Making little adjustments
For the last thirty years or so, I’ve celebrated the Jewish New Year by taking stock of who I am and who I want to be.
I look back at my thoughts from the past year and evaluate and adjust them.
For example, I’ve been on this trajectory with friends. After Kim died I decided that if any asked me to meet for coffee or get together I would say “yes”.
I later realized that I needed to be more pro-active and reach out and invite them as well. Of course, if they respond with indifference I don’t press it - but it’s enriched me.
During COVID this has extended to catching up with friends who are long distance.
I have virtual coffee three times a week with a friend from college. I catch up with a friend from the speaker circuit every other week. I spend an hour in between writing and posting this newsletter each week with a relatively recent friend where we talk about everything from writing to work to family.
COVID would have been much more difficult if I was still the person I was four years ago and harder still if I was still the person I was in my twenties.
Each year I make little changes.
And then I put them into practice.
I was recently connected to a woman who was able to give me some links to some resources I needed for a new project (details to come). After the exchange, I visited her website. She had a recent blog post titled Why wait.
I’ve done it. I’ve waited to start something.
I’ve said that I’ll go on a diet after the holiday eating season is done. After I get back from Italy or France or wherever. But then I spent the two years before the pandemic travelic to places with wonderful food several times a month. That left me with a month between my New Years Eve feast and my late January trip to Paris.
Sometimes we aren’t waiting for a date we’re waiting for an event to happen. I’ll go on my diet once I’ve eaten through the bag of Milky Way bars in my freezer.
Sometimes we don’t notice we’re waiting and we’re jolted by an event.
The attacks of 9/11 changed the way we live. We memorialize it and think about it each year.
And we should. Nearly three thousand people died. Twice that many were injured in the attack. Many will suffer for the rest of their lives physically or psychologically.
It was awful beyond understanding.
The government lept into action and passed laws and created agencies. An amazing amount of money was spent on airport security.
But in this week since my last newsletter twice that many have been killed in the United States by COVID. Ten times that number have contracted the disease and will survive with likely long-term health implications.
The house passed a bill months ago and the senate has not acted on it.
There are so many things the senate hasn’t done.
And this has allowed the executive to let Americans die, attack American cities, divide our country, lock kids in cages, …
In this week’s Monday Note, Frederic Filoux quote Jean-Louis Gasée as saying “When you start to doubt (on someone’s competences or fit), you are always right”.
And then Ruth Bader Ginsberg died.
During the Jewish New Year.
I looked at my list and asked “does it even matter?”
Before news of her death found its way to the morning papers, senators had promised not only to vote on the president’s nominee to replace her, but to vote in favor of the nominee.
They don’t even know who the nominee is but they have committed to voting in favor.
These are not men, and they were all men, who are serving the people.
I’ve heard people say that they suffered during Obama’s presidency and now it is our turn.
But the laws that Obama passed helped all of us. Maybe not each of us but all of us.
Now it’s our turn?
The things that this administration is championing don’t benefit any of us.
Their supporters think it benefits them. When the pandemic was ripping apart New York, Washington, and California, they said, “it’s a blue state problem.”
When the government sent in armed forces to cities, they said, “it’s a blue city problem.”
When the wildfires ravaged the west coast, they said, “it’s a blue problem.”
But wildfires and pandemics spread. They don’t care who you voted for.
Without Ginsberg on the bench, the Supreme Court is going to rule on pre-existing conditions because this president wants us to lose that protection.
We will lose that protection during a pandemic that he hid from.
A pandemic that has left millions with pre-existing conditions.
Just last week we lost two 9-11’s worth of people that didn’t have to die. This could have been long over and we could be joining the rest of the world in preparing for the second wave.
Her death knocked me down.
I’ve had Jewish friends write that they are offended by people gathering and singing “Amazing Grace” for her or talking about her rejoining her husband or Scalia in heaven.
That doesn’t bother me.
They are doing it with respect and good intent.
Years ago a friend brought me with her to Rosh Hashanah services and the rabbi told a store of a non-Jewish friend of his inviting him to dinner. The friend knew the rabbi kept kosher and asked the rabbi what he was allowed to eat.
The rabbi told the congregation that he had gone to his friend’s house and enjoyed the meal.
“So what?” you ask.
Well, the meal couldn’t have been kosher because it was cooked in pots that weren’t and served on dishes that weren’t.
The rabbi explained to the congregation that his friend had gone to great trouble to make sure the food and preparation was ok with the rabbi, shouldn’t the rabbi make allowances as well.
If someone tells me they are praying for me, I thank them. I take it to mean that I am important enough to them that they are taking time to think about me. Prayers? I’m not crazy about that - but those are the pots and dishes. I thank them for the meal they have served in my honor.
“Amazing grace”? Talk of heaven?
Those are pots and dishes.
What are you going to do to honor Ruth and her legacy?
I’ve been text banking for a couple of weeks so that this election isn’t our last. I’ve been giving to candidates for senate from states other than mine.
I was going to donate half of my book sales for the month of October to causes for taking back the white house and the senate.
Indeed. I’ll donate half of my book sales on Gumroad from now through the election.
Essay from Dim Sum Thinking Newsletter 26. Read the rest of the Newsletter or subscribe