Category Archives: Thoughts On….

Thoughts On the 78th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

War is not the ideal state for any nation to be in. But when a nation is attacked, they have no choice to fight back.

Today is the 78th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Up until the day that Japan attacked, many Americans were wary of getting involved in the war. Many still had very active memories from World War I. But the attack changed everything.

A generation of young men died that day, their bodies entombed in the sea. They died fighting for their country. 78 years later, their service and their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

May the memories of those who died that day forever be a blessing.

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Thoughts On Kamala Harris Dropping Out of the 2020 Presidential Election

The beauty of a Presidential election season is that there are more than enough candidates for the voters to choose from. The downside of this is at the end of the day, there will be only one person representing the Democrats and one person representing the Republicans.

Earlier today, Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) ended her Presidential campaign.

To be honest, I am disappointed. Senator Harris had all of the marking of a successful Presidential candidate. As a woman of color and a child of immigrants, she represented two important groups who are not always given the political spotlight. She was also the only person of color who had a decent shot of earning the nomination.

The issue, as I see it now, is will the next Democratic Presidential Debate have anyone of color on stage? Julian Castro, Andrew Yang, Corey Booker, and Tulsi Gabbard are citizens of color. The problem is that neither of them has ranked high enough to have the same attention as some of the other candidates.

Only time will tell us who is the Democratic nominee. But that does not take away the disappointment of Senator Harris not having a shot at the nomination.

At least she has the power to help impeach you know who. This is not exactly a consolation prize, but it is still a step in the right direction.

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Thoughts On Lindsey Graham Blocking the Armenian Genocide Bill

When one jumps into the political arena, the hope is that they are getting in for altruistic reasons. But hope often springs eternal, especially when it comes to politics.

It’s not exactly a secret these days that certain American politicians have become more concerned with their careers than serving the voters who hired them. In recent political news, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), blocked a bill that would have formally recognized the slaughter of the Armenians by the Turks in the early part of the 20th century.

In life, as in politics, compromise is the key to success. However, there is a huge difference compromising with someone from the other side of the political aisle and capitulating for the sake of their careers. As far as I am concerned, Senator Graham has done more than capitulate to you know who. He has sold his soul to keep his job.

Only time and history will tell us how or when the Presidency of you know who will end. I have a feeling that if it does end badly, those who forgot who they serve will come out at the end with a soiled reputation.

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Thoughts On the New Emma Trailer

In Jane Austen’s 1815 novel, Emma, the novel’s titular heroine, Emma Woodhouse is introduced as “handsome, rich and clever”. She thinks that she knows the ways of the world, especially when it comes to love and marriage. Thinks is the keyword in the sentence.

The latest film iteration of this beloved novel will be released into theaters in February. Stepping into the well-worn shoes of Miss Woodhouse is Anya Taylor-Joy. Starring opposite her as George Knightley, Emma’s neighbor/verbal sparring partner is Johnny Flynn.

This is one movie that I am looking forward to seeing. Austen’s comedy of manners is more than the story of who will hook up and when they will hook up. It is the story of a young woman who learns that she does not know everything, but it is written in such a way that the reader does not hate Emma.

I hope that this version will make Jane Austen proud.

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Thoughts On Michael Bloomberg’s 2020 Presidential Run

Just when we thought that the drama surrounding the 2020 Presidential Election was reaching its crescendo, another candidate has thrown his hat into the race.

Late last week, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he is running for President.

From the perspective of an undecided voter (which I suspect many voters are), his presence in the race makes sense. In the spectrum of Democratic candidates, he is neither too far the right or too far to the left. He also has experience in the executive offices of government. To Bloomberg’s credit, he led the city out of the darkness that was 9/11. To say that it was not an easy feat is far from an understatement.

However, Bloomberg does have a few shortcomings, as all the candidates do. He changed his political party affiliation twice before declaring himself to be an independent. He is an older white man running in a crowded field with other candidates who are not the traditional Presidential candidates. When asked a few months ago if he would run, Bloomberg said no. Now he says yes.

It’s understandable that he changed his mind about running, given what is at stake. However, flip-flopping is not going to win him the nomination or the Presidency. Nor will it come in handy if he takes the oath of office. If Bloomberg can win is also a matter of opinion. I suspect that if asked, some New Yorkers would say that they were not happy with him while he was in office.

Only time will tell who eventually wins the nomination. Whomever they are, they had better be prepared. They are in for a fight that has the potential to change this country for generations to come.

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Thoughts On the First Anniversary of the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

In 2019, we hope that hate and prejudice is a thing of the past. But hope often springs eternal.

This coming Sunday is the first anniversary of the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. 11 people were murdered simply because they were Jews. It’s nearly a year later and it hurts as if it was yesterday.

I sometimes try to delude myself that because I lived in the United States, this won’t happen to me. I am seen as a complete human being, not just a member of a particular religious or cultural group. But I have to face reality. Antisemitism is on the rise in numbers that has not been seen in generations. I shouldn’t be afraid to wear an outward symbol of my faith out of fear of being abused or attacked. But this is the reality that we all live in.

The shooting was the subject of this week’s Unorthodox episode. It made me feel less alone and less scared. But it also reminded me that I live in a world in which entering a house of worship requires passing by security and police. I wish that this was not the case, but it is.

May the memory of those 11 innocent people killed on that day forever be a blessing and may their blood be avenged.

Z”l.

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Thoughts On the Final Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Trailer

Last night, after months of excitement and hype, the final trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was released.

The purpose of a movie trailer is to reveal just enough about the film to entice the audience to see the movie. This trailer is really good. Like any Star Wars trailer, the details are kept under wraps (at least until December 20th).

We know that is going to be a battle between good and evil, which has always been the basis of the Star Wars story. But it is supposed to be the be all and end all for this saga and these characters. However, knowing Disney and Lucasfilm, I would not be surprised if there was another leg to the narrative released in the next twenty years.

If nothing else, the fact that the pre-sale tickets for this film outpaced Avengers: Endgame by 45% speaks of the love of this film series.

I can only hope that the love is returned to us by a movie that blows us all out of the water.

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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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