January 12, 2015
I was never a Facebook “poster.” That is, until the latest Israel-Gaza War.
I watched as the tensions escalated on both sides of the conflict, sensing what was to come. First, there was the kidnapping of the three teenage settler boys in the West Bank. Immediately came the cries from the Israeli government spokespeople, echoed by the media and the American Jewish mainstream: “Hamas is responsible for this terrorist act. We must and will protect our children!”
Then the rampage began. The Israeli military proceeded to make mass arrests throughout the West Bank, taking back into custody prisoners who had been released in a recent hostage-for-prisoner deal. Houses were broken into without warrants, Palestinian youths protested with rock throwing, Israelis responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. Finally, a Palestinian teen, Mohammed Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and burned to death by extremist Jewish settlers.
The downhill momentum seemed unstoppable and the war began. Hamas fired rockets into Israel and Israel responded with aerial and naval bombardments of Gaza. An Israeli land invasion followed. These events predictably were accompanied by a worldwide surge of anti-semitism.
As world opinion mainly condemned and demonized Israel, Israel itself asked: “What are we supposed to do when rockets rain down on us? What would you do?” Read the rest of this entry »
February 15, 2014
On the beaches and in the hip cafes of Tel Aviv, it is easy to escape the feeling of life at the edge of a precipice. Israelis refer to this modern Mediterranean city as “the bubble”: a place where one can imagine an Israel of secularism and safety. Read the rest of this entry »
June 15, 2013
A few weeks ago, a patient gleefully told me that he had gotten excellent new health insurance through his employer. The coverage included more chiropractic visits than his previous insurance plan, yet his co-pay was still minimal.
It was difficult for me to share his excitement—especially since I knew what he would tell me next. Read the rest of this entry »
April 23, 2013
As she scanned my passport, the teenage Israeli soldier stared through the bulletproof glass that separated us. Looking down at my photo and then up again, she finally waved me through.
On the other side of “The Wall,” taxis waited. I picked one out of a clump and haggled over the fare. (“It’s fucking hard here man” my driver said, as he demanded an exorbitant price. I bargained it down, all the while assuring him that I could see it was “fucking hard” here). He drove me to my hotel, the Paradise. Read the rest of this entry »
February 18, 2013
I recently returned from attending my second NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show. This year, as in the past, I was working with MusiCares, the charitable health and human services arm of the Recording Academy (GRAMMYs).
MusiCares offers support for musicians in need. Among other benefits, it helps them pay their rent, subsidizes the cost of medical services, and provides free support groups for musicians who are dealing with staying clean and sober. Read the rest of this entry »
April 29, 2012
I worked at the Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic from 1986 until 2001. With the exception of the medical director and a few nurse practitioners and physician assistants, the providers–psychologists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, podiatrists, physical and massage therapists, and a variety of medical specialists—were all volunteers. Read the rest of this entry »
April 13, 2011
I first traveled to Burma in 1996, co-leading an educational tour with a group of eighteen students from New College of California. Burma had just opened to the west after thirty years and Aung San Suu Kyi, the democratically elected president, who had been under house arrest by the military regime since her election in 1988, had just been released. Read the rest of this entry »