for the ‘general’ Category

Good and Bad in the Land of AZ

April 1, 2017

Hanoch Ne’eman 4 Nisan 5777 Scottsdale AZ

I have been going a lot to the CVS Pharmacy here on Miller Road to pick up drugs for my parents. They have a lot of nice people working there at the pharmacy department, very courteous and helpful. (By the way, remind me to tell you about the most pleasant experience I had yesterday getting a State of Arizona driver’s license.) I am embarrassed for them, the intelligent, helpful, and hard-working people who work in the pharmacy, that they have to stand behind a counter bedecked with all these ridiculous magazines. You know the ones I mean. With the stupid headlines and pictures? Also in the supermarkets, the same clown shows appear. It is demeaning to those folks working there, in my opinion. They must have gotten used to it, like the smell in a barn for one milking the cows. I must say, for some reason, that is one stupidity we suffer less from in Israel, at least in the supermarkets I go too. Of course we have many garbage tabloids, maybe most of our papers in fact, but thankfully they are not shoved in your face at the check-out counter.

Oh yes, thank you for reminding me… the Motor Vehicle Office. What a pleasure! Since I have been renewing my NJ Driver’s License for the past twenty-two years, I thought of doing it again, as it runs out in June. But now my parents are stuck out here in AZ, so I thought – why don’t I try to get an Arizona license? So I check online with the AZ Dept. of Transportation, and learn that there are DMV offices and also alternative authorized service providers scattered around the state. I find one close to me and go there. There is no line. I sign in and two minutes later someone comes out and says “May I help you?” I give them the form I printed out online with my info, they take my US passport and NJ Driver’s License, and say okay, this will take 5 or ten minutes. They take my photo against the wall. I sit down to wait. While I am reading, the manager comes over to me and says, “Sir, pardon me, are we taking care of you already?” I assure him yes, Javier is on my case. I wait ten minutes and they come out with a temporary license, the real one will be mailed to my home in coming weeks. I pay forty dollars. It is good for fifteen years.

In NJ, you have to go every four years, show four types of different ID, which are often not quite right and you have to go back to your bank to get new ones, pay like $24 for just the four years, etc. My cousin in California told me much worse stories. Why is AZ different, logical, pleasant and normal? Must be all the Mormons and Republicans out here.


Shiva for Uncle Asher

September 2, 2016

29th Av, 5776 Hanoch Ne’eman  New Jersey

This week my Father has been sitting shiva for his brother, Asher. We have been going in to the minyan at the Jewish Student Ctr. in Princeton.

Yesterday I helped one of the students check the eruv in Princeton. Indeed, that week a vehicle crashed into on of the telephone poles and damaged the lehi. So you see how important it is to check!

Some heavy rain here yesterday which I, being in Israel, had not seen in many months.

We enjoyed all the visitors and callers who came and called to express sympathy.

I set up a memorial blog for my uncle at:

Bibi ready

On the plane

July 29, 2015

14 Av 5775 Jer.

Had lovely visit in NJ with family. Flew back on El Al. The plane was named Sderot, which I hoped would not encourage anyone to shoot at us. I had three seats to myself and felt like I was in business class. There was an Arab family from NJ going to Israel to visit their family. They looked like good Americans. In the evening after my arrival back I was in the supermarket and saw three Arab women, also speaking perfect American English, evidently also visiting. These American Arab visitors gave me a good feeling, they had the good qualities of both Arabs and Americans, I felt.

On the plane I usually try not to watch any movies, but sometimes I get interested in something on someone else’s screen. That happened too this time. I ended up watching a good part of Woman in Gold, about a Jewish woman from Vienna’s legal battle to recover her family’s looted artwork, stolen by the Nazis. Also watched the latter part of Notebook, with Jim Garner and others, which dealt with the theme of elderly memory loss in a unique way. It was a good film too and was pungent as our family had just been dealing a lot during my visit with helping one of our relatives deal with similar issues. I watched it over the shoulder of the woman in the row in front of me, just reading the subtitles in Hebrew. I wouldn’t want people to see me actually watching it on my own screen!

