First Night

Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the Universe, Who sanctified us by his commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the lights of Hanukah.

Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the Universe,
Who wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old, at this season.

Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the Universe,
Who has kept us alive, and has preserved us,
and enabled us to reach this season.

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That Time of Year Approaches

Twelve Days of Christmas

Almost everyone is familiar with the song without being aware of the symbolism and legends associated with each of the days.The 12 Days of Christmas which actually begin at sundown on Christmas day (December 25) and proceed evening/day until the morning of January 6 or Epiphany which marks the celebration of the arrival of the Three Kings with their gifts for the Christ Child in the Church Calendar. This is the official period of Christmastide.

By legend each of the 12 days has a liturgical meaning used to teach children, the illiterate, and those not allowed to practice their faith openly due to religious persecution.

A Partridge in a Pear Tree = Jesus is the Partridge in a pear tree because a partridge will lay down its life to protect its young and the tree on which he will be crucified.

Two Turtle Doves – Old and New Testaments

Three French Hens: (Faith, hope, and charity or the three gifts of the Wise Men: Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh)

     Gold stood for kingship, and purity and incorruptibility.  Frankincense was the foundation of holy incense, the medium through  which prayer traveled. Myrrh was a medicinal balm to ease pain and suffering, said to foreshadow  Christ’s pain and suffering on behalf of mankind.

Four Calling birds – The four calling birds are the four Evangelists – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John because they spread everywhere the good news of the Gospel

Five Golden Rings – The Pentateuch (first five books of the bible)

Six Geese A Laying – The six days of the creation of the world.

Seven Swans a Swimming – The Seven Sacraments

Eight Maids a Milking – The Eight Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount

Nine Ladies Dancing – The Nine Choirs of Angels

Ten Lords A Leaping – The Ten Commandments

Eleven Pipers Piping – The Eleven Faithful apostles

Twelve Drummers Drumming – The 12 points of the Apostles’ Creed

Now that you know them all:  Sing Along

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Dona Nobis Pacem – 2019

Coming round again, Dona Nobis Pacem begins another season of hope for change.  This year’s theme is climate.  It takes a whole lot of weather over several years to create a climate and many continue to confuse the two.

While storms continue to get greater and wilder, there is still time for a change to help ease climate change and to also bring peace to the world.  That is the promise of the rainbow.  It signals the storm has passed and in the peace that follows to reach out to cure the pains of the world.

The storm will come again.  The quiet will follow.  Change can happen both for man and all the species that share our beautiful blue marble in space.  The rewards of hope can alter the world.

This time of year, everyone expects the Bear-A-Tones and Bear 339.  They were created both as a message about the environment and as a message of peace.  Just Imagine the hope and change possible

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Movies of a Lifetime – Quibbles – 1958

This was a great year for wonderful movies.  It was not a great year for the Oscars, probably because good films split the votes and mediocre nominees won, except for Best Picture winner, Gigi, which remains a joyous musical to this day.

Your day at the movies could feature every possible genre:  Gigi, Cat on A Hot Tin Roof, The Defiant One, The Big Country, Vertigo, Auntie Mame, Some Came Running, Separate Tables, A Night To Remember, Indiscrete, the Long Hot Summer, The Old Man and the Sea, South Pacifc, Damn Yankees, The Big Country, Bell Book and Candle, Run Silent Run Deep, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, I Want To Live, The Brothers Karamazov, King Creole, The Last Hurrah, Teacher’s Pet, Thunder Road.

Mon Oncle in French and Bonjour Tristesse from a French novel.

Gigi – Best Picture – Written for the film by Lerner & Lowe and not put on Broadway until 1973.
David Niven – Best Actor, Separate Tables – Nominees Tony Curtis & Sidney Poitier (The Defiant Ones, Paul Newman (Cat on A Hot Tin Roof), and spencer Tracy (The Old Man and the Sea).
Susan Hayward – Best Actress, I Want To Live – This is one of those winners that though the role was good, the nominees must have split things because they were such a hard choice:  Deborah Kerr (Separate Tables), Shirley Maclaine (Some Came Running), Rosalind Russell (Auntie Mame) and Elizabeth Taylor (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof)
Burl Ives – Supporting Actor, The Big Country
Wendy Hiller – Supporting Actress, Separate Tables

My absolutely favorite Elvis Presley film.  It is a shame he was never allowed to grow as an actor, but he turned in one major role in a movie based on the book, “A Stone For Danny Fisher.”

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Movies of a Lifetime – A Year of Conflicts

Took a few days off from the movies, but 1957 was another jam-packed year for film.  1957 films had a quality of conflict.  Even in the musicals and comedies the songs and laughs, came from battles between countries, lovers, and war against business plus all the internal conflicts of trying to do the right thing for the wrong reasons.

The imports from Broadway were Pal Joey, The Pajama Game, and Cyd Charisse and Fred Astaire did the honors for Silk Stockings.  Debby Reynolds sang Tammy.  Elvis brought two full musicals with Loving You and Jailhouse Rock.  Hepburn and Tracy delivered Desk Set with another war of words and a wall sized computer that would fit on your cell phone today.  Sayonara brought a combo of drama and comedy with Marlon Brando and two great supporting Oscar performances from Miyoshi Umeki and Red Buttons.

There were several great westerns, war dramas and performances with 12 Angry Men, A Face In The Crowd, Sweet Smell of Success, 3:10 to Yuma, Heaven Knows Mr. Allison, The Spirit of St. Louis, The Joker is Wild, Man of a Thousand Faces, and Wild is the Wind.  Joanne Woodward took home Best Actress Oscar for Three Faces of Eve, Alec Guiness was named Best Actor and The Bridge on the River Kwai received best picture accolades.

The great songs were themes from dramas rather than musicals.



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