Childhood Christmas Traditions

by Rebecca Einstein Schorr on 25 December 2016 @ 1:36 pm


My family is Jewish. We don’t celebrate Christmas.

And yet, I had three Christmas traditions as a kid that remain my warmest memories of Christmas.

  1. Midnight Mass from St. Peter’s Basilica — I think that I probably started staying up to watch this so that I could spend extra time with my dad. Over the years, however, I came to love the ritual and annual message from the Holy See.
  2. Spending Christmas Day at my friend’s house — I loved being included as my friend’s family gathered around the tree and opened gifts. They always had a gift for me (Cherry Lifesavers) and there was lots of laughter and cookies and love.
  3. KBIG104’s Christmas Playlist — for 36 hours, the radio station would play Christmas music and the playlist was published ahead of time in the LA Times. I would actually set my alarm for the middle of the night to hear a favourite Christmas carol.

As a little Jewish girl, these activities helped me appreciate the beauty of this sacred holiday. Though I live far away from my childhood friend, not a single Christmas passes without me thinking of her and her parents, brother, and nana, and how they welcomed me into their home each year. Making visiting Christmas a lovely experience at a time of year that often feels exclusionary.

Sometimes…I long for those innocent moments.


Guns and Rights and the Sit-In

by Rebecca Einstein Schorr on 23 June 2016 @ 10:05 pm


I spent a goodly amount of time yesterday on social media, as the House Democrat #SitIn unfolded before my very eyes, and shared my thoughts on Facebook and Twitter. I found the words of Representative John Lewis (D-GA), a Civil Rights activist since his youth in Alabama, inspiring. Not simply because they resonated with me, but because of their galvanizing effect on his colleagues and people around the nation. I wondered if he heard Dr. King whispering in his ear.

I took to the airwaves and spread the message of #NotOneMore and #NoFlyNoBuy and #DisarmHate and #Enough. Because truly Enough. Enough bloodshed. Enough terror. Enough murder.

I didn’t bash those with opposing opinions. I didn’t call anyone names. I didn’t use bad language. I feverishly tweeted and updated with thoughts and prayers and hopes that, at last, there might be civil discourse.

Everyone says this is such a decisive issue. Am I being utterly naïve to believe that the sanctity of life should override one’s right to own a gun?

Yes, there are those who believe that the only way to protect life is for everyone to own a gun.
There are those who believe that the government does not have the right to dictate who can own a gun, how many guns, the types of guns, etc.

So let’s not talk about guns for the time being; let’s talk about life.

I want so much to believe that there is a common ground. That we have the same starting point; life is sacred and NO ONE deserves to be murdered. That everything else must come second to that ideal. And then once we have established that, we can share our fears and concerns about guns.

But the vitriol that spewed forth on my Twitter feed shook me to my very depths. (Those comments have since been removed.)

Disgusting comments that included, but were in no way limited to, name-calling, intimidation, and suggestive reminders that they had guns and weren’t going to let anyone take them away. No. Matter. What.

Among these vile remarks, however, were some points that I had not considered and/or of which I was unaware. Points that I have spent the past twenty-four hours researching, reading, discussing with legal experts, considering as well as listening to stations and channels that hold radically different views.

Has it changed my mind?

At least, not exactly.

My fundamental ideal still holds: life is sacred above all else.

But I have a better understanding of the flaws in the four bills voted down this week in the Senate. And of some of the concerns on the opposing side. And all of this research is really making me think, reevaluate, fine-tune, and better clarify my own positions.

Here, however, is my concern —

We no longer discuss things.
We no longer speak with respect.
We no longer consider that there may be other points of view.
And we are no longer willing to give even an inch because we are so afraid that in doing so, we will lose the entire fight.

two roads

How, O Holy One of Blessing and Reconciliation, will we ever sit together under vines and fig trees when we are so afraid to listen to the other side?

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My First Book

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