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Joy Serves G*d in Joy as a passionate performing percussionist, poet, publisher, photographer, publicist, sound healer, spiritual guide, artist, gardener and Gemini. "Ivdu Et Hashem B'Simcha" -Psalm 100:2 ....... Joy Krauthammer, active in the Jewish Renewal, Feminist, and neo-Chasidic worlds for over three decades, kabbalistically leads Jewish women's life-cycle rituals. ... Workshops, and Bands are available for all Shuls, Sisterhoods, Rosh Chodeshes, Retreats, Concerts, Conferences & Festivals. ... My kavanah/intention is that my creative expressive gifts are inspirational, uplifting and joyous. In gratitude, I love doing mitzvot/good deeds, and connecting people in joy. In the zechut/merit of Reb Shlomo Carlebach, zt'l, I mamash love to help make our universe a smaller world, one REVEALING more spiritual consciousness, connection, compassion, and chesed/lovingkindness; to make visible the Face of the Divine... VIEW MY COMPLETE PROFILE and enjoy all offerings.... For BOOKINGS write: joyofwisdom1 at gmail.com, leave a COMMENT below, or call me. ... "Don't Postpone Joy" bear photo montage by Joy. Click to enlarge. BlesSings, Joy

Chanting With The Swami In Joy

- Joy Krauthammer
January 13, 2011

Listening tonight to visiting Rabbi Arthur Green talk about the "sense of wanting to have a religious response to the Divine, with awe and beauty", and of "Rishimu",* and also of his mentioning Swami Satchidananda, obm, reminded me of the time also when in 1968, I, too, had met the Swami (guru) and clearly felt connected. It was a ‘happening’. I was around 20, and Swami Satchidananda about 53 years, and Rabbi Green said he was 28 that year when meeting the Swami. I went to New York's JFK Airport to greet the great swami, and with my Jewish college friends, and close friend, Michael D'Angelo, sat at the Swami's feet and listened to his teachings on peace of mind and inner joy. I am reminded that we all held sticks of incense while visiting the Swami at Pan Am. I was an Village Voice reader and went to events listed.

I asked Rabbi Green about what he thought over four decades ago had drawn me to Sri Swami Satchidananda, renowned Indian yoga master, and he answered, the feeling of "Love" that permeated the space where the Swami dwelt; he exuded love. That is probably why in the sixties I felt mamash good while sitting by the Swami. We must have chanted "Ohm Shanti Shanti Ohm". Tonight, I came home from the rabbi's lecture at Valley Beth Shalom, and I looked online for and found the swami's UTube tapes with chanting and teachings. Tonight, too, I listened and chanted. Being an authentic and grounded Jew, and feeling the Oneness of people, I am OK with some of my multi-cultural chanting, but every chance I get, I'll change "Ohm" to "Shalom". I have an inner smile on my face remembering the energy vibrations and the messages.

During the same era, I would go to NY's beautiful broad open lawn, Sheep Meadow in Central Park, and in joy, chant and sing and dance with the saffron robed Hare Krishnas. I'd also give flowers to the cops, who had sturdy wooden batons, their weapons, by their side. I was a sixties flower child, a "khippie artist” (as my highly educated European Orthodox father-in-law to be, would later call me). I didn't use my Woodstock tickets, and instead I hitch hiked to music festivals (Newport Folk and Jazz), and with my sun darkened skin, and dark hair in pig tails, was mistaken for American Indian when hitching to a reservation, and introduced myself as "Princess Brown Beads". I ate my favorite seasoned rice for dinner at a veggie Buddhist eatery prior to my teaching adult ceramics classes at Cooper Square Art School in Manhattan's East Village. (Years later I opened an art school for children for the City of LA and again taught ceramics.) I loved the music spots in Greenwich Village and the outdoor art shows. I wore love beads, dangly Israeli earrings, Indian leather sandals, and short Indian cotton dresses adorned with reflective mirrors. I think I made it through Queens College (QC) wearing two Indian dresses. (My father, z'l, was a fine dress manufacturer and I could have had any of the fancy dresses at Saks 5th Ave. As a teen, my closet was filled with cocktail dresses. I know I wore a blue one to the Jr. H.S. prom.)

