Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

The Black Cashier, The Jewish Bookstore Owner and the Crazed Customer…by Robert M. Katzman

August 16, 2020 © by Robert M. Katzman

(Originally written 11/18, this revised story has new meaning to me with the possible election of a President with Irish ancestry and his VP with immigrant parents from East India, Jamaica and with a Jewish husband, to boot. Only in America could this happen, yet still, the hate persists. This true story relates how I handled hate when it came to visit me, 30 years ago. May healing and understanding occur in America if they are elected.)

(Read on …)

May Death Pass Over–But This Time, All of Us…by Robert M. Katzman

by Robert M Katzman © April 1, 2020

(Dedicated to a truly good and noble person, Bill Skeens)

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Desolation and Isolation

Staring through a window

From a quiet dim kitchen

Stocked with food against the abyss

I see the shining steel fan spinning

I see the cedar swing moving

In the cold spring wind

I see the red brick fireplace 

Black with charred dead embers

Surrounded by logs and branches

But empty of the warmth of fire

I do so miss the people

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(Read on …)

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.

(Read on …)

(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.

(Read on …)

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

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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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(Read on …)

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. 

(Read on …)
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