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Joy Serves G*d in Joy as a passionate performing percussionist, poet, publisher, photographer, publicist, sound healer, spiritual guide, artist, gardener and Gemini. "Ivdu Et Hashem B'Simcha" -Psalm 100:2 ....... Joy Krauthammer, active in the Jewish Renewal, Feminist, and neo-Chasidic worlds for over three decades, kabbalistically leads Jewish women's life-cycle rituals. ... Workshops, and Bands are available for all Shuls, Sisterhoods, Rosh Chodeshes, Retreats, Concerts, Conferences & Festivals. ... My kavanah/intention is that my creative expressive gifts are inspirational, uplifting and joyous. In gratitude, I love doing mitzvot/good deeds, and connecting people in joy. In the zechut/merit of Reb Shlomo Carlebach, zt'l, I mamash love to help make our universe a smaller world, one REVEALING more spiritual consciousness, connection, compassion, and chesed/lovingkindness; to make visible the Face of the Divine... VIEW MY COMPLETE PROFILE and enjoy all offerings.... For BOOKINGS write: joyofwisdom1 at gmail.com, leave a COMMENT below, or call me. ... "Don't Postpone Joy" bear photo montage by Joy. Click to enlarge. BlesSings, Joy



- Joy Krauthammer  ©

So, nu, what is the connecting theme between these diverse photos in collage, “Joy In The Morning”?

My summer mornings are filled with joy as I unlock and push open Edith’s sky blue, high, heavy wooden gate, and enter her garden where she invites me to come and play each new day. Visiting is always an adventure, even before I enter the pool’s cool blue water. 

Walking around and greeting the immense garden reminds me of when as a social worker,  I used to be go on ‘medical rounds’ and greet patients. I see the new pretty pear blossom buds on the newly planted tree, about five feet tall. (See the sweet closed buds in the photo collage.) I must be careful walking to the new fruit trees at the far end of garden, because Lola, the large lab, uses the lawn for her daily elimination needs. Lola and I are good pals, and I greet her first thing in the morning when she greets me with her loud barking and wagging tail.

At the end of my swim, my friend Edith invites me to pick some of her ripe, firm, teensy “mini pearl” bright red tomatoes, shaped like tear drops, and smaller than cherry tomatoes.  I go home and wrap my growing basil leaves around each 'pearl' that survived the trip. (See them in the photo collage.) This is the first time in her 88-year young life that Edith purchased and planted growing plants, not seeds.  She says the taste is not the same. I taste the big difference. Her vast tomato fields used to look like a forest while these few plants, no longer abundant, are manageable and controlled as Edith needs gardening assistance.

After my ‘rounds’, it is time to swim.  At the edge of the pool, I begin my personal prayers to the Source of All BlesSings.

Yesterday I discovered for the first time, if I stand on the lowest step in the pool (where I hesitate because the pool water is not warm, even if the day before was hot), and I jiggle my left knee-- that ripples of water happen, and happen and happen. They grow further into the depth of the pool, and my eyes follow this as I am in total delight. Today on the step, I played again. It was pure joy in the morning.

I noticed that I can jiggle my knee for a moment or at length, and I giggle as I see new worlds. The more I jiggle, the more vibrations form wavy lines and swirls and travel in varied distances.  The shapes formed appear to me like amethyst geodes, my favorite stones. If I jiggle long enough, colorful rainbows appear on the reverberations, probably from the sun changing position. It’s as if crystals were catching the light. The water ripples are like dancing gemstones.

When I stop in silence, spaces/rests occur in the distance between ripples. I feel that I am composing a musical score in color and space. In addition, I add my right knee (“put your right knee in“) with a jiggle, although it does not jiggle as easily or quickly as the left knee. Now, the music becomes really exciting and lively, as the notes intersect and flow over each other forming other new organic shapes.

Like a rhythmic drum practice paradiddle in 8 strokes, I give a left jiggle, and a right jiggle, and a double left, and a right and left and double right, and repeat that opposite and with a chorus, and I got a whole score happening.  LRLLRLRR and RLRRLRLL. You should see those reverberations in the water. If I don’t stop jiggling; they keep going and going.  (By this time, the water is warming up, as is the air, and Edith, the life guard, is wondering why I’m not yet swimming in the water as half an hour has passed.) I don’t tell her I just finished practicing for my week’s drum gig.

