Concert pianist-turned-journalist Greta Beigel was raised in an Orthodox Jewish household in South Africa during the era of apartheid. A piano prodigy she experienced a lonely childhood growing up in Johannesburg, and looking back, it would have been nice to have a cat for company--a fun-loving, clever kitty like Ketzel, queen protagonist of "Mewsings"-- whilst slaving away at the keyboard. Greta competed for--and won--an overseas scholarship from the University of South Africa, and soon emigrated to California where she reunited with her long-lost Yiddishe father Richard who had left the family when she was ten. Her longing to know more about her Dad led her to visit Lativa and share all in the short story, "A Jew from Riga." Greta went on to become a journalist specializing in classical music coverage, working for many years as a staff writer and arts editor at the Los Angeles Times. Now she has authored three e-books, and to her surprise, all have turned out to be Jewish themed, including the memoir, "Kvetch: One Bitch of a Life."
Mewsings: My Life as a Jewish Catby Greta Beigel
A beloved cat called Ketzel pontificates, in rhyme, on what it takes to be a devout calico in a religious houshold in these modern Jewish times. Whether chasing after dreidels (spinning tops)--or latkes--during Hanukkah, taste-testing gefilte fish prior to Passover, listening to biblical tales before Rosh Hashanah or merely observing life&customs in Iceland or New… See more details below
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A beloved cat called Ketzel pontificates, in rhyme, on what it takes to be a devout calico in a religious houshold in these modern Jewish times. Whether chasing after dreidels (spinning tops)--or latkes--during Hanukkah, taste-testing gefilte fish prior to Passover, listening to biblical tales before Rosh Hashanah or merely observing life&customs in Iceland or New Zealand, Ketzel in her musings remains true to prevailing dogma, all the while according her own Jewish Mamma a five-meeow rating for goodness, mercy and fancy feats.
FROM THE AUTHOR: I'm often asked how "Mewsings" came about. Well, floating one fall afternoon at a North Shore beach on Oahu, Hawaii, and feeling somewhat anxious about the the fast-approaching Day of Atonement, I heard myself engaging in make-believe catty conversation: "Oh my," a plump ginger tabby begins, "Oh my, I'm so worried. It's nearly Yom Kipppur and what happens if my Mama forgets to feed me?" A kindly Siamese neighbor, generally prone to preaching faith, generosity and love, responds: "Don't worry kitty. You can share my dish of fish. I'm not Jewish. I can eat all I want." Talk soon centers on Hanukkah happenings and love of latkes and spinning tops. Of all my creations, "Mewsings: My Life as a Jewish Cat," tugs most at my heart. I love having cat Ketzel purr away as we prepare Passover dishes, and sit alongside at the Seder table. It's so good to have her accompany me on a visit to Iceland, and express surprise at the lack of Jewry in this land of lava and mist. Most fun for me was including "Dubious Brethren in the Animal Kingdom," a series of meditations on assorted frogs, birds, one fat New Zealand hedgehog and a silly lorikeet I encountered on my many travels. And just in case some Yiddish terms seem remote, Ketzela, in her infinite wisdom has created a concluding glossary.
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