Archive for August 2019

While I was doing the interview with Christian Pritchard, I heard a lot of what he said. I also missed some it. Why? Because I was thinking about the next question. That is an occupational hazard of any interviewer, something we look to correct. But following the actual interview itself, I listened to the show in its entirety to determine what i should edit out. It was then I heard Christian clearly on HatRadio!, and the frequent gems he espoused on HatRadio! It was then I embraced my guest fully and appreciated him to the fullest.

So what did I hear? I heard that Christian is seriously committed to life, love, his family, cooking, music and his other passions. He is a man, with boyish tendencies. He therefore spoke in  mature terms, except when he didn't. It was then the high volume of his 47 year-old voice increased and he essentially roled around in that proverbial playground, acting and talking silly, the way many guys do, including myself.

As a man, Christian talked about his appreciation for his parents and how it made him proud to be the son of CFNY's (a once iconic station in northern Toronto) first program director, and a friend of Frank Zappa. The man side of him was completely comfortable telling me he cried, sobbed, last year upon hearing about some questionable health issues. Christian became quite serious, and somewhat misty eyed when he relayed the point, that his son, 11, still holds his Dad's hand.

And of course the boy side of this chef and entertainer shared with us, the content of the birthday card he sent to his Mom stating, 'your tits are sagging'. The boy side of Christian comes out too when he failed  the Jewish food quiz i gave him. He failed miserably!

Christian is not politically correct, and that is why he made such a beautiful guest.

He's one of those guys we want to be, at least that very free side of him. At some point in the show, Christian said without hesitancy after being asked if he had to work on becoming Italian in order to do his current job well (working for Aurora Foods, an Italian food distributor):  "I know who I am". In other words, 'no', he didn't end up adjusting his very WASP accent or utilizing that Italian sort of street grunt we'd hear from Rocky or Tony Montana in Scar face.  Christian said he already talks with his hands so that wasn't a stretch. 

Episode 34 is compelling because it's an in-depth story of a decent man who lives in Brooklyn, Ontario, and is a highly accomplished culinary pro,  is truly in love with his accordion-playing wife and has a blast with her. It's a moving episode, especially at times when he spoke about his fatherhood, the fact he is a 'dance-Dad', and his belief that he is a great dad, with a lot to learn

We schmoozed about food and more specifically the four fundamental ingredients needed to make great Italian food. And we shared information about the many regions of Italy where locals straddling one area can be very jealous and angry at others living in another region, claiming to have the best pizza. We talked about his bass playing, and the contest he's about to be part of, going up against an Italian mother to determine who can cook better.

We covered a ton of ground. Fortunately both he and I seem to be ADHD, so the frenetic nature of the show worked well. 

So when I listened to the show, I discovered, my guest, Christian Pritchard, is a very decent fellow, someone i could hang out. I quite liked him, felt his warmth and delighted in his sense of humor. 

Have a listen to Episdode 34 with Christian Pritchard, a good man who enjoys life (like food people do) and more so, experiences love in a very beautiful and special way. 

HatRadio! The show that schmoozes.


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Devora Mason is regular folk. Not that her way is mundane or even average, quite the opposite. Devora is colorful and fancy. She's one of 7.7 billion people in this world who travel through life  working arduously on growth, try to raise their children to be upstanding citizens and who struggle to make a decent living so she can afford to make thing right for all those she support.

That's Devora...with a healthy smidgeon of 'unique'. 

Episode 33 is a schmooze with my niece, Devora Mason who is a beautiful and vivacious personality with a beaming smile- a Rosensweig smile.  It became clear to me, after a few years of not really hanging out with her, that Devora has evolved into a wise forty-something woman with cogent thoughts and opinions. 3:12 She has adopted our family's way, and that is to smile and say hello to people, strangers, she meets along the road, something anathema to Israeli culture. So that's Devora!

Devora lives in Efrat, a town near Jerusalem. Terrorist attacks are perpetrated regularly along the road outside of Efrat where her children travel to get to school and work. My niece has five children, four boys and a girl - the boys are religious, her daughter is not.

1:17:41 Devora is a single Mom. You can imagine the worry. 1:19:07 Devora makes a prayer before making a big decision for her children.  Listen to the interview at 51:44 where Devora talks about her life in the context of raising her kids, and how she just knows pain and suffering will come her way, so she does everything to minimize it. That is very Israeli. Not a single Israeli ducks the pain of living in the Middle East and being surrounded by enemies.

Devora's life is dynamic. 7:42 Shes speaks extensively at the beginning of the show about her love for her parents, Jack and Etti (my sister), and how special they are, allowing their children to grow up according to their nature. At the 10:43 mark Devora schmoozes about her sister who is a Breslower Chasid - a person who adheres to the very strict and conservative lifestyle of previous generations. When her sister and children visit, the I-pads goes away and the TV stay off. No movies. And Devora loves her to bits as she loves all her five siblings.