Jiggling is as if I am drumming on my knees. On knees is no longer a good idea because my knees are not well, and maybe that is why they jiggle so good, especially since I had a bad fall recently, and my knees loosened up even further than the former ruined state they have been in. (That’s why swimming is so good for me and my knees.) I wish I could do a belly dance shimmy as well as I jiggle my knees.

So, to demonstrate to you my jiggles, I photographed the scenario, and made a collage. (Hmm, maybe I should take a video.) I have to get out of the pool to get my camera, each time I think of shooting the shots that are magically appearing.

Another ripples surprise I discovered today, is that my bathing suit material pattern is the same shape and color as the water reverberations. Wow. (Take a look at the collage.)  Amazing. Yup, I photographed myself looking like ripples. Now I’m a human paradiddle ripple riddle.

I think the reverberations are similar to the echo sounds emitted from my Tibetan singing bowls when I play them with my wand, and my breath. If I play sounds more closely together, they reverberate in patterns similar to when I play my knees faster, while I wear my ripple suit. This is Oneness personified. The ripples remind me also of my cymbal sounds, when I perform as percussonist.

I love purple amethyst geodes, and the forms of the water ripples remind me of quartz crystal amethyst clusters. (A month ago, I spent a couple hours savoring the beauty of massive majestic geodes in the Washington, DC Natural History Museum, as I've done also in NY and Boston. I have a small amethyst cluster, which I treasure, that I inherited from my mother, z'l.)

In the collage you’ll see my morning’s joyous favorites from today, the ripples, me photographing, and also the palm trees.  You can see in the swimming pool, the reflection of the group of Edith’s three giant palm trees.

The palm tree’s most amazing unopened two feet long and narrow seed pod fell to the ground from a zillion feet high. Edith knew what it was, and I did not. I carefully peeled away the palm frond’s tightly closed leaves to reveal not yet birthed into the atmosphere, not yet frothy, palm tree seed pod flowers. Wow. I had never before seen this. If you look high in the sky, you can see the fluffy clusters of seed pods resembling cotton in the blue sky and sparkling in the sunlight.

Palm tree seed pods release tiny round black seeds, the size of papaya seeds. Those seeds each contain life for a new palm tree. Lo and behold, there are a zillion baby palm trees growing in the cracks of the cement and bricks by the pool-- and everywhere else in the garden. With Edith’s permission, today I pulled out many of the baby trees because they can damage the property. For your viewing pleasure, in one photo in the collage, in the palm of my hand, you can see two baby palm trees, each with the seed attached to the roots. It is awesome.  With each plant and creature I greet in the garden, I receive great ‘joy in the morning’, and also unexpected pleasures, treasures from The Source of All BlesSings. I am grateful.

Enjoy "Joy In The Morning" photo collage above, and "Water Ripples, Amethyst & Joy" below, 
along with a single shot of "Water Reverberations".

Water Reverberations
Joy Krauthammer ©

Water Ripples, Amethyst & Joy
photos and collage Joy Krauthammer ©

 Water Ripples, Amethyst & Joy
photos and collage Joy Krauthammer ©

Edith's Blooming Garden
photos and collage Joy Krauthammer ©

My "morning rounds" include opening the Blue Gate, seeing the growth of the Red Bartlett Pear buds into blossoms, and watching little yellow birds fly out from the yellow flowers in the cactus garden, and pulling baby palm trees from the brick crevices-- as the Aztec sun shines on us.

To read more about Edith, my dear friend and life guard:
with a link included to You Tube and Edith's Persimmons

More Joy swim stories



Blogger Joy's note: 
Edith, and Lola in the Pool
Prior photo, Edith the Life Guard, was replaced for this one.
You can see tomatoes and kale growing behind Edith.


