Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Am I My Sister’s Keeper?…by Robert M. Katzman (written in 2004)


Am I My Sister’s Keeper? 

by Robert M. Katzman Copyright 2004

(First, this note. I am my Father’s son. But he was the son of Eastern European immigrants, people who fled from Jewish genocide in the Russian Czar’s Pale. They were terrified defenseless people. But their son Israel (1912-2000) grew up in the dangerous West Side of Chicago’s gangs in the Thirties who fought with the Polish and Irish gangs to hold their turf. Then three and a half years in the Pacific fighting the Japanese with General MacArthur, getting wounded but determined to stay in the fight. He was NOT a terrified Jew. An American who was very different than his parents, and who transferred that sense of justice and defiance to me in his many stories over my younger years. In many ways, I became an extension of him, of what he believed. Of what his sense of justice was. But I never dreamed that connection would lead to this story. Welcome to my very strange world, but believe it.)

 

In the winter of ’79 I received an unusual call from my father, Israel, who was living at that time in Sherman Oaks, California. My home was just south of Chicago.

My Dad was very distressed, I could hear it in his voice, because my older sister, Bonnie, had called him, in tears, he said because some foreign creep was stalking her at the school where she was a teacher. She was five months pregnant at the time with her first child, and the unnerving situation, my father told me, was only adding to her distress.

(Read on …)

Reflections on Joyce, my Queen for a Day: March 26,2017…by Robert M. Katzman

 

On Sunday, March 26th, 2017 Joy and I married in a formal Jewish ceremony for the first time among very close friends and relatives from many places and who arrived there on short notice.

The place, a beautiful and very large home was offered to us to do this by a lifelong friend of Joy’s, our Rabbi demonstrated the real meaning of tzedakah and made everything we hoped to achieve that day possible and people who came there last night had in many cases never met each other before. Our friends don’t frequently meet our families, or much of them. Not this time.

The many small children there who were sometimes strangers to each other immediately became a miniature mob tearing around the big house. If you think about that, it is amazing how fast that happened. I guess you have to grow up to become hesitant about getting to know someone. Very cool, children.

Our four adult children, Lisa, David, Rachel and Sarah, worked together and constantly, without instructions or supervision to make the day be all they wanted it to be for a woman they treasure. A gift in and of itself.

If warm feelings were gold, Fort Knox would have been a nugget compared to what we felt among all of them.

(Read on …)

Battle Cry of the Anguished American Immigrant!…by Robert M. Katzman

(Originally posted on July 21, 2008, then reposted March 10, 2017 in frustration after the 2016 election, where insanity began to rule what was once a last best refuge for people seeking a chance to live, to be happy)

 

To me, being an American is an idea.

A concept.

An agreement of equals.

A willingness to tolerate the differences in others.

A celebration of the beauty of cultural diversity.

 

While maybe originally, ours was a government,

Of the Protestants, By the Protestants and For the Protestants”

We’re bigger than that today.  A numerically insignificant People like my own family, Jews, now represent less than 2% of the total American population, but I believe that our Constitution includes me when I read it.  I don’t live in fear, here.

Soon, there will be more Moslems in America than Jews, but I don’t care.  They came here to escape the same killing chaos that brought my family here, as well as looking for a new start and a fair chance to become successful.  I welcome them.  Besides, when the hating is missing, they may remember that we’re linguistic cousins who speak two versions of the same Semitic language, as do the Assyrians, who are Christian Arabs.

(Read on …)

Some Things I Can Still Do…by Robert M. Katzman

Some Things I Can Do

By Robert M. Katzman © Christmas Day, 2016 

Roast chopped raw onions, pregnant with water, in olive oil at a high temperature, enhanced with garlic, black pepper, basil and five Asian spices until the edges char and people in other parts of my house inhale the enticing aroma of crunchy consumable sizzle.

(Read on …)

David’s Star…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Depression and Hope,Jewish Themes,Life & Death,My Own Personal Hell,Rage!,Social Policy and Justice — Bob at 9:11 am on Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Copyright June 20, 2016

 

Hanging on a thin necklace

Around my neck

It’s always there

A silver star

David’s Star

(Read on …)

Bribing a Chicago Judge with a Sawbuck…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Cops,Gritty Katzman Chicago Stories,Humor,Jewish Themes,My Own Personal Hell,Politics — Bob at 6:37 am on Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Bribing a Chicago Judge with a Sawbuck

By Robert M. Katzman

Copyright © January 2, 2014

 

In the spring of 1965, in Hyde Park, an area seven miles south of Chicago’s central Downtown area and home of the University of Chicago and jazz, my father, Irving, felt it was time to explain corruption in the Chicago Machine and teach me the basics.

 

I was fifteen, and if you can imagine the setting, we’re in our small apartment sitting on either side of the scarred kitchen table. I was listening and playing with the salt and pepper shakers at the same time. He may as well have been explaining etiquette customs on Mars to me. I had no clue about what he was going to say.

(Read on …)

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