KT495 Twin NY Weekend

EPISODE 495-KT495-Twin-NY-Weekend



I am grateful that this weekend I’m in New York city visiting my twin grandchildren.  The occasion is a wedding and I wish a hearty mazal tov to Daniel and Devorah who will be wed tomorrow.  But the highlight of the few days I will spend in New York is, undoubtedly, the twins.  I’m hoping to spend as much time as possible with them in these few short days.  I am also excited to see my daughter and son in law, but it’s tough to compete with Sammy and Evie.  Evie has a full head of red hair and is energetic and gets very upset when Sammy steals her toys.  Sammy’s overflowing head of black curls is ready for the cover of Baby Vogue and all he wants to do is walk – though he isn’t quite there yet. They are 11 months old and very aware of their surroundings and fantastically cute.   I am so happy to have this opportunity to spend a few days with them and be at a family simcha – celebration.  

KT494 Imagination of a Child

EPISODE 494-KT494-Imagination-of-a-Child



Last week I took a friend of mine to a park.  My friend, Natan, is four years old. We climbed and played on the rocks, the bridges, and slides. But mostly we fought off the pirates that were attacking our shores.   Natan’s imagination went wild with thoughts and worries of pirates attacking us. We were successful in capturing the pirates and subduing them.  We were victorious in allowing our ships to pass safely through the harbor. But the threat of the pirates was real and had to be addressed.  The imagination of children is fantastical and wonderful.  Children are free to imagine threats and conquer them. I only wish life was so.  I wish that we all could allow our imaginations to run wild with fantasies like a four-year old.  We might find that it gives us new perspectives on life that we could never have thought of before.   Thank you Natan for the reminder of the beauty of imagination.

KT493 Untold Holocaust Stories Coming to Light

EPISODE 493-KT493-Untold-Holocaust-Stories-Coming-to-Light



There are so many Holocaust stories yet untold.  If I hadn’t undertaken the research and writing of Sam and Esther Goldberg’s story of survival, their story would be lost to the world.  Others are coming out with stories of their families.  A new book, Eva and Eve: A Search for My Mother’s Lost Childhood and What War Left Behind, tells the story of Julie Metz’s mother who didn’t tell her story during her life.  Metz dug deep into her mother’s family story and discovered so much of what happened to them under Nazi control.  Her family was from Vienna and her grandfather, Julius Singer, escaped death because he owned a company that manufactured unusual fan-shaped paper envelopes that were used to package powdered medications.  As Singer was on route to Dachau, he was pulled off the train and returned to help run the “essential” factory.  Ultimately, Singer secured a visa to the United States.  As people dig into their families’ past, there is much to learn and much to understand.  I’m looking forward to reading Metz’s book and learning about her family’s story of survival and secrecy.

KT492 The Inevitable Cliff

EPISODE 492-KT492-The-Inevitable-Cliff



Towards the end of the podcast I discussed yesterday, Russ Roberts and Michael Easter talk about death.  Michael traveled to Butan and met with a Budhist there who suggested that Americans don’t want to think about how we are all walking, marching, running towards a 500 foot cliff that we all have to go over.  There are two approaches to the inevitable cliff: we can pretend that there is no cliff; or we can remember that there is a cliff and integrate that into our lives. By realizing that there is a cliff, Easter suggests, your behavior can change.  Perhaps you will say things differently to people with whom you are walking towards that cliff. Maybe we’ll slow down and pay attention to the beauty of nature around us.  Maybe we won’t take things for granted as often.  Roberts stated that “mortality helps you savor the precious things in life.” And we should realize that this “ride” is going to end and ask, “how do I want to spend my time on this ride?”  

Let’s think about that.

KT491 Comfort Crisis

EPISODE 491-KT491-Comfort-Crisis



The host of Econ Talk, Russ Roberts, interviewed Michael Easter about his new book Comfort Crisis.  Easter poses the question – have our modern comforts been good for us?  He suggests that our comfortable routines make it harder to notice – to pay attention to what we are doing.  If we step outside of our routine, we can realize what we have to be grateful for.   To break his life routine, Easter went on a 33-day cariboo hunt in the backcountry of Alaska. He certainly got out of his routine and his comfort zone.  His life for those days was living in freezing temperatures. If he needed water, he had to hike to a stream and fill up his water bag and carry it back to his camp.  Bathrooms – there were none.  Food had to be rationed with intake of the minimum calories per day.  “We lose sight of the comforts we have that make life easier for us,” Easter said.  “We take these everyday things for granted – but when you live without them you appreciate them in a whole new way.”  Amen.