Words and Thoughts of RFK, Jr.on the Death of the Rev. MLK, Jr.

January 11th, 2016 by
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, upon learning of the death of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr, spoke before a mostly African-American crowd in Indianapolis that night, these most moving words and thoughts, which I quote here, as they are equally lessons and wisdom for today, in this month of celebrating Martin Luther King Day in America.  It was a most extraordinary speech, and considered one of the greatest of all time.  The text is below, and here is a link to the video from You Tube, to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoKzCff8Zbs
– Howard


“Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’m only going to talk to you just for a minute or so this evening, because I have some — some very sad news for all of you — Could you lower those signs, please? — I have some very sad news for all of you, and, I think, sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world; and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it’s perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black — considering the evidence evidently is that there were white people who were responsible — you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge.

We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization — black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand, and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion, and love.

For those of you who are black and are tempted to fill with — be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.

But we have to make an effort in the United States. We have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond, or go beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poem, my — my favorite poet was Aeschylus. And he once wrote:

Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart,
until, in our own despair,
against our will,
comes wisdom
through the awful grace of God.

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.

So I ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King — yeah, it’s true — but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love — a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.

We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. We’ve had difficult times in the past, but we — and we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; and it’s not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.

And let’s dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.

Thank you very much.”

The Greatest Speech Ever – Robert F Kennedy Announcing The Death Of Martin Luther King


January 11th, 2016 by

I think we should start planning now to once again annually celebrate Evacuation Day in NYC on November 25th, for it is the day the last of the British troops departed from NYC in 1783 after occupying NYC for seven years during the Revolutionary War.  How many New Yorkers know NYC was once occupied, so here’s the scoop.

Though not celebrated officially in recent years,  Evacuation Day is an important Day in NYC history, and one I did not know about until recently.  The British evacuated NY Harbor on November 25, 1783, after occupying it for seven years, starting on November 16,1776 when George Washington retreated with his Continental Army.  Evacuation Day was celebrated annually until 1844, and then intermittently afterwards , as Thanksgiving Day became the priority celebration starting with Abraham Lincoln.

I call for an annual celebration of Evacuation Day in The Battery or Governor’s Island starting in 2016, where people stood, watched and cheered as the British ships left the Harbor back in 1783.  This would be 240 years after the British first occupied New York City, and 233 years to the day when they high-tailed out.


January 11th, 2016 by

Last Fall, I walked past the NYCHA Houses at 103rd & Second Avenue where  Police Officer Randolph Holder was fatally shot, literally the  week before, looking for the way to Randall’s Island, and was told by the Police Officer stationed there on the street with his van that he could not send me through the NYCHA Houses as I would risk being shot, as he said that’s how many guns and how dangerous it is, so he sent me a few blocks out of the way, to cross at 102nd and head back up to the bridge crossing.

So, I was horrified when I heard that Officer Holder was fatally shot.  He did not have the choice I had, and gave his life in carrying out his responsibility to chase down, and apprehend a man who  was in the process of suspected criminal activity.

To know that an area is such a danger, and that lives are at risk every day, I find unacceptable.  We must find a way to put an end to it.  I call for zero tolerance, and that in the name of Officer Holder, we bring together community leaders, and mandate a way to take those guns, and create a safe zone in those NYCHA Houses.


January 11th, 2016 by

To say this past year has been disconcerting, would be a grand understatement, as we watch leaders in the NYS legislature in Albany being indicted, and convicted.  Yes, integrity, honesty and holding an elected office should go hand-in-hand, and we can expect it, and demand it. Time to demand the highest of ethical behavior from our elected representatives.

Many ideas are being kicked around already, as it is expected that there will be new legislation again this year to try to deal with this condition.  Yes, it appears that it had almost become an accepted manner of behavior among some, so one can only assume that to some extent it is the culture of Albany that must be dealt with.

