Thursday, May 08, 2008

Program Line Up for May 4 08 - #106

This final (for now) edition of the Gavriel Sanders Show features:

1. Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Goodman of Far Rockaway with a fascinating insight on Lex Talionis (eye for an eye) as brought down in this week's Torah portion of Emor.

2. Face-to-Face with Moshe Handler: The executive director of Derech Dovid, returns with more amazing, life-changing personal stories happening just this last month through the outreach organization of Harav Yitzchak Kimmel. Warning: This interview could seriously enhance the quality of your life!

To listen on line, click here.

To download the MP3 file, click here.

Suspending the Weekly Radio Broadcast

It's been a tough decision. But I've had to make it.

The weekly New York radio broadcast, while popular, was not paying its way. Worse - we've accrued a debt to the network. I cannot in good conscience keep producing a show based on Torah values that is not financially solvent. So - until such time as we are current and I know that at least the air time will be consistently underwritten, I am pulling the plug on my own mike. I regret any disappointment this creates, especially for friends and listeners via the Web.

I'll let you know if things change.

Kol tuv - G

Gavriel's YouTube Video on Israel's at 60

Former Fox and CBS producer Mark Pearlman has been creating Israel at 60 videos for various online webcasts. Here's a piece he did with yours truly that runs 04:44. Click here to view.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Program Line Up for Apr 7 08 Gavriel Sanders Show #104

In the latest show, which aired Sunday midnight April 7th, we feature: 1) Rabbi Yitzchak Goodman with insights on the Torah portion of Metzora (brilliant!) 2) Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski with part 2 of his Passover series of thoughts: The spiritual message of chametz. 3) Dr. Lisa Aiken continues with part 3 of "Beyond Mars & Venus: A Jewish View of Relationships for Men & Women" 4) Science & the Torah: Not so far apart! Rabbi Chaim Friedman and Rabbi Mordechai Geduld demonstrate the sweeping changes occurring in the world of physics vis-à-vis creation and the Creator.

To listen online, click: Stream To listen on your computer or MP3 device, click: Download .

Here's a Great Article on Modern Jewish Identity

My colleague Benyamin Jolkovsky, editor and webmaster of, wrote a brain-slapping piece on Jewish identity nearly ten years ago. It seems in the last decade that the modern Jewish world has learned little and forgotten much.

Check it out HERE.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Audio Archives Under Reconstruction

We're switching over the audio archives for the Gavriel Sanders Show to a new server hosted by Programs #53-60 are now available. Earlier programs will be successively uploaded. Two listening formats are available via Torah Media - online audio streaming and downloading to your computer or MP3 device. You can access the current menu of uploaded programming here.

Program Update! Gavriel Sanders Show Debuts in Miami

The Gavriel Sanders Show, an audio magazine of of Jewish information, inspiration, motivation, and transformation, can now be heard in South Miami FL on WKAT AM 1360 on Monday nights at 10PM.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Gavriel's Launches "The Jewish Journey" Series on"


Click the link to access the new 10 minute audio series which debuted recently on one of the most heavily trafficked of all Jewish content sites on the Web.

The Jewish Journey: WMD's In Your Head?

The Jewish Journey: Living an A.W.E.some Life!

Victims or Victors of Circumstance: Pick One!

Don't Label - Be Happy

Judaism is NOT a Religion

We Have A New Sponsor - Baruch Hashem!

We're pleased to announce that the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry has agreed to become our anchor sponsor for the Gavriel Sanders Show radio program. Other sponsors are in process.

The radio show has now gone from 30 minutes of weekly programming to a full hour.

We have some excellent teachers and speakers who are providing us nourishment for the mind and motivation for the will! Check out the latest content in the audio archives of

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Looking for new sponsorship for Gavriel Sanders Show

Since February, Labriute Self-Heating Meals has been the proud sponsor of the Gavriel Sanders Show. Their term of sponsorship has come to end. The show has become popular and we receive steady feedback from enthusiastic listeners. Estimated listenership: 30-50K in metro NY.

Radio time after midnight on our host station WSNR is $250.00 per half hour of broadcast time.

If you know someone we should speak to, please advise me.

Thank you!


Digging A Deeper Life Audio Sessions Online

The last two weeks on the Gavriel Sanders Show we've been focusing on some of the essential elements of developing a spiritual life. Here are links to the half-hour programs from Dec. 6 and Dec. 13.

Program #36
Digging A Deeper Life: Part One - Gavriel explores how you can identify and achieve your higher purpose in Jewish living. Hint: this is one A.W.E.some program! Hear it and crack the code for yourself!

Program #37
Digging A Deeper Life: Part Two - In this program Gavriel explores the question: "Are You A Victim of Circumstances or A Victor of Circumstances?" Listen with pen and paper!

Monday, November 20, 2006

So Long After Saying "So Long"

It has been many months - nearly eight - since I've said goodbye to my father. I haven't added an entry since the description of events surrounding the funeral. In my regular work as a publicist, I've certainly written many words to promote new books. And as a broadcaster, I've written up many an intro/outro segment. But when it comes to the style of writing that results from soul reflection, I just haven't had much internally to work with.

