Smorgasbord of Timely Reflections

Rather than one topic today, my brain is filled with thoughts about three timely subjects:

  1. Amanda Knox and where she goes from here
  2. Andy Rooney’s legacy
  3. The Jewish New Year

Amanda Knox: The story of Amanda Knox’s release from prison in Italy dominates the news. But the coverage isn’t just about the court’s decision, her reunion with her family or flight back to Seattle. What’s next for this young woman who went to Italy her junior year of college and ended up in prison for four years? We’re told she spent much of her time in the Italian prison writing and that she’ll likely write a book. One news report said that she wants to help others wrongly imprisoned. We’ll see how the trauma of her last four years — and the fame she didn’t ask for — defines her future.


Andy Rooney: At 92 years old, Andy Rooney delivered his last commentary on this past Sunday’s “60 Minutes.”  Mr. Rooney was almost always sarcastic and on occasion his humor had a nasty overtone, but he was always, always, always a consummate observer of life. He noticed everything and wondered why things were as they were. I often watched his commentary and thought to myself, “Exactly!” And, yet, somehow I hadn’t stopped to notice in the moment. The excuse is always that we’re too busy. Reflecting on Andy Rooney’s years of commentary during the Jewish holidays made me think about a quote from Moses, “Stand still and see!”  Andy Rooney and Moses actually make the same good point!


The Jewish New Year: Jews around the world are celebrating the Jewish New Year. We observed Rosh Hashanah last week and are approaching Yom Kippur.  Many of us ate apple dipped in honey to celebrate the sweetness of life. We blew the shofar (a ram’s horn) to awaken our spirits, to challenge ourselves. In our family we don’t go to synagogue, rather have a tradition of engaging in reflective, thought-provoking conversations about our Jewish identity. Many years ago I developed a series of readings, quotes and questions that our family and friends ponder each year. For example, “Life is a gift. You appeared. You had nothing to do with it whatsoever. You had nothing to do with the color of your eyes, the color of your hair, the color of your skin, or how tall you were going to be. You stand with this gift of yourself.  What are you going to do with it?….” (Millard Fuller, Founder of Habitat for Humanity)

The question Millard Fuller posed is also relevant for Amanda Knox. She’s been given the gift of an overturned sentence and a return to her life, her family and friends. What will she do with it?  Andy Rooney, at 92, can look back on his life and evaluate all he did with it…and still intends to do in retirement from “60 Minutes.”

And each year the question is relevant for me. What will I notice, think about and do?

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