Before the weather took a turn for the worse, I’m glad I took my two boys on a trip to Coney Island on Thursday. For me, it’s not only a fun outing but a trip through time, since I grew up a short walk from the Coney Island shorefront on the outskirts of Bensonhurst.
I’m not sure when the discussion shifted from the cost of adding HBO and Showtime to the spiritual meaning of Shabbat and kashrus. But it came toward the end of my discussion with the cable guy who came to my house today. I know it was after I told him that next week would be rough for scheduling an installation date because of Rosh HaShanah. But somewhere in the course of my switching from FiOS, the cable guy expressed interest in switching from Christianity.
I'm told that if a blogger fails to post several times a week, he or she might as well close up shop. Never mind that without the occasional vacation it becomes harder to post anything coherent and engaging, let alone do so prolificly. And so, even while touring the Carribean on a cruise ship (in my mind while sitting at home in my den) your blogger faithfully refreshes the Continuum, albeit with a repeat, reposted from last summer. Just as relevent today, if not more so.
I spent most of Monday and Tuesday immersed in the inspirational tale turned tragedy that was the life of Yoseph Robinson. In case you missed the story, he was the young Jamaica-born man who came to America, was sucked into a life of crime, gave it up to become a successful music impresario and later turned to Orthodox Judaism.
One reason the American military has resisted calls to reinstate a draft is that conscription often forces armies to deal with soldiers who not only don't want to be there and aren't committed to the cause but can be unfit for duty. While the Abu Ghraib affair shows that even volunteers can be unfit, for the most part it's the men and women who choose to defend their country and are committed to the skills and discipline of military life that contemporary commanders prefer to have on the front.
Item: Jet Blue has announced a deal with El Al to have passengers connect, with a single ticket, from Israel flights to 62 points around North America. You gotta love the timing. If you thought it was tense on Jet Blue now, wait until you start getting an infusion of passengers who have been cooped up for 10 hours on the way from Tel Aviv, displaced from the rear davening-section, kept awake by screaming babies and poorly supervised kids.
The Anti-Defamation League's decision to change the way they classify anti-Semitic incidents really sucked the air out of our coverage of the group's annual report of attacks against Jews. Because they, for better or worse, are no longer classifying the painting of a swastika as an attack on Jews if it is not specifically aimed at Jews, the ADL for the first time in 30 years did not contrast the latest numbers with the previous year, figuring the comparison would be skewed.
As mentioned earlier, this is the first summer in five that my family hasn't spent under the starry skies of the Catskills, and for me that means about six to eight hours a week back in my life that were often spent on the Cross Bronx Expressway, the New York Thruway, Rt. 17, and various other roadways with which I experimented. At 250 miles round trip, I estimate that I logged in the neigborhood of 10,000 miles in four summers making the trip to the blessed land of bungalows.
It's sad to have to watch your 10-year old kid squirm uncomfortably as you discuss with him what he should do if someone at sleepaway camp touches him "in a place ordinarily covered by a bathing suit." Or tell him that no one is allowed to tell him to keep a secret from his parents or the camp administration. But that's become a part of modern parents' pre-camp checklists, along with packing up necessities like flashlights and bug spray and tucking away some money for the canteen.