Updated April 3, 2009
This is my personal page, about our little homestead in Sandstone -- if you are looking specifically for my three books on reincarnation, including Jewish Tales of Reincarnation, go to my homepage, RabbiGershom.com or my online Amazon bookstore. If you want my other Jewish resource links, go to my Jewish link launcher.
You can also visit my other site, TrekJews.com, where you can read about and order my latest book, Jewish Themes in Star Trek, as well as a lot of other info about Jews in the Star Trek universe, such as The Jewish Origin of the Vulcan Salute.
But I do hope you'll stick around and read this page, too. Find out more about my current projects, activities and personal interests, etc.
In 1988, my wife Caryl (pronounced Carol) and I moved from Minneapolis to the small town of Sandstone, Minnesota because of her severe allergies to the air pollution in the city. (There are no photos of her on the website because she hates being photographed and told me not to post any pics.) The flower and vegetable gardens I planted in the yard were the talk of the town until, in the winter of 1996-97, the heavy snow partly collapsed the roof on our house. It was not fixable. Time to move again -- this time to a 15-acre hobby farm about three miles outside of town, where we now have 20 chickens, 10 cats, two dogs, two rabbits, seven geese, one hamster and one tarantula. (No pear trees or partridges yet, although a few grouse do come by now and then...)
This place was an old homestead that was all overgrown and full of junk, and there was no garden space or flowers. But we took cuttings of everything from the old house before they bulldozed it down (that was a sad day, to say the least). It's taken a while, but the new gardens are shaping up fine now.
Along with the house and the land, we acquired a few cats who moved in on us. Or were dumped here. People think that house cats can survive on their own, but cats raised as pets really can't. They just end up on somebody's doorstep -- or worse. The grey and white cat pictured here is named Sapphire, because of his beautiful blue eyes. Our old sheepdog, Grett, led me to him on a very cold winter's day in January a few years ago. The poor cat was cold, hungry, thirsty, and half-starved. Also too scared to come into the house with our other cats, but we fed him in the garage, and gradually I won his confidence. He now sleeps on my bed every night. He's a gently, loving animal, and I can't understand how anybody could have just abandoned him like that. He's got a good home with us now. Not only that, but he and I were featured in the December 2006 issue of Cat Fancy -- in an article called "Clergy Cats" (about cats who live with clergy.) You can read more about this story on my Ebay blog page.I also invite you to view online (for free) the excellent 2008 documentary film, A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to heal the World, produced by Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) and directed by award-winning film maker, Lionel Friedberg. I appear in the film (as do some of my chickens and geese!), but that's not the only reason to watch it. If you care about the earth, you should definitely see it. The link here goes to the film homepage, where you can read more about it and watch it on YouTube.
Yep -- not all Jews live in the city, you know. Some of us got tired of the human rat race and decided to trade it in for some real rats in the barn (hah-hah.) The original reason we moved to the country back in 1988 was because of Caryl Rachel's (my wife's) health. She is so severely allergic to smog and other pollutants that we had no choice but to leave the city. Admittedly, the adjustment was very difficult for us, with no local community to worship with, etc. But we have also had the benefit of getting back in touch with the ecological side of Judaism that has been sadly neglected among urban Jews. Now, after more than a decade in the country, we have both come to love it. Be sure to check out my book recommendations on Judaism and ecology, animals, Jewish vegetarianism, etc. And be sure to read my review of Ecology and the Jewwish Spirit on Amazon.
We get to do a lot of mitzvahs that other Jews miss out on -- such as feeding our animals before we feed ourselves, provinding scribes and other with cruelty-free goose quills in my eBay store, The Happy Rooster.
If you are an observant Jew also living in a rural situation, you might like to check out my Rural Frum e-mail community on Yahoo. We screen applicants to keep the missionaries out, so membership is not automatic, but someone will get back to you. Please be patient, though -- rural-frum folks live according to the seasons, not necessarily 9-5 like urban people. sometimes we are busy from sunrise to sunset with planting, harvesting, canning... so we are not always online every day.
You can learn more about Jews here in Minnesota at the Jewish Minnesota homepage.
In the winter of 2004-05 we have had an amazing number of Great Grey Owls here in Minnesota -- literally thousands of these birds were counted. This was a rare treat for birdwatchers here -- normally these owls stay farther north in Canada, but during January 2005 there was extremely cold weather (-25F on our farm, as low as -50F farther north). The owls apparently moved south in search of better hunting. And that let me add a new bird to my Life List! Read more about the owl "invasion..."
That's all for now -- be well, be happy -- and walk in beauty!
good it is to pray to God and meditate in the meadows amidst the
grass and trees. When a person prays, every blade of grass, every plant
and every flower enter his prayers and help him, putting strength and
force into his words.