Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Midrash and me

I have mixed feelings about midrash.

Many midrashim have become so interwoven with the original texts that some folks tend to forget that these interpretations are not actually part of the original texts.  When I first began reading the weekly Torah readings (Parshat HaShavuah or Parashat HaShavuah?) on a regular basis in my early twenties, I was so surprised to discover that the story of Avraham Avinu (Abraham our Father) smashing his father's idols was not actually in the Torah (Bible).  The problem, as I see it, is that so many of us are taught Torah and midrash with no distinction made between them.  For many years, I found it annoying that so many people couldn't tell the difference between the actual text and the midrashim and/or insisted that both were equal in validity and/or importance.

That said, over the years, I've come to appreciate the midrashim as works of creativity and imagination on the part of the rabbis and others who wrote and continue to write them.  In all seriousness, what else can you do when the text has more holes in it than Swiss cheese but you can't admit that because you believe that G!d wrote it?  Midrashim are a work-around--we can't change the texts, so midrash writers "correct" or "clarify" them indirectly.  Maybe I'm just suffering from a dearth of imagination--maybe the rabbis, too, had to "lay it between the lines."

And while we're on the subject of traditional tales, consider this American one--Does it matter whether or not George Washington actually chopped down that cherry tree?

Friday, January 15, 2021

With new COVID-19 variants spreading, it’s probably time to stop going to the grocery store 🙁

 Our son referred us to this article. Ouch. 🙁 Looks like we're back on our son's Amazon Prime, other online grocery providers, and delivery from the local supermarket. So our only escape from our apartment will be going for a walk. 🙁 On the plus side, all three of us are still healthy (thus far). We can't wait to get poked in the arm, but heaven only knows when the vaccine will be available. In the meantime, stay safe and be well, everyone--keep those masks on, wash your hands frequently, and stay six feet apart so that you'll have a better chance of not ending up six feet under.

Saturday, January 09, 2021

From the Jewish macrocosm to a Jewish microcosm in a literal heartbeat :(

All of us who are dedicated synagogue-goers are aware of the problem--we see synagogues closing their doors or merging with other synagogues from coast to coast.  And we know why, too--in our own neighborhood, there are three synagogues (one Orthodox, one Conservative, and one Reform), and none of them has been able to attract and/or retain significant numbers of younger members.  (Our own synagogue--the Conservative one--has only two members under the age of 50.)  Younger Jews from our neighborhood--those who choose to identify as Jewish (and I don't know whether they're the majority)-- belong to Jewish social groups and/or Jewish parenting groups and/or Jewish social justice groups and/or, for the more religiously inclined, ye friendly local alternative Jewish prayer and study community.  Many younger Jews seem to prefer to focus on tikkun olam, mindfulness-style services, meditation, and/or Jewish study without Jewish practice.  Those interested in Jewish practice often tend to prefer rabbi-founded alternative communities or grassroots-based chavurot or synagogue-based or independent minyanim run by laypeople with no presiding clergy, rather than previously-established synagogues.

So when my husband clicked on a link on jewishLIVE and found himself listening to podcasts on the "parent" website, Judaism Unbound, discussing, if my memory of the terminology is correct, a "paradigm crash," he brought those podcasts to my attention.  Thus far, I've listened to only the first four podcasts, but let me see whether I can give a short synopsis of what I've heard:  Jewish history has recorded a major "crash" in a paradigm previously central to Judaism--the "crash" resulting from the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash/Holy Temple in Jerusalem--and the creation, over time, of a successor paradigm--the synagogue and the prayer-book(s).  Daniel Libenson and Lex Rofeberg and guests are of the opinion that the synagogue paradigm has now "crashed" and that a new paradigm is currently "under construction."

There we were, a pair of older synagogue fans with limited means, trying to figure out what part we could play in helping to encourage the development of a flourishing Jewish future, when we were yanked back to a more nitty-gritty everyday reality--in the middle of a day spent glued to the television watching seditious rioters invade the United States capitol building, we got a telephone call from our synagogue office informing us that our shul's long-time president had died suddenly from medical problems decades old.  Instead of worrying about the future of the Jewish world, we now have the future of our small synagogue as our main concern.  Wish us luck.  

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

I may not be a "fashion influencer," but I can still have a "wardrobe malfunction" (of sorts) :)

I may love the color pink, but wearing various shades of pink tops every day got boring even for me.  So I did some "retail therapy"--I took advantage of a sale and bought one striped top and two print tops.  I was very pleased with my choices . . .

. . . until I noticed that I was just about the only woman wearing print tops on Zooms.

"It'll be your signature," said my oldest friend.  I thought that was a great idea . . .

. . . until I noticed that my print tops seemed to interact in an odd way with the lighting in our living-room and/or with a webcam or laptop camera and/or with Zoom--these tops seem to shimmer in the light, as if someone had spilled glitter on them.

I apologize for the distraction, but, apparently, I just can't hide my own light.  :)

Monday, January 04, 2021

40 blocks in 43-degree weather

That's how far we walked today.  Not bad for a pair of 70-somethings, if I do say so myself.  :)

Monday, December 28, 2020

One of our better weekends, given the pandemic

First, our son realized that it would be easier to bypass the difficult-to-use "smart" part of our smart TV, so he made it so--he fiddled with (programmed?) his tablet to transmit a movie directly to our TV, and treated all three of us to the second Wonder Woman movie, WW84 (or Wonder Woman [19]84, for us old-fashioned folks).  We enjoyed it thoroughly.  No spoilers!  :)

Then, since we'd had a nice Shabbos (Shabbat, Sabbath) nap and were still awake, we took a trip to  Chava Mirel's Facebook page, scrolled down to the soon-to-disappear Mazon benefit concert video, and topped our movie with a musical night-cap.  Delightful, and with lots of lights--it's actually a Chanukah concert, but wonderful even after the holiday.  I encourage you to watch it (if it's still available online) and make a contribution, if you can, to Mazon:  A Jewish Response to Hunger.

As we were about to go to bed, I took a quick tour of Facebook to try to see whether I'm missed anything I would want to see, and sure enough, I had--Eliana Light had had a sudden yen to sing z'mirot this past Friday, and had posted a spontaneous z'mirot session just before she lit Shabbat candles.  We ended up watching it on Sunday afternoon, of all times, but it was fun, and we hope to participate in future z'mirot sing-alongs with Eliana, preferably on the proper day.  :)

We ended our weekend on a serious note, watching a panel discussion, "Descent into Danger: Jewish Law and the Climate Crisis," presented by the Modern Orthodox Yeshivat Chovevei Torah rabbinical school.  Bottom line:  According to Halachah/Jewish Religious Law, there is an an obligation to save the planet.  If you're serious about a Jewish approach to the unfolding ecological disaster, this is certainly an important video to watch.

 

 

 

We rarely leave our neighborhood these days, since we don't own a car and don't use public transit unless we have a medical appointment--we wish to avoid unnecessary exposure to COVID-19.  But the rest of the world seems to be coming to us, instead.

 

Possession of a television and a computer and access to the internet are real godsends, and I am very grateful that we're fortunate enough to have them.


[If my spacing looks weird, it's because I'm having great difficulty editing this post, and adding extra spacing where I don't want to add it seems to be the only work-around.  The post seems to have become corrupted, so some words are missing even though *I* can see them on the Edit screen, and there are extra dots, for some unknown reason.  Sorry.]

 

 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

An Isru Chag, of sorts--my gluten-free sufganiyot finally arrived yesterday . . .

 . . . a mere four days after Chanukah ended.  Nu, I was supposed to eat those donuts *on* Chanukah, not after it!  Oh, well, I guess I'll just add my calories belatedly.  :)

Isru Chag

Sunday, December 20, 2020

There's no "tooth fairy" for seniors (sigh): Round 2, but with park pictures

. . .

Shira flossed down 

and lost that same crown

and the curse-words came tumbling after

!@#$%^&*()_+!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

(Round 1 here.)


On the plus side:

~ I spent only about 15 minutes--and no more money--at the dentist.

~ I got an excuse to take the subway into Manhattan again--we've been avoiding public transit during this pandemic except for medical appointments--and this appointment was early enough in the day (11 AM this past Friday) that I could walk across Central Park South (where my dentist is), take some photos of Central Park under a blanket of snow, then hop on a bus and stock up on meat at Kosher Marketplace.

Remind me, though, to take my shots from the downtown/south side of Central Park South because the snow gets cleared from the sidewalks in front of the buildings, but not necessarily from the sidewalks on the park side.  I had to walk super-slowly to keep myself from falling.

This is why I didn't go into the park--not all of the walkways were cleared very well.


This is why I should have stayed on the downtown/south side of Central Park South--it was slippery territory on the park side.



