My departed father still leads the Seder
Apr09

My departed father still leads the Seder

I remember: only weeks after my father died in 1976, our family convened at the house for the annual Seder—the festive banquet of Passover.   My father had always proudly led and meticulously directed the ceremonial meal, holding, reading, and chanting from the Haggadah –the book of blessings and folk-songs that also includes the grand narrative of the exodus of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt.  Like a provincial king, he raised his...

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When King directed his own funeral and taught us about life
Apr04

When King directed his own funeral and taught us about life

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated 49 years ago today, April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tenn.  He was standing on the balcony just outside Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel.  It was 6:01 PM and he had just leaned over the railing and was speaking to a gospel choir leader named Ben Branch—who was going to perform later that evening at a civil rights rally. “I don’t want a long funeral…tell them not to talk too long.” “Ben, you know...

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Passover will arrive at the intersection of blood and bias
Mar29

Passover will arrive at the intersection of blood and bias

A bittersweet irony it is that the freedom festival of Passover arrives just after the 49th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We go to our spring festival this year with a thousand cuts on our soul—from the fleeting hopes of a Middle East peace to a serious national malignancy of division and fear here in the USA.  Slavery and its mantras are unbounded, unrepentant, and openly messaged. American democracy,...

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Yes, call me a Jew!
Mar22

Yes, call me a Jew!

This new wave of anti-Semitism, delivered via bomb threats, cemetery vandalisms, swastika desecrations, and specific acts of violence, reawakens an old and bittersweet mantra in every Jewish soul: we are as vulnerable as we are enduring. Thank you for attributing to me an extraordinary ethnic compliment.   I remember: somebody once wrote me a nasty letter after something I circulated about Jews and social justice appeared in another...

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And I saw the fear in her eyes
Mar01

And I saw the fear in her eyes

A few days ago, I visited with a family that I very much like.  They happen to hail from Mexico and have two kind and winning young children who were born and are being raised in the United States.  The children speak fluent English; they look and sound like my own children when they were that age.  They love America, television, sports, In-N-Out Burgers, and creating their own playlists on their Smartphones. Someone has tapped into...

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The Bible predicted this kind of social darkness
Feb06

The Bible predicted this kind of social darkness

Like an advancing fog, this vanquished sense of security and peacefulness has pervaded many lives since the current regime ascended to power.   A range of health professionals, from psychotherapists to acupuncturists, are reporting a precipitous increase in patient visits.  People are complaining about anxiety and restlessness and struggling with bouts of depression.  It’s quite unprecedented—that the national and global situations...

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