Monday, April 13, 2009

chol ha'moed (in between days)

i come to the river and i must go around.
no way i can swim across.
i walk against the current.
a river, a bridge, a tunnel, a sailor.
a flashlight, a telescope, a cell phone, a kite.
a book that contains the truth.
a people who emerge from a fire.
a people with guns in their hands.

Monday, April 6, 2009

part 9

RS: you made some mention of your siblings, do you care to go into that.
yr: i have an older brother and three younger sisters. my older brother rebelled against our m.o. parents by becoming chareidi. he's a bright guy and passionate and he found his calling in the world of talmud and prayer and chumras and isolation. he's got 11 kids and about 18 grandchildren. when i was a kid, he was the avant garde, the first line of rebellion against my parents, particularly my father. when he went to yeshiva in israel the year after high school his distinct about face from rebellion to obedience really threw me for a loop. i was depending on him to lead the way and he was leading in a direction that i did not care to follow, so i was left on my own, not quite able to lead my own rebellion, but being forced to do so.
RS: and your younger sisters?
yr: they're all M.O. living in israel. i have 12 nieces and nephews from those sisters and being close to them is important to me. I've never advocated leaving the derech to these kids, my marginal lifestyle (unmarried, unsteady employment) serves to underline my life as a cautionary tale, instead of as an inspiration to rebel.

part 8

Rs: you said you had something to add to the variety of your shabbos experiences.
yr: yes. after the world trade center went down in the heat of the intifadeh, pro palestinian leftists used to gather on saturdays in union square park and i used to heckle them.
RS: sounds like fun.
yr: not really, but i have an addictive personality and one of my addictions is anger and i certainly got my dose most saturdays heckling the leftists.
RS: what does this have to do with shabbos?
yr: well obviously as i said it took place on saturday, so the most obvious candidates for counter demonstrations, the orthodox, were eliminated from contention and thus i felt it was in my portion as one who is willing to break the sabbath to meet their demonstration head to head.
rs: so shabbos made it your turf?
yr: yes, but it was more than that. there's a zimra called kol m'kadesh sh'vi'i, which in my day had no tune and was thus sung only by my grandfather, but every saturday when i was heading out to head to the subway to head to heckle the leftists i sang the first verse of that song, with its lyric, "every man to his camp, every man according to his flag." and i felt that i was going to assert the jewish flag and the song spoke to me.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

part 7

RS: and how did jewishness and cabdriving mix?
yr: well, judaism and cabdriving do not mix so well, but jewishness? yes. they say that abraham set up his tent with four openings so that people would feel welcome and i felt like a new york abraham on my flying tent hosting people.

RS: hold on i thought you were the angriest cabby in nyc
yr: at moments. but anger is just an emotion that makes all facts line up straight. with us or against us, that kind of thing. sure anger is there every night that i drive, but i don't think i could have done it so long without the surfer attitude of riding new york's wave on my surfboard/cab. certainly the predominant attitude is different from the surfer dude, and new york is not quite as pleasant or as natural as an ocean.

RS: so you were a rebbe on wheels
yr: i wouldn't go that far. people didn't feel uplifted or enchanted by their few minutes in my cab. i speed read new york. it was a personal journey much more than a giving experience.

RS: you told me that at the age of 33 you tried to become orthodox again?
yr: it's true. i think the objective was social, let me become orthodox and get married. intellectually i was curious whether the sabbath could still be a powerful source.

RS: was it?
yr: of course. it was a creative period for me anyway, but the sabbath , five, six, seven, eight sabbaths in a row. i'm not sure how many there were, but they build up a momentum and my post sabbath creativity was impressive.

RS: you sound like you're ready to head back.
yr: yeah, i know. it's tough to do at this stage. at that stage i could trick myself into believing i would keep the sabbath for the rest of my life, there was a self deception that i needed to pull it off, like pulling off a drugless streak at certain points in my life required a belief that i had quit for good. i am too rebellious these days to pull something like that off.

RS: but you didn't get married.
yr: no, but i wrote a novel the summer afterward, and the knowledge or confidence or self delusion that went into the sabbath streak paid off in the novel that i wrote.

RS: but you can't marry a novel.
yr: true. i have always viewed the married life as something to do after i could assure myself of self support and the cab lifestyle and the writing thing have never fit in to my domesticated vision.

