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I found the interview with my grandfather, and am posting the rough cut.

Pato Interview:

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Obituary Excerpt:

Above is an except from the obituary given at my great-great-grandfather’s funeral.  I am having trouble tracking down the interview with my grandfather, so that will be up tomorrow, but in the meantime give this a listen.

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AlexSolomon Lowenstein, my great-great grandfather, was locked in a tumultuous debate with himself.  Half of him argued that God does exist, while the other half insisted the contrary.  This battle greatly affected all of his descendants, including me.  Today, my family is hardly actively jewish at all, which shows rather clearly which part of him won that battle.

The following poem is my attempt to get inside of my great great grandfathers head, to try and (more…)

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The Man In The Mirror

Alex

Who is he?

Who is this man

with my eyes

and my teeth

and my cheeks?

With my sparse hair

like tufts of downy clouds

and my eyes blue like deep ice

And what does this man believe.

For isn’t a man what he believes.

(more…)

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Alex

By Alex Pollak

(Before I begin, I would suggest you pull up this video. No watching is neccessary, it is meant to be an auditory aspect of this post)

Solomon Lowenstein's Internal Workings

Solomon Lowenstein was locked in a tumultuous debate with himself.  Half of him argued that God does exist, while the other half insisted the contrary.  His religious half dominated in his childhood, causing him to become a Rabbi.  Later in his life, however, the skeptical side of him began to take over.  He  became unsure of his stance on religion, and ended up never leading a congregation.

This battle greatly affected all of his descendants.  Today, my family is barely actively jewish at all, which shows pretty clearly which part of him won that battle.

Solomon Lowenstein on Umbrella Rock

What I would like to focus on in the future is how the result of his battle traveled down the generations to reach me.  How it affected my grandfather, and then my mother, would be two convenient ways to start, then perhaps I could move on to get my aunt’s statement.
Photo: Solomon Lowenstein on Umbrella Rock

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Week 1: Brainstorming

AlexFor my film topic I have chosen to tell the story of my great great grandfather,  solomon Lowenstein.  He was an ordained rabbi, though he chose to never lead a congregation, as well as the vice president of the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies of New York.  I’ve settled on two more specific topics as well, and am still deciding between the two.

1. I could focus on his public figure.  He was a prominent man in New York during the twenties and through the mid-thirties, so there are many online resources at my disposal to flesh out this idea.

2.  The other idea I could have is to focus on his family life and struggles with religion.  While he was ordained, he had some conflicts regarding god and religion, and wasn’t entirely sure if he believed in a god.  While there are not many people alive today who had close personal contact with him, a lot can be inferred through the way my great grandparents raised my grandfather.

After talking to my grandpa, I was bestowed with a great deal of information that came in the form of an email attachment from him.  It included all of the relevant newspaper articles he had stowed on his computer, as well as a couple pictures.  Reading these helped me much more appreciate the work he did during his lifetime.

If I were to list all of his accomplishments, titles, and good deeds, I would be stuck at this computer for quite some time.  Instead, I’ll list a few that I feel sum up his work and give you a better sense of his character.

  • In 1934 he announced that 250 german jewish children would be brought to America from Germany.  In the years that followed, he frequently asked Americans to show their hatred of Nazism by giving sanctuary to children.
  • In 1937 the New York Times named him “the great leader in the field of human needs.”
  • In 1930 he headed a group of 3,000 workers to raise 5,138,000 dollars to get the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies in New York out of debt.  That debt was caused by a previously unrecorded amount, 100,000,000 dollars, that had been spent on charitable causes.

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AlexBy Alex Pollak

Mama L’chaim is a documentary of the bond between a mother and her son.  Chaim, the son, is a man who has devoted himself entirely to the caretaking of his mother, giving up all the luxuries of a single life.  While this is a unique story, the length of the film does it no justice.  While watching it, I felt as though I was watching a preview for a longer, more in depth movie.  It does, however, provide a good entrance into ‘Gift For Stalin,’ as they both pertain to bonding and human connection.

 Kazakhstan Steppe

‘Gift to Stalin’, a Kazakhstanian film, is many things.  It is an epic story of hope and joy, a somber tale of loss, and a tragic account of love.  Though its many aspects tug at ones emotions, I emerged from the film feeling very satisfied, and peaceful.  While the ending is certainly not happy, the film (more…)

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