On Memory

photo by: Susan NYC .......Is a memory something you have or something you've lost? – Woody Allen Today we think of who we do not have and why, and then what that lack demands of us. Tomorrow, about how we celebrate being alive to meet those demands. Today is Memorial Day in Israel, honoring fallen soldiers and victims of terror, observed here a day before Independence Day. The connection is essential since it is widely recognized that without [...]

From Helen to Hellenism: All You Need is Love

bedin350 Why, you wonder, do we not just dissolve our salty selves into the Great Sea of Man? Imagine – no countries! No religion! Why all the – oh, please let me savor this shaved-ice phrase again – “vicious tribal cartography” that deeply identified Jews so forcefully engrave upon the enlightened, blind-to-race world? Why, you ask, the ugly, Shylockian “we, we, we, we, we”? Why not join the collective, the universal, the mythic, theTimelessOri[...]

Get the Hell Out of…My Face

rachel-berry-glee Here's the thing. I've been thinking about poor Helen Thomas, who I believe was probably just saying what everyone thinks and has therefore been made a scapegoat. Not that I really care, because we ought to share the scapegoat status once in a while. It's the least we can do to dispel the stereotype that we are stingy, us irritating Jews.

Things I’ve Seen on Recent Travels

Photo by: Avi Eisen I have seen 4 am April snow in Vermont, a great white eraser of global woe, and my children soaking, freezing and thrilled by the time 6 am arrives, at which time they request craisins and a carrot for the snowman’s face. I’ve seen my teenager clean an icy windshield in his pajamas using tourist brochures, the machismo already firmly enough entrenched to make the prospect of gloves, socks, or a coat utterly ridiculous for this task. I’ve seen how m[...]

Mother Nature

Photo by: Avi Eisen Sukkot in Israel is a hiker and camper's festival. God wasn’t kidding when he asked people to walk to Jerusalem in Temple times on this holiday. I'm not sure if He cared about the ten young bulls, two rams, and 12 lambs (well-done). But I'm pretty sure He wanted people to walk the land in what constitutes autumn here, which is this: moderation (as opposed to colorful.) He made a damn fine Holy Land, too, and I'm guessing He wanted people to en[...]

The Other Mother’s Day

eight This past Friday was another kind of Mother's Day: The flip side, the dark side, the impossible side, the side that haunts every mother's quiet moments until she chases the demons away. Friday was the "yahrzeit," or anniversary of death, of Koby Mandell. You may remember Koby from the news, because the story is a hard one to forget. Koby was the 8th grader who, along with his friend, had cut school one beautiful day in May, 2001, as the second Intifada was heating up, [...]

Dust. Wind. Dude.

desert-storm-by-sandman There is a familiar pit in my stomach that tells me I must put something down on paper. So to speak. It's a pit that reminds me of other pits, that makes me 16 again, and 26, all the years joined by a common physiological sense of being carried by an idea or a feeling, literally hungry for something to write. Medical science will tell you that the pit is the work of the vagus nerve in my abdomen, which[...]

On Work and Freedom: For Holocaust Remembrance Day and Durban II

Grandma Esther & Grandpa Al, about 2 years after her liberation from Auschwitz. My amazing grandmother, Esther Klein, is turning 91 next month. She was in her mid-twenties when she was liberated by the Swedish Red Cross from an aimless, endless transport, after having spent several nearly lethal winter weeks in Ravensbrueck. Before that, she'd "worked" for several months in Auschwitz, after having lived for a very short time, along with her elderly pa[...]