The Democratic National Committee, at least from the perspective of Israel supporters, had an exceedingly bad week when it convened.
Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was caught in an unpleasant untruth when she claimed that Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren had described Republican policies as “dangerous” for Israel, an assertion Mr. Oren “categorically den[ied].” She subsequently denied making the claim, but her denial was conclusively contradicted by an audio recording.
And then there was the Democratic National Committee platform, which omitted its predecessor-document’s description of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (not to mention the phrase “G-d given,” in an unrelated context).
When the omission of the Jerusalem language came to light, courtesy of a close reading of the 32-page platform by a Republican operative, Democratic Israel stalwarts were taken by surprise. New York Senator Chuck Schumer was described by Politico as “flabbergasted”; and Newark, NJ mayor and platform committee co-chair Cory Booker called the omission “unfortunate.” Although he noted that the platform had been largely written from scratch and was not based on previous ones, he was at a loss to explain the lacuna.
Blue blood was in the water, though, and Republican sharks, not to mention the … Read More >>
[This is an Ami Magazine "News Commentary" piece -- one of several features I write for the publication.]
An umbrella group of institutions engaged in Jewish-Christian relations and the Anti-Defamation League both issued statements recently that were harshly critical of Rabbi Hershel Schachter, the respected posek (halachic authority), Rosh Yeshiva, and Rosh Kollel at Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary in New York. In a dvar Torah posted to the web, Rabbi Schachter had decried missionary activity in Eretz Yisrael and the efforts of some Orthodox-ordained rabbis to affirm Catholic claims to “a covenantal connection” to Eretz Yisrael.
In the process, he noted how the “official Catholic response” to the Zionist movement was a negative one, and how the position of the Vatican to this day is that Jerusalem should be an “international city.” And he noted Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, zt”l’s strong opposition to the establishment of religious bonds with Christian clergy—and how “shameful” it is that some claiming to be disciples of “the Rav” have disregarded or misrepresented his words. Rabbi Schachter is recognized as, in the words of the New York Jewish Week, “a leading disciple” of Rab Soloveitchik, whom the paper calls “a towering … Read More >>
The noise, news, deception and demagoguery that emanate from political conventions tend to intoxicate some Americans to break out their own flags and flyers and root loudly for their guy (and against the other guy). Parts of the Jewish community are no different, and excitedly join the fray. Inherent worriers that many of us are (and subject as we are to the Tochacha’s prediction that even the rustling of a leaf will sometimes terrify us), we may feel we’ve spied danger around this or that candidate’s corner.
That is our prerogative, of course, each of us according to his own degree of paranoia (and, as a member of the tribe once famously said, even paranoids have real enemies).
One thing we must take care to avoid, though, is hopping on any of the various bandwagons whose loudspeakers blare that this or that candidate is the enemy of mankind, Satan incarnate, a closet Communist, or a Nazi well-disguised. Our mesorah guides us to treat the leaders (and, presumably, would-be-leaders, for leaders they may yet be) of the countries where we dwell, with deference and honor. We can disagree with policies, of course, and even be critical. But we are … Read More >>
Three weeks ago, I wrote about the natural human tendency to avoid exposure to ideas or facts that will challenge one’s own world view. Not every refusal to expose oneself to threatening ideas signifies intellectual cowardice or sloth. In the case of kefirah, it is even required. But most disconcerting evidence does not fall into that category, and intellectual honesty requires that we test our ideas in the marketplace of ideas.
In that spirit, when I heard that my friend Dr. David Luchins, chairman the of the political science department at Touro College and a former senior advisor to the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, would be debating Marc Zell, the head of Republicans in Israel, on the upcoming presidential election, I decided to attend. Dr. Luchins is very smart and highly original. I figured if anyone could persuade me to be more enthusiastic about the prospect of President Obama being re-elected, it would be Dr. Luchins.
It is far from clear to me that Dr. Luchins himself intends to vote for Barack Obama. He began by saying that he never votes for an incumbent president, because second-term presidents have so much more freedom to stick it to Israel. … Read More >>
Some reporters have punished me over the past few years, for doing something they don’t like—asking that they pose their questions by e-mail.
Some background: As the media liaison for Agudath Israel of America, I regularly receive inquiries from members of the press about an assortment of issues, mostly about Agudah policies or initiatives but about all manner of things Jewish as well.
