Thursday, April 17, 2014

Jerusalem: Potato bread and non-existent riots on Passover

Naomi Litvin - Kotel April 17, 2014
photo by Vicki Moliver Schwartz
I am in Jerusalem and I can't get over that everyone in the restaurants and cafes are eating bread and pastries on Passover, made out of POTATOES. Just doesn't seem right. If you want matzoh you have to ask for it.

By the way all the reports of continued riots at the Temple Mount are simply a LIE. Of course police limit visitors to Muslims and Christians as "No Jews are allowed." All I saw was mobs of tourists doing the Jerusalem Disneyland thing and the Cohenim doing their priestly blessings by making one of their three foot festivals (Pesach, Shavuot, Pesach). In honor of the foot festival, Vicki Moliver Schwartz, my first cousin once removed and I went shoe shopping....

Vicki and Naomi
dinner in Emek Refayim
photo by Andrew Schwartz

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Jews are subhuman, says South African Nazi

Naomi Litvin, self portrait
As many of you know, I am living in Israel now. This morning I woke up and checked my email.  A good morning to you, you subhuman Jew greeted me. The email was an alert to the comment by Johannesburg, Gauteng, South African  "bob mcdonald" below, and refers to a blog I posted four years ago. The gist of the subject was about the advantage of relocating the Jews to Israel so that we could all be destroyed in one fell swoop. Now that I live in Israel, as an Israeli citizen, this gave me something to think about today as I continued to shop for furnishings for my new apartment in the Homeland.

Thank G-d the Israel Defense Forces are here to protect me. But wait! Good ole bob mcdonald says that his god will destroy us. But bob, we are the chosen people, and you are just a stinking nazi!

The original email trail from South African racists was passed to me from a friend in 2009. I have continued to get hits on this posting but haven't had any comments lately. Who would have thought that this story would still have legs after all this time? But the simple truth is that this hatred never goes away. Scapegoating the Jews, is as old as Father Time and continues, as the comment below proves.

bob mcdonald has left a new comment on your post "

EXCLUSIVE SHOCKER: anti-Jewish email from South African racist published here

"I really like the idea of all jews going to Israel ,especially since they say that god will destroy that hole , with the long history of child sacrifice ,blood letting , rape and torture ,they surely must rate as the most subhuman people all time .the Holocaust was a great lie ,for which the jews received much pity ,well I pity the jews for being the people they are ,and I can not wait for god to help free humanity and destroy Israel with all jews on board"

Posted by bob mcdonald to Naomi Litvin נעמי ליטבין at April 12, 2014 at 1:25 PM*

*I have bob mcdonald's IP address, and his actual location, if any law enforcement agency needs it, email me at

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

my first week as an Israeli citizen

נעמי ליטבין self portrait, Haifa Israel 3/26/14
This is day seven in my life as an Israeli citizen. Please forgive me for not blogging sooner. I have had so much to say, yet found myself tongue tied. Navigating a new country has been wild. Thanks to the kindness of strangers in a strange land, it has been the most sweetest of strangeness ever. I am encouraged by the people who have helped me. Only in Israel can you take a bus ride, begin a relationship with a person sitting next to you, attain heights of friendship in a millisecond, and then say goodbye in a matter of minutes. One beautiful young red haired girl said, "Haifa is a small world, we will see each other again!"
As for chronicling the day to day drama and hilarity of my new milieu please follow me on twitter and friend me on facebook for the raw details!
As for learning conversational Hebrew (I'm only good as a reader of print and cursive; and able to write phonetically) I had wanted to postpone jumping into that until after I'd gotten out of my temporary digs. But after this week, I absolutely do not want to delay being able to communicate with anyone in this vibrant society. After all, how else can I actually become a part of this? No Anglo ghetto for this gal. So today, after meeting yesterday with my Nefesh B' Nefesh Haifa guru, Smadar Stoller Porat, who arranged for me to have a meeting at a Jewish Agency Ulpan, I am beginning the 5-5-5 on Monday! "What the heck is the 5-5-5," you say? It is 5 days per week, 5 hours per day, 5 months of Hebrew. Wish me luck!
Today after a scrumptious lunch in Carmel Center of smoked salmon, feta cheese, tomato, and spring onions on whole wheat, multi seeded hearth baked focaccia bread, and a fabulous salad, all washed down by my new addiction, Coke Zero in a bottle, I serendipitously walked right into two tall dark and handsome guys with cameras and a microphone. They spoke to me in Hebrew of course.
Me: I only speak English!
Guys: Great! (in English) We want to know who you think the next President of Israel should be?
Me: Netanyahu.
Guys: But Netanyahu is the Prime Minister.
Me: I know that!
Guys: Then why do you say that?
Me: Well, Netanyahu may lose his position soon, so he will need a job!
Guys: Then who do you think should be the Prime Minister?
Me: That guy who insulted Obama!
Guys: Ya'Alon!
Me: Yes! Ya'Alon!
Guys: Thank you very much!
Me: You're welcome. By the way, I am a new Israeli citizen and I am studying up on the politics.
Don't ask me what channel they were from. I have no idea! Just let me know if you see me on TV!

