It was the sixth session of the class, but like most teachers, I knew very little about the personal backgrounds of my students, Richard, Simon, and Leon. I was beginning to know each of them as students of Genesis and as open-minded young Jews, ready to learn all they could. But I had no clue as to their family backgrounds and as to whether or not they were married or had families of their own.
I grew up, as I imagine most of you did, believing in the basic principles of democracy. My parents and grandparents deeply appreciated the freedoms that they experienced in the United States. My mother especially raised me to cherish the values of our country. Among the beliefs which I firmly held from as far back […]
I was several minutes late for the class, and all three students, Richard, Simon, and Leon, were present and already involved in what seemed to be quite a heated discussion. Simon, usually the most reticent of the three, was the one who was talking the most.
It was a magical summer, the kind that many of us experienced when we were very young and remember fondly for the rest of our lives. I spent that summer, as I did most of my childhood summers, with my family in the Rockaways, a beach resort in the outer borough of Queens, in New York City.
It was advertised as one symposium at a major psychology conference. It was to be a discussion about memory and forgetfulness. But it turned out to be one of the most intense and instructive days that I have ever witnessed.
For the past several weeks, certain ideas have dominated my consciousness. Don't worry, these are not obsessive thoughts, and I am not a candidate for a psychiatric diagnosis. Rather, whenever I prepare a speech lately, or sit down to write a column such as this, I can't help but think about a particular set of political principles.