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A Sign Upon Our Hands

The laying of tefillin is one of the most important Mitzvot (precepts) of the Torah: “You shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they should be for a reminder between your eyes.” — Deut. 6:8   Preface October 10, 1901 Dorothy Goldman, great grandmother of Ethan Zucker, was the second child born […]

The Golden Rule

Preface   October 1979 “On Rosh Hashanah it is written; on Yom Kippur it is sealed, who shall live and who shall die…..” In that moment I carefully slipped my one fingered hand into its favorite place (my Dad’s hand) during services at our synagogue, Sinai Temple. I had been staring at the Belber girls, […]

Driving My Way

Preface January 2004 The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) employee stared at me, becoming visibly upset, then at John, then me again and spoke matter-of-factly, in the same tone as if he was ordering a burger at a pick-up window. “You’ll need to complete the entire course, plus show us you can handle a “K” […]

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

  Preface July 1977 “Oh, they built the ship Titanic, to sail the ocean blue, and they thought they had a ship, that the water would never go through…”   I looked around and instantly knew I was going to like this place.  The counselors kept belting out one after the other crazy camp songs while we […]

Be The One

Preface   June 1989 “When the bus arrives, be sure to make sure the girls in your cabin feel welcome.  This place is highly competitive during the day as you all know, so it is crucial the campers can come back every evening feeling comfortable and relaxed.  You’re going to need to help them feel comfortable, […]

Be Free Now Pretty Bird

Preface June 1977 “Teddy, let’s play!” I had held up my two one-fingered hands, bending them up and down and offering my right hand, lovingly named ‘Cutlet,’ for my younger brother to play with.  Teddy grabbed my left hand and responded, “Does Filet want to play too?” From the moment I realized that the hand […]

Struttin’ My Stuff….on TV

“When I’m out walkin,’ I strut my stuff—let me go on…like a blister in the sun. Let me go on…big hands I know you’re the one.”  –Blister in the Sun, Violent Femmes.   Preface July 1985  “Meg, let’s do it!” To me, the proposition was a no-brainer. Nancy and I had met only the week […]

Cruelty, Sympathy, Empathy

Preface Cruelty (July 1995) “Did you see her arms? She’s a freak!” I was walking down the Upper East Side, hoping I would run into no one for a different reason. I had just come back from a morning at the gym.  My face was still flushed and even blotchy, hair up in a ponytail-twisted […]

The Right Kind of Tip

Preface   March 1974 In some respects, it was quite ironic. As I stared in awe of a stunningly beautiful building surrounded by four large free-standing minarets, its dome covered in glistening white marble, I noticed an Indian boy of about six near me whose gaze was locked not on the mosque, but on me. […]

Mad Men, Mad World

Preface   January 1969 “Sorry, we don’t actually know what this is.” It had been only an hour since my delivery, and the doctors were speaking to my father. Not only was having a baby delivered with only one finger on each hand, shortened forearms and one toe on each foot a total shock to […]

Blinded By Vision

This blog post is dedicated to my husband John, the love of my life, in honor of his birthday today.   Preface February 1976 “Who is that?” I was watching the Grammy Awards with my parents, leaning back on the couch in Urbana, with my legs propped up on my dad’s lap. A man of […]

Learning to Adapt: Lessons from Cinderella

Adapt: “To become adjusted to new conditions, to become habituated to change.” Adaptation: “The changes made by living systems in response to their environment.”   Preface April 1975  “And the Prince’s guards scoured the land, in search for the beautiful girl who had danced with the Prince at the ball.”  It was past my bedtime, […]

The Feel-Good Gene

Preface   October 2008 Within an hour, the initial stress on my mind would seem ridiculous.  It was the end of October, and I woke up early wondering what costume Ethan, our six-year-old and oldest of three would wear for his all-school Halloween Parade. Already his experience at his new school started out rough, having […]