Near the Bahai Gardens, Haifa, Israel. Photo by Naomi Litvin


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Rabbi Yehuda Y Steinberg's new book has arrived! "Glimpses of Light..."

While I was writing my last book, Beneath A Stormy Cloud: Moving On Without Her, I happened upon the Kindle version of a book by Rabbi Yehuda Y. Steinberg called Tears of Hope, Seeds of Redemption. To me, when a book is found that has a healing force, and speaks to me, especially in a time when my soul is searching for comfort, it is a profound experience. Rabbi Steinberg was kind and generous to allow me to quote passages in my book and also offered an insight into what I was attempting to convey to my readers. I won't go into details of that insight, as this posting is about Rabbi Steinberg's writing, not mine. His new book Glimpses of Light, Revealing the Constant Hashgachah Pratis in Megillas Esther and in Our Daily Lives, has arrived on my doorstep, and I have begun to read it, as I am packing up to make Aliyah. I have no doubt that reading this will be another profound experience for me. 
Glimpses of Light, Revealing the Constant Hashgachah Pratis in Megillas Esther and in Our Daily Lives
Judaica World
via Judaica World
"The oppressed Jewish nation faces complete annihilation, but is miraculously saved by an unexpected series of natural events. Was the chain of changes a string of natural coincidences and events, or was it a medley of masterfully orchestrated miracles? Is the Purim story a one-time occurrence? Or is there a deeper, timeless message hidden within this ancient account?
In Glimpses of Light, Rabbi Yehudah Steinberg, delves into Megillas Esther and extracts the underlying messages hidden in the seemingly straightforward Purim story. Presenting the words of Chazal, midrashim, parables, and anecdotes in a lucid fashion, the author brings home the profound relevance of the Megillah's lessons for us, even today, so that we can truly appreciate the concept of hashgachah pratis and discover a fresh inspiration for trust in Hashem.
An invaluable sourcebook for rabbis, educators, and laymen alike, this enlightening and inspiring book is vital for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of and appreciation for Megillas Esther and a more meaningful Purim experience."
Rabbi Yehuda Steinberg is a product of the Yeshivahs of Gateshead, England, and Be'er Yaakov, Eretz Yisrael. He is the author of the popular books Harvest of Kindness on Megillas Rus and Tears of Hope, Seeds of Redemption on Megillas Eichah. Glimpses of Light is the third of a projected five-volume series on the Megillos. He is also the author of Kavei El Hashem (Hebrew) on bitachon. Rabbi Steinberg resides in England with his family where he is the Rosh HaKollel of Kollel Zichron Nosson Tzvi and a popular and sought-after speaker.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

once upon a time ...

Once upon a time a little girl was born on a snowy, ice cold day in a small town in southeastern Michigan. The mother of this child was a holocaust survivor. The little girl was a sensitive child and all that she learned from her mother affected her life forever. The little girl grew up with a secret promise to herself, one that would prove to make her more lonely than anyone could imagine. She vowed to protect her unborn children from the evils of the world, and the only way to do that was to not have any children. When the time came for her to come home to take care of her mommy in the last stages of her life, she realized that she wasn't alone anymore. Then when her mommy died, her world seemed to end. She tried very hard to work through the grief but living in her parents home made that recovery difficult. She decided to go to Israel to make a fresh start....

Today I went to the cemetery to say goodbye to my parents. I wanted to crawl into the dirt, to be with them one more time. It wouldn't be so hard to do, I could figure out a way to end it. I had been here many times, in this bone yard, and tried but did not 'feel' them here. Today, after saying my prayers, I lingered, staring at their gravestone as the tears streamed down my face. Should I stay or should I go? I felt a strong pull to stay. The tears wouldn't stop and I heard myself moaning. I was sobbing for my mommy and daddy, but the voice I finally heard wasn't either one of them. The voice I heard was my own. It came as a whisper and then became a roar in my ears. Run for your life, I told myself. Run for your life.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Beneath A Stormy Cloud: Moving On Without Her ~ review by Walter W. Ko

cover photo ~ Beneath A Stormy Cloud ~ by Naomi Litvin

On my last job, I worked with a fascinatingly diverse group of people which afforded me the incredible opportunity to get to know people from all over the world. One of my favorite, and best friends is Walter W. Ko, an intellectual Chinese historian, researcher of Japanese war crimes, and avid book reviewer on Here is Walter's review of my new book. 
5.0 out of 5 stars From Edith with love February 1, 2014
This book is a continuation of the Litvin family first book, We Never Lost Hope: A Holocaust Memoir and Love Story. It features a selection from the collection of poems by Edith Litvin with feedback and comment from daughter Naomi Litvin as a commemoration.