But I learned something profoundly simple in the last couple of days - that I could change my perspective by simply deciding to change my perspective. Thoughts are thoughts - feelings are feelings; but neither may actually be real. They are a reflection of a perception of reality. But they can be completely skewed - and often are.

Another important lesson: the value of difficulties.

For much of my life, I've held the escapist's view of hardships. "HOW can I get out of this?" But having read Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis' new book Life Is A Test - along with a bit of attitudinal chiropractic help from the Rambam - I ask a different question now about difficulties, viz. "WHAT can I get out of this?"

This simple shift has been life changing. No more victim of circumstances.

This has had great value to me. I thought you might appreciate knowing.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

When Dad Dies

It's one of a few phone calls you never want to get - but inevitably do. "Please call home. It's an emergency." In this case, it was about my father. And I didn't get the message till the next morning. I called Friday, 8 AM, March 24. "Your Dad died yesterday morning. We've been trying to reach you but had the wrong numbers."

Friday - Shabbat coming - funeral tomorrow on Shabbat - deep in middle Georgia. My Dad wasn't Jewish, of course. They can't hold up the funeral for me.My wife and I take the first available flight out of La Guardia. But it has to navigate a longer-than-normal taxiing out first.

We get to Atlanta at 2:45. Train to the baggage terminal. Longest escalator ever up to the baggage level.But as the turnstile revolves, there - upon our approach - are my bag and hers! Siyata dishmaya? Hashgacha pratit?

We exit the terminal and there, stopped and ready for boarding, is the Thrifty Car Rental shuttle. Yes - siyata dishmaya AND hashgacha pratit! (Divine assistance.)

We get the car - a little Nissan, white and brand spanking new. And it's nearing a quarter to four on a Friday afternoon and we've got 140 miles to go and Atlanta's legendary rush hour is already beginning and shkiyah (sunset) is at 6:47, and we have to stop at the funeral home first.

Thanks to the online backup traffic reporting from my friend, Benyamin Cohen, editor of Atlanta Jewish Life, we get through the bottlenecked sections of I-75 and head south past Macon and on to a new four lane road that connects all the way down to the Georgia resort islands near Brunswick. (My grandmother had a home on Jekyll Island when I was a kid, I recall.)

It's nearing 6PM. Somewhere just past Hawkinsville, with 17 miles to go, Nextel service fizzles out. Thank G-d my wife has Verizon for her phone service. I call my stepbrother Edward and he gets us directions to the funeral home in Eastman. Years past, when visiting, I'd driven by it many times. But it's one of those locations you don't notice till you've utilized it.

Forty minutes until sunset. We pull into the parking lot of the funeral home. Why do they call it a home? No one lives there - certainly not the living - and certainly not for long. Several "viewings", as they call them, are going on in different parlors. Edward guides us in to a room where 25-30 people are milling about. I sign the registry. I'm the only Sanders in it.

We turn to see a large - very large - collage of photos featuring Dad, his companion in old age and former high school sweetheart Martha, my stepbrother and his wife, their kids, Dad's dog Cindy, and there's even a pic of my wife and me.I turn left. There's a flag-draped bronze casket across the room - open. Approaching, I see his curly white hair first. This is what remains of my father, whom I hadn't seen for 14 years. I gaze down and remark to my wife, "He appears more of a wax figure representation of my Dad."

She wouldn't know - this is her first and last meeting with him. The sting of regret, of calls never made, of happy times never shared, of birthdays unacknowledged, of a fishing trip never scheduled, of visits no schedule can accommodate.

He's in repose, ears deaf to the mix of chatter and soft weeping in the room. His eyes can't observe the tears, the quivering lips, the pained expressions of loss. A bitter feeling congeals - remorse without recourse.

The funeral is the next day - on Shabbat. So we cut short our visit to the funeral home and rushed the two miles to where we were to stay for the night - a quarter-mile walk from the cemetery.We were off the main route, on a little country road. No traffic. The silence of the woods and fields was palpable. We slept. I awoke very early to daven and think. It would be a long day until the 3:00 graveside service.

Time crawls in the South. It crawls more slowly when you watch the minutes tick by. Yehudit woke up. We ate a bit. I learned a bit. We talked. We read some more. 2:40pm. Time to walk up the road.Two Jews walking mid-afternoon on a mid-Georgia country road. Dressed like they were just out of church. But what's the beanie on that ol' boy's head? We were the poster couple for the national "Who Feels Out of Place Here?" competition.

Folks (they call people "folks" down there) were already gathering at the graveside. Maybe 70 or 80. Two aunts I hadn't seen in two decades were there. Neither said hello. There's ol' Brother Leroy, my Dad's Southern Baptist preacher. He'll be conducting the service. And my brother Michael whom I haven't seen since '92. Neither of us was close to our father - nor to each other.

Edward, my stepbrother, was closest to Dad. My father cherished Edward's mother, Joyce. He never quite recovered from her death nine years ago. Cancer got her. Cancer gets a large number of people in Dodge County GA. Too many.

The service was short, twangy, and preachy. I sat between my wife and Martha, my father's companion for the past nine years. She and Dad had been high school sweethearts sixty years before. He went off to the Navy and they drifted apart. I believe Martha's care and friendship kept Dad alive in his final years.

But time tends to win. A man used to working 14-16 hours a day, Dad felt his creeping mortality. A pacemaker insertion last winter slowed him up. Last December he told me he'd been surprised to find parts left over when he reassembled an old tractor. Tractors - Dad loved old diesel tractors. My last Father's Day gift to him had been a framed collage of old tractor postcards. Dad cut his hand badly on a tractor fan blade in February. He feared infection. He feared.

In the end, I believe fear took my father from this life. They can write their cold, clinical words on the death certificate. But I know it was fear.

By the grave, I spoke a few words, as did my brother Michael. I know it was strange for them. Most know of me but had never met me. And what was it like for them to see an Orthodox Jew at the service of a Southern Baptist? They stared blankly. And they departed quickly. That tends to be the protocol at these funerals.

The brushed bronze casket rested gleaming on the supports. I decided to stay behind and do what Jews do at a funeral. We stay till the departed is buried. I watched the workers lower the casket into the metal vault. They used a tractor to place the heavy metal lid. Then came the mounds of dirt, some shoveling to smooth the surface, and then the placing of flowers across the gravesite. Someone had included a toy tractor. Touching. My Dad's remains lay sealed six feet below and only a foot or two from his beloved third wife, Joyce.

We walked back to our lodging. Eerie. Everyone else had returned to Dad's house to eat, talk, reminisce, comfort, and be comforted. It must have been curious to them that "the beanie boy" and wife didn't show. But it was a five mile walk at least. Not in those heels!

After Havdalah, we packed up and transfered over to Dad's house. We actually slept in his room that night. It was fitful. I hadn't seen this home since 1992. So many reminders of his absence. His big closet, filled with work coveralls. Pictures, furnishings, the plaque I bought him in Israel 30 years ago.

The next day I rose and went out into the spacious backyard to daven Shacharit. It was chilly. I gazed across the 7 acres that had been his home since 1976. He loved this place. His tools - his tractors - his shops - his pond - his trees. I want to hear him call to me, "Come help me move this motor!" I hated moving motors, getting greasy and grimy. But I'd do it again today. Too many years passed with clean hands and no Dad-son interaction over a stubborn tractor motor.

The years are gone. The choices are past. And Dad is gone. We hadn't spoken since late December. Yet he was as close as a speed dial number on my cell phone. Technology enabled us to stay in touch so easily. But old pains and fears kept my finger away from that single button connection. No technology can help now. More remorse without recourse.

By the graveside, I spoke of his love of accomplishment. He cherished a good day's work. He especially loved being able to do for another. He didn't want others to do for him, though. He was independent. He didn't want to be dependent (in the South they call it "beholden"). It was hard for him to be interdependent. Respect you he would; trust you he likely wouldn't - at least not to tell you his feelings. My Dad's emotional vocabulary was short and monosyllabic.

Sunday I took my wife to Cool Springs, about an hour north and east, to visit the graves of my grandfather and grandmother. I never knew him, though I'm named after him. I knew her. She was tiny in stature, but woe to any that crossed her! She trained many an angry Pit Bull and kept a pistol by her side when she drove and a sawed-off shotgun behind the counter of the Eastman Motor Court, which she managed into her 70's.

A hundred years after the Emancipation Proclamation, the "darkies" (as she called them) always spoke deferentially to "Miss Mary". I still remember her comment the day Coretta King was shot. "I just hope they didn't miss!” she quipped.

My Dad is gone; his mother is gone; they are all gone. Old farmers and field hands. People close to the earth now swallowed up by the red Georgia clay. What they were and who they were resides in my mind now, until this body yields to mortality and molders in the earth somewhere some day.

The lingering, shadowing question I ponder since Dad's sudden passing on March 23rd is: How do I live differently? How do I honor the life of a man, a father, I really didn't know as others know their dads? The soul of a person is deep and I've spent a lot of time listening to my own inner streams of thought. "Live better, live better" is the steady refrain.

Dad would never have aired his thoughts on a blog. Not his style. But from his perch now in the world beyond, I sense a smile of affirmation. I couldn't do what he did mechanically when he was among us. But I can do some things that he couldn't. And sharing these thoughts is just one expression of that.Father's Day is coming. I missed a lot of those when he lived. We weren't that close. But every Father's Day hence he'll dominate my thoughts. I'll wish for one more chance to try, to reach across the wall of differences and connect. There is no going back.

I shared these thoughts on Mother's Day with my daughter Eryn. I heard the smile in her voice. "Don't worry, Dad. We'll never have that distance." I am rich. The past is not my future. There are treasures in the present yearning to be discovered. And they are right here - right now - surrounding me in the form of people who love.

I appreciate you reading this. It was a kind action. May G-d reward your good thoughts.

All the best -