New Year’s Resolutions

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Today is the sixth day of 2019.  How many resolutions have you already made—and broken?

Whatever your views are on the utility of New Year’s resolutions, it is true that the passing of one calendar year, and the dawn of a new one, especially when the days are short and cold, prompts reflection and contemplation.  One remembers past achievements (or failures), and resolves to be a better person (however defined) in the future.

Now, I can offer no special advice or insights in this regard.  But it does seem to me that all too often we judge a person’s worth by the things they have (nice house, fancy car, expensive clothes) rather than by what they do (practice kindness, generosity, empathy).  To the ancient Greeks and our Founding Fathers, character was destiny.  And, as I have discussed (here), without practicing kindness, how can we ever be in a position to do the right thing when we are tested, such as Odd Nansen did, and all those recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among The Nations did, even in the face of mortal danger.

Arne Garborg. Painting by Eilif Peterssen

So, I would like to share with you a quote by a Norwegian, Arne Garborg (1851–1924), who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature four times:

“For money you can have everything it is said.  No, that is not true.  You can buy food, but not appetite; medicine but not health; soft beds, but not sleep; knowledge but not intelligence; glitter, but not comfort; fun, but not pleasure; acquaintances, but not friendship; servants, but not faithfulness; grey hair, but not honor; quiet days, but not peace.  The shell of all things you can get for money.  But not the kernel.  That cannot be had for money.”

[Thanks to my friend Norma Askeland Smith for introducing me to Garborg.  When Norma’s mother left Norway to get married in America in 1934, Norma’s uncle Gunnar Thompson gave Norma’s mother a book of poetry by Garborg, his favorite writer.  “I like to think this passage meant something to him as well,” she writes.  Gunnar Thompson, a teacher, was arrested by the Nazis on March 15, 1941, was transferred to Sachsenhausen on September 6, 1941, and died there on July 1, 1942, age 34.]

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Upcoming Events

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Book Signings

  • January 13, 2019: Nordic Museum, Seattle, WA
  • February 10, 2019: Central United Methodist Church/S.T.A.R., Spartanburg, SC
  • February 22, 2019: Providence Athenaeum, Providence, RI
  • March 10, 2019: York, PA Jewish Community Center, York, PA
  • March 22, 2019: Viterbo College, LaCrosse, WI
  • March 24, 2019: Jewish Community Center, Milwaukee, WI
  • April 29, 2019: Congregation B’nail Israel, Bridgeport, CT
  • May 2, 2019: Notre Dame High School, West Haven, CT
  • May 30, 2019: The Glebe, Daleville, VA
  • May 31-June 2, 2019: Georgetown University, Washington, DC
  • June 27, 2019: Norway House, Minneapolis, MN
  • October 15, 2019: American Scandinavian Society, New York, NY
  • January 21, 2020: Alpha Delta Kappa, Raleigh, NC

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“We thoroughly enjoyed your presentation. . . . We are really looking forward to reading the book.”

- Sharon Rohrback, President
Sons of Norway Blafjell Lodge, Bedford, VA

On This Date

< 2019 >
January
SMTWHFS
  12345
678910
  • All identification cards of Jews in Norway ordered to be stamped with "J"
1112
13141516171819
20
  • Wannsee Conference to coordinate "the Final Solution to the Jewish problem"
212223242526
2728293031  
Legend
  Previous/Upcoming Engagements
  This day in history

Recent Posts

< 2019 >
January
SMTWHFS
  12345
678910
  • All identification cards of Jews in Norway ordered to be stamped with "J"
1112
13141516171819
20
  • Wannsee Conference to coordinate "the Final Solution to the Jewish problem"
212223242526
2728293031  
Legend
  Previous/Upcoming Engagements
  This day in history

Upcoming Events

Share

Book Signings

  • January 13, 2019: Nordic Museum, Seattle, WA
  • February 10, 2019: Central United Methodist Church/S.T.A.R., Spartanburg, SC
  • February 22, 2019: Providence Athenaeum, Providence, RI
  • March 10, 2019: York, PA Jewish Community Center, York, PA
  • March 22, 2019: Viterbo College, LaCrosse, WI
  • March 24, 2019: Jewish Community Center, Milwaukee, WI
  • April 29, 2019: Congregation B’nail Israel, Bridgeport, CT
  • May 2, 2019: Notre Dame High School, West Haven, CT
  • May 30, 2019: The Glebe, Daleville, VA
  • May 31-June 2, 2019: Georgetown University, Washington, DC
  • June 27, 2019: Norway House, Minneapolis, MN
  • October 15, 2019: American Scandinavian Society, New York, NY
  • January 21, 2020: Alpha Delta Kappa, Raleigh, NC
< 2019 >
January
SMTWHFS
  12345
678910
  • All identification cards of Jews in Norway ordered to be stamped with "J"
1112
13141516171819
20
  • Wannsee Conference to coordinate "the Final Solution to the Jewish problem"
212223242526
2728293031  
Legend
  Previous/Upcoming Engagements
  This day in history