November 15, 2014
THE SEAMLESS vision of life, as the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin once noted, is the only way to ensure individual dignity. We are only as strong as the weakest links in our human chain, so the way we treat the young, the sick and the elderly is the truest bellwether of our evolution as a compassionate society. Lately, though, that compassion has been lacking and I suspect it's due in no small part to our cavalier attitude toward unborn life. If you are capable of dehumanizing something at its most elemental level and packaging it as a wholly dependent appendage of a woman, it's a short step from there to seeing older and ailing Americans as dependent appendages of society.
October 15, 2014 |
The Uleckinger family's journey from Germany to Philadelphia ended in catastrophe. Father Jacob and three of his children died on a ship called the Charming Molly as it crossed the Atlantic in 1773, and the mother passed just days after reaching the New World. The two surviving children, Peter, 13, and Andrew, 9, were sold into servitude to pay for the voyage - a case for the German Society of Pennsylvania. Twelve years before the United States became a nation, more-established immigrants from the Vaterland founded the society in 1764 to protect and support countrymen such as young Peter and Andrew, who arrived short of money and signed contracts in a language they did not understand.
October 10, 2014
LATELY, I'VE been thinking a lot about getting older. I'm not yet old, at least not by the standards of a society that has been so profoundly influenced by the Boomers, my generation. We have refused to succumb to the biological certainty of decay and decline, and have pulled pop culture along with us. My 52 is still considered "youthful," not just by other 52-year-olds but by a population that views the world through Botox-colored glasses. But the truth is, I'm not young. I am a woman who will not much longer have the awesome power to create life, whose bones are disrespectfully noisy when she bends, who sees the filigree of age traced delicately around her eyes.
October 9, 2014 |
Billy Blaise Dufala's usual destination for art supplies doesn't offer oil paints, archival paper, or sable brushes. But it does have new inventory daily - tons of it, brought in by the truckload from construction sites and 1-800-GOT-JUNK pickups. As he wanders, wearing a hard hat and reflective vest, among mountains of wood pallets, concrete rubble, and twisted metal at Revolution Recovery in Tacony, he's intrigued by a tattered but, it turns out, functional patio umbrella, a perfectly good roll of roofing vinyl, and a stuffed likeness of a New Kids on the Block-era Jordan Knight, still in its box. Uncovering potential within society's castoffs is at the core of the nonprofit Recycled Artist in Residency (RAIR)
October 1, 2014 |
THERE IS no "typical" Shabbat service at Society Hill Synagogue. One week, Rabbi Avi Winokur might include the works of Sufi mystics and Muslim spiritual giants. The next might feature writings by Christian leaders, noted intellectuals or Jewish religious thinkers. One way the synagogue describes its open approach is by citing an old joke: "Two Jews, three opinions. " That is to say, different people celebrate their faith in different ways. "It's very eclectic," said Winokur, who has led the congregation for 13 years.
September 21, 2014 |
I keep a list of the readers who have written to me about difficulty finding homes to accommodate their retirement years. Most include the complaint that "they are building over-55 communities that are not for me. " Indeed, as retirement creeps up on me, I've concluded that I will be looking to spend the equity I've accumulated on a mortgage-free house in an area with livable taxes. I'll send you a postcard, since it won't be here. The postcard will have lots of snow on it, ayyy-up.
September 18, 2014 |
* RED BAND SOCIETY. 9 tonight, Fox 29. * THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA. 10 tonight, NBC10. * YOU'RE THE WORST. 10:30 p.m. tomorrow, FX. ARE YOU READY for some high-stakes high jinks? Calling Fox's "Red Band Society" the feel-good show of the fall might be stretching it, but this drama set in a hospital ward full of adolescents with life-threatening conditions isn't nearly as scary as "Grey's Anatomy. " Because the adolescents in this show, adapted from a Spanish series, don't cut people open every week.
September 8, 2014 |
When it was launched about 50 years ago, the USS Camden represented a milestone. The combat support ship was the final contract in the 68-year history of New York Shipbuilding Corp. in Camden, and dignitaries turned out for the occasion. They listened to the music of the Woodrow Wilson High School Band, which was dwarfed by the ship's hull as members posed with their instruments and smart uniforms. A black-and-white photograph captured the moment and is a small part of the collection of the Camden County Historical Society, now on loan to the Camden Shipyard and Maritime Museum in the 1900 block of Broadway.
August 25, 2014 |
A child struggling for breath after a nerve-gas attack; a nurse attending to victims of barrel bombs; the tears of a Syrian doctor after a missile destroyed his hospital. Such are the images that haunt the days and nights of Rim Albezem, president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), a humanitarian-aid group of medical professionals of Syrian descent. "People have the capacity to be very, very monstrous," Albezem said Tuesday, the same day Islamic State extremists released a video depicting the decapitation of American journalist James Foley, who was abducted in Syria two years ago. SAMS wants to be an antidote, said Albezem, 46. "It shows the capacity for good.
August 1, 2014 |
AT 16, KAREN Asper-Jordan went off to the picket line as part of the Cecil B. Moore Freedom Fighters, the Philadelphia civil-rights group that helped lead the efforts to desegregate Girard College. Forty-nine years later, after an event last night inside Reading Terminal Market aimed at promoting a dialogue about race, Asper-Jordan said that she learned how much she's grown since childhood. And that she, too, had some stereotypes that have to be "broken down. " "This dialogue that we have here makes us all think," said Asper-Jordan, 65. "And it makes us evaluate ourselves and our own thought processes.