Lest You Forget, This Is Still America

this is americaTake a look at this photograph. What do you see?

This is a group of volunteers I joined last week in Florida.

This photo makes my heart and spirit soar every time I look at it. People in this photo are black and white and shades in between. They’re gay and straight, old and young, Republican and Democrat and Independent. Some are vegans or vegetarians, while others are diehard meat eaters. Some of us were Jewish, some Christian, some atheist. There are corrections officers, a prosecutor, a teacher, a writer, chefs and restauranteurs, a cantor and a pastor. We are immigrants, and descendants of immigrants.

We came from all over the U.S., on our own time and our own dime, to help victims of Hurricane Irma in Florida. And the people we helped were equally diverse. Because this is America, folks. This is who we are. Continue reading

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I’m Far from an Über Jew (Part 1)

Becky Mandela Coloring1Wow! Tuesdays’s post (See “In Case You Didn’t Know: I’m Jewish“) led to some interesting and thought-provoking conversations, via email, text, Facebook DM, and in person. My mind is still processing it all. I didn’t realize when I was writing it what an incredibly personal thing it would turn out to be and hitting “Publish” was hard. After all, with a nod to Billy Joel, I only reveal what I want you to see, and this blog is the most personal public place I have. Typically, only a handful of people read it, but sometimes it goes places and distances I never imagined. So, I took a deep breath, hit “publish” and then left. I took the dog and went on a walk and didn’t know what reactions I’d find upon my return.

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Writing and Rewriting Our Lives

TBT Israel Negev DesertI’ve been thinking a lot about my life recently. Specifically, experiences I’ve had that, while mainly forgotten, definitely went on to shape my outlook on life, as well as my thoughts and actions in any given situation. As we grow older, I think writers learn that it’s our own lives that contain the biggest treasure trove of ideas. While writing about completely different characters, we can instill some aspect of ourselves, even if it’s just one small experience from a time long, long past and only recently remembered. Continue reading

The Bottle (#WIP)

There was a bottle in the water. I noticed it first as a light movement out of the corner of my eye. I had been staring off across the water as I was apt to do, with my hands resting lightly on the pier railing and my right knee leaning into the perpendicular pole. At first I had tried to ignore it, but it hung as a question in my periphery, interrupting my reverie. Angry, I re-focused my gaze and looked straight at the movement. It was a bottle, moving up and down with the ebb and flow of the tide. I was intrigued. I needed to rescue it. Continue reading