Tuesday, April 26, 2011


In July or August, God Willing (sorry to get religious on you, but I’m not certain it will happen until it happens) I will have a “roommate.” And although I have had roommates before, I haven’t had one in seven years and never one of this sort.

To prepare, I have been going through old things and throwing out what I need and don’t need to make room for said roommate and his belongings. However, he won’t have many belongings, so this task isn’t actually physically necessary, but more spiritually so.

Cleaning for me is like losing weight. If I plan to do it, I never will. So I take advantage of spurt of energy and motivation (which is usually just procrastination of something else I don’t want to be doing) and go through the large plastic cartons I must have bought from Target years ago.

I hate moving, and for someone my age who is not married, I haven’t moved all that much. But when I moved seven years ago I felt like a fugitive. Very quickly I had to leave a place where I was living with roommates (one who was my brother who was getting married and moving into a house with his wife) find a somewhere to live and settle in. The funny thing about this is that for at least six months prior, I knew I’d be moving, but I thought I’d be moving to Israel with my then fiancĂ©. However, I never made a plan for the interim, which I don’t understand. I had no plan from June 1-September 1.  This makes me wonder if this is yet another sign that perhaps deep, deep down I knew I wasn’t going to be moving to Israel and I wasn’t going to be getting married.

[In honor of the last day of Passover, perhaps the Hebrews deep down knew they would be fleeing from Egypt, but still put bread in the oven just in case Pharaoh changed his mind again.]

So when I moved out of my brother’s condo in June of 2004 I didn’t clean out much of anything, just placed unnecessary remnants in plastic containers, and maintained this pattern since. I’m not a hoarder or anything, but as I sort through the big plastic boxes of documents, bills and sometimes random items, I’m forced to confront my past.

Since I started cleaning (which was embarrassingly enough last August – I know, I know, like I said, it’s not my strength) the boxes are (not surprisingly) stacked in order of years like an archaeological dig. This is accidental, because if I had an organizational prowess, I wouldn’t have the stacks in the first place.  So today I cleaned 2007. What I found (of interest):

1.  My parents’ trusts
2. All of the manuals to my kitchen appliances and car
3.       A pearl necklace. The box makes it look like it’s valuable. Who gave me a pearl necklace in 2007?  
4.       A wrist radio that I worked out with (I know that sounds like 1997, but it was in there).
5.       The medal from riding the M.S. 150.

This week In Israel, my roommate-to-be explained to me the process of construction in the country. (I knew this already, but because he is a tour educator he sometimes adds interesting facts, which he did.) Because there are so many artifacts, all construction is stopped and delayed if any antiquities are found during the process of digging. Once the site has been properly excavated and recorded, construction can continue. This makes the process of building anything in Israel long and arduous (also add in the nightmarish bureaucracy)

It makes me laugh to hear people complain about the amount of time it’s taking to open a Trader Joe’s on Clark and Diversey, just as it makes others laugh that it’s taken me 7 months to go through four years of boxes.

What can I say? I guess I’m on Ramses II's time table.  

Friday, April 8, 2011

An idea for Health Care Reform that won't piss everyone off

Health care reform in the not for profit community (NFP) is a hot button and divisive issue. However, no matter the cost, many people prioritize health insurance. Many organizations, often to their financial peril, offer health insurance to their employees. Some simply cannot due to their small size.

However, over the last decade, health care costs have skyrocketed, which have put all NFPs in a difficult decision: fund the goals of their mission or fund their employees’ health benefits. It’s a sad predicament, one that drives people out of the NFP sector or if they have benefits, keeps them at a job too long because even though they are burnt out, they can’t move to another NFP that doesn’t offer health insurance.

NFP professionals, who at least in the mid and lower levels have always been women, at some point were probably expected, with a few exceptions here and there, to use their husbands’ health
insurance plans for medical care. However, as social paradigms have changed (women aren’t married, or are marrying later) and the economy has faltered (men don’t have benefits either), the stress of health
insurance could, sorry for the bad pun, make someone sick.

Until health care reform is resolved either way, why can’t we pool every (insert state) NFP’s resources into one health insurance plan.  The premiums would then be divided among every NFP throughout Illinois based on the number of employees insured.
If this conglomeration is too large, at least allow NFPs to band together until they reach 100 employees to be able to offer affordable health care. This could allow groups from across the NFP spectrum to reduce their health insurance costs and not have to decide between educating 10 more children or insuring their employees.

Since this concept is illegal, and it shouldn’t be, perhaps that is a public policy we could all agree on. (If not, let me know why, I’m curious).

What do you think and how can we make this happen? 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What do you think of this plan for Israel?

I met with a 73 year old Israeli who is an expert in the Middle East. He was there in pre state Palestine during the Jerusalem siege; he fought in Abu Tor during the Six Day War. He was a tour guide and an outstanding person. Much of this is what he thinks this should be the final peace between Israel and the Palestinians and to keep the state of Israel a modern state.  There are some elements of this that are from other people as well. I may or may not agree with these ideas, so don't attack me personally, please. I'm just putting it out there.

What do you think?

  • Pre 67 borders with a few adjustments (Maale Adumim)
  • Jerusalem run by its local population with IDF security for 50 years
  • All international border security controlled by IDF for 50 years.
  • Settlers  financially  incentivized  to live in the North or South. All moving costs covered.
  • Jerusalem home owners must either live there or have renters. Show proof of habitation at least 8 months/year.
  • High Speed Train from Gaza to West Bank.
  • Israeli Arabs can stay with full citizenship rights.
  • Creation of Civil Marriage.
  • Only 1800 yeshiva students exempt/year from army or national service.
  • In order to qualify for child tax credits, incentivize Haredim to work 20 hours/week.