And did I tell you we had a great view of Manhattan after taking off from Newark? Central Park and everything.

birthday, matzos, and me

April 5, 2015

17 th of Nisan 5775

Today is my 45th birthday, on the Gregorian calendar. I would like to thank my dear parents for having me 45 years ago, and for all their kindness since then. One can fit a lot of mistakes into 45 years, but I hope I can learn from them all and make each new day better than the one before. Birthday blessings from me to you.

Seder Night

On Passover eve, I attended a lovely seder here in Katamon. It was made up of singles, and was very lively, interesting , and filled with a lot of good discussion. All the respect to Miriam Lorberbaum for making the seder. The time flew by and I got home around 5:20 am.

The next day, Miriam also put on a great meal in the afternoon. After havdala, I stayed around to help with dishes. I davened the evening service alone later in the evening. Tonight, when they counted the second day of the Omer, I realized I had forgotten to bless the night before. A new record for me!! Did not manage to bless on the Omer even once! Oh well, I am glad at least that the reason I missed it on the day of “Hesed of Hesed” (kindness of kindness) is that I was doing hesed.

think about direction

December 27, 2014

After Shabbat, 6 Tevet 5775 Jerusalem Chanoch Ne’eman(c)

When I was 15, I worked as a CIT at a boy scout camp, named Floodwood. On the wall in the camp office was a poster with the message: If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.

What a haunting message. When I look at my life, I feel its relevance. Too many periods of drifting. Too many times of being deterred by obstacles. Too many times of not believing I could make it work. And there you are: somewhere else.

Stay calm. Think it out. Think of more options. Pray to God for ideas. See a path, and begin. When you hit the obstacles, figure out how to crack them.

I left law school after a half year. I only recently regretted it, some 22 years later. Interesting that in this week’s parsha, Vayigash, when Joseph reveals himself to his brothers, it is 22 years after they sold him. Bam. You suddenly realize that what you always thought was right, was wrong. Catch 22; you are caught after 22 years. “I am Joseph.” Whoops.

One of the reasons I left was because I couldn’t stand most of the classes. But I recently realized how I could have dealt with that better. I did not have to go to many classes. I could have sat in the library and reviewed the material myself, and also set up review groups with fellow students. We often think in black and white. Have to think of third options, fourth options. Have to learn to not run away, but chart your own path.

That is what I am starting to do in my own life now. The Shmitta year is giving me an opportunity to do so too.

hi, my name is...

hi, my name is…


December 1, 2014

Shani, 9 Kislev, 5775 Jerusalem Hanoch Ne’eman (c)

As a divorcee, I am looking for a shidduch (match). A talented young jewish woman had a blog called Bad For Shidduchim which I enjoyed for several of the years of its existence, and in which she would write about various aspects of the partner seeking enterprise. I will try, for now, just one post.

There are, in the religious Jewish world, some good websites to help people meet. I was on one of them for some time, on and off, and it did help me meet some interesting people. The best sites, I believe, use a combination of search engines and real matchmakers to suggest for you ideas.

Nevertheless, I am currently off that site. Why?

Well, a few reasons. One, perhaps, which I always question myself about, is that I don’t want to be relying on that source to find me a shidduch. Like Yosef with the Butler, in the dungeon, you know. I want to feel that I have to get out there and take my own proactive action.

I know, signing up on the site is like action.

But… maybe I am afraid of … success. Not of getting married, but of getting married through a website. That is not really how I want to do it. That is so … commercial.

Listen, any way is legitimate. Hashem has many messengers. The main thing is to keep at both the prayer and effort, as each person feels is right for them.

You can be on a dozen websites, but if you are not ready, won’t help much.

When you get yourself ready, the match will come. Hashem has many winding ways to bring you together, He is not dependent on websites.

Any stories anyone would like to share?

college thoughts

November 10, 2014

Chanoch Ne’eman 17 Heshvan 5775 New Jersey by the Sea (c)

This Shabbos I was up in Princeton. My sister and I and her boys took a nice hike on Friday aft. We were in a place with very high trees, especially by Israeli standards. We got some strong wind and even some rain during our two hour outing.

