Some Days Are Hard

December 2, 2023

I spent years working in the disability field and even was the campaign director for depression awareness with the Mental Health Association during which time I had the extreme privilege of working with Rosalyn Carter and Tipper Gore among others.  During that time I worked hard to make people aware of how important it was to treat depression as they would any other medical condition, that is was important that we not stigmatize depression so that people could talk openly about their struggles.  I’ve always been a great advocate what I have not been so good at is addressing my own issues.  I’m an over achiever and no one will ever put more pressure on me then I do on myself so when I fail it truly devastates me.  When I was a kid my mother used to call it burning the candle at both ends, I would go go go and then end up sick.  During the last few years I have had a series of medical issues that have led me to not being able to do my work to the level I would like to and it’s been hard on me emotionally.  Sonia has tried her best to work around my medical needs including staying off the road this fall during what should have been an album release tour.  We tried to tell ourselves it was strategic to get the word out about the album and that is partially true except that when you don’t work you can’t really spend money promoting. The whole truth is though that Sonia and I have gotten used to touring the world together and I was to busy with doctors appointments and trying to get healthy to be on the road this fall and she did not want to be away while I was dealing with all this.  Most of the time I can muster up the energy to get thru an event but it’s sometimes really hard and I know many of my friends have stepped up to help me at shows carrying equipment and merch and would do more if I asked.  But asking is the hard part for me.  I like being the hero.  Today I woke up with a migraine and now can’t stop crying and I’m not even sure why I’m crying. The Hamas-Israel war, the state of politics in this country, people being on the street, all of it seems so overwhelming to me lately.  I’m exhausted before the day starts.  For my friends out there that have suffered from depression for years I have listened to you describe this feeling to me and while I was always supportive I have to say I did not really understand how absolutely exhausting it is.  I am sharing this now not to get sympathy but because I need to say it out loud so that I can address it and deal with it.  God willing I am going to tour with Sonia thru 2024 into February 2025 to see her thru her book tour which we hope to come out in the fall of 2024 but this will be my last year and I hope that I will be able to find someone else to help her on the road as I don’t think she is anywhere near retiring.  Her soul is filled up by all of you on the road and sharing her songs with you is truly what she wants to do.  I am not planning to disappear so I hope all my friends around the world will come see me or I’ll see you in the audience.  I love my life, my family and my friends and I know that even with all my medical issues I am blessed.  Just some days are tough and today is one of them.

November 29, 2023

Today I read something that really made me think.  We have all watched the news lately so we have all heard the claims by both sides as to who the land belongs to that is currently called Israel and Gaza.  I was raised Christian so was taught that a man named Jewish was born in Israel.  Noone seems to deny that this man existed or was born in Bethlehem (or Nazareth), some believe he was the son of God others just that he was a Jewish teacher whose followers became the pillars of Christianity.  If we accept that this man existed and was Jewish how can we then deny that Jews lived in Israel? We are getting ready to celebrate Christmas and it seems that now would be a good time to remember that the man whose birth we celebrate was born in Israel and was Jewish.  I was taught to respect Judaism and all other religions because they all came from the same God.  I still believe that there can be peace in the Middle East and that people there are more the same than they are different.  I have many friends there and I hate that some of them are on different sides of the current war.  No one wins in the current situation. No amount of bombs will bring back the people killed on October 7th but I also understand that for the 160 still unaccounted for or hostages for their families how do you stop looking to bring them home.  If it were my child would there be anything I would not do to try and bring them home?  My heart hurts as I watch the bombs, but it also hurts when I watch the interviews with families whose loved ones are still in Gaza held by the same people who murdered other family members.  I don’t know what the answer is, I wish I did but I do know that I cannot celebrate Christmas without acknowledging that the land called Israel is where the man called Jesus that we celebrate was born and was Jewish. 

