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6 posts from October 2006

Jewgrass, or don't throw away your past

One of the most important things a Baal Tshuva should learn is that Hashem doesn't want you to throw away your past - He wants you to bring it into holiness, to sanctify it.

One of my favorite examples of BT's that are doing things the right way is former heavy metal turned bluegrass musician Robbie Zev Ludwick. Lately, Robbie has joined forces with Jewish-music great Avraham Rosenblum of the Diaspora Band.

320robbie_zev_avraham_rosenblum Robbie Zev Ludwick (left) with Avraham Rosenblum (right)

In addition, Robbie's continuing to spread kedusha in the DC - Maryland - Virginia area playing what calls "Jewgrass" with his local group The Sinai Mountain Boys. See and hear them right here. If you want to have a really special party, I suggest you contact the Robbie and the boys here. Tell them that Lazer sent you.

Whenever I go to the USA, I make it a point to visit the DC area, where my mother lives, may Hashem bless her. The last time I was there, Robbie came over on Saturday night, and we were pickin' and grinnin' our way through melave malka. I have a special affinity for Robbie Zev - don't let our different last names fool you, because he's my little brother and I'm really proud of him.

Blackfoot Indian Story of Creation

For those of you who are new to the Beams, last year we wrote a five-part series about comparing the plight of the Cherokees in the USA and the expulsion of the Jews from Gush Katif. The series, entitled The Trail of Tears, won a silver medal from the Jewish and Israeli Best Blog 2005 awards Best Series division, an earned me an honorary Indian name from the Cherokee Nation as Wa ya Udo, or "Wolf Brother". Since then, I've been in contact with quite a few native Americans, mostly Cherokees, but also Navajo, Nez Perce, Sioux, and Blackfoot. In addition to the mounting evidence, I firmly believe that many American Indians are descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. My very close friend Yonatan Sofer, a brilliant analyst and researcher and brother of Abir Aluf Yehoshua Sofer, thinks so too.

"Calming Waters" is one of my favorite Blackfoot friends. Recently, I received a beautiful letter from him that's very appropriate for the week of Breshis, when the Torah tells the story of creation. Calming Waters is also digging into his roots, and is receiving help from esteemed Cherokee elder and our highly respected friend, Grandmother White Eagle.

Here's what Calming Waters writes:

Shalom Wolf Brother!

May the Creator's blessings fill your day with gladness! Thank you so very much for the message you sent me on 9-28; it was such a blessing to me. Your words mean so much because they are spoken with genuine sincerity from the heart of one who loves the Creator. Your words are poetry. They remind me of words I have read in the Hebrew Scriptures (translated into English). This has always been my favorite Book, most precious of my earthly possessions.

Speaking of the Hebrew Scriptures, I found something very encouraging recently in my searching for Jewish roots in our tribe. I just finished reading an account of creation as told by Blackfoot. These Blackfoot stories were passed down generation to generation, and though there were some inaccuracies in this written one (the author was not Blackfoot), within this story there are clear connections to the account given in the first book of Moses. The Blackfoot story spoke of water everywhere, dry land was made, humans were formed of clay and the Creator breathed life into them, woman was the first human to make a bad decision thus bringing sorrow and the law of death instead of following the Creator's way to life everlasting. Humans wanted to change things back to the way the Creator had originally had things before, yet they could not of themselves regain what the Creator had intended for them. The Creator did not give up on them; He cared much for them and guided them, showing them the way to life.

This also drew my attention: within this story I read, it told of the creation of humans, then later it tells of another group of people being created from the earth, He breathed life into them and they became a people. They asked the Creator what they were to eat and He brought forth certain animals for them and told them this was their food. He also gave directions on how to collect this food. The story goes on to tell that later, the Creator marked off a piece of land for the tribes. He also told them to protect this land from those who would come unbidden into their land, for if the intruders gained a footing here, trouble for the tribes would follow. It occurred to me that this might very well be the story of Israel. Don't you think so, Wolf Brother?

My search for roots is becoming very exciting. The more I learn about the noble Israelite nation, the more I long to be connected to them.

I am honored that you take the time to stay in touch with me, and appreciate your kindness and wisdom. Your blessing ("May The Almighty bless you with all your heart's wishes for the very best.") brought such gladness to my heart; words fail to convey my gratitude.

May all your paths lead to peace, Wolf Brother. Most sincerely, Calming Waters

Thank you so much, Calming Waters. The earnest search of the dispersed and the exiled for their Jewish roots is a surefire sign of the imminent redemption of our people, speedily and in our time, amen.


