Not All Lives Matter: Maintaining integrity in a world of infamy

אם אין אני לי, מי לי? וכשאני לעצמי, מה אני? ואם לא עכשיו, אימתי? – הלל If I do not stand for myself, then who will stand for me? And when I serve only myself, what have I become? And if not now, when? – Rabbi Hillel I am in the midst of reading Howard … More Not All Lives Matter: Maintaining integrity in a world of infamy

Pretty Little Liars

“Life and death are in the hands of the tongue.” – Proverbs 18:21 Judaism stresses the dangers and destructive nature of Lashon HaRa (evil speech). It is an egregious infraction that, when committed, has the potential to reap irreparable harm. Indeed, once a person has been defamed, it is nearly impossible for him to reclaim … More Pretty Little Liars

The Lost Children

Caught between two worlds, the children of refugees seek to reconcile the old and the new. They live in a dichotomy where deep-rooted culture clashes with progressive dynamism. At home are the vestiges of a life left behind; in the streets, novel experiences. I recently met Ify, the daughter of Nigerian refugees (her art is … More The Lost Children

Dead White Men

Dickens. Tolstoy. Twain. Dead white men sit at the helm of literary esteem and their novels have dominated the lists of classics taught in schools around the globe. The merit of these works cannot be overstated, and so it is surprising that they are becoming more frequently (and sadly) dismissed. With the newfound emphasis of celebrating diversity … More Dead White Men

A Choice of Weapons

I read Gordon Parks’s biography 15 years ago. I was teaching in the South Bronx at the time, and was holed up in the disheveled, musty book room trying to find a book to teach my Sophomores. Sitting on the shelf, next to several tattered editions of the 1971 paperback The Negro in the City was a lone copy … More A Choice of Weapons

Whatever it takes…

Some people are so amazing it defies comprehension. More and more, I have the impression that the generations of the Great Wars were comprised of particularly resilient and incredible individuals. Once such man is Joe Rantz, an American rower who helped the USA win 1936 Olympic Gold. As I read his story, I was impressed by … More Whatever it takes…

A Plea for Porn (and other Women’s Rights)

The Adult Film Industry is still a taboo subject despite the burgeoning sex trade. But by disparaging and isolating adult film actresses, we are opening the floodgates. These actresses are making a choice. They are willingly using their bodies to earn a living, and there are several organizations to help ensure that the actresses can … More A Plea for Porn (and other Women’s Rights)

Bound By Duty: A closer look at The Good Earth

Pearl S. Buck deserved her 1938 Nobel Prize. The daughter of missionaries, Buck was raised in China and projected her nuanced understanding of the culture into her beautifully crafted literary works. The Good Earth, arguably her most famous piece, chronicles the life of Wang Lung, a peasant farmer who rises from humble beginnings to establish … More Bound By Duty: A closer look at The Good Earth