Picture a giant oak tree near a glistening lake on a sunny day.   Then, remember the song from the 1950s: “There’s a tree in the meadow, not very far from a stream…..”    I was a child in Brooklyn when I first heard Margaret Whiting sing that song.  No, there was no lake nearby.  Only the Atlantic ocean near Brighton Beach in Brooklyn.  But what a beautiful song!


More about RACHMONES…….RACH rhymes with LOCK

RACHMONES is pronounced rock MAW ness. — accent on second syllable

At the heart of Jewish thought is the concept of RACHMONES.  It means compassion.  In Judaism, with the divine attribute of rachmones, all things are possible. All of Judaism’s philosophy is based on rachmones:  that is, ethics, ethos, learning, hierarchy of values, education are filled with rachmones.


The rabbis say that we should look upon each other with the same love and feeling that a mother feels for the little baby in her womb.  Jewish prophets write about rachmones and note that the Hebrew root rechem, from which rachmones is derived, means “a mother’s womb.”

Sentence:  He is in such a crisis that we should offer him rachmones.




When Lily McBeth, died in New Jersey in September 2014, there was still the controversy of transgenderhood.   Lily McBeth was born William McBeth.  Although he had a successful life as a husband and father and medical equipment salesman, he yearned to become a woman.  After his divorce and his retirement, he underwent a sex change at age 70 years old.  How courageous to endure surgery of any type at an advanced age.

He became Lily McBeth and tried substitute teacher, a profession he tried for several years before William became Lily McBeth.  But the same school system that rated him outstanding decided to reject him.   Lily McBeth was successful in legally changing her birth certificate to use her female name.  However, it was very difficult for her to gain employment in the teaching field.

A century earlier, in December 1952, the New York Daily News printed a front page story about a man named George Jorgensen who became Christine Jorgensen after a sex change operation in Denmark. Christine Jorgensen was born in the Bronx, New York streets where