Topics & Perspectives

A Time for Understanding

What a time we are in!

Don’t you find it hard to anticipate a happy holiday season with everything that’s going on? I don’t really have to enumerate, but it’s hard not to mention what seem to be unnecessarily quick gunshots from police personnel – what appear as random shootings by many others – one of the ugliest mid-term elections in American political history – and, of course, major challenges confronting the Catholic Church. How is our culture, our civilization as we think we know it, going to be able to survive all of this?

I think about these things a lot. Probably too much. But how can anyone who thinks at all not think of them, with much head-shaking (if not outright banging!) and a feeling of complete powerlessness? What can any of us do? Not much as individuals, I’m sure. But if we band together, we may really be able to accomplish great things. To do that will be hard, and will require new ways of seeing each other: colorblind and open to others’ beliefs. No, we don’t have to live the lives of those others ourselves, but we do have to live our own lives with the understanding that others are different, and the hope that those who are different will be understanding of us – no matter who we are – in the same accepting way.

And this is the time of year to do it!!

Start with Thanksgiving, a holiday for everyone. Whether we feast on turkey or tofurkey, we’re all celebrating that we live here, with more freedom than exists in most of the rest of the world.

And then, come December, those beautiful days of so many beautiful lights – for Christians, on the trees of the season; for Jews, in candle-filled menorahs. Together, we celebrate a Savior’s birth while commemorating the first battle ever fought – and won – for religious freedom. Time to put problems aside and love the season – and each other.

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah!

And a peace-filled 2019 to follow!


Harriet P. Gross

A proud native of Pittsburgh, PA, Harriet P. Gross began her journalism career in 1955 at The Jewish Criterion, a weekly paper in her home city. Moving to the Chicago area in 1957, she became a columnist and feature writer for STAR Publications, a leading twice-weekly newspaper serving the city’s southern sector and its suburbs to the south and west. After years of work as a full-time journalist in suburban Chicago, Harriet came to Dallas in 1980 following her marriage to the late attorney Fred Gross. Here she began freelancing. Among many special projects, she wrote the scripts for Jewish Family Service’s first video and Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ 100th anniversary video, and the text for Dallas Section, National Council of Women’s soon-to-be-published history book. Today, Harriet’s “In My Mind’s I” column runs weekly in the Texas Jewish Post. She has won writing awards from the Press Club of Dallas, American Jewish Press Association, National Federation of Press Women, Illinois Woman’s Press Association and Press Women of Texas, and has been listed in five Who’s Who publications. In her community today, Harriet is a book reviewer, discussion leader, and program presenter for clubs, senior living facilities, and Jewish institutions including the JCC’s Senior Program, and after years on its Board, she was named a Life Member of the Dallas Jewish Historical Society. She holds a B.A. in writing and secondary education from the University of Pittsburgh and an M.A. in humanities from the University of Texas at Dallas, plus certification in Jewish education from Spertus College of Judaica, Chicago. Harriet was widowed in 2014. She has two children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandsons.

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