RS: do you think that makes you weird?
yr: does that make me queer? no. but weird? yeah, i guess so. i'm in favor of the propagation of the species and the back seat fumblings and marital bed ecstasies that are at the root of the propagation of the species. so my attitude is not weird, but i wouldn't advise this lifestyle to anybody.

part 6

RS: and when did you stop being frum?
yr: i was in los angeles in film school and my girlfriend moved out to L.A. from NY. she was my first girlfriend, and in the course of our relationship it was revealed that she had slept with a nonjew and therefore was forbidden for me to marry, 'cause i'm a cohen. Because this was private knowledge, in fact, halacha would not stand in the way of any such marriage, but i would know the truth. and i had a manic episode.

RS: a manic episode? sounds like a series from the early 70's
yr: you mean a mannix episode. no. just to give the raw facts. it was the third sabbath that i was busting and i drove to las vegas and i picked up some hitchhikers and on the way back to los angeles they threatened me, but somehow i got them to get out of the car and i drove off without them. and the experience of the day led me to messianic thoughts and to phone calls to president jimmy carter with my middle east peace plan.

RS: sounds exciting.
yr: it was. if they could bottle mania and sell it, the FDA would outlaw it. so we're stuck with other drugs and alcohol that never quite measure up.

RS: and this trip to Las Vegas changed your life
yr: i moved back to nyc and my parents had me see a shrink and take medications that dulled my mind and i dropped out of school. i spent one summer at aish hatorah in jerusalem, but then i returned to new york and drove a cab and by this time i no longer wore a yarmulka.

commercial message for beliefs

and your beliefs.
my beliefs were evolving. i didn't believe that the world was created in 144 hours and the creator rested for 24 hours after that. but i believed in a creator. i believed that some of the torah was probably from god and that thinking about god is beneficial for the human soul.

you don't believe in that anymore?
sometimes i think that for everyone there is some exercise of opposite that would be helpful. for one day all those god obsessed people have to think about something else other than god and all god denying people have to focus on the gestalt of oneness of creation, or whatever is closest in their worldview to the oneness of the creator. i don't think there is a specific recipe that is one size fit all.

part 5

RS: and you were still frum at this time?
yr: yes. i still wore a kipa, i still kept kosher, i still derived strength from the shabbat, i still got pleasure from hearing a good piece of torah.
but there were glimmers of "rebellion". firstly the choice of film over psychology was a rebellion. everyone is choosing a field with a clear income ladder in their future and i want to make movies.
and on the kosher front, i remember one time i was in st. louis with my uncle at the corner diner where the orthodox would have ice cream. there was a question regarding their whipped cream, but their ice cream was accepted even by the rabbi who along with his wife, my uncle and aunt and myself, made for a fivesome. so i ordered ice cream with whipped cream and the rabbi ice cream sans whipped cream and nobody made a big deal. but i saw a dollop of whipped cream that had fallen on my uncle's plate and that he was neglecting focused as he was upon the ice cream in the tall cup nearer his face. so i said, rabbi! and the rabbi looked over. and i took a finger and scooped up the whipped cream and popped it in my mouth and was quite pleased to not only eat the whipped cream, but to grab the extra dollop and eat it with relish in the rabbi's face.

interview part 4

RS: so why didn't you make aliya?
yr: the first real step of aliya for a man over 18 is to join the army, which i was willing to do, but my parents were opposed. i didn't want to go down to the local induction center, i wanted to go with the yeshiva, with the group i "belonged" to now. but whereas a visit to an induction center was within my possibility, my parents' veto made the yeshiva army program known as hesder out of my reach.

RS: did you consider going to university in israel?
yr: briefly. but in israeli schools there's no futzing around with one's major, it's "serious" from day one, and i wasn't ready for that i needed to futz.

RS: to futz?
yr: there was so much about the world that i was curious about, there were questions about my own creativity that i was unconsciously curious about. yes, i needed to taste different dishes and see what inspired me.

RS: and you chose film?
yr: film chose me. i think my first choice would have been writing. but the elaborate paragraphs that the great writers are capable of are well beyond me. the average barnard girl , i mean woman, can write a better more literary paragraph than me.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

gaza war/avigdor from moldova

the first rule regarding israel is defensive and realistic.

the last rule regarding israel is the blank page and pie in the sky ideas.

i reacted to the last war, the gaza war, by saying i wouldn't have done that.

and in fact it sounded as it meant, that i am a bystander and not a decision maker.

but i voted for meretz based on, " i wouldn't have done that"

and i'm trying to get my mind around yossi alpher's position on hamas, so that there would be a modus vivendi to avoiding battles of that sort with gaza.

i know that hardening of the hearts is a side effect of war. but my heart is not yet hardened and so that's a good thing, i think. (if my soft heart encourages the enemy..., so it's not so clear. but for my heart sake it's a good thing.)

re: avigdor lieberman's ideas.

