Janusz Korczak Monument, Jewish Cemetery, Warsaw. ©2018 Beth Ben-Avraham. From Wladyslaw Szpilman’s The Pianist: The Extraordinary Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939-45: One day, around 5 August , when I had taken a brief rest from work and was walking down Gęsia Street, I happened to see Janusz Korczak and his orphans leaving … Continue reading He Would Not Leave Them Alone
“The Embrace” Some of my fondest memories as a child are of my mother’s singing to me. She was born and grew up in Appalachia. Most of the songs she sang were the hillbilly, bluegrass, or country songs she knew and loved. One of them, “The Knoxville Girl,” has an intriguing history, but I can’t … Continue reading Life’s Crooked Road
Playground (Children Playing). Jeffrey Smart, 1951. My father was a civil engineer. He worked in the design and construction of public works—highways, reservoirs, dams, that sort of thing. He traveled to wherever the job was, bringing his family along with him. We lived in thirteen states by the time I was six years old. When … Continue reading What Are You Afraid Of?
Eugène Atget - Pont Marie. Wikimedia Commons. This morning, I made myself French Toast. I followed a recipe for it that I found in Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker. Even though I had to divide all of the ingredients by four, and math is not my best subject, my … Continue reading My Breakfast in Paris
In the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Ta’anis, we find a story about a man named Abba Hilkiah, a rabbinic sage who lived during the first century C.E. He was the grandson of another sage, Honi, the Circle Maker, famous for his ability to bring rain when needed. In the Land of Israel, this was a highly … Continue reading A Real Possession
Photo by Mike Burke on Unsplash. In the third chapter of the biblical book of Genesis, we read an intriguing story about a man and a woman attempting to avoid blame for an act of willing disobedience. They've done something which their maker has forbidden them to do. Now, whether or not you believe there … Continue reading Don’t Blame Me
When I was young, perhaps five or six years old, a religion teacher was once trying to teach my classmates and me about sin, what it was, what it looked like. She held up a clean white sheet of paper to represent our souls, pure and spotless. She then took a pencil, drew circles on … Continue reading Where Does Sin Go?