Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Is this 2013 or 1947?
Last night when I got home from work, my older son was sitting on the couch watching one of the cable sports talk shows... so I joined him in order to share a little father-son time.
The topic of the moment was the news that Jason Collins, an NBA basketball player for the Washington Wizards, had mentioned in an interview with Sport Illustrated magazine that he is gay.
Apparently he is the first pro basketball player in the US to formally 'come out of the closet'.
As I sat watching with my son (who has grown up with openly gay family members and friends), I was sort of pleased that a pro in any major sport felt comfortable enough to reveal something so intensely personal (not to mention potentially a source of ridicule), in an interview with arguably the most prominent sports magazine in the world.
But as the show went on, the topic continued to be discussed. And went on and on... until it was clear that his being gay was to be the topic for the entire 30 minute show.
Within a few minutes I went from being mildly pleased at how evolved society had become that a player could reveal something that only a decade ago would have made him a pariah... to realizing that a society hasn't really evolved so much if this kind of revelation was enough to fuel an entire 30 minute sports talk show.
We're not yet at the point where a person's sexual orientation is as much 'news' as his right/left handedness, hair color or any other 'hard-wired' aspect of who they are. That's certainly a looong way off.
But in my humble opinion, the litmus test for how big a deal to make of something should be how many times it would be appropriate to raise the subject in a face-to-face, one-on-one interview.
Being an openly gay pro basketball player in 2013 is arguably worthy of a question or two. Being the first is certainly worthy of a follow-up question or two.
But if I'm Jason Collins and the fourth and fifth question of the interview are still about what I enjoy in the privacy of my bedroom, I'd have to wonder out loud if the other player's sexual preferences were worthy of an entire sports show.
Move on, people. This isn't Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in 1947. And if we treat it like it is on the same level, we need to face up to the fact that, as a society, we aren't nearly as evolved as we think we are here and now in 2013.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Does John Kerry speak for the Obama administration?
I ask because in a question and answer session held while he was visiting Turkey this week, Mr. Kerry was asked a pointed question regarding reapproachment between Turkey and Israel (in the wake of the Gaza Flotilla raid).
In his response, the Amemrican Secretary of State, who presumably speaks for the U.S. adminsitration, said:
"I have just been through the week of Boston and I have deep feelings for what happens when you have violence and something happens and you lose people that are near and dear to you. It affects a community, it affects a country. We’re very sensitive to that." Source
Let's parce that, shall we?
First, who are the victims of violence in the cases in which he is drawing a parellel?
That would be a) those who were killeed or injured in the Boston Marathon bombing and; b) those who were killed or injured in the IDF raid of the blockade runner MV Mavi Marmara.
So, unless I'm mistaken, that would leave both the Boston Marathon bombers and the IDF Commandos as the perpetrators of "violence [where] something happens and you lose people that are near and dear to you".
Have I missed anything?
So far I haven't seen or heard of any attempt at clarification from anyone in the U.S. government.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Fear the Primitive Weapons Made by Primitive People
As a former New Englander now living in Israel, I have been following the news quite closely since hearing of the horrible attack on the crowd at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. And several things about the media coverage have me genuinely concerned.
First, despite the obvious carnage caused by the two explosive devices, officials almost immediately began stressing to the media (and by extension, the public), that the bombs seemed to be small and unsophisticated... as if this were somehow good news.
As parts of pressure cookers (which apparently housed the bombs) and kitchen egg timers (which were apparently used to trigger the bombs) were found and identified, this emphasis on the unsophisticated, improvised nature of the weapons has continued to be at the core of nearly every news story.
Apparently someone decided that telling the public that the bombs were relatively small, home-made affairs would be reassuring, since an unseen enemy lacking high end tools and materials (e.g. plastic explosives, electronic triggering devices, etc.), is far less threatening than an enemy with access to military grade stuff, right?