1. redrawing israel's borders. the arabs are asking us to redraw our borders, so if the redrawn border puts your town on the other side, is that fair? it isn't fair if you have no right to move to the israeli side of the new border. it isn't fair if you are treated worse than an israeli who chooses to live overseas. if the largest loss the arabs feel for the redrawn border is the loss of medical care, then i think that can be worked out. i'm not saying that those who wish to redraw the border have taken these positions to make their position palatable or fairer, yet the position of redrawing israel's border should be acceptable on its face if handled with care.

2. loyalty oath. it is not ridiculous to want some kind of sign of understanding from the arab population for the jewish population. if citizens of israel wave the flag of hamas, it is not surprising to see politicians needle the jewish populace for the disgrace that it is willing to endure. yet a loyalty oath is a bad idea, just plain bad. there's no precedent in recent history that makes the idea any more palatable. it's a bad idea that takes advantage of a real sense of insecurity that has no magic or apparently non magic solution.

interview, part III

my early teen years in high school were unenjoyable,
which did not necessarily lead to rebellion
but more like war footing emotionally-
just get through this.

the chevra i idealized was back in chicago where torah was not a dirty word, so to the degree that my nostalgia and need for belonging was satisfied with the image of chicago, torah was not something that i wanted to jettison, but rather ... and there i would be hard pressed to answer.

but i do recall thinking that god might have created the world and since removed himself.

in any case the second half of my teens i was in yeshiva in israel.

RS: did you like gush etzion?
yr: i idealized belonging and though it took some time i was able to achieve an element of belonging in the yeshiva.

the other value was knowing what i was talking about, if only by a handful. if you are exposed to smart orthodox jews, with top 1% I.Q.'s and years of study, it feels a bit arrogant to say, this is nothing. and on an intellectual level it pays to know as much as possible about the jewish tradition (as it pays to know as much as possible about other topics as well) if one is going to exile oneself from the "city of faith" and still hold onto faith, it will be a challenging obstacle from an intellectual standpoint if you have not enough knowledge.

but emotionally the extended belief period sealed my fate as someone who is going to rebel too late.

RS: too late?
yr: well, it's never too late, but certainly one of my primary "what ifs"of my life is: what if i had rebelled sooner in my teens rather than after yeshiva, might i have been freer and led a more fulfilling life. i guess you turn into a pillar of salt if you look backward like that.

RS: you use bible imagery rather readily
yr: of course. i'm proud of it. but on the other hand it is a symptom of my self torture, so there is a perverse self hating pride as well.

RS: so you are a self hating jew
yr: i am a self hating person, if i had been an amoeba i would have been a self hating amoeba. i think many people in a society of esteem and turf have their "self hating" mechanism turned on. and it's almost impossible to defeat it and it's sometimes tough to even turn the volume down. but i think that critical artists or artist wannabes or critical thinking people quite often have a kvetch gene and this is part of the process of thought. personally, there is nothing intellectual that does not touch me emotionally. if there is such a topic i drop it mighty quick, because if you don't engage my emotions, it means that the best part of me (or the part of me with the most turbine action available) has been left out.

time out

too much interview
too little heat off of chest
makes jack an angry boy.

there is a difference between gaza and lebanon.
the status quo in the gaza strip stinks for israel and for the pals.

but i can't get my chest free of constrictions without yelling out, bob dylan

jello instant pudding


part two

Rolling stone: so wearing a yarmulka was a burden on you?

yr: it was part of my life and different from everybody else (all other kids) except for my brother.

Rolling stone: do you think that background influenced your move away from wearing a yarmulka when you got older?

yr: it certainly colored it, if it did or didn't influence it.
the other thing that comes to mind is kids reporting on "get smart" when they got back to school on monday mornings. "get smart" was on friday night and i couldn't watch it because of the shabbas, so i felt deprived come monday morning. of course there was not eating at friends' houses which made birthday parties awkward and minimized friendships. but my parents were poorer than my classmates' parents, who were middle class and moving on up in the booming sixties, so i lived in a poorer neighborhood than my friends and that would have minimized contact moreso than the orthodoxy.

rolling stone: when did you leave winnipeg.
yr: summer of 66 when i was 11 we moved to chicago. for my mom and dad it was moving "back" to chicago, because that was where my mom's family lived and where my dad went to school for 13 years or so.

rolling stone: what was the milieu like in chicago
yr: better. a mixture of observant kids and not observant kids. again i lived in a poorer neighborhood than most of my friends, but it was better socially from the orthodox standpoint.
i was raised a fierce religious zionist and summers i would go to moshava in wild rose wisconsin and its home base was chicago, so it was socially how i was raised.

rolling stone: when did you leave chicago?
68, a week after the famous democratic convention.

rolling stone: and you found the move to queens, new york difficult.
yr: quite. adjusting to chicago despite its familiarity had been a bit of a journey, but the move to queens was a journey into a desert in terms of friendships and feeling at home. the high school i attended was made up mostly of kids who had spent the first 8 grades together, so the society was not extremely open, that's the way it is for many kids going to high school. and how religious were the kids? a bit less than in chicago. the skokie yeshiva was an influence on the orthodox community of chicago at the time and its recent acquisition of aaron soloveichik. of course new york was home to his older brother, but that wasn't really true, the rav was from boston and yeshiva university was fifteen miles away and there was no institute of higher learning that was idealized by the community in queens.

rolling stone: those were interesting years to be growing up.
yr: you know the chinese curse, may you live in interesting times. well i guess we have that today and i had it back then.
i guess the first encroachment of the outside world on my world was the assassination of JFK. i guess an eight year old kid is allowed to be enamored of a young president (whereas journalists of a different age might be mocked.) and because the space program was designed to inspire young boys his presence in the headlines was something that i knew about and his killing was quite a shock.
i put up a poster from the newspaper of JFK's portrait and my brother mocked it and said that nonjews don't go to heaven and i asked my father if this was true and my father assured me that good nonjews go to heaven too.
the fact that ruby was jewish didn't make that large of an impression, but there might have been a tinge of nervousness that ran down the spine of jews when the killer of the killer turned out to be jewish.
the beatles popped up on the scene. ringo starr had a large nose and was rumored to be jewish. brian epstein was jewish. bob dylan was jewish and the comedians on sunday nights on ed sullivan's were rather often jewish. allen sherman was jewish.
chicago was far more urban than winnipeg and we returned to a city that was racially polarized with riots occurring twice: in the summer of 66 and in the spring of 68 after martin luther king's assassination.
when i got to new york it was the autumn of the teacher's strike which was fought over the issue of community control and it was primarily the black community versus the jewish teachers and that was the fall of the birth of the Jewish Defense League in Queens by Meir Kahane.

rolling stone: the teenage years are often questioning years, were you questioning?

part one

now that i am aware that a blog community of orthodox jewish and former orthodox jewish doubters is out there, i have someone to direct my words.

i will tell you my story as if interviewed.

rolling stone: aren't you a little old to define yourself as off the derech.

yr (yonahred): yes. i think one defines themselves as otd when they feel close enough to the derech timewise or lifewise and the derech is still a major feature in my life, so i define myself as off the derech.

rolling stone: tell me about your childhood and judaism and jewishness

yr: i grew up in winnipeg. both my parents were from the midwest: chicago and peoria, but my father got a gig as a rabbi in winnipeg, so when i was 3 we moved up there.

rolling stone: a rabbi, huh? what kind of a rabbi?

yr: modern orthodox. my father's father went into work on shabbos for many years out of necessity, but only after davening with a minyan and making sure to avoid doing "mlacha's" during the day. my father's mother was not observant until she married. my father grew up in peoria and then went to chicago to study in the yeshiva that eventually became the skokie yeshiva. he got his semicha there. and he chose (or fate chose for him) to teach in winnipeg.

rs: many orthodox in winnipeg?

yr: not kids my age, that's for sure. i went to a day school (that's what they call yeshivas outside of new york) that was attended by kids whose parents believed in tradition and attended conservative congregations. the synagogue at the end of the hall of our school was orthodox with a low partition. my brother was two years older than me and faced the brunt of nonconformity vis a vis wearing a yarmulka where the other kids didn't.

some rhymes

at the juncture of desire and facts
i hear the jazzman's sax
there's a mountain to climb
and it isn't a crime
to tie your shoes
before you collapse.

the jews are easier to rhyme with
rather than israel.
yehudi is also difficult to rhyme with
unless your name is hoodie.

events recur maintain the pace
dreams of jupiter play on your face
instill the spirit
develop the film
everything resembles
the things that they seem.

it wasn't so easy
the first day is done
you'd be better off
if you slept before dawn.

your cry has been heard
in god's ear it does echo
and also your laughter
like heckle and jeckle.

the song's tune must repeat
as you walk down the street
it's better than hearing
the complaints of your friend.
it never fails
you feel like bail
and on the golf course
you get struck by hail.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

meandering thoughts in response to sara and hedyot

is conversion sad?
is conversion bad?
is it a fad?
does it make you glad?

on the cross
don't forget to floss
my big brother's boss
threw me for a loss.

sara whose parents are bt's, left the derech and found herself studying in law school, married and catholic. ouch! conversion is historically nonacceptable.

i accept everything on a personal level, this is "external". that's one thought
and the other thought is that the jewish people needs its adherents.

wearing a yarmulka as a kid in winnipeg.
wearing a baseball hat as a replacement for the yarmulka
getting kicked out of a game before it started because i was wearing a yarmulka. had aryeh reported the net effect of his protests in response to the instruction to take off his yarmulka?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

mila- for and against

passover approaches.
i've posted some poems on haven not heaven.
expressed myself two ways on mila, pro mila on jewcy and anti mila on haven not heaven.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

how old is the god of the hebrews?

how old is the god of the hebrews?
he's older than me
but younger than my eye.
the millions of laws
much more than six, thirteen
they are not as real
as the child on the bus
or my image in the mirror.
jewish survival today-
a balancing act in two locales
jews and arabs, bombs and tanks
jews and goyim, pussy and money.
monday morning quarterback,
far removed from the real action.

Monday, February 9, 2009

god existed. god exists.

actually despite the title, my feeling is god existed- of this i feel sure. god exists- this is a need, a feeling, certainly not a logical conclusion. that god existed, that carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are not sufficient to explain life, is the relevant human logical conclusion to my mind. but this does not explain god existing at this moment. there is no proof of that. but i do have a need for that.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

dad breaks his wrist/ reb noach dies

dad fell and broke his wrist. i felt dizzy after the bris and attributed it to smoking, but now a few days later i discover that i have a cold and maybe this same combination of germs that made me dizzy and then turned into a cold contributed to dad's lack of balance and his fall. it certainly messes things up.

reb noach weinberg died on thursday. as his yeshiva was an up escalator taking people from secular to religious, i sometimes describe the time that i spent there as walking down the up escalator.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


i went to a bris today in the black part of town.
my father used his walker, so he wouldn't fall down.
my mother was complaining about a pain in her knees.
i stood on the corner and started counting by 3's.

Monday, February 2, 2009

the search for clarity. the search for a balance.

I am connected to the jewish struggle for survival.

did we emerge from the ovens with a purpose?

do we send our sons to the idf with a purpose?

deprived of all faith, what are our odds of survival?

when rituals have become meaningless, what can replace them?

have i destroyed my self? does this focus on the community indict me for forgetting the individualist? the ruthlessness of the young destroying all connection with community or faith, that's their ticket to freedom. who am i, still prisoner, to advise them how to be free?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

common cause

how's rabbi meiselman? you see him? i asked.

he lives two blocks away from me. he's doing fine, rocky answered.

"he had a very quiet son, a little genius? whatever became of him?" i asked, my memory stirred.

"what if i told you he went off the derech?" rocky retorted.

instinct told me rocky was pulling my leg, probing my tender spot, my weakness, my own leaving the derech. a look into his eyes confirmed this. but i answered any way.

"it would encourage me. it would intrigue me," i answered.

he rolled his eyes.

"he's learning torah," rocky ended this line of thought.

rocky doesn't like being called rocky these days, he prefers yerachmiel. who am i to dispute this. if muhammad ali can beat floyd paterson mercilessly for calling him cassius clay instead of the name given him by the honorable elijah muhammad, why should i give rocky a tough time for prefering his Hebrew name given to him at birth? still, i call him rocky.

but the point is that particularly meiselman's son, if he had gone off the derech would be intriguing to me. where did he head? what drove him off the path? will i ever cross paths with him? can we make common cause?

and i suppose that is at the basis of this blog. to find others who have left the derech and possibly make common cause.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

cautionary tale

in "juno" the heroine refers to herself as a cautionary whale. which hit home with me because mine is a cautionary tale and since my name is yonah i always identify with whales.

i am 53 unmarried and live without extravagance. if various causes had not pulled me to zion i would be in new york teaching public school right now.

i am a writer. i have written, but not published. my primary accomplishment is a book called "bar mitzvah prophecy" about a 13 year old kid whose older brother is an off the derech nik, but an off the derech nik with a messiah complex and his arrival complicates his younger brother's bar mitzvah.

during the course of the year, i fast on yom kippur. this is mostly to avoid feeling cut off. i have eaten on some yom kippurs and the post yom kippur depression is worse after having eaten. so to make the day after yom kippur tolerable i don't eat on yom kippur. of course in the last hour of the fast i might try to take advantage of the light headedness that goes with fasting and pray to god or take a walk or listen to music.

i attend a seder. one year i skipped the seder all together and one year i skipped the first night seder and only went to a second night seder, but missing the seder is a major deprivation.

my favorite holiday is sukkot. i don't really like the lulav and esrog, but eating in a sukka the first night of sukkot is something special for me and i try not to miss it.

the first night of rosh hashana when the apple is dipped into the honey is special and missing it is a deprivation.

i really dig purim, because i like getting "intoxicated" and some of the ideas of the purim holiday really inspire me, so i go to the purim seuda as a rule and miss it when i don't.

i have one brother and three sisters, who are all orthodox. my older brother became ultra orthodox though we were raised in a modern orthodox home and all my sisters are modern orthodox. my brother has 11 kids and a gaggle of grandkids, without an evil eye. and my 3 sisters have 12 kids between them. i try to avoid my brother's family for the most part, but hang out a lot with my sisters and their kids. i do not attempt to teach my nephews and nieces that off the derech is the way, although not all my comments are reverential. when i visit them for shabbat i usually avoid going to shul. but at the table i am careful to bensch after we eat. there are many starving people in the world and there were many starving jews not so many years ago, and i therefore think that bensching is a good thing. i do not bensch when i eat alone.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

can't live with it. can't live without it.

this is the meaning of the title of the blog.

off the derech

bumped up against the "left frumkeit" bloggers and figured i'd add my ten agurot. (two cents)

in all generations there are people who have left, different generations have different dynamics. no two snow flakes are the same.

my own proximity to the holocaust (not known as such until i was in my teens in the seventies) might give a different twist to my beliefs and disbeliefs.

the t.v. shows i saw as a kid: my favorite martian and the fugitive, might provide me with a different language than one you are comfortable with.

i was born a cohen and "fell in love" with a woman forbidden for a cohen and if not for that circumstance my reaction to my modern orthodox torah upbringing would have been different.

i stayed with torah (continued to wear a yarmulka 99% or more of the time.) until i was 23. i lained the parsha often enough that the words still skip off my tongue 30 years later. i had spent enough time in yeshiva to achieve a facility with talmudic texts and to learn that a certain soul thirst could be quenched with a "successful" shabbat.

israel, zionism and the holocaust played major roles in my jewish outlook.

when i read the atheism of young people i am skeptical. y'know those two dimensional pictures that appear three dimensional if you look at them right. well that's what god is like to me. part optical illusion, part reality, all perception.

we are all scientists and artists to different degrees. the scientist within me (minority) sees the value of insisting on evidence and denying the unseen. the artist(s) within me (majority) sees the value of enriching myself, by allowing my dreaming, creative self to assert the added dimension of insisting that carbon, hydrogen and oxygen do not suffice to create life, but a teaspoon of "magic" is needed as well.

the holocaust is a valley of death, not even a shadow, but an eclipse. i cannot deny the survivor his denial of god's existence. i cannot deny the survivor his assertion of god's existence. but when i go down into that valley i leave depressed and so i try to avoid it.

israel. i idealize the diversity of new york city's union square. a (realist) person would acknowledge the history that yielded and yields that diversity. the campaign of europeans against the indigenous. the slavery and after effects. the wealth of america vis a vis the rest of the world. the border control (porous, but still a factor). so the peaceful diversity has an element of illusion to it. nonetheless it is impressive and a logical goal.

israel's lesser diversity falls short. given the muslim reality, the goal of diversity is subject to (infinite) a lengthy delay. my less than realistic dreams or policies supported by a few dissenters rather than the conventional wisdom, regarding israel, will wait til later, or be discussed elsewhere.

the children killed in this gaza campaign is deeply troubling. the holding of gilad shalit by hamas is deeply troubling. my own emotions are so overwhelming that policy statements are washed away in their flood.