North America, Europe
South Africa, Israel
The oddly inspiring, surprisingly intellectual, uniquely spiritual
and improbably madcap adventures of
Rabbi Goldie Milgram
and Hubbatzin Barry Bub, M.D.
Copyright © 2006
This book, or any portion thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher, except for purposes of quotation in a printed review.
Library of Congress Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
Milgram, Goldie , 1955-
The Rebbe on the Road Travelogues: Cross Country –
North America / by Goldie Milgram and Barry Bub.
Includes bibliographies references.
For additional information:
17 Rodman Oval
New Rochelle, NY 10805
♫ Dedicated to the One we love ♪
On the occasion of our
Tenth Wedding Aniversary
Also by Barry Bub, M.D.
Communication Skills that Heal: A Practical Approach to a New Professionalism for Medicine
Also by Rabbi Goldie Milgram
Reclaiming Judaism as a Spiritual Practice: Holy Days and Shabbat
Meaning and Mitzvah: Daily Practices for Reclaiming Judaism through Prayer, God, Torah, Hebrew, Mitzvot and Peoplehood
Living Jewish Life Cyce: Creating Meaningful Jewish Rites of Passage for Every Stage of Life
Make Your Own Bar/Bat Mitzvah: A Personal Guide to Creating a Meaningful Rite of Passage
Cross Country USA…………………1-94
On the Road Again
Southern United States…..123-129
Former Soviet Union………….162-170
Belgium and Holland………….171-172
Would you like to see the world? To be welcomed, hosted and feted? To our great surprise, we’ve been doing that and all because of one e-mail mistake. The sort of mistake that could happen to almost anyone, couldn’t it?
Barry: “I don’t understand. Why is someone I’ve never heard of responding to the e-mail we sent to a few family members about our cross-country trip? That note was personal – how did it get to a person in another country?”
Goldie: Hun, I don’t know. Probably someone forwarded our posting to a friend or something; that happens. Actually, we’ve received a lot more than a few responses to that e-mail, here’s a reply from Israel.
Barry: I just don’t get it. I’ve been sharing intimate thoughts with close family members, now I find a total stranger is responding?! This is an invasion of my privacy and IT”S NOT OK!! What have you done?
Goldie: Hmm…what’s this message?! Oh no, AOL has just shut down my account. What’s going on? Our trip has barely begun and already problems. I’ll just need a few minutes to get through to AOL for some answers. Don’t worry, I’ll figure this out dear.
Three hours later.
Barry: “What do you mean you accidentally caused our account to shut down and it’s not AOL’s fault? How does writing to family qualify as spam?”
Goldie: Well, dear, there’s a bit more to it. As you may recall, I asked Adam (my son) to set up our laptop with email capability for this trip. As part of that, I saw that he created a folder on the laptop marked “Trip Email.” So, I used that folder to send our first posting to the family. Unfortunately, inside that folder was every email address I have ever saved from any of my personal and business encounters. Oops.
Barry: (Seething) Exactly how many e-mails were in that folder?”
Two thousand seven hundred and eighty three emails went out that day, by accident, to senators and congressional leaders, clergy of every denomination, old friends, former spouses, students of ours in numerous countries, family speaking to us, family not speaking to us, vendors, people who write in asking for guidance from us, teachers we write to asking for guidance, hairdresser, lawyer, accountant, social justice, journalism, educator, doctor, meditation and clergy lists, you name it, we had spammed them our first posting.
At 2 a.m., as the magnitude of this error was still dawning on us, Goldie, a prominent rabbi well-known for her teaching presence on the web, drafted a rapid apology and negotiated with AOL for our posting to be declared for what it was, completely non-commercial Kosher spam, and for her account to be turned back so that at least she could send an apology.
While the AOL bulk mail staff person was reading both travelogue and apology over closely, our e-mail account came back on, and the hundreds of messages we expected were all waiting there – but instead of angry delete requests, our in-box was filled with people saying “don’t stop – keep writing; you are reminding us what life is all about; or, “as a home-bound person I want to thank you for being my eyes – I never expect to get to see these parts of America and love experiencing it through your unusual spiritual approach.” Many inquired if they could forward the posting to family or friends, or lift sections for their own websites. Folks sent us the names of places to visit, restaurants to try, and some of them even had family wanting to meet us and put us up along the way.
We were deeply moved and astonished by the daily breadth of world-wide public response. We were also bemused, what had we written that couldn’t already be found in a travel book somewhere? As you begin reading what became many years of travelogues to a self-expanding audience, perhaps you will see the uniqueness that we needed others to point out to us: A joy and appreciation of our two very different styles, and the intensely personal insider views we were giving of people’s lives and homes along with our critical, creative and curious set of eyes for well-known and little-known tourist destinations and conferences in our fields (healthcare and religion).
Our next postings were written with a sense of greater responsibility, with eyes wide open to what might interest others even beyond our usual appetites for the fascinating things in life. We began to tour such scenes as a beer festival and a historic atomic research site that might be important not only for our edification, but also for those who might never get to experience them. We never felt alone, unappreciated or unmotivated because so many people we knew and people we’d never heard of were writing right back.
Why publish the travelogues now? Because people keep asking for them, is one reason. And, Goldie has become a prominent author, with three books in her field on the market and two more manuscripts under contract, so the intensive time it takes to write the travelogues is no longer possible. And, alas, Goldie has agreed to be grounded, for now, by taking an exciting new professional position at the 92nd St Y in Manhattan, NY, so her days as an itinerant spiritual teacher are nearing their end. And, Barry’s first book, Communications Skills that Heal: a practical approach to a new professionalism in medicine (Radcliffe Medical Press, 2006) received magnificent reviews so he is off on his own world-wide travels as a keynote conference speaker and workshop leader.
How to relate to mistakes proved to be an important part of our deepening repertoire of spiritual practices. We’re learned to view mistakes as something to be understood very differently over time, because the toxic initial distress or disappointment a mistake can cause, when one stays in process with the error leads to understandings and opportunities that can become fossil fuel for a better future. Or as Goldie says, “growing pains become knowing gains.” You’ll soon see how that miraculous process, built into creation as naturally as the healing of a broken bone, when understood, becomes possible for all of us.
Welcome to The Rebbe on the Road Travelogues, the world’s first Kosher Spam.