Devora Mason, my guest on episode 33, is friends with Jews of all denominations, Christians, Muslims and people of all backgrounds. She seems to thrive off the diversity in her life. When I asked her if she's religious (all our family grew up that way), she responded, "I'm spiritual", and shares with me her trek to 55:57 become a yoga instructor

Devora adores Israel. Listen to the 24:24 mark of the show when she describes her work running an innovation centre inside the Tower of David Museum. Every day she'd go to work, go to her office in one one of the towers that King Herod built. She'd go up to the balcony and have a 360 degree view of Jerusalem

Devora has difficulties with Israel. She has no expectations of making a lot of money as that simply won't happen. She says there is a lot of hardship in Israel/Jerusalem 27:43, and she's frustrated with the government 42:34 and says the people are really directing the country and the government is out of step. "I feel the country is the people today, not because of the leaders but inspite of them." 

1:22:16 "My focus in life is to reach bliss."  This is Devora Mason, a multi-faceted woman, a citizen of our very complex and simple world, working hard to understand herself, to raise her children, frequently challenged by the many pitfalls of life.

Beautifully and appropriately, my Devora completes the schmooze at 1:33:11 singing the classic Yiddish song, "Ofyn Pripetchick', followed by 'The Picnic Song', this in memory of her Boobie (grandmother), and in honor of the life she leads.

Listening to the show, and writing this blurb I feel so lucky Devora is my niece. She truly is a gem of a human being, someone to emulate and one of us regular folk.

Hatradio! The show that schmoozes. 





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Episode 32 features Dr. Saul Kendal, an octogenarian who has been practicing dentistry for fifty-nine years. He's my dentist and when we began the interview on Tuesday, August 13th, I was partially drooling from my mouth as it had been frozen, so Saul could put a crown in my tooth. I love this man and couldn't wait to release the interview to my listeners.  

Saul was born in Toronto. He was an only child. His parents were Louie and Annie. He was athletic and  played basketball (a guard) for his high-school, Harbord Collegiate. Saul excelled at rebounding because he was a big kid. His Dad, was a barber and told a story of how one day while working in a hospital cutting patients hair, he entered a room and found a man sleeping. He figured, 'okay, I'll cut his hair anyway'. And he did. Upon exiting the room a nurse asked him what he was doing. He resonded 'I was cutting the patients hair while he slept.".  The nurse responded, "he's not sleeping. He's dead!" Oy!!!  Saul loves that story. Me too! 

38:00 In this interview, Saul dad was what was called a felsher/barber, a part time 'doctor'/barber. It's an old time thing.  With that in mind, Saul and I schmoozed about a Yiddish folk remedy his dad practiced called bankus (cupping). Louie would heat up glass cups and place on his customers back, to alleviate pain and help with their conditions. They'd create a suction of sorts. "Did it really help," I asked. Saul answered, "They seemed to think it helped them". There is something even more intense than bankus -- ge'hakta bankas. Oy! Check them out around the 40:39:00 minute mark.  By the way, the red in the pole outside a barber represents bloodletting. Also oy! 

Early on the show Saul talks about his six decades as a dentist, giving us good insight into that doctor we all hate going to. 14:08 He loves the job and says it's a respected profession but adds that people don't like coming to the dentist. The first thing many of his patients tell him is that. Saul says, "it's not that they don't like us, but they don't like what we do." And he adds, "why should they?" This clearly adds to the stress of being a dentist. Thinking about it it's true. I dread going to the dentist. How must our dentist feel knowing that? At 15:32 Saul talks about his wife's sister's son, who is responsible for Saul's worst experience ever as a dentist. Have a listen. 

The tough part about my schmooze with Saul started at the 48:00 minute mark. Saul and his dear wife, Yetta, are parents to five children, two of whom have passed away. I knew, if I was going to do an interview with my dear friend we'd have to talk about the death of Darren and Neil. It's heartbreaking to hear about the car accident Darren was in on August 19, 1982. Saul identified his body, saw a chip on his front took, kissed him on the forehead and said, "good-bye". Saul then said without me asking, "Avrum, you go on with your life.The pain never goes away". 

Later on, 53:20, we talked about Saul's son, Neil, who died on May 20, 2014. Neil was Susan's husband, a dad, and he was Saul's partner in the Dentist office. They worked together for thirty years and at 54:05 Saul says with great pride, "we never had an argument". Every day, Saul goes into the office and sees Neil's scribbly script on patient's charts. "Brings back memories."  

