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Editorial & Opinion | Musings

12/24/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

There are evil things in the world, of course, but too often “evil” is a category that helps us to avoid thinking. When I mention a political figure, some will grapple with that person’s ideas. Others, far too many, will accuse her or him of hostility, evil, secret origins or nefarious aims. It is as if they cannot imagine that someone with good intentions would think other than they do or act in different ways from their own dispositions.

12/17/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

In 1974, the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote a letter to Eric Hoffer, the great longshoreman-philosopher and author of “The True Believer.” Hoffer had worked hard all his life on the docks of San Francisco and as a migrant farm laborer when younger. Moynihan wrote to him:

12/10/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

Sometimes distance is our friend. When we press our noses up against the glass of our troubles, they seem immediate and overwhelming. But if we can take the eagle’s-eye view, or the perspective of time, we often find that what preoccupies us now is fleeting. 

12/03/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

A childhood friend once attended a play starring the great Zero Mostel. He had the misfortune to be late and Mostel, spotting him trying to sneak in the theater, stopped the performance and asked for the house lights to be turned up. “You — yes you, the one who is late,” he said, pointing to my humiliated friend. “I want you to know what you missed.” Mostel then acted out the entire play to that point by himself, inhabiting all the roles. My friend was embarrassed but also delighted to be the spur to such a tour de force.

11/26/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

I am surrounded by books I will never have a chance to read, people I will never get to know and constantly hear about places I will never visit. This is the invariable law of every life. How shall we think of this richness so vastly greater than our time to experience it?

11/19/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

We read the Torah on Monday and Thursday in the synagogue because in ancient times those were market days. Picture the scene: Competing with the merchants hawking their wares was the voice of someone reading and explaining the stories and laws of the Torah. I imagine the Maggid stationed today in the produce section of Trader’s Joes, telling of Moses’ encounter before Pharaoh, or better, the of delights of the Garden of Eden.