Update on the friend in California: No info. I called her phone but her voicemail was full, so I sent an e-mail asking her to kindly call me when she is up to it. So far, no word back. I'll mail a get-well card by postal tomorrow, but otherwise I'm waiting until I hear back from her.
How I spent my day: Learning the names of the Presidents of the United States. Yeah, I know - why Presidents and not labor leaders, suffragettes, civil rights leaders, etc.? Well why not Presidents. You've got to start somewhere. I'm reading the Wikipedia bios to get a sense of who they were and what they contributed. Hopefully I'm laying the foundations for a deeper study of American history, which I would like to undertake soon.
The Governor's Ball was great. My friend picked me up and we got there exactly on time. She knew a few people there because she's active in the Democratic Party in Oregon; I, obviously, am not, but I enjoyed the event. And as I posted before, I do like Kulongoski, voted for him, and endorsed him on my website.
Last week's Torah portion, as I posted earlier, was Vayechi, the last parasha of Genesis. One of the themes of this reading is the promise of Joseph to bury the bones of his father Jacob (alias Israel) not in Egypt, but in the land of Canaan (alias Israel). This is the source of the tradition, and of the Hebrew idiom, for kindness shown to the dead - hesed shel emet in Hebrew, "true kindness" because it cannot be repaid.
UPDATE: I just heard back from her (California friend) and she is OK but resting up. And she does have a boyfriend. (Boo hoo.) But I'll still be getting together with her to put together a compilation of Stephanie's stuff. And this ties in with where I'm going here - because I think the respect shown to the departed is repaid, not tangibly but with their presence in our lives.
metaphorge has posted some pictures from Auschwitz. Go take a look.
Auschwitz II (Birkenau) is the camp that many people know simply as "Auschwitz". It was the site of imprisonment of hundreds of thousands, and of the killing of over one million people, mainly Jews but also large numbers of Poles, and Gypsies.That's all for now.
Birkenau was largely destroyed by the Nazis in an attempt to cover up their crimes, so little remains except the chimneys for most of the buildings that the prisoners were kept in. The scale of the place is astonishing; as you can see from the photo, the chimneys stretch on as far as the eye can see across the sprawling 440 acre complex.
Bear in mind that three-quarters of the prisoners who were sent to Birkenau were gassed within a few hours of arrival, so all of these buildings were needed to house only the remaining quarter, who were utlized as slave labor in nearby industrial plants.