Sightseeing in the Mindfields
 


 


 

The Cheap Sunglasses Tour: Hot Springs, Part 1

November 24, 2022  •  Leave a Comment
As a child growing up in New York City, I heard little about places in what I envisioned as the featureless, agrarian interior of the country. Hot Springs, Arkansas, was an exception. I knew that name because my grandparents went there, at least once. My grandmother sufferted from arthritis. Like many immigrants from Europe, she believed in the cur...
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Current Events 86: A Farewell Toast

November 17, 2022  •  Leave a Comment
For our final evening in Bucharest, Simona invited us to dinner at her home. Her house was far from the city center, in a newish neighborhood where every residence had been custom-built on a private lot. Simona's house was spacious and modern, furnished handsomely. There were Oriental rugs on the tiled floors, and a grand piano in the main room. Th...
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Current Events 85: A Rehearsal

November 10, 2022  •  Leave a Comment
We were rather downcast as we left the Great Snagogue museum and returned to the Choral Temple. It was such a fine, breezy day, however, that soon we recovered our spirits. The first yellow leaves had fallen, and the wind sent them scudding across the sidewalks. It felt good to reenter a synagogue that still had a congregation. G., the young man wh...
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Current Events 84: The Great Synagogue/Sinagoga Mare Part 2

November 03, 2022  •  Leave a Comment
After the Allies defeated the Nazis, over a hundred thousand Jews poured into Bucharest. Many were survivors of the camps. Once the Communists were in power, they closed many Jewish community agencies, and used synagogues for secular purposes. Antisemitic Romanians blamed the "Bolshevik Jews" for the harsh Communist rule that Moscow imposed. The Co...
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Current Events 83: The Great Synagogue/ Sinagoga Mare, Part 1

October 27, 2022  •  Leave a Comment
The Great Synagogue was doubly hidden. Its plain plaster walls masked a sumptuous interior. The ceiling was gorgeous, painted in elaborate symmetrical patterns by the artist Gershon Horowitz in a 1936 renovation. The chandeliers, gilded and inset with azure, could have graced a palace. Gold glowed everywhere. Once, the Great Synagogue may have been...
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Current Events 82: Bucharest's Choral Temple/ Templul Coral, Part 2

October 20, 2022  •  Leave a Comment
The money and time for the synagogue's renovation were well spent, as the results were spectacular. The ceiling and walls were painted with geometric patterns, mandalas derived from eight-pointed stars. The dizzyingly symmetrical designs were painted in buff, coral, crimson, white, and shades of blue, accented with gold. As in Budapest's Dohany Str...
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Current Events 81: The Choral Temple (Templul Coral), Bucharest, Part I

October 12, 2022  •  Leave a Comment
Our levity yielded to solemnity when we met Simona and our Israeli friends at the Choral Temple, Templul Coral in Romanian. In front of the entrance was an imposing menorah. We could tell at once that the dark metal menorah was a monument to the hundreds of thousands of Romania's murdered Jews. The Communists had not permitted specific memorials fo...
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Current Events 80: From Luxury to Whimsy

October 06, 2022  •  Leave a Comment
After a lengthy dinner with Simona and our friends from Israel, Miri, Petra, HL and I took a costly taxi ride back to our tour group's Bucharest hotel. It was the tour's final night. We checked into a Radisson conference center with hundreds of rooms, office facilities, a large gym and an indoor pool. The anonymous corporate style of the facility s...
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Current Events 79: Caru' Cu Bere

September 28, 2022  •  Leave a Comment
For our first dinner together, our friends and we went by taxi to Bucharest's central historic district of Lipscani. Simona told us that we were going somewhere special, and that was obvious as soon as we entered Caru' Cu Bere. Caru' Cu Bere is a shortened form of a Romanian expression for a beer wagon, a fitting name for the oldest brewery in Buch...
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Current Events 78: The Village Museum

September 20, 2022  •  Leave a Comment
It was late afternoon when we arrived at one of Bucharest's premier tourist attractions, The Village Museum. It was situated in Herastrau Park, an extensive urban green space that enclosed a lake. Adjacent to the park was the Arcul de Triumf, modeled on the much larger memorial in Paris. The Village Museum consisted of 272 houses, windmills, barns...
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