My First Time Speaking About the Holocaust

Recently, I was approved by Scribe (an affiliate website of Forward). Check out my first article which describes how I became a Holocaust speaker at http://forward.com/scribe/375527/how-should-you-teach-children-about-the-holocaust-one-story-at-a-time/?attribution=blog-article-listing-2-headline

 

Footnotes for the Pivotal Years: Israel and the Arab World 1966-1977

Chapter 1  [Read more…]

Eating Crow and Putting My Country First

Those that know me are well aware that although certain aspects of Trump intrigued me, I felt that the existential risks of a Trump presidency outweighed the potential benefit. However, that discussion is over. Donald Trump will be my president and yours. He is deserving of my support unless he proves otherwise (as was President Obama for whom I voted in 2008 but could no longer do so in 2012). And, most importantly, as is true for any incoming President, he is deserving of America’s support.

Nor has President-elect Trump done anything since the election that would disqualify him from receiving that support. Sure he has made some choices for Cabinet and other positions that I am unhappy with. Sure I wish his tweets would be more reflective. But equally surely, he has made some choices that I consider acceptable or even excellent. And, his positions on certain issues, especially Israel, are much more representative of my own.

Clearly our new president will be a departure from the norm. Where that departure will lead us remains to be seen. However, there is value in questioning every aspect of how are government has operated and there is some promise that Trump’s approach will lead to something better. Am I still worried? For sure. But I am also determined to not stand in the way of positive change. I refuse to let my fears manifest in obstructiveness and close-mindedness that would harm rather than help. I also refuse to discount the reasons Trump was elected. They are, and were, valid and entitled to respect, no less so than the concerns that drove those who voted for Clinton.

I say this because before politics and party I am an American. I choose always to lean towards thinking the cup is half full rather than half empty. I choose to favor compromise with, and respect for, the views of others. My goal is for our country to move forward. It cannot do so unless the discourse that divides us becomes less powerful than the democratic values that bind us. That is our obligation to our fellow citizens, our children, and to future generations.

So, for now, place me in the hopeful and optimistic camp. I would like nothing more than experiencing the taste of eating crow turn pleasurable.

Trump Unveiled

As repugnant as the David Duke issue is, I fear too much focus will be given to Trump’s incomprehensible response when asked on Sunday if he would disavow Duke and the KKK. The discourse seems more on whether Trump’s answer was an isolated political miscalculation as opposed to a reflection of something deeper and darker. For me, despite all of the evidence piling up before, the debate Thursday unveiled who he is, a thug that relishes bludgeoning opposition. Whether that makes Trump more akin to Putin or Hitler is a macabre thought that sickens me to even contemplate. However, one thing is clear: No person or minority that opposes or even questions him is safe; whether Black, Latino, Jew, or other. And also what is awful is that his rhetoric, whether believed by him or as a result of political calculation, will inflame the baser elements of our society.

Last Thursday through Saturday has been an eye opener; the Duke/KKK issue is just another stop on Trump’s journey towards destroying what makes America great. “Making America great again” requires all of us to be outspoken on this issue with those that waiver, it is not enough to just preach to the choir. Nor should those that desperately do not want to see Clinton in office flinch from their duty to save America from tyranny stemming from the politics of hatred. Whether democrat or republican, many share the view, including me, that the last eight years has seen a failure of governance. Even more fear that the next four years will see more of the same. But what we all should recognize is that what we most can’t afford is a failure of society. That is the danger Trump brings to our nation. That is the danger, no matter our political philosophy, we must all vigorously oppose.

 

Morality Versus Dignity

His head was supported by a thin pillow on a narrow hospital bed.  A distinct pungent odor permeated the air.  Rapid breathing was accompanied by a background rattle.  His lips glistened from remnants of Vaseline swabbed over them to slow the inevitable drying and cracking from air whistling by.  Thin grey hair liberally covered his scalp. His face and neck were pasty and creased.  His eyes were closed.  A thin institutional blanket covered both arms mottled with bruising and pooled blood.  Death was stalking the ninety-two year old man. The struggle was nearing an end.

The nurse leaned over the bed and spoke to him in reassuring tones.  She listened intently to his tortured gasps while her hand softly caressed his shoulder.  Her focus was to ease his suffering.  Her face was twisted with concern.  She placed a syringe in the corner of his mouth and slowly pushed the plunger a third of the way down.  A small amount of solution dripped out.  He reflexively swallowed it.  It was morphine.  His inhalation eased within a few minutes. It was seven P.M.  The curtain’s fall was postponed – for hours or perhaps days.

He was profoundly debilitated by Alzheimer’s disease.  Alzheimer’s begins by robbing a human being of their independence and then their dignity.  Over time, victims lose their sense of the world and their place in it. Near the end, motor skills atrophy and mental function ceases. [Read more…]