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“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 Daily Picks
"THE CAPTURE of the last territory controlled by the Islamic State on Saturday was far from a final victory over the movement, as U.S. commanders and diplomats were careful to emphasize."
"How a Gay Teen, an Internet Nazi, and a Late-Night Rendezvous Turned to Tragedy. When self-loathing meets the new age of online extremism."
"Benjamin Netanyahu ignored the intelligence operations of Beijing and Moscow for too long. Now, the Israeli government is finally paying attention, but it could be too late."
"Former Nick Jr. kids are now reckoning with this all-grown-up intrepid explorer, whose obstacles are a lot bigger than Swiper the Fox. And that is a hard pill to swallow."
"At the end of last week, the three-month Treasury bills' yield rose above the yield for 10-year Treasuries for the first time since 2007, prompting warnings that the U.S. is headed for recession later this year or in early 2020."
"A team of researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology attempted to answer some questions about voting with the help of artificial intelligence (AI)."
"The experts I spoke with all said that the internet had changed the way conspiracies spread, but conspiracies, both dangerous and petty, have always been with us."
"Pop culture today is obsessed with the battle between good and evil. Traditional folktales never were. What changed?"
"Trustful parents allow their children as much freedom as reasonably possible to make their own decisions. They trust their children’s instincts, judgments, and ability to learn from mistakes."
"Arugulagate. In 2007, Barack Obama was in Iowa, speaking as a presidential hopeful to a group of farmers who were worried about the stagnation of their crop prices while America’s grocery bills continued to rise."
"To say that information exists in and of itself is akin to speaking of spin without the top, of ripples without water, of a dance without the dancer, or of the Cheshire Cat’s grin without the cat."
"Ted Cruz replaces the Democrats’ muddled manifesto with a clear and unequivocal exploration of the hatred of Jews and its particular evils."