When I decided to no longer hang around my friends from SDS (Students for a Democratic Society)-- during their season of talking about making bombs-- they called me “bourgeois”. That stung, but I had limits for my actions. I did help "take over" the QC president's office, and we had a peaceful "sit in". in 1968-69, I counseled draft dodgers, as well as acting in Guerilla Street Theatre to protest against the Vietnam War, in addition to participating in the anti-Vietnam War marches. With friends on a rainy day and bull-horn yelling cops, we resisted arrest in 1969 when trespassing at another peaceful event in Phily. Even then at the police station, refusing to hand over ID, I named myself "Joyous Joy of Utopia" (Utopia was a nearby street) and my visiting California friend was "Marvelous Mike". (Mike Saks had made for me a beautiful turquoise color, Egyptian ceramic beaded long necklace which I still treasure.) To boycot my QC graduation, I entered and "walked out" with others in protest with leader, Dr. Benjamin Spock, the baby doctor.  Twenty five years later, and still advocating peace and Tikkum Olam / fixing the world, I proudly wore a 'cap and gown' for my University of Judaism non-profit MBA graduation, and still embellished myself in long dangly earrings.

Joy Krauthammer, MBA
University of Judaism

While I was an undergrad art student at QC, I was in Oneness while wheel throwing my pottery. I was in centered stillness then, but I didn't know what that spiritually and intellectually meant. I was just deeply in that creative, connected meditative space and very happy. I stayed in that spiritual space also during my graduate ceramics study. Following that, I felt I had to 'prove myself' to my future in-laws, and I compromised, and I went on to help save the world as a very good medical social worker. My Black patients would gratefully say to me, "G*d bless you," although I had no idea what they were talking about.

For the last several years, when I go to the Onion (wood building, where I imagine I'm inside Noah's Ark) for Spiritual Unity Movement interfaith full moon gatherings, I add "Shal" as we chant Ohm, and Ohm Shanti (a lot more upbeat), or visiting Hare Krishnas chant with us, and it always gives me joy. It is palpable; I feel it. Maybe it is the long lost feeling from when I chanted in NY, which surfaces. It is the same feeling of inner joy and peace that resonate with me as the sound vibrations enter my sacred space. For me they were holy moments, although I didn't know what that meant, since I had had no education in religion. Then, I knew nothing of G*d, nor of being Jewish, except for Pesach and Chanukah home rituals. We ate lots of bagels and lox.

Today when I play my drums, gongs and Tibetan singing bowls (that I bought in Tibet) for healing sound meditations, I slowly chant "ShalOM" ** and ask others to join me. "I bless you and myself" (as my Reb Shlomo Carlebach, z'l, would say) with love filled energy vibrations to higher frequencies, and for peace and double joy, and closer connection to the Divine.

"How do we remember the Oneness?", asked Rabbi Green at his lecture. This is the week, Shabbat Shira, that beloved Jewish singer/composer Debbie Friedman, z'l, died, Jan. 9, 2011 - 4 Shevat.  Torah Parshat Beshalach, Exodus 15:20 contains Miriam's Song, sung at the sea. Debbie sang "... and the women dancing with their timbrels followed Miriam as she sang her song...". I am so grateful that for the last decades, dear Debbie gave us all the opportunity for transformation; to sing and pray joyously to the Holy One, as our authentic response to The Source of All BlesSings, and I sang and danced in joy. In Debbie's zechut / merit I will continue to do so. For me this is knowing Oneness; as is a little 'potting' with clay on the spinning wheel with centered stillness.
 In addition, with a little potting earth, I am already giving out dozens of baby fig trees to people for them to plant for Tu B'Shvat, and in Debbie's memory. A fig *** is like Torah, to be enjoyed through and through, as was Debbie's music; to bring us closer to and savor the Holy One, as we did when we crossed over to freedom and sang and danced with timbrels. I chant my morning prayers under my fig tree. 

Over the decades, since I initially chanted with the Swami, Hare Krishnas, Reb Shlomo, Reb David Zeller, z'l, and then sang Debbie's praising songs to G*d, I came to understand what Rabbi Green is talking about, and with consciousness and awareness, and awe, I respond knowingly in joy to the Divine Presence.

BlesSings for health, wholeness, shalom and inner joy,
"Serve G*d With Joy"

PS Related sharing and Torah:

It was only two years after I met Swami Satchidananda, that I met my next ‘guru' who blessed me, the 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneershon, zt’l, at 770 Eastern Parkway (down the street from the Brooklyn Museum School of Art, where I was a full-time ceramics graduate student). Two summers ago I visited The Rebbe's Ohel, his grave site in Queens. The "Rishimu" * of meeting The Rebbe has enveloped my life for the last four decades including the 16 years since his death; I'm a Chabadnik in addition to being a Renewal Jew and Feminist. (Or am I post-denominational, beyond titles?) I love responding and connecting to the Divine Presence, with awe and beauty, in joy. You can read my 47 websites which reflect my life and my relationships with my rabbis and other spiritual guides.

I dedicate this story I have written tonight, both to Debbie Friedman, may her memory be a blesSing as was her life (Debbie's funeral was on 1/11/11 at 11 AM), and also to the life and memory of Ellen Stewart, obm, 91, who died today, Jan. 13, 2011. Ellen, in 1961 in the East Village, founded the avant garde La MaMa Experimental Theatre, known as Cafe La MaMa. In the late sixties, friends (still today) and I studied with La MaMa, and it made a joyous difference in our lives as we discovered bodily expression in our wonder and movement. Now as a Baby-Boomer, I still recall the laughter and smiles in that era, and I am grateful.

This is the weekend remembering Rev. Martin Luther King, obm. "I had a dream". This was our era fighting for Civil Rights. When MLK was in prison in the little jail house near my beloved grandma's, z'l, grocery store in an Atlanta suburb, she would send her twin daughters over with his favorite noshes, Moon Pies. Grandma (immigrant from Russia) also told me that the Ku Klux Klan threatened to "tar and feather" her because of her having fondness for the "Negroes" and helping them. When my daughter was young, I took her to tour MLK's childhood home in Atlanta and she asked, "Where is the King?"
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* "The Reshimu is the residual impression of the infinite Divine Light that G*d "withdrew" from Creation through the process of Tzimtzum." - R. Yitzchak Ginsburgh

** SHALOM is composed of three Hebrew "Mother Letters." Shin, Aleph, Mem; near Last, first and middle letters.. 
Aleph is the first letter and beginning of sound, said with mouth open in 'ah' sound.
Mem is the middle letter and conclusion of sound with mouth closed. It is balance between opening and closing. 
Shin is the synthesis of sounds between sound and silence. -R. Dov Ber Pinson

*** "Torah compares to a fig tree; Figs on a tree do not ripen all at once, but a little each day. Therefore, one keeps finding new figs in the tree each day. So too with Torah: The more one studies each day, the more knowledge and wisdom one finds." (Eruvin 54a)

"In that day (of Torah and peace)...everyone will invite his friend in fellowship under his vine and under his fig tree." (Zechariah 3:10) 

Joy's poem about figs:
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HIPPIE HISTORY from: Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen

My Search for the Soul of Zion – 206, Part Two: Lost and Found (Talent Scout)
Hazon – Our Universal Vision:  www.shemayisrael.com/publicat/hazon  
"During the summer of 1970, I lived with the hippies in the East Village of Manhattan, New York City. Most of the hippies were young people who were rebelling against the materialistic values of modern western society, and who sought to find alternative ways of living which were more loving and spiritual. The hippy movement began in 1967; however, in 1970, the movement was entering a new stage, for many hippies were seeking to anchor their vision in a spiritual path. They began to realize that having altruistic goals was not enough, for they lacked a spiritual path and discipline that could help them to fulfill their vision. There were therefore Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, and other religious centers that had opened up in Lower Manhattan in order to attract the spiritually-searching young people that flocked to the East Village and its neighbor to the west, Greenwich Village."
  Chofetz Chaim: When we help a brother or sister to reclaim their heritage, we are also fulfilling the mitzvah to return a lost object to its rightful owner (Deuteronomy 22:1-3).