- Joy Krauthammer ©

I had not thought of "life guard", the profession, in terms of much else besides the paid person high on their viewing stand at the pool or beach, but in writing these two words, I think of how Edith, my 88 year old mentor, must think of herself as my 'life guard'. Edith is a welcome shamash / protector of body and soul. She is a blesSing to me, and a "joy in the morning".

Here is a photo I shot yesterday of Edith as she perches high above me in the deep end (that is where the shade is) as I swim early mornings in her pool since a week ago. Do you see the sun glistening in her wavy white hair? (The photo would have been easier and smarter I realize if I had shot it from the shallow end. Balancing and protecting my non-water proof camera in deep end was not easy.)

Although slightly warmer than the cool morning air, the water is not warm after sitting 12 hours overnight, although San Fernando Valley days are 100*, maybe higher. I had waited eight months to get back into Edith's pool, since I stopped swimming at the end of the High Holidays, the end of September. The water must have been much less than 70* at that time. Polar bears would have shivered, but I love so much to swim, that I was not ready to give it up, and imagined I was an ice cube. Edith was shocked that I kept entering the unheated pool.  Even Lola, her trusty big black labrador shivered from the pool water. Yes, we share the waters, though my hair is not floating all over the water and forming hair balls that go into the filter, I am sure. I also don't bark loudly trying to play ball with Edith, waking the neighbors early in the morning.  I don't repeatedly drop slimy sloppy green tennis balls in Edith's lap as does Lola. (See the apron.) Lola is probably more loyal but only because she is a dog. And I heard her snore, and whine. Edith does not get those traits from me although I may kvetch / compain at times, and even yelp as I enter the freezing water at end of season.

Remaining to swim too late after season, I also didn't want to give up noshing in Edith's garden. Each morning Edith allowed me to pick some little cherry tomatoes or big tomatoes from her garden. I would bring them home and wrap sweet basil leaves (from Trader Joes and my kitchen sink pot) into the red moist flesh of the large home-grown real tasting tomatoes. Sometimes they get over cooked in our heat. Yesterday with the first tiny specimens of the season, I wrapped a small basil leaf around each finger nail-sized cherry tomato which Edith had generously shared with me. Once plucked easily, they fit in the palm of my hand, single layer. Driving, I carried them home in the cheap thin plastic elasticized shower cap that I now wear in Edith's pool (I look stunning). Since I was at a Maryland hotel for a simcha last month, I kept the hotel throw-away cap for this occasion. I think it protects my hair from chlorine. Last summer season with my hair longer then, I put it up in a ponytail and kept my hair out of the water. I had also bought fancier, thicker, colorful caps at 99 cents store. Hmm, where are they?

I'm not even late yet but I guess Edith thinks she is also my alarm clock shamash since she just called to make sure I am coming over. She takes seriously her life guard job and gets paid in love from me.  The call interrupted my train of writing, so I guess I'll go now and prepare myself to swim.  I better also shut off the sprinklers because I am watering my property's big slope on this hill, and also my giant fig tree filled with ripening figs, but that's another story.  There are already lots of pictures and stories about Edith, and also my figs, on my sixty different web sites.

Edith and I were also together 12 hours ago, because I brought over a delicious salmon dinner to share. We sat outside and ate in Edith's garden with the hummingbirds and butterflies flitting about. Lola slept nearby. Edith listens to and hears my life stories, some outrageous, and I can tell she must believe she is now my 'life guard'. True, Edith, I would never have allowed my daughter to do what I did growing up, but then it was the 'sixties'. Today my great life adventure is to go to your pool and swim with 'joy in the morning.'

Bye for now.
Love, JOY


To read more about Edith, my dear friend and life guard:
I shot photos of the tall palm trees reflecting in the pool, and also baby tomatoes, and I include them in collage in "Swim Time". 

with a link included to You Tube about Edith's persimmons.