Let’s look to the real possibility of term limits, or a full-time legislature with no outside income, or a part-time legislature, or no fundraising during the legislative session, and zero tolerance.  And let’s put a much lower cap on giving, both for the individual, and most particularly for the corporate and LLC crowd, the special interests, including, yes, unions , with consequences if those guidelines are ignored.

Time for action, and we all do expect it now, in the 2016 legislative session.   The shame is that most of the legislators, many of whom I know well, are hard-working, dedicated public servants, who are living a difficult life being in Albany half the year involved in legislation, and yet expected to handle their district constituent responsibilities in the days they are home and throughout the  year, truly 24/7.  They are being seen in this broad-brush of Albany, and I would expect them to act, both for us, and for themselves.

Bagel Scoopers, Ruining NYC?

January 11th, 2016 by
When you grow up with bagels as a main-stay every Sunday and beyond, you do take the issue of scooping a bagel quite seriously, as a matter of fact you learn well what is a great bagel and what is only a fair bagel.  None compares with New York’s bagels, and I saw this article, and clearly  it was a question we all face.  And I would add, does the scooping of a bagel change the rating of a bagel, whether it scoops well or not?  The issues of our times.

Bagel scoopers are ruining NYC

January 3, 2016 | 12:26pm

Photo: Brian Zak (2)

Tucker Christon fondly remembers the bags of steaming-hot bagels his family shared growing up in Fresh Meadows, Queens. But when he moved back to the city 10 years ago, a nefarious trend had overtaken bagel eaters in New York: People were scooping out their bagels, as a way to cut down on carbs.

“That’s heresy!” he recalls thinking. “That’s bulls - - t.”

Heresy has its temptations, though: One Friday a few years ago, suffering a “bagel hangover” from too many carbs, he decided to give it a try. Christon become a convert.

“It’s still chewy, it’s still delicious,” he says of his regular order of whitefish, lettuce and tomato at Bagel World in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. “But the [counter] guy looked at me like, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ ”

Few things inspire more passionate disdain among New Yorkers — bagel scoopers are lumped in with people who eat their pizza with a fork or wear flip-flops on the subway. Part of the anger is aimed at the literal gutting of a food New Yorkers regard with beatific pride; part of it is the waste involved — all scoopings go directly into the trash.

Modal Trigger A Brooklyn woman says seeing her now-ex-boyfriend scoop out his bagel was a dealbreaker.Photo: Brian Zak

“It was the moment I realized my ex was a monster,” Lisa Rosenberg, a 27-year-old graphic designer living in Bushwick, Brooklyn, says of a guy she dated for about a year. “Even watching someone eating [a scooped-out bagel] is completely repulsive.”

The controversy is covered in a new book “Should I Scoop Out My Bagel?” by dietitian Ilyse Schapiro and Hallie Rich, out Tuesday.

“Scooping a bagel won’t leave you missing anything important,” they claim, “but it will help you cut excess calories and carbs.”

But the number of calories saved is minimal, other experts counter. “You’re saving maximum 75 calories by scooping it out,” argues nutritionist Marissa Lippert. That’s about as the same calories as an apple.

The authors recommend downright sacrilege: buying lower-calorie packaged bagels from the supermarket. “The taste may not compare, but we love our asses in our favorite jeans more.”

Jillian Steinhauer, a 31-year-old editor in Park Slope, Brooklyn, doesn’t buy that argument.

“In that case, why are you ordering a bagel?” she asks. “You may as well just eat the cream cheese on its own.”

Like it or not, scooping is now here to stay. Top bagel shops including Terrace Bagels, Bagel Pub, Ess-a-Bagel and La Bagel Delight scoop on request. Notoriously fussy Murray’s Bagels in Greenwich Village, which only changed its no-toasting policy in September, has a “Scoop Both Sides” option at registers.

“The customer comes first,” says Melanie Frost, chief operating officer of Ess-a-Bagel.

Dan Pashman, host of the WNYC podcast “The Sporkful,” describes scooping as a symptom of a larger alarming trend: The classic NYC bagel is disappearing due to “bagelflation,” caused by transplants who come to New York accustomed to huge, doughy rolls masquerading as bagels.

He’s come up with a compromise: trifurcation — slicing the bagel twice across and removing the middle disc.

“You improve your ratio of spread to bagel,” he says. Still, a real New York bagel is meant to be work, not a health food.

“If you eat two bagels,” he says, “your jaw should be a little sore.”

Hanukkah in Myanmar

December 22nd, 2015 by

'L-R: Rabbi Baskin, former commander in cheif, Canada, US, Israel Ambassadors, Speaker of Parliament, Yangon, daughter of former Prime Minister U NU , Chairman of Myanmar Travel Association..'Hanukkah is a special time of year, and Sammy Samuels filled the only remaining Synagogue in Myanmar to the rafters, as he takes on the mantle of leadership in the year after the passing of his wonderful father, the late Moses Samuels..  They single-handedly have carried on the tradition of Judaism in Myanmar, and having visited with Moses at the synagogue in Yangon a number of years ago, I am so thrilled to see this beautiful synagogue in such a special brightness of the holiday, now led by my friend Sammy.

Sammy Samuels's photo.“It was such a beautiful evening to host Ambassadors, Government officials, former commander in chief, leaders from Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, Bahai and Hindu community and many other distinguish guests at the Yangon Synagogue. In other part of the world getting together of all religious leaders would be impossible but in Myanmar it’s real and it’s possible.

We miss my father very much but I am sure he will be very happy to see that we continue to keep the Spirit of Hanukkah alive in this beautiful city of Yangon.”

Sammy Samuels's photo.  Sammy Samuels's photo.


Manal Faisal al-Sharif, banned candidate in Jeddah

December 22nd, 2015 by
I am really so thrilled with my friend Manal, who is on the front lines of fighting for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia.  Here’s her words from a Saudi paper right before the recent elections.

Manal Faisal al-Sharif, banned candidate in Jeddah

I think I was banned because people complained that I was using the media to promote my campaign. But I wasn’t. I simply tried to give women information about how to vote, the process. I tried to raise awareness about the vote. I wanted to encourage them to go to the centres with the correct papers. I guess someone got angry and made formal complaints.

Manal Faisal al-Sharif

Manal Faisal al-Sharif
In any case, I am still very excited about the elections. I’m proud of my colleagues, neighbours and friends. I’m on WhatsApp groups with women and there is a real sense of solidarity. Some are like training centres for how to go and vote and participate. It’s a big step towards equality.

Tomorrow, I will vote for a female candidate because I believe she has a good programme. She will help the area. But my biggest fear is that no women at all will be elected.

Saudi Arabia does have very conservative segments of society, but we have people in the middle. And I think those that encourage women are in the majority.

Women can effect change, and I think by having women in these positions will build bridges with the people who hold ultra-conservative views.


December 15th, 2015 by

“Roll your eyes all you want, but you have to have a vision for what you want.  You have to picture it in your mind.”

– Lady Gaga, giving advice to someone on getting his ex back, with the same method that she used to carry out her single minded ambition, visualizing early on, of one day playing Madison Square Garden.

Life Lessons

December 12th, 2015 by

You can learn continually from listening to others, so each month I will give you a few LIFE LESSONS, as I term it.  – HT

Myanmar (Burma) Jewish Tradition Continues

December 10th, 2015 by

Moses Samuels single handedly carried on the hundreds of years’ tradition of a continuing Burmese Jewish community, and passed on this year at age 65. His son Sammy Samuels now is the voice of the community, and will be opening the most beautiful Congregation Mesmuah Yeshuah synagogue, where he was married this year, for the High Holiday services. I was there, I met them, got to know them over the years, and they are true Jewish heroes of our people.


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