Monday, August 12, 2013



Excerpt: "The month of Elul, proceeding High Holy Days, is set aside for contemplation and self-assessment.
Collected by noted national Jewish musician Craig Taubman of Craig N Co., the "Jewels of Elul" is a collection of stories, experiences, and inspiration from rabbis, teachers, and contemporary thinkers who share their insight on thought provoking topics."

Questions are posed to readers for the ELUL JOURNEY 5773
You can subscribe.
I submitted my immediate spontaneous responses to JEWELS OF ELUL. 
They include:

Jewels of Elul IX ~ the art of welcoming
Click Here to Answer

6 Elul "If you had to name the place where you felt most warmly welcomed, accepted and encouraged, where would it be? Why?"

The "place" is at my shuls where I have "felt most warmly welcomed, accepted and encouraged", although I would also include Remo Music Center in North Hollywood, CA, and the Apple Store in Northridge. At Apple, I get to sit on a bar stool, and "everyone knows my name."  :)

Lev Eisha in Los Angeles, my women's shul with Rabbi Toba August, for at least the last 13 years, "welcomed me, accepted and encouraged me".  I have been their percussionist accompanying Cindy Paley, since the first Shabbat I attended. Love and appreciation have overflowed in abunDance toward me all this time. 

The same is also true for Ahavat Torah, LA, and Rabbi Miriam Hamrell in the last decade that I attend whenever I can. This shul also is totally warmly welcoming, embracing of me, and probably all who enter. I've been invited to play percussion, and also encouraged to teach which I do. Both shuls have people welcoming congregants and guests at the door, and invite them to be involved.

Some of my other shuls where I've been involved for over a couple decades have similar welcoming behavior. When present, I, too, do the welcoming in shuls that include B'nai Horin with Rabbi Stan Levy, and Makom Ohr Shalom with Rabbi/Cantor Monty Turner. At N'Shama Minyan with Rabbi Nina Feinstein at Valley Beth Shalom, again, I am always welcomed by the women (especially Shirley!), and encouraged to play my music which I've been doing for many years.  

As temple musician, I am one of the first to arrive at shul. When I see new people attend, I make sure to introduce them to others, and assist with prayer books, seats, etc. At Kiddush (even though I want to shmooze with my old friends) I make sure to sit with new people and introduce them to others so that they too feel comfortable, welcomed, and I invite them to return, and to contact me if they have questions.  Not all shuls I've attended are welcoming, so I know the difference, and I try to make a difference by "Serving G*d with Joy".  For decades, this has been my spiritual intention. I was told by an old friend Theresa, obm, that I did this for her in kindergarten. Last evening I consciously made introductions at an art opening. (I learned in UJ's MBA marketing class: if you see a need--fill it.)  
- Joy Krauthammer

Rav Dimi of Nehardea said: "Hachnasat Orchim - the welcoming of guests -
takes precedence over the beit midrash - the house of study
Rav Judah said in Rav's name: "Hachnasat Orchim - the welcoming of guests -
takes precedence over welcoming the Shechina, the Divine Presence of G*d Herself."  
 Shabbat 127a

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Fun Birthday

Fun Spontaneous Birthday

- Joy Krauthammer

What a fun birthday I had today, and not midnight yet in Los Angeles, so still my birthday.

The morning began with gratefully reading my birthday e-mails and also happily saw that one of my poems had been republished in Kol ALEPH*, after being published in Creative Soul**, along with my silk art heart. Happy that now so many more Renewal artists can read about the new Chabad art site, and vice-versa.

Friends celebrated me. I had had NO plans but to take myself to a movie or two.
(Friend Edith called my day, "unintentional celebration".)

The day ended late, now, returning home from Laemmle movies. Whoever called me today with birthday blesSing-- I invited them to join me at the movies.  Saw Israeli movie "Fill The Void", with friend Barbara, who treated me to ticket on my birthday. Lots of former Heschel Day School teachers all speaking Hebrew were in the row next to us, so Barbara loved that.  They all wished me Yom Huledet Sameach.

We had one minute between movies and friends luckily had picked up the tickets in time, otherwise I would have missed the 'sold-out' preview show. The 2nd movie Plimpton was shared with my friends since 1968 college days, Suzanne and Alan.

They had a big chocolate brownie for me with lots of candles.  I had in my car a bundt lemon cake freshly made by friend Janelle (Edith's daughter-in-law). (I delivered the other Edith and family hand-made jam and juice 'from the garden' gifts to the house before I left for theatre celebration.) I brought plates and a knife, and my friends had the candles. After moving to a less breezy location in the outdoor-theatre patio about 10pm, we ate birthday cake after I blew out candles. (We also called Ariel, daughter of my friends because it was her birthday on the East Coast.) How perfect. You'd see a photo of brownie also, but I ate it all in the dark theatre.

Other friends I ran into at the movie couldn't join us for the birthday cake, but they shared my warm popcorn. Movie manager was really kind at the end of the night, and gave me BIRTHDAY POPCORN :) and I had the security guard take our photos, also with friends, Carol and Betty.

Crazy thing is that I had told Suzanne I'd invite Carol, and with both phones ringing all day, and reading birthday e-messages, and mazal tovs also on the publishing today of poem, I forgot to call and invite Carol. Serendipity that she was at theatre so we could celebrate together.

During my birthday I did something I have not done. In Adobe Photoshop CS5, which I own and which scares me, so barely use it-- I painted over a photo with brushes and happy colors and brush stamps and had a great time being loose, and not so restricted with digital tools. Even figured out how to delete gross paint errors. Yay. I did it. (I'd watched an Apple trainer a couple weeks ago paint on a photo.) I even signed my work* * *, not with a digital font tool which I know how to use, but with a thin digital brush, and that wasn't too easy; First time! Oops, I do recall that once I had hesitatingly painted a yellow line on a trolley track photo I shot at the Getty museum.

My most recent digital art works for Mother's and Father's Day (I'd learned how to create them with fastidious hours on the computer.) -- appeared so perfect and attractive that they looked like Hallmark cards, and that disturbed me. They looked boring to me after I'd created them. Why spend hours creating from scratch, beautiful and balanced art with created blended 'gradient' colors, if it looks like a perfect Hallmark card, and not handmade by artist Joy?  A dear friend understood me, and stated during our discussion over my concern, that the cards lacked quality of "Joyness", and she was right! Nice to know I have a style!

Good! For my birthday, I over painted a dark rich green Costa Rica forest photo*** (I'd shot last year), in purple (what else?), fuchsia, bright red, blue and a bit of orange (outrageous colors for a forest) and then painted in a baby blue stream with rocks, that I'm calling the River of Light, that comes from Gan Eden. In Costa Rica was a thin stream gurgling over rocks in that real forest that I could see from high up on the long metal hanging suspension bridges, but it doesn't look like my crazy flat blue stream that vanishes into the forest mountain. Mission accomplished! I have "Joyness."  Hours ago I have already made collages and greeting cards out of the single painted photo. I should post it on a blog so that you can see it! Done!  Look below.

Thanks everyone for the snail-mail, and by hand cards, e-cards, and phone calls and FaceBook e-messages, and and and.   Oh, little Maya even sent me my first Bubbie Joy birthday card!!!  :)
Machatenister called, and kids, and siblings and cousins, and friend Yda even called from Hawaii.

One friend Judy thought birthday was the other day and called then, but I couldn't accept her invite out to celebrate.

I spoke to old NY friend Shiny for first time since maybe 1968 when she left for graduate school, got married and left the neighborhood. I reminded her how we together had traveled from NY to Bird-In-Hand, PA, and explored Amish and Mennonite country. That was good because she couldn't remember how she got there. Shiny had fun Googling me and said I "look the same"! Nice birthday news.

Friend Shira surprised me with flowers at shul, Lev Eisha, last Shabbat, as she does each year always miraculously knowing where to find me! and I had an aliyah at Torah for my birthday. I even received a shul certificate for being appreciated.  :)

I am grateful for wishes (and gift) from 92 year old mother-in-law Thea, Aviva & Brett, Shelley, Faye & Jim, Arielle, Miriam Pat, Aunt Perle, cousins Bruce, and Merle & Mike, and Yda & Irwin, 90 year old life guard Edith, Janelle, Annie, Amy, Gloria, Sandi, Suzanne & Alan, Barbara, Hare, Shirley, Marty, Lawrence, Zena, Judy, neighbor Jean, stockbroker, and lots of other friends who sent loving messages when I let them know what today is! My birthday! I am blessed.

