As always, reading from the Union Haggadahs passed down to me from my parents, via my maternal grandfather, I felt the connection not just to my family, but to my Ashkenazi ancestors and the whole Jewish faith and culture. I felt that connection radiate out through my friends and neighbors on North Haven, my adopted home.
Planet Earth is a difficult place to be right now. Our place names – Charlottesville, Mumbai, Mexico City, Houston, Barbuda, Yemen, Syria, Mosul – conjure up devastation, whether human-made or nature’s wrath, and there’s not an end in sight. We seem ever more fragmented into microscopic factions. Maybe that’s why extraterrestrial goings-on are all the more appealing.
I’m caucasian and Jewish. My ancestors were making a go of it in the Pale of Settlement when the Civil War was raging over here. But I can imagine what seeing images of the Confederacy embraced and exalted by individuals and communities might feel like to someone who does have enslavement in their family history.
Reports of White House Spokesman Sean Spicer’s jaw-gapingly inappropriate comments comparing atrocities were bringing back that gasping, nauseous post-election feeling that had been starting to fade. But the peepers washed it away, leaving just a trace of discomfort, like the last trace of snow scribbled in the margins of the field.
Through some quirk of synchronicity, Hineni (Here I Am) has been following me around lately. It’s a phrase with a great deal of importance in Judaism. Biblically, it is used as an answer to a divine question: Moses says it to the burning bush, Abraham says it before he is instructed to sacrifice Isaac. The implication is […]