The next time you are in New York, make sure you go to the Hayden Planetarium. Along with fantastic exhibitions and moon rocks, you can walk on the “Cosmic Pathway” and move through time from the Big Bang to today. It’s a 360-foot ramp where each step takes you forward 10 million years, and all of human history is presented at the end of the pathway — a whopping length of a human hair.
I felt like I was a character in a movie I was warned not to see. The parent on the sideline yelled at me so virulently, you would have thought that I had just committed murder.
We are walking along a busy, suburban street that runs mostly parallel to the highway connecting our town to the city immediately to our east. The sidewalk begins at the bridge over Willeo Creek, which is the county line. As the road curves slightly northward, taking us away from home, I wonder if I’m leading my son on the wrong path.
It’s Shavuot! It’s Memorial Day weekend! It’s my first week in a new city! In fact, it’s all three of these things for me.
The American Jewish community is getting older. There is a graying of the Jewish community that is happening across the country. I recently sat at a presentation on the findings of new research on the demographics of a major American Jewish suburb right outside New York City. The average age of a Jew in that suburban community: 48. The age trend is only going up. American Jews are having less children and those children are less likely to remain part of the Jewish community in their adult lives than in previous generations. Why does this matter?
Bamidbar is my daughter Elena’s bat mitzvah portion. As she was approaching bat mitzvah, fifteen years ago, my father was dying of metastatic cancer. He had been diagnosed the day before Thanksgiving, and died shortly after Passover. We celebrated Elena on his shloshim, the thirtieth day after my father’s death.
A friend tipped me off to a new reality TV show that was about to begin publicizing its pilot episode. I was immediately intrigued. The show, Kosher Soul, is about a pretty Jewish woman and a Black comedian who fall in love. I clicked the link to find the trailer from the Lifetime network and was immediately disappointed. Oy, I thought to myself, this is not going to be “good for the Jews.”
It’s getting hard to find role models in sports these days. Especially in the National Football League, where stars such as Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Greg Hardy all have been suspended in recent months for shocking acts of domestic violence.
“Should we offer the best classes we can, or teach adults to become independent learners of Jewish texts?”