I'm not sure what that structure is, but it's pretty.

Here I am at the southwest entrance to Central Park.  I made it!


Greetings from the entrance statues, and, of course, a pigeon.  :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

I chose some bright dreidlach/sevivonim from my collection to brighten up this dismal year


The view from our window tonight

Monday, December 14, 2020

There's no "tooth fairy" for seniors (sigh)

 . . .

Shira bit down 

and lost a crown

and the bill came tumbling after

Halachah & COVID-19--how precedent, denial, and stubbornness can endanger us

PRECEDENT 

The rabbis of old took a midrash that seems to have no basis in the text of Megillat Esther (the Book of Esther) itself--the notion that Mordechai and Esther were not only first cousins, but were also husband and wife--and derived from that interesting tale a ruling that a married woman who's forced to have sex with another man against her will is not held accountable for adultery.  While I applaud this decision, obviously, I must admit that I can't quite understand why the rabbis needed to base it on a midrash.  Can't a halachic decision be made just because it's the right thing to do?  Must p'sak (a halachic ruling) always be based on a text, a tradition, and/or a precedent?

DENIAL

In the early years of the development of electricity, the rabbis made a ruling that one could not turn an electrical device on or off on Shabbat (Sabbath) because electricity was a form of fire and/or a form of building (construction), and both starting a fire and building are forbidden on Shabbat.  Good luck getting either explanation past our son, who has a PhD in physics--he has always adamantly insisted that the rabbis were just plain wrong because, according to science, electricity is neither a form of fire nor a form of building.  Yet I have noticed a tendency among the more traditional--it seems difficult to admit that a posek (a halachic decisor) is just plain wrong.  

Speaking of electricity, the rule seems to be that a minyan must consist of ten people who are all in the same room, which means that a service conducted by Zoom (or a similar online "meeting") is not a minyan. 

Yes, I can certainly think of other reasons for the rules about electricity.  Using just about any communication device or "screen," be it a phone, a television, a computer, or a gaming device, on Shabbat interferes with the face-to-face communication that is a hallmark of Shabbat observance.  That's why we, ourselves, avoided using the phone or any "screens" on Shabbat until the pandemic.  And I can also understand the concern that allowing people to attend minyan via Zoom might discourage people from showing up in person. 

But denying the place of electrical devices in contemporary life places "a stumbling block before the blind (Parashat Kedoshim/Genesis 19:14)."    First of all, it makes praying with a minyan difficult or impossible for many elderly people and many people with disabilities.  Second--and especially during an air-borne pandemic--it defies what I understand to be a rabbinic tradition that one does not make rulings that the people will not follow.

STUBBORNNESS

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, a rabbi told a story (online, I believe) about their attempt to continue holding daily minyanim in person by moving the minyanim from the small chapel/bet midrash to the much-larger sanctuary, to give room for social distancing.  Much to their dismay, they found that people for whom coming to synagogue was not necessarily safe--older and/or health-compromised congregants--came to the relocated minyanim because they thought it was safe.  In the interest of preserving lives, the rabbi quickly cancelled all in-person minyanim and took their congregation's services online.  

We all know that it's safer to davven bi-y'chidut (pray alone) than to pray in a group during an air-borne pandemic, yet we also know that many folks insist on attending in-person services anyway, to the possible detriment of their health and the health of anyone living with them, as well as others with whom they come in contact.  Stubbornness is in our DNA--we're Am K'shei Oref, a stiff-necked people.  But stubbornness is in the DNA of our rabbis, as well.  The stubborn rabbinate of observant Jews hasn't give them any choice--either they risk their health or they pray alone, since observant rabbis won't permit Zoom minyanim.  This results in what appears to me to be the blatantly obvious problem that observant people who feel that they have an obligation to say kaddish for a deceased parent must show up in person, whether they think it's safe or not.  To put it bluntly, the stubbornness of observant rabbis is putting peoples' lives at risk just because they won't admit that they might be wrong about electricity.


PIKUACH NEFESH

Here's a quote from the Orthodox Union--"Pikuach Nefesh: Concern for life is a paramount value in Halacha. We are compelled to violate most halachic prohibitions when confronting a possible risk to life, or a possible opportunity to save a life."

I can't see any justification for putting a prohibition against using electrical devices for making a minyan above saving lives.  If this isn't a good time for an "emergency ruling" (hora'at sha'ah?), I don't know what is.