I stayed by my uncle in Princeton for Shabbat. I went to the davening at the Jewish Student Center. Dr. Aaron Koller from YU was also there for Shabbat as a guest scholar, and I enjoyed his talks.

The observant Jewish students who partake in the Jewish communal life on campus; daily prayers, kosher cafeteria, Shabbat, have a beautiful social and support group, which I think surpasses that of probably most other college students.

Life on the Boardwalk

November 6, 2014

Chanoch Ne’eman 13 Heshvan 5775 New Jersey by the Sea (c)

This morning, in the mild rain, I walked down to the ocean. Two fishermen were working the surf. The seabirds were on duty as well. They sit in little groups, small and mid size species together, the largest gulls sit separately. They have their beaks out to sea, into the wind. Occasionally one of them decides, like a jet cleared for takeoff, to open its wings, flap forward, and go airborne over the water, like at JFK airport. Then they veer north or south along the beach. I guess they are looking for fish. Some flocks of birds also fly down the coast in interesting formations. It seems that they keep closer to the water when the wind is higher.

After getting my feet wet in the surf, I walk back up to the boardwalk. I wash the sand and salt off my feet in a puddle in the street. I then had a very enjoyable stretching and exercise session under the pergola near the beach entrance, with the rain falling without.

So nice to be close to nature here. And without the traffic I live near in Jerusalem. And without all the ugly signs and bright lights. Just tasteful homes, modest commercial enterprises, the sea, the sand, the wind. Fills me with inspiration to “clean up” Jerusalem when I get back there.

And what is happening in Jerusalem? More terrorist attacks. Help us Hashem, to clean up the terrorists too.

Crossing the Ocean

October 31, 2014

by Chanoch Ne’eman 7 Heshvan 5775 New Jersey  (c)

On Wed. night I got into a big El Al bird near Tel Aviv, and flew on its back to New Jersey. It is sort of weird sleeping in the same “room” as several hundred other people. How often do we do that? Reminds me a little of when I was in IDF Jail Four for 13 days, and slept in a big tent with some 30 other guys. At least no one was snoring on the plane. I am so proud of myself, that I managed to eat or drink nothing on the plane for the whole trip, which made me feel much better than I usually do. I was sitting near the back, on the left, where there were for 4 rows just two seats next to eachother, and I was next to a fellow about my age also from Jerusalem. So despite the inherent  uncomfort, it was a pretty good trip. Took the train down to Bay Head, where my dear Father picked me up. I was the only one to get off the train at that last stop!

This morning I went down to the ocean after davening. Took off my shoes and waded in. Water still warm. A long, low lying blanket of clouds went out to sea for maybe 2 to 3 miles, who knows? Some small motorboats where off shore trying to catch a school of fish, nearby too where a big flock of various sea birds, involved in the same venture. The sea air is wonderful, especially at night.

I am sort of embarrassed, towards my family perhaps, though not really towards myself, about the small amount of money I currently make. But I am grateful to Hashem, that I am able, by the work of my hands, to support myself, and also pay to fly here to visit my dear family. This ticket cost about a thousand dollars, which is pretty low compared to other times of the year.

Today going up to Princeton for Shabbat.

When all is said and done…

August 27, 2014

2 Elul 5774 Yerushalayim

When all is said and done… more is said, than done.

This Elul will also mark twenty years since I came to Israel.

And what have I achieved here? I presently have no wife, no children. Have I attained any of my goals to help make this a better place?

Seems like I have misused so much time. Working too much, working too little. Who can have the courage to be himself? Who can really trust in Hashem and truly serve Him with joy?

Seven years have flew by since my divorce. Two people, not understanding each other enough. Me also with self doubts because of my lack of professional achievement. Only in recent years have I got into a job, gardening, which I like somewhat. Most of the other things I did I just fell into, and did just to make money. And I spent so much tiring time on some of them, that I got run down and discouraged, and without enough time for things really important to me.

What of my dreams to be a great educator? What of my dreams to be changing things in the fabric of Israel society?

Where are the children I yearn for? The wife I can connect with and face the world with confidently?

There is a way of living in which each day is equal in its spiritual value and all the days which preceded it together.

Teach me Hashem, to number our days, then I will attain a heart of wisdom.