Saturday, September 24, 2016

Moral, Legal, and Political Philosophy of W.S.Gilbert



An example of what I take Gilbert's attitude towards harsh punishment of offenders.
In this case, a "Billiard Sharp"
I presented "The Moral, Legal, and Political Philosophy of W.S. Gilbert" at the Philosophy Club of The Villages, FL, on 23 September, to an enthusiastic audience (Including a bit of singing, thanks Moe).

MAY WE DISCERN THE PHILOSOPHY OF AUTHORS FROM THEIR WORKS?

William Schwenck Gilbert wrote the words and oversaw the production of 14 "Gilbert and Sullivan" comic operas from 1871 through 1896. (Sullivan composed the music). They have become staples of English-language "light" entertainment over the past century. In addition to being Plain Fun, I believe the lyrics embody the actual philosophical attitude of Gilbert, who, IMHO, in the era of Queen Victoria, would have been a Tory (aligned with Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli) rather than a Liberal (aligned with Prime Minister William Gladstone).


"THEIR CUSTOMARY ATTITUDE"

At the end of my talk, I asked the audience to rise and act out what the First Lord of the Admiralty (in HMS Pinafore) called "The Customary Attitude" of a "British Tar" (a lowly seaman).

I retitled that epic piece "An American" and, most recently, have made it gender-neutral. (See adjacent image.)

As our children and grandchildren were growing up, we'd act it out together. When I'd ask "what is your Customary Attitude?" they'd assume the fighting stance suggested  by Gilbert. (Now that the youngest are in college, I don't know if that request works anymore. However, if any of them are reading this right now, I'd like to know!)

In any case, by placing this at the end of my talk, with the audience on their feet, I was guaranteed a "standing ovation".


SUMMARY OF MY TALK

I drew Philosophical Issues from five operettas:
  • Trial by Jury (1875 - the second Gilbert and Sullival collaboration, and their first real success)
    Philosophical Issues: Nepotism, Martial Fidelity, Sexism, Enforcing Contracts, Need for Bias-Free Court, Judicial Restraint
  • HMS Pinafore  (1878 - the fourth collaboration, and a wild success, with about 150 unauthorized rip-offs by American theater companies)
    Philosophical Issues: Social Class, Private vs Public Jobs, True Love, People Believe What They Want to Believe, Altruism
  • Pirates of Penzance  (1879 - the fifth collaboration, and a similarly wild success. Penzance was first performed on Broadway, in New York City, in an attempt to thwart the US "copyright pirates")
    Philosophical Issues: Is there an Absolute Duty to Comply with Contracts? Should Military Leaders Have Military Knowledge?
  • The Mikado (1885 - the ninth collaboration, continuing their successful run)
    Philosophical Issue: Let the Punishment Fit the Crime
  • Utopia, Limited (1893 - the thirteenth. It was only a modest success, and with the failure of their next play, their last success together.)
    Philosophical Issue:  The Ideal Utopian Form of Government, Imperialism, Jingoism (extreme nationalism), “Progress” Based on British Model (only Better :^), The Folly of Nation Building

Trial by Jury (1875) - For breach of promise of marriage 

Gilbert illustrates how nepotism may be the key to getting ahead in life. And how marital fidelity may be violated. Also how really good lawyers are the ones who trick the legal system into declaring "innocent" those who are actually guilty.

The JUDGE explains how he obtained his position:

… I was, as many young barristers are, An impecunious party. … [with never] a chance Of addressing a British Jury.… So I fell in love with a rich attorney's Elderly, ugly daughter.


The rich attorney, he jumped with joy / And replied to my fond professions: / "You shall reap the reward of your pluck, my boy, / At the Bailey and Middlesex sessions. / You'll soon get used to her looks," said he, / "And a very nice girl you will find her! / She may very well pass for forty-three / In the dusk, with a light behind her."
The rich attorney was good as his word;  / The briefs came trooping gaily, / And every day my voice was heard / At the Sessions or Ancient Bailey.


All thieves who could my fees afford / Relied on my orations.  / And many a burglar I've restored / To his friends and his relations.