"I never had a strong relationship with God, but after 'Darren' and after 'Neil', I lost it for sure."  Saul doesn't pray. But Yetta wants him to go to shul (synagogue) on the High Holidays, so he does. 

I asked Saul, after the death of his second son, what he was thinking. He said, "why us. Why did it happen to us. 55:16 We're not bad people. " Listen at 57:20 when Saul tells a story about going to a psychic, and telling her about a redbird that appeared at their house for about a month after Neil's death, and would repeatedly wack its beak against their window. The psychic said it was Neil. 

Episode 32 is a story about a couageous man, a dentist of six decades, a dad who stood tall while faced with extreme adversary.  The interview with Saul is highly inspirational. He reminds us you have to keep on living. And he does, together with his beautiful wife Yetta, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren - - they should all live long livesSaul is funny, a storyteller and he is all about friendship. I am grateful to Saul for doing this interview and  showing us he is still joyful. I commend him for his courage to talk about the tough stuff.

Have a listen folks, This man really is a gift to all of us! Hatradio! The show that schmoozes. 


Thank you to Howard Pasternack for his handy work on and ability to do magic in post-production. Thank you too to my old bud, David Nefesh, who lends an intro and extro to each episode through his original score, the HatRadio! song! 

Credit for music in commercial:
"Slow Burn" by Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

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Welcome to Episode 31 of Hatradio!  My guest is Miriam Borden, a vivacious person, full of verve and a zest for life. Miriam is Lynda Kraar's daughter, whom I schmoozed with on Episode 11. You'll notice the two share a certain melody in their speak and a certain speed to their delivery, generally reserved for those who think a lot. Like mother, like daughter.

I so enjoyed this schmooze. It was full of sun! Full of light

And indeed, Miriam is a thinker. She is Ph.d student. Her major is Yiddish and throughout the show we speak about her passion for this medieval, 9th century Jewish language, including some of the quirky, uncomfortable, but to-the-point sayings. Check this one out: in response to the question of 'how are things' --  mi shlukt yiddin (1:03:35), Jews are being attacked (with a little shrug). Interestingly, Miriam laughs a lot and she laughed at this expression. Why? I think it has to do with her deep love for the Jewish people, and Judaism, which she calls "very rich", and an acceptance of our plight in history. Despite the fact Jews have been so persecuted, we've managed to develop an entire culture, a certain intellect and a major spiritual body of work.

Miriam gets that!  

At the 24:50 mark of the show, Miriam responds to the question: 'Why Yiddish?'. She says, "I study Yiddish because it yet another way to inhabit my Jewishness.  I study Yiddish for exactly the same reason I studied Gemarah (Talmud)....history...and that I love's all part and parcel of the same landscape. It's the same reason I want to educate my kids in a Jewish way." Interestingly, she's married to a non-Jew. I asked her how that works? Miriam answered freely. 

Herring! At 52:28, I asked Miriam what her relationship is to herring, as she wrote a 2,000 word article, front page for the Canadian Jewish News (CJN). Well, apparently, the article started out as a joke with friends, and eventually Miriam was encouraged to offer it up to the CJN. In the article, and in this interview, we learn about  'herring anti-Semitism'; schmaltz herring versus marinated herring; and of course, the many centuries of this small fish as part of the Jewish menu.

Miriam speaks a lot about food. And she's a baker with some special and sweet insight into the character of air kicklach otherwise known as 'nothings',  and tsimis,  a traditional Jewish sweet stew. It's fascinating how she ties these foods into the Jewish pscyhe.   

1:00:56:  Miriam talks about being third generation Holocaust Survivor. She accepts the responsibility that comes with it especially as Survivors are dying off. Miriam says we are now the "keepers of that knowledge. We are the living legacy of 'those people' ". Listen to her wonderfully crafted description of her relationship with her Boobie and Zaidy, which was very special and a tad wonky.  When asked what she would do to continue the discussion about the Holocaust, she responded, "I  think I'm doing it." 

1:06:57:  A 5-minute play I wrote called: "Whether to to Save or Not, Jews in our Barn, in the town of Auschwitz'. I did so, in response to the question of: 'would you be a righteous Jew/Gentile?'. Miriam and I voiced the play. Howard Pasternack, produced the show afterward, brilliantly!!! Listen to this podcast-theatre about the quandary of rescuing a life at the peril of one's own life, the lives of one's children.  

Miriam was a wonderful interview. She was because of her celebration of life, her laughter, her full embrace of her Jewishness and her life. In episode 31, we learn about Miriam's deep love for her family, her husband and really for all person-kind. And she is having fun.

Enjoy this show. It is truly inspiring, thoughtful and full of meaning.  Lynda did a great job with her daughter. Miriam did a splendid job with her Mom. I have hope in our existence, our world, because of their effervescence and commitment to the beautiful spirit that lies within all of us.

