Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A Big Wind Blows

It occurs to me, that we people living inland, or on the upper part of the east coast never really have to deal with hurricanes. They are something that happens to other people, not to us. So hard as i try, it is hard to "feel" something that is so far out of my realm of experience. I have never lived through a flood, never experienced a hurricane. I think I once came face to face with a tornado, but it was short lived. Did some pretty nasty things to the houses and trees in the neighborhood, but was ove in ten minutes.
So I see the news that Hurricane Rita is now a category four hurricane, chasing after all those people that Katrina missed the first time.
It kind makes you wonder, why? Why do people live there in the first place? Why do they stay? The bigger question is why would they ever return? Though of course they will. People live in California with earthquakes, Florida, and the Gulf Coast, lots of places where nature can wreak havoc with their lives. So why do they do it? I imagine that most of these places are beautiful, and amazing to live in 95% of the time. So i guess it must be the 95% principle. Of course, you only have to die one percent of the time for it not to work.
By the way, I could have told you Rita was going to be a real pain. She has the office down the hall from me.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Why can't a woman be more like a man? Or... Whose kiddush is it anyway?

My girlfriend reminds me (often) that we guys just don't get it. That the rules are not the same for men and women. We are entitled to share an opinion, as long as it theirs. And while I love and respect her, I wish that women could be more like men, at least once in a while. Or at least think the same thing that I do.

While I know that this is not a strictly man/woman issue, that is how it sometimes seems to me. And if some of you are offended by my title, it is a song from My Fair Lady, so don't get angry with me. Be angry with Frederic Loewe, or Alan Jay Lerner who were the creators of the book and song, based of course, on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. In any event, I digress.

This morning was full of spirited discussion (read: argument) between my girlfried and I over
Kiddush. ( Of course, everyone has an opinion on a kiddush. It is too big, too small, not good enough, or, Heaven forbid, D A I R Y!!!! Enough to send the most seasoned kiddush goer screaming from the auditorium.

So today's discussion centered around whether or not one has an "obligation" to host a kiddush for an ocassion. Her contention was that we, (meaning "me") partake of (meaning "sponge off of") others' kiddushes every week, so when it is your turn, you have to return the favor. I thought (how silly of me, male that I am) that when you sponsored a kiddush, you did it because you wanted to celebrate a personal event, and celebrate publicly. I didn't understand (silly me again) that the real reason for a kiddush was to pay back everyone you "stole food" from all year long. Or if you are lucky, and your kids are small, you can sponge off of people for years before having to "pay" them back.

I have a little more than a year before I have to formalize the decision, since my son will not have his bar-mitzvah until next December. Plenty of time for more spirited discussion. Unless, of course, the birth of my grandchild, G-d willing, at the end of October necessitates an early arrival of the Kiddush obligation. In that case, we will have to continue the spirited discussion much earlier.

Monday, September 19, 2005

What my teachers never taught me

When I was a kid, like everyone else, I went to school. I spent a lot of time there. Sometimes, I even learned something. I remember some of those days fondly, and others, were a nightmare. But that is not the topic of today's ruminations. I am a novice at this, and this is my first post.
Today, my schooling (formal at least) is long gone. But I re-live it with my son on a nightly basis. What strikes me, is that he is learning what the books say, but no effort to think is being asked of him. I went through the same thing, and suffer the effects to this day. We were taught "this is what is says, this is what it means, and this is how you do it." Why were the questions "what do you think about that" or "what does that mean to you" never asked?

He knows the story, and can even translate some of the Hebrew, but does he know what the relevance of the story is to his daily life?
It is sad indeed that teachers can't, or won't make children think. It handicaps them forever. I know.