June 2011


I can’t produce tears on demand, but neither can I stop them at will. It is often quite inconvenient when they rise unbidden.  Years ago, I found myself at a red light after having run errands which included a pick-up of library books for my children. I glanced through the opening words of Sarah, Plain […]

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Magical Studies

For high school graduates choosing their college careers, I mention that Berkeley, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton are among more than two hundred universities that offer courses in Jewish-Studies. They do not teach Judaism but Judaic-Studies. They also offer ‘Environmental-Studies,’ ‘Gay and Lesbian-Studies,’ ‘Native-American-Studies’ and other hyphenated-studies courses. But they teach mathematics, not mathematical studies. They

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Name that Place

In an act of unprecedented ostentatiousness, Gerald Guterman chartered the famous ocean liner, the QE2, along with its one thousand crew members to celebrate his son’s bar-mitzvah in 1986. Our son’s bar-mitzvah was solemnized in a small synagogue built on the Los Angeles ocean front in the 1940s. Guterman was trying to add meaning to

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Another Embarrassing Congressional Scandal

Have your children ever told you that when they have children, down the road, they will make different choices than you have? That sentiment might be expressed when you ban a piece of clothing or issue an early curfew or it might be a reflective comment on the presence or lack thereof of sports, art

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I Walk the Line

It was a clear day when I recently crossed the country, flying home after speaking at a well-known East Coast synagogue. Knowing we’d be approaching the Mississippi River, I eagerly scanned the landscape below. Right on schedule, there it was—the Mighty Mississippi, the greatest river system in North America. From 30,000 feet I could see

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Hidden Neighbors

About a year ago, my friend Judy recommended a book to me, which I finally got around to reading. It is the story of an Egyptian Jewish family forced to leave their, multi-generational, extremely comfortable life in Egypt when Nassar came to power. (One family among the thousands of Jewish refugees from Moslem countries who

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Markets and Minarets

You’ve seen the photographs of Moslem mobs surging through the streets in Lebanon, Iran, Afghanistan, and India with blood pouring down their faces. They lacerate their scalps with razors, knives, machetes, or zanjeers (five sharp double-edged blades connected to a wooden handle by steel chain). This painful self-mutilation is dedicated to the Muslim holiday of

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Congressman, You’re Not Four Anymore

I am writing this blog on Tuesday before the start of the holyday of Shavuot (Pentecost). It will not post until the holyday ends late Thursday night. Congressman Weiner may well have resigned by then. Nonetheless, I  think the point will still stand. The economy is tumbling and dictators in the Middle East are massacring

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