It's the morning of the last day of the year 2011 A.D., but not for many Jews. A.D. stands for Anno Domini, which means "in the year of our Lord" and that intones Jesus. Instead it's the last day of the year 2011 C.E., which is the more secular-sounding designation of the Common Era.
When I was in elementary school in Detroit, we would all sing Xmas songs. You were advised not spell it the other way because that would mean putting in "his" name. When all of the 5- to 12-year-old Jewish students dutifully sang "Silent Night" at a holiday assembly, our ending would come out "La-La our savior was born."
According to many, including every campaigning GOP presidential candidate, this is a Christian nation; no, it is an Evangelical Christian nation. In their speeches, debates and advertisements, they all stress how often they pray, how they regularly attend church services, and how faithfully they believe in GOD. If Joe Lieberman were running again, he would spell it G-D, for Orthodox Jews always omit the "O" in respect to the holy one.
It's interesting that all of the GOP hopefuls, and those that are hopeless, emphasize that they attend a church of their choice, but to many Evangelicals, Mitt Romney chose the wrong church.
The popular presidential vote in 2008 for Obama and all other candidates totaled 131,313,820, and 682,379 individuals in Iowa voted for the GOP candidate John McCain. On Jan. 3, it is estimated that fewer than 120,000 Iowans decided who the GOP frontrunner would be. That is why the GOP presidential candidates from Romney to Gingrich to Ron Paul are relentlessly courting those social conservative voters. They are kissing babies and butts, making unrealistic promises that they will have to repent for making if they manage to still be around after New Hampshire.
All of the action, or lack of action, is being followed and fostered by a huge, disparate contingent of what-minutiae-do-we-cover-next members of the media. Thank G-D, there's only 10 more months of this before politicians will be ramping up for the next election.
When The End Is The End
This week I received a phone call from Detroit that Wallace Sheldon Shanbrom had passed away. I knew him as "Wolf," his Hebrew name, and we kept a friendship going over a 55 year period, and at times, thousands of miles apart. He was an intelligent, articulate and zany individual with writing to match. I can attest to the latter when I look at the hundreds of letters I have saved where the writing goes up, down, sideways and backwards, yet the thoughts were always meaningful.
Wolf firmly believed in what he was doing, regardless of how far removed it was from mainstream thinking. He was, in fact, his own man, a distinction many have failed to achieve.
He never really "published" his writing, saying he didn't want to go through a publisher's editing process that might diminish what he fervently believed in and wanted to say. He would duplicate his writings and hand them to others and me when we traveled, and asked us to drop them off at libraries and universities.
Wolf said that he was "mechanic-nisht," and didn't understand the electronic world, nor cared to try and do so. He was truly a Luddite, anti-computer individual, but when I went on line and checked "Wallace Wolf Shanbrom" on Google, I found some of his writings listed there.
His life is not solely represented by what those boxes contain. It is impossible for anyone to select exactly what it is that they have experienced and accomplished as a true representation of their short time on this side of the earth.
It is not for a rabbi, a priest, an imam or atheist to close out our time here with a eulogy, using recently garnered data from family members and friends. What we do is best remembered in the hearts and minds of those we touched along the way.
However, I plan to have a videotaped eulogy written by, edited by and delivered by myself, and let others do their own editing and revising of my life story afterwards.