At length I became rich. / An incubus then I thought her. / So I threw over that rich attorney's / Elderly, ugly daughter. / The rich attorney my character high / Tried vainly to disparage. / And now, if you please, / I'm ready to try / This Breach of Promise of Marriage!
Gilbert satirizes the idea of a bias-free trial. He has an observer express favoritism to the pretty "broken-hearted bride" plaintiff, clearly sexism, -- then he has a court officer meaninglessly repeat the (already violated) rule against bias:
Oh, listen to the plaintiff's case: / Observe the features of her face--/ The broken-hearted bride. / Condole with her distress of mind. 
From bias free of every kind, / This trial must be tried! 
Then the disfavor towards the "ruffianly" defendant, sexism again, and again the rule against bias:
And when, amid the plaintiff's shrieks, / The ruffianly defendant speaks-- / Upon the other side; / What he may say you needn't mind:
From bias free of every kind, /This trial must be tried!
The trial drags on for quite a while, with the pretty Plaintiff flirting with the Jury, the Court Officers, and, especially, the Judge. Then, the JUDGE (tossing his books and papers about):
All the legal furies seize you! / No proposal seems to please you. / I can't sit up here all day, / I must shortly get away.
Put your briefs upon the shelf, ' I will marry her myself!

PROBLEM SOLVED! Many (perhaps all) the Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas end abruptly, with a broad-stroke surprise ending that (if you are willing to believe it) solves a very complex problem.

The key here, is that ALL the participants are happy with the ending. The plaintiff gets to marry the Judge, a man with higher standing  than the defendant. The defendant gets out from under his breach of promise of marriage. And, of course, the Judge gets a pretty, young wife!

HMS Pinafore (1878) - The (un)importance of social class 

Does true love triumph over social class? Does the private sector reward hard work and excellence, while the public sector rewards party loyalty? This operetta starts with a problem of true love. A lowly sailor loves his Captain's daughter, and the feeling is mutual. However, the Captain has promised his daughter's hand to the his ultimate boss, the First Lord of the Admiralty.

RALPH RACKSTRAW (lowly seaman): I love the captains’ daughter - alas above my station. Captains’ daughters don’t marry foremast jacks. 
CAPTAIN: My daughter Josephine, the fairest flower, is sought in marriage by Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B, first Lord of the Admiralty.  (Knight Commander of the Bath) 
JOSEPHINE: I cannot love him. The object of my love is but a humble sailor aboard your own ship.
SIR JOSEPH – Explains how he obtained his position.

When I was a lad I served a term / As office boy to an Attorney's firm. / I cleaned the windows and I swept the floor, / And I polished up the handle of the big front door. / I polished up that handle so carefullee, / That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee! 
... They gave me the post of a junior clerk. / I served the writs with a smile so bland, / And I copied all the letters in a big round hand. / I copied all the letters in a hand so free, / That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee! 
… I wore clean collars and a brand-new suit / For the pass examination at the Institute. / That pass examination did so well for me, / That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!  
... Of legal knowledge I acquired such a grip, that they took me into the partnership. (The only ship that I ever had seen.) / … I grew so rich that I was sent / By a pocket borough into Parliament./ I always voted at my party's call, / And I never thought of thinking for myself at all./ I thought so little, they rewarded me / By making me the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!  
Now landsmen all, whoever you may be, / If you want to rise to the top of the tree, / If your soul isn't fettered to an office stool, / Be careful to be guided by this golden rule. / Stick close to your desks and never go to sea, / And you all may be rulers of the Queen's Navee! 
 Back to the true love problem. It falls to Buttercup, a "Bumboat woman" who sells tobacco and other supplies to sailors, to help resolve everything. She begins with a seemingly random bunch of unrelated truths, then gets to the main point:
Things are seldom what they seem, / Skim milk masquerades as cream; / … Black sheep dwell in every fold;  All that glitters is not gold; / … Gild the farthing if you will, / Yet it is a farthing still.  / … Wink is often good as nod; / Spoils the child who spares the rod.… 
A many years ago, When I was young and charming, / As some of you may know, I practiced baby-farming. / Two tender babes I nursed: One was of low condition, / The other, upper crust, A regular patrician.  
Oh, bitter is my cup! However could I do it? / I mixed those children up, And not a creature knew it! In time each little waif Forsook his foster-mother, / The well born babe was Ralph. / Your Captain was the other! A many years ago. 
 Sir Joseph sums it all up, and quickly resolves the issue:
JOSEPH: Then I am to understand that Captain Corcoran and Ralph were exchanged in childhood's happy hour? Ralph is really the Captain, / and the Captain is Ralph?
Ralph and the Captain switch positions. Josephine (now a seaman’s daughter) is in a social class too low to marry Sir Joseph. Therefore, Josephine and (newly promoted) Captain Ralph are free to marry!

