Our mailboxes are overflowing this time of year. Holiday cards from friends and relatives mingle with the ever-growing pile of charities’ solicitations for end-of-year gifts, all vying for our attention and consideration. “Urgent!” is stamped in red letters on the front of envelopes, ACT NOW is written in all capital letters in the subject line, or “Time Is Running Out” or “Don’t Miss Your Chance!” There are gimmicks, like the tiny wooden crutch included in the envelope, and bribes, like the ubiquitous return address labels. But my favorite technique for catching potential donors’ attention is the attempt to make the...
The History Teacher, by Billy Collins
Trying to protect his students' innocence
he told them the Ice Age was really just
the Chilly Age, a period of a million years
when everyone had to wear sweaters.
And the Stone Age became the Gravel Age,
named after the long driveways of the time.
The Spanish Inquisition was nothing more
than an outbreak of questions such as
"How far is it from here to Madrid?"
"What do you call the matador's hat?"
The War of the Roses took place in a garden,
** Many thanks to Rabbi Jen Gubitz of Temple Israel in Boston for sharing with me the sermon she wrote after her trip on Honeymoon Israel. I’ve used, with her permission, parts of that sermon here **
One of the largest winter storms in recent history smashed into Israel last weekend. The Ayalon interchange - one of Israel’s main arteries was closed for nearly five hours. Flooding caused the traffic lights to fail in the Azrielei Junction causing mass chaos in the roads of Tel Aviv. In Rehovot, just south of Tel Aviv, 50 kindergarteners needed to...
In a certain town not long ago, there lived a family with two children, Miriam and little Sarah. They were a loving family. They had nearly everything that they could need or want, and they lived a happy life.
One year, just before Hanukkah, the parents called their children together and gave each of them some money. "We have a wonderful surprise for you," their mother...
My two and a half year-old son has just recently made an important discovery: he has just realized that some stores have a toy aisle. So now, whenever we go to any store, whether it’s the drugstore or the grocery store, he says, “Can we go see the toys?” or, when he’s feeling particularly bold, “Can we go see the toys so I can get a new one?” Two and a half, and my son is already entering the wonderful world of materialism, of always wanting more stuff. At least he has good timing.
We just celebrated Thanksgiving, where many...