Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

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.

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Wisconsin: Dancing with Then and Now…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Life & Death,My Own Personal Hell,Philosophy,Wisconsin stories — Bob at 8:33 pm on Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story: www.differentslants.com/?p=355

© August 12, 2015

Hey, I’m not shy

Just brown-eyed

 

Racine is a suburb of Detroit

Wall-to-wall used car lots

Ya got some kinda problem, Bud?

Transmission shops

Emission shops

Muffler shops

Brake shops

Body shops

Tire shops

Junk cars

 

Town’s only

Four miles by six miles

Barely enough room for people

But if a car is broken

Ford to Porsche

All of those people

Can probably fix it

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A Chicago Jew in Racine, Wisconsin…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Humor,Jewish Themes,Liberation Fantasies,Life & Death,Philosophy,Retail Purgatory,Wisconsin stories — Bob at 8:30 pm on Sunday, July 12, 2015

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story: www.differentslants.com/?p=355

© July 11, 2015

 

Ain’t nobody like me, up here

Or just barely

I’m a Mediterranean oasis

Wherever I go

A hot-house flower among

All the dour Teutonic people

 

Young girl cashiers

Mostly blonde

See my silver Star of David

Dangling from my neck

Glinting in the harsh lights of

Small Wisconsin stores

“Ooooooh, how pretty!”

Some of them exclaim

When first noticing it

Bright against my olive skin

“What is it?” 

Some ask me

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A brief essay about Jews in America, a small town synagogue, the LGBT population and their freedom to be whomever they chose to be, under the protection of the Constitution…by Robert M. Katzman and Joyce E. Katzman:

Filed under: Friendship & Compassion,Jewish Themes,Philosophy,Politics,Rage! — Bob at 6:03 pm on Saturday, March 21, 2015

© March 20, 2015

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story: www.differentslants.com/?p=355

Haym Salomon (April 7, 1740 – January 6, 1785) was a Polish-born Jewish American businessman and political financial broker who immigrated to New York from Poland during the period of the American Revolution. He helped convert the French loans into ready cash by selling bills of exchange for Robert Morris, the Superintendent of Finance. In this way he aided the Continental Army and was possibly the prime financier of the American side during the American Revolutionary War against Great Britain. He died at the age of 44 after the end of the war, penniless. He did more than help finance the war against the British. He gave everything he had.

Or, put another way, American Jews did whatever they could to help create the ultimate safe haven for themselves less than three hundred years after the Spanish Inquisition, which was world-wide and not just confined to Spain.  The colonial Jewish population in 1776 was approximately 2,500 among an estimated total population of 2,500,000 colonists. One 10th of one per cent of the total population. Obviously, Jews needed protection.

After George Washington became president in 1789, he wrote a now famous August 17th 1790 letter to the Touro Synagogue in Rhode Island, personally guaranteeing Jews in America protection from harm from any others, including the government. A personal statement like that one, and in writing, from a country’s Head of State was unique in the world at that time. I also believe that likewise, the Jews owe such protection to others of different beliefs, manner of dress and customs. Who are we to judge others?

Current American population is approximately 330,000,000. Estimated American Jewish population is 6,000,000.  Jews are about 2% of the population and shrinking.

The LGBT population is estimated to be about 10% of America’s total population, or 33,000,000.  Jews, at 2% of them, would be about 600,000 individuals with hopes and aspirations of happiness and acceptance from their families, friends and institutions. However, today about half of them living in America suffer from discrimination, persecution and diminished rights.

This is a terrible crime and Jews should do what they can to right this wrong, nationwide. I have read about incidents in small towns where members of some very conservative Jewish congregations have insensitively excluded people who are open about their sexuality from participating in ancient rituals.

To treat such a person with any sort of rejection, discrimination, or religious exclusion is to reject how we expect America to treat all Jews, everywhere in this country.  My wife Joyce and I, Jews in both spirit and in practice say clearly this is unequivocally unacceptable to us. We two may be only infinitesimally small voices in a universe of prejudice. But two small voices can break the loudest of unjust silences. Whatever you may be, wherever you may be, why not add your voice to ours?

Together, we view a person seeking the freedom to be who they truly are as an equal of ours in every way and we would seek such a person out to be a friend of ours if he/she would accept us as one. As we treat others, God judges us.

Signed,

Robert and Joyce Katzman

Note: below, George Washington’s 1790 letter to the Tuoro Synagogue

Gentlemen:

While I received with much satisfaction your address replete with expressions of esteem, I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you that I shall always retain grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced on my visit to Newport from all classes of citizens.

The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security.

If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good government, to become a great and happy people.

The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my administration and fervent wishes for my felicity.

May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.

May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.

G. Washington

 

The author can be hired to read his work by your group or organization. Don’t worry, it won’t corrupt him. Too late for that. Poetry and stories sound different when read by them who write them.

Contact? bob@oldmagazines.com or 847.677.9444 (11-4, M-F, Sat 10-2)

 

 

 

A Rabbi Can’t Mend a Broken Heart…by Robert M. Katzman (updated)

Filed under: Jewish Themes,Philosophy — Bob at 1:28 pm on Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story: www.differentslants.com/?p=355

© May 1, 2011

Introduction to: A Rabbi Can’t Mend A Broken Heart

This new poem was inspired by, and written expressly for Rabbi Debra Nesselson.

Watching her blossom over the last year from being a relatively quiet figure heard from the bimah only occasionally—to becoming the voice and face of B’nai Torah Congregation to the world—has fascinated me.   She is her own fairy-tale.

Today, Friday June 10, 2011 Debra Nesselson becomes a Rabbi for the rest of her life.

Her choosing to leave behind a career as a lawyer after spending seven years to become that, to spending another eight years transforming herself into a Rabbi so she could understand the law in a far more fundamental way, means Debra has spent fifteen years to get to where she is today.

More than a quarter of her entire life.

How many people would ever consider doing such a thing?  Very few. 
Maybe we didn’t know what we had in our new Rabbi before today, but we certainly do now.

Here’s my poem to celebrate her new role in this important Jewish institution.
If anyone deserves a poem to contemplate their lives, it’s Debra Nesselson. 

(note:Rabbi Nesselson left our temple two months later. Not all things make sense, but what I wrote about rabbis remains what I believe.  I still respect and care about Debra Nesselson. (2nd note) After a tumultuous period of temple politics over philosophy, and a merry-go-round of different rabbis, the sixty-year-old temple closed almost exactly three years after I first posted this poem.  A tragedy.  This note was amended on September 24th, 2014, just before the beginning of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, 5775.  I remain friends with and infinitely respect Rabbi Nesselson.)

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Depression is Time Askew…by Robert M. Katzman

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story:  http://www.differentslants.com/?p=355
© March 5, 2014  (inspired by David Griesemer)

I race to work
Knowing
No one’s there
I don’t want to miss
Another chance
To be missed

Although
This may seem
Illogical
Contemplation of emptiness
During unending time
Has rearranged my
Reality

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