Greater Vision

- Joy Krauthammer ©

The very morning 
I discovered Elderwomen Musings, 
inspired, my vision extended 
to the mountain beyond the mountain, 
a scene I had never before seen. 
Edith, dear friend in her 89th year,
 at 7 am called to tell me 
her home’s interior 
was infused in pink from the sky.
 I went outside to see. 
I saw another world, 
mountain behind mountain revealed.
I am grateful.
I'm so pleased to let you know that Greater Vision is published in "Elderwomen Musings."
I'm excited to discover Elder Women who love life and so sweetly express their wisdom, truth, and artistry. It feels good to be in their circle as guest artist of life.
Please see site and enjoy. You are invited to comment.

reprinted from:
(Special guest Joy Krauthammer has gifted us with today’s post. Thank you, Joy. - Kathleen)



Doves nesting on eggs
in my LA porch planter
always feel the LOVE

- Joy Krauthammer
Can I?

Ms. Dove (or is it Mr. Dove?) Nesting
- Joy Krauthammer

While I went to Maryland for a cousin's Bat Mitzvah the day after the doves began to build their nest in my hanging succulent planter, the doves in my absence continued to nest; building and laying their two eggs in Northridge, CA. I was some what happy that they would have peace without my comings and goings which may disturb them.

Late at night during a long lasting lightening storm, following the east coast day-long simcha festivities, and driving back with family to my hotel-- at a gas station I saw the long gasoline truck with statement, FEEL THE LOVE. (see photo) I emerged from the car and walked over alone to the truck at furthest end of gas station, and with camera, shot, FEEL THE LOVE. This was clearly the day's expression with mishpucha/family I had not seen for a long time.

I felt compassion and love for the female dove who tenderly nested in night time, and for the male who nested during day time. I didn't realize that there were both partners separately nesting, until I read Wikipedia! They had grown accustomed to me, and I felt protective of them.

I was concerned when I returned from the east coast trip because I was leaving again in a few days, as I did, for my Jewish spiritual international gathering-- the Aleph Renewal Kallah. The doves were nesting and I told the young man (not yet a teen) caring for my garden, not to water in that hanging planter.  (I had left water nearby for birds' drinking and bathing.) I was so looking forward to the future feeding little babies. With my calculating the days, I was sad that I'd be missing their breaking through the shells and their birth.  I learned that incubation to hatching is two weeks, and feeding, maturing is also two weeks. I didn't know what day the eggs were laid.

While at Kallah in a movement class with Rabbi Diane Elliot, we participants were invited to become animals. This was easy for me. I became a nesting mom bird over two eggs, and I also became the eggs. We were then asked to paint our shape-shifting being. With Crayolas, I painted Ms. Dove; the me I had become. I also became a baby birdie being fed by mom bird. I liked my painting done from memory (even if not purely accurate) which you can see here, and joyfully shared it with classmates. The red splashes in background are the rose bushes* in my garden. During incubation time, I watched Ms. Dove and Mr. Dove together sit on the ground for a few hours by the rose bushes in their shade, in the hot 100* heat of the day.

Upon my return, my 88 year old wise mentor, Edith, has advised me to share in the story, my reality of sadness, because I had not. The message I did not want to share is that-- I returned home to an 'empty nest'.

Nest was not completely empty because there was one empty egg shell in halves. I have heard more of the sad story from a neighbor. I found the other empty egg half shell further out in the garden. With love and care and sadness, I buried the empty shells in my garden.

May we be blessed (as my Jerusalem rebbe Yosef Ben Shlomo HaKohen reminds me) that creatures in the messianic age: "Live together, the wolf with the sheep, and the leopard will lie down with the kid; and a calf, a lion whelp and a fatling together, and a young child will lead them." (Isaiah 11:6)

I so much wanted to share a happy ending with you, too.
I have since heard each day, one dove cooing on my roof, on the top of the antenna.
Another neighbor sent me a sweet photo of two current doves in her eaves, nesting. Their corner location looks identical to the one in the lower left hand corner of my photo collage below where the doves had been scouting for their home. Eaves look much safer, and not visible to the outside predatory world. May the family of doves be protected.


© Joy Krauthammer

Photos and collage by Joy Krauthammer ©

*I planted the rose bushes for my husband's, z'l, pleasure
when he was paralyzed at home, and could spend a short time in the garden.

