Skip to main content


One day recently on the way to school my six year old son Everest asked me if he was Jewish, to which I replied yes.  He then asked me what it meant to be Jewish, which was a hard one.  I thought to myself quickly what my answer was and how to distill it in words that a 6 year old could understand.  I told him that Jews love God, they love and respect their parents, they always treat others with respect, and they observe the Sabbath and enjoy eating Challah (the delicious egg-bread that is traditionally eaten on the Sabbath).  He considered this then reflected that he is surely Jewish, but then shared this wonderful insight – “Isn’t everyone Jewish then, Daddy, except really bad people?”  He really got me there.  I told him that he’s basically right but that other people call themselves by different names – Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, etc.  They all share the same things with us Jews, but refer to themselves differently and have different traditions.

I know that very strict adherents to all religions practice their religions in ways that are surely different from the others, yet I’d venture to say that the essential teachings about how human beings ought to live and conduct themselves are very much the same.  I'm not against rituals per se.  I see how many of the ancient teachings and traditions have been of value to me in my life and I’m certain that many can say the same of their experience with their religions.  At the same time, I fear that religion has been an unfortunate source of division, when this clearly could not be God's intent.  I think that little, sweet Everest best understands that.

Popular posts from this blog

Greed & Laziness

In this most contentious and fascinating of election cycles, when nearly each conversation leads to politics, and when polarization runs so high, I ask myself - what is the essence of the debate between left and right?  What does it really mean to be a Conservative or a Liberal?

Why Rates Must Remain Low

There is an old bond trader joke that I first heard in the 1980’s when I traded mortgage-backed securities at Drexel Burnham Lambert.  It went like this:  “Upon dying, Albert Einstein finds himself in what he is told is heaven.  He encounters another individual there and asks him what his IQ is.  When he is told that it is 175 he is overjoyed, knowing that he’s found an intellectual peer with whom he can share much.  Upon meeting another, he discovers that person’s IQ is 140 and is pleased to have met another highly intelligent person with whom he can enjoy chess and other pursuits.  He is feeling pretty good about heaven, when he comes across a person who tells him that his IQ is a mere 90, and he is flummoxed.  What, he wonders, is this guy doing in my heaven and what can I even say to this person?  Then it comes to him.  ‘Where,’ he asks, ‘do you think interest rates are heading?’”

CMBS In Flux

The CMBS market has been in a period of upheaval, with dramatic spread widening on bonds and a resulting much more expensive cost of capital for real estate borrowers who depend upon this channel for their debt financing.Market participants today wonder whether we’ve entered a period like the summer of 2011, when spreads on bonds last widened this dramatically and then snapped back within a year to provide tremendous returns for those who were courageous enough to purchase bonds at the time when there was panic selling.Or, people wonder, is this recent downturn a prelude to a structural or systemic problem, like what was experienced in 2007, when spreads widened and sucked investors in, only to punish those early responders with a much more dramatic price collapse in the next 24 months.