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Monday, January 29, 2007

Comfort Voices

We all know what "comfort food" is. Most of us probably have "comfort voices" too. As soon as you hear the sound of certain singers, their voice just reaches down to that same comfort zone that feels so much like your favorite room at the Art Museum, or your favorite walking trail. It's not necessarily the voices that fill you with awe like Joni Mitchell or Aaron Neville. For me the voices that always resonate with my internal "feel-right" frequency, include Mark Knoffler, Bonnie Raitt, Eva Cassidy, and Mississippi John Hurt.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Chasidic Wedding

I went to Israel to attend my niece's Chasidic wedding. What a surprise to see many of her friends looking like they'd just come from the Rainbow Festival. The young women wore long beautiful headscarves and a number were drumming. The young men had long hair, accented by "payis" (earlocks) and danced in that arm-waving, swaying, bouncing way that we do at Grateful Dead concerts. The Chasidic band included an outstanding fiddler and the music was mixed with strains of "Chieftains-style" Irish rock. I'm going to have to do some research on the "Breslov Rebbe" and the "Bayla Rebbe" who are at the center of the ideology. I believe the Breslov Rebbe lived in the 1800's. My 20 year old niece and her 22 year old soulmate-husband were lost in each other's eyes for minutes on end, when he lifted her veil.

Shiite vs. Sunni Question

The question I have about Iraq is never addressed in the newspapers. Who has researched it? Is all the sectarian violence perpetrated by "religious" Sunnis and Shiites, or are all Sunnis and Shiites (even secular ones) mistrustful, angry, and either participating in or supporting the violence? If it's the former, then what per cent of Iraqis are secular people who just want to coexist and raise families and get on with their lives? Also, if one is a "religious" Sunni or Shiite, then what's the likelihood that he or she supports the violence?

(I put quotes around "religious" because many fundamentalists and orthodox of every stripe are so adept at preaching love and sacrality, yet fomenting intolerance and violence "with God on their side.")