Telling a great story and writing what I think — a master raconteur
Last update: 25th January, 2023 — 3rd Sh'vat, 5783
[Skip the site introduction and surf directly to the most recent article.]
I have been writing the essays published on this website for approaching fifteen years. When I commenced writing, I was not certain what I wanted to present to my new worldwide audience. I thought a Weblog, now universally referred to as a blog, may be a good idea. Things never work out as you plan. As an old Yiddish expression goes, Men tracht und Gott lacht, roughly "Men plan and God laughs".
As my body of writing grew, I became more interested in the creative side of writing. Art is art and creativity is creativity. I use the same skills writing creatively as I use to produce fine-art photography. To my mind, art is the ability of an artist to look at the existing world, and, using his God-given skill and learnt techniques, to produce what he sees, feels and smells, in an artificial form which viewers enjoy. Emulate God and further His Creation. This can be done from a lump of stone, a blob of mud, paint on a stretched canvas, a camera viewfinder and darkroom or with a pen or keyboard.
A person, who visualises the end work in her mind's eye, can create a work of art. The writer creates a word picture, enabling the reader to smell the salt spray, feel the fog blowing on her face and feel the thunderous vibrations of a mob of passing brumbies, all from his armchair.
In 2017 I published The Abayudaya: Judaism Emerging — A Spiritual Journey into Africa.
The text and the photography are solely my work.
I have now (16th November, 2021) posted the entire book for everyone to read. The pages of these PDF's are double spread, so make sure your screen is set to wide.
I have made minor modifications to the published text. I am in the process of writing an additional chapter to fill in what has transpired since the end of the book. Stay tuned.
Many cultures have story telling traditions. Civilisations pass their heritage to future generations via narratives. Elders relate tribal history and custom to a younger generation. The Talmud contains stories that are far more meaningful than they ostensibly appear. See for example, the wondrous tales of Raba bar bar Hana — and the Vilna Gaon's esoteric understanding of them.
Most great works including the teachings of the Buddha, the Mishna, the Kora'an and the new testament, started life as oral works. Oral traditions were not meant to be unchangeable.
Rav Naḥman of Breslov said, "The world says 'Stories are meant to help you sleep'. But I say, 'Stories are meant to wake you up!'" Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach added, "The essence of a story is understanding life."
Something I found soon after entering my writing affair was my inability to write fiction. I can stretch, bend or manipulate the truth to some extent, but cannot write pure fiction. This may result from my scientific background and from my understanding that midrash, the teaching of Tora via legends, is not a lesson in history, but rather an attempt by our Rabbis of the first millennium to understand difficult questions that arose in their study of biblical texts.
I have not created a diary, nor a reporting system for any political philosophy. My writings cover much and varied ground: my past, my thoughts, my childhood, my hates, peeves, hatreds, loves, family, our collective history, shoa ... all presented here in full technicolor on my wide screen.
Now, some three hundred stories, and two published books, later, I certainly do not have a blog. I am currently working on two books, one entitled The Many Lives of a Dead Sea and the second tentatively titled Menachem Gets Biblical. The latter is an attempt to understand Tanakh via a presence in the places described. I use my photographs to illuminate the text.
Please at your leisure.
Also on this site you will find many, many photographs which I have taken on my travels across the globe.
... and you can still read my original homepage.
Here is an index, in reverse chronological order, of my essays. There are within this list some 40 essays relating to the shoa. I have concentrated these into a separated index.
The Partisan's Trilogy
- Another Year, Another Narrative, Another Reality —
A Once Annual Introspection—
This Time a Three Year Retrospective of Inhumanity
- Reflections of Shiva for my brother Dennis
- His Last Kidush
- A Humbling Experience
- Making a Minyan, Literally
- Yom haShoa, 5780 — remembering my sister
- Reactions to Yom haShoa and Second Generation Survival Essays
- A Partisan Survivor's Letter to His Cousin in Israel A Letter from Beyond the Grave
- My name is Menachem Kuchar I am a survivor
- A Foundling in Addis Ababa
- Sixty-fourth Birthday Musings
- Another year, another year An Annual Introspection at Age 63
- An Examination of the Bassa Narrative in Light of Biblical and Rabbinic Sources
Paper presented in Paris at the 3rd ISSAJ conference, November 2015
- Photographic Exhibition of Latest Work Yerushalayim, September — October 2015
- Another Year, Another Narrative An Annual Introspection
- My Visit to Cameroon a very Jewish experience
- The Baleng of Bafoussan of Cameroon
- Yet Another Year Interesting and Challenging
- Shots from Africa Jewish Questions and Answers from Africa
- Praying for the Sick or Obnoxious Facebook Friends
- A Strange Savings Bank The Israel summer time wars — religious or not so
- Another Year Has Passed Answering the Eternal Question
- My Facebook Photography Group
- Letter by my late father-in-law, Shalom Baruch, Sam Fisher
from Palestine Israel to his grandfather in Warsaw, Poland
- My late father-in-law, Shalom Baruch, Sam Fisher
- And even more on My Lettuce Eating Habits
and on the True Story of the Demise of Gush Katif
- More on My Lettuce Eating Habits
and on the True Story of the Demise of Gush Katif
- Why I don't Eat Lettuce or The True Story of the Demise of Gush Katif
- An Israeli School Boy Faces the Atrocities
of Jewish Life in Poland
- A Travelogue: Visiting the "new" Jews of Africa — Arrival to Africa — Six Chapters
- Traps for Young Wedding Players — a short guide to perplexed prospectives
- The End of Days — The Ultimate Fulfilment of Prophecy
- Would the Real Menachem Kuchar Please Stand or Who am I?
- On Leaven, Sourdough, S'or and Hamets
- A Life Saved by Dog Biscuits
- More on Capos — A moral dilemma
- The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But ... by Howard Nissen
- The Truth Always Comes Out in the End — Or does it?
- Remembering my Father on Yet Another Anniversary of His Death — Yartzeit and Kaddish — An examination of Death
- The Rise of Fair Consumerism in Israel — From the perspective of both the buyers and of the sellers — The saga of a rug purchase
- The Tale of the Sage and His Beadle
- A Search for Meaning in the Expanse — How significant is a link in a chain?
- A Short History of Computational Machines, via my Israeli eyes
- The History of My Family via My Grandmother's Candlesticks
- A Short History of Computational Machines, via my Israeli eyes
- Our Sages Tell Us Our Name is Engraved on Our Very Souls — Our name is our very essence
- Ultimately It Boils Down to Greed and Stupidity — Doesn't it always?
- Capos, Kapos and Nazi Murder Revisited — How do Holocaust victims, and how should we relate to Capos?
- On Fasting and Feasting on Tisha b'Av-Transition to the End of Days, the Messianic Era or Let the Festivities Begin
- Facebook conversations with Australian political novices and Hungarian rotten egg eaters — how many degrees of separation?
- Simulating Reality, Prophecy and Physics Revisited — "You don't ever want a crisis to go to waste; it's an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid." — Rahm Emanuel
- Today is the 17th Day of Tamuz — Why do we bother fasting?
- What the Price of Privacy — Why do we insist on spying on ourselves?
- Who Will Ascend the Mountain of the Lord, Who Will Stand Erect in His Holy Place — He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not sworn in vain against My soul and who has not acted with deceit
- Simulating Reality — Responses and discussion on the original post
- Facebook and Styrofoam — Man is a Social Creature
- Simulating Reality — "I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice"
- Why Do Jews Love a Free Lunch? Anything, Anywhere and with Anyone
- The Present and Future of Communications and Social Media — and the Messianic Age
- The Putrid Parable of the Capped CupCakes — A picky porcine person's particularly prickly problematic predicament
- The New World Order via the Prophets of Israel
- It's All About The Dimensions, Three — No Actually Four because it doesn't go away with time
- The Place of the Holy Temple Today
- The Road from Presov to Kosice — A Mere Sixty Kilometres or an Eternity?
- Writing and Divine Providence
- The Damsel in Distress: The Distressing deTale
- It's a Matter of How You Say It
- On Matza, Soccer Balls and Red Wine or How long is a piece of string?
- Woosh, Plump, Ploop, Shhhhh
- On the Psychology of Sex and Wombats
- Stay Away from Bureaucracy. It will swallow you alive
- Noachide Meat — Have we overstepped our dominion?
- Ode to a Body Plethysmograph or How to Manage a Hospital
- "My Life Story" by Edith Duci Gluck Kuchar Schwartz
- A Eulogy to my Mother which the Sydney Chevra Kadisha would not allow me to give
- The Power of the Web — Finding a manuscript and a family
- Another Year Has Passed — Happy Birthday
- Why I Like to Photograph Reflections or Why Do I Always Do Things in Reverse?
- Interview with Me in Midrasz Magazine published in Poland
- A DisKosher Disdelight — Almost eating out on Broadway
- What Was the Crime of the Sodomites? Jingoism, xenophobia or sodomy?
