Pesach Rogoway

Rog’s Gallery – #1

I think catharsis is a beautiful word. It bears all of the following synonyms, according to Oxford Languages: purging, purgation, purification, cleansing, release, relief, emotional release, freeing, deliverance, exorcism, ridding, abreaction. It is not only beautiful, it is timely, at least to many of us who are trying to get through life one millisecond at a time.

When I was Sports Editor of the Garfield Messenger in Seattle, my weekly column was called “Rog’s Gallery” for obvious reasons. Wanting to state my opinions on today’s events, I think it appropriate to resuscitate that title, so we can all go in with open eyes. You see?

I am not claiming my opinion is better than yours; I just think it might be useful, and I need to get it off my chest – that’s a synonym too, it is just too many words for Oxford to handle.  Notice this is #1. If the editors allow it, if the duration is as predicted by many, and if my need continues, there just might be a #2.

I am not too happy with gore. I guess no one is, but what I mean is I do not really want to hear all those details. A short summary of the first day was enough to sicken me for a lifetime. I think it is important to keep it in the news globally, because as it is, there are all too many who do not get it, including some very prominent people. It is called antisemitism and it is getting worse; much worse.

The cause is a classic chicken-egg example. It is learned in school and brought home to be acquired so it can be studied in school. My father was a hero in WWII in the U.S. Army, and I really learned about the war when he came home, thank God, and explained it to me. One of the ideas he taught me was that antisemitism is a plague. If you see it in a small group, you can believe it is lurking in a larger one, and then it spreads to a still larger one. He saw it in the civilians in Germany and Austria and France and Belgium and maybe elsewhere. When the subject of reconstruction came to the Allies’ political table, they came up with the Marshall Plan to fast-start the formation of a new civilization in Europe. When it came to our family’s kitchen table, my father explained his Rogoway Plan. It was much simpler than the Marshall Plan. With his tongue only slightly in his cheek he said the solution for Germany was to drop an atom bomb on them (not “it”) and then start over. He had seen the hate in their eyes, the joy when something particularly evil happened. He thought they were all collaborators.

I stopped intensely watching the war a day or two ago. I was not sleeping well, thinking of all the fallen and the captives, and the displaced families and the stress we are all under. Now I lie awake wondering what’s happening, so I am still not sleeping well.

Another thing that bothers me is all the discussion about “after”. I think it is despicable. We are at war. It is life or death not only for our soldiers – the bravest and best – but also for our country. We should be focusing 100% on the present – what should we be doing, are we doing the most we can, the best we can. For my family, that includes praying with intensity.  Prayer and Hope are siblings. If you want to talk at home about politics and what should happen to Gaza and who is to blame and who should get credit, that’s fine. But not in the media. We will need your ideas – later. But now, focus on survival and helping your neighbor. There is one exception to this caveat. We are surprising ourselves with our unity.  It is not imagined, it is not superficial. What was exaggerated and petty and destructive and silly and dangerous was our quibbling over anything and everything that we could turn into a controversy. We must all resolve now to listen better, be more patient with each other, more respectful. How will we have won the war? Together, with God’s help. We cannot, we must not, revert to that earlier life. We must resolve today to retain that togetherness forever. As one man with one mind –  .כאיש אחד בלב אחד

About the Author
I was born in Spokane WA and raised in Seattle. Debra Kandel and I were married in 1956. I was graduated from Yeshiva University in 1957 with a major in Mathematics, and began a long career as a pioneer in computer systems and software development, working for TRW, Aerospace, and IBM in the US, and later for Elbit, MLL, and Motorola in Israel, with much time as an independent consultant as well. As a hobby I also taught at many universities in Israel, including as an Adjunct Professor at Bar-Ilan and subsequently as a Professor at Ariel. I was a member of the team that invented the PL/I programming language. In later years I became Director of Software Engineering Standards at Motorola worldwide and an authorized Lead Assessor of software development organizations inside and outside of Motorola. Meanwhile, our family grew to nearly forty grandchildren and over 50 great grandchildren, the latest born this past Shabbat.
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