Where I Swim


Fall 2008

- Joy Krauthammer

"Where do you swim?", asked my friend.

As a child, I totally loved the ocean and loved body surfing in Rockaway and Jones Beach. As a teen by the water, I was a foolish sun worshiper.

My husband's, z'l, mother lived-- sharing the year, sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay in Florida in the winter, and three blocks from the Atlantic Ocean in Long Island in the summer. We would visit. The ocean for me was pure delight. When my husband Marcel died, she sold it all; her homes after 50 years of oceans, and now lives in a hi-rise senior residence in near DC. There's a pool 3 miles away at the Y, and she has not yet been there in the two years. Somehow she made the transition safely through all this loss. *

My husband's brother, Charles, became a quadriplegic when he dove into a pool three years before Marcel and I married. As a consequence, Marcel allowed us NO pool. He was committed to having us all suffer the loss of his brother’s mobility. No pleasure allowed. In the hot Valley 115* summer days even in September, we are the house with NO pool. It even shows up on Google Earth as the property with NO blue pool.

The brother has houses and pools and lakes and boats and ... We had none. I love the water. I heal in the water. I’m at One in the water.

You can read my "Lisa, My Friend" story.** I swam at Lisa's for years; two doors down. We walked in the winter, enjoying the season's change of colors, and I would read to her as we walked. I swam in the summer in Lisa’s heated pool where we talked and intimately shared our lives for twenty five years of deep friendship. I prayed in her pool. I shape shifted into fish, sea horses and water animals and lilies in her pool. I meditated and received messages in her pool. At Lisa's, I loved to swim laps in the large rectangular pool, and float and surrender to G*d in the water when alone after Lisa got out of the water, only when our finger’s skin was purple and was wrinkled like a prune.

My daughter learned to swim in Lisa’s pool. Lisa's husband, Joe, z'l, taught Aviva to dive.

Lisa is now 89 1/2. On Lisa’s 89th birthday half a year ago, her children took Lisa away from her beautiful home where she had 24/7 caregivers, and put her in a senior facility. She deteriorated quickly, especially following a fall. Now she's in an Alzheimers unit. I don't know that Lisa even recognizes me. (She didn’t recall on our last visit, that her granddaughter had married the day before. She doesn’t remember anything from a minute earlier.) I had visited Lisa each week in her new home and brought the weekly Jewish paper. I no longer bring her favorite foods--like the figs I grow as I did when we were neighbors and she chose what to passionately indulge in. I don’t bring flowers because the new vase I bought for her new ‘home’ was missing by the next week.

When Lisa entered this place, her life now in a single room, I brought Lisa a loving story, that last summer 2007, I had written about her. I guess I knew it was our last summer in her pool. I had taken sweet photos of her in the pool. I read Lisa our pool story and Lisa said that it would be lovely if the story was framed and she could keep it on view. I had printed and fit the story on one pretty sheet. I went to the store and bought a blue frame to match the blue couch in her new room. A couple visits later the framed story was missing from the little round glass table next to the couch. I guessed that her family didn't want Lisa to have the reminder of the wonderful pool days that we shared together in her home. I had given her lots of presents. Where are they? She has none of them to hold except the love that I gave to her.

You asked about where I swim. Down the hill, three blocks away lives the most magnificent magical gardener in town. Edith, 85, lost her husband Bob, of blessed memory, 94, almost two years ago, a year after my husband died. I told my friend Edith that Lisa moved and I had no place to swim. Lisa moving was another great loss to me for many reasons.

With compassion for me, for the last few months, July, August, September, Edith played life guard. Generously, Edith gives over each morning to me at her home for my pleasure. She never gets upset when I’m later for my 7 AM swim. Edith has not been in the pool. (Lisa was able to go swimming because I swam with her.)

