Jewish American Heritage Month: Americans Jews Who Made an Impact

May is Jewish American Heritage Month. With antisemitism on the rise in frightening numbers, the easier thing would be to hide who we are. Instead, we should be loud and proud of who we are. In honor of this month, I would like to offer a small list of American Jews who have made an impact on this nation.

Proud Los Angeles GIF by LA vs. Hate - Find & Share on GIPHY

P.S. Last week was both Yom HaZikaron and Yom Haatzmaut. Happy Birthday Israel and may the memories of those who gave their lives for their country be a blessing.

Democrats Need to go to the Mattresses

At the end of the day, politics is about compromise and finding some sort of common ground. In the halls of power in America today, compromise has become a dirty word and common ground is a thing of the past.

The problem is twofold. The first is that most Republicans have become so radicalized that there is no talking sense to them. The second is that the Democrats are bringing a plastic food knife to a gunfight. The only way to get this country back on track is to go to the mattresses.

During the 2016 Presidential Election, former First Lady Michelle Obama said the following:

“When they go low, we go high”

The problem with this statement is that it assumes that the other side can be reasoned with. There is no reasoning with these people. Not that I am advocating that were completely lower ourselves, but playing nice doesn’t work anymore. We have to get our hands dirty and it means bloody knuckles, so be it.

Almost 250 years ago, our collective ancestors fought and died for this nation. If we give in to these radicals, what they fought for means nothing. Should that come to pass, we will have no one to blame but ourselves.

Outlander Season 6 Review

I apologize for the late publishing of this review. Life got in the way.

Warning: this review has spoilers from the end of season 5. Read at your own risk if you have not seen season 5.

For as much creativity as it takes to start a new narrative, it takes more creativity to continue in multiple segments. The writer(s) must be willing and able to expand their horizons and allow the characters to grow beyond their initial storyline.

The new season of Outlander premiered earlier this month on Starz. It starts not long after the previous season ended. Claire (Caitriona Balfe) is still dealing with the emotional effects of being kidnapped and raped. Up until this point, she has been able to present a strong front and now show any weaknesses. But the experience has started to break down those walls.

In addition to being concerned about his wife, Jamie (Sam Heughan) is dealing with problems from his past and his present. Meeting up with an old rival, Tom Christie (Mark Lewis Jones), and his children Malva (Jessica Reynolds) and Allan (Alexander Vlahos), he comes face to face with a part of his life he would rather forget. While this is happening, the Revolutionary War is slowly getting closer to Fraser’s Ridge, threatening to upend the lives of its residents.

So far, this season has lived up to my expectations and then some. What I love is that the first few episodes have focused on where the characters are emotionally. Add in the clouds of war on the horizon and the reaction will be nothing short of explosive.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Outlander airs on Sunday night at 9PM on Starz.

Season 4 Love GIF by Outlander - Find & Share on GIPHY

Once We Were Slaves: The Extraordinary Journey of a Multi-Racial Jewish Family Book Review

The Passover story and the Exodus of the Hebrews from slavery to freedom is a potent one. In one way or another, we can all relate to the idea of breaking free from whatever is holding us back.

Laura Arnold Leibman‘s new book, Once We Were Slaves: The Extraordinary Journey of a Multi-Racial Jewish Family was published back in August. The book traces the ancestry of Blanche Moses. Moses, whose Jewish-American ancestry goes back to the Revolutionary War, tells the story of her biracial ancestors. Both Jewish (mostly Sephardic with a handful of Ashkenazi) and black, her ancestors had to navigate a world in which they could be doubly ostracized while passing as Caucasian. Living in such different places as New York City, London, and the West Indies, it was akin to a game of chess, in which every move must be calculated before proceeding.

I wanted to like this book. The subject is one that is certainly of interest to me. The problem is that it is slow to read and void of the excitement that I should have had while answering the question that the book asks. While I appreciated this deep dive into a part of Jewish history that is not always in the spotlight, the promises laid out by the author are not met.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

It’s Treason, Pure And Simple

In 1778, during the height of the Revolutionary War, Benedict Arnold jumped ship to fight for the British.  Since then, his name is synonymous with treason.

Today, was have a new name to link to treason against America: Donald Trump.

Despite recent undeniable proof (and indictments against Russian agents) that Russia meddled in the 2016 Presidential election, Trump continue to deny the truth during the dual press conference in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

I don’t know (though it seems likely and has seemed likely for a while) if Putin has something on Trump or he is just so dam egotistical that he can’t see what is happening in front of his eyes.

I’m not a legal scholar, but for me, this would be more than enough of a reason for me to start impeachment proceedings. We’ve been sold out to Russia and Putin knows it. The only person who doesn’t know it is Trump.

Even those who have supported him have called Trump out on what he did and said today.

So much for America First.

 

 

Sybil Ludington

Today, as we celebrate Independence Day, we talk about and remember the Founding Fathers.

One of the more memorable events that led to the revolution was the announcement by Paul Revere that the British were coming.

Unknown to many Americans, there is another one that made a similar ride. Her name was Sybil Ludington. The teen-aged daughter of Colonel Henry Ludington, a hero of the Revolutionary War in his own right, young Sybil rode to alert neighbors about the impending British invasion. Legend states that she rode farther and faster than the men who took similar actions.

She was only 16 years old.

When we speak of history and heroes who had a hand in shaping the future, we often only speak of men. We rarely speak of women or young girls.

It’s time to change that. We need to honor the women in our collective past who did not confirm to what it was to be a proper lady. In taking that ride, Sybil Ludington, in her own small way, paved the way for future generations of women to do what is right, as opposed to what is proper.

Happy Independence Day.

Flashback Friday-The Patriot (2000)

Family and a parent’s love for their children is the strongest force on Earth.

In the 2000 movie The Patriot, Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) is a farmer in Revolutionary era South Carolina. A widower with seven children who survived the French Indian War, Benjamin is not initially interested in the war. He simply wants to raise his children.

But his two oldest sons, Gabriel (the late Heath Ledger) and Thomas (Gregory Smith) disagree with their father. Gabriel joins the Patriots against his father’s wishes. The family catches the attention of the brutal Colonel William Tavington  (Jason Isaacs), who burns down the Martin home and kills Thomas.  Torn between protecting his surviving children and avenging his son’s death, Benjamin will soon change his mind about the American’s fight for freedom.

While I am not a huge fan of Mel Gibson, this movie is enjoyable. A history lesson wrapped in the story of a father’s love for his children, the narrative is plausible and the acting is good.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

%d bloggers like this: