Skip to main content

Some Personal History

Over the last several decades I have had the opportunity to work on a variety of interesting projects.  In chronological order:
  • Crocker Nuclear Lab: a 76", sector-focussed, isochronous cyclotron (it was high tech in the 60s).  Made radioisotopes for cancer screening, as well as operating and maintaining the cyclotron.
  • Loma Linda Proton Therapy Facility: Designed shielding for facility and control system for accelerator.
  • Superconducting Super Collider: Worked on design committee and then the control system. RIP
  • Computer Programmer... various gigs.

On a more personal note, I am an Orthodox Jew.  A few things you may find interesting:
  • Our calendar is solar-lunar calendar.  That is, the months follow the cycle of the moon, but the years are adjusted to keep the holiday at the right time of year.  Passover, for example, must always be observed in the spring.
  • All Jewish holidays begin at sundown.  The sabbath (Shabbos), for example, can start as early as 4:00PM Friday afternoon during the winter.  For that reason, I generally work from home on Fridays and the day before our holidays.
  • We have an ancient custom that men and women do not touch each other.  The comes up sometimes when meeting new people, because it means I can't shake hands with the women.  In general, people are very accommodating.
  • I eat strictly kosher food.  That does not mean that a Rabbi blessed it; it does mean that the food must adhere to certain standards as explained to us at Mt. Sinai.  If you want to know more, you may want to check out the excellent introduction, "What Is Kosher?" at the Chicago Rabbincal Council web site.
  • Also, don't ever worry about offending me.  If there is something you want to know, feel free to ask.  In fact, it is harder to get me to stop than it is to get me started :)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Sometimes a Food Loses Its Identity When It Loses Its Bracha; Sometimes It Doesn't

Let's start with a question: Why are We Allowed to Drink Coffee and Whiskey Made by Non-Jews?  Before you ask,"Why would I think that I shouldn't be able to drink whiskey and coffee made by non-Jews?", I'll tell you. Simple, we all know that Chazal made a decree -- known as בישול עכו''ם/bishul akim -- that particular foods cooked by non-Jews are forbidden.  There are basically two criteria that determines if a dish falls into this category:
Is not consumed raw.Fit for a royal banquet. Cooked carrots, therefore, are not a problem since they can be eaten raw (I actually prefer them that way).  Baked beans are find because the are not prestigious enough.  (For great synopsis of the laws, see the article on the Star-K site, FOOD FIT FOR A KING, by Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, shlita.)  There are lots of cool questions and details (baked potatoes are prestigious, does that make even potato chips and issue?) which are for another time.  Clearly, though, both coffee an…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…