Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

On Emotional Cruelty and Loss at Christmas Time…by Robert M. Katzman

by Robert M. Katzman © Sunday, December 22, 2019

Written in response to Peggy Boyce’s letter of pain on Mike Stickler’s Facebook page: No, Peggy, I don’t know you but I decided to respond. Perhaps it will give you something you want.

I am Jewish, not into ritual, but deeply spiritual, and now old enough to have experienced the loss of so many people that I have forgotten some of their names.

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(1967) Bill & Ellen & Bob & Larry & Hugh & Jan & Brian…by Robert M. Katzman

By Robert M. Katzman  ©  Halloween 2011

What follows is the quintessential Chicago story of hardship and friendship. It all happened on the South Side, and my story covers decades. Why not dive in and get lost for a while? Every so often, as present civilization seems to be crashing down around us, and civility with it, good happens.

Why this is always a surprise mystifies me, but just as there’s more darkness in the Universe than light, perhaps that out-of-whack ratio is mirrored here on Earth with evil overwhelming good.  I don’t want to believe that is true.  I have evidence to the contrary that spontaneous good both exists in the most modest of people, and that it is either an inherited trait, or a mutation.  

Though my story was written on Halloween, it is more goodhearted than all the witches and goblins who surface that day, and is much more of a Thanksgiving Day story, at least to me.  Let me introduce the cast of this absolutely true little drama, which begins in frigid winter, 1967 and ends in sunny June 2011, forty-four years later.

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Coming ‘Round the Bend, Approaching Seventy!…by Robert M. Katzman

By Robert M. Katzman © June 10, 2019

Conceived in mid-July ‘49

Born late in April of ‘50

Been running hard ever since

Trying to catch up

Born into chaos and diamonds

I somehow chose chaos

And the strong

Sometimes brilliant

Individuals dwelling within it

***************

Rearranging my priorities

Disheveled by design

I never let clothes define the man

If people only perceived

My dog-eared cover

Then maybe they missed 

A very good book

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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. 

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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 

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On Prejudice in America 2019…by Robert M. Katzman

On Prejudice, in America 2019
By Robert M. Katzman © July 21, 2019

Overall, my family, too, can be told go back to where we came from, except when you read where we came from, well, we’ll need a lot of planes flying in different places.

As far skin color, gee, well…, um, some white like doves, some as dark as the bark of an old oak, some ruddy red like a deep sunset, some olive colored, like me, I suppose, which frankly my very very “white” Norwegian/Danish wife thought was very attractive. Or she kissed that olive skin often enough over 42 years. I don’t think Joy ever saw color.

While she was alive, if someone made some stupid prejudiced remark about her grandchildren, or yours, that hidden Viking axe was never too far away from her to erupt into rage. If my Joyce were alive, she’d make a hellova president. Even dead, she’s way better than the sewer of hate we’re immersed in now.

Silence isn’t golden. That’s why all your brave and tough grandparents, came to America in he first place. Would they admire their grandchildren today?

My original post starts here:

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