I swam almost daily until October 3rd in Edith's unheated pool. I expected to see polar bears this last week. After freezing in the first minute, ((( brrr ))), these last few weeks, I would ‘warm up’ the water and love it. I have truly enjoyed the chill of the water; Proud of myself also that I could survive it. I love the water embracing me. At Lisa's, I loved the warmth of the water. I had loved the morning mist that rose from the pool. In both places I loved imagining that I was in a lake with the water lapping up to the edge of the shore, and nearby, trees surrounded me. Do you know that the texture of the water can change day by day? Some days it is silky and smooth and other times it feel heavy. The water can have surprising warm and cold spots adjacent to each other. I laugh as one hand is stroking cool water and the other warm.

The day after Rosh HaShanah, a few days ago, I guess will be my season's last swim day. I found a huge black spider guarding a nest, filled probably with eggs in a large pea-sized yellow case surrounded by a spider web in the pool's inside edge of the tile border. Quickly I swam--raced out of the pool. Then the next day was Shabbat, it rained, Baruch HaShem / thank G*d, and yesterday the air temperature was twenty degrees less so I did not swim. I think my worn out baggy swim suit is finished for the season, and I look forward to buying a new swim suit next summer.

Edith is so cute. (See her photos in collage.) The sun shines through her short thick curly white hair as she sits on the white worn plastic arm chair by the pool. Her cordless phone lies on her lap as she awaits her granddaughter Ashley’s daily 8:45 AM caring calls. Last week I told Edith how adorable she is when she was sharing her fascinating life's stories with me, as she does daily. I tread water staying in place by the pool’s edge while listening to Edith’s soft voice a few feet away. We laugh a lot.

I stopped talking politics with Edith at this election time so that I would not disturb her. We differ. I treasure her too much to upset her. I promised Edith that although I love talking about my Jewish faith-- that is my life, I would not proselytize. Jews don’t proselytize.

May G*d bless Edith for being my friend, so generous in sharing her life with me.

Oh, yes, Edith shared all her home made fruit jams and summer veggies with me also (black berries, varieties of squash that I cook each morning, and big red delicious juicy tomatoes which I would eat right from the vines, adding a leaf of basil to each bite). I see her hachiyah persimmons are ripening on her tree. Last year I took photos of her persimmons and wrote a story*** about them and Edith. Ate the persimmons also, and I was in heaven.

Edith with her Divine produce, and Lola swimming with her ball in The Pool
photos and collage by (c) Joy Krauthammer

How do I repay Edith for her kindness? I've brought presents to Edith throughout the summer. I love the truly large hummingbird sculpture chimes because her garden is filled with dozens of hummingbirds; Edith makes food for them and feeds them all. (Edith thinks my gift of the musical chimes will wake the neighbors, so she hung it inside.) A ceramic mug with a ‘mug’ shot of a dog that looks just like her black lab, Lola, is another gift. (I neglected to mention that Lola went swimming with me at 7 am every morning, barking like crazy wanting to play ball and waking all the neighbors in case the neighbor's crowing rooster did not already wake them. (Edith's gorgeous organic shaped pool is not my meditation spot.) I was smart enough from the very first day to realize that I had to train Lola that I would not be her slave to the ball playing. (OK, some days I gave in just to stop her incessant loud sharp barking.) (See Lola in photo collage.)

I just bought a card for Edith and will bring it over (Last week I brought her cut bulb flowers-- red stargazers, purple Dutch irises and pink and yellow gladiolas unlike the flowers from seed in her lush garden). On the card cover filled with garden colors and painted glitter red roses in a flower pot, it says:
"Thank you (Edith). Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves."
Inside it reads: "It is hard for me to put in words How much you mean to me... The times you've touched my heart in ways That only I could see. I'm thankful that my life includes Someone as special as you; Please know I'm truly grateful For all you are and do."  I put a WATERing can book mark inside the card.

I have been blessed. I am grateful.
 -  Joy Krauthammer


* Two and a half years after my writing "Where I Swim", my mother-in-law, Thea, soon to be 90 years, uses the swimming pool near her senior home. I know she misses the ocean. 

** Lisa
See my illustrated story: "Lisa, My Friend"

Half a year after writing about my dear friend Lisa, Lisa succumbed to her illness at the age of 90, on her birthday week. I had visited her in time. Losing Lisa was very hard for me. Reading Torah, walking, talking, swimming, we had shared almost every day together for over two dozen years. 

