Thanksgiving: To Whom? For What?

I’m deeply drawn to the annual American tradition of Thanksgiving. I stipulate ‘American’ because I here immigrated twenty-five years ago and found the symbolism of communal gratitude especially meaningful. This country has been a beacon of inspiration, symbolized by the Statue of Liberty where Emma Lazarus’s words are permanently etched (“Give me your tired, your […]

Young True Believers: Cults vs Constructive Contributions?

Young people are often the energetic and idealistic avatars of the future. They are iconoclastic, criticize society’s deficiencies and inequities, and frequently at the forefront of social change. But a few decades ago thousands of young people (older adolescents and young adults) seemed enthralled by unfamiliar, sometimes flamboyant, religious groups. They captivated the imagination and […]

The Ominous Resurgence of Anti-Semitism

The Ominous Resurgence of Anti-Semitism “I’ve been aware most of my life that I am hated by many people around the world.” A strong statement, I know, especially coming from a psychiatrist. I certainly have frailties and faults, but ”hated”?! Like you, I think of myself as a decent person, personally well-liked by many, loved […]

I Never Liked Pets…

I Never Liked Pets… I have an admission to make: When I was younger, I didn’t like pets. Actually, nobody owned pet dogs or cats when I was a child in my poor immigrant neighborhood. Dogs were considered frivolous or dangerous, and were expensive. The feral cats in the local alleys seemed furtive and weird, […]

Wrestling with Religion and Spirituality

Wrestling with Religion and Spirituality As a practicing psychiatrist, I am often confronted by dramatic examples of life’s “bipolar” vicissitudes.” I am not referring to the diagnosis as much as to the dramatic range of affect-laden situations and moods, ranging from loss and tragedy to love and exultation. Whether searching, or in despair or celebration, […]