Talking ’bout My Generation

We often talk about generations. There’s a generation gap. There’s your parent’s generation, or “the younger generation”. But what do we really mean when we use the word?

As folks know, I’ve started up again working on my family tree. In doing this, I noticed a pattern. “My” generation consisted mostly of people born in the 1955-1965 timeframe; our kids were all born in the 1985-2000 timeframe. My parent’s generation? Born in the 1920s-1930s. Grandparents? All around 1890-1910. Great-grandparents? Around 1860-1870?

See the pattern here? A generation appears to be around 25-35 years, or about 3 generations per century. Your years may differ, but the timespam, I’ll bet, will be about the same. So, putting this in perspective, ellipticcurve (although she thinks I’m old) and I are only about ½ generation apart: our difference in years is only about 15 years. zarchasmpgmr and I are the same generation; we have the same cultural touchstone such as Dr. George and Sheriff John. I’m not sure there is anyone on LJ of my parent’s generation, whose cultural touchstones are WWII and the depression.

So, although a generation gap may be large in terms of culture and references and styles… it isn’t that large in terms of time.


You Know, I’m Not A Kid Anymore…

…and my body likes to remind me any chance it gets!

Last night, I went up to Gindling Hilltop Camp (“We are Hilltop, Mighty, Mighty Hilltop”) for an alumni Shabbat. It was a delighful evening. After doing a Shabbat Walk to gather the campers, we went up to the chapel, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean. We had a delighful, mostly musical service. Very peaceful. Very relaxing. We then walked back to the dining tent (as the pavillion is still pending rebuilding). Dinner was chicken, pasta, and veggies, followed by an apple fritter. I made a number of connections with folks at the table: I was sitting with Marla (the current A&C lady) and some other alumni… one of whom turned out to have roomed with my parents (perhaps with me as well) when I was back at UCLA. The other fellow does copyright clearance for music, something related to DRM stuff (turns out he used to run Napster!). I also ran into the daughter of one of the Krinsky boys; her uncle, Jeff, was a counselor in the cabin next to mine in the 1970s. I also had fun talking to Gersh about changes at camp. They evidently had a fun summer: in the first session, bed bugs were found in four cabins, so they had to take those kids back into town, camp at the Wilshire Grand during Miss Universe, and take them to places like Disneyland, a Dodgers game — he said it was a supervision adventure. We also talked about how they have introduced a down year between Mitzvah and CIT: this is to encourage the kids to go to Israel for a year, as well as to get older counselors to handle the more mature kids.

After dinner, the Shabbat Safety Squad was then called out to move the tables to the back of the room, sweep the room, and get us ready for what came next.

The Zmirot then started. Imagine 160+ kids and adults screaming and singing at the top of their lungs, bouncing and dancing, for just over an hour. That’s what the song session was. And I was in there screaming and singing with them, having a grand old time. I didn’t bounce, tho…, but I did loads of energetic clapping. Only about five songs were from my era, and none were “Chuck” favorites. No matter: I knew the newer stuff from the URJ Ruach albums, and the words were projected on the ceiling (ain’t modern technology great).

We then moved to the plaza for another hour or so of dancing. Really loud modern Israeli dance music. I danced the ones that I knew, but it was loud. Again, technology changes: Whereas in my era we had a record player connected to an amplifier, last night it was all run from a single iPod.

My daughter had a grand old time. She started out shy, and wanted to hang by me. But then she ran into a friend from temple, Shayna, as well as her AC from last year, Allison. At the start of the song session, Shayna came over, grabbed her, and told her she was dancing and singing with Shayna’s cabin. This is camp: she was accepted immediately. She also had loads of fun making other friends for the first time. Folks are friendly at camp! It made her a little sad, as she really wanted to go this year, but the temporary dining hall and kitchen couldn’t handle gluten free. Next year… with the rebuilt pavillion… she’ll be there.

