Somebody please tell me I am not dreaming; that this really is the year 2017. I woke up at dawn on the first day of this new year and, contrary to the stories I’d read as a child about the future of the world — and the pictures I’d conjured up with my imagination — I didn’t see anyone in aluminum foil clothes and there were no rockets flying overhead. Just plain, old ordinary airplanes.
My mind went back to a couple of books that were required reading when I was in high school. One was “1984” by George Orwell; the other “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Brandbury. I remember thinking that the books were just fiction, that there could never be such a thing as “Big Brother” watching our every move, as depicted in “1984.” Or, as was written in “Fahrenheit 451,” that books, even the Bible, would be outlawed.
Now, I am not so sure Big Brother isn’t watching our every move. Why, we can hardly make a move without our whereabouts being followed by some tracking device, or some camera following us around. That can be both good and bad. Bad for criminals and good for parents who want to keep track of their children.
And speaking of book banning, even today certain books — like the Holy Bible — are banned in some places around the world. May that day never comes to our America.
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Anyway, just my thoughts as I opened my eyes to the dawn of a new year. While I might have let my imagination go on a rampage a bit, I am truly thankful for being alive to see what has and is unfolding in my lifetime.
So much has happened that I never dreamed I would be alive to see. As a child, I watched my parents and other family members and friends rejoice at the end of World War II. There really was dancing in the streets of Overtown, where we lived at the time. Northwest Second Avenue, about a half block from our home, was like a great, big block party.
And I can remember the night of the Joe Louis/Billy Conn heavyweight boxing match. There wasn’t air conditioning back then and the windows were open in every house in the neighborhood. Men could be heard egging on Joe Louis, while the women kept the ice-cold drinks flowing.
And then it happened: Joe Louis knocked out Billy Conn and the roar that went up that night seemed to fill every corner of our Overtown neighborhood.
Life moved on and then came the Korean War and flying saucers era. There were drills at school where we had to sit under our desks, heads between our knees and hands folded on top of our heads. Somehow, we lived through these times with not too many scars. Some of my high school guy friends left school to join the armed forces. Those of us back home kept them abreast of the happenings by writing to them faithfully.
Then, there came the flying saucers era. There was so much talk about flying saucers and aliens from another planet, that I actually thought I saw one while daydreaming and looking out of a second-story classroom window at Booker T. Washington High School. I tell you, I stopped breathing for a second. It seemed so real. I caught my breath when I realized it was only a cloud formation. And I was so happy that I didn’t share the sighting with anyone else.
The years seems to have flown by. And before I knew it, I was in the 1960s era with the new space age that coincided with Rosa Parks, and the Civil Rights era; the Cold War and some of the most painful events of my lifetime, the assassinations of our President John F. Kennedy, civil-rights icons Medgar Evers and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Sen. Robert Kennedy. It seemed to be sorrow upon sorrow for us.
But life goes on and out of the dust we Americans picked ourselves up and moved on, trying to make some sense of all that had happened to us.
While we were pondering those things, a war in a country I had never heard of was brewing: Vietnam. Not only was it being fought on foreign soil, it also was tearing apart our country.
And then the war was over. Many of our young soldiers came home to a not-so-welcome atmosphere. I never understood that. Seemed the young soldiers were doomed if they fought and doomed if they didn’t. So happy to have lived long enough to seen a change in that attitude.
Now we are on the threshold of a brand new era. None of us can say what the future will bring. What we can do is pray, and hope for the best. We’ve come through a lot. But this is still a great, big beautiful world, and I can’t wait to see what unfolds next. #GladToBeAlive.
Congregation Dor Chadash to install rabbi
Warm congratulations to Rabbi Jonathan Tabachnikoff, who will be installed as founding rabbi of Congregation Dor Chadash on Jan. 21. The gala installation ceremony will begin at 6:45 p.m. with a cocktail party in the synagogue’s Tabor Social Hall. The installation ceremony will begin 7:30 p.m. in the sanctuary. Dinner will follow in the ballroom at 9400 SW 87th Ave.
Tabachnikoff is the son of the late Rabbi Barry Tabachnikoff, who was the spiritual leader of Bet Breira. Dor Chadash is housed in the same building and is a mixture of both Reform and Conservative branches of Judaism.
“As a ‘new’ congregation, we are off to a great start, with more than 225 members”, said Tabachnikoff, 47. “We’ve got a religious school with nearly 30 students, including more than 10 in the high school confirmation program. This is a perfect blend of Judaism that will, we believe, attract many people, especially new, younger families looking for affiliation.”
If you go, tickets to the installation are $90 each. For tickets, and more information contact Michelle Steward at Dor Chadash, 305-595-3008.
Reserve now for Orlando tour
Dorothy Heard, who retired four years ago from Jackson Health System where she worked 35 years in the human resources department, is a long time member of Greater New Bethel Baptist Church in Miami Gardens. She recently found a new career as a special events organizer.
On April 25-27, Heard, along with Diamond Tours, will present an Orlando tour of the Holy Land Experience, Wells’ Built Museum of African–American History and Culture and Bok Tower Gardens.
The tour will depart at 8 a.m. on April 25 and will return on April 27. The cost of the trip is $275 per person, and covers transportation; two nights lodging; four meals (two breakfasts and two dinners); and admission to the attractions.
The tour is $275 per person, including bus transportation from Miami to Orlando, hotel, meals and theme park admissions. Deposits of $75 per person must be made by Jan. 22. For additional information and questions, contact Heard at 305-965-8205 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Booker T. Washington Alumni prayer breakfast
You may purchase your tickets now for the Prayer Breakfast that is sponsored by the Booker T. Washington Alumni Association’s Upstart Outreach Committee.
The BTW Alumni Upstart Outreach Committee provides aide to school students in need by giving them clothing, food baskets and gift cards.
The breakfast will be 8:30 a.m. Feb. 4 at the historic St. Agnes Episcopal Church’s Blackett Hall, 1750 NW Third Ave. in Overtown. Tickets are $20 each.
For more information and to purchase tickets contact Deautra Roberson at 786-285-5414; Joan Ballard at 954-391-8382; Barbara Burrows at 305-633-4331; or Johnnie Fields at 305-310-0855.
Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Religion Notes, c/o Neighbors, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172 or email email@example.com. Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.