Big Bunny

May 13, Mother's Day

OK, I figured it out.
There is Baby Bunny and Big Bunny. In my garden there are more than one!

Look at the photos below and see Baby Bunny and also Big Bunny.

I just remembered that Marcel, z'l, used to call me Big Bunny and called Aviva, Little Bunny. That's why I still call her "Buns". Let's see what Aviva call her upcoming baby.
- Joy Krauthammer

Big Bunny
Joy Krauthammer ©

Back Yard baby Bunny

May 3, 2012

another Little Bunny
Joy Krauthammer  ©

I'm dating this post because I am placing it above the other older BUNNY posts, and with about a year distance in between the two love stories.


Here's today's collage of Back Yard Bunny. I think this bunny is not last year's Little Bunny. The coloring is similar but different.  This bunny sprints faster and is more afraid. I think he's smaller and with less elongated ears and less white color detail. His tail is not so much of a cotton ball. Of course, last year there were actually two bunnies that I would see together.

The photos here I shot through my kitchen window glass and also through the torn hole in my screen door. The slightest sound, especially opening the porch screen door, gets this little guy running, gone! So far Bunny likes the grassy area by the roses, and also across the yard near the porch corner. Photos through the porch glass didn't come clear, although Bunny was closer.

I discovered Bunny about a week ago while talking on the phone to friend, Ruth, at about 7:30 in the morning. I was elated. Ruth could probably hear me squeal with joy all the way to Malibu without a phone. Each time Ruth called in early morning, there was Bunny. Now I'm seeing Bunny daily. Last night I was thrilled to see Bunny at 7:30, but in the evening.

The funny thing is that it is about a year ago when Little Bunny first appeared. Around the same time, the wild doves were beginning in my porch planter, to build their nest from the remains of Bunny meals, denuded twigs. Sure enough, last couple days, a pair of doves are back, and also eating from my lawn. Hmm, I hope they don't remake the nest in the succulent plant. The stress waiting for danger to pass during nesting was too hard for me. Those stories are below.

photos and collage by Joy Krauthammer  ©

It's the Season of Bunny and Doves.
I don't know if this dove from yesterday is the same dove as day before with his pal, 
or same as from last year, 
but doves have not been here lately and now they are.

Dove in front garden.  
Joy Krauthammer ©

Bunny Haiku

Bunny Haiku for you; "less is more"


Kabbalistic Sephirat HaOmer - day 36
Loving kindness in Creation
Day 36, double chai, of the Omer

Quick back yard bunny
slowly chews grassy twigs bare
for the dove's new nest

- Joy Krauthammer

Ms. Dove and Little Bunny

Ms. Dove and Little Bunny

- Joy Krauthammer

Today, as each day this week, as soon as I woke-- before 6 am, I, quick as a bunny, checked on the nesting dove. Ms. Dove nests on her two white eggs in my hanging donkey tail succulent filled planter, outside only feet from where I work and watch as I write. I feel as if I am Ms. Doves protector, but leaving for my week-long Kallah in two days, I am concerned about predators. Couple days ago, I was aghast to see the two large local red-tailed hawks sitting in my garden on the grass. They have never landed at my home, but only soar constantly over head perching in the neighbor's tall palm tree.

It is strange to me that mom dove does not mind me often walking past her  as she is by my door and window. (She seemed mostly calm as I hung to dry all my colorful hand laundry near her yesterday.) Amazing to me also that Ms. Dove does not fly off with my visitors or even the gardener mowing the lawn.  She is doing her job. 

I added to the planter, a tiny plastic container filled with water in case she is thirsty in this heat.  On the ground under Ms. Dove, I put a tin plate filled with water so she can bathe. I don't think she has touched either.

She doesn't mind the wild cute bunny with the white cotton-tail that visits. Unlike Ms. Dove, Bunny does not let me come close, but scampers away, hopping through the wrought iron gate by the blooming passion flowers, or the gate at the end of the long path. (See the photos in collage.) This is probably the same bunny (or one of the two) that was in my front garden in the dark of evening, a few months ago. I see Little Bunny also inches from my front door in the little flower patch. Ah, maybe that is why the lovely lone red nasturtium flower is missing.

