Tuesday, January 14, 2014

An Ode to Genius

Colloquially Speaking is, in my humble opinion, one of the great unknown Jewish voices on the internet.

I do not say this in jest.  I do not say it lightly.  I say it and I mean it.  If you are not religiously following her blog, you should do so.  Immediately.  Like rightthisminute!

What makes her so great, so important?

Troubled past?  Check
Tragic life events which have molded her into something different than everyone else? Sadly so.
Excellent perspective?  Done
Ability to get to the heart of the issue?  Yup.
Self Doubt?  Duh.  She's Jewish, after all.

And, most importantly, Her ability to weave her thoughts into magic words and sentences that leave you tied up in knots and feeling her highs and lows.

If I were the editor of a Jewish magazine or newspaper, I would be begging her to write for me.  Read this post she just did on Sharon.  It's fucking brilliant.  I wish i could write with half as much power...emotion...as she does. Hers is a gift.  A gift I can at least share with my few dear readers.


She writes with magic.  Magic words are words that you read and make you feel, whether you want to or not.  Magic is poetry in prose.  It's beauty painted with a keyboard as opposed to a canvass and brush.

So I do not say this lightly - nor do i say it to the detriment of others.  And it remains my own humble opinion.

But try it.  y

You might feel.

And to feel is magic.


How does it feel to believe in something so strongly, that you would die for it?

How does it feel to want something more than your own life?

What are the things that make us feel this way?  Our children/families? Yes.  Our homeland?  Sometimes.

What creates passion in us?  What drives us to the end?  Is it desire?  Passion?  Lust?

Today I'm confused.  I don't know why/  Nothing happened.  No BIG EVENT.  Just confusion.

I'm watching other people and i wonder what makes them tick.  That is not new.

I have always wondered about other people, even the ones I don't know.

But today, of all days, I wish i had a special ability to see inside each one of them.

To understand them.

To know what drives them.

What makes them believe.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Caleb Jacoby

First off, let me say that it's great news that he's been found safe.

Caleb Jacoby ran away from home.  There is much public outcry in the wake of his safe return.  Outcry as to whether or not the why's of it are anyone's business outside of his family.  It probably is none of our business (though i don't think people wanting to understand why are necessarily voyeuristic pigs with no hearts).

But on a totally selfish note, this story makes e sad.  Not sad for Caleb and whatever he was going through to make him feel he had to run away. This story resonates with me perhaps more than others.  I have left my home for days at a time.  Left home without telling my parents where I was or why I was going.  Though I never had anyone beating the bushes looking for me either.  I was lost and alone and scared.  But no one was sending frantic messages from New York to Boston to find me.

For those days, no one cared enough about me to look.  Certainly not my mother.  Not even my father.  No one.  I'm sure, on some level, everyone who lived in my house was happy to have my distraction erased for a few days.  No yelling and shouting and cursing.  Maybe my mother slightly more tolerable with me not there.
A sigh of relief in an otherwise crazed existence.

So today I'm happy for Caleb Jacoby.  I'm happy for his family.  I'm happy for everyone who followed the news and wished for his safe return (except for you drama queen/voyeurs who truly were hoping for a bad outcome - you can go fuck yourselves).  Thank goodness he's safe, and I hope that whatever his reasons were for running away - he can find peace in his life and an anchor to his world.

But today I'm also sad.  Selfishly sad for me.  For poor Cymbaline, who could have been raped and murdered and left smoldering in an alley somewhere and no one would have even have been looking.  In fact, sometimes I wonder if, at that point anyway, that would have been their preferred outcome for me.  dead in an alley.  Oh the crying and the carrying on there would have been.  Drama drama.  Sad sad.

But secretly happy.

Eh.  No need for melancholy today.  Caleb Jacoby is home safe.  And I am now home safe too.

So let's a; celebrate happy on this fine day.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Curious Case of Max Stark

Ed's Note:  This is only partially a post on Mr. Stark.  This is really a post about the lack of ethics in the Jewish community as a whole and how that is destroying the moral fabric of our society.  So there.  That's some heavy shit.

Losing the forest from the trees.

In my own humble opinion, that's what the Jewish community is doing here.  Losing sight of the forest from the trees.

Was the Post's title and article reprehensible?  Of course. Does a slumlord deserve to die because he plastered over the sprinkler heads in his illegal lost conversions?  Of course not. Is that besides the point?YES.  Huge yes.

Up front disclaimer:  No matter what, Mr. Stark's death is a tragedy for his family and certainly something which was "undeserved".  No one deserves to die for being an allegedly bad guy (or a partial bad guy).

We are having rallies against the Post (a paper, by the way, which staunchly has the back of Israel and Jews in general perhaps more than any other except the Journal).  But we are losing sight of the bigger picture.

This man allegedly was involved with bad guys,.  He allegedly had tens of millions in bad debts.  He allegedly lent money to Jews with a 30% vig.  He was allegedly reported for fondling a woman on the subway.

The list goes on and on.  And the answer?  He was a tremendous philanthropist who gave tons of money to Jews.

Regardless of the source of those funds.  Regardless of the lives stepped on in the process.

Here's my question - the one I'd like to see asked - Does God even want tainted charity?  Everything I've ever been told on this subject by people whose opinions I care about suggests that it's better for organizations and schools and rabbis to not take tainted money than use tainted money for good purposes. In other words, when it comes to ill gotten charitable gains, the ends do not justify the means.

If that's the case then the excuse of "well he gave a lot of money to charity" would never be a white-wash for a person'r misdeeds. So that so many names we see on the sides of buildings would be rolled over with titanium paint so that they will never again see the light of the sun.

Losing the forest in the trees.

Our lives, our beliefs are compromised.  Compromised by our desire for gold.  By our leaders looking the other way.  By our own lust and greed.  By everything which ill gotten gains can buy - honor, possessions, other.  It's all gone sour. and we can pretend that the ends justify the means, but they do not.  And as even our most segregated communities begin to fall prey to this, where does that leave us as a people?

Was Mr. Stark an outlier, or just one in an assembly line of the new paradigm - the new cookie cutter.  Our new god - the god of money.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Storm Is Coming

No, literally.  There's a big old storm blowing in tonight and tomorrow.  and Friday?  Holy crap.  between the snow and the single digit temperatures - well y'all can bet I won't be leaving the house on Friday.

But this isn't really a gripe email about the storm.  Let's face it, we didn't have much of a winter last year and this winter hasn't exactly been a top 10 worst of all time either (so far).  It's really an observation. not sure if this is a social media thing, or just an information overload thing, but i feel like we have been waiting on this storm forever.  I remember when it was supposed to be a 1-3 inch thing.  Then 2-4.  Then 3-6.  Now 6-10 with blizzard winds.

I remember trying out Twitter a few years ago.  I lasted a week.  It was information overload.  Too many things coming at me too fast.  This storm has the same feel to it.  all we are missing is Lonnie Quinn taking off his jacket and rolling up his sleeves.  Then we will know we are in for it.

Why am I writing this?  Perhaps because it's post-New years.  I got to work early, because I plan on leaving early.  Shabbos doesn't stop for bad weather.  Neither does the morning meeting (though I hope it's cancelled - fingers crossed) I have scheduled in Brooklyn today.

So yes - a storm is definitely coming.  It's been coming for days now.  Then it passes and all we are left with is the clean-up.

Funny, sounds a lot like life.