"The further I fell down the rabbit hole of social media’s breaking news cycle, the more heartbreakingly real everything became. I watched videos of the explosion over and over again, scanning the crowd for familiar faces. I saw innocent people’s limbs chopped off, their skinless bones jutting out at angles I didn’t know were possible. I saw blood smeared across familiar stretches of sidewalks. Sitting in my office in Manhattan, I took in the real-time reel of pain and horror — all of it unfolding on the streets of my childhood and early adulthood."
My story on the Boston Marathon bombings in The Forward
My sister and I made peanut butter sandwiches (my father’s favorite), and left them out for Santa — at least while we were still young enough to believe that the gifts signed in “his” squiggly handwriting were really from him. (This was fun, until my father received a present from Mrs. Claus and my sister became convinced that the two of them were having an affair). We listened to Elvis Presley holiday songs. And we decorated the tree — not with matching baubles and perfectly placed lights, but with homemade oddities and hand-me-down ornaments, leaving the tree looking like a 5-year-old who just learned how to dress herself. The finishing touch was my favorite: a star that I made in the Second Church Nursery School, out of Popsicle sticks, yellow paint and glitter. This was no ordinary star; it was a Star of David. And each year, it hung smack in the middle of our Christmas tree, like a beacon from my family’s past — a very Jewish past.
The second half of the 19th century witnessed a broad movement to provide higher education to women; by 1890, 63 percent of the 1,082 colleges in the country admitted women. Meanwhile, opponents warned that higher ed encouraged independence in women and threatened marriage and the family. Professor Virginia G. Drachman explains this fascinating history:
The man most responsible for popularizing this view was Dr. Edward H. Clarke, a professor at Harvard Medical College. In 1873, Clarke published “Sex in Education, or, A Fair Chance for the Girls” to explain to the general reader the dangers of higher education to women’s health. Based on the prevailing theory of conservation of energy, that the sum of all energy in the body is constant, Clarke warned that excessive study diverted women’s finite supply of energy from the female reproductive organs to the brain. The consequence was a breakdown in women’s health, specifically in their reproductive organs, which ultimately threatened the health of future generations.
Clarke warned young women contemplating college to avoid intellectual strain at least one week every month. Young women ignoring his advice by studying “every day of the school year, just as boys do,” risked a panoply of ailments, from painful menstruation and general weakness to hysteria, sterility and even death.