Category Archives: Thoughts On….

Belated Thoughts On World Mental Health Day

The first step to conquering any issue or problem is to talk about it. The problem is that this first step is often the hardest.

Thursday was World Mental Health Day. It was a day to highlight the importance of mental health, regardless of whether one is mentally healthy or lives with mental illness.

I wish that we could talk about mental illness in the same manner that we talk about other illnesses. I wish that mental illness was treated by both the medical community and the general public as other illnesses are.

But they aren’t. Mental illness is often maligned and used as blame for events that in reality has little or nothing to do with that event. It’s an easy out instead of taking a hard look at what is the real cause of the event.

We need to openly talk about mental illness as we would talk about other illnesses. We need to respect those who suffer and understand that their illness is no different than any other illness.

Until then, the idea of mental health will continue to be maligned and misunderstood.

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Thoughts On the Mental Health Aspects of Tashlich and Yom Kippur

All faiths have a build in method for which the members of the faith confess and absolve themselves of their sins and their mistakes.

In Judaism, the High Holidays is not only the beginning of the Jewish New Year. It is a time to review what has has transpired in the past year, accept that we have made mistakes and make the promise to hopefully learn from those mistakes.

Regular readers of this blog know that I am not particularly religious. But as I have gotten older and I have grappled daily with depression, I have come to appreciate the mental health aspects of the High Holidays.

The Tashlich service is simpler than Rosh Hashanah, but in my mind, just as important. To make a long story short, it is a ceremony in which prayers are made and bread is thrown into a open body of water, simulating the throwing one sin’s away.

As I completed Tashlich yesterday. I felt a sense of relief. My least favorite (if there is one to be had) aspect of depression is the constant reminder and regurgitation of past mistakes. Though I will never be free of these mistakes, Tashlich provided the opportunity for the emotional release of the errors from the past year, if only temporarily.

On Tuesday, Yom Kippur begins. It is an intense 25 hours of prayer and fasting. To say that it is not easy is an understatement. At a certain point in the day, it is mind over matter. But it is worth it. The emotional freedom that comes with completing Yom Kippur is akin to a weight being lifted off one shoulders. For a moment, it is as if my depression does not exist. But I know that the moment will pass and my depression will come back as it always does.

For those who celebrate, have an easy fast and may you be written in the book of life for the coming year.

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Thoughts On Elizabeth Warren’s Mention of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

In 1911, 146 garment workers perished in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. Most of them were recent immigrants to America, young women of Italian and Jewish descent who worked in unsanitary and unsafe conditions. As a result of the fire and the unnecessary loss of life, working conditions improved for factory workers.

This week, Presidential candidate and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) held a rally in New York City’s Washington Square Park. During the rally, she referenced the former sweatshop, which is mere blocks from the park.

I feel like America in the 2010s is not so different than America in the 1910’s. The unofficial class and wealth divide grows ever larger. We have new immigrants coming into this country every day. While we celebrate their achievements, we simultaneously accuse them of destroying this country. Hate, racism and prejudice still infect our country.

However, there is something to be said for the progress we have made in a century. Women and citizens of color have made tremendous strides to real equality. We live in a technological age that our ancestors might have only dreamed of a century ago.

We need a President who honors the past while striding into the future. I have a feeling that Senator Warren, if she is elected, will do just that.

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Thoughts On the New Brett Kavanaugh Accusations: Where There is Smoke, There is Fire

When Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed last year, his confirmation was far from smooth.

This week, new sexual assault allegations have surfaced against Justice Kavanaugh. If that was not enough, there are some who are questioning if the FBI did a thorough investigation and are calling for his impeachment.

Where there is smoke, there is fire.

From my perspective, the fact that he was still confirmed in spite of the evidence speaks to the act that powerful men can still get away with sexual assault. Women are still there just to be sexual objects.

Where there is smoke, there is fire. I have a feeling that this will not be the last time that we will be hearing about the sexual misconduct of Justice Kavanaugh.

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Thoughts On Last Night’s Democratic Debate

As we get ever closer to the 2020 Presidential Election, the pool of candidates gets ever smaller. Last night the top ten candidates put their best foot forward and tried to prove why they should be the Democratic nominee come next fall.

Though former Vice President Joe Biden is still the front runner, I am not sure that he is the right candidate to go up against you know who. Though his decades of public service are very much appreciated and recognized, I feel like it is time for Biden to hang up his hat. I don’t quite agree with the low blow that former HUD secretary Julian Castro laid on the feet of the former Vice President, I think that he has a point.

You know who is a bully. Like all bullies, he had a way of sniffing out and using his opponents or victim’s weaknesses against them. Whoever wins the nomination must have an airtight campaign. Vice President Biden’s campaign, as I see it, is not airtight.

Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN) and businessman Andrew Yang are the long shots from my perspective. I would honestly not be surprised if in the coming months, they decide to end their campaigns.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA) is really starting to grow on me. At the beginning of the year, I was not so sure if she was the right person for the job. Last night, I found her to be a political breath of fresh air. I like that she is not only prepared, but that she had to pull herself up by her own bootstraps. She was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth, she has to earn and continually fight for her place in the world. On that alone, she has my respect.

My opinion of Senator Bernie Sanders (VT) has not changed. I certainly agree with his ideas. What he is proposing is necessary if we are to become the country that is truly democratic and diverse. However, I have to wonder if the logistics of putting these policies into place match the ideas.

Those are my thoughts. Readers, what do you think? Who stood out to you and who do you think has a chance of being the Democratic nominee?

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Thoughts On the Post 9/11 Generation

Tomorrow is 9/11.

Those of us who are of a certain age and older will forever remember that day and the following days after the towers fell. I will never forget coming home for fall break from college in October of 2001 and craning my neck to see the remains of the towers as the bus drove into New York City.

