Brookfield Zoo: Lions Lying Down with Lambs

Well, no, not exactly. Brookfield keeps the lambs and lions on opposite sides of the park, which is probably just as well for both of them. But the next best thing happened yesterday in Denver—a hugfest among Illinois Democrats, who can rarely agree on ordering lunch. Illinois Republicans have faded into obscurity over the last few years because the Democrats are too busy fighting with each other to notice the existence of another party. But yesterday, during the Democratic National Convention, Illinois congressional rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., not to be confused with his maladroit father, began a veritable Virginia Reel of hugs and forgiveness among his colleagues, beginning with fellow congressional rep. Bobby Rush (who was upset by rumors that Jackson Jr.’s wife was aiming at Rush’s seat in Congress, if Rush’s health problems knock him out of it.) Then came Illinois State Senator Debbie Halvorsen, who had been at odds with Jackson over the plans for Chicago’s third airport. Then came Chicago’s Mayor Daley. And finally, at Jackson’s insistence, Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan and Governor Rod Blagojevich hugged each other. Their feud has essentially gridlocked Illinois state government for the last 2 years, and if Jackson’s hugfest has actually ended it, this will be the next best thing to the Peaceable Kingdom.

All of this brings to my mind the fact that the Jewish calendar is now on the brink of the month of Elul, which is the build-up to the High Holidays. During Elul, we are supposed to ask forgiveness of anyone we have wronged, and forgive those who have wronged us. The idea is to start the New Year with a moral clean slate. So Jackson’s getting a head start on this, and setting a great example for all of us. (I understand that Orthodox Christians do the same thing during Easter Week.)

Also, did you know that there is a Campaign for Love and Forgiveness, sponsored by the Fetzer Foundation, regularly plugged on PBS, and available online at ? This sounds like a good idea for all of us. We need to forgive for the same reason we need to take out the garbage (for more info on that, see )

So anyway, to all of you who read this, I ask forgiveness of anyone I have offended or wronged, and I forgive any of you who think they have offended me. Peace and light and Happy Elul.

Jane Grey

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