Category Archives: Religion

Hanukah Hay(na)ku

The Hay(na)ku form is a six-word tercet, with one word in the first line, and two words in the second line. Syllables are irrelevant. Multiple Hay(na)ku can be chained together.

I thought it would be appropriate to write some holiday-related Hay(na)ku.

Hanukah Hay(na)ku

flicker; families
sing Maoz Tzur.

With applesauce
or sour cream?

religious freedom:
Twirling toy tops.

gelt given
for dreidel playing
Tzedakah when
the spinning stops.

Poem Found in My Drawers

I realize this poem is out of season. Found it on a slip of paper in one of my drawers today.

Explaining Only Ruins It

There’s probably something wrong
with the workings of my brain.

I’ve decided to eat antipasta,
while watching Lon Chaney
on the Sunday following Easter.
I’m not even Italian,
or Catholic.

I am a fan of Victor Hugo, though,
and I like Italian food,
so it seems appropriate.

Not Offended

I long ago learned to take greetings and gifts in the spirit they were intended. There is absolutely no reason to be offended by something someone says or does for you, if their intent is good.

For the past several years I have participated in the annual “Secret Holiday Pal” gift exchange at work. An obvious, but appreciated, generic for “Secret Santa.” I enjoy giving (and receiving) gifts as much as the next guy or gal.

The way it works here is that there are two weeks of gift exchange. One is supposed to spend approximately $5 the first week, $5 the second week, and $10 on a final gift to be exchanged at a party on the final day. I am usually on an airplane headed south on the final day, but I leave the final gift for my holiday pal with someone else to present at the party, and discover what my secret pal left me upon my return.

So I returned to work today and saw my final gift.

There was a greeting card attached with a handwritten message:

“Another year of great blessing because of Christ Jesus awesome love.”

[I was a bit offended by the lack of an apostrophe after ‘Jesus’.]

While I believe the signer of the card has been working here for as long as I have, we don’t have direct business contact with one another. I have no reason to believe she knows I’m Jewish. I have no reason to be offended. (If I thought she did know, I would be offended, because her intent would be a clear one of proselytization.)

She also gave me

I have absolutely no reason to be offended by these!

Proverbs 24:17

It seems appropriate. He isn’t in the same category as Oral Roberts, Falwell, or Arafat, for whom I have posted this passage previously.

However, I’m seeing several people saying ‘good riddance’, and I know I just can’t. He’s got family and friends.

Proverbs 24:17.
If your enemy falls, do not exult; If he trips, let your heart not rejoice.

There is unto me

Something I learned today in Torah Study:

The Hebrew prhase: “Yesh Li” is usually translated as “I have” – however, literally, it means “there is unto me.” There is no Hebrew that literally translates to the English possessive with which we are common.

What does this mean? We possess nothing. Everything is on loan from G-d.

That doesn’t mean I will let you borrow the iPhone that is unto me.

Strength, Intelligence, and Prayer

Rick Perry’s recent ad

A parody/response by Rabbi Jason Miller (a Conservative Rabbi from Detroit)

And a post I wrote back in July of 2002

Prayer in Public School

I’ve never been able to understand the complaint I hear from some quarters that the right to pray in public schools is being attacked. I know I was able to pray in my public school, and did so often, before every exam I took.

I’m not entirely joking. I often did pray. Yes, silently, to myself. No teacher stopped me. And I can guarantee no teacher would stop someone praying in that manner today. And if a teacher did try to stop a student, that student should go running to the nearest branch of the ACLU. They would love the publicity they’d get in taking that school to court.

Every court case that the critics bemoan has been about **organized** school prayer. Prayer where a school, a teacher, or another student decides on a prayer that all other students are going to be forced to recite, or at least listen to, regardless of whether they want to or not.

Can’t the critics see the difference between voluntary, and forced? It’s the same difference between the concepts of love and rape. If someone doesn’t want to swallow something, it shouldn’t be forced down their throats.

Sorry about the graphic image, but I think it is an appropriate analogy. For those of us who believe, G-d is someone we have a very close relationship with. But our relationships differ. If someone suggests to us that we should have a different sort of relationship with G-d, and tries to force that relationship on us, a negative reaction shouldn’t be surprising.

Public Schools can definitely assign their students to read the Bible as a source for many literary allusions. I studied biblical stories (Old and New Testament) in my Junior year of High School English. (Freshman year we had studied Greek and Roman mythology). American History courses should definitely cover the effect religion has played on American History. From the Puritans, to William Jennings Bryan. From the Scopes trial to Rev Martin Luther King Jr.

But that’s not the same thing as teaching scripture, reciting the Lord’s Prayer, or posting the Ten Commandments.

You might be surprised to discover your translation of scriptural passages, including the 10 commandments, aren’t identical with the translation used by other religions. If a school picks one translation, isn’t it in effect telling students of other religions that their religion is wrong? Heck, you’d even have to pick between Matthew’s and Luke’s Lord’s Prayer. I can’t say I know what lies behind that controversy, but I’ve read that some prefer one over the other.

Matthew 6:5-6: “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men….when thou prayest, enter into thy closet and when thou has shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret….”

