February 2, 2017

The Bible proclaims: “There shall be one law for the citizen and for the stranger that dwells among you.” (Exodus 12:49)  Moreover, the Bible commands, no less than 36 times, “Love the stranger.” Many are the strangers who wish to make this great nation their home! And yet America remains divided.  There are those who wish to open our country’s borders to immigration.  On the other side, there are those who wish to secure our borders, afraid that Muslim immigrants in... Read more

November 3, 2016

When does a child become self-aware? When a child first sees himself in a mirror he touches the mirror.  He does not know it is his reflection.  Later, around the age of two, when the child looks in the mirror she instead touches her face.  In that moment her self-identity begins to take shape.  The child says, “I.” Self-awareness begins to form. In Hebrew “Ani” means “I.”  This word does not appear in the Torah until this week.  There appears... Read more

September 12, 2016

The Bible’s Book of Deuteronomy, which Jews are in the midst of reading, details the laws about making war.  It is worth noting that although we might prefer to cling to the words of the prophets and their lofty visions of peace: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation” or “The wolf shall lie down with the lamb,” the Jewish tradition is not a pacifist tradition.  It allows for war.  The Book of Deuteronomy in fact recognizes that this... Read more

July 19, 2016

Noted sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild argues in her recent book The Outsourced Self that we seek professionals for more and more of our personal decisions.  She writes: As we outsource more of our private lives, we find it increasingly possible to outsource emotional attachment….  Focusing attention on the destination, we detach ourselves from the small — potentially meaningful — aspects of experience. Confining our sense of achievement to results, to the moment of purchase, so to speak, we unwittingly lose... Read more

June 23, 2016

On Monday’s World Refugee Day 37 refugees became citizens at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC.  They fled to this country from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Laos, Liberia, Mauritania, Nepal, the Philippines, Russia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, and Vietnam.  There, in our nation’s capital, at the Holocaust Museum, they stood and pledged their allegiance to the US. It was a remarkable testimony to what it means to be a nation of immigrants.  It... Read more

June 14, 2016

The world is on fire. And I feel the need to write.  All I can do is write. Yet our words feel so inadequate in the face of the massacre in Orlando’s Pulse nightclub.  All responses appear to fall short. Every word misses the mark. 49 people were murdered.  We must be more specific in our remembrances.  When giving voice to memory we must avoid abbreviations.  49 young, primarily Latino, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, queers, or questioning, and perhaps straight,... Read more

June 5, 2016

Let’s talk about the gorilla in the room. On this occasion I don’t mean this as a metaphor. I mean it quite literally. I am referring of course to the story of Harambe, the 400 pound gorilla who was shot and killed by Cincinnati zoo officials after a four year old managed to get into his enclosure. It is a sad story. The zoo is a wonderful place. We enjoy watching animals doing their animal things. We are especially enthralled... Read more

May 26, 2016

Why cycling? There is nothing quite like riding on a perfect summer morning, along a beautiful stretch of road, most especially along the Long Island Sound’s shoreline.  The temperature is a comfortable 70 degrees.  The morning breeze offers a cooling balm.  On some mornings, the wind can be felt at your back, pushing you along the road (although that inevitably means that there is a headwind on the return journey).  The legs feel strong and the cadence of the pedal... Read more

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