Monday, May 30, 2016

Speech Development...

Top of the afternoon to all...

You are all aware of my dislike of earbuds.  I believe that the constant use of them is a danger.  A couple of weeks back, I was riding my bicycle on the trail along the Finch Hydro Corridor.  There was a young woman ahead of me.  I started ringing my bell to alert her of my presence.  There was no response.

I decided to stop the bicycle and talk to her.  She seemed to understand my concern about the danger of not being able to hear what is going on around her.  I wonder whether she changed her practice.

A related matter has piqued my interest.  When my children were still in the stroller, Jennifer and/or I would take them out for a walk.  We did not have cell phones.  We did not have text capability.  I used to narrate the walk to the kids.

I watch now.  People are out with the strollers.  One hand is pushing the stroller.  The other has the phone in hand and is doing whatever with the phone.  No one talks with the child in the stroller.

I wonder what the implications for speech development are in this regard.  Kids learn to speak by hearing what is going on around them.  If parents are reading texts and e-mail and not talking to their children, there is crucial developmental time that is lost.

Have a good evening.


Monday, May 23, 2016

The Cardinal's Pushke...

Top of the evening to all...

It has been a while since I have written.  I hope that all of you are doing well.

Jennifer and I are presently attending the Rabbinical Assembly in New York City.  We have discussed the future of the Rabbinical Assembly as rabbis take on roles well beyond the pulpit.  We have discussed the new, tour de force Shabbat siddur that has just come out.

We also had a plenary with His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan from the Archdiocese of New York City.  The Jewish community of New York City has always had a good relationship with the Archdiocese.  Some years back, John Cardinal O'Connor came to the installation ceremony of the New York Board of Rabbis.  He gave a gift of a red yarmulke to the incoming president.  Cardinal Dolan sits on the advisory panel for the Jewish Theological Seminary, where both Jennifer and I received our semikhah.  It was a wonderful discussion about religious leadership in a secular age.  Cardinal Dolan suggested to us that while we live in an age of secularism, that did not mean that all secularists were anti-religion.  His thoughts were further that on some level, way more people than not, even amongst the secularists, seek a language of spirituality.

As a gift, the Rabbinical Assembly gave him a pushke - a tzedakah box - a charity box for those with no Yiddish or Hebrew background.  It had an inscription.  It was lacking one thing.

My father-in-law has always said that a pushke should never be empty.  On the one hand, one might think that we should seek to empty it at every chance.  On the other hand, tzedakah should be a constant, never allowing us to rest on our laurels.  As such, the minute it is emptied, we should put money into it.  Knowing my father-in-law's thoughts (and agreeing with them), at the end of the plenary, I walked over to the Cardinal's pushke and put a dollar into it.  He appreciated it.

Have a good night everyone.