There are bunny poop pellets all over my garden grass, a lot closer to the door than I would have thought. I discovered that as I laid out on the grass and in the hot nineties sun, all my purple laundry. Bunny will be happy that I'm gone for a week, but I have fears for while I am gone.

For a potential nesting location, the pair of doves had explored my porch eaves and both of the hanging planters. They made other chimes bounce and sing when they landed and perched on the chimes decorated with colorful exotic birds. It was their play ground. They chose plush succulents in which to build their home. The nesting place sways gently in the soft breeze. I wonder if they like the swing effect, like rocking a baby. 

It thrilled me to see two weeks ago, that the doves were making their nest from leafless strands of crawling grass vines. Bunny had eaten the leaves off the grass, and the pair of doves used the remainder for their home. Bunny doesn't like the spinach nor the baby carrots that I put out for her. Bunny has been here for over a month at least that I see her daily. I finally realized that there are two bunnies. (See lower photo in collage.)

As I sign off, I peek out and see Little Bunny munching in the middle of the lawn, just past Ms. Dove. Bunny is eating leafless, long dry strands of grass. S/He is growing. My heart warms seeing G*d's little creatures in my garden. I am grateful for the delight.
~ ~ ~

Bunnies in Joy's Garden
Doves Nesting in Joy's Garden

photos and collage (c) Joy Krauthammer


© Joy Krauthammer

- Joy Krauthammer

Today was my 4th sighting of Bunny Rabbit. (See today's photo.) Is it because I used to call my young daughter, Bunny Rabbit (now shortened to 'Bun'), that I now have a visiting bunny in my garden? It really makes me happy and I smile. I don't think it makes the bunny happy that I see it. (Him or her, I don't know.) Why do I think that?  Because the bunny freezes when I get near at 8 yards away, with camera in my hand. This is the 3rd time I've seen Bunny this week in my back yard. Today's visit was early at 7 AM and he left through a side fence, dashing past succulents and under the flowering passion fruit vine.  The other day I tried following Bunny with a camera and he jumped quickly away and out through the front wrought iron gate. The first time was several weeks ago when I saw Bunny in the front yard as I drove into my driveway late one evening, after 9 PM. My car lights caught the vision. Excited, I sat still in the car. I thought maybe the animal was a giant gopher or opossum, but after it moved following its freeze, it jumped! I knew.  I wonder how often Bunny is here.

I see Bunny munching on my little patches of green grass. I'm not sure if he discovered my few berries on the vine, low to the ground. I don't think it is eating the new leaves on my baby fig trees. I don't think Bunny eats the oranges or grapefruits on the tree. Is he waiting for the figs to ripen? So why does Bunny like it here? I'm glad Bunny is not in my friend Edith's garden, because she grows lots of lettuce for herself. The other day, I went into a grocery and ordered freshly made carrot juice. Bunny didn't show so I drank the whole juice myself.

For Bunny, I am afraid of the overhead hawks. Luckily, lately last few years, I have not seen the unwelcome hungry coyotes which were always present. I called my neighbors and no one claimed ownership of Bunny. One said they'd seen a couple rabbits on the hill where we live. He's so cute. My daughter said he'd make a good pet. When ducks flew in here to my garden a few years ago and swam in my spa, I considered them my pets because I fed them and they came close.

When I was a child my older sister, Arielle, was given a bunny as a present from a Staten Island cousin, Paul Bell, z'l.  I loved the bunny. I called it Bunny Boy.  My younger sister, Faye, and I played with Bunny Boy. (See B/W photo)  Later I was told Bunny Boy was a girl. My dad built it a cage. My mother gave away our pet.

May my bunny be blessed with good health and happy humans. :)
~ ~ ~

Bunny Boy, Joy & Faye
1952 ? NY
Brick in top photo covers the newest gopher hole. Amazing how much dirt is pushed out from the tunnels. :(

Yesterday's photo. Seeing Faye and I with Bunny Boy in our back yard garden where we grew up in Queens, NY, is a pleasure. We are sitting next to what had been a beautiful giant weeping willow tree, until the neighbor complained about it (afraid it would fall on his garage. ) Our dad, z'l, made a table out of its trunk. Not the same.

