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Category: American Culture
Posted by: an okie gardener
Interesting. More American blacks are converting to Judaism. The numbers are very, very small, but fascinating that such conversions are happening at all. Blacks and Jews, as groups, have had some antagonism since the Civil Rights struggles which united the two groups. And, Judaism does not seek out converts.

Story here from The Christian Science Monitor.

Another recent study by the Institute for Jewish and Community Research in San Francisco estimates that there are as many as 150,000 practicing black Jews in the US today, with synagogues across the country reporting increasing numbers of blacks either exploring or converting to Judaism.
Category: American Culture
Posted by: an okie gardener
Tonight I have Harry Chapin songs playing in my head. Don't know why. For those of you too young to remember him, Chapin was a brilliant songwriter who also sang. Most (all?) his songs were sad, about lost love, lost dreams, lost souls.

One of his biggest popular hits was "Taxi," about a man who picks up his high school love late one night. Brilliant lyrics. Here's the end of the song:

There was not much more for us to talk about,
Whatever we had once was gone.
So I turned my cab into the driveway,
Past the gate and the fine trimmed lawns.
And she said we must get together,
But I knew it'd never be arranged.
And she handed me twenty dollars,
For a two fifty fare, she said
"Harry, keep the change."
Well another man might have been angry,
And another man might have been hurt,
But another man never would have let her go...
I stashed the bill in my shirt.

And she walked away in silence,
It's strange, how you never know,
But we'd both gotten what we'd asked for,
Such a long, long time ago.

You see, she was gonna be an actress
And I was gonna learn to fly.
She took off to find the footlights,
And I took off for the sky.
And here, she's acting happy,
Inside her handsome home.
And me, I'm flying in my taxi,
Taking tips, and getting stoned,
I go flying so high, when I'm stoned.

Full song lyrics.

Chapin had a social conscience, and helped found an organization to fight hunger. Before his early death, he was playing 200 concerts a year, half of them benefits. His own brief autobiography is here. (From this front page click on "keepsakes" then at the far right near the top click autobiography.) He died in 1981 in a car wreck at 38 years of age. His final project was to write the music and lyrics for the musical "The Cotton Patch Gospel", a reverent retelling of the Gospel based on Clarence Jordan's book of the same name.

Taxi, a live performance.
Mr. Tanner, live.
30,00 Pounds of Bananas, his funniest song, but even here someone dies
Cat's in the Cradle, his most famous song
Category: American Culture
Posted by: an okie gardener
This past Friday evening my wife and I went down to our city park on the creek bottom at the west edge of town to watch the community fireworks display.

Earlier in the evening had been games for the youngsters supervised by volunteers from the Chamber of Commerce, and a carry-in dinner ("please bring a covered dish to share") with hamburgers provided and grilled by the volunteer fire department (donations appreciated).

About half an hour after sunset, with a waxing crescent moon hanging low in the western sky, the rockets fired their cargoes into the air: starbursts, whistling comets, bright clusters of stars hanging in the night--blue and red and yellow-white in different shades.

A small town in Oklahoma celebrating Independence Day.

And it did not cost any government a cent. Even the fireworks were provided by the Rattlesnake Association from a portion of the Rattlesnake Festival proceeds. The American armies of volunteers and volunteer organizations, making community happen.

The Democrats seem to have a vision of society in two parts: the individual and the (Federal) government. Traditional conservatives know better. In a healthy free society, citizens form communities, and volunteer their time and wealth as individuals and in organizations. Governments are for things that are too big to do by handing out grilled hamburgers, donations accepted.

God Bless America.