Although there are responsible journalists out there, competition for “eyeballs” tends to color, and often distorts, much reportage.
During my early years on the job I freely spoke with any and all reporters, confident that what I thought was my openness and good will would force my inquisitors to treat me, and our community, fairly. I was in for a surprise.
The first few times I was misquoted or my words mischaracterized, I assumed I hadn’t been sufficiently clear or that the reporters had made innocent mistakes. Eventually, though, I sobered and realized that some reporters were—are you sitting down?—not really interested in accuracy or truth. They were seeking, rather, some quote to plug into the article they had already written (at least in their heads), on a quest to get some words from … Read More >>
Like pretty much all publicity, the heavy reportage of the Siyum HaShas at MetLife Stadium earlier this month was something of a two-edged sword. Over the weeks since the Siyum, awareness of the event likely inspired many Jews to undertake Daf Yomi and legions of others to aspire to a greater degree of Jewish study and observance. It also brought the very idea of Torah study to the attention of large numbers of our fellow Jews who may have, in reading or watching reports about the Siyum, for the first time confronted Torah study as a real-life ideal.
All the reportage of the Siyum and Daf Yomi, however, also provided grist for some grumbling mills.
“The question is how much depth does one really get into with a Daf Yomi kind of approach,” sniffed Conservative Rabbi Steven Wernick of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. “It’s breadth over depth,” he pronounced, explaining helpfully, and risibly, to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency how “the Conservative approach to Jewish study tends to be more depth-oriented.”
And then there was Arnold Eisen, the chancellor of the (Conservative) Jewish Theological Seminary, who penned an opinion piece for the Wall … Read More >>
When Palestinian Authority presidential adviser Ziad Al-Bandak paid his respects recently at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called the Palestinian’s visit there “a marketing of a false Zionist alleged tragedy.”
A newly appointed Romanian government official, Dan Sova, averred earlier this year that “No Jew suffered on Romanian territory” during World War II. (Tens of thousands of Romanian Jews were killed on Romanian territory, and hundreds of thousands others deported to their deaths. The historian Raul Hilberg concluded that “no country, besides Germany, was involved in massacres of Jews on such a scale.”)
We tend to get exercised by Holocaust denial, and for good reason. The refusal to accept the facts that part of the ostensibly civilized world went on a genocidal murder spree over the years 1938-1945 and that most of the rest of the world didn’t much care implies a certain regret that the genocide failed.
In the end, though, deniers of that historical truth are—at least outside the Arab world—generally marginalized, recognized as either mentally deficient or depraved.
But then there are those, even among our fellow Jews, who are, if not Holocaust deniers, then Holocaust deriders. Like a writer for Tablet, … Read More >>
Last week’s four day joint US-Israel naval exercises in the Mediterranean Sea, which were boycotted by Turkey and included the sort of guided-missile destroyers that could theoretically help defend Israel against Iranian missiles, formed an interesting backdrop for the latest attempt by my dear friend Chanan Gordon to besmirch President Obama.
Chanan, in Ami Magazine, was responding to a recent column of mine in that periodical, itself a response to an interview there in which he claimed that Mr. Obama is psychologically troubled, ideologically radical and dangerous to Israel.
I pointed out in my column that Chanan’s judgment was based on unnamed “reliable sources,” wild speculation and was largely informed, it seemed, by some inexplicable animus he harbors, for no justifiable reason, for Mr. Obama.
Last week, Ami provided Chanan four pages of the magazine to present a more cogent argument for his accusations.
What those pages offered were the following revelations:
1) Chanan lived in a Harvard dorm whose other residents included people who would come, years later, to play roles in Mr. Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. And one fellow who taught Chanan about a radical professor whom Mr. Obama once introduced at a rally about diversity at … Read More >>
With a few predictable exceptions, media coverage of the mammoth recent Siyum HaShas at MetLife Stadium was remarkably positive.
Yes, the New York Times tried hard to find some woman at the event who felt slighted at being seated separately from the men, or who had boldly undertaken Daf Yomi. But it came up empty. (So it resorted to shlepping into its story a liberal rabbi in Riverdale who delivers a Gemara shiur to women, and cited the grumbling of one of the group’s members, a 70-year-old feminist, who has been “wrestling” with Talmud’s “attitude toward women.”)
Similarly, even before the Siyum, Haaretz tried to force a similar angle into its reportage, focusing on what it called “the female revolution in Talmud study,” and highlighting a group of 30 women whose members, it reported, have completed a Daf Yomi cycle (well, most of them; a third of the group, it was parenthetically noted, joined in the middle of the cycle).
But the agenda-less media were straightforward in apprising the larger public of what was an unprecedented and astounding event: the gathering of some 90,000 Jews in one arena, under threat of inclement weather, to celebrate Torah. Yes, the … Read More >>
From WNYC New York, an outlet that covered the Siyum, and did it very well:
Chanukah is far from most minds these days, understandably. And yet symbols of the societal showdown that yielded its commemoration lie before us.
In a particularly conspicuous “we run and they run” display, the 2012 Summer Olympics—whose roots lie in the ancient Greek games, where religious sacrifices to mythical gods accompanied sporting events—opened mere days before the world-wide celebration of the Daf Yomi Siyum HaShas.
As a large crowd in London wildly cheered displays of physical prowess, a stadium an ocean away— itself usually used for running and throwing and catching—became a point of convergence for a large crowd of Jews intent on honoring Torah and its study. (There were large Siyum HaShas gatherings as well, of course, in Britannia, as well in innumerable locations around the globe.)
The close to 100,000 Jews gathered at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on August 1 were honoring people too: Jewish men who, in a demanding endurance test of their own, had applied themselves to “learning Shas”—studying the entirety of the Babylonian Talmud—over seven and a half years. And their invaluable coaches, the wives and children whose encouragement and personal sacrifices allowed those “Shas Yidden” to run their personal marathons.
If the … Read More >>
In his pre-Siyum Hashas post which reprises his wonderful op ed piece in the Los Angeles Times, Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein makes reference to the coverage of the last Siyum, including a front page article in the New York Times. Alas, although this year’s event was much larger and although learning Daf Hayomi has become a much larger phenomenon, the New York Times did not see fit to give what occurred last night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey comparable prominence.
Of course, we should have no claim on where articles are to be placed in the publication that for American Jews is our newspaper of record. But we should expect respectful treatment. Today’s article in the Times is anything but. Written by Sharon Otterman, it is a negative piece and in many ways nasty. The title is “Orthodox Jews Celebrate Cycle of Talmudic Study,” but what appears in print tells us very little about the celebration of the completion of the study of the Talmud by tens of thousands of Jews around the world. What we get starting with the opening paragraph is a complaint about the place of women, both at the stadium and … Read More >>
It is painful to publicly criticize something written by a dear friend. But improper public words require a public response.
I have known Chanan Gordon for years and deeply admire his passion to bring all Jews closer to their religious heritage. But Ami’s interview of him in a recent issue left me saddened and puzzled.
He pronounces President Obama an “intellectual lightweight,” “arrogant,” possessive of “a grandiose sense of self-importance” and “a sense of entitlement”; and asserts that his reelection would be a “tragedy.” Reb Chanan’s credentials for reaching those conclusions are that he attended Harvard at the same time as Mr. Obama, and “was close to people who were close to him.” They may even have been in one class together.
Reb Chanan considers it somehow iniquitous that, when at Harvard, Mr. Obama was president of the Harvard Law Review but wrote no articles for it. What’s more, he “heard that Obama took pains to recalibrate its ideological disposition.” Also, the man who would become president, Reb Chanan asserts, was “not popular” with others at Harvard.
“Reliable sources” are cited, one contending that Mr. Obama cut off communication with two former financial backers—a sign, in Reb … Read More >>
In the lead-up to the Internet Asifa, Rav Aharon Feldman wrote that the problems associated with the Internet do not begin and end with inappropriate content, and thus filters alone are not a solution. Rather, he explained, the Internet affects the way we think, our ability to focus, and the way that we interact.
As far as I know, HaRav Feldman has not even used e-mail. So how does he know something that Newsweek has now documented after exhaustive studies? “New research says the Internet can make us lonely and depressed — and may even create more extreme forms of mental illness.”
The answer, truthfully, is that this isn’t even a revelation of Rav Feldman’s gifted mind. Only the blind could question Rav Feldman’s statement in this regard… but of course, even a cursory examination of “Orthodox” blogs will remind you that the world is filled with blind pundits. Gedolei Torah have warned us about the Internet for over a decade, and those who wish to mock the Gedolim have demonstrated their own foolishness (not to use any of a number of less charitable adjectives) in their haste to attack. As I put it in 2000, when … Read More >>
Item: Iran’s vice president, Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, took the occasion of an International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking conference in Tehran to tell the assembled that the Talmud and “Zionists” dedicated to it are responsible for the spread of illegal drugs around the world.
Dear Mr. Rahimi,
Oh, great, esteemed vice president of the beneficent, revolutionary Islamic Republic of Iran, you have exposed us mightily! Revealed us mercilessly! Nailed us good! The raven-eyed maidens of the Hereafter are singing your praises—may you merit to meet them soon!
How did you manage to uncover our plots and machinations? We have tried so very hard to hide our true intentions, to cloak our nefarious plans with a smokescreen of good deeds, religious devotion, and charity. Somehow, though, in your astuteness, you have ferreted out the truth, that our “objective is the destruction of the world” and that “the spread of narcotics in the world emanates from the teachings of the Talmud.”
As it states clearly in Baba Maiseh 1b: “Any Jew who causes a non-Jew to become addicted to an illegal substance is praiseworthy! Adds Rabbi Narish, ‘he can deduct the expenses from his federal income tax.’ Say the … Read More >>
You may remember that in February, I communicated with you about a particular post to the Sisterhood blog that I found inaccurate and unfair. Please be aware that I did not hear back from Ms. Birkner, but in any case, I think that there is a more endemic problem.
According to Ami Magazine, you claimed on behalf of the Forward that “we are not hostile. We are fair in our reporting and appropriately critical in our editorials.” You further claim in this week’s Podcast that your editorial about the Chassidic poor that you attempted to be “compassionate.” [My bad editing; obviously the intent was "regarding your editorial..." --YM]
I am sorry to say that I found no evidence of compassion (or even accurate comprehension) in your editorial.
You apparently did not discuss the issue with any of the many community representatives or assistance organizations, merely racking up Chassidic poverty to a lack of secular education and devotion to Torah and Talmud. In so doing, you omitted a simple analysis of the income necessary to support a large family, and how that compares to what a typical wage-earner brings home. Whereas the US median salary may be adequate for a family with 1.2 children (and a pet or two), a family of 5.8 children finds itself below the poverty line at the same income level. And with that many children, it is unrealistic to expect both parents to work full-time.
Why should those children be considered “undeserving” by any standard? And that is before considering the cost of a Jewish education, which is mandatory for any family that values Jewish continuity (and does not wallow in self-delusion about the mechanisms of same).
Your editorial was only one of four articles discussing the Orthodox which I found in a single three-day period, and all of them appeared, at least to me, to be biased against our community — and in at least two instances distorted the truth. I posted the following on Thursday: http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2012/06/21/even-for-the-forward/.
Since then, the Forward has sent me:
- An article about Lipa’s bizarre video. Indeed, it is bizarre; no argument there. [Actually, there was a second article, too. --YM]
- The second article in two weeks about the same organization for ex-Charedim, this one depicting a soccer game as fulfilling a dream for those leaving the “ultra-Orthodox” community. [I recall the dean of a yeshiva, from an outstanding Chassidic line, dropping in a layup. It wasn't hard for him, as he's quite tall.]
- The claim that Yossi Gestetner’s resignation as NYGOP’s outreach liason to the Orthodox community indicates a “rocky start” to the entirety of GOP Orthodox Outreach — when the appointment itself wasn’t apparently even worthy of mention.
- Another Sisterhood blog entry, this one about how halacha requires unusual practices in the bedroom to help with fertility issues. The fact that the Sisterhood chose to dwell on such an obscure topic might be perplexing, but the previous five Sisterhood posts tagged “Orthodox” concerned sex, (homo)sex(uality), gitten/Jewish divorce, sex, and, uh, sex. They do seem a wee bit preoccupied, don’t you think?
The Orthodox (and traditional Judaism itself) are depicted as both odd and antiquated, with the most positive coverage given to those who have left the community and organizations which have parted company with Orthodox spokespersons. It seems difficult to imagine the reader of all of these articles concurring with your description of the reporting as “fair,” or even saying that it lacks hostility to our community. Indeed, in yet another article, your veteran columnist JJ Goldberg characterized the projected scenario in which NY Jewry becomes predominantly Orthodox/Chassidic as, in effect, “apocalyptic.”
Continue reading → A Letter, and A Response
Sneering cynicism. Self-glorification in the guise of advocacy. Ostentatious observance cloaking rank jealousy. “Democracy” in the pursuit of evil ends. Haughtiness pretending to the selfless pursuit of justice and truth.
What do all those things bring to mind?
A) The parsha we read on Shabbos.
B) Much of the “Orthodox Jewish” blogosphere.
Both, you say? You win.
Korach is a good example for our times. Good, that is, in the sense that he perfectly exemplifies the similarly “populist” contemporary congregation that breeds under the rocks of Blogistan.
We deserve to be free from our so-called leaders, Korach announced—and, even without the benefit of an instantaneous electronic soapbox, attracted followers to “the cause.” We are perfectly capable, he declared, to their excited panting, of sitting in judgment over those who claim to have been designated to stand at the helm of the Jewish ship. The entire people are holy, after all. All of us heard the voice of Hashem at Har Sinai. All of us are able to see things for ourselves as they really are, not as our “leaders” tell us they are. Moshe and Aharon were “chosen” to lead us? Please. We know better. Surely you do … Read More >>
It’s not often that I agree with anything from the Forward’s JJ Goldberg. This quote, though, clearly qualifies to be one of the exceptions:
Looking at recent population figures in the world’s two largest Jewish communities, it’s not entirely fanciful to wonder if the modern Jewish experience of the past two centuries — the culture that produced Einstein and Freud, Gershwin and Chagall, Kafka, Buber, Ayn Rand, Jonas Salk, Betty Friedan and Bob Dylan, not to mention the sovereign Jewish state of Israel — isn’t turning out to be a historical blip.
The above is part of his column on the radical pro-Orthodox shift in NY’s Jewish population, a topic which deserves much more attention than this brief entry.
Sometimes—usually after the New York Times deigns to publish a letter of mine on behalf of Agudath Israel of America—I’m asked how one “gets a letter” published in a (rightly or wrongly) respected periodical.
Well, the first step is to become the spokesperson for a national organization.
Just joking. It may help a letter’s chances for publication if it is signed by an organizational representative. But it can also hurt them. In any event, most published letters are from individuals writing as such.
One doesn’t, however, “get a letter” published. All one can do is submit a good candidate, one with a chance of striking the fancy of a letters editor. Major publications can receive hundreds of letters a day, from which to choose a handful. There are no shortcuts here (unless the editor is one’s brother-in-law). But “Rabbi Shafran’s How-To Guide” for writing a letter to the editor, below, might be helpful.
1) Never Write and Send a Letter.
That is to say that, after writing one’s letter, one should tear it up (or delete it from the screen). At very least, set it aside for a few hours. Letters always improve with … Read More >>
Over fifty years ago, I was playing checkers with my father, a”h, on a Sunday morning. The next oldest brother in our family line-up, not yet five years old, sat on my father’s lap. Suddenly, he could not contain himself and shouted out, “Look, Daddy, look,” before proceeding to make a quintuple jump. I don’t recall ever playing checkers again.
I was put in mind of that quintuple jump last week, on Tuesday morning, when Israel awakened to learn that the elections in September voted on by the Knesset just the day before would not be taking place. Instead the largest peacetime coalition in Israel’s history had been assembled in the small hours of the morning. Kadima head Shaul Mofaz, the official leader of the opposition when we went to bed, had joined the governing coalition, brining his 29 Kadima MKs together with him. The day before Mofaz had been lambasting Netanyahu as a “liar” from the podium of the Knesset. Now he had accepted the position of Netanyahu’s deputy prime minister.
And most surprising, not one of the country’s political analysts – of which Israel has more per capita than any other country – had seen this coming. … Read More >>
I think I’ve discovered what makes me so uncomfortable about the assertion that global warming is a real and urgent problem.
A front-page New York Times story on May 1 concerned (thanks, Mr. Rumsfeld, for the pithy phrase) a “known unknown”: the earth’s cloud cover. Specifically, the causes and effects of its extent, altitude, and qualities—which are only very imperfectly understood. MIT professor of meteorology Richard S. Lindzen, the article explains, considers clouds a sort of planetary self-corrective mechanism that can counter the effects of greenhouse gases, the global warming drama’s villains.
Predictably, despite his unassailable credentials and the scientific community’s ostensible commitment to objectively consider all hypotheses, Dr. Lindzen has been excoriated by many of his colleagues, who, while they concede the enormous effect of clouds on climate, say he lacks proof for his contention and that, by raising the cloud issue, he is acting, in the words of one, in a “deeply unprofessional and irresponsible” manner.
The Times reporter mirrors that negativity, beginning his piece by stating that “a small group of scientific dissenters,” having had “their arguments… knocked down by accumulating evidence,” have “seized on one last argument,” namely, “that clouds will save us.” … Read More >>
In the wake of President Obama’s sharing of his personal feeling that the millennia-old institution of marriage should be redefined in contemporary America, National Jewish Democratic Council chair Marc R. Stanley declared his admiration for the president’s demonstration of “the values of tikkun olam.”
A political group is entitled to its opinion, no less than a president is to his. But to imply that a religious value like “tikkun olam” – and by association, Judaism – is somehow implicated in a position like the one the president articulated, is outrageous, offensive and wrong.
We hereby state, clearly and without qualification, that the Torah forbids homosexual acts, and sanctions only the union of a man and a woman in matrimony.
The Orthodox Jewish constituency represented by Agudath Israel of America, as well as countless other Jews who respect the Jewish religious tradition, remain staunch in their opposition to redefining marriage.
Were the New Israel Fund a newly landed Martian’s only source of information about Israel, he’d likely imagine the country as a cross between Saudi Arabia and North Korea.
In the extraterrestrial’s mind it would be a place where women are forced to sit in the backs of buses and the sound of their voices prohibited from being heard. A place where religious extremists eschew democratic values and control the government and national discourse.
(Our Martian would be stunned to actually fix his multiple eyes on Tel Aviv’s Rechov Dizengoff—or, for that matter, Jerusalem’s Rechov Ben-Yehuda. He’d be stupefied by the unfettered operation of Reform, Conservative, and Messianic places of worship. The Knesset would utterly blow him away.)
The NIF’s latest Big Lie took the form of a big ad—a full-color full-pager, in fact—in The New York Times and the Forward. Maybe the latter periodical ran the ad gratis, but the Times charges $175,000 for a color page. Even discounted, it cost the NIF a pretty penny.
Actually, the one it cost is Murray Koppelman, as noted in the corner of the ad. Mr. Koppelman, an Upper East Side money manager, is a major supporter of the group—he … Read More >>
If you ever wondered how to judge the success of a rabbi, you know how complex the matter can be. What are the criteria, the measuring rods, by which a rabbi is judged?
But fret no longer: Newsweek magazine on April 2 solved the problem by publishing its annual list of “America’s top 50 rabbis.” What yardstick was used is not made clear. Was it Torah learning? Apparently that was not a factor, since among the jurors there seems to be no one who could measure Torah learning. Was it the ability to uplift and inspire a community to return to Torah learning and living? That, too, was evidently not an issue, since among the jurors there was no one who could appreciate that quality. The magazine’s press release does mention “impact” as a criterion, but it is not clear how “impact” was weighed. Was it the size of the rabbi’s institution, or the amount of publicity he received? Or was it the rabbi’s popularity, which was gained by never taking a stand on anything not previously approved by the NY Times editorial pages? Rabbinic popularity, after all, is not difficult to attain: never push congregants to live … Read More >>
The lady on the Staten Island ferry the other day was clearly grunting for my ears.
With my unfashionable beard, dark suit and black hat, tagging me as an Orthodox Jew is pretty much a slam dunk. And, having commuted, along with my beard and hat, on those huge orange floating shuttlecocks four or five days a week for the better part of two decades, I have many memorable (at least to me) stories to tell. I’ve never gotten around to setting them down in writing (though choosing the imaginary collection’s title, “Ferry Tales,” was easy).
There was, for instance, the older lady, herself behatted, though hers was a broad-brimmed floral affair, who, standing next to me on the outside deck one glorious spring day, turned to me and beatifically emoted: “Can’t you just see him walking on the water?” (I told her, no, actually I couldn’t.) Or the young man sitting a row in front of me telling his young lady friend how he had read an article about genetic engineering on humans and that he planned on “gettin’ some of them Jew genes for my kid—he be takin’ over the world!”
The latest in my parade of … Read More >>