Am Yisrael

Masada, Caesarea: "Sightseeing"


22 November 2009
Dear Family and Friends,

The town of Binyamina is the final destination of my trip to the Middle East.  After five weeks of intense travel in Egypt, Turkey, Rhodes and Turkey again, I am trying to relax with my cousins Miryam and Moshe Lauer.

Miryam is a marvelous cook.  Even after a minor surgery on her eyelids yesterday, she is back in the kitchen today preparing all my favorite German-Jewish dishes.  So I am relaxing and eating too much.  But Moshe!  No relaxing with Moshe.  Moshe, 81, is an energetic and irrepressible tour guide.

Binyamina: "Life is What Happens ..."

Bangkok Friday

April 18, 2008


Dear Family and Friends,

As the poet said,

"Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans."

To keep a short story short, I flew to Israel and along the way I picked up some sort of "bug." I struggled to maintain my strength but after almost two weeks of feeling weak and tired, I decided to return to Bangkok. I saw a doctor here and nothing seems abnormal. At the moment I am slowly recovering. I will go for more tests in a day or two if I don't feel 100%.

Naturally I am disappointed. I expected to do some traveling in Israel. I was also considering a side trip to Cyprus. The biggest disappointment is that I will not be with my Israeli family for the Passover Festival.

My Israeli family has adopted me as their new son, welcome cousin and close friend. Even though we only met for the first time last June, I am now a member of a generous and energetic family. At its head are Miryam and Moshe Lauer who emigrated from Germany as very young children more than seventy years ago. They have three adult children and eight teenage-young adult grandchildren. *

Miryam and Moshe prepared my comfortable room in their large home in Binyamina, a town halfway between Tel Aviv and Haifa. Miryam's delicious German/Israeli style cooking added at least three centimeters to my waistline. And despite my illness, we managed to see several sights in northern Israel.

Hava Nagilah

February 8, 2013
4:15 pm

Dear Friends,

I just stepped out on to my balcony to check on my drying clothes.

The balcony overlooks a canal and on the other side of the canal is an elementary school.

Frequently I hear the band playing, especially in the early morning and sometimes in the late afternoon.   The young Thai kids play with energy and enthusiasm.  I usually hear Itsy Bitsy Spider.   Occasionally they play Stars and Stripes Forever.

Spirituality at a Bangkok Synagogue

 This essay was published in To Thailand With Love by ThingsAsian Press.  2013


As I descend towards Suvarnabhumi Airport, Wat Sothon Wararam Worawihan appears below.  Since the population of Thailand is 95 percent Buddhist, a temple complex near the airport is not unexpected.  What is unexpected is the large Aeyatul Muslimin mosque that towers beside the airport expressway en route to downtown Bangkok.  


Most Thai Muslims live in Southern Thailand, near Malaysia, but there is a sufficient population in the capital to support more than 100 local mosques.  


Citizens of the Hindu faith maintain several mandirs.   


Christians of every denomination attend large churches or smaller neighborhood assemblies.  


As an American Jew who retired to Bangkok, I expected to find a semblance of Jewish life in this city.  But what took me by surprise was the vibrancy of the small yet devoted community.  I met Jews from the Americas, Israel, Australia, France, England, Romania, Hungary, South Africa, Afghanistan, and the Middle East.