When There Are No Words

When There Are No Words

In the aftermath of a mass shooting of 11 Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue, my sorrow and outrage lead me to ask: Where is the safe place? When there are no words, I breathe. I take in deep breaths, let them out slowly, until the words come. They come to me reluctantly, and then I have to breathe again until they flow more easily. When they cease to come, I breathe again, and finally, I take a break to make çay (Turkish tea) and drink it while I breathe. People often ask me what I do to keep on writing. Am I ever at a loss for words? Often, I am these days and in these dark times. When the letters scrolled across my television screen, coldly breaking the news that 11 people were shot to death at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, I thought of my father’s...

Where is my pride?

Where is my pride?

I was born in America, and America is my only citizenship. Am I proud to be an American? Yes and no. When I was a little girl, I was raised to respect and love my country. It was the 1950s, and most of my friends and their families felt the same way. For some unknown reason, like many other white children raised in the North, I did not connect to slavery as something northern. Those down there in the South were responsible. I was unable to connect the dots until the rise of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. My friends always included people of color. I knew nothing of the trials that people of color could endure in this country. Due to the fact that I am Jewish, I was obsessed with Anne Frank, and what could possibly happen to me. But I...

Facing History: What Do We Do About Injustice?

Facing History: What Do We Do About Injustice?

While in Boston last month for a book signing of Myopia, a memoir, I learned about an interesting organization called Facing History. It was started by a Boston elementary school teacher, and it has now become a global organization. Unfortunately, Albuquerque, New Mexico has no chapter. My new friend, Dr. Anna Ornstein, goes into Boston schools and speaks to junior high school and high school students about the Holocaust, racism, prejudice and what we can do about this now and in the future. As a survivor, she delivers a powerful message. She and her husband, the late Dr. Paul Ornstein, both survived the Holocaust with only one parent, she with her mother and Paul with his father. However, Paul was separated from his father for the duration of the war, and Anna’s...

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