I'm so excited that last night when Aviva (who is visiting) drove me back home close to midnight following the cousins' Chanukah party, our car lights in the driveway caught sight of BUNNY, who jumped zigzag on the grass. It was the very location where I had first seen Bunny in the spring. Bunny was in our vision for at least a minute and that gave the greatest pleasure to me especially since I hadn't seen Bunny since earlier in summer. What I love is that Aviva, too, got to enjoy the wild uncommon sighting. What a treat.
- Joy 


Bunny Returns

Front Yard Bunny
© Joy Krauthammer  

I'm sooo excited that this morning a wild bunny was in my garden and has returned. I expect that again there will be lots of bunny pellet poop, and plants nibbled. I haven't seen Bunny since last spring, and I've been really upset that the hawk overhead and the coyote in my yard aren't friendly.  (The daily gopher needs to be extradited!)  So here's Bunny. She finally hopped into the sun for a moment to be photographed before running off when she saw me.  This is my 'photo safari'.  
 - Joy Krauthammer

Bunny and Froggy Meet
© Joy Krauthammer  


AriellaShira Lewis and her gemsbok shofar. Lower left shows it before fabrication. 
Top left shows her using the tip of the horn as a pua (striker) to run across the ridges
 on the horn to use it as a rythmic instrument.
©  Joy Krauthammer

-  Joy Krauthammer

With JOY IN THE MORNING, I shot the photos of AriellaShira and her newly created Gemsbok Shofar.

My thoughts below are reprinted from THE HEARING SHOFAR

Joy Krauthammer, MBA said...

Joyous Purim wisdom, double Adar 5751

As a temple musician-- a passionate performing percussionist and sound healer, I share with you that the Purim grogger, festive ritual noise maker (used to drown out Haman's name in Megillat Esther reading), is similar to a GEMSBOK SHOFAR. A Purim rattle is twirled and spins round the handle, and causes a thin flat piece of wood to flick over (‘to and fro’) a NOTCHED cog wheel set in a frame, making a noise. By cutting off, separating several inches of the slightly curved, black, smooth pointy tip of the long Gemsbok's horn, to create an opening for the shofar mouthpiece, it is revealed that this horn tip can be used as an 'offering'-- as a percussion scraper on the set of natural raised ridges of rings encircling the brown wide end of the raw, rough, splintery Gemsbok horn.

When rubbed in ‘to and fro’ motion with a PUA *, on the thick transverse rings, rasping percussive sounds are created and ‘heard’ on the horn, as on the grogger. Could it be that the shofar was a signaling instrument in alerting the Persian Jews that they could be saved from the king's edict in Shushan during the reign of Queen Esther, thus making the horn also a culturally authentic grogger? Hearing the Megillah and Shofar are both mitzvot.

Ethnic scraper percussion rhythmic instruments are spiritually used in most world cultures for sacred moments. (Scrapers and shofars are in LA’s Howard Ethnic Instrument Collection, Watts Tower Arts Center.) Performing world-beat percussion, I use a frog shaped wood guiro (Vietnamese or Thai), and also a Gemsbok-like guiro (Latin American) made from hollow gourd, aka calabazo, with parallel carved out grooves, along with a fragrant sage branch stick PUA, a scraper/wand, to make long and short raspy, ratchet (and croaking) sounds.

Biblical Miriyahm HaNeviah, the Prophetess, a percussionist, Shemot, Exodus 15:20, was also known as "Puah"*, Exodus, 1:15, a mid-wife, who sang soft cooing sounds as she gently rocked ‘to and fro’ and stroked with her voice and hand-- like a wand, the baby boys she saved from Pharaoh's edict against the Jews. Gemara Sotah 11a. As Puah with (po'ah) she drowned out the sounds of the murder edict.