PROBLEM SOLVED! But only if we (the audience) are willing to accept the word of an old woman about something that happened many years ago. The characters in the story accept because it is to their advantage to do so. Sir Joseph avoids the dishonor of being turned down by Josephine, who stands much lower than he on the social scale. Josephine gets to marry her true love, who is now a Captain, and he gets to marry Josephine. The former Captain, now a lowly seaman seems to get the short end of the stick. Had his daughter married Sir Joseph, nepotism might have raised him still higher in rank. on the other hand, his kin-altruism for his daughter, motivates his acquiescence, 


Pirates of Penzance  (1879) - A slave of duty


Gilbert satirizes two key issues in this comic opera.
  • Is there an Absolute Duty to Comply with Contracts? What if, as in the case of the main character of Penzance, Frederic, you were mistakenly apprenticed to a band of PIRATES? Frederic is a self-described "slave of duty", so his answer is "yes" (despite a paradoxical further complication). 
  • Should Military Leaders Have Military Knowledge? One would think so. Yet, perhaps academic knowledge is more important than actual military experience? 
Frederic's nursery maid, Ruth, who is now a member of the pirate band tells what happened:
When Frederic was a little lad he proved so brave and daring, / His father thought he’d ’prentice him to some career seafaring. / I was, alas! his nurserymaid, and so it fell to my lot / To take and bind the promising boy apprentice to a PILOT – …/ I was a stupid nurserymaid, on breakers always steering, And I did not catch the word aright, through being hard of hearing; …/ I took and bound this promising boy apprentice to a PIRATE. / A sad mistake it was to make and doom him to a vile lot. … 
A nurserymaid is not afraid of what you people call work, So I made up my mind to go as a kind of piratical maid-of-all-work. 
 We jump ahead to the day Frederic is 21 years old, and out of his pirate apprenticeship (or so we think): 
PIRATE KING. Yes, Frederic, from to-day you rank as a full-blown member of our band.  
FREDERIC: My friends, I thank you all … Today I am out of my indentures, and today I leave you forever … I have done my best for you. … It was my duty under my indentures, and I am the slave of duty. As a child I was regularly apprenticed to your band. It was through an error -- no matter, the mistake was ours, not yours, and I was in honor bound by it. … 
Oh! pity me, my beloved friends, for such is my sense of duty that, once out of my indentures, I shall feel myself bound to devote myself heart and soul to your extermination! … 
PIRATE: We don’t seem to make piracy pay. … 
FREDERIC: I know why, but, alas! I mustn’t tell you … 
PIRATE: Why not, my boy? It’s only half-past eleven, and you are one of us until the clock strikes twelve. 
FREDERIC: Well, then, it is my duty, as a pirate, to tell you that you are too tenderhearted. For instance, you make a point of never attacking a weaker party than yourselves, and when you attack a stronger party you invariably get thrashed. … 
Then, again, you make a point of never molesting an orphan [because you are orphans yourselves] and it has got about, and what is the consequence? Every one we capture says he’s an orphan. The last three ships we took proved to be manned entirely by orphans, and so we had to let them go. …
 Gilbert needs to satirize a military man, as he did with (Sir Joseph in Pinafore), so in comes the Major-General, candidly introducing himself:
I am the very model of a modern Major-General, / I’ve information vegetable, animal, and mineral, … / I’m very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical, ... 
I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical, / About binomial theorem I’m teeming with a lot o’ news – / With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse. / I’m very good at integral and differential calculus; / I know the scientific names of beings animalculous: / In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral, I am the very model of a modern Major-General. … 
[He goes on recounting his academic knowledge in history, ancient languages, and other areas. However, let us skip to his Military knowledge.]
… In fact, when I know what is meant by “mamelon” and “ravelin”, / When I can tell at sight a Mauser rifle from a javelin, / When such affairs as sorties and surprises I’m more wary at, / And when I know precisely what is meant by “commissariat”, / When I have learnt what progress has been made in modern gunnery, When I know more of tactics than a novice in a nunnery;… 
For my military knowledge, though I’m plucky and adventury, / Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century; / But still, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral, / I am the very model of a modern Major-General. …
Frederic leaves the pirate band and tries to organize a Police raid on the Pirates. However, the Pirates sneak into town to inform him of a humorous paradox.
PIRATE: A paradox, a paradox, a most ingenious paradox, / We’ve quips and quibbles heard in flocks, but none to beat this paradox…You’ve lived twenty-one years, but, having been born in leap-year, on the twenty-ninth of February, if we go by birthdays, you’re only five and a little bit over!
FREDERIC: How quaint the ways of Paradox! / At common sense she gaily mocks! / Though counting in the usual way, / Years twenty-one I’ve been alive, / Yet, reckoning by my natal day, I am a little boy of five!  
PIRATE: The contract says you are indentured until your twenty-first BIRTHDAY (not YEAR). So you’ll be a Pirate until you live 84 years! …
 OOPS! So Frederic, forever the "slave of duty" is a Pirate again. How to resolve this issue?
… A struggle ensues between Pirates and Police, the Police are overcome and fall prostrate, … 
POLICE SARGENT: Your proud triumph will not be long-lived. 
PIRATE KING. Don’t say you are orphans, for we know that game. 
SARGENT: On your allegiance we’ve a stronger claim – We charge you yield, we charge you yield, In Queen Victoria’s name! 
KING. (baffled) You do? 
POLICE. We do! We charge you yield, In Queen Victoria’s name! 
KING. We yield at once, with humbled mien, Because, with all our faults, we love our Queen. [Sometimes read "with all HER faults ..." :^) 
RUTH: One moment! let me tell you who they are. They are no members of the common throng; They are all noblemen who have gone wrong.                    
PROBLEM SOLVED! Again, if we believe an old woman. But we DO, as do the characters in the comic opera, because we all love a happy ending.