I sometimes wonder what the kids who were very young or not yet born (Gen Z) think and know about September 11th. Especially that tomorrow is 18 years since the attack. An entire generation has grown up with 9/11 as just another aspect of their lives.

I wonder if they see it as living history or just as history in the same way that my generation sees Vietnam or the assassination of JFK (for context, I am in my late 30’s). I would hope that they understand how significant and life changing that day was for this country. I hope that they mourn and remember those who 18 years ago tonight, had no idea that their time on Earth was growing short.

May the memories of those who perished that day and of those who sacrificed their time, the health and ultimately their lives in the days after 9/11 to be a blessing to us all. Z”l.

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Thoughts On the Results of the Israeli/Egyptian World Judo Championship Semifinals Match

Sports is supposed to be free from politics and international conflict. It should be about skill, talent and hard work. But that does not mean that politics and international conflict cannot get in the way.

Israeli athlete Sagi Muki met Egyptian athlete Mohamed Abdelaal met on the mat during the World Judo Championship semifinals in Tokyo. Mr. Muki was named the winner of the match. Instead of being a good sportsman and shaking Mr. Muki’s hand, Mr. Abedelaal just walked off the mat.

Mr. Abdelaal’s actions, in my mind, represents what I think is a sad mentality when it comes to Israel and Jews. Regardless of ethnicity or national origin, Mr. Muki won fair and square. But to Mr. Abdelaal and millions who think like him, he was beaten by an Israeli Jew. In their mind, it is an unthinkable act.

I wish that we lived in a world in which we respected one another as individuals. I also wish we lived in a world in which when one entered any sports arena, one only saw their fellow athlete and not their ethnicity. But wishing sometimes goes nowhere.

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Don’t F*ck With Mother Nature: Thoughts On Marianne Williamson, You Know Who, Hurricane Dorian and the Amazon Rain Forest Fire

We all know that climate change is real. The question that we have to ask ourselves is if we have the balls to save our planet or let her die a slow and painful death.

The Amazon rain forest is known as the “lungs of the Earth”. The lungs are on fire. As human beings, we forget that nature is not an unlimited resource. If we don’t change our ways and learn to respect Mother Nature, she will f*ck with us in the same way that we have f*cked with her.

Speaking of Mother Nature, Hurricane Dorian is making it’s way up the east coast of the United States. You know who’s response was not unexpected. Yes, it is true that Alabama was initially projected to be hit by Dorian, but that path is outdated. I wish for once (though I know that with this man, wishing does no good), that he would listen to the experts and just once, apologize when he has made a mistake.

And then, if that was not enough, 2020 Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson claimed on Twitter that the power of the mind could deter the hurricane from hitting land. After receiving a fair amount of criticism, the initial tweet was deleted and replaced. She then claimed she was mocked for comparing the content of her tweet to prayers. Prayers are one thing, but to claim that we can use our minds to force the hurricane out to sea is a little too out there. Especially for someone who wants to be President of the United States.

At the end of the day, we have to respect and appreciate Mother Earth. If we don’t, she will happily remind us that she has more power in her little finger than all human beings combined.

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The Potential Purchase of Greenland and “I Am the Chosen One”: Thoughts on the Latest News from D.C.

Over the last few years, Americans have sadly gotten used to the out there statements and actions coming from the man whom we elected President.

This week, what he has said and done in the past compared to what he has said and done this week amounts the following saying: “hold my beer”.

He has stated this week that he is interested potentially purchasing Greenland. The offer was quickly and soundly rejected by Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. I don’t know what is worse, the hair brained scheme or the sycophant aides who went along with the idea instead of shutting it down in the first place.

Hypothetically speaking, if the deal had gone through, where would the money have come from? To say that the purchase would have been a colossal waste of tax payer funds is an understatement. Thankfully, the Danish Prime Minister has more sense than you know who.

In response to the rejection, he took more than his usual tantrum. First, he cancelled a planned state visit to Denmark. Then he made the following statement:

“I Am the Chosen One”

This G-d complex he has is not only getting out of hand, it is becoming scary. History has taught us that the slippery slope from a democracy to a dictatorship is much closer than we think it is.

We need to get this man out of office before he ruins this country forever.

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Thoughts on the Latest Immigration Mishaps

Unlike other nations, the United States has a reputation of not being so homogeneous. Most, if not all Americans (unless one is of Native-American descent), can trace their family history to at least one member of their family who was born somewhere else.

You know who and his administration seem to be determined to destroy all that.

Last week, ICE raided several meat processing plants in Mississippi. Hundreds of employees were arrested, many of who are not in the country legally. Among those arrested and detained, a good amount are also parents, leaving their children without a stable parental support system.

Watching these clips breaks my heart. One would have to be inhuman (or without a heart) to not feel something for these kids.

What I find disturbing is that while the company’s owners get off scot free and continue to rake in profits, their employees are targeted for potentially not entering the country legally. And of course, the company had a job fair to fill the jobs that have been left vacant.

One does not risk everything and leave the country of their birth to start over in a new country for shits and giggles. More than a century ago, members of my family left Eastern Europe because of the three p’s: prejudice, poverty and pogroms. The stories of these immigrants may not be the same as my family’s story, but their reason is the same.

To add insult to injury, new immigrants who are currently receiving some sort of public assistance may be denied green cards. Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director Citizenship and Immigration Services defended this decision by rewriting The New Colossus.

America has been and always will be the land of immigrants. It does not matter if one immigrated yesterday, two generations ago, or five generations ago. We are all related to immigrants. Until we appreciate and respect that notion, we will continue to disregard our history and the national ideals that we claim to be proud of.

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