Forgive my sentimentality, but it’s that time of year. Graduations. Class reunions. In my family, we have four spring birthdays — and an anniversary. My wife and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary last year, in quarantine. We had to cancel reservations for a staycation getaway at a hotel downtown. The hotel still hasn’t announced plans to reopen. This year, our 26th quietly came and went.
The thing about our anniversary, and maybe most, is that each year the marker becomes more and more entwined with every other milestone we notch. Our oldest is graduating from college. Our second son…
And why I painted my nails.
As the pandemic appears to ebb — in this country, at least — I’ve been thinking about how this experience has changed us. At the most macro level, we’ve seen the importance of science and public health. We’ve seen the susceptibility of all people and the global economy to an unforeseen and unfamiliar threat. And we’ve seen that our political divisions can actually cost people their lives.
But this experience has clearly affected us very close to home as well. Workers living paycheck to paycheck have never felt more vulnerable. Millions have lost their…
“Passover affirms the great truth that liberty is the inalienable right of every human being.”
— Morris Joseph, Rabbi and Jewish Theologian
Passover is known as the festival of freedom and commemorates the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. The Exodus story celebrates the perseverance and resilience of a people in the face of overwhelming obstacles. Jews retell the story of the Exodus each year to remind themselves that the gift of freedom comes with the sacred responsibility to take care of others.
At the age of 32, I learned I was adopted. When I tell people the whole story, they often say, “Oh, well, you weren’t really adopted….” But I was.
I assume every adoption story is somewhat unique, but in my case, my mother left my birth father and remarried another man who then adopted my brother and me when I was just three years old in the context of a secret affair and a messy divorce. …
In ways that are equally ordinary and extraordinary, Crip Camp — A Disability Revolution tells the profoundly and universally human stories of real people with disabilities and their individual and collective struggles to be seen. The film begins in the early 1970s at Camp Jened, a Catskills camp for teenagers with disabilities, and describes the ties of this unpretentious hippie camp and a group of teens to the nascent movement for disability rights.
When day comes, we ask ourselves where can we find light in this never-ending shade? 
The arts took center stage at the presidential inauguration proving yet again how vital the arts are to our civil society. In particular, National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman stole the show with her reading of The Hill We Climb singularly articulating our shared pain and our collective will to rise. Her words resonated deeply with our national conscience. For a moment, we were thinking less about what had become of us and more about the possibilities ahead of us. She let us know…
Waking my 11-year-old daughter for school the morning of November 9th, 2016, I knew she’d be disappointed but her response still surprised me. She hadn’t been able to see the entire evening unfold, but she had an understanding that things weren’t looking good for Hillary Clinton. When I broke the news, at first she didn’t believe me. Then, she cried.
Trying to talk through her feelings, I asked what upset her more, that Clinton had lost or that a woman wouldn’t be president. She immediately said, “That someone could be president after all the things he’s said and done.” That…
May 26, 2020
In the midst of this pandemic, people are anxious and uneasy, uncertain about what the future holds. There are plenty of reasons to be, especially if you live in the U.S., let alone New York — double-digit unemployment; trillion dollar federal deficits; many months if not years of social distancing; and dire predictions for the restaurant, hotel, travel, and entertainment industries.
How can we be optimistic in the face of such circumstances? Is it rational to be hopeful when all of the data suggest otherwise? Yes, it is. Optimism, as it turns out, is essential for mental…
Out of many, one.
E pluribus unum was the de facto motto of the United States from its earliest beginning. The thirteen-letter phrase is included on the Great Seal, reflecting the concept that from the union of the original thirteen colonies emerged a new single nation. Although the motto still appears on the Great Seal as well as on all coins currently in production, “In God We Trust” became the country’s official motto in 1956, a political Cold War response to the state-sponsored atheism of the Soviet Union.
At once inspirational and aspirational, “out of many, one” signifies not only…
A Lesson in American Exceptionalism from America’s Superheroes
The notion that America is different from other nations as a result of its origin, its history, and its culture predates the Civil War but is pervasive in our political discourse and popular culture. Alexis de Tocqueville, in his sharp critique of America, Democracy in America (1840), is credited with the first notable observation of an American exceptionalism. He concluded, “The position of the Americans is therefore quite exceptional, and it may be believed that no other democratic people will ever be placed in a similar one.”
Imagining a better world, while trying to make sense of the one we’ve got.