Archive October 31, 2018

Three Healers Who Listen: Jerry

Smiling doctor with bowtie

“Do not console a person whose deceased relative lies before him” Pirke Avot 4:23

Well, now we have begun to bury them; the time of consolation for the families and community of my murdered friends has begun.  They are no longer lying before us and we must begin to fix their memories in our minds.

Among the dead October 27th were two men who epitomized the title of this site: “Healers who Listen.”  A third still clings to life and with God’s help may recover to help the rest of us heal.  Over the next three days I will remember each of them. Read More

Look Up

Look up.

Look up to the sky, said God to Abraham, and count the stars, if you can.  That’s how many descendants you will have, how numerous your people will be.

Look up u to the sky, said the last generation of doctors to this one, and count the stars, if you can.  That’s how many lives you will save, how many hearts you will touch, how many stories you will change. Read More

“I Will Bless Those Who Bless You”

It must hurt when someone who was a victim of South African apartheid turns to you and tells you, “Go back where you came from!”

Or when you and your four children and your pregnant wife end up in an Indonesian prison for want of enough money to pay a bogus fine that is only being charged because you’re not from around there.

Or when you dodge the Malaysian police every day running between your three jobs that they don’t want you to have, all so you don’t have to go back to the military slave labor camp across the border. Read More

More than Homeless

I spent a lot of Wednesday thinking about homelessness.  There’s a gauntlet of folks who line Centre Avenue outside PPG Paints Arena during large events like the Elton John concert I attended that night.  Some identify as veterans, others have service dogs parked by them with signs saying, “homeless and boneless,” and still others rely on their talents with a saxophone, but all are trying to work the crowd for a few coins or bills.  I took my change from Roz at the concession stand in singles, so I could tip her and have ones left to hand to the folks I passed on the way out of the concert. Read More

Make the Wind Blow

Bereshit 5779

October 5, 2018


Separation is a good thing.  I don’t mean divorce or being away from your kids or breaking up the band.  I mean the fact that thing A is over here and thing B is over there, and they stay that way.  Air belongs over here, in the lungs; an unpopped popcorn kernel belongs over there, in the stomach.  There is a structure in the body, the epiglottis, whose entire purpose is to keep it that way, but sometimes a little boy, who shouldn’t have been eating popcorn in the first place, gets a little too excited over his forbidden treat and accidentally sucked a kernel down the wrong tube.  Mercifully, the x-ray says otherwise.  Epiglottis 1, popcorn 0. Read More

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