But I must say I feel just a bit awkward placing Beth Am on the list of destinations partially because the event is on a Saturday but mostly because of the name which reflects a degree of cultural illiteracy ("ignorance" is too strong and loaded a term). This is a mixed community. There are many Christians to be sure, but also Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and any number of other faith traditions represented. And poinsettias are, constitutionally by dint of their red and green color scheme, Christmas-oriented. This may not seem like a big deal, but I do believe the organizers of the event (who are friends and well-intentioned) are also missing an opportunity to engage certain member of or visitors to our community, helping us feel more a part of the festivities -- and less apart.
Color, not of flora but skin, seems to dominate the news these days -- with the epicenter of the crisis being in Ferguson, MO. I've debated for a while whether to weigh with this blog, and I must confess I do so with some trepidation. Nevertheless....
This weekend saw, among other things, the resignation of Officer Darren Wilson and St. Louis Rams players silent "don't shoot" gesture which has juxtaposed the issue of policing and race and this weekend's other major domestic news item: Ray Rice's successful appeal and the ongoing national conversation about off-the-field violence among NFL players.
I was reminded of my own cultural illiteracy this morning as I read the provocative Jacqueline Woodson NY Times oped detailing the author and 2014 National Book Award winner's experience of feeling blindsided by long-time friend and fellow author Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket). The subject of the piece was an inopportune fruit reference, and the offending fruit was a watermelon (yes, it's red and and green which I fully recognize is only relevant in my own associative mind). Here's Woodson's account: