Am Yisrael

The Big Birthday!

Bangkok

Thailand

September 20, 2015  

Hello,

My Birthday weekend has come to an end.  It was a quiet day today after two wonderful events.  

On Friday night, my actual Birthday, September 18, I decided to attend synagogue Sabbath services where I gave a brief talk appropriate for the day and the location.  

On Satuday night, I had a typical birthay party with both old friends and new friends.  We enjoyed a variety of Thai food dishes and two birthday cakes: fruit cake and mocha layer cake.  

Of course, I gave a short speech and thanked my friends for celebrating with me. (Photos attached.)

And thank you all for your birthday wishes from around the world.

Below is the text of my remarks at Synagogue.

Be well,

Jan

.....................................................................................

Temple Beth Elisheva

Bangkok, Thailand

September 18, 2015

Friday

My Dear Family.  My Dear Friends,

Shabbat Shalom.

I am Jan Robert Polatschek.     I live here in Bangkok.   I am a member of the congregation Temple Beth Elisheva.

Today, September 18 is a special day for me.

On this very day in New Rochelle, New York, Ruth Rebeka Lifson Polatschek and Otto Siegfried Polatschek became the proud parents of a six pound eight ounce baby boy.  The date on the Hebrew calendar was 15 Elul.

Wedding of Miriam and Zev

Tzfat

Northern District

State of Israel

October 29, 2012

Larry Benowitz

Boston, Massachusetts.

USA

Dear Larry,

cc: Friends and Family

Thank you so much for inviting me to your daughter’s wedding.  I am sure that you and Brooke and all of your family are delighted that your daughter Miriam has chosen Zev Padway to be her husband.

I was happy to make a slight detour in my travels in the Caucasus and fly from Tbilisi, Georgia to Tel Aviv.  I rented a car for the beautiful drive north past Haifa and then east to Tzfat.  What could be more inspiring than the farmlands on the open plains and on the rolling hills of the Galilee?

Tbilisi: An Accident?

Tbilisi

Georgia

October 1, 2012

Monday 

Dear Rabbi Kantor, 

cc: Family and Friends

What happened today, was it an accident?

After yesterday's tiring journey from Bangkok to Tbilisi, after a late breakfast today, after several telephone conversations with two hotels, after a period of indecision and finally a decision, after waiting for an appointment who never showed up, finally, at about 11:30 in the morning, I began my stroll in Tbilisi.

Mysterious Jewish Cemetery

Yeghegnadzor

Republic of Armenia

October 19, 2012

Dear Family and Friends, 

 My grandfather, Herman Poláček, had a dry and sometimes biting sense of humor.   Yet, he always delivered his remarks with a twinkle in his eye and a broad, devilish grin that spread from ear to ear across his round Slavic face.

When my Grandmother poured him a cup of coffee, black as night, he took a sip, smiled and said, “Warm ist es.”  (At least it’s warm.)   When she served a delicious Czech-style meal, he laughed and said, “Die bidienung ist sehr schlecht hier.”  (The service is not so good here.)

After he had purchased a burial plot he proudly and comically announced, “Es hat eine gute Sicht.”

Jews of Morocco

Ouezzane

Morocco

May 4, 2013 

The history of Jewish migration and settlement in Morocco goes back to Roman times after the Romans conquered Jerusalem in 70 AD. * 

In the Middle Ages, the Jewish population in Morocco exploded as the result of the their expulsion from Spain (1492) and Portugal (1497). 

By the middle of the 20th Century, 248,000 Jews were citizens of Morocco.  Beginning in 1948 when the State of Israel was born, almost all of Jewish population of Morocco departed.  Now, only a few thousand remain.  Moroccan Jews are one of the largest ethnic groups in Israel. 

During my three week trip to Morocco, I visited just three of the many Jewish sites.

Belmonte: The Secret Jews

Belmonte: The Secret Jews, Portugal and the State of Israel

Bangkok, Thailand

July 21, 2013

“Without Portugal, the State of Israel would not exist.”

So declared an Israeli diplomat at the Shabbat dinner we both attended here in Bangkok, 

“Without Portugal, the State of Israel would not exist.”

Are you surprised to hear this statement?  I was.

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