We are even

We are even

We are even

 

Lost in my sorrow, today I evoke you
And I can see you have been,
In my poor, miserable life,
Nothing but a good woman
Your hot-shot airs
Brought warmth to my nest
You were kind, acted according to your principles
And I know you have loved me
As you never loved anyone else
As you will never be able to love again

The appreciation game started
As you, poor lovely woman
Dodged poverty at the boarding house
Today you are a real big-shot
Life smiles and sings for you
You waste the money
Of those you easily fooled
Just like a knavish cat would play
With a wretched mouse

Today you have your mind full of unhappy illusions
Fools, friends and seducers have deceived you
The dance of magnates
With its crazy temptations,
Where social climber pretensions
Are realised and surrendered
Has settled deep inside your poor heart

There’s nothing I should thank you for
We are even now
I don’t care about what you’ve done
What you do now, or what you will do
I believe I have repaid all the favours
I received from you
But in case I unintentionally forgot some minor debt
If you wish, charge it
To one of those fools’ account

I hope that your achievements,
Poor, fleeting achievements,
Will become a long line of wealth and pleasure
I hope the big-shot who now maintains you
Has deep pockets
I hope you forsake your association with hustlers
And that other men will say “She’s a good woman”

And tomorrow, when you become decayed, old furniture
And you have no hope left in your poor heart
If you need a little help, if you would like advice
Remember this friend, who will put his life on the line
To help you in whichever way he can, when the time comes

 

The Story of Passover

By Mihran Kalaydjian, CHA

Marketing/Media Writer, Strategist and Consultant

The Story of Passover

Passover is a holiday that celebrates the escape of the Israelites from Egypt in approximately 1225 B.C.E.  The narrative of this adventure is told in the Biblical book of Exodus.

The Israelites had moved down into Egypt as long as 400 years earlier, according to the Bible.  But some scholars suggest that the actual time span was probably closer to 200 years or less, based upon the Biblical genealogies from Joseph (who brought his own family into Egypt) to Aaron (who, with Moses, led the people out of Egypt).

Exodus

Moses leads the Children of Israel through the city gate in this medieval version of the Exodus scene
(from 14th Century Spain, the Kaufman Haggadah).

The Israelites came down to Egypt during a time when a famine was raging in the Biblical Near East.  Egypt had stockpiled food during the seven years of plenty that had preceded the famine.  Joseph, one of the younger sons of the patriarch Jacob (who was also known as Israel) had predicted the years of plenty and the years of famine.  As a result, he had a high position in the court of the Pharaoh.  The Pharaoh welcomed Joseph’s family and settled them in the delta region of Goshen, where they prospered.

For many generations, the Israelites enjoyed the protection of the Pharaohs, who valued their work as shepherds.  However, a Pharaoh eventually came to power who feared the Israelites.  According to the Book of Exodus, this Pharaoh tried to destroy the Israelite population by ordering all male Israelite infants to be killed at birth.  He also required the Israelites to work on large-scale building projects without pay and under terrible working conditions.  The Israelites saw themselves as slaves.

The book of Exodus tells us that God ordered Moses, a young Israelite man who had been raised in the palace of the Pharaoh as a son of Pharaoh’s daughter, to lead the Israelites out of Egypt with the help of his brother Aaron. However, in order to do so, it was necessary for the Pharaoh to agree to the emigration of the Israelite population.  Moses said to Pharaoh, “Let my people go.”  To which Pharaoh replied, “No.”

A battle of wills ensued between the will of the God of the Israelites and the will of the Pharaoh, who was worshipped as a deity by the Egyptians.  Ten plagues were visited upon the Egyptians, the last of which was the death of the first born of each family.  God told the Israelites to slaughter a lamb as a paschal sacrifice and put the blood of the sacrifice on the doorposts of their homes so that the Angel of Death would pass over them on the night of the tenth plague.

After this night of terror, Pharaoh said that the Israelites could leave Egypt.  Fearful that the Pharaoh would change his mind (which he subsequently did), the Israelites left as quickly as possible.  Because of this, their bread did not have time to rise.

They fled and found themselves standing at the shore of the Red Sea with the Pharaoh’s chariots close behind in pursuit.  God parted the sea for them, and they walked across on dry land.  When the chariots tried to follow, the iron wheels stuck in the soft sand, the waters closed over them, and they drowned.  Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron led the women in dancing and singing in praise to God, who had performed this miracle on their behalf.

God told the Israelites that they should celebrate their liberation from slavery in Egypt each year with a seven-day festival during which they should eat only unleavened bread.  Two days of this holiday were set aside as special days during which no work was to be done.  The first night of the holiday was to be special and was to include the eating of the Paschal sacrifice (of the lamb), bitter herbs, and unleavened bread, and the telling of the story of the Exodus from Egypt.

Since very ancient times, Jews all over the world have assembled with family and friends on the night of the 15th of Nisan to celebrate the redemption of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.

 

DOME OF THE ROCK IN JERUSALEM

DOME OF THE ROCK IN JERUSALEM

The Dome of the Rock is a 7th-century edifice located in Jerusalem.

It enshrines the rock from which Muḥammad is said to have ascended to heaven.

Sometimes erroneously called the Mosque of Umar, from a tradition that it was built by Caliph Umar I, the Dome of the Rock was actually built by Caliph Abd al-Malik between 687 and 691.

The first domed shrine to be built, the Dome of the Rock is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture.

The octagonal plan and the rotunda dome of wood are of Byzantine design. The Persian tiles on the exterior and the marble slabs that decorate the interior were added by Suleiman I in 1561.

The Dome of the Rock is located on a rocky outcrop known as Mount Moriah, where, according to Jewish belief, Abraham offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice. The inscriptions inside the building glorify Islam as the final true revelation and culmination of the faiths of Judaism and Christianity. The building is actually not a mosque but a ciborium, erected over a sacred site.

According to later Islamic tradition, the Rock (al-Sakhra) in the midst of the building was the spot from which Mohammed ascended to heaven after his miraculous night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem on the winged steed al-Buraq.

A tradition states that by building the dome, Abd al-Malik was attempting to transfer the Islamic hajj to Jerusalem from Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The 60-foot-diameter, timber-framed double dome, covered internally with colored and gilded stucco and originally roofed with lead covered in gold, rises 35 meters over the holy rock.

It is carried on a tall drum, originally faced with glass mosaics, which rests on a circular arcade of 12 marble columns, set in threes between four large rectangular piers. At the top of the drum, 16 colored glass windows light the central space. Inside and outside, the Dome of the Rock was enriched with marble columns and facings and floral mosaic patterns.

During the Crusades, the Dome of the Rock was commandeered as a Christian shrine before returning to Islamic hands. Many medieval people believed it to be the famous Temple of King Solomon.

Today, it is at the very core of a bitter dispute between Palestinians and Israelis. Although sometimes referred to as the Mosque of Omar, the Dome of the Rock is in fact not a mosque. Nevertheless, as the oldest extant Islamic monument, it served as a model for architecture and other artistic endeavors across three continents for a millennium.