I just paid off the last of my credit card debt accrued from years of under- and unemployment (not profligate spending). I am now officially debt-free, except for my mortgage. I am solidly in the black for the first time in a long, long time. I have a 401k and Roth IRA, a great job, some money in the bank, and a beautiful, comfortable condo (that I can afford and that is not an underwater mortgage, though I am down about 10% in assessed value).
I know my long-time readers will remember that there was a point when I couldn’t afford to buy a used laptop to replace the one that was dying on me, and my readers came through with hits to the tipjars (which no longer exist, since I don’t need the help anymore). When Gracie was sick years ago, her medical bills put a huge strain on me. You helped me out then, too. (She turns fourteen on Tuesday.)
I think I finally found the answer to whether or not I’m going to continue doing what I’m doing on the blog. Ten years is a long time, and my readership has stayed pretty static for the past few years. I have less and less time to write for the blog, and sometimes less and less interest. Things never seem to change for Israel and the Jews. It gets tiresome, writing posts on almost the exact same subjects now as I did nine, eight, seven, three, two years ago. Really, I could just cut and paste an old post to a new one and I swear you’d never be able to tell the difference, because Israel’s enemies are unchanging, the anti-Israel media is unchanging, and about the only thing that changes is the names of the victims. But—
Yesterday, I went to a b’nai mitzvah that was held at the Virginia Holocaust Museum. A set of twins from my last year teaching had it there because their grandfather is a survivor. One of my other former students asked me during the reception if I would escort her around the exhibits, because she was afraid to go by herself. So we went through the museum, and I explained a lot of the exhibits and history to her.
We stopped at the survivors exhibit as requested (see below) and saw the picture of the twins’ grandfather. He looked to be about ten years old in that picture. He grew up to become a rabbi. When I first moved to Richmond, he was co-editor with me of my synagogue’s newsletter for several years. Rabbi K. would come over to my apartment, and we’d put together the newsletter. Actually, I’d put it together in Microsoft Publisher and print out the pages. Rabbi K. would edit, proofread, correct, and play with Tigger. (My cats have always been partners in my volunteer editing/writing work; Tigger the first entertained Neil Clarke while I wrote the user and sysop manuals for his 2AM-BBS software.)
The b’nai mitzvah program had a note on it from the twins:
Thank you for coming to our B’nai Mitzvah. Please feel free to tour the museum while you are here. Be sure to look for our grandfather on the wall in the Displaced Persons Camp. And whenever you are near the Nazi flag in the floor, give it a good stomp.
That we did. Several times. And while I was touring the museum with my former student, I remembered what I discovered about teaching religious school—that I was making a difference in Jewish life, one child at a time. I can’t teach at the moment. I can’t take the time away from my job. But I can still blog.
That’s why I blog: To inform the world that there is another side of the story about Israel that they are not hearing. To make a difference. To change minds. To get the truth out, no matter what.
I used to say that my job was an anti-Semite’s worst nightmare: Teaching little Jews to become big Jews. Well, this blog disturbs their dreams, too, I am happy to report. I intend to continue to piss them off on a daily basis. Of course, my very existence is enough to piss off the Jew haters, and, well, that actually makes me smile. Pissing off the Jew haters is one of the perks of writing this blog.
One of the things I taught my students was this way of summarizing many Jewish holidays: “They tried to kill us. They failed. Let’s eat.” A slightly altered version of that would make a good secondary tagline for this blog. (I won’t be changing the tagline, though.) Something like, “They tried to kill us. They failed. Let’s blog.
I have some plans for my life for the next few years that, if they succeed, will change my life in even better ways. And considering that the reason I am out of debt, have a great job, and own a home is that I worked my ass off to achieve those goals, I think that five years from now, when I’m on the cusp of my fifteenth blogiversary, things will be even better. I hope they will be better for Israel, too, but I won’t make any predictions. Well, except for one: In every generation, they rise against us. But the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hands.
They tried to kill us. They failed. Let’s blog.