Blog

ARS GRATIA PECUNIAE

By David Perlstein | April 29, 2011 |

While a young advertising copywriter in San Antonio, I met a talented illustrator named George Hughey. George’s business card read, Ars gratia pecuniae—Latin meaning art for money’s sake. George was an artist but practical. I empathized. Virtually every advertising “creative” wants to be a great novelist, poet, screenwriter, painter or sculptor. Most find solace being…

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SEPHARDI EGGS AND OTHER MYSTERIES

By David Perlstein | April 22, 2011 |

One question some Jews undoubtedly posed at their Seders last Monday and Tuesday nights is, “Why are we here? Why, after 3,300 years, do Jews still observe Passover?” Pesach is the most observed or noted holiday on the Jewish calendar. American Jews with no other connection to religion—and perhaps a dwindling identity with Jewish culture—mark…

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SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS

By David Perlstein | April 15, 2011 |

Last Wednesday, before President Obama outlined plans to reduce the nation’s deficit and debt, the AP’s Jim Kuhnhenn wrote of Mr. Obama’s taking on the challenge of “risking liberal anger and Republican scorn.” Such is the predicament of anyone—caught like Ulysses between Scylla and Charybdis—seeking reasonable solutions to the vexing problems of the budget. Ideologues…

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GOLDSTONE REDUX

By David Perlstein | April 8, 2011 |

Yesterday, a missile fired from Gaza struck southern Israel, wounding two—one critically. Israel retaliated, killing five Palestinians. Hours later, Hamas announced that militants had agreed to a cease-fire. Whether the cease-fire will hold remains to be seen. These unfortunate events come less than a week after Richard Goldstone wrote a revealing article in the Washington…

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“UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!”

By David Perlstein | April 1, 2011 |

A heavy stream of traffic passed my house yesterday morning. It indicated a major accident on Park Presidio Boulevard, the north-south artery leading to the Golden Gate Bridge, a block and a half away. A Department of Parking & Traffic officer told me there had been an earlier accident, but that wasn’t the problem. It…

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SUPERMARKET POLITICS

By David Perlstein | March 25, 2011 |

You learn a lot at the supermarket. Recently, I waited behind a family of five—the children elementary-school age—as they unloaded their cart. Like many Americans, they were generously proportioned. I shy from the term obese, which now represents not only a medical condition but also a pejorative. The products they chose gave a clear reason…

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THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY

By David Perlstein | March 18, 2011 |

My oldest son, Seth, recently went on a business trip to Germany. As many travelers do, he suffered some culture shock on returning: the obesity of so many Americans, TVs blaring in airports, disorderly freeway traffic. Of course, Germany is part of the West, but the differences between Western societies are notable. How much greater…

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FAGGOT!

By David Perlstein | March 11, 2011 |

Last Saturday while I walked to my synagogue, a car filled with several young men passed me. One called out, “Hey, faggot!” The car sped on. What prompted him to say such a thing? I’m straight. But more important, what concern is my sexual orientation to anyone else? Perhaps some young people were visiting from…

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SORRY

By David Perlstein | March 4, 2011 |

Recently, I brushed shoulders with a man while I was entering a sandwich shop. He was leaving. “Sorry,” I said. “Sorry,” he answered. No harm, no foul. “Sorry” covers a multitude of awkward but harmless situations. Yet for some people, “sorry” represents a Get Out of Jail card. They believe they can do anything, say…

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THE HALF-SHEKEL APPROACH

By David Perlstein | February 25, 2011 |

While political unrest permeates the Middle East, fiscal unrest occupies Americans at home. Libertarians and Tea Partiers echo Ronald Reagan that government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem. Opponents contend that government plays an important role in maintaining the nation’s general wellbeing. How do we find some perspective? Torah provides guidance. Last week’s portion, Ki…

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