All Lives Matter

November 18, 23

The last few weeks have been heartbreaking as I watch family and friends deal with the loss of life in Israel and Palestine and the rise of antisemitism that has spread across the world. The Part that is hardest for me though is the hateful comments coming from people I love and respect.  It seems no one can have a discussion anymore they just want sound bites and venom.  Even writing the word Palestine will cause people to be upset with me, and yet on the other side I anger them when I remind them that Hamas in their charter actually calls for the demise of Israel and the Jewish people.  This is Genocide by definition.  For those that want to call what Israel is doing Genocide by trying to eradicate Hamas well I would say I for one am ok with eradicating murders and terrorist. What I am not ok with is those who claim that Israel wants to wipe out the Palestinian people, If they had wanted to do that there would never have been notice given.  Are there are hard right people like Netanyahu who I believe have not treated the Palestinian people fairly in the past and do I believe that there should be a change in government in Israel. YES I do.  But for the people who are marching in the streets holding up signs that promote the hateful rhetoric that Hamas has promoted I am not only disappointed but hurt.  Jewish students across the USA are in fear on their own campuses, police are outside my house because I live in an area of Baltimore that has a large Jewish population.  I hate the bombing, I wish it could stop, but what Hamas did has put us all on notice that if we ignore their threats it will become a reality.  Hamas must be stopped and while I hope and pray the hostages will be released I think every day that goes by we are less likely to see them alive.  Following 911 when attacks on Muslims spiked in this country I spoke up and as bad as it was I never saw the mass attacks that I have seen against the Jewish community.  What I find fascinating is that the Jewish community as a whole especially in this country has been at the very heart of the civil rights movement, whether it was voting rights or Black Lives Matter the Jewish community has rallied.  Why is it that now the Jewish community is under attack and the very people that they have showed up to support are taking to the streets with signs that call for their elimination. Now some want you to believe that the signs that call from the Mountains to the Sea only mean freedom for the Palestinian people.  Which sounds great, but it was not how that was originally used and therefore promoting it promotes the Hamas wish to erase the Jewish people.  If we are going to take down statutes of anyone in this country that we feel does not represent who were are or remove a flag because it causes pain for what it stood for, then why is it ok to take to the streets and promote this kind of hate against the Jews. I will continue to work for Peace in the Middle East and especially for a free Palestine, but today and always I will fight for the rights of the Jewish people to exist.  The sad thing is that I still have too. I truly thought Never Again would mean Never Again. 

Why a ceasefire should include the release of hostages, the surrender of Hamas and the resignation of Netanyahu 

Before you start disagreeing with me please at least hear me out.  For those of you who know me you know I do not like conspiracy theories nor do I think to Hypothesize. I like facts.

Fact Hamas founding document states that there should be the complete eradication of Israel and The Jewish people. While it did later change this to Zionist it has continued to act towards the annihilation of Israel. 

Fact the Palestinian people living in Gaza elected Hamas knowing this was their stated doctrine. 

Fact Netanyahu does not treat the Palestinian people as equals and has supported the illegal taking of Palestinian and Arab land by settlers.

Fact Israel is known for their intelligence capabilities and has constant surveillance of Gaza and the West Bank.

Fact the land currently called Israel has been occupied by Jewish people and those from other tribes since the land was first settled.  While there were references as far back as 1150 BC to the land of Philstia when the English took it over they called it Palestine and many of my Jewish friends parents birth certificates were from Palestine even though they were Jewish. The Palestinian people both Jewish and non Jewish fought side by side against the occupation by the English. We will never know what could have happened had they been successful because following the World War the killing of 6 million Jews the world recognized the need for a Jewish State and the map of Israel was created.  

Let me be very clear I believe there needs to be an Israel. I also believe their needs to be a Palestine.  I believe the way that the country of Israel was founded from the beginning was handled poorly as it did not take into consideration the people that were already living there that identified as Palestinian.  But I also understand that anyone who had witnessed the death camps and mass graves of Jews around the world with any kind of soul would have been moved to act. Perhaps if we had hyphenated it from the beginning to be the land of Israel – Palestine. I don’t know. What I do know is the situation has never been peaceful.

Herein lies the problem the current Israeli government lacks any compassion for the Palestinian people who were and always have been their neighbors. I do not believe the majority of the Israeli people feel this way but the current government has shown they do.  They are an oppressed people and anyone who has visited Israel and traveled to Palestinian territories knows this.  On the other hand when Israel has turned over lands to the Palestinian people they have allowed terrorist likes Hamas and Hezbollah to carry on attacks against Israel.  I have been in Israel several times and have lived thru bombings and hours in bomb shelters. I have compromised lungs due to a suicide bomber in Tel Aviv and still to this day do like to go near malls or big shopping areas. The bomber identified as Palestinian and yet I believe in Palestinian rights.  I believe there needs to be a two state solution and I believe the only way to peace is equality for both Jewish and Non Jewish people in the region. I have to say if you tried to tell me that I could no longer travel to my mothers house in another state I would fight.  How can we expect there to be peace when we isolate people. 

