I know it’s been too long. Have you missed me? Oh, there’s no shame in admitting it. But let’s get down to important business — mine, not yours. The extra hour of morning daylight has invigorated by invigorating senses. Or something like that.
It’s time to vote for Houston’s next mayor. It’s also time to vote against anyone conflating supporting anti-discrimination laws with supporting men declaring themselves women, just so they can join their longer public restroom lines. So what if hundreds of other cities, including Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio, have similar laws to the one Houstonians are voting on? So what if no toiletgate issues have arisen anywhere? Some of our leading religious leaders and one former baseball player have decreed that it is more moral to worry about imaginary constructs than anti-human hatred.
My daughter has a new last name. She’s perfect. Although she’d be more perfect if she kept the old one. Where’s the challenge in having a last name that everyone can pronounce? My son-in-law is also perfect: He loves my perfect daughter, drinks IPA’s, his employer — Valeant — is always in the news, and he promises that I’ll soon get to join his pro football fantasy league. (Actually, he didn’t promise. But I’m ready whenever he relents. Or needs me to stop my Valeant short selling.)
I had a not-so-special ambulance run to the emergency room. It was fun going through the red lights. Not so much fun killing five hours because my new doctor didn’t believe in my prior doctor’s athletic heart syndrome diagnosis — irregular EKG readings as a result of high levels of exercise not as a result of a heart attack. My diagnosis? New doctor.
I consulted with a rabbi in another city about his Rosh Hashanah sermon. (He didn’t request my advise, but I wanted to join with the other hundred or so other people that he said had already weighed in.) I decided his focus should be to skip the Iran agreement bashing and focus on Israeli security post-agreement. He decided his focus should be on skipping casual conversations with Jeff. Interestingly enough, when he did choose to deliver a sermon with a post-agreement focus he was bashed by some of the Obama-phobic troglodytes who see Obama as Dr. Evil and evidently prefer to join with Cubs’ fans and back the lovable losers.
I joined with 50 or so like-minded Houstonians in admonishing the local Jewish Federation for dipping its toe into political advocacy by actively opposing the Iran agreement — an agreement that various polls reflected the majority of Jews actually favored. But we made progress. The Federation met with a few of us and promised to reconsider its decision making process so that the views of all Jews, not just Board members or large donors, would be more seriously considered.
I hope so, but then I always hope to see those pigs others say won’t ever fly. Speaking of flying pigs, one just flew over the country’s largest conservative synagogue. Houston’s Congregation Beth Yeshurun just announced that it will now perform same sex marriages. The pig that didn’t fly? Same sex (or opposite sex) interfaith marriages. Even though the recent Pew Study reflected that the majority of Jews are now entering into mixed marriages, Conservative and Orthodox Jewish branches still choose to ostracize and not embrace. Unfortunately, that’s a recipe for Judaism’s continued decline among its future generations.
I celebrated my in-law’s anniversary at a famous Houston restaurant. Exactly one other table was occupied. On a Saturday night. And it still took forever to get our waiter’s attention. He was focused on a U.T. game. By the end of the year, he may be the only one focused. And with guns soon to be allowed on campus, it’s never a good thing to get rabid football fans upset.
Israel and its Palestinian citizens and non-citizens are playing Hatfield and McCoy again. Horrible. Forty eight years of this recycled garbage. And now we are back to daily body counts. As always, Israel has the upper hand, and as always the world assesses blame to Israel because it isn’t in the body count lead.
It’s the failed and feckless leadership. On both sides. It’s the palpable sense of victimhood — historic, yet ever-present. It’s the comfort in managing and living in an uncomfortable stasis. It’s the misfocus on blaming, on looking for reasons not to trust, not to hope. It’s my tit for your tat.
Your terrorist is my hero. Take your Yasser Arafat and his Olympics terrorism and I’ll raise you your Menachem Begin and his King David hotel. Oh, it’s not the same. It’s never the same. It can’t be the same. Because if we try to understand motivations we may develop more understanding. We may develop a kinship. We may even see a little of our fears and dreams in their fears and dreams. And then we may lose some of our ability to mistrust and hate. We may even come to realize that there is more long term risk in maintaining the status quo than in taking actions that can actually lead to a two state agreement…. and the (not too soon enough) end to both side’s numerous pro- and anti- political advocacy groups.