The Mikado (1885) - The (Japanese) Town of Titipu


I only had a half-hour for my talk at The Villages Philosophy Club, so I had to leave out so many other examples, and cut short my treatment of The Mikado. The only issue I cover here is: Should the punishment fit the crime? Gilbert seems to favor harsh, yet humorous, punishment. Though the comic opera is set in Japan, Gilbert is clearly making fun of English society. Here, the Emperor of Japan states his philosophy:
My object all sublime I shall achieve in time / To let the punishment fit the crime – / The punishment fit the, crime; / And make each prisoner pent / Unwillingly represent / A source of innocent merriment! /Of innocent merriment!

… All prosy dull society sinners, /Who chatter and bleat and bore, / Are sent to hear sermons / From mystical Germans / Who preach from ten till four.

… The advertising quack who wearies / With tales of countless cures, / His teeth, I’ve enacted, / Shall all be extracted / By terrified amateurs.

… The billiard sharp whom any one catches, / His doom’s extremely hard – / He’s made to dwell – / In a dungeon cell / On a spot that’s always barred. / And there he plays extravagant matches – / In fitless finger-stalls / On a cloth UNTRUE / with a TWISTED cue / And ELIPTICAL billiard BALLS!


Utopia, Limited (1893) - The Flowers of Progress 


In theory, King Paramount is the Absolute Monarch of Utopia, an idyllic, though primitive, South Sea Island. The King rules with the assistance of two "Wise Men", and "The Public Exploder.".

The Public Exploder is a crazy guy who follows the King around carrying a Stick of Dynamite and Matches. He continually expresses his desire to do his job and blow the King to smithereens. However, he is sworn to do so only when the two Wise Men agree that the time has come.

Since the Wise Men are overly intellectual and wooly-brained, they never agree, so the King is safe, more or less, but he never can tell what may happen. This arrangement has resulted in a happy and healthy society, albeit primitive by British standards.


King Paramount is a great admirer of English Culture. He hires an English Governess for his youngest daughters and sends his eldest daughter to college in England.  She returns with "The Flowers of Progress", six highly esteemed English gentlemen who are tasked with making Utopia as advanced as England, and, they think, perhaps much better. The Flowers of Progress are:  Lord Dramaleigh (a British Lord Chamberlain),       Captain Fitzbattleaxe (First Life Guards),  Captain Sir Edward Corcoran, K.C.B. (of the Royal Navy),  Mr. Goldbury (a company promoter; afterwards Comptroller of the Utopian Household), and  Sir Bailey Barre, Q.C., M.P. Mr. Blushington (of the County Council).  