Most of my friends feel the same way and it’s why when Netanyahu tried to strip the Supreme Court of Israel of its power Israelis took to the streets. One of the deadliest attacks on October 7th took place at Kibbutz Be'eri and this Kibbutz was full of peace activist, we should all be concerned that this Kibbutz was targeted. Who benefits from no peace?  How did the Israeli government miss such a planned attack?  

Hamas and Netanyahu benefited from the attack. The people of Israel and Palestine lose.  Hamas needs to be stopped and the people of Palestine should do everything they can to help bring that about so they can elect leadership that truly wants peace in the region.  The Israeli people should call for the removal of Netanyahu, at the very least he showed his government is not capable of protecting the Israeli people, at the worst he allowed it to happen thinking he would be able to stop it and he would have an excuse to bomb.  Hamas needs to release the hostages and I don’t believe there will be a cease fire until that happens.  I hate the bombing but I believe strongly Hamas must be stopped and removed from power if there is ever to be peace. I also believe that the Israeli people should offer to replace Netanyahu if the hostages are released.  I think the Arab world would support this and I think after he showed his lack of respect for the law by his actions in the last year against the Supreme Court of Israel that they people of Israel would also support this.

What happened October 7th should never be allowed to happen again. The Palestinian people and the Israeli people deserve to live in peace and the only way that ever happens is by mutual respect and equality.  It’s starts with the release of hostages and I think it should end with the removal of Hamas and Netanyahu. Let the lives lost on both sides of this be the last blood shed.


From Israel to Baltimore

In 2006 Sonia and I flew to Israel as war raged. Hezbollah was attacking from Lebanon and while we hesitated we decided to disappear fear and be there. We were scared but we believed that Music can bring people together and it can also help heal.  Each day as the sirens went off and we ran to safe rooms or bomb shelters we became very aware that the people we passed may be the last people we saw. Today as I watch  the news I hear those sirens again and I think of our friends in Israel and in Palestine and my stomach hurts as I realize that many of them will attend funerals this week or sit in shelters worrying about their loved ones. Families and Friends are missing, weddings are being cancelled, Bar Mitzvahs will not happen as they bury their child instead. For years I have believed that there needs to be a two state solution, I have worked to bring people together from both sides in the hope that their could be equality. I don’t believe you can have peace when people are oppressed and make no mistake the conditions in the Palestinian Territories are not ok. But the Palestinian people must not condone Hamas or Hezbollah or excuse their behavior as a consequence of the settlements or the policies of Netanyahu. What happened this past weekend is beyond comprehension, Sonia and I have used Music to bring together and the fact that Hamas attacked young people attending a music festival and slaughtered over 250 of them is heart wrenching. The only thing worse then those murdered is the fate of those taken hostage. The torment for both the hostages as well as those that love them is a pain that even imagining brings tears. I do not know what the answer is but I do believe that Hamas must be stopped and that the only hope for peace unfortunately will now mean many more lives lost. All of us who want peace and equal rights for Palestinians and Israelis must stand up and condemn these terrorist attacks and once Hamas is neutralized we must support efforts to stabilize Gaza and work to rebuild a fair and equitable living situation for all citizens in the region. Tonight in Pikesville, Maryland a suburb of Baltimore there are armed security guards and police cameras at every synagogue and I’m sure it’s the same in every city across the country. A Jewish man was killed today in Paris as Hamas calls for a Jihad against Jews.  Antisemitism has been on the rise and while I have marched for Palestinian rights and Black Lives Matter where are the activist to stop the targeting of Jews. When will the time come when we March for all civil rights. We must stop the isolation of and segregation of people. No one is free until everyone is free, and no one group should be entitled to any more than any other group. LGBT rights, Palestinian rights, Jewish Rights, Woman’s Rights, Black and White rights are all human rights and until we realize that, there will be no peace. What we do and say matters. What we don’t say or do matters even more. By our silence we give our consent. My wife should never have to attend synagogue with an armed guard, no one should.