- The more things change, the more they stay the same — On Babel, the New World Order, One World Government, Carbon Trading and Socialism
- Wednesday What I Meant to Say — Facebook and being Political Correctness
- Monday On Spaghetti Makers, French Management and Assessing Personality
- Tuesday My Holocaust Survivor Friends Tell It As It Is
- Wednesday Three Holocaust Experiences:
My friends tell me their stories
- Thurday "What Hath God Wrought" — Language Detectives at Work
- Friday, erev Rosh haShana "The End is Nigh" --
The clock ticks on — another step towards the Final Redemption
- Sunday Preying on the Aged. Like Jeffrey Archer's Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less
On Speaking Hebrew: How to pronounce Hebrew words correctly and why this is important
- Wednesday The Human Cost of International Travel — Jet Lag
- Friday I Love Gush Katif Cherry Tomatoes — Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink
- Sunday More of Menachem on Meditation — Pure meditation techniques from the first Jew
- Wednesday What Makes a Soul? — Will this be the last Tisha b'Av?
- Sunday Menachem on Meditation — I didn't intend to worship idols
- Friday A Taxi Ride From Hevron to Yerushalayim — or smuggling Jews into the Holy City
- Thursday What if my Liver were to Explode Half Way Through the Event? — Government Sponsored Citizen Rip-Offs
- Wednesday You're Known by the Company You Keep — We were only taking back what was rightfully ours
- Sunday How Much Would You Pay to Get a Million Dollars?
- Monday A Most Humbling, Though Frustrating Experience
- Thursday What Do Coffee, Tomatoes and Red Wine Have in Common?
- Tuesday They're Out to Kill Us! and no, I am not paranoid.
- Sunday Liars, Damned Liars and Insurance Agents
- Friday On Messier Madoff and Ponzi and all those who were sucked in
- Thursday A Time to Pick Sides — the time to sit on the fence has ended
- Tuesday Of HUSSEIN Obama, Elie Wiesel, Cairo and Buchenwald
- Monday Hevron in Those Days and Now
- Sunday The Secret Art of Bread Making
and preparation of edible food
- Monday The Conquest of Hevron, the City of Our Forefathers
- Tuesday My First Writing Anniversary: Tora V'Avodah
- Monday Whose Land Is This?
- Thursday Capos, Kapos and Nazi Murder Inc.
Could the Germans have done it on their own?
- Monday The Entire World Must be Upside Down!
Passover Eve in Yerushalayim
- Wednesday The Shattering of the Myth — the Jews of the Galut/Disapora and the Jews of Israel
- Holocaust Memorial Day Smuggling out of the Soviet Block
- Monday The Smell Just Isn't Going Away
- Wednesday Skeletons in My Closet or I think I may smell a rat
- Thursday Some Benefits in Discovering Your Long Lost Relatives
- Sunday Lust and the Use of the F Word
- Thursday The Edomite Nation in Our Time
- Tuesday — Purim Having a Happy Purim and Surviving Mishloach Manot
- Wednesday The Morality of Diet and Humane Eating — How a Jew should view eating to live
- Monday Memories of my Father
- Friday The Edomite Nation in Our Time
- Wednesday Cogito ergo sum — I Think, Therefore I Am; I Don't Think, Therefore Perhaps I Am Not — What's all this Doublespeak?
- Tuesday Vibrant Colours and the Return of a King to Israel
- Sunday My Uncle the Soccer Star
- Thursday Preparing Pizza for Our Soldiers
- Tuesday The Moon is Made of Green Cheese
- Monday The Conned Con Artist or "He who laughs last, laughs best
- Thursday Confessions After Fifty-Six Years of ...
- Tuesday Where am I? or perhaps Who am I?
- Wednesday in New York On-board a Transatlantic Flight: Thoughts on different Art Forms
- Monday Hidden Beneath a Cowshed — Chapter II
- Sunday Hidden Beneath a Cowshed — Chapter I
- Wednesday America Deposes One Hussein and Elects Another
- Tuesday Is My Phobia of Fat Men Normal? Am I a racist?
- Sunday Plagiarism, Theft, Larceny, Fraud and Impersonation — On the web and at university
- Wednesday A Clandestine Affair — Are we in the U.S.S.R. or something?
- Friday Three Old Friends, a Sewing Machine and a Kidnapping
- Sunday So what's in a Name
- The Friday after Rosh haShana, 5769 Returning Home after a Lengthy Absence
- Monday Another Uncle and Another, Very Different, Holocaust Experience
- Thursday An Art Exhibition and a Slice of Pizza for an Israeli Pizza for an Israeli Soldier
- Tuesday The Fear of Revenge and the Great Flood of 1959 revisited after Thirty Years
- Sunday Vintage Lenses on Digital Cameras — a critique
- Wednesday It's Absolutely Not Only About Numbers
- Sunday The Social Power of the Web or How to Influence Friends and Win People
- Thursday Old Harry, Music and the Lifesaver
- Wednesday Setting the Record Completely Straight re My Aunts
- Tuesday I Once Had an Uncle
- The Entire Body of my Writings There's more than is listed here.
- Monday, 18th May This was the start of my Writing Career — the entry point
Shoa Writings HomePage