And if a rabbi insists on following a precedent, they have one--it's called Chanukah.  The halachic leaders of the era of the original Chanukah ruled that one is permitted to violate Shabbat to defend oneself if one's life is threatened.  The only difference between the enemy of that era and the enemy of this one is that the threat to life comes not from an army, but from a virus.

To observant rabbis:  The lives of many observant--and, granted, sometimes stubborn, but also elderly and/or disabled--Jews are in your hands.  Either you allow a group of 10 praying on Zoom (and similar online "meetings") to be counted as a valid minyan, or you continue to put people's lives at risk.  The choice, and the responsibility, are yours.

The floor is open.

Sunday, December 06, 2020

Awkward :(

Start here.

I can't forget the words of a cantor whom I heard speak at a panel discussion:  "I am the curator of my congregation's music."  One fine Shabbat, several months before the pandemic, our cantor asked me to teach him some Debbie Friedman songs.  While I was happy to know that he was even interested, I couldn't help thinking, "You're the cantor.  Aren't we paying you to teach us new songs?"

So there are two issues involved.  One is that we put up with our cantor doing only part of his job for close to 25 years.  *Now* we're upset?!  He's more than old enough to retire!

The other issue is that I think the cantor is feeling competitive and/or threatened by our current approach of going around him to add new music to the services.   (Yes, I said "our."  Did I mention that my husband is our synagogue's acting rabbi?)  After we had led Adon Olam with new tunes for several weeks, he insisted on teaching a version that he originally said was new but then said was only new to us and was actually about 50 years old.  Sometimes he sings along (or did, before we went on Zoom), but sometimes he jumps in first, and I'm never quite sure whether he's doing that automatically, or whether he's trying to cut us off.  In the interest of keeping the peace during Elul, the High Holidays, and Sukkot, I was careful, after a couple of false starts, to wait to see whether he was going lead an old version of Lulei He'emanti Lir'ot or let me lead my, um, slightly rearranged (shorter and easier) version of Eliana Light's If Only (Lulei).

I'm sure it doesn't help that he knows I auditioned for cantorial school.  (In defense of Hebrew Union College, New York City campus, I have some memory of how I sounded on my second and last audition at age 30, and frankly, even I wasn't impressed by my voice.)  So I really can't blame him if he sees me as a competitor.

Have any of you any advice on how we might best continue to bring new Jewish music into our services, given the cantor that we have?

Monday, November 30, 2020

Our new version of a nice long walk

Yesterday, when we got to the Junction Playground, we decided to walk through the playground and exit from the 96th Street entrance instead of the Junction Boulevard (95th) Street entrance.  Knowing that the weather would be rotten today, we then got into a debate about how much farther we wanted to walk to compensate for being locked indoors for at least one day.  My husband wanted to go as far as the Grand Central Parkway, about 19 more blocks.  But I've managed to injure one knee and both ankles over the years, and I was nervous about walking back from such a distance.  So we settled on walking just another three blocks further than usual, to 98th Street, and got our exercise for the next day or two.  Here's the view.

 
A view of the Junction Playground from the far end.


This is our new goal for long walks.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Proof of effort :)

 Yes, we walked all the way to Junction Boulevard (95th Street) and back.


Here's the street sign, as viewed from our temporary perch in the playground, as further proof:


We try to walk to Junction Boulevard as often as we can.  But if worse comes to worse, we can turn left, instead of right, at the corner of our block, and walk to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway overpass at 69th Street instead.  Junction is over 15 blocks away, so the round trip is over 30 blocks.  The BQE overpass is, well, 5-10 blocks away--I don't want to reveal our exact location--so the round trip is well over 10 blocks.  It's not much of a substitute for Israeli folk dancing, but we're grateful that we're well enough to get there and back.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Not on my watch :)

Me to a fellow congregant, upon their request that the Prayer for the IDF be added to our Zoom services:

"It's bad enough being cut out of Hebrew prayers because Hebrew is a gendered language, but I'll be hanged if I'm going to be cut out of English translations.  Attached is the version that we're going to be using, starting next week."

And here's the congregant's response:   "Shira strikes another blow against the papacy, uh, patriarchy."

Yep.  :)

Prayer for Members of the Israel Defense Force

May the One He Who blessed our ancestors forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, and Rachel, - may God He bless the fighters of the Israel Defense Force, who stand guard over our land and the cities of our God from the border of the Lebanon to the desert of Egypt, and from the Great Sea unto the approach of the Aravah, on the land, in the air, and on the sea.