Well done, Miriam! And thank you for a fine schmooze. 

Hatradio! The show that schmoozes. 


Thank you David Nefesh for the Hatradio! song, and to Howard Pasternack for his brilliant post-production stuff. The make the show very special. 

Music from
"Measured Paces" and "Despair and Triumph" by Kevin MacLeod (
License: CC BY (

Credit for music in commercial:
"Slow Burn" by Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

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"A hundred children, a hundred individuals who are people - not people to be, not people of tomorrow, but people now, right now -- today." - Janusz Korczak

On Tuesday, July 30th at 5 pm, Irwin Elman and I sat down to have a schmooze on Hatradio! I have always been intrigued by Irwin, the former Provincial (Ontario) Advocate for Children and Youth, because of his self-professed nutty professor character, his passion for Janusz Korczak (director of an orphanage in Warsaw Ghetto, who went to his death with 'his' orphans), and his deeply authentic, and unusually passionate commitment to children and youth of Ontario, especially those on Native Reserves, in group homes and foster care.

Throughout out talk, Irwin told stories about his decade as 'the' chief advocate of Canada's most populated province, Ontario. At around the 9:40 minute mark of the show, Irwin, a Jew from Quebec, discussed his visit to Japan to see group-homes which house up to 100 children. A staff member there said to him, "oh, you're Jewish? You must know Janusz Korczak?". Irwin had never heard of Korczak despite having been ensconced in the world of teaching, learning and child care. Immediately he set about learning about this man,considered by Europeans as the 'Father of children's rights'.

As his career progressed, Irwin recognized he was doing similar things with the children of Ontario as Korczak had done in Poland with his orphans. As an example Irwin launched a newsletter run by the  kids for the kids, just as Korczak had done. He encouraged the children on Reserves and those in group-homes (who saw themselves as being in 'storage') to speak loudly, to manage their own voice, to make adults hear them, just as Korczak had done. Eventually, he printed up well over 1000 books  written by a 'Korczak orphan' and distribute it to all his staff and those affiliated with his work. 

At the 16:20 mark of our schmooze, Irwin tells about his upbringing, by parents who believed in the concept of repairing the world. Irwin's Mom told him, "you are not allowed to hate anyone".  Even when he talks about his the Federal Minister who was responsible for closing the 'Advocacy office without explanation', Irwin expressed without hesitancy, "I am angry at her", but he never hated her (despite the fact he heard about the office closing through his staff who had heard a report on CBC radio). Nor does he hate adults who are responsible for the suffering of children. 

At 1:42:50 of the interview, Irwin continued his story-telling answers to my questions. He said, "I've struggled to figure out why does it (the situation of the children he deals with) not make me sad." He answered his own question stating, "I'm an actor in the world so I'm doing my part.......I also believe in them (the children). They're okay. And if they're not okay, they can be okay....and I know that all the thousands of children who worked through our office, including children on the Native reserves,  had created change to the province of Ontario...they had influenced the way children's voices are thought about." 

In Episode 30, Irwin Elman repeated over and over, just like Korczak did, that it's not possible to legislate love however "you can legislate the condition in which love can flourish". This was told to him by one of his youth. Irwin added, if Korczak could give the children a voice in a ghetto in Poland during the war, why can't we do the same in an industrialized nation like Canada, in peace time. 

This is a dynamic interview with a regular guy, who is challenged by doing laundry at home (he didn't know there were rules). Irwin would go where the children were if they wanted to meet him. He stayed on the Attawapiskat Reserve for a week, where child/youth suicide had become a crisis. And Irwin knows first hand, better than anyone, the needs of children and youth in our Ontario.

Listen to: 

The thimble story at a group-home in Coboconk, Ontario, at 57:30 

Mr. Kleky story, and how one person can make a difference in a person's life, at 1:08:27

Irwin's reference to himself as 'a kite', at 1:48:55

The Korczak story, 'the cake tasted like love', at 1:54:00

Once again, I was deeply honored to share this time with Irwin Elman, who has accomplished a lot to date, in his lifetime. He told me he doesn't experience self-pride when he reviews his career at the provinces number one advocate, but instead looks at the kids and what they have done. That's impressive. Have a listen to episode 30 and be inspired, deeply. If you're not, let me know and we'll return the hour and a fifty minutes to you.  Hatradio! The show that schmoozes! 

                                   "We Can do this" - Irwin Elman

 _________________________________________________________________________________ Credit to Howard Pasternack for his post-producation work as well as to David Nefesh, for the Hatradio! song. Hear David's musical genius at:

Credit for music in commercial:
Slow Burn Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

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