"Holy Man of the Blackfoot", by Howard Terpning. Terpning, known as the artistic storyteller of the Native American, shows this aged Blackfoot in devout personal prayer to the Great Spirit. Notice how his sidecurls are untouched and his garments are fringed. There's more than a hint of Israelite roots in the Blackfoot; Moshiach will remove all doubt - speedily, amen.

The Brody Succa

A few people asked to see what the Brody Succa looks like. Enjoy:

Brody_succa_1 All the decorations hand-made by my daughter Sara Kaile, age 14

Ashdod_succas_1 Here's a look at our neighborhood in Ashdod

A person can't feel 100% safe in an 8-foot concrete-thick walled underground bunker; in his thatch-roofed Succa under the wings of The Divine Presence, one feels 1000% safe. May we soon merit The Divine Presence in the rebuilt Holy Temple of Jerusalem, amen.

Rebbe Nachman's Yahrtzeit

Monday night and Tuesday, the 18th of Tishri, is the 196th anniversary of the death of our beloved rebbe and spiritual guide, the greatest physician of the soul that the world ever knew, Rebbe Nachman of Breslev, of saintly and blessed memory.

I'll be celebrating the Yahrtzeit G-d willing in Jerusalem together with Rav Shalom Arush shlit'a, at a gala Simchat Beir Hashoeva shindig at the Chut-shel-Chessed Breslev Yeshiva on Shmuel HaNavi 13. If you're in Israel, come on by and join us - there'll be some dynamite music and dancing.

Rav Shalom Arush shlit'a conveys his blessings to all our readers for a joyous Succoth and wonderful New Year 5767.

It's here - The Garden of Emuna!


Dear Rabbi Brody,

I don't know how to express my gratitude to Hashem for sending me such wonderful shlichim (emissaries - LB) as Rav Shalom Arush and you. My husband was almost constantly depressed before Rosh Hashana. After hearing your "Master of Prayer" CD, I decided to try and send him to Uman for Rosh Hashana. He agreed, and it was the best move I ever made. In Uman, he bought the book The Garden of Emuna for me as a present, but read it himself before Rosh Hashana. What can I tell you - between Uman, the joy, the prayers, the influence of Rebbe Nachman, and your book - my husband has came home a changed person. He smiles and is optimistic. At first, I thought something was wrong; then, I read the book myself (it's the best gift I ever received) and it's changed my whole outlook on life too. Sure, we both still have a lot of work to do, but we now know where we want to go. Just as the book says on the front cover, it's a practical guide to life. I don't know how I've lived 34 years without The Garden of Emuna. Thank you, and please convey my appreciation to Rav Shalom Arush. A happy Succoth, J.L., NYC

Thank you, Mrs. JL.

You don't have to travel to Uman to get your copy of The Garden of Emuna; it's now available right here at the Beams, airmailed to your door anywhere in the world. You can order it on the upper left hand toolbar.

Important Notices

For Israelis: If you live in Israel, you can order The Garden of Emuna, Nafshi Tidom, The Trail to Tranquility, or Emuna-Series CDs and save the price of international airmail. For info, write publications(at)

Succos Holiday: All orders received before 5 PM this afternoon will go out in the Friday morning October 6th mail, G-d willing. All orders received after 5 PM this afternoon will be mailed out on Monday, October 16th after the close of the holidays, G-d willing.

A blessing from the Sadigora Rebbe shlit'a

Sadigora_rebbe_005 The Sadigora Rebbe shlit'a making a blessing over a glass of apple juice. Original photo by Lazer, taken yesterday in Bnai Brak.

With Hashem's loving grace, I had the privilege of meeting with one of this generation's greatest tzaddikim, the Sadigora Rebbe shlit'a. Years ago, the Lubavitcher Rebbe of blessed memory predicted that the Sadigora Rebbe would carry the torch of Eretz Yisroel - he was right.

The Sadigora Rebbe shlit'a, like a roaring lion despite his 80 or so years and his bout with Parkinson's Disease, courageously fought the entire Chassidic establishment against UTJ's (Aguda) joining the government coalition that approved last year's disengagement from Gaza. The Rebbe hasn't stopped yelling about the tragedy of disengagement ever since. Like a true servant of Hashem, he fears nothing or no one other than his Creator.

The Sadigora Rebbe shlit'a has also sharply criticized the recent war in Lebanon. He said that the impulsive government had no right to throw an unprepared army into a war, especially during the traditionally tragic 3 weeks between 17 Tammuz and the 9th of Av.

The Sadigora Rebbe shlit'a let me drink from his glass, then gave me a wonderful blessing and a blessing for all the Beams readers and their families for a successful and joyous New Year 5767. May Hashem bless him and keep him for long and healthy years, amen.