May Hashem cause the enemies who rise up against us to be struck down before them. May the Holy One, Blessed is God He,  preserve and rescue our fighting people men from every trouble and distress and from every plague and illness, and may God He send blessing and success in their every endeavor.

May God He lead our enemies under their sway and may God He grant them salvation and crown them with victory. And may there be fulfilled for them the verse: For it is Hashem, your God, Who goes with you to battle your enemies for you to save you.

Now let us respond: Amen.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Internecine warfare: Jew against Jew, for the 4,564 time :(

Once upon a time, there was a Conservative synagogue with a big, beautiful building but a shrinking membership.  In an effort to retain their home, the congregation tried to persuade a local Orthodox synagogue that was in similar straits to rent their chapel, with, of course, access to the main-floor bathrooms.  They even offered to build a separate entrance so that the Orthodox folks would not be seen entering a Conservative synagogue, heaven forbid.  But the Orthodox, presumably concerned about how they'd be seen by other Orthodox synagogues and organizations, declined the invitation.  In other words, they wouldn't even pee in our bathrooms.  :(  Please pardon that snarky remark, but I'm bitter.  As a result of the Orthodox synagogue's refusal to rent our chapel, we were forced to sell our big, beautiful building and build a much smaller replacement that doesn't have enough room for, say, a nursery school that might attract younger members.  As for the Orthodox shul, they may, technically, still exist, but they haven't held a service in probably at least a year.  It serves them right.  😠

Fast forward more than ten years.  I recent listened to a podcast, and, out of curiosity, checked out the website of the synagogue that had sponsored it.  Much to my pleasant surprise, I saw that the website of this Conservative synagogue, which is a member of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, includes a webpage for the Orthodox kehillah that meets in its building.  

This congregation is about as far "out of town" as you can get.  Why can't we do this in New York?  When I was growing up in a Conservative synagogue in south Jersey, we didn't have time for some of the nonsense that I've encountered in New York City.  I heard that we had one member who was Sefardi who attended our Ashkenazi shul because, frankly, where else was he going to go?  There were exactly three Conservative synagogues, one Orthodox synagogue, and one Reform synagogue in the entire county, and all of them were Ashkenazi.  And I never heard of intra-Ashkenazi prejudice until I moved to New York City when I was in my early twenties.  Litvak against Galitzianer?  A German-Jewish family scandalized because their daughter married a Polish Jew??  There aren't enough Jews in this world for this kind of nonsense.

Similarly, there aren't enough Jews in this world for Jews of different denominations to deliberately avoid one another.  Orthodox Jews--please stop looking over your right shoulder. 😢 

As for us non-Orthodox Jews, let's try to stop being so judgmental. 😢 

There aren't enough Jews in this world for divisiveness. 😢

Friday, November 20, 2020

Abandoned by my "descendants"--how it feels to be a Zionist senior

I've already written about Jewish Anti-Zionists here, but I've never talked about the emotional affect of knowing that, as a fellow congregant once put it, "There's no such thing as a Zionist under 40."  

While there may very well be Zionists under the age of 40, I, myself, haven't met any in years.

I don't remember who said this to me, but someone once suggested that the reason why younger Jews aren't Zionists is that they think that Jews are safe now.  That's an interesting theory, and I think there's a certain irony involved--in my opinion, the reason why younger Jews think that they're safe is that they've never lived in a world in which they had no place to run.  In plain English, the State of Israel is the escape hatch for Jews in the Galut (Diaspora), but younger Jews don't think that they need one.  Personally, I find their optimism incomprehensible and their lack of hakarat hatov (gratitude) quite upsetting.  People died to give you an emergency back-up, and you don't care?!

But this is what many of us older Jews have to live with.  Our belief in the necessity of a homeland for the Jews is being trashed, and we simply have to resign ourselves to knowing that few Jews in the Diaspora will follow in our footsteps and support that homeland.  :(

Doesn't anyone believe in a two-state solution anymore?