It was interesting observing the difference that the director makes. In the early days of Hilltop, under Steve Makeoff and Chuck Feldman, song sessions were done in the Pavillion. We sat and pounded at the table as we sang Justice, Al Tirah, This is the Day, and songs written by campers, Cherish the Torah, It Was Good, Reaching Out, with the “new” Debbie Friedman stuff and songs from NFTY. Dancing was mostly the older, yeminite-style Israeli dancing, perhaps with the occasional Pada-Pada or Yellow River. There were creative services, with lots of English. Perhaps this is what might be called “Classic Reform Camping”. Now, camp reflects the increased sprituality that is Reform, the increased Hebrew found in modern Reform. Meals are Kosher-style. There is lots more Hebrew, with slightly more traditional renditions of prayers. Certainly, there is more emphasis on modern Israel and the connections to it. This reflects the influence of the new camp directors, Doug and Gersh. Do I wish camp was what it was? No. It needs to be today’s Judaism to connect with the kids, who soak it up with the same energy that we had. The energy is there, the spirit is there, the love of being Jewish is there — that will never change (and must never change). The trappings do, but camp is camp.

We got home around 11:15pm, fully relaxed. Went to bed around midnight.

Got up at 3:00am with a killer headache in the back of my head, above my neck. Took ½ T3, went back to bed. Woke back up at 6:30a with the headache still there. As I have to drive today, took 2 Excedrin. I think this is a tension headache combined with sound poisoning; my shoulders are sore as well. Much as my mind would like to be 14 again and be up at camp… my body is reminding me that I’m 46, thankyouverymuch, and that sort of energy is for young joints and brains.

Perhaps I’ll take my wife’s suggestion and see if some swimming will help loosen this up.

To the current generation of campers reading this in the camp community: appreciate the energy you have and your days at camp. I was discussing this with Marla during the dancing. Camp changes you in innumerable ways you don’t even realize. It is so much more important to your Jewish integral spirit than Temple life. It becomes part of your soul, so much a part that as you get older, you take any chance to go back up there and recharge your spiritual batteries. I’ll take this pain I’m feeling this morning for the recharge that was a Shabbat under nature’s canopy and the infectious energy of the campers during singing and dancing.

When I reach out to you and you to me,
We become b’tzelem Elohim.
When we share our hopes and our dreams,
Each one of us, b’tzelem Elohim.

[Cross-posted to cahwyguy and ghc_for_life]


My Mindset is in the 1960s

terpsichoros brought to my attention (although I think I heard it on NPR as well) the Beloit College Mindset List. This provides what is claimed to be a world view of today’s entering college students (who were born in 1987). To me, this is a lot like the statement of “He doesn’t know what band Paul McCartney was in before Wings”. I’m not going to repeat the entire list here, but the following are the ones that made me feel particularly old:

Read More …


If 60 is the New 30, Then I’m Justified in Acting Like a Child

So when you find it in your mailbox for the first time my friend
You can tell that you getting older, you’re turning grey
It’s a first sign of decline, it’s a start of the end
When your wrinkles out number your hairs then it’s headed your way

Modern Maturity, means you’re getting old
When you get the magazine that you hide from your friends
Once it was Rolling Stone, it was thrill after thrill
Now Modern Maturity means over the hill

Read More …



I’ve discovered, as you get older, you get nostalgic. I’m not sure why.

A number of things have brought this to mind. First, the recent ubiquity meme. Looking at the things on my unique list, most of them were done back in college and high school. Now, for some of you that is recent, even current, but for me: that’s 20 years ago. Do we only do unique things when we are young? Have I gotten in a rut in my life, so comfortable that I don’t step outside the bounds any more? Are these bones too old?

Second, last night I watched the One Day At A Time Reunion special. I used to watch this program religiously (I thought Valerie Bertinelli was really cute—back then, I had this thing for brunettes with long straight hair). Watching it brought back memories: shows just aren’t that funny… or thoughtful… these days. To give you an idea, a line from the show that sticks in my head, talking about sex: “Mom, back in your day, you had to hide the fact that you did it. Nowadays [ed: 1975], you hide the fact that you don’t.” It was just a relaxing hour to watch this reunion.

Thirdly, I’m finding this desire to reconnect with friends from high school and college days, and keep thinking about how I had more energy and focus “back then”. If folks hadn’t noticed by now, I’m into children’s television programs of the 50s/60s (such as Sheriff John).

Is this a normal middle-age thing? After all, you can’t go back, except in memory.


To briefly change the subject, a ceiling update: We lost a 4″ x 6″ square of cottage cheese from the ceiling overnight. Splat, onto the floor. When everthing dries out and the roof is replaced, how does one go about repairing an acoustical ceiling in a way that the color and style matches the remainder of the ceiling? Does one need to scrape it all and start over? (Yes, we have checked for asbestos, and there is none, luckily).