Monday, December 24, 2012

T'was the Night Before Christmas

T'was the night before Christmas and all through the home,
Not a creature is sleeping, from their beds the kids roam.
And even though they were tucked in hours ago,
Every ten minutes, another something they ask for.

Water, a hug, one more story, or the potty,
What seems so genuine is really quite naughty.
"Good night, sleep tight, or no Santa can come."
And Mama fills her mug with a bit more spiced rum.

Grandma gave the children too many Christmas cookies,
And Papa is hoping to get some holiday nookie.
Mama passive aggressively attends to the wrapping,
Ignoring the others still making their yapping.

After a long month overfilled with holiday cheer,
The end of the parties, treats, and presents was near.
Dream Lites, Pillow Pets, and Unicorn Stompeeze
Half the gifts under the tree were As seen on TV.

The tree is trimmed with ornaments white and red,
And many memorializing the pets that are now dead.
Candy canes, tinsel, and aerosol cans of snow,
Garlands, popcorn chains, and more plastic crap wrapped in bows.

Platters of Christmas goodies, and stocking above the fire,
counting down the minutes until the tantrums transpire.
All the stuff stuff and more stuff is making me blueish.
But wait, what's all this for, I thought we were Jewish?

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Plea to the President

Dear President Obama,
On Friday 20 children were killed by a Bushmaster rifle, all of them were ages seven and under.  These children will never graduate high school, know the pride of landing their first job, nor the total overwhelming love of holding their newborn baby. Their lives stopped just when they learned to ride a bike without training wheels.
As the father to two beautiful daughters, I beg you to look at this tragedy not only from the eyes of a president, but also from the heart of a parent.  This is your opportunity to make the country a little safer, not only for Malia and Sasha, but for their children and their children’s children.  Now is your chance to make your legacy in the name of every child.
Based on the Children’s Defense Fund report released in March of this year, 2,793 children died by gunfire in 2009 (the latest records available).  Eighty-five of these children were mere preschoolers.  In addition, “More children and teens died from gunfire in 2008 and 2009 — 5,750 — than the number of U.S. military personnel killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
I also have two beautiful daughters.  I am thankful that they are too young to understand such tragedies.  On Friday I picked my oldest up from kindergarten and hugged her an extra moment or two, grateful to feel her warm body and see her smiling dimples.  For that moment she was safe.
 But, it was only for a moment.  There are still 310 million nonmilitary firearms in the US, forty percent of which were sold by private or unlicensed retailers. So, for now, every time my children go to the movies, to temple, and to school, I will worry that one of these guns will find its way into the hands of a madman.
Americans do not have a more urgent need than the rest of the industrialized world to keep such firearms in our homes.  When our children are thirteen times more likely to be killed by a gun than those in other developed countries, can we really defend the right to purchase semi-automatics at gun shows? 
Today, another eight children will die from gun violence.  However, today we can also take the first steps to making our schools, malls, parks, and neighborhoods safer so that other first graders may have the opportunity to accomplish everything that was stolen from those twenty precious children at Sandy Hook.
Every Parent

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Mother's Love Knows No Borders

A few weeks ago, while scrolling through Facebook, a picture caught my eye. It was posted by a friend, who had shared it from a friend of a friend's timeline.  It showed two mothers, one Israeli and the other Palestinian.  While the Israeli mother was holding her child in a sweet embrace, the Palestinian mother was toting her child on her left hip and at the same time hoisting a semi-automatic into the air with her right hand.  The caption read, "Can you find the difference?"
I was immediately shocked to see such divisive statement made by someone I know to be both thoughtful and generous. But this photo was neither.

The nationality of a person has nothing to do with their ability to love a child. When a baby is born, whether in Israel or Palestine, a mother is made. When she holds that baby for the first time, her heart expands so large that it is forced to live outside her body, staying alongside the child wherever she goes. In a matter of minutes a mother's fantasies of personal goals are replaced with hopes of what her child may become.

From the moment our children begin crawling, as mothers we become vigilant about the safety, wanting to ensure that the world around them is both secure and welcoming. We hope that life brings them love, adventure, and excitement. Most of all, we wish to watch them grow to experience all these triumphs and trials.  

But nowhere in the heart of a mother does she wish to have her child placed in the midst of warfare. There is no worse nightmare for a mother than to spend her days afraid for the welfare of her child -- the child whose pain is felt far more excruciatingly than her own.

So far over 160 Palestinians and 6 Israelies have lost their lives in this current conflict. Each of these victims was once a baby, held by his mothers who wished only the best for his future. Unless we can see beyond our fears and act beyond our loyalties to arbitrary borders, we cannot rise above the hatred that poisons this world for all of our children.

My children rest at night unafraid of missile strikes and air attacks. They know nothing of suicide bombers and settlements on occupied territories. As the winter holidays approach, I am increasingly grateful to be raising my children in an environment free of combat. But, I ache for those mothers less fortunate.
This is what the caption should have read.
There is No Difference
Palestinian Mother
Israeli Mother

The photo of the Palestinian mother was taken from the site Occupied Palestine.