as I enter the witness protection program...

by Leah Bieler

Over the past five days, I've been riveted by the coverage of the three young men who were kidnapped in Israel. I hope, and pray, that they will be brought back safe and soon. But the theology represented by the outpouring of conspicuous public piety in the Jewish community has some troubling aspects, which I explore in this piece in the Forward.


When my eldest daughter was three years old, she enjoyed a comfortable morning routine. After breakfast, if she dressed quickly, she was allowed to watch half an episode of “Sesame Street” before heading off to school. Like most three-year-olds, she enjoyed the predictability and sameness of quiet time with Elmo and Grover and Oscar the Grouch. Every morning, she was engrossed, dancing and singing along, blonde ringlets bouncing.

Then, one Monday morning, tragedy struck. Instead of “Sesame Street,” there was a new show on PBS. She was horrified. Tears streaming down her face, she looked up at me and with all earnestness asked, “Ima, why did HaShem have to change the TV schedule?”

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