Best Of The Web
“My generation believed that upon reaching our domestic and professional goals, we were more or less set for life. And so, by the end of the 1960s, I thought I was out of the shoals with only clear sailing ahead. During that decade, our three children were born into a city so safe there was no need to talk of safety at all. From the time they were in second or third grade, they rode the municipal buses on their own. Once when Billy, lost in thought, missed his stop, landed at the end of the line, and started trudging back, he was spotted by a woman who invited him in to phone us. We got him home scarcely more than an hour later than usual.
Of course, such incidents could cause us momentary anxiety, as could the children’s every illness and accident, but the physical part of child-rearing kept getting easier. That we were the first generation of parents to be blessed with vaccines and antibiotics greatly reduced both disease and distress. The chore of sterilizing bottles gave way to simple soap and water, and diaper services—already a welcome advance over home laundering—gave way to disposables. Upon discovering frozen fish sticks in the supermarket, I felt I should compose a special prayer of gratitude.
With our children in a new Jewish day school founded by David Hartman, with me embarked on my professorial career, and with Len competitive at squash and collaborative at work, we had a wonderful life. In those years, departing from the irregular practice of my parents, we also began observing Sabbath eve at home, I lighting candles, Len reciting kiddush. I was no good at public worship, but we needed a context to give thanks for all that came to us unearned. The eve of Sabbath became that ceremonial acknowledgement.
During the Vietnam war, Canada’s political irrelevance served us well; it was good to be on the sidelines. But this is not to say we were wholly unaffected by events across the border. “What do we want? Freedom! When do we want it? Now!” Pent-up demands of the kind that brought about the 1964 Civil Rights Act also saw the rise of the Black Panthers, Timothy Leary promoting mind-altering substances, the O’Neills (Nena and George) selling the benefits of “open marriage,” and radical student revolutionaries trashing their deans’ and professors’ offices in the name of “free speech.””
JJ Editor's Picks
"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."
"The presidency of any particular incumbent is relatively short... but the precedential consequences of impeaching a president without complying with the specific provisions of the Constitution “as it was written” are enduring."
"After news that a judge allegedly provided sexual favors to Bar Association president Efi Nave in exchange for her appointment, several politicians said in their responses that the Judicial Selection Committee needed to be the “Holy of Holies.”"
"Two new documentaries take on Billy McFarland and his disastrous music festival... the secret villain of this story all along: the subtle menace of social media marketing."
"Eating out, ordering in. Throw in a bagel here, a coffee there, and it all adds up. "It's definitely a challenge for people my age to save on food.""
"Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. "
"Here in the good old U.S. of A, the third annual Women's March planned for Jan. 19 is in serious trouble, thanks to irreconcilable political disagreements."
"Nature, however, with its endless cycles of death and rebirth, fascinated her. Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself."
"Modern parents haven’t stopped playing favorites; they’ve just stopped doing it openly. Though few parents today will admit they have a favorite child, studies indicate that about two-thirds of parents do."
"The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised."
"Sphen and Magic looked like they would make great, diligent, careful egg-warming parents. They made the biggest nest, and they sat on it constantly."
"How YMHAs, followed by synagogue-centers, and finally JCCs have tried—in different ways—to balance Judaism and Jewishness, by bringing Jews together in intellectual, spiritual, and physical pursuits"