On the approaching night of shared lights
Dec09

On the approaching night of shared lights

A benevolent calendar coincidence, occurring every few years, will bring us on Dec. 24 to the shared lighting of solstice calendars by both Christians and Jews. The solar and lunar calendar cycles have intertwined, and so this Christmas Eve will coincide with the third night of Hanukkah, 5780. The circumstances should work to everyone’s advantage on Earth and must be pleasing to the heavens. Because the December holiday season,...

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Thanksgiving, JFK, and a coveted loaf of rye bread
Nov19

Thanksgiving, JFK, and a coveted loaf of rye bread

Like anybody old enough, I remember when President John F. Kennedy was slain, fifty-six years ago, November 22, 1963.  And I also remember Dr. Glanzberg frightfully clutching his loaf of fresh rye bread.  Now he held onto his rye bread as if someone terrible was coming back again to take it away from him.  Our tiny Hebrew day school suddenly sent us home just before two o’clock—exactly when we would have concluded our day with the...

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The blessings of grief, healing, and the orange groves
Oct04

The blessings of grief, healing, and the orange groves

“Grief is a great teacher, when it sends us back to serve the living.” Like anybody, I have endured periods of grief and have been affected with depression and yet informed by the bittersweet wisdom. Death is grief, divorce is grief; losing a job is lamentation; coping with disease is mortal suffering; discovering that one’s child is addicted to opioids is woe. Grief brings on informative distinctions; it has a way of...

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It seems some Southerners want to kill 14-year old Emmett Till again
Aug06

It seems some Southerners want to kill 14-year old Emmett Till again

There is a lonely purple marker that stands, riddled with bullet holes, near Money, Miss. The placard marks the spot where 14-year old Emmett Till, black and doomed, was brutishly dragged, hung, shot, mutilated and then thrown into the nearby Tallahatchie River by rabid white vigilantes.  For years now, the site has been fired at intermittently–there was once an outburst of one hundred shots. Taboos that were as endemic to the...

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My uncle’s raw theology helped me through grief
Jul22

My uncle’s raw theology helped me through grief

After my young father suddenly died in 1976, Uncle Moshe came to visit and console us. Moshe was my mother’s older brother and had always been a very close comrade of my father. The entire clan hails from Israel, where I was born. The two men fought side-by-side in Israel’s War of Independence and Moshe, chain-smoking, gravelly voiced, opinionated, and extremely adoring of his entire family circle, looked something like an Israeli...

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