My older grandson Ethan always wants to go to Chinatown in San Francisco. I insist we take a long time to get to Chinatown because, once there, my interest in our adventure wanes.
In Chinatown stores, he examines cellophane wrapped packages of exploding cigars, Mao’s Little Red Book, mechanical masturbating orangutans, caps that blow up in the street, porcelain ash trays formed in the shape of copulating couples, and playing cards with images of naked women. None of the store clerks will sell him any of these things although I can’t imagine who would want these items except for eleven-year-old boys. Once, he came away with a midnight blue silk smoking jacket. I gave in and got him a battery-operated cigar to go with the jacket “but that was in exchange for his not asking me how many times in my life I had had sex” and he walked insouciantly down Grant Avenue in his smoking jacket smoking his pretend cigar. Read more
By LIONEL ROLFE
At a point in the mid-seventies, when some nefarious anti-Semitism was rearing its ugly head in the military – I forgot exactly what it was – I took my first trip to Israel. No doubt it had something to do with the oil companies. The trip raised the age old questions: What exactly is a Jew, anyway, and do his first loyalties lie with Israel?
Do all Jews share the same view of themselves and of the larger world? The anti-Semites, of course, see us as a monolithic group, and so do some Jews. But I think they are wrong – a judgment buttressed during my first visit to Israel some 40 years ago. Read more