Of course, they make a total hash out of it! I don't have the time or energy to go into all the details, but the worst item of "progress" is the way they establish Limited Liability Corporations.

The advent of Limited Liability Corporations in England and elsewhere is clearly a key element in the rapid development and economic success of Western European countries in the 1800s. Unlike partnerships, where each partner is separately responsible for any losses of the enterprise, a Corporation imposes limited liability on individual Stockholders.

Mr. Goldbury, the company promoter put in charge of Utopian finances, comes to the "obvious" conclusion that, if limited liability is  Good Thing, the lower the liability limit the Better! So, they set the limit very, very low, at 18 pence.

Of course, a great many Corporations are immediately founded in what is, in effect "Utopia, Limited". However, shortly after they borrow money for their operations, and accept money from customers for promised products and services, they go BANKRUPT. All they have to lose is 18 pence!


This throws Utopia, Limited into revolt. What "essential element" of English governmental excellence is missing? Well, Princess Zara, the King's British-educated daughter comes up with the "obvious answer": "Government by political party"! OY. OY, OY!



Ira Glickstein



Sunday, September 18, 2016

Remembering Rena - We Will Remember You FOREVER

AT STONE MOUNTAIN, ATLANTA GA, NOVEMBER 2001
Mr. and Mrs. David and Rena Moyers, Ira and Vi Glickstein, and Rita and Sam Moyers
The carving behind us is the largest bas-relief in the world. It depicts three Confederate figures during the Civil War: Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis, and is therefore controversial.
A week ago, September 11, 2016, we were sad to announce the passing of our beloved daughter Rena Moyers, age 49. In addition to being a special blessing to us as a daughter, Rena was also a devoted wife to her husband David; loving sister to Lisa and Sara; and doting aunt to Alex, Michaela, Samantha, Isaac, and Emerson; as well as a great friend to many others. 

This is the seventh, and last, of our virtual "sitting shiva" for Rena, a Jewish custom for especially remembering the deceased for a week after their passing. However, all who knew Rena will continue to remember her forever as [paraphrasing her obituary]:
... an exuberant personality who chose to live in the company of deep friendships and laughter. All who knew her, including family and friends, professional associates, and the many medical professionals and caretakers with whom she interacted over the years, will long enjoy the memory of her deep kindness and gratitude, brilliant wit, sense of humor and amazing dance moves. She was also a loving wife, and mother to many “fur children” including her beloved Lola, Charlie, Wally and Molly. She was a doting sister, aunt, and a most loyal friend.


SOME MEMORABLE PHOTOS OF DAVID AND RENA

It is hard to pick out a few photos as most memorable. Here are the pictures of Rena in her adult life that I find most revealing of her character and family life.
With her husband David Moyers Early in their Relationship
Enjoying life in Atlanta GA with David, David's parents (Rita and Sam) and Rena's parents (Vi and Ira).
TOP: Stone Mountain 
BOTTOM: Ira in the doghouse (as usual :^) with their dog Ranger,
and Rena and David's home decorated for Christmas 2001.


With her mother Vi on the cruise and tour Rena led for the Georgia Tech Alumni Association commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion.
Rena and David with Vi and Ira in Delta Business on a flight to Europe for the Baltic Cruise we took to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary in 2014.
The "dress up" dinner on the Baltic Cruise ship "Legend of the Seas".
STANDING: Vi, Ira (open your eyes!), Jerry, David, Lisa, Alex
SEATED: Samantha, Rena, Michaela.

Vi and I and our entire family THANK all of our friends and relatives who have personally or via telephone expressed their sympathy, sent us DOZENS of condolence cards, and posted so many emails and Facebook comments offering us support in this difficult time. WE REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR BEST WISHES AND PRAYERS FOR RENA. LOVE TO ALL.

Ira Glickstein


NOTE:  This is the seventh of our virtual  "Sitting Shiva", the traditional Jewish custom of relatives and friends devoting seven days to specially remembering the deceased.

