The Horns The Devil Gave Me

“Where are your horns? Don’t all Jews have them?”

47 years later, this question still haunts me. 

I was 5 years old.  My family had just moved from New York to Virginia.  That’s when I met Keith.  For those first few days after the move, Keith and I were inseparable – exploring my new neighborhood, riding Big Wheels, and playing games.

One day Keith heard that we were Jewish and asked to see my horns.  The horns on my head.  The ones the Devil put there.  All Jews have them.

My mother tried to correct him, with no success.  She even went to talk with his mother.  That made it worse.  Keith was not allowed to play with Jews.  It is a tough lesson to learn at 5, or at any age.  I did not understand what happened.  I just knew I did not have my friend to play with.

This was one incident in my distant past.   There was no violence.  No real hatred; just profound ignorance and hurt.  I cannot imagine what it would be like to have that thrust upon someone every single day of their lives.  Mistrusted, hated, abused, persecuted, for their religion or their skin color, or anything.

All these years later, while it has not been directed at me personally, the hatred and ignorance still exist.  Even worse, hate crimes and anti-Semitism are on the rise.  I am not a practicing Jew.  I do not go to temple.  I married outside my faith (or my grandparent’s faith.  We never really lived it). It does not impact me directly, but I feel it personally.

For my friends of color and everyone in black and brown communities who feel this ignorance and hatred and persecution and fear every single day, my experience pales in comparison.  I will never comprehend the reality you are living but I can listen, learn, empathize, and stand alongside you.

No one should live in fear because of the color of their skin or the religion they practice.  No one should die for those reasons, either.

I share my story not for empathy or to make any type of equivalence, but to join in solidarity with those who have been marginalized, mistreated, and maligned for too long.  While I cannot change the past for any of us, I can work with you to change our future.


Happy New Year

As 2016 draws to an end, I look back on a year filled with great friends, great controversy, great surprises, great loss, and great times.
I’m incredibly thankful for the diverse group of people I call friends, and even more thankful for the passionate discussions, debates, and conversations we have.  I am fortunate to have a wide array of perspectives, opinions, thoughts, and ideas that I can listen to.  I’m equally fortunate to have an audience to share my own perspectives with, as well.
Whether you believe we need to make America Great Again, or that America already is great, we have plenty of work ahead of us. Until no child dies of cancer, or goes to bed hungry, or has to sleep in a bathtub for fear of bullets, we have work to do.  Until no parent has to choose between healthcare and a roof over their head or food on the table, we have work.  Until our students and employees can compete successfully in a global economy, we have work.  We may differ on the methods, but we all agree that too many Americans suffer, too many are marginalized, and too many don’t feel that they truly have unalienable Rights.  Until every citizen believes that these truths are self-evident, and that we can learn to respect and understand those who are different than we are, we have work.
We are not a Nation of one, we are not all alike.  We have different backgrounds, beliefs, cultures, languages, thoughts, and ideas. We may be different, we should be different, but we can be united.
As we begin a new year, a new administration, and a new era, we shouldn’t put aside our differences, but embrace them.  It is only together that we can make a better America.
I look forward to learning more from each of you in 2017, and sharing my thoughts and opinions with you.  While I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions, I do resolve to listen more.
May 2017 bring you, your families and friends, health, happiness, and prosperity.  Embrace the new year with the excitement you had as a child, without fear, but with hope.  A new year doesn’t necessarily bring change, but with an open mind, an understanding heart, and a passion in your beliefs, we can make things better.
Happy New Year!