November 23rd, 2016
On Monday morning, Nov. 14, the Educational Director of Havurah, the Addison County Jewish Congregation, discovered two swastikas painted on the front door of our building in Middlebury. This outrageous act of hatred deserves to be known by all who care about Addison County, Vermont and our country. It is a horrifying incident that not merely causes pain, it tears at the fabric of our community and beyond.
You should have seen the graffiti that greeted Havurah worshippers and supporters this past Saturday. Scrawled all over the sidewalk leading up to the porch of the home of the Jewish Congregation of Addison County were statements like “Blessed are the peacemakers,” “We love you,” and “Love trumps hate’ all up and down the sidewalk.
The weeks’ writer is Jennifer DaPolito, a Middlebury native who sent this email on Nov. 9 from Tanzania, where she is serving in the Peace Corps.
My dear friends and family,
Editor’s note: This is the 14th in a series of essays about the Dutch philosopher Benedict Spinoza (1632-1677) and his thoughts concerning nature, God and politics.
What does it mean to be human? Previous essays have given answers to this question or hinted at it. To be human is to be animal, a part of nature, mortal and perishable; it also means being a creature driven by desire, passionate in its pursuit of multiple satisfactions, deluded by fantasies and false hopes or afflicted with horrific visions that cause harm to oneself and to others.
I recently put a post on my Facebook page, and wanted to share a version of it here. I think that it is really important for users of Facebook and other social media to realize, early on, that clicking on stuff and reacting to posts will not work toward affecting any real change regarding our country’s policies (I’m specifically referring to the incoming administration at the federal level).
Words are the primary way in which people make themselves heard. Beware the careless and cavalier use of words. Quoting William Bryson, “The urge to switch from the subjunctive to indicative, (hypothetical to literal), is, to paraphrase Alastair Fowler, always powerful.”
ADDISON COUNTY — The roads were covered with snow and it was dark this past Sunday evening when Vermont State Police were dispatched at 6:40 p.m. to a single-vehicle rollover crash off a snow-covered Route 17 in Waltham.