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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The Gifts I Want for My Birthday Are Not for Me

giving-giftsNovember is here already, at just about the time we were getting used to the idea of October. The truth is, we’re never quite ready for the steady passing of time, no matter what month the calendar turns to.

I love November because it’s my birthday month. But I also love it because it’s the month when Mother Nature typically gives up those schizophrenic last days of absurd heat and focuses on the predictability of crisp, cold mornings, with the occasional flock of Canadian geese wandering overhead. And I love November because it contains Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year. Continue reading