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Provocative thoughts

Provocative thoughts I recently ran across:

• A letter to the New Yorker from Devin Schindler:

“It’s noble to agree with Dostoyevsky’s observation that ‘it is better to be unhappy and know the worst, than to be happy in a fool’s paradise.’ But it’s not so easy to follow this advice when one is watching a loved one repeatedly relive the pain of loss brought about by well-meaning ‘truth-tellers.’ There is no dignity in living a life of constant emotional pain, particularly if that pain can be minimized through the judicious use of therapeutic lying. We do not place upon children responsibilities that they are incapable of understanding or meeting. Why, then, would we impose on dementia patients the responsibility of processing, and then reprocessing, ad infinitum, the pain of loss?”

• A paragraph from Mishpacha by Jonathan Rosenblum:

“A suffocating political correctness has not yet taken hold in Israel. The threats to Israel are such that its citizens cannot afford to abandon common sense. Airport security personnel here prefer figuring out who is a potential threat to requiring everyone to equally remove their belts and shoes.”

• A sentence from The Williamsburg Charter, an essay on religious liberty penned in 1990:

“Too often . . . religious believers have been uncharitable, liberals have been illiberal, conservatives have been insensitive to tradition, champions of tolerance have been intolerant, defenders of free speech have been censorious, and citizens of a republic based on democratic accommodation have succumbed to a habit of relentless confrontation.”

• A comment from the Columbus Jewish News by Cliff Savren, a former Ohio resident who moved to Israel:

“A headline this month in the Jerusalem Post caught my eye. It said 25% of Americans Jews polled in an American Jewish Committee survey said a thriving Israel was not vital to the long-term future of the Jewish people. The suggestion that one in four Jews in the US doesn’t think what happens here in Israel is vital to the Jewish future is not only surprising. It’s utterly divorced from reality. What planet do these people live on?”

• An excerpt from an obituary on I. M. Pei in the Economist:

“Once Jackie Kennedy had daringly picked him to build her husband’s library in 1964, he became such a feature of American’s cultural scene, owlishly sipping his favourite red Bordeaux, that it was easy to forget that only the rise of the communists in China had kept him in America at all. . . his imagination had been shaped less by Le Corbusier or Walter Gropius, though he met and admired both men, than by his family’s ancient gardens at Suzhou in Jiangsu. There, as a child, he would wander winding paths through fantastic rocks towards pavilions, unconsciously absorbing sightlines and approaches, light and shadow, as well as the framing of views. He did not forget.”

• An excerpt from “I Didn’t Earn Slavery Reparations, and I Don’t Want Them,” by Burgess Owens, in the Wall Street Journal: “I am an entrepreneur who has lived the American dream — having received a world-class education, built businesses, raised a remarkable family and, unlike most white Americans, earned a Super Bowl ring. Because of work I’ve never done, stripes I’ve never had, under a whip I’ll never know, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Elizabeth Warren and others want to give me free stuff. Never mind that it will be taken from others, who also dreamed, worked and sacrificed to earn it.”

• From The Yogi [Berra] Book: I Really Didn’t Say Everything I Said:

“A reporter asked me: ‘What would you do if you found a million dollars?’

“I’d see if I could find the guy that lost it, and if he was poor, I’d give it back.”


“Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t go to yours.”

Copyright © 2019 by the Intermountain Jewish News

Hillel Goldberg

IJN Executive Editor |

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