Bought myself a synagogue birthday gift; A gemstone embellished crocheted kipa with a bow, and you know what color. 'After hours', the shopkeeper (whom I didn't know) re-opened the large gift shop just for me, and believe me, we had issues getting the key from Security who first struggled to get into a main office, but with caring and patience, persistence and hope/faith, WE DID IT!  For my birthday six years ago I purchased talleisim / prayer shawls, and I really wanted a new lightweight sheer tallit.  I bought a purple kipa.

Not having birthday plans is so much fun.
Enjoy birthday photos

Monday, February 18, 2013

Adar Arrives, Joy Increases


Listen To The Drum Beat Of Your Heart
Adar Arrives, Joy Increases
by  Joy  Krauthammer

Our Sages say, "Mi'shenechnas Adar Marbim B'Simcha."When Adar arrives, joy increases ." Talmud, Ta'anit 29a.  Adar, the most joyous month, contains Purim, a time of miracles.

To experience joy, just be open to your joy within, and allow more joy to enter your neshamah / soul.  This is easy on Shabbat and at simchasSimcha / joy is a state of being of spirit, mind, heart and action. Joy is being connected to the knowing that G*d is in everything, and that The Compassionate One loves each of us and wants us to receive joy. 
Go into your garden when you awaken, go to the radiant face of a flower, and breathe in G*d's joy, and say with love to the Source of All BlesSings, "Good morning, G*d." See, feel, touch, smell. Shma. Does the flower sing back to you? Do you hear the drum beat of your heart?

Adar is a time for transformation: Mitzrayim to freedom; darkness transformed into light; bitterness into sweetness; sadness into joy.
My 'secret' of blissful, serene, and ecstatic joy is that I maintain a "constant spiritual and moral growth" and connection --'attraction' to my wellspring of Joy. I may pull boulders off from deep wells as I fulfill the purpose of my creation in finding ways of "serving and preserving" in doing mitzvot, and as my chareidi Jerusalem Rebbe Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen, z"l, reminded me, "...even in the midst of life's sorrows and challenges."

During Adar, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, when he named me Tzohara, said, "Joy has a million reasons to cry but you only see her joy".

Approaching life, joy is having emunah / faith and bitachon / trust in G*d. During Adar we have an opportunity to draw down Divine energy into our lives, by doing good deeds that are imbued with joy, as we Serve G*d With Joy...with joyous song / "Ivdu Et HaShem B'Simcha... Psalm 100:2  
drummer JOY 

~ ~ ~

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Joy Finder

"Joy Finder" is my pendulum, a name given by artist creator. It is cute and it is accurate.
I made this purchase many years ago. Before Joy Finder, I used my Mogen Dovid pendant as my pendulum in decision making for what is "best" and removed it from my neck each time I needed it.

The pendulum is in my Joy's Journey site because learning to use healing tools, and learning to trust myself and my abilities are part of my metaphysical journey as healer.

I keep Joy Finder next to me as I work at my computer.  If I have a question which needs an answer for myself or for others, I can ask my spiritual guidance and look towards the Joy Finder for an answer. Yes, I have studied dowsing. I even go to Dowser meetings. It is a tool in my medicine box. I learned a couple decades ago with Master Ho to use crystals in healing. A friend Karen initially taught me to use pendulum. I have made it my friend. At first I would call AriellaShira and request that she confirm answers with her method using fingers and "muscle testing", and I call that "googling". I ask AriellaShira to "google the answer" for me.

Joy Finder is beautiful. The two crystal stones each have amythest beads as does its chain, and with a green bead also. I have learned to trust myself in my skill but I am still a bit doubtful. Joy Finder has a beautiful purple velvet pouch.  Sometimes I take Joy Finder out with me to use while away from home. Enjoy the photo of Joy Finder.
Master Ho told me that I can't be a healer if I don't trust myself and have confidence in my work.

 © Joy Krauthammer 

Pendulum included this written insert: