Dark Prophets: Five Tales of Doomed Visionaries

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Jackson succeeds in interweaving the secular and the spiritual to the point that the non-native reader can experience Harney Peak in the Black Hills. With compassion and clarity, Jackson portrays Black Elk as a man haunted by his inability to make sense of the 'Great Vision' that came to him as a child. Jackson digs into Native American culture and what it meant for Black Elk to be a holy man, especially in light of his conversion to Catholicism.

He has produced a major contribution to Native American history. Adapted by the poet John G. Cryptic and deeply personal, it has been read as a spiritual guide, a philosophical manifesto, and a text to be deconstructed—while the historical Black Elk has faded from view. In this sweeping book, Joe Jackson provides the definitive biographical account of a figure whose dramatic life converged with some of the most momentous events in the history of the American West.

Born in an era of rising violence between the Sioux, white settlers, and U.

Upon his return, he was swept up in the traditionalist Ghost Dance movement and shaken by the Massacre at Wounded Knee. But Black Elk was not a warrior, instead accepting the path of a healer and holy man, motivated by a powerful prophetic vision that he struggled to understand. Although Black Elk embraced Catholicism in his later years, he continued to practice the old ways clandestinely and never refrained from seeking meaning in the visions that both haunted and inspired him. In Black Elk, Jackson has crafted a true American epic, restoring to its subject the richness of his times and gorgeously portraying a life of heroism and tragedy, adaptation and endurance, in an era of permanent crisis on the Great Plains.

RyFT Brand. In the Shadow of Titans. Sylvan Scott.

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Flashback Dawn: A Free Teaser. Wayne Kyle Spitzer. Saul Tanpepper. And joy comes alive in the form of story and song. I am convinced that in the right hands, a freshly baked Challah has the power to bring about world peace. Although baking Challah can be a little intimidating due to the vast number of ways to mess it up , with just a moderate bit of prep and toil, you too can rebrand yourself as a master Challah baker.

Your Challah will undoubtedly be fun to make and delicious to eat. But even more importantly, If you pay close attention throughout the process, you will absorb some of the many life lessons that your warm, crusty sage, the Challah, has to teach you. So can choosing the perfect Challah recipe from among the over , that come up in a Google search.

Pick the wrong one and your divine dough is doomed. Fortunately, in both life and Challah baking, breaking down your decision making process to a few simple steps can help. Life Lesson 2: Easier Is Not Always Better We all want to arrive at our destination yesterday , and who can resist the seductive call of a fast-food place beckoning to you to stop in and grab dinner?

But as with most things in life, you get out what you have put in. If you can get there on foot, the trip will be slower- but you will have added a smidgen of exercise and and a few lung-fulls of fresh air to your day. If you make that meal from scratch, your taste buds, wallet and waistline will join hands to do a dance of joy.

Amos Oz writes the story of Israel.

Of course there are plenty of perfectly braided and baked loaves of Challah on the supermarket shelves, but buying one will mean that you miss out on being transported to a state of nirvana via the aroma of freshly baked Challah filling your kitchen. Baking Challah is messy and time consuming, but you cannot MacGyver it. Success depends upon following several complicated steps correctly and in order. Do rainbow sprinkles on your Challah make your heart sing louder than sesame seeds?

Does a shmear of Nutella tempt your taste buds more than a pat of butter? Look at things from your own unique angle, and strive to find new ways that are meaningful and create joy inside of you. Does a Jewish angel gets its wings every time a Challah is baked?

Probably not.

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But there are still plenty of good reasons to attempt the mystical alchemy invoked in baking Challah. The result will be supremely delicious and a great way to usher in Shabbat, as well as a reason to say a blessing. But also, Challah is not too shabby at reminding us of some much needed life lessons, which is almost as good as the an angel getting new wings. I am not saying that the English language is lackluster from a purely technical perspective, but it is no match for the Yiddish language and its ability to spice up a sentence with a few judiciously sprinkled words.

Used masterfully, Yiddish can impart sentiment and nuance to a sentence, while simultaneously conjuring up the tenderness and warmth of Bube and Zayde. Some things are simply best expressed in Yiddish. When the rules governing normal civil society cease to apply- such as when you have reached your limit for tolerating whining or complaining- the allure of the perfect Yiddish word is irresistable.

Same goes for letting that shlemiel know he is no mensch. No English words would suffice. But aside from getting a better understanding of Fiddler on the Roof , and borrowing the situationally perfect word when needed, is Yiddish actually important? These immigrants created their own American culture through translating popular music, poetry, novels and political commentary into Yiddish.

All of this is invaluable to understanding their experience in the new country. Reports of the death of the Yiddish language have been greatly exaggerated. Yiddish began at least as early as the 12th century as a homespun construct of Ashkenazi communities of Europe. Today, it is alive and well, failing to be extinguished with the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust many of whom were Yiddish speakers.

Instead, Yiddish words have boldly worked their way into colloquial language among Jews and non-Jews alike. Yiddish played an integral role in the Holocaust as well. Many of the Jews in the Holocaust used Yiddish to overcome language barriers between themselves, to keep diaries, to write the songs and poems designed to keep up morale. After World War II, Yiddish was most used as a vehicle for survivors to express themselves through personal memoirs, music, poetry and film.

Joe Jackson - Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary

These recorded vestiges of bravery and humanity in the face of extermination are key to understanding and honoring our brutal history. Today, Yiddish endures as an intrinsic part of our collective Jewish heritage, elevated by its history as a form of covert and spiritual resistance in shtetls and for Jews in the Holocaust. Keeping the Yiddish language alive is not only a posthumous act of defiance against those who attempted to annihilate us and our culture, but also an amazing way improve your shmooze and express your tzuris to the mishpocheh.

Just try not to be a shmendrick about it. We can all agree that gratitude can bring you joy by helping you appreciate all that you have to be grateful for, can strengthen your relationships and build up your compassion muscle. All of which will result in you being a better human in the long run. However, lurking in the background is the equally significant, and frequently underrated first cousin of being grateful- Kvelling.

Kvelling feels so personal - almost as though you are the one who gets the credit for the accomplishment, that you simply need to share your exultation with the world, or risk exploding. Once again we can thank the Yiddish language for putting four sentences of meaning into one perfect, concise word.

So why is the act of Kvelling sometimes suspiciously regarded and even suppressed?

Perhaps due to its other cousin; bragging. But make no mistake, Kvelling and boasting are distant relatives. This year amidst getting caught up in the minutiae of Thanksgiving the menu, the travel, the imminent family warfare , try an experiment.


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Put the transformative powers of the Kvell to the test by actively seeking opportunities to point out and boldly share an achievement about each person sitting around your table. It must be something about the person that simply makes your heart sing with joy just thinking about. Be ambitious and challenge others at the table to take a turn at Kvelling. Beata Abraham , Education Director. It is a story of struggle, negotiation, deception, blessing, and Yes, lentil soup to be more exact.

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You may recall the story of Isaac's sons negotiating their birthright over a bowl of bean soup. As we learn later in the story, the exchanging of the birthright foreshadows the switching of the blessings they will receive from their father, Isaac. Esau's weakness is that he lets his immediate hunger drive his behavior without thinking about the consequences of selling his birthright.

In the moment itself, it never occurred to him that by relinquishing his right as the first born, he was also going to lose his father's blessing which would grant him inheritance and status. Both brothers could only see what was clearly right in front of them, seeking immediate gratification without taking the long view. Their father was also unable to take the long view. Even though the brothers eventually do reconcile, because of their narrow vision they couldn't have truly known the struggle it would take to embrace each other as mature adults.

Perhaps their journey is a lesson trying to help us take the long view. When we are tempted to seek immediate gratification in any form, whether it be a desire to be right in an argument or make a decision without thinking about the consequences of hurting another, we forget that real meaning in life comes from growth, learning and time spent grappling with a certain amount of struggle.

The darkness of these days can sometimes consume us and limit our ability to embrace the hope that lies on the other side of patience and productive growth and struggle.