EDITH links
See illustrated story: "Short Ride to Heaven".
with a link included to You Tube and Edith's Persimmons

In 2010 I took the few dozen photos I have taken of Edith and I made my very first slide show, and with music, and put it all on UTube! I hope it thrilled Edith and her family. Edith noticed that I snuck in a photo of her jams, although the slide show is on "Edith and hachiyah persimmon drying with Joy" process. Good, she was paying attention! I had used the Snoopy music theme to accompany the slide show but I was black listed from UTube for using the copyrighted song. Oy, vey. I again created a slide show (adding a few more happy slides) with other music; clearly not as much fun as Snoopy music.   I hope Edith likes my new photo collage of her, illustrating this story.



Tales of Joy Walls

Tales of Joy Walls

- Joy Krauthammer


A young woman, whom I did not know, saw me at an LA gathering in 2000 and questioned me about an activity a year and a half or two earlier. "Aren't you the woman who was climbing over the high wire fence in Jerusalem at Hebrew University?" (That high wire act was in 1997.)

She was right; On Shabbat the open gates were too far away on the other side of campus, so Aviva and I climbed over near her dorm room in order to leave the campus.

It was LA politician Zev Yaroslavsky's daughter who recognized me on the other side of the high gate she was jogging past, which Aviva and I had scaled, jumping first onto a high cement block wall. Can't believe I did it, but Aviva went quickly over first, so I'd have been stuck alone.

That gave me good practice to climb over a high wooden gated wall in Texas at a Botanical Garden an hour or so from Dallas.  (I was in TX day before for a bat mitzvah.) I had driven to Garden several years ago, from my Dallas hotel and the Garden was closed, because the day was late, and I decided I was not missing it. Parking lot was totally empty. So up and over I went. Can't believe i did that. Big wooden doors were high. Surveying the scene I found that the entire property was fenced and locked.  I was not flying back to LA without seeing the garden that a waiter had told me about.

(Oy, no, reminds me of when I was in college and climbed the fire escape up into the second story of Carnegie Hall where Judy Collins was performing when all the seats were sold out, and I made it down to the front orchestra seats and found an empty seat, and sat next to actor, Stacy Keach. I was able to buy a ticket for Judy C, a few years ago because although the concert was sold out, I met a gardener at the box office line with an extra seat to sell. He was awesome and makes massive happy faces and peace signs on grassy hillsides. Oh, connection here with gardeners, hmm.)

Once inside the Texas (Houston?) Botanical Garden, the head gardener (he found me) gave me a personal tour (I think he was impressed with my escapade of which i was proud.) and then escorted me to the big black subway style metal gate, out to the outside. I loved the Zen sand garden, and Asian stones, and the lovely pond. I had seen these scenes, yearning, peering, through a crack in the gates so I knew what I wanted to enjoy. Back in LA, I sent a photo of the gardener to him. That job was his dream and he reached it. 

OH, yes, there was a giant, huge cattle, horse festival opening the next day in that same town, but I was driving back at night to Dallas after the Garden in my rented car. I watched all these big trucks going in to the most famous cattle festival as it was getting dark.  I thought, cool, this is the Texas biggest annual show of it's kind, so probably in the whole country, and all was in place to open tomorrow, so... LA dress, heels and all (no cowgirl boots or hat for me), I managed to sneak in with my car, even with all the guards at the parking gate, and see cows being groomed, and horses in a ring with braided hair. It was fun. Guess I stood out because I was caught the first two tries and thrown out, but with my nifty netzach / endurance I made it in on the third try.

That same netzach is having me find healers for my friends in need.

Just a couple stories to amuse you and let you know that even in my sadness over dear ones' suffering, I find the light and share it.  Guess that is why one friend calls me, "Shamashee"--for the shamash candle lighting the others at Chanukah. This work seems to be how Hashem is using me lately. It's not for me to question, just to serve well.

Hmm, any more walls to climb, or just metaphoric ones? Guess finding doors and opening them is good also...

One love, shalom and abundant blesSings of harmony, wholeness, health and joy to you, Joy
"Serve G*d With Joy"