G-d’s Master Plan – XLII – SLP, Thomas Friedman, Hattie Steinberg & Me


Thomas Friedman and I both graduated from St. Louis Park High School, four years apart, with the year I graduated, 1967, and our suburb, being featured in the Coen brothers movie “ A Serious Man”. We lived less than one mile away from each other so I am very familiar with the neighborhood in which Thomas grew up.

St. Louis Park was a typical middle-class Midwestern suburb back then filled with a wide variety of homes and apartment buildings. Many streets had sidewalks and much greenery. There were ample parks for children to play in. When we moved from North Minneapolis to St. Louis Park, in 1950, it was just being built at that time. The majority of Jews lived in North Minneapolis and we were among the first families to move to St. Louis Park.

As a result, very few Shuls existed in St. Louis Park if any at that time but soon thereafter as a wave of Jews left the North Side of Minneapolis that changed dramatically. St. Louis Park became so popular among the Jewish community that we sometimes referred to it as “St. Jewish Park”.

The school system was also developing and although we lived in the same house, I went to four different elementary schools during my first four years of schooling. There were no Jewish day schools that I can recall. I would attend Talmud Torah after public school at night housed in a Conservative Shul in another part of Minneapolis.

We had two Junior High Schools named Central and Westwood which has now been consolidated into the Westwood School. There has always been only one high school, which at the time I graduated had 2400 students representing grades 10 – 12 or 800 per grade.

Our views toward other Jews and Israel were always favorable. And if I remember correctly, at our graduation ceremony held on the football field, the Rabbi who served at our Conservative Shul addressed our class.

St. Louis Park High Journalism Teacher Hattie Steinberg

Thomas Friedman spoke very highly of his journalism teacher Hattie Steinberg when she passed away. I can verify that she was very well loved and every day I would pass her classroom, she always had a big smile on her face. I could hear her teach her class on occasion when the classroom door was left open and I could see how much she loved teaching her students as I sometimes would pause to listen if I was early arriving at my next class.

Ms. Steinberg had a very important but difficult job of introducing her students to the world of journalism and I can fully understand why Thomas chose journalism as his profession.

I never took her or any journalism class at that time because that was not my focus. But looking back, had I known that one day I would be using those skills, as mentioned in my previous Blog, then perhaps I would have benefitted tremendously from having Ms. Steinberg as my teacher.

Here is an excerpt from a book Friedman wrote-
“The fact is, parents and schools and cultures can and do shape people. The most important influence in my life, outside of my family, was my high school journalism teacher, Hattie M. Steinberg. She pounded the fundamentals of journalism into her students — not simply how to write a lead or accurately transcribe a quote but, more important, how to comport yourself in a professional way. She was nearing sixty at the time I had her as my teacher and high school newspaper adviser in the late 1960s. She was the polar opposite of “cool,” but we hung around her classroom like it was the malt shop and she was Wolfman Jack. None of us could have articulated it then, but it was because we enjoyed being harangued by her, disciplined by her, and taught by her. She was a woman of clarity and principles in an age of uncertainty. I sit up straight just thinking about her!”

― Thomas L. Friedman, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century  

                *      *       *     *     *

The Society Of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Since 1909

I am aware that there exists an organization for professional journalists named SPJ which lists many useful pieces of information on its website. One subject I want to take a closer look at is the SPJ Code Of Ethics.

Within this code, there are five items I want to point out-

Ethical journalism treats sources, subjects, colleagues and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect.

Expose unethical conduct in journalism, including within their organizations.

Gather, update and correct information throughout the life of a news story

Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one’s work and explaining one’s decisions to the public.

Discussing Points One And Two With Regard To Bari Weiss’ Resignation

If Thomas Friedman follows these ethical guidelines, I should have been able to easily locate his response via Google on the subject of Bari Weiss’ and her resignation from the NY Times. But as of now my search has come up empty.

Discussing Points Three, Four And Five

Thomas wrote an article appearing in the NYT on August 16, 2019 titled-

If You Think Trump Is Helping Israel, You’re a Fool

My family along with my fellow Israelis, have seen some historic moments thanks to the Trump Administration. These include the recent agreements which hopefully will lead to genuine peace between The UAE, Bahrain and Israel. There is nothing foolish about these great achievements. And it appears there is a real possibility that more countries will be added to the list if President Trump is re-elected, but that is not a certainty if President Trump loses.

I have been living here for one-third of my life with my family facing the real danger of a terrorist attack from the Palestinians at anytime. Thomas Friedman has had the ability to criticize the Israeli Government for many reasons without seeing first -hand the reality of the situation. He does not seem to appreciate the fact that there is an increase in Aliyah currently taking place that is resulting in Jews from all over the world making Israel their new home. That sends a strong message which means the Israeli Government must be doing something right. It is too bad Thomas is not here to see it.

And furthermore, when these recent agreements were signed, Israel came under attack by the Palestinians. As long as those rockets and balloons continue to attack our country and those terrorists try to infiltrate Israel, then why would the Jewish State want to have such partners in peace? Yasser Arafat fooled everyone and received the Nobel Peace Prize for his trickery, it looks like Thomas Friedman fails to understand that.

Therefore, Who Is The Greater Fool?

And This Story Just Came In Providing More Proof That The Palestinians Need Us More Than We Need Them-


 As a final thought, I wonder what Hattie Steinberg would have said about all of this if she were alive today?

About the Author
Born and raised in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. Married to a South African, we lived in Johannesburg from 1979 to 1996. Made Aliyah with our seven children on Parshat Lech Lecha. BSB Accounting Degree from the University of Minnesota. Investment Portfolio Manager /Fundamental And Technical Analyst. Wrote in-depth research on companies, markets, commodities for leading financial publications. Served in the US Army Reserves Semi Retired spending quality time with my wife, children, grandchildren and attend Kollel while analyzing current events as they relate to Torah and Mitzvahs.
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