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Over 60 ... And Getting Younger: August 31, 2012


As Tropical Storm Isaac heads for the United States I am interested in the name, Isaac. I was fortunate to have met all four of my grandparents. Both grandfathers were named Isaac and both were born in Poland.

They were not at all similar in their business lives, but both were very religious and well-versed in the Torah. Isaac, after all, was the son of Abraham, destined to be sacrificed on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Only the sight of a goat by Abraham saved his life.

Isaac Greenberg was a worker in construction. He was a roofer who climbed on houses and buildings with no fear. He raised four sons and named my father Abraham. My father, like myself, was not comfortable on high buildings and rooftops. He eventually opened a dry goods store in the East Bronx.

My mother’s father Isaac opened a dry goods store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He did not work on Saturdays, but his two sons ran the business.

The name Isaac is always listed as one of the three fathers of Judaism: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Isaac is the least flamboyant of the three, but his life is remembered in the Old Testament.

Isaac the hurricane is plodding slowly toward New Orleans, Mississippi and Alabama. Along the route, it has caused Republicans to change the scheduling of their political convention. Isaac does not appear to be headed anywhere near New York State, and that is a blessing.

My name, Stanley, is Israel in Hebrew. I have read the biblical origin of the name Israel. Jacob fought with the angel as written in the Bible. Jacob changed his name to Israel after his skirmish, wrestling with the angel. I now have a desire to be called Jake by my friends and acquaintances; it seems like such a friendly name.

If you meet me in the streets of Jericho, I give you permission to call me Jake. I hope Isaac the hurricane is not too severe and damaging.