Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

An Older Man’s Perspective on Yom Kippur: The Jewish Day of Atonement

By Robert M. Katzman © October 10, 2019

I believe that the central and very big idea of Yom Kippur, is essentially to ask for forgiveness as a community, all over the world, not only for one’s self. To atone collectively. 

Asking God to forgive another’s sin’s is an amazing concept if you think about it in reference to when these ideas were assembled–perhaps 3,000 years ago–when it was simply kill or be killed. 

Asking to be forgiven for other’s unknown sins even if you personally were not involved, to me is cosmic and all embracing. Part of the elusive concept of my being Jewish, is accepting the existence of evil thoughts and deeds among us, no matter how reprehensible, so that we as a People may be allowed to continue to exist and still attempt to bring enlightened thought to the world. And also to pass on the otherworldlessness of this idea, to our next generation. 

I am slightly educated compared to many, in the conventional sense of that. But I have been thinking about meaning, about being Jewish, for half a century. 

We are a tiny Biblical people endlessly wandering through the dangerous modern world, now dodging bullets and missles instead of spears and arrows. But this idea, this sense of responsibility is as big as the Universe.

At nearly seventy, a number so big to achieve it was inconceivable when I was a child, I understand that serenity is always out of my reach, that living longer means all my relatives and friends slip away like the leaves now failing silently from millions of trees. 

The steep price that must paid for being allowed a longer life is continuing loneliness and isolation from my former peers, realizing that so many shared memories cease to be shared. 

That the pack of carrying so much lived life becomes impossibly heavy to carry, and that the only way a writer avoids being crushed, is to accept that his or her mission, responsibility, is to leave a record. Each word lightens the pack, and any lies told will only make the pack heavier. 

I do not think being a writer is a choice. I think it is a responsibility assigned at birth, and that an individual may take a lifetime to realize this fact, as I have. 

I wasn’t supposed to sell magazines and newspapers or all the other stuff I did instead. I was supposed to leave a record. 

Every day, every word expressed, makes my pack slightly lighter. Or perhaps, I just imagine that. 

Perhaps that is the compensation for the extra years allotted to me. 

Eventually, we all may have our questions answered. 

And another Yom Kippur, my 69th, slips away.

Remembering Rosh Hashanah in the 50’s…by Robert M. Katzman

By Robert M. Katzman © August 17, 2017

Remembering when Rosh Hashanah in the 50’s

Emptied out the South Side of Chicago

Creating a sea of frozen steel

On the northbound Chicago Highways

Racing the setting sun

To celebrate the

Jewish New Year

In September or October 

(Read on …)

Writer Robert M. Katzman Interview with Marshall Smith

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bob at 1:20 pm on Thursday, August 29, 2019


My Left Hand: Swollen Blue Veins like the Louisiana Delta…by Robert M. Katzman

My left hand
Worn and wrinkled 
Swollen blue veins like 
The Louisiana Delta
Fueling its strength
Has been burned, broken 

(Read on …)

The Illusion of Ferocity…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Bewilderment,Life & Death,Rage! — Bob at 7:21 pm on Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Illusion of Ferocity by Robert M. Katzman © August 25, 2019

Opening the heavy public door

Of the small town’s antique shop

Windows so thick with dust 

The Sun must hunt for scratches

To slide a beam through

(Read on …)

Pain Pill…I Tried to be Nice…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Gritty Katzman Chicago Stories,Liberation Fantasies,Life & Death,My Own Personal Hell,Rage! — Bob at 5:31 pm on Monday, August 12, 2019

by Robert M. Katzman © 2004

                        While I was visiting my sister, Bonnie, in 1981 in a hospital where she was recovering from thyroid gland cancer surgery, I happened to pass her endocrinologist in the hall.  We had met before in her room, and he recognized me and greeted me in the distinctively charming way doctors do when they stumble across some one who has some slight imperfection in their appearance.  He said to me:

“Why don’t you fix your face?”

(Read on …)
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