1st chapter, paragraph 1

My ancestors were good, religious Jews, a proud and stalwart people from Russia and Eastern Europe who in my grandparent’s generation immigrated to America. Residing in Jewish tenements near the East River in turn-of-the-century New York City, my relatives remained immersed in Old World Jewish tradition. My maternal great-grandfather was a Hebrew scholar. I was expected to marry a good Jewish boy, and, yes, a doctor would be nice. Yet in spite of their strong Jewish heritage, the religious beliefs of those in my parent’s generation broke down when long-held traditions and sacred ritual melded into intellectual pursuit. We became cultural Jews.

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Theme Redefined, One Step Closer.

While reading the first and last paragraphs in my 67,000 word manuscript today, I choked up and almost started to cry.  Why? Because what I wrote resonated in my soul.  What I wrote is not only the root and major theme in my memoir, it is the root and major theme in my life:  the search for and return to my Jewish roots through Jesus Christ the Messiah.  Yes, this journey took me through some significantly toxic religious experiences, but those experiences don’t define me.  

Thank you for your opinion

Thank you to everyone who participated in my one-sentence-overview survey.  Your comments helped me realize that I need to rework the book’s current theme (toxic faith).  Albeit, my story includes some amazing experiences in a toxic church, my life is richer and more colorful than those isolated experiences.  I need to define a theme that incorporates more of  that rich and colorful aspect.

The Screech of a Speech

The first ¾’s of my speech went well last night. After practicing for over a month, words flowed from my mouth with the ease of clover honey. I engaged my audience with carefully chosen words, eye contact, and well-calculated humor.

Then I saw the yellow light. In a 5-7 minute Toastmaster speech, the yellow light means one thing: the speaker is one minute over the minimum time and one minute from the maximum. But I was waiting for the green light to tell me that I had just enough time left to bring the grand finale, the most poignant part of my speech.

I never saw the green light.

From the moment I saw the yellow light, my mind took a skid. I struggled to recall those well-practiced words, but they had retreated to places beyond my grasp. Then the red light appeared. I had 30-seconds remaining.

Wait! I wanted to tell the audience. Can I press rewind? I spit words out, trying to catch up. But it was too late. I crossed the line into overtime. My speech was disqualified.

Like a good sport, I smiled and congratulated the winners. I graciously thanked the people who complimented my speech. But I knew what the speech could have been.

Oprah’s Master Class

Fascinating.  I was glued to the tube during Oprah Winfrey‘s  Master Class program tonight.  Her childhood, her career, her conviction about the value of each and every human being.  Wish I took notes.  She spoke (and I paraphrase) about purpose, how one knows when they are doing what they are meant to do. Because, she said,  it feels right; it feels like home. She exhorted everyone who didn’t know their purpose  to find it. Determine to find your purpose.

I know that my ultimate purpose is to love the Lord God with all my heart, mind, and soul and to love my neighbor as myself. But how?  How do I touch others?  I touch them through writing.  At least I try.