September 11, 2016 - Rena passed away
1) September 12, 2016 - Rest In Peace Rena Moyers, Our Adult Child Who Passed Before We Did
2) September 13, 2016 - Mr.and Mrs. David and Rena Moyers - Their Wedding (and Drama Afterwards)
3) September 14, 2016 - Remembering Rena - Growing Up in Rural Upstate New York
4) September 15, 2016 - Remembering Rena - Education and Professional Life - Tale of Three Shirts
5) September 16, 2016 - Mourner's Kaddish for Rena Moyers
6) September 17, 2016 - Remembering Auntie Rena - Five Nieces and Nephews
7) September 18, 2016 - Remembering Rena - We Will Remember You FOREVER

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Remembering Auntie Rena - Five Nieces and Nephews

LOVING SISTERS AND  THEIR CHILDREN
LEFT: Auntie Rena pushing strollers for Michaela Hagler and Samantha Hagler,
along with Rena's Sister Lisa Glickstein pushing Alex Hagler.
RIGHT: Auntie Rena holding her nephew Isaac Bar-Zeev (with Sister Sara Glickstein Bar-Zeev)
As recounted here  our daughter Rena Moyers died on the morning of September 11, 2016, at the age of 49. As discussed here I am remembering Rena daily for a week in a virtual  "Sitting Shiva", the traditional Jewish custom of relatives and friends devoting seven days to specially remembering the deceased.  

This is the sixth posting in the series. Please join us in keeping Rena foremost in your thoughts this week, and, if you wish, posting your special memories in a Comment to this Blog. 

AUNTIE RENA'S FIVE NIECES AND NEPHEWS

Foremost among those remembering Rena are her nieces and nephews:
  • Alex Hagler, Michaela Hagler, and Samantha Hagler  (children of Lisa Glickstein and Jerry Hagler)
  • Isaac Bar-Zeev and Emerson Bar-Zeev (children of Sara Glickstein Bar-Zeev and Avi Bar-Zeev)
Of course they all love their Auntie Rena (and Uncle David). In addition, Alex, Michaela and Samantha love their Auntie Sara (and Uncle Avi); and Isaac and Emerson love their Auntie Lisa (and Uncle Jerry).

MOST RECENT PHOTOS I HAVE OF AUNTIE RENA'S NIECES AND NEPHEWS

Lisa and Jerry's children, Alex, Michaela, and Samantha, graduated from Phillips Academy (Andover, MA) and started college this year at three different, highly distinguished universities, in three different states:
Alex at Bryn Mawr (Bryn Mawr, PA - in Philadelphia area)
"Finally! I have an archaeology shirt without Indiana Jones on it!"

Michaela (second from right) at Purdue University (Lafayette, Indiana - in Indianapolis area)
(To Michaela's left are three friends who we may call "the sweet 16's" and, on her right, a friend with a shirt that reads:
"KEEP CALM - TRUST ME - I'M AN ENGINEER" - "Undoubtedly true" says Michaela's Grandpa Ira who is a System Engineer and proud of it. And, her Grandma Vi is a Software Engineer!) 

Samantha (first row on left) at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY - in NY finger lakes area)
 - Our Junior Ornithologist -

Sara and Avi's children, Isaac and Emerson:
Avi with  Emerson and Isaac

Ira Glickstein


NOTE:  This is the sixth of our virtual  "Sitting Shiva", the traditional Jewish custom of relatives and friends devoting seven days to specially remembering the deceased.

September 11, 2016 - Rena passed away
1) September 12, 2016 - Rest In Peace Rena Moyers, Our Adult Child Who Passed Before We Did
2) September 13, 2016 - Mr.and Mrs. David and Rena Moyers - Their Wedding (and Drama Afterwards)
3) September 14, 2016 - Remembering Rena - Growing Up in Rural Upstate New York
4) September 15, 2016 - Remembering Rena - Education and Professional Life - Tale of Three Shirts
5) September 16, 2016 - Mourner's Kaddish for Rena Moyers
6) September 17, 2016 - Remembering Auntie Rena - Five Nieces and Nephews
7) September 18, 2016 - Remembering Rena - We Will Remember You FOREVER

Friday, September 16, 2016

Mourner's Kaddish for Rena Moyers


Way back in 1980, Rena conducted the Friday Evening service in Hebrew and English for her own Bat Mitzvah.  She also chanted the Torah portion  for that week in Hebrew at both the Friday Evening and Saturday morning services.
Her Hebrew teacher and the spiritual leader of Temple Beth El (Endicott, NY) was Rabbi David Boros, proudly looking on  as she does the job flawlessly.
Today is the first Friday after the September 11, 2016 passing of our daughter Rena Moyers. Her name will be on the Shloshim (Hebrew: שלושים; "thirty") list, for those who have died in the past 30 days.

