It seems to be a season of dying. It’s probably my age—almost 60—and the age of many of my friends. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that mortality is in the air.
It’s not that I haven’t experienced death before. My father at 69, my old friend Sigrid at 36, my sister-in-law at 40. Cancer got them all. Now cancer is getting my good friend Marilyn.
Marilyn has late stage ovarian cancer. She just turned 60. She had two rounds of chemotherapy, and the doctors thought they had things at bay. But the cancer came back fiercely. There is no more treatment for her; just digging in at home with the comfort of friends, the right pain meds and medical marijuana. Palliative care. Read the rest of this entry »
I was never a Facebook “poster.” That is, until the latest Israel-Gaza War.
I watched as the tensions escalated on both sides of the conflict, sensing what was to come. First, there was the kidnapping of the three teenage settler boys in the West Bank. Immediately came the cries from the Israeli government spokespeople, echoed by the media and the American Jewish mainstream: “Hamas is responsible for this terrorist act. We must and will protect our children!”
Then the rampage began. The Israeli military proceeded to make mass arrests throughout the West Bank, taking back into custody prisoners who had been released in a recent hostage-for-prisoner deal. Houses were broken into without warrants, Palestinian youths protested with rock throwing, Israelis responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. Finally, a Palestinian teen, Mohammed Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and burned to death by extremist Jewish settlers.
The downhill momentum seemed unstoppable and the war began. Hamas fired rockets into Israel and Israel responded with aerial and naval bombardments of Gaza. An Israeli land invasion followed. These events predictably were accompanied by a worldwide surge of anti-semitism.
As world opinion mainly condemned and demonized Israel, Israel itself asked: “What are we supposed to do when rockets rain down on us? What would you do?” Read the rest of this entry »
On the beaches and in the hip cafes of Tel Aviv, it is easy to escape the feeling of life at the edge of a precipice. Israelis refer to this modern Mediterranean city as “the bubble”: a place where one can imagine an Israel of secularism and safety.Read the rest of this entry »
My good friend and colleague, Paul, strongly disagreed with my last blog. In that article I described what I believed to be a paradigm shift taking place in health care: a cultural movement away from allopathic medicine, now our dominant mode of healing, to a medicine that is more inclusive and integrative.Read the rest of this entry »
I recently returned from attending my second NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show. This year, as in the past, I was working with MusiCares, the charitable health and human services arm of the Recording Academy (GRAMMYs).
MusiCares offers support for musicians in need. Among other benefits, it helps them pay their rent, subsidizes the cost of medical services, and provides free support groups for musicians who are dealing with staying clean and sober. Read the rest of this entry »
Daniel Cassidy was a Professor of Irish Studies at New College of California as well as the founder of that program. A well known Irish-American activist and winner of the American Book Award in 2007 for his book “How The Irish Invented Slang”. Danny passed away on 10/11/08 from pancreatic cancer. He was my friend and this is my Eulogy to him:Read the rest of this entry »