The floor is open.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

A dull diet for a dizzy dame :)

I have to cut back on salt because it aggravates my problems with balance.  (Yes, I'm officially "unbalanced." :) )  It just so happens that salt is the only cure I know for the leg cramps that I get from eating too much sugar.  So I have to cut back on sugar, too.  That's what I call "dietary intersectionality."  :)

Sunday, November 08, 2020

Here's our new "Shabbat Kettle," courtesy of old friends

Just before the High Holidays, some old friends of ours offered to pick us up and drive us to Kew Gardens Hills, an area of Queens with a large Orthodox population, so that all of us could stuff our faces with falafel (at the outdoor seating area) and my husband and I could clean out a kosher supermarket.  While we were there, we walked down the block and ordered kosher Chinese take-out for dinner, and while we were waiting for our take-out, we checked out a local appliance store.  Here's what we went home with, along with a ton of kosher meat and some take-out:


After all these months, we finally found a replacement for our hot-water urn!

And the "use" instructions are right on the front label:

It's so nice to be able to have hot tea and coffee on Shabbat (Sabbath) again!  We may not be as traditional about turning electrical appliances on and off on Shabbat as we used to be, but we do try to draw the line at cooking on Shabbat.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

A little relaxation after a tough election--some photos from our recent day trip

We escaped!  :)  My husband and I rented a car for a one-day trip out of town two Thursdays ago to check out the fall foliage in the Catskills.  Here are some photos from Woodstock, New York.

A view of the Catskill Mountains in their autumn glory 


Waterfall in the middle of this old mill town

This is literally a sign of local protest.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

This U.S. presidential election is a referendum on libertarianism

I'm sorry I didn't post this before, but I just thought of it last night.  :(

Let me start by explaining what libertarianism is about, to the best of my own understanding (the full post is here).

"Libertarianism is not a belief in liberty, but rather, a belief in freedom from almost all taxation.  Essentially, libertarians believe that anyone who can't afford to pay for food, clothing, shelter, education or healthcare should simply go without. They hold that the only legitimate role of government is to provide security (police, border, and military). Regulations such as environmental safeguards, labor laws, consumer protection, etc., simply interfere with an individual's right to earn and keep as much money as possible, and should be eliminated."

Trump's approach to the U.S. federal government has been to try to gut it, to eliminate or render dysfunctional just about any federal governmental entity other than the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security (and the Internal Revenue Service, because someone has to collect the taxes to pay for these two).

If President Donald Trump is re-elected, I foresee the necessity of radical changes in state governments, on two counts:

~ States will be forced to raise taxes to help pay for all of the services that the federal government will no longer help finance, such as health care, education, and assistance with food and housing for those with insufficient incomes.  The increased taxes will certainly make our lives miserable.  But any failure to increase taxes to pay for these services will result in even worse misery--people may literally die of hunger, lack of health care, or, if they're homeless, exposure to the elements.  Both children and young adults may lose opportunities for education, workers may be endangered by the lack of enforcement of workplace safety regulations, and consumers will simply be ripped off with impunity.  Etc., etc., etc.  It never ceases to astound me that many people see no connection between taxation and government services.  Do they think that the money to pay for these services grows on trees?

~ States will also make many of their own decisions regarding who "deserves" civil rights and who does not.  At stake will be the rights of blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans (First Nations, Indigenous People), immigrants, Muslims, women, the L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.+ community, and persons with disabilities.  (Did I miss anyone?)  In some states, abortion will be legal; in other states, it may be a crime punishable by imprisonment.  In some states, blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans will be able to vote freely; in other states, serious impediments to voting may (continue to) ensure that most voters are white.  In some states, the gay community will be protected; in others, they may face legal discrimination.  I probably missed a few challenges. 

All I can say is that I hope I don't have to worry about such things.  If Biden is elected, there may yet be a chance to save the United States from devolving into something resembling the original Confederation.  It will be difficult, since so many federal employees have resigned to avoid working in the current government.  But if Trump is re-elected, the federal government as we knew it prior to the current administration may largely cease to exist.

Related:  Only "dominant-class" males have permanent rights.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Health insurance--re the most difficult conversation I've ever had

Roughly a year before I retired last December, a former co-worker and I were talking about health care,  and they made it clear that they thought that only those who could afford to pay for their own health insurance should have any health insurance at all.  Since I had to work with this person every workday, I  forced myself to remain as civil as possible, which was not an easy task.  I politely pointed out that many hard-working people didn't make enough money to pay for health insurance and their employers  didn't provide it, and that one of those people was the spouse of the person in the next cubicle.  But they were not swayed by my logic.  

As you can well imagine, the person in the next cubicle was even more upset than I was.  Neither of us could quite believe that our co-worker didn't understand that they were basically saying that people who couldn't afford to pay for health insurance could just drop dead.

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