I rarely ever quote the Book of Matthew. But ironically, he makes a lot of sense to me in this passage

As it Shall Be

This poem was inspired by some recent conversations I have had with my fiancée concerning how we might handle the ‘holidays’ with future children. I should probably indicate that the future presented below was not one of the more serious options discussed.

As it Shall Be

Bobby, and Suzy, and Patrick
all get presents on Christmas.
They say Santa Claus
comes down their chimney
the night before
and leaves them cool stuff.
They can’t explain
how Santa doesn’t get burned

It’s not logical.
I don’t know who
gives them their presents
but I know where mine come from.

Shadrach, Meshach,
and that guy with the name
I can’t pronounce
I call him Abe.
They come down our chimney
not on Christmas eve
but the night before
the 25th day of Kislev
a month that appears
on a calendar that hangs
on the refrigerator
held by a magnet
with a six pointed star.

Many years ago
Shadrach, Meshach
and Abe
survived the fire
a mean guy
named Nebachasomething
threw them into
so it’s logical
they can survive
our chimney.

Dad says this guy
named Judah Maccabee
was the great great great grandson
of Abe, and Judah
fought against some Syrian Greeks
and saved our ancestors.

The Syrians are still bad guys
but they’re no longer Greek.

Mom says Dad is full of hooey
and that some Syrians
might actually be OK,
and Judah
isn’t really descended from Abe,
but Dad is a genealogist
so he would know.

Remember, Remember…

If there are any British readers of this blog, Happy Guy Fawkes Night

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t’was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli’ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England’s overthrow;
By God’s providence he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holla boys, Holla boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
And what should we do with him? Burn him!

Thoughts on Delta, Saudia Arabia, and SkyTeam

Over the past couple days I’ve seen several blog posts and news articles about Delta banning Jews from flights to Saudi Arabia. Like so many news stories today, I knew I was reading the reaction to the news, not the news itself.

From the original announcement in January

Saudi Arabian Airlines complements the SkyTeam network by offering customers access to destinations across the Middle East not currently served by SkyTeam members. Through Saudi Arabia’s major hubs of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, travelers can connect to new destinations on the Arabian Peninsula, the Indian subcontinent and Northern Africa. Examples are Alexandria, Aden, Colombo and Islamabad.

SkyTeam members will have access to new potential customers from the region as Saudi Arabian Airlines offers direct flights to Europe, Asia, Africa and the United States. Customers can transfer to SkyTeam partner flights via hubs such as Paris, Rome, Nairobi and New York-JFK. SkyTeam partner China Southern also offers regular connections to Asia from Jeddah.

What I pick up from this, contrary to all the news and blog reports I’ve seen in the past couple days following this Relgion News Service article is that Delta will not be flying to Saudi Arabia.

We might not know until 2012, but it appears you might take a Delta flight to New York, and then board Saudi Arabian Airlines and fly to Jedda. I think you can already do this. At least, New York City is on the list of destinations for Saudi Arabian Airlines. The difference, I think, is that once SAA is a part of SkyTeam, is that there is some cooperation in airlines referring passengers between each other, and individuals might get frequent flier miles good for both airlines. (Oh my!)


Also, something I have read in no other reaction on this issue — according to the quote from the original article in January, SkyTeam Partner China Southern already flies to Jedda. I assume they follow Saudi Arabian government rules and regulations. China Southern joined SkyTeam in November of 2010. Currently, Delta Passengers transferring to China Southern to fly to Jedda must abide by these rules. Right?

I’m not going to make the decision for anyone else whether or not to fly Delta. However…

Anyone who wishes to boycott Delta over this needs to boycott these other SkyTeam partners

Air Europa
Air France
China Eastern
China Southern
Czech Airlines
Kenya Airways
Korean Air
Vietnam Airlines

To boycott one, and not boycott the others, would be somewhat hypocritical in my opinion.

Personally…if we learn in 2012 that actual Delta flights are headed to Saudi Arabia, I will want a direct accounting from Delta as to what their policies are on who can board. I will also want to know if those same policies hold on all legs if the flight, let’s say, begins in New York, stops in Paris, and then heads to Saudi Arabia.

But if it’s Saudi Arabian Airlines (and China Southern) flying to Saudi Arabia — like they have been, are doing, and will do in the future regardless — I don’t care much if Delta refers passengers to them, or gets passengers referred to them by these airlines.


According to CNN

In its statement, Delta said it does not operate in Saudi Arabia nor does it codeshare (sell Delta seats on flights operated by other carriers) with airlines that serve that country. Delta said it has no plans to offer codeshare flights or other cross-airline benefits with Saudi Arabian Airlines.

So while Delta is a partner in SkyTeam with both Saudi Arabian Airlines and China Southern — their passengers do not get codesharing or other cross-airline benefits with either airline.


Delta’s agreement with the Saudi carrier allows passengers to book tickets on multiple airlines “similar to the standard interline agreements American Airlines, US Airways and Alaska Airlines have with Saudi Arabian Airlines,” the statement said.

So anyone complaining about Delta, needs to complain about AA, US Airways and Alaska Airlines, too.