October 22, 2011

In the beginning....

Earlier this week, as I was going through my books to see which I felt needed a place on our new winter home’s bookshelves, I came to the shelf with Greek and Roman classics. Plato…Aristotle… Sophocles..and of course the playwrights.

These books have moved with me from place to place in the more than 40 years since my Great Books class at the University of Michigan, but, sadly, most have not been opened since I first placed them on the shelves in Larchmont.

Would I really need them again?

Then this morning at Larchmont Temple’s Chevra Torah, studying B’reishit and the story of creation, there they were, right in front of me again. Reading about Maimonides, I learned he was a student of Aristotle and struggled with his principles. And then Elizabeth recalled Plato’s concept of the human condition, in which (wo)men see only shadows in the cave and know nothing of the real world.

I realized I do need to read them again. So Plato, Aristotle and the rest of them are now in a carton, already enroute to our new home. I promise it will not be 40 years before I crack them open again.

January 12, 2011


We are in Arizona this week, at a time of tragedy that may be for this generation a turning point similar to the assassination of John Kennedy for mine.

I've been listening to talk show radio in Arizona, and am heartened by the civil tone I am hearing from the callers. They are chastised, demoralized, and really searching deep into their hearts. Tucson leaders say "everyone loved Gabby." If that's so, why was her last election so hard fought?

I pray that this spirit of healing will last. But, unfortunately, I'm not betting on it. Our country has become so polarized. How do we turn it around? And how much of the blame lies with the media itself?

I wish I could feel more hopeful. But as I write this I see Palin on TV, and my hope deflates, like a pricked balloon.

November 24, 2010

Shopping locally

If you're a regular newspaper reader, you've probably seen the full page ads placed by American Express urging you to support the local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country by "shopping small" this Saturday.

I can't think of a better excuse to avoid the mall than supporting Larchmont's small business owners by doing my holiday shopping here in town.

But, if you're still on the fence about it, here are some suggestions to get the ball rolling:

November 10, 2010

Holcaust Fraud, Israel Settlements

Sometimes it's hard to be Jewish -- and I'm not talking about keeping kosher, learning Hebrew or not celebrating Christmas.

No, I'm talking about when the Jews are their own worst enemy, and I'm trapped between my love for Judaism and the Jewish tradition and my deeply embedded sense of justice. The news reported on the front page of today's New York Times was a prime example.

First, the settlements. Netanyahu's insistence on building 1,000 additional settlements is going to scuttle any hopes of peace. I usually hold my tongue when Israel does something I don't like (how they treat Palestinians, Gaza's occupation come quickly to mind) but the arrogance in this is beyond comprehension.

And even more galling: the news that Jews defrauded the programs established to provide assistance and compensation to victims of the Holocaust.

The Jews have plenty of enemies and we shouldn't be providing ammunition to them.

It's pretty discouraging.