My friend, and ritual teaching partner, ARIELLASHIRA LEWIS created with Michael Chusid's (Hearing Shofar) guidance her GEMSBOK shofar for rituals, by carving the opening, the hollow 'inside' mouth piece. She is a healer, and a Ba’alat Tekiah/shofar blower for Simchat Chochmah ceremonies (www.simchatchochmah.blogspot.com), and for women's Rosh Chodesh/New Moon rituals, as is traditional. With her soulful breath/Ruach, and holy kavanah/intention, AriellaShira beautifully and with awesome rich sustained sound, plays her new Shofar. AriellaShira created this personal ceremonial tool during her Simchat Chochmah, and shamanic journey. I think her shofar is from a female Gemsbok.

AriellaShira joyously demonstrated to me, as she stroked her new Gemsbok horn's wide end and long length of ridges of rings with her PUA/wand--horn tip, that she transformed her Shofar to be used in holy ritual and ceremony, also into a scraper PERCUSSION instrument. AriellaShira fashioned the horn’s cut tip into her wand for her musical playing pleasure. (See photo collage of AriellaShira playing her Gemsbok shofar as a wind and percussion instrument. http://hearingshofar.blogspot.com/ 2011-02-21) AriellaShira Lewis, from South Africa where the Gemsbok roam, informed me that Gemsbok is pronounced with a gutteral 'ch', ‘Ch’emsbok’. The sacrificial ram, the 'offering' in Torah's Genesis 22:13 Akeidah, may have been crying out for us to hear, "Use me, don't abuse me. I shall make music for you."

BlesSings for magical healing sounds, health, wholeness, shalom and joy,
JOY Krauthammer
Serve G*d With Joy

What excites is that I can create a PUA/wand from a Gemsbok horn, and play the shofar as percussion. This will enhance and amplify my spiritual playing. See my earlier COMMENT on AriellaShira Lewis regarding this transformational experience.

I love that the PUA is also a name, PUAH, for Miriyahm HaNeviah. Exodus 1:15. This connection is meaningful to me-- joining woman's voice in Torah to percussion.

I include PUAH teachings shared from one of my rebbes, Rahmiel Hayyim Drizin:

'Puah'  This was Miriam (called Puah) because she cried and talked and cooed to the newborn infant in the manner of women who soothe a crying infant. Puah is an expression of crying out, similar to “Like a travailing woman will I cry " (Isa. 42:14). Rashi on Sotah 11a explains that she played with the infant to soothe and amuse him. Rashi to Shemot 1:15, citing Gemara Sotah 11a

‘Pu'ah’ is Miriam; and why was her name called Puah? Because she cried out (po'ah) to the child and brought it forth. Another explanation of Pu'ah is that she used to cry out through the Holy Spirit and say: ‘My mother will bear a son who will be the savior of Israel’. Sotah 11a
~ ~ ~

During the High Holidays, 1995, Makom Ohr Shalom held services at UCLA. Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (Aleph and Jewish Renewal movement founder) officiated with Cantor Monty Turner. (I am one of their musicians.) Reb Zalman knew that I was trained by my husband, Marcel Krauthammer, z'l, in blowing shofar. I felt good that I could play all the ritual notes. Prior to Rosh Hashanah, Michael Chusid demonstrated to me another technique for blowing shofar that I continue to share when teaching others to play.

Reb Zalman, during the Days of Awe service, called upon me to come to the bima and play my shofar and "to represent the women of the world". He was aware that a major international conference on women had just finished in China. He wanted that powerful energy to come through the voice of the ram. With great kavanah, I sounded the shofar for the congregation.

As a mitzvah, and in my husband's zechut/merit, I continue to play shofar, even over the telephone, especially for those Jewish friends who miss my husband playing shofar for them. May his soul continue to have an ilui neshamah/soul elevation.

Have a joyous Adar and
BlesSings for hearing shofar, rhythm, having gratitude, health, shalom and joy,
JOY Krauthammer
Serve G*d With Joy

Serve G*d With Joy

Ivdu Et HaShem B'Simcha
Joy Krauthammer ©

 "You G*d are the Compassion, the Strength, the Beauty, the Victory, the Splendor, 
and the Foundation of everything in Heaven and on Earth."  (1 Chronicles 1:29)