Dead Sea Scrolls

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

In 1947 a Bedouin came upon an almost inaccessible cave. He found the first of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He had pitched a rock in a cave to bring his goat out of the cave. The sound when the rock hit was different. So different he went off to explore the cave.

The Romans had wiped out the Essenes about 2 millennia ago but didn’t know about their caves. The caves like all caves maintained the yearly average temperature each day. In addition the lack of humidity in the desert preserved the scrolls. It was a find that has kept a lot of archaeologists very busy. Caves with scrolls are still being discovered in this portion of this middle eastern desert.

History and theology have interfaced more precisely since the “chance” or providential finding. I am in the providential camp.

H. Robert Rubin, best-selling, Amazon memoirist and author of Look

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That Organ Within our Noggins

“Altogether, the human brain is estimated to hold something on the order of two hundred exabytes of information, roughly equal to ‘the entire digital content of today’s world,’ according to Nature Neuroscience.*1 If that is not the most extraordinary thing in the universe, then we certainly have some wonders yet to find.” Bryson, Bill. The Body (p. 55). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Interesting, whatever exabytes are.

When I was a medical student I was intrigued by neurology. I appreciated, for instance, that, there was an individual neuro-examination that even an adolescent might find, at least, partially, doable. Other physical examines like palpating livers through the skin or hearing subtle, cardiac sounds went beyond my grasp as a young adult. However, the neuro-exam was within my capabilities. For example, one asked the question, was there a reflex when a particular area about the knee was lightly hammered? Even I could do that.

In keeping with that interest, I did sleep research through medical school and investigated aging of the brain in my residency.  The result was one new discovery in two years of work. In my sleep research we studied patients with nocturnal angina pectoris (per Webster “…a disease marked by brief sudden attacks of chest pain or discomfort caused by deficient oxygenation of the heart muscles”). In all of our patients prone to attacks of angina pectoris awakening them from sleep, they awoke every morning easily. That was no surprise given how frightening chest pain can be.

So much for my research career. Neither, was I ever found haunting the neurology wards again. On the other hand my entire medical career was filled with diversity, either, because I am odd, or, curious, or both.

Public Speaking

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

It was 1960, May or June. I had to do a reading at our graduating class’s confirmation service in our synagogue in Miami, FL. It was my first shot at public speaking at fifteen. As I read my knees were banging together. I was glad they were hidden behind the lecturn. My mouth was so dry I wasn’t sure I could finnish the reading but I did.

In the fall of 1960 I entered high school where one could participate in debate locally and statewide. Much more comfortable with arguing than giving speeches, I really fit in. One certainly has learned to argue by the heart of adolescence.

So with the debating behind me I found that speeches got a little easier over my 41 years in the workforce.

Of all things I got most at ease late in my life now teaching Sunday school for several years. Life had…

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My Tempo

“The great wisdom for writers, perhaps for everybody, is to come to understand to be at one with their own tempo.” Alan Hollinghurst, an English author

I have no pitch. I can’t sing. Rhythm is something I have a feel for, particularly having learned to play drums at about nine. Now, that helps if I dance or play the guitar. However in day to day life, I am out of rhythm, far too much.

I eat too fast. I move too fast. I speak too fast. I seem to be on the run.

The only thing that’s touched that pace in almost 76 years is the love of God, often, spoken through my spouse, Kristine. I am not saying that aren’t problems with the spoken word for us both having been wed over four decades. That’s life.

But by the grace of God, in times of inordinate pressure, she is there for me. I am a fortunate man, whose many shortcomings have not stood in her way. I am deeply grateful.

The Power of Family

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

Dani Shapiro, the compelling memoirist and novelist, said in her memoir, Devotion: “The family of my childhood has become dust.” Likewise that has been true for me for a dozen years.

My mom was the last of my parents to pass away. She was as upbeat as anyone I have ever known. Mom found the goodness in people, particularly those who were blessed to be her children.

My older sister and younger brother have all acknowledged given our difficult father, she was the person who guided us through the stormy North Atlantic that was our adolescence. She was the light at the end of the tunnel.

Of my grandparents her father, Isadore, stood out distinctly. He was very close to Mom, my siblings and me. His unforgettable smile was “several miles” wide. He loved us just as he loved her, with his entire heart. My mother’s eyes would glisten when…

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Strong Willed?

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

My son, now 30, was very strong willed as a child. It paid off rewards in his adulthood with a determination to get the job done, on the tennis court in college and in the business world. I know where he got the DNA, but, wish I had had his risk tolerance, which, is higher than mine. I don‘t have enough and that worsens with age.

The strong-willed quality got me through a lot. My sister tells me of late, that, as a child, I got through skin allergies with a strong will to follow the physician’s orders to the letter, something she lacked. I should add she is smarter and frequently wiser than I am. That inflexible quality also got me through the long trek of a medical education.

My relationships suffer when my strong-willed nature puts me in an adversarial posture. May God bless me with a bigger…

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Days in the Sun

I saw some calm bay water today. That water reminded me of those occasional perfect days in the 50s when I could ski on Miami’s Biscayne Bay in a dead calm. The water was like glass. The sun would shine down invitingly.

The slalom ski I used I custom made in shop in eighth grade, the perfect size for the smallest kid in class. But my size was an advantage giving me a lower center of gravity. If I tried slalom water skiing tomorrow my entire back would spasm.

Ah, the 50s, those were bad old, good old days. In the 50s my friends would either use me as a basketball before I lost a lot of weight or join me in skiing after I did. The skiing was a lot more fun than being dribbled or shot for three pointers.

The Ocean

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

“The ocean has always been a salve to my soul,” said the troubadour Jimmy Buffett. I have the wonderful privilege of living just a few miles from the Pacific. And oh, it is pacific. It so calms my soul. Sometimes I am delightfully surprised by the panoramic view climbing a hill to somewhere else. Sometimes that view is my sole destination.


Kristine a few years ago arranged with a couple we so enjoy to meet for wine and appetizers near sunset along the shore. It was a lovely surprise. The breeze was soothing. The sunset was rich with hues of gold and dark blue. It was a wonderful respite from daylight.


I remember the contrast of the beautiful Atlantic just a few blocks from where I worked in the summer of 1963. I had just graduated from high school. I worked for a late middle-aged man who ran…

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The Need to Write

“The need to write comes from the need to make sense of one’s life and discover one’s usefulness.” John Cheever, the late American author

I find that particularly true in retirement. First, thank God I have been able to retire.

Looking back, it becomes easier to make sense of my own life. I find as I write, I can be useful by eliciting smiles, understanding, laughs and insight for my readers. I hope and pray I can do that for many of you. I certainly feel more useful in my slow, so far, thank God, deterioration. I believe I can grow in God’s hands and accomplish those ends.

Others don’t really know me. I really don’t know me. But, He does. May I be blessed by Him through Scriptures, circumstances and the people through which He guides me. Lord knows I need that.

Our Beloved Friend

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

My son Chad was about eight. It was 1998. My wife Kristine had never owned a dog. They were together at a nursery that had a litter of American Eskimos. Kris and Chad were just thrilled by those adorable pups.

Kris really wanted one of those little ones. Chad with the artistic eye he’s had since his childhood picked the prince of the litter.

I thought the dog of my youth, Bagel, was the sweetest dog I would ever know. She was a mixture of Daschund and Beagle. This dog who we named Snowy sure surprised me.

I loved him but Kristine was completely smitten. They would share long hugs daily. He was so beautiful he would stop traffic when we walked him. I learned to understand at a deeper level why dogs are so healthy for the rest of us creatures.

Then at 15 years of age he began…

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