After all, Hollywood has indoctrinated us to know that nothing short of a custom machined metallic briefcase containing an organized medley of circuit boards, neat blocks of C4 sprouting colored wires that lead to an ergonomic push button panel and blinking digital display, is worth worrying about.
Take for example the New York Times headline story "Boston Bombs Were Loaded To Maim", which stresses the simple nature of the bomb's construction as if to soften the gory details of the damage inflicted on the innocent bystanders by the ball bearings and nails which were apparently packed around the core of the pressure cooker bombs:
"The explosives that killed three people and injured more than 170 during the Boston Marathon on Monday were most likely rudimentary devices made from ordinary kitchen pressure cookers, except they were rigged to shoot sharp bits of shrapnel into anyone within reach of their blast and maim them severely, law enforcement officials said Tuesday.
The pressure cookers were filled with nails, ball bearings and black powder, and the devices were triggered by “kitchen-type” egg timers, one official said." [emphasis mine]
But that word 'except' which I've highlighted in the first paragraph of the quote above is the problem with the whole premise.
At a certain point, someone – either the American public or the media – is going to twig to the fact that, far from being good news, the primitive construction and deliberately barbarous scattergun nature of the bombs used in the Boston attack are, in fact, extremely bad news.
You see, modern military weapons are designed to attack specific targets with a high degree of accuracy.
Neither the current conventions of warfare nor the news-reading public will tolerate the use of weaponry that kills or maims indiscriminately. Surgical strikes and precision laser-guided weapons are de rigueur, and any state that cuts too wide a swath of collateral damage in persuit of an enemy is likely to find itself in the dock of the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
But that's not what happened in Boston.
The terrifying thing about being attacked by non-state actors (i.e. terrorists), whether of the domestic or international variety (and nobody knows it better than we Israelis), is that when primitive bombs packed with nails and ball bearings start blowing up in public places, everyone and anyone is the target… making it nearly impossible to mount a meaningful defense.
So as a former New Englander, my heart goes out to the victims of the Boston bombing and their loved ones.
But as an Israeli, I hope against hope that the American public and the international media come to their collective senses sooner rather than later, and realize that it's the sick son-of-a-bitch cooking up a shrapnel bomb filled with nails and ball bearings from a pressure cooker and egg timer, that civilized countries need to be deathly afraid of… not some secret agent with a shiny metal briefcase containing a photogenic Hollywood bomb.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Education Minister? Really?!
Is anyone else out there completely at a loss for words in the face of Yair Lapid's demand for the Education Ministry in the current coalition negotiations?
I mean seriously, Lapid never even finished high school... never passed his 'Bagrut' (matriculation exams)... never got a degree... was even thrown out of a post graduate degree program once it came to light that he didn't possess even the minimum requirements for admission to the program...
And he honestly sees nothing problematic with demanding to be Minister of Education for the State of Israel?
I think I've finally found a working definition of the word 'Chutzpah'!
Friday, March 01, 2013
The 19th on the 19th
A Guest Post by Zahava
So. Here we are again. It is hard to believe that yet another year has passed without you as a physical presence in our lives.
I specify physical, because I feel your presence daily as I go about the business of living my life.
One of my favorite adult memories of you is the weekend that David first spent Shabbat with us up in Schenectady. You offered him chocolate cake or cherry pie. His answer made you grin with delight: “Yes, please!” Without missing a beat, you turned to me and said, “This one, you can bring back!”
You – like so many Jewish mothers – were driven by a desire to nourish (both gastronomically and emotionally), and you were beyond delighted when people allowed you to spoil them.
The past few weeks have – from a professional standpoint -- been exceptionally hectic. David was travelling for work,and I was up to my eyeballs in wonderful and challenging projects. Today is the first time in several months that I have had the time to prepare Shabbat for my family (thank G-d David is a good cook, and an even better sport)!
As I began to plan out my menu, it dawned on me that I had subconsciously chosen your favorite recipes for Shabbat. I have long known that I inherited your belief that “love = comfort food.” And so in your honor, tonight, after we usher in the Shabbat Queen and say good-bye to the saddest day of the year, we will enjoy a number of your “go-to” recipes.
We will start with your delicious beef-based tomato cabbage soup, followed up by your sweet and sour meatballs, rice, and broccoli. Tomorrow’s lunch is oven-fried garlic chicken, green salad, and potato salad. And we have a marble pound cake for dessert.
I can’t think of a more appropriate way to honor your memory than spoiling the people I love with the food you taught me to both love and prepare. I just wish I were making it for you. But then again, I guess I am.
I love you Ima... with all my heart.
Monday, February 11, 2013
New (to me) Hebrew slang
I'm always stumbling over new Hebrew words, slang and espressions in my day-to-day life. Not being a native speaker of the language, I suppose this is to be expected.
Most new (to me) words I can figure out from context. But occassionally I have to rely on one of my teenagers for enlightenment.
This past week I learned a new bit of slang from my daughter that is so perfectly elegant (and sounds Italian, to boot), that I had to share it:
Fluoroscenti (flʊəˈ rɛ sən ti)
adjective - slow on the uptake, dim-witted, perennially late to comprehend
Based on a fluorescent lamp's tendency to flicker for a few seconds before becoming fully illuminated, 'fluoroscenti' is used to describe a person who seems to always lag a few beats behind any conversational topic or joke.
There, now go forth and share this newfound knowledge.
Don't thank me... I'm a giver! :-)
Full Disclosure: In an ironic twist, it took me a moment from when my daughter explained the word to me before the light bulb went on over my head and I understood exactly what she was describing.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Nobody can say they weren't warned...
Although my country will likely maintain studied ambiguity over the next few days, or even weeks... there is little doubt what has happened.
Since the beginning of the current civil war in Syria, Israel made it very clear that at the first sign that Assad's regime was losing control of its weapons arsenals, or that they were facilitating weapons transfers to their Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, our armed forces would not hesitate to attack.
Over the past few weeks as the situation in Syria has started to circle the drain, the IDF home front command quietly moved several Iron Dome anti-missile batteries to the north of the country.
When the press picked up on the movement of the batteries, the government insisted that it was just a routine rotation of the systems... but anyone paying attention knew it was a pre-emptive measure in advance of a pre-emotive measure.
Something was about to happen.
This morning several international media outlets reported that Lebanon was claiming to have tracked Israeli Air Force jets overhead.
Yeah, that had to mean something.
Sure enough, now Syria is reporting that IAF jets have bombed a 'research facility' outside Damascus. More reliable sources are reporting that it was, in fact, a weapons convoy headed for Lebanon.
I'm sure there will be lots of hand-wringing at the UN over this breach of Syria's sovereignty.
Good. Let 'em scream and carry on all they want. Nobody can say they weren't warned.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
The Bogeyman Hiding in the Shower
Like many men, I've spent much of my adult life simultaneously fascinated by breasts, and relieved beyond measure that I don't have them.
Just hearing horror stories about routine mammograms, and thinking about the growing list of friends who have struggled, and sometimes lost the battle, with breast cancer, is enough to make me thank G-d every morning for making me a man.
Oh sure, on some level I know as well as anyone that there's a little footnote on breast cancer brochures and websites that mentions that men can get it too. But since the overwhelming majority of breast cancer cases you hear/read about are women... this particular scourge is largely thought of as a 'women's cancer', like its ovarian and uterine cousins.
Most men I know (myself included) support breast cancer fund raisers for one or more of the following reasons:
- Because someone they know has had breast cancer
- Because it is considered trendy/enlightened in most circles for a man to support such a 'women's issue'
- Because a spouse or girlfriend is actively supporting it (i.e. earning 'brownie points')
- Because not only is the little pink ribbon on your shirt a total chick magnet, but it also allows a guy to shamelessly slip the word breast into a conversation (often several times!), he is having with a new female conquest without getting slapped.
Well, I'm here to tell you that there is another reason for a man to support Breast Cancer research: To paraphrase an old saying, it's all fun and games until you feel a lump in the shower.
While taking a shower recently, I was soaping up my pits as I usually do... but because the bar of soap was getting a tad thin (and I was too lazy to get out of the nice warm shower to get a fresh one), I had to take a little extra care to get the whole area nice and sudsy.
That's when I noticed a lump about halfway between my armpit and 'pec'. On a woman this would be that lovely spot that swells just beyond the right border of a bikini top's fabric.
At first I thought the little scrap of soap I'd been trying to use must have doubled up on me, and that was what my fingers had felt. But a second pass put paid to that theory. There was something there, all right... and it was about the size of a cocktail olive.
Right there in the shower I suddenly understood the barely contained terror that informed women live with every day of their adult lives. Standing there with the water streaming unfelt over my numb body, I tried to muster a list of all the information I possessed about what might be dancing there under my fingers. And a short list it was.
Some of you may not know this, but it turns out I didn't go to medical school. So I got out of the shower, dried off, and then spent several hours surfing the health and medical web sites finding out just how little I really knew about what it might mean to find a cocktail olive in one's armpit.
After nearly three hours of sitting on my little secret and scaring myself spitless with what I was finding on the web, I called up a buddy of mine who actually did go to medical school (and who, from what I had heard, is a damn fine surgeon).
He listened intently to what I described, asked a few professional questions, and told me to be at his office at 10:30 the following morning... he'd squeeze me in. I was there at 10:00.
At 11:20 he finally waved me into his examination room.
Now, there are ups and downs to having a drinking buddy who is also one of your health professionals.
On the plus side, there is none of the professional intimidation one sometimes feels when under the care of a stranger there in the reflected glare of a half dozen framed diplomas, degrees and certifications.
But on the down side, when someone you've swilled wine and beer with is poking and prodding something that might turn out to be a death sentence, it's surprisingly hard to keep up your end of the friendly banter.
I might add that whether you know the doctor personally or not, it is devilishly difficult to decipher the taciturn grunts, 'hmmmms' and barely audible 'there' you might hear during the exam. Simply put; Whether you know the doc well or not, you're gonna have to wait for the end of the exam before you get the news.
The interim news was encouraging. He said that the odds of these things being cancerous in men is relatively low. Surprisingly, as someone who occasionally buys a lottery ticket, long odds did nothing to assuage my fears... and I told him as much.
He assured me that we wouldn't be leaving anything to chance and that he would be scheduling me for his next surgery day (a week hence) so he could remove it and have it biopsied.
The delay, he explained, was partly because he was already overbooked for that week's surgery, and partly because he wanted me on antibiotics for at least a few days before the surgery because he suspected that at least part of the swelling around the lump was some kind of infection..
Those next few days forever elevated the whole breast cancer thing from a theoretical cause I raise money for in order to show how evolved I am, to the kind of bogeyman that will always be lurking in the dark corners of my sleep, waiting to pounce.
After what seemed like roughly a decade, the day of the surgery finally rolled around and I presented myself for my day of reckoning.
My friend was very businesslike, and seemed genuinely puzzled by my anxiety. He assured me that the most painful part of the surgery would be the sting of the local anesthetic as it was injected (he wasn't kidding!).
When I tried to explain that I was okay with pain… but that the specter of what he might find when he started cutting had kept me from having a decent night's sleep since we had last spoken, he got an expression on his face similar to the way my dog looks at me when I try to explain my feelings to her; good natured, head tilting confusion.
Here's where the disconnect exists between medical professionals and laymen:
If we come to you with a symptom that WEBMD.com says might possibly be cancer, unless you emphatically state that there is absolutely zero chance that our symptom is cancer, everything else you say to us sounds like Charlie Brown's teacher (cue 'wawawa' trombone noises).
Once the surgery was completed and I was suitably sutured and bandaged, I became fairly sure I hadn't drawn a breath in 15 minutes… and was feeling decidedly light-headed from the lack of oxygen. So with the last wisp of CO2 in my lungs I managed to squeak out what I hoped was a casual-sounding, "So, what do you think?".
My buddy the surgeon looked at me blankly and said, "About what?"
As my consciousness circled the drain I managed to say, "Um, about whatever you took out of my armpit". Is it cancer?"
At that point I think my friend's face showed more annoyance than comprehension… but that could just be the glare from the bright white light I was seeing from the end of a long tunnel. He shook his head and said, "Oh, I thought we discussed this. Just as I suspected it was an infected sebaceous cyst. I'll send it out for biopsy, but I can already tell you that everything looks fine. There was never anything to worry about."
At that point I think I must have started breathing again because, well, I didn't die right there on his table (duh!). But I also knew with certainty that no shower would ever be the same for me. No matter the long odds and slightly foolish feeling that I'd made too big a deal of this incident… I knew that I would be living the rest of my life like a death row prisoner who has been given a last minute reprieve by the governor. In short; like every woman who performs her self exam each month and steps from the shower with another 30 days of life to live.
If you are still reading this (and I hope you are), please give generously to support breast cancer research.
And if you are a man, please kiss your wife / mother / daughter for no apparent reason for the incredible courage and personal fortitude they have to show throughout their lives in the face of this decimating disease.
Friday, January 25, 2013
A new family record!
This may suggest to some readers the paucity of material I've had to work with lately, but I'm proud to report to the remaining faithful readers that a new record has been set here at chez treppenwitz:
Thirteen single, unmatched socks in one load of the kids' clean laundry... and not one pair!
Forget about looking for an explanation. It will only lead to the kind of frustration that makes parents old before their time.
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
What an awkwardly worded denial!
In the wake of securing the nomination for US Secretary of Defense, Hagel insisted that "there is not a shred of evidence that I am anti-Israel". [source]
If you think about it, that's an odd way of denying a charge. Not nearly as convincing as, say, an affirmative defense.
For instance, I doubt you'd feel comfortable leaving your kids in the care of a babysitter who insisted that "there is not a shred of evidence that I am a child molester".
I'm just saying...
Thursday, January 03, 2013
A Pet Peeve
There do no exist enough swear words in the English language to allow me to express my antipathy towards clothing manufacturers who only make men's pants with inseams measured in even numbered inches (which is pretty much all of them).
I have a 33" inseam and have basically three choices:
- Buy pants with a 34" inseam and have them hemmed.
- Buy pants with a 32" inseam and feel like a math nerd at a frat party.
- Buy really high end slacks with unfinished hems and have them tailored.
Just once I'd like to be able to walk into a store, buy a pair of pants off the rack, and walk out wearing them without looking like a homeless person or a geek!
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
A familiar beginning
Those who make a big deal of the beginning of the new year tend to romanticize it with visions of the classic night clubs peopled with the cream of society, swilling champagne and kissing to the strains of Auld Lang Syne.
And I'm sure there are people whose new year experience closely approximates this.
But midnight Israel time found most of our household already asleep (after all, January 1st is a school/work day), and the few stragglers were doing dishes, finishing homework or reading.
At some point in the wee hours of the morning our nine year old shuffled down to our bedroom and announced his presence with the question, "Ima, I told you that you have to bake a cake for school tomorrow... Did you do it?".
To which my groggy wife muttered, "Oh crap", into her pillow.
Thanks to the seven hour difference, we watched the ball drop in Times Square while we ate our breakfast, and drank our coffee with the smell of freshly baked cake (destined for a combined third grade class birthday celebration) wafting from the oven.
For us, the new secular year arrived quietly and was 'celebrated' in a most familiar and pleasant way... like any other day.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Homemade Clotted Cream... Yummy!
Over the years whenever my lovely wife has made scones (she has a wide assortment of them in her recipe box), we've usually enjoyed them with butter and jam.
However, a few weeks ago a British friend clued me into the fact that a proper English Cream Tea must have, at a minimum, scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam. Butter, it seems, is strictly déclassé.
Since scones were already a staple in our home, and strawberry jam an easily obtainable commodity, I was left to ponder the not-so-yummy sounding 'clotted cream'.
Internet searches provided a little confusion since 'Clotted Cream' and 'Devon Cream' seem to be used both synonymously and as distinct product names.
I frequent an online forum that has a fairly large UK contingent, so I availed myself of their cultural familiarity to ask what I should be enjoying with my scones.
It turns out that a very un-scientific samplingof Brits agree that 'Clotted Cream' and 'Devon Cream' are essentially the same thing, but that, strictly speaking, Devon Cream should really come from Devon (or at least from cream provided by that region's hardy cows).
Once that was settled, I set about trying to find a local source for clotted cream. Yeah right!
It seems that the stuff is consumed in great quantities throughout the UK, but since it has a very short shelf life, it is hard to find abroad.
Any of you who have seen my annual homemade eggnog posts know where this is headed. Obviously, I had to find a recipe to make my own clotted cream at home.
I figured worst case scenario, I waste a couple of cups of cream... it doesn't clot, and I use whatever hasn't evaporated in my morning coffee. And the best case scenario meant I'd have clotted cream to put on my wife's yummy scones.
And yes, we have strawberry jam... to keep it old school.
It turns out, making clotted cream at home couldn't possibly be easier:
First, pick up a pint or two of unsweetened heavy whipping cream (38% fat content). The best is unpasteurized, but since that is almost impossible to find these days, the best you can do in most places is to buy pasteurized (but not ultra-pasteurized).
Pour the cream into a casserole dish, cover and place in the oven at 185 degrees F for 12 hours (many ovens shut off at 12 hours, so you can't really do much damage if you forget about it).
I put mine in the oven after dinner, and by the time I wake up, the oven has shut off and the cream has started to cool.
At this point you will notice a thick coating floating on top of the cream (kind of like the skin that forms on top of homemade puddings). That is the start of your clotted cream. Carefully place the covered dish containing the cream in the refrigerator and leave it for at least 6-8 hours.
At this point, uncover the dish and use a large spoon or spatula to carefuly remove the thick surface substance which is your clotted cream. Place in an empty condiment jar and keep refrigerated until ready for use.
The rest of the cream left in the dish which didn't clot can be poured into a container for you to enjoy with your coffee or tea (by this point it is probably no more than 10 - 15 %).
Here's how my first batch turned out:
If you can get past the name, clotted cream is really a treat. It is sweeter and creamier than butter, has complex caramel notes in the aftertaste, and when enjoyed on a fresh scone, with a dollop of strawberry jam on top... heaven!
Don't thank me... I'm a giver! :-)
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Will we answer silence with silence?
One of the things which begs explanation, if not outrage, is the near total silence from the so-called moderate Palestinians and the Palestinian 'street' in the face of Arab incitement and terror attacks.
I've often said that if anyone could point out a viable Palestinian 'Peace Camp' that was shown to be loudly and consistenatly condemning terror & incitement, and working to build bridges with Israel, I'd join the Israeli peace camp (of which there are several, actually) and work tirelessly to convince Israeli leaders to sit down and engage them.
Needless to say, nobody has been able to show me this mythical Palestinian 'Peace Camp', or any semblance of a strong, stable peace partner with whom we could safely negotiate peace.
But that doesn't mean that Israel can exempt itself from self-criticism and outrage at the behavior of extremists on our side of the fence.
So-called 'Price-Tag' attacks - acts of vandalism and terror allegedly carried out by Jewish settlers - have been a staple of the news here for the past few years. No doubt, there are Jewish extremists, and some have certainly been acting exactly as the media alleges. But so far, few if any have actually been caught red handed.
Additionally, many of the 'Price-Tag' attacks have been proven to be the work of Palestinians and their international supporters; designed to vilify Israel in general, and settlers in particular. Many videos have been captured of Palestinians and their supporters deliberately cutting down / uprooting their own olive trees in order to blame Jews, so I have to believe that with the easy availability of spray paint and gasoline, a portion of the vandalism and arson attributed to Jews is being carried out by others.
However, it is being reported today that three Israelis have been arrested for carrying out 'Price-Tag' attacks, and at least according to the news and police reports, the evidence seems quite compelling:
"The men – Aaron Sadigurky (21), Yehiel Lex (22) and Nathanael Kellerman (19) were arrested some two weeks ago for allegedly setting fire to a car in the village of Dhahiriya near Hebron and spraying graffiti on a mosque.
Not long after the wall of a mosque was desecrated, an IDF unit identified the perpetrators Subaru in a nearby village. The police then started trailing the vehicle, consequently linking it to the crime in Dhahiriya, where a cab was set on fire and a graffiti referencing to a rightwing activist – arrested for a different act of vandalism – was sprayed.
According to details revealed in the arraignment, Sadigurky, Lex and Kellerman were the subjects of a lengthy police investigation, as the car with which they were systematically vandalizing property was known to the police. The car, a red Subaru, had given the case the nickname "The Red Japanese," and is now key evidence in the case.
When intelligence information pertaining to the suspects' intention to harm Palestinians reached police forces in early December, a Central Control Unit force was sent after them and arrested them near Samua.
The force found flammable substances in the suspects' car, along with cans of spray-paint and fake weapons, apparently used for deterrence in case of need." [source]
Some of you may have read a news item last week about a 17 year old Palestinian being shot to death when he approached a Border Patrol post and brandished a weapon very similar to what was found in the car of the three suspects above. I consider that dead 17 year old Palestinian a terrorist and have no doubt that his own actions were to blame for his death.
By the same token, I consider these three Israelis to be terror suspects, and if proven guilty, I feel strongly that they should be sentenced as terrorists.
Incitement and terror carried out by extremists is a lopsided equation, to be sure, with Israel/Israelis being the victim in the vast majority of reported cases. But it is not a one-sided equation.
There are misguided, self-deluded people on the Jewish side, and it is up to everyone to show that, unlike the Palestinians, we Israelis are willing to shun, shame and condemn bad actors in our midst, and will not be silent in the face of something that threatens to extinguish any spark of hope for quiet... if not peace.
Monday, December 17, 2012
A note to a few high school friends
(You know who you are)
We went to school in Trumbull… twenty minutes from Newtown, Connecticut, during a more innocent time (although our parents might raise an eyebrow at that statement).
Fights were rare, and when they happened, they were fought with words, and sometimes fists. If any of us had touched a gun it was likely a BB gun or a .22 rifle for 'plinking' cans and bottles in the woods.
We used to drive up to Newtown in the summertime to swim, camp and occasionally water ski at Lake Lillinonah. We'd sometimes stop on the way up at a little shack called 'Ray's Liquor Locker' to get a cold sixpack or two… or we'd go to a quiet little towny bar near the town hall there where they didn't 'card' high school kids who wanted to share a pitcher of beer on a hot evening… so long as we minded our manners.
Now, my friends, we're all over 50, and have mostly forgotten about those summer trips up to Newtown.
At least until this past Friday, that is.
When I think back on Newtown of the late '70s, I think of quiet; of old trees and older houses… and a flagpole planted right in the middle of Main Street, letting all who visited know that patriotism is central to the town's self-identity.
Nearly every time I take my family back to the US for a visit, I make time to take a quiet ride by myself up to Newtown. I tell my wife (and myself) that it's to browse the consignment and antique shops (which, in part it is).
But I also like to drive alone through the leafy town and surrounding countryside because it is a rare chance to revisit an unspoiled setting of my youth that hasn't been paved over or developed into sprawling malls.
And it is a reminder of what small town New England is… or was.
It's funny, you know. We thought we understood everything back then; and that the grown-ups understood nothing.
It turns out we were right.
Because I'm a grown-up now… and I don't understand anything.