Saturday, December 1, 1990
Dear G.U.C.I. Staff:
Ah yes; Chanukah is upon us once again. And we all know why this is such an
important holiday, right? The re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem, Judah
Maccabee and his gang kicking some Assyrian you-know-what in 164 B.C.E., the
miracle of the oil. WRONG! Come on, let's be honest...G I F T S is what it is
all about. I've been thinking about some of the presents I've received and for
which I am most thankful. Here is my list (and I'm checking it twice):
DAY ONE: My wife Juca, with whom I will celebrate our 20th anniversary this
month. That's twenty summers at camp, an inestimable number of weekends alone
while her husband runs off to Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, etc. to promote camp with
slides and stories, thousands of late night phone calls from teenagers hoping
for a summer job or seeking consolation for not receiving one. And all the
while, making my house a home and raising two seemingly well-adjusted boys
(that in itself these days is reason to be proud). Juca's the real Jewish
educator of the family, where it's hard to be, in the classroom and at home.
Through the highs and lows, for twenty years its been "Me and the Juc."
DAY TWO: My boys, Jeremy and Michael. My constant source of joy, worry,
humor, sport, music, and laughter. A person couldn't ask for two better kids.
DAY THREE: Evelyn Klotz, who, for the past 45 years has put up with a most
rebellious and unorthodox son. And Arnold Klotz, whose memory is indeed a
blessing; whose face I see every morning when I see myself in the mirror, and
whose sense of humor continues to warm my heart.
DAY FOUR: My Reform Judaism, which has given me a creative way to practice an
ancient way of life and has been my link to both past and future.
DAY FIVE: Goldman Union Camp Institute. Everyone needs something to believe
in... I've got camp. This place has been a constant source of inspiration. As
the old Zionist song goes, "A place to build and be built by." From G.U.C.I. I
have been given the gift of many, many good friends, and a few great friends.
DAY SIX: Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Milt Jackson, Oscar Peterson, Ella
Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond, Charlie Parker, Stan Getz,
Cannonball Aderley, Sonny's Stitt and Rollins, Jimmy Coe, Gerry Milligan, Sarah
Vaughn, Frank Sinatra, Pete Seeger, Lee Hayes, Ronnie Gilbert, Fred Hellerman,
Bob Gibson, John Lennon, Woody Guthrie, Paul Simon, etc.; the music of my life.
DAY SEVEN: My late night companions; McBain, Mitchner, Salinger, Tolstoy, Uris,
Wilder, Le Carre, and a hundred others whose words bring me comfort and
emotion, entertainment and introspection.
DAY EIGHT: All my friends from Hollywood; from Brando to Hoffman, Bette Davis
to Mel Brooks, from Robert De Niro to Sid Caesar and Jackie Gleason, Coppula to
Reiner, Streep to Belushi, and almost everyone in-between who feed my not-so-
secret passion, the movies.
My "Special Gifts List" could go on, but after all, Chanukah's only eight days
long. Say, how's your list shaping up?
P.S. Last year my kids gave me a Bears sweater. God help me, I do love those