The Jan. 30 Jewish Journal presents ideas to think about. The article, “Defining anti-Semitism,” offers comments by Rabbi Ragozin who 1) is offended by anti-Semitic acts, 2) knew they were wrong, 3) feels a sense of shame that holds us back as a community, and 4) the need for projects to develop inner strength and confidence. I would focus on the word shame as a key idea as a human response. I know of two psychologists who devoted their lives and books to understanding shame and other identifiable human emotions, Donald Nathanson and Silvan Tomkins.
In the second article, “Raizel shares the power of positivity,” Raizel Schusterman notes that of her success in counseling is her attraction to “positive psychology, an emerging field gaining recognition that is based on the science of happiness.” Both shame and happiness are effects or emotions that can be looked at, among other emotions, as theories of psychological or scientific understanding. Raizel and the followers of Nathanson and Tomkins are definitely leaders in understanding human responses or emotions.
In a letter to the editor, Fred Vainas sees a role model as someone emulating positive emotions, described as part decency, kindness, and honesty, as the best role model. This could be a tie-in with the first three articles above, as Nathanson describes other basic affects such as joy or pride (consider happiness) which do shape our very sense of self.
A fourth article, an editorial, describes “Peace through Negotiations.” President Trump has laid a plan on the table representing present externalities. I would understand this as an opening gambit, a start, in arriving at a future deal with Palestinians as a second state that could be negotiated further. I would initially prefer a neutral state mandated by UN by states like Germany, Finland, and Sweden. Only after an era of industrialization and political growth can a second state be formed based on independent sources of pledged monies.
Leonard R. Friedman, MD, Middleton