Normally, we would use this day to say thank you to the men and women who have fought and died to defend the United States. But this year feels different.
It feels different because of not just Covid-19, but because of political turmoil created by the results of the election.
Sometimes I feel like we take our rights and our freedoms for granted. The last few years have reminded me that democracy does not just appear or remain stable in thin air. A democratic government either fails or succeeds based on the actions (or lack thereof) of the average citizen.
Every year, we talk about thanking our living veterans and honoring the memories of those who are no longer with us. I think the best way we can do both is to do the hard work needed to ensure that the American democracy will exist for generations to come. Included in that hard work is putting aside our differences and trying to find a middle ground.
If we don’t, then what is the point of Veterans Day?
For generations, Americans have believed that our democracy was set in stone. Our basic rights, the political and cultural cornerstone of our nation was untouchable. Then you know who was elected President four years ago and it looked the American democracy was on shaky ground.
The anniversary of Kristallnacht is tomorrow and Tuesday. It was the unofficial beginning of the Holocaust. It was also a sign that dignity, democracy and humanity no longer existed in Germany.
Thankfully, Americans have shown our democracy and our freedoms are worth fighting for. In electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, we have perhaps avoided the path that led the to Kristallnacht and the Holocaust. But that does not mean that we can rest on our laurels. There is still much more work to be done before we can be the country that lives out the ideals in our founding documents.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Covid-19 has flipped our world upside down.
Last weekend was supposed to be the 2020 JASNA AGM. Hosted by the Ohio North Coast region, Janeites would have met in Cleveland. But the virus demanded a change of plans.
Instead of being held in person, the AGM was held virtually. 1400 JASNA members attended via their devices. The plus side was the number of participants nearly doubled compared to previous AGMS. The downside was that like everything that had to transfer to the internet, there were glitches.
Overall, I was pleased with the AGM. It had the look and feel of an AGM without being there in person. Hopefully, we will be able reconvene next year in Chicago, even with the restrictions created by Covid-19.
Depending on where one lives within the United States determines if one and/or both holidays are listed on the calendar.
The purpose of both Columbus Day and Indigenous People’s Day is to honor and educate about the histories of both Italian Americans and Native Americans. But while Columbus Day has been part of our culture for generations, it’s Native American counterpart is relatively new.
The issue is that while we celebrate the “discovery” of America by Christopher Columbus, we are discarding the true history of the period. The New World, as it was known then by Europeans, was not empty. Nor was it waiting to be discovered. There were hundreds, if not thousands of Native American nations who lived and thrived on American soil long before Columbus “found” this land.
The “founding” of America by Columbus was the catalyst for colonization and the destruction of the Native American way of life.
The question is, how do we reconcile the truth of the past? The easy answer is nationalize Indigenous People’s Day as a holiday. But like many things that appear to be easy, the reality is that it difficult and complicated, especially in our current political climate. The truth is that I don’t have an answer.
But I do know that is time to give our Native American brothers and sisters the respect and the history they deserve.
Like many of you, I have been home nearly 24/7 for the last seven months. Though I am grateful that my life has not been completely upended, it would be foolish to ignore the changes that the virus has brought on.
Before March, I had no problem with being busy. Going out and being social was the antidote to the daily battle with depression. Now it feels like the depression has won out. Other than taking care of my weekly errands, I don’t want to go anywhere. I just want to stay in and sleep.
If there any silver lining, it is that these last few months have finally forced us to examine how we treat mental illness and those who suffer. Perhaps when all is said and done, mental health will finally get the respect and treatment that it deserves.
We live in a world in which antisemitism and misogynistic views still have a hold on us. But there is still hope that both can be overturned.
Last week, the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s funeral was held in Washington D.C. As I listened, my pride in her accomplishments as a Jew and a woman were just as prominent as my tears.
She is an icon for so many of us who feel marginalized and pushed aside because of who we are. Listening to Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt speak the ancient Jewish prayers, I had a feeling that in spite of the hatred that still exists, there is light and love at the end of the tunnel. We can look past labels and see each other’s humanity. We only need to open our eyes and our minds.
Though Judge Ginsburg is no longer physically with us, her legacy will last forever.
To say that this year has not been easy has been an understatement.
Tomorrow night starts Yom Kippur, the most important day in the Jewish year. On this day, we confess our sins and ask our heavenly creator to allow us another year of life.
But before we can make such a request, we must be honest with ourselves about our flaws and mistakes. That is where Tashlich comes in.
As I threw my bread in the water earlier today, I felt a sense of peace. Though the past can never be undone, we can learn from our mistakes. We can become better than who we were before. That I believe is the message of the High Holidays and Tashlich in particular.
May those who are fasting have an easy and peaceful fast and may we all be written in the book of life for another year.
Anyone who has been in the working world for enough time would easily be able to list the issues they have with their current job or had with previous jobs. But there is difference between the average complaint and a toxic workplace.
Actress and comedian Ellen DeGeneres has hosted her own talk show for the last 17 years. A mainstay of daytime TV, Ellen comes off as the best friend the audience wish they could have. But recently, the reputation of the show and it’s namesake has been tarred by complaints of mistreatment of behind the scenes staff.
As of Friday, three of the program’s producers were fired and Ellen has since apologized.
Working in a toxic environment is akin to psychological torture. Logically, you know that you need the paycheck and the benefits that come with the job. But, at a certain point, it becomes a question of whether or not it is worth your mental health to continue at a job in which you are seen as worthless and incapable.
Over the past few years, the subject of mental health has become a topic that has come to the forefront. I’ve spoken many times on this blog about the importance of being mentally healthy and physically healthy. Part of that is feeling respected and appreciated at work.
Unfortunately, this will not be the first company, nor will this be the last company to create a less than ideal working environment for their staff. I just hope that this is a lesson on how not to treat your staff.
Antisemitism is a disease. How does one route out a disease from one’s body? You hit with medicine. In this case, the medicine is truth and the power of the average person.
In response to the antisemitic posts appearing on Twitter and Instagram, a boycott has been called on both platforms for 48 hours starting this morning.
There is a distinct line between freedom of speech and spewing hate. Until the people who run the social media world realize this and follow the rules they created, they will be as guilty as the ones who spew racist and antisemitic lies.
I know that this boycott will be difficult. But if we do not move forward with the boycott, the message that racism and antisemitism is acceptable will continue it’s destructive grasp on this world.