There is an old joke told of a Rabbi leaving synagogue after Kol Nidre services. On his way home he was astonished to see Goldstein, one of his congregants, sitting in a non-kosher restaurant eating a sumptuous meal.
As Goldstein exited the restaurant, the rabbi accosted him: “What are you doing, I just saw you eating treif, and paying for it on Yom Kippur. Explain yourself!” Goldstein replied: “Oy, I am sorry rabbi, but I just forgot.”
During a visit to South Africa last summer, I stopped at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, hoping to better understand how so despicable a system could dominate that country for nearly half a century, from 1948-1991, and why any comparisons to Israel are ridiculous. I came away humbled, wondering whether there might just be a little residue of apartheid in us all.
News of the death of Apple’s founder and CEO, Steve Jobs, spread across the Internet just as quickly as reviews of the brand new iPhone 4S. The man, who President Barack Obama called “among the greatest of American innovators - brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it,” was loved by the world. I found myself saddened upon learning of his passing. It’s not just because of my addiction to my MacBook, iPhone and iPad – some of the revolutionary technology he designed in recent years.
I was fortunate to be invited as one of 50 participants in a two-day retreat last month called “The Conversation.” Sponsored by The Jewish Week, the program is an annual opportunity for a diverse group of Jews from across the country to come together to dialogue about Jewish issues in a comfortable and casual environment. There is no agenda other than to stimulate communication and create bonds between segments of the Jewish community that are not always in contact or in concert.
I recently took a walk in the woods with two women, one 20 years older than I am, the other 40 years older, to discuss the challenges of aging. We paused when we saw white-tailed deer hop-freeze beside us in the thicket. We shared stories about women in our lives, and how they navigated the aging process. We talked about our own changing bodies, changing minds, changing children, changing communities. We turned our faces towards the sunshine and stopped in our tracks when someone shared a particularly resonant insight, as we let it wash over us.