Translate

13.10.11

Love

Love



I want to mention few words about my parents

Their relationship had the effect on me that I was permanently effected by this rose colored picture of reality. Things may be hard,  but they retain this rosy soft color for me. I believe love, marriage, and having children as the greatest privilege a man or woman can have. This image in my mind was definitely painted by my parents.

Beyond this was also Mom's and Dad's introducing me to amazing aspects of the world--Torah, Einstein, the Mount Palomar Observatory, Cal Tech, Mozart. [I went with my Dad to the yearly Alumni day at Cal Tech.] [My Dad gave me the Magic Flute by Mozart for a Hanukkah present.]

 Also he brought me to his laboratory in TRW where he was the chief scientist working on laser communication for the SDI, (i.e the Star Wars) Strategic Defense Initiative for NASA.
(My Dad was working on laser communication in connection with SDI (Star Wars). He was the head of the team that developed it. He was the head of the engineering team that made the infrared night vision at Monmouth, NJ.)


Incidentally, he was the first to create a camera that could detect infra red waves --i.e. he made the first night vision device for the USA Army. [There was a write up about it in Life magazine. His sister told my brother that my grandmother would have given ten years of her life just to see my Dad's picture in Life magazine. I have a link to the actual article on the side of this blog.] Later he made the camera for the U-2 spy plane. [Later note. I am not sure, but it looks to me that the reason his name is not mentioned in connection with the U-2 is from what my brother told me there were two teams and the camera from the other team was the one they actually put on the U-2. ] Incidentally, almost all the scientists that created the devices that make the American military the top in the world were all created by Jewish and German scientists. Frankly speaking they were mostly Jewish. In the lab where my Dad created night vision, there were 50 Jews and one German. (From what I can tell without the Jewish input into American technology, America would not be a first world power.) (All the Jews were fired after McCarty held a press conference there; except for the two top scientists, my Dad and a friend, Marcus. But they were brought back shortly after that. But that was the reason my Dad and Berny Marcus moved to California.) Also I might mention, my Dad was a Captain in the US Air Force during World War Two, and later worked for the Army on many secret projects which I still know nothing about.) Their attitude towards us children and their tolerance and wisdom in guiding us was amazing. We sure gave them hell with our own stubbornness and the atmosphere of the times that rewarded subordination against parents --and yet we must remember that they were not superhuman. They had no good information about how to raise children or how to act in society. Everything they did was intuitive. But their combination of tolerance but firm guidance was amazing.

In short their approach was "to be a mensch." That is a decent human being. That was their idea of what Judaism is about. It is  a kind of balance between obligation between man and God and between man and his fellow man. You could say it was their way of keeping the Ten Commandments, but that in itself nowadays has become subject to debate. But if one tries to keep the Ten Commandments simply and plainly that just about approximates as closely as possible the approach of my parents.--As in: Don't lie. Don't cheat. Honor your parents, Belief in God, etc.

On Shabat we went to Temple Israel in Hollywood and that is where I had my bar mitzvah. Jewish education was very important to my parents. I remember that we also went sometimes to Mount Sinai conservative synagogue  in Westwood.
Their approach towards Torah was one of balance.  That is it is good to keep Torah but with balance.תורה עם דרך ארץ. Torah with a vocation. [But Torah with Derech Eretz means more than just a vocation. It means the whole spectrum of being a "mench."]

The way I try to live this dream is by a kind of balance between learning the Oral Law Gemara, Rashi Tosphot, along with Physics, and outdoor skills.

After High School I went to Shar Yashuv [a yeshiva in N.Y.] and then to the Mir in NY and then to the Polytechnic Institute of NYU. Mainly I am trying to walk in the way my parents taught to me. Torah and Derech Eretz. The kinds of learning were very different. Shar Yashuv concentrated on לחשבן את הסוגיה to calculate the sugia. They were open about that. The Mir however was more interested in global issues as you would see in the book of Reb Chaim Soloveitchik.[However each Rosh Yeshiva at the Mir had his own set of ideas he would give over in each lesson. The only one however that wrote his ideas down was the Sukat David.] In any case, in my own learning I try to combine both approaches.