By Jonathan Miller, on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 8:30 AM ET
New Year’s Resolutions?
If you are confused, then you are looking at the wrong calendar.
According to the Hebrew Calendar, today is the first full day of Jewish New Year.
And to all of my Jewish friends, I wish you a very happy and healthy new year.
Today, Jews all over the world celebrate Rosh Hashanah (“head of the year”). On this High Holy Day, we celebrate the Earth’s creation, and we begin a ten day period called the Days of Awe, which culminate in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
These ten days are always very special to me and remind me why I so appreciate my religion. While there are some important communal celebrations, the High Holy Days are primarily a time for personal reflection, reassessment and introspection: What do we regret about our actions in the past year? Whom have we hurt or offended? How have we failed to honor our responsibilities to our faith and to love our neighbors as ourselves?
Most significantly, it is a time to chart a more righteous path for the coming year. Unlike the secular New Year, in which some of us make resolutions to lose weight, exercise more, or strive for a promotion; for the Jewish New Year, we try to self-analyze and figure out how we can better honor God, family and friends. We also try apologize and seek forgiveness for our own mistakes, while promising to do better in the months ahead.
Accordingly, all of next week in The Recovering Politician, our contributors and I will be sharing our own New Year’s resolutions. And whether you are Jewish, Jew-ish, Gentile, or with no religious beliefs at all, I encourage you to do the same.
Just send us your New Year’s Resolutions to staff@TheRecoveringPolitician.com by Saturday at 10 PM. They can be a sentence or two; or if you prefer, send us a 1500 word essay. Or anything in between.
Thanks, and we look forward to reading your resolutions in next week’s The Recovering Politician.
Is sending our kids to single gendered schools really a good idea? Recent studies show that children actually may not perform better academically, and that these schools may be inadvertently reinforcing gender stereotypes. Could single gendered schools actually be detrimental to society? [Science Daily]
The first United States Census accounting for married same sex couples was released on September 27. It reports that there are currently 514,735 same sex household and 131,729 married couples. But exactly how accurate is the Census Bureau? [USA Today]
Do women with more responsibilities have a lower sex drive? A study done in Sub-Saharan Africa examined the connection between a woman’s position in her household and the frequency of which she has intercourse. Is this study potentially applicable to women in the United States? Could women with more stressful jobs have a lower sex drive? [Science Daily]
Frighteningly, the number of young people that are concerned about having safe sex is on the decline. What kind of impact does our education system have on these attitudes? [New York Daily News]
By popular demand…OK, the RP’s mom insisted…we have embedded below video of the RP’s appearance yesterday on Fox News.
As you will watch, the anchor puts in a great plug for The Recovering Politician web site, giving the RP an opportunity to shamefully repeat the mantra he’s been using on the speaking circuit for the past three years: “Hi, I’m Jonathan, and I’m a recovering politician…”
If you are interested in learning more about the No Labels movement that he references — and/or want to sign up for next summer’s No Labels convention in Orlando, Florida, click here.
By Jonathan Miller, on Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 11:00 AM ET
I’ve been touched by the outpouring of emails I received yesterday about the passing of my dear friend Owsley Brown, for whom I wrote a short tribute yesterday. He obviously has touched so many people’s lives in such a profoundly positive way. Click here for a lovely obituary in his hometown newspaper this morning.
As promised, I wanted to share with you the ways in which you can honor his memory, according to the wishes of his family.
If you are in the Louisville area, you can pay respect to Owsley and his family at the following events:
Thursday, 9/29, from 3-6 PM: a public visitation will be held at The Speed Art Museum, 2035 South 3rd Street, on the University of Louisville campus.
Friday, 9/30 at 10 AM, his funeral will be held at Christ Church Cathedral, 421 South Second Street, in downtown Louisville.
Owsley Brown II lived a life that mattered, one defined by his generosity, compassion, and love of his neighbors, particularly those most vulnerable. If your life was touched by Owsley like mine, or if his story moves you to follow in his example, I strongly encourage you to support the organizations that I linked above. Thank you.
By Ronald J. Granieri, on Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 8:30 AM ET
Last month I offered a meditation on sports in general and my devotion to the Buffalo Bills in particular under the motto, “Root for the Laundry.” In it, I emphasized that it is devotion to the team as symbol rather than any particular player that gives sports meaning, at least to me.
Well, the last month has been interesting. The Bills did not win that first preseason game against Chicago, which had inspired my post, and looked so awful in the second preseason game the following week in Denver that many professional observers (not to mention the self-flagellants within Bills Nation who populate most Internet discussion boards devoted to the team) concluded that this team was likely to be the worst in the NFL this year, if not in history. One columnist, seconded by a chorus of disappointed Buffalonians, called the Buffalo roster “a crumbling monument to neglect and bad personnel moves,” and predicted nothing good for the immediate future. Words such as “disaster” were thrown around, and cynics even claimed to espy a dark conspiracy of conscious destruction a la Major League, preparing the way for the team to move to Los Angeles or, worse, Toronto.
Then, something happened. The last two preseason games turned out to be encouraging, which was nice, though skepticism reigned as the Bills approached their regular season opener in Kansas City. To the delighted shock of Bills fans, and the plain old shock of most other observers, however, the Bills crushed the defending AFC Western Division champions, 41-7, one of the most dominant opening day performances in the history of the Bills.
But wait, there is more. In the following week’s home opener at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Bills fell behind 21-3 at halftime to the Oakland Raiders. The skeptics and naysayers claimed to have been right all along, and began listing the team’s many weaknesses. Then the second half began, and the Bills scored a touchdown, followed by another… then another. Indeed, in five-second half possessions, the Bills scored touchdowns on every one, playing enough defense to walk away with a stunning 38-35 victory, and the team’s first 2-0 start since 2008. Sprits were very high indeed on web sites such as twobillsdrive.com (the very best place to go for Bills news and conversation, period).
Read the rest of… Ron Granieri: Here’s to the Laundry… and the Guys in It
In recent years, there has been speculation that younger generations are moving away from religion and embracing a more secular lifestyle, particularly during their college years. Is the university system to blame? If no, what is the explanation? [The Atlantic]
What does it mean when a college or university is “religiously affiliated”? Can you attend if you do not practice the same religion or if you do not practice any religion at all? What about separation of church and state? [University Language]
The decision to attend a religious or secular university is a big choice for many high school students. What are some of the benefits of picking, for example, a Christian university? [College Express]
“Birthright” is an international program targeted at young, semi-religious college students that pays for a free trip to Israel for any Jew between 18 and 26. How did such a program come to exist? How is it possible for them to sustain such a program? Why did anyone even create the program? Learn more about it on Birthright’s homepage. [Birthright Israel]
The classroom is a place where students are told they can make their voice heard. But when can a university tell a student their beliefs can no longer be shared? Or what about telling them they need to change their beliefs? Last summer, Augusta State University decided a graduate student had been inappropriately voicing her position on homosexuality both in and outside of the classroom, and threatened to expel her if she did not change her ways. Read here about the case and watch a video of the student’s account. [Fox News] [Video]