Tuesday, October 30, 2018

One Voice

I got to know Pittsburgh through my daughter, Natalie's husband and his parents. They warmly welcomed us to Pittsburgh several years ago and they showed us around Pittsburgh, including Squirrel Hill, a vibrant, welcoming, and supportive community of 15,000 or so that had a special sense of togetherness, stability, and warmth. I felt at home from the first time I’ve visited there.
I don’t know Jeffersontown, Kentucky, a suburb of Louisville, but I suspect it’s an equally vibrant and welcoming community.
These two communities came together tonight at a local synagogue, Rodef Shalom, through a community service for the victims of the two tragic shootings that took place in these communities this past week. The synagogue was overflowing with representatives of numerous religions, many community organizations, government officials, public servants, and so many residents of the community.
There were tributes to the law-enforcement officers, and other first responders who helped to save lives. There were words of healing, hope, and caring; there was no negativity, no political statements, nothing divisive--just unity. There was poetry, prayers, and plenty of music, all filled with flowing harmony. The music was anchored by a moving rendition of "One Voice" written by Ruth Moody (popularized by the Wailin' Jennys), and sung this night by Robbie Schaefer of the group, Eddie from Ohio.
Though it was senseless violence that brought us together, it was so sensible that we gathered as one community, and one voice, unified, positive, and welcoming to all.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

The World Serious

While the Boston Red Sox -- LA Dodgers matchup in the World Series is ideal in many respects, I miss the plucky, innovative and scrappy playing (and managerial moves),and the smaller market (over the top) fan enthusiasm of the Milwaukee Brewers and the Houston Astros.  And then there was Game Three...

In the first two games of the Series, the home town Red Sox handled the visiting Dodgers with workman-like precision showing why the Bosox won 108 games during the regular season; and why they had been able to easily top the champions of last year, the Astros, in the playoffs. But now it was back to Los Angeles, for a key third game (an especially critical game for the hometown Dodgers). And the Hollywood plot-writers could not have crafted a more thrilling drama of epic proportions--last night's eighteen inning classic. The skills, the strategies, the heroic efforts (and the less than heroic efforts), the contested plays, the many plate-protecting fouls hit to all parts of the Ravine, and the stunning pitching and fielding, if not clutch hitting filled the plot, and sub-plots with attention-grabbing (close to eight) hours of excitement. I was glad to witness this memorable game (even if only by TV viewing) that might well be discussed for years to come.

The next night--and the fourth game--was a different story.  What started as a pitcher's duel ended as one pitcher running out of gas and the other pitcher being lifted out of the game too early.  As a consequence, the hitters started to strike through and as the score went to four to four in the ninth, there was the prospect of another extra inning epic game.  But that brief flirtation with history, ended abruptly as the Boston team went back to its expert and uncanny bursts of expert and timely hitting and the Dodgers now went from almost tieing the Series to facing elimination--what will tomorrow bring. 

Another year and counting

As I recently came upon the eve of another birthday, I had the honor of doing a “state of the heart, mind and soul” presentation at the Department of Education called “Phil-Law-sophy 2.0.” It was a journey through everyday life and the law, by way of the mixing and mashing prism of my Paterson childhood, the law, education, public service, the endless pursuit of justice, rock, jazz, blues, and classical music, technology, research, art, literature, baseball, football, basketball, current events, and history (with a focus on the early America, the Civil War, World War I, and the Holocaust), while looking towards the future. It was sprinkled lightly with humor and rhythmically with music, and it was a good way to take stock and share, as I welcome a new year.  

I got some useful feedback on the presentation and thought about updating it and making it a yearly occurrence, taking stock of where i have been and where I want to go, facing the past and future with an accounting of sorts--which we owe ourselves and our colleagues.  It is good for the soul, if not for the heart, mind, and body.