The paragraph introducing Edith (p.vii) is compact, contrasting, and impressive. Even after Edith passed away, Naomi keeps her spirit alive in remembering her love by publishing her poems, reading her lines, seeing her pictures, and hearing her voice. As Edith was a Holocaust survivor, she has to struggle when her child asked why they did not fight back. It is very difficult for children in peace and not war to understand. “Such is life” is her answer (p.6). It was not unusual for Edith to share her experience of family history under the Nazis to her children for posterity and healing so that her children would honor and treasure the legacy and value the new life their parent’s best offered.

In response to her mother's poems, Naomi visited the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem (p.18) to trace her Jewish roots and to pray for peace. 
Life does not happen as in a fairy tale, as the Litvin family moved to Australia and returned to U.S. when it didn’t work out. The rough wave showed her emotion on the poems thereafter. The One Tear Escaped (p.25) was written from a heart of peace and expressed. The poem "The Jews Sing the Blues” was the sharing from the bottom of her heart. 
Why a Jewish Rabbi, Jesus, killed by Roman crucifixion, caused the blame for it on the whole Jewish people for forever? He did not intend to start a new religion with his life but died as a national martyr against the brutal imperial and colonial Roman Empire oppression.
Jews escaped from Nazi Germany persecution by ships to American soil but were only refused to come ashore. The lambs were returned to the tigers. Dr. Ho Fung-Shan, the Chinese diplomat in Austria issued thousands of emergency visas to Jews who fled to Shanghai China. The documentary “Shanghai Ghetto” was a vivid memory of their China years.

The Holocaust with six million Jews perished was in public consciences, but the holocaust in Asia was not known in the West until Iris Chang wrote the book The Rape of Nanking. However, the Nazi ally Japan whitewash, distort, and even deny it happened as not many Asian holocaust survivors were around to tell their horror.

Of all poems, I enjoyed, “Is Anyone Home?” (p.23), “Her Voice so Soft” (p.81) on days and nights, war and peace, sadness and happiness, human and creature, screams and silence.

This book is love between mother and daughter, a Jewish tapestry of life from war to peace, horror to love, Nazi brutality to land of the free. It is a Holocaust survival story affirming to live and flourish is victory over Nazis. And in comparison, the Asia holocaust victims and survivors still try hard to gain back their dignity and justice from their perpetrator with Japan PM Abe still echoing Tokyo Trial is “Victor Justice”.

Naomi shared in a meaningful way to honor her mother love. Edith must be smiling proudly down at Naomi from heaven for this family treasure.
The Shangai Ghetto documentary that Walter W. Ko refers to

Thursday, January 2, 2014

a snapshot of Israel

I was in Israel for the second time in October. I am ready to return and it will be soon.

Israel is reverent, but trendy, old fashioned, safe and at the same time terrifying, happy, sad, sexy, frumpy. Black Jews, white Jews, brown Jews …. I thought of all that and more as I contemplated what I was seeing in Israel. Everywhere I walked I saw bustling, busy people and construction going on.

The bottom line is that I felt comfortable in Israel. I am Jewish and I was home. It dawned on me that Israel is an enigma in that this promised land is our reward for centuries of hatred, vandalism, murder, and mayhem against us. It is a gift but it is also a responsibility. I want to go and be a good Israeli citizen. This is not the Israel that I imagined all of the years of my life. It is better, it is brilliant, it is Israel. I was thanking G-d for my existence on this Wednesday in Israel.

I put my towel down to lay in the sun on Banana Beach. I was in Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean Sea. Laying on the beach listening to the crashing waves and the pop pop pop of the guys playing beach hand ball, I was thoroughly enjoying the eye candy. I saw a glass collector wending his way along the beach among the sunbathers until he’d spot someone close to the end of their beer or soda. “Drink up,” he urgently told them in Hebrew and they obeyed, handing over their empty bottle to him. Even the glass collector is a respected contributor to this intriguing society. After all, his function is important as he keeps the beach clean and performs the important job of recycling.

I love that everyone’s hair is a mess and that it doesn’t matter. We are feral, and we are free.

I came back to America to say goodbye to my parents bones, sell their house, and kiss my siblings, nieces and nephews, and the machatonim goodbye. But I must return to my promised land, where I feel at home. Baruch Hashem ...

Sunday, December 22, 2013

posted on twitter by @tuviaf
via Nitzan Yogev
 "The trip from Jaffa Canter train station to the Davidka using the light train on a snow day in Jerusalem…"