The congregation at Temple Shalom (Oxford and The Villages, FL) will say the Mourner's Kaddish, (קדיש, literally "holy"). The central theme of the Mourner's Kaddish is the magnification and sanctification of  God's name. Mourners say  this prayer to show that despite the loss we still praise God. (In the spirit of "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the Lord".)

I have reproduced the Mourner's Kaddish in Gender-neutral English, transliteration, and Hebrew/Aramaic later in this posting (just below the following photos). You may wish to join us in the praises and read the words as you remember Rena this week and celebrate her life.  

LEFT: Proud daddy Ira chants the Kiddush (prayer of thanks for wine) at Rena's Bat Mitzvah.
RIGHT: Hardly any Jewish event can be celebrated without refreshments, in this case a specially decorated cake:
"Mazel Tov on your Bat Mitzvah Rena Susan"
We also had a great reception for friends and family at our Apalachin, NY home.

LEFT: Under the tarp in front of our Apalachin, NY home, Ira and Vi standing (Vi with  her hands on the shoulders of her dad, Gilbert Stark). In the background you can see a softball game taking place on our one-acre front lawn.
RIGHT: The front of our home with tarps and picnic tables loaded with food.

THE MOURNER’S KADDISH


[Adapted from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaddish, English modified by Ira for gender neutrality]

English translation
Aramaic / Hebrew
1
May God’s great name be exalted and sanctified.
Yitgaddal veyitqaddash shmeh rabba
יִתְגַּדַּל וְיִתְקַדַּשׁ שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא
2
in the world that was created according to God’s will.
Beʻalma di vra khir'uteh
בְּעָלְמָא דִּי בְרָא כִרְעוּתֵהּ
3
May God’s kingdom be established
veyamlikh malkhuteh
וְיַמְלִיךְ מַלְכוּתֵהּ
4
and may God’s salvation blossom and be near.
[veyatzmaḥ purqaneh viqarev (qetz) meshiḥeh]
וְיַצְמַח פֻּרְקָנֵהּ וִיקָרֵב(קיץ) מְשִׁיחֵהּ
5
during your lifetime and during your days
beḥayekhon uvyomekhon
בְּחַיֵּיכוֹן וּבְיוֹמֵיכוֹן
6
and during the lifetimes of all the house of Israel,
uvḥaye dekhol [bet] yisrael
וּבְחַיֵּי דְכָל [בֵּית] יִשְׂרָאֵל
7
speedily and very soon! And say, Amen.
beʻagala uvizman qariv veʼimru amen
בַּעֲגָלָא וּבִזְמַן קָרִיב. וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן
The next two lines are recited by the congregation and then the leader:
8
May God’s great name be blessed
yehe shmeh rabba mevarakh
יְהֵא שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא מְבָרַךְ
9
forever, and to all eternity!
leʻalam ulʻalme ʻalmaya
לְעָלַם וּלְעָלְמֵי עָלְמַיָּא
10
Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted,
Yitbarakh veyishtabbaḥ veyitpaar veyitromam
יִתְבָּרַךְ וְיִשְׁתַּבַּח וְיִתְפָּאַר וְיִתְרוֹמַם
11
extolled and honored, adored and lauded
veyitnasse veyithaddar veyitʻalleh veyithallal
וְיִתְנַשֵּׂא וְיִתְהַדָּר וְיִתְעַלֶּה וְיִתְהַלָּל
12
be the name of the Holy One, blessed be God.
shmeh dequdsha berikh hu.
שְׁמֵהּ דְקֻדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא.
13
above and beyond all the blessings,
leʻella (lʻella mikkol) min kol birkhata
לְעֵלָּא (לְעֵלָּא מִכָּל) מִן כָּל בִּרְכָתָא
14
hymns, praises and consolations
veshirata tushbeḥata veneḥemata
וְשִׁירָתָא תֻּשְׁבְּחָתָא וְנֶחֱמָתָא
15
that are uttered in the world! And say, Amen.
daamiran beʻalma veʼimru amen
דַּאֲמִירָן בְּעָלְמָא. וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן
16
May the prayers and supplications
Titqabbal tzelotehon uvaʻutehon
תִּתְקַבַּל צְלוֹתְהוֹן וּבָעוּתְהוֹן
17
of all Israel
d'khol bet yisrael
דְכָל בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל
18
be accepted by our Creator who is in Heaven; And say, Amen.
qodam avuhon di bishmayya, vʼimru amen
קֳדָם אֲבוּהוֹן דִּי בִשְׁמַיָּא וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן



19May there be abundant peace from heaven,Yehe shelama rabba min shemayyaיְהֵא שְׁלָמָה רַבָּא מִן שְׁמַיָּא,
20[and] [good] life[ve]hayyim [tovim][וְ]חַיִּים [טוֹבִים]
21satisfaction, help, comfort, refuge,vesava vishuʻa veneḥama veshezavaוְשָֹבָע וִישׁוּעָה וְנֶחָמָה וְשֵׁיזָבָה
22healing, redemption, forgiveness, atonement,urfuʼa ugʼulla usliha v'khapparaוּרְפוּאָה וּגְאֻלָּה וּסְלִיחָה וְכַפָּרָה,
23relief and salvationverevaḥ vehatzalaוְרֵוַח וְהַצָּלָה
24for us and for all God's people [upon us and upon all] Israel; and say, Amen.lanu ulkhol ʻammo [ʻalainu v'al kol] yisrael v'ʼimru amenלָנוּ וּלְכָל עַמּוֹ [עׇלֵינוּ וְעַל כׇּל] יִשְֹרָאֵל וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן.
25May The One who makes peace in high placesʻoseh shalom bimromavעוֹשֶֹה שָׁלוֹם בִּמְרוֹמָיו,
26grant [in his mercy] peace upon ushu [berakhamav] yaʻase shalom ʻalenuהוּא [בְּרַחֲמָיו] יַעֲשֶֹה שָׁלוֹם עָלֵינוּ,
27all Israel, and all who dwell on earth; and let us say: Amen.v'al kol isra'el, v'al kol yoshvei teiveil; v'imru: Amen.וְעַל כָּל יִשְֹרָאֵל וְעַל כָּל יוֺשְׁבֵי תֵבֵל וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן


[Further information adapted from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaddish,]

  The opening words of this prayer are inspired by Ezekiel 38:23, a vision of God becoming great in the eyes of all the nations.

The central line of the Kaddish in Jewish tradition is the congregation's response: יְהֵא שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא מְבָרַךְ לְעָלַם וּלְעָלְמֵי עָלְמַיָּא (Yehei shmëh rabba mevarakh lealam ulalmey almaya, "May God's great name be blessed for ever, and to all eternity"), a public declaration of the Creator's greatness and eternality.

This response is an Aramaic translation of the Hebrew "ברוך שם כבוד מלכותו לעולם ועד" (Blessed be God's name, whose glorious kingdom is forever), which is to be found in the Jerusalem Targum (יְהֵא שְׁמֵיהּ רַבָּא מְבָרֵךְ לְעָלְמֵי עַלְמִין) (Genesis 49:2 and Deuteronomy 6:4), and is similar to the wording of Daniel 2:20.

The Kaddish ends with a supplication for peace ("Oseh Shalom..."), which is in Hebrew, and is somewhat similar to the Bible Job 25:2.

Along with the Shema and Amidah, the Kaddish is one of the most important and central elements in the Jewish liturgy.


Ira Glickstein


NOTE:  This is the fifth of our virtual  "Sitting Shiva", the traditional Jewish custom of relatives and friends devoting seven days to specially remembering the deceased.

September 11, 2016 - Rena passed away
1) September 12, 2016 - Rest In Peace Rena Moyers, Our Adult Child Who Passed Before We Did
2) September 13, 2016 - Mr.and Mrs. David and Rena Moyers - Their Wedding (and Drama Afterwards)
3) September 14, 2016 - Remembering Rena - Growing Up in Rural Upstate New York
4) September 15, 2016 - Remembering Rena - Education and Professional Life - Tale of Three Shirts
5) September 16, 2016 - Mourner's Kaddish for Rena Moyers
6) September 17, 2016 - Remembering Auntie Rena - Five Nieces and Nephews
7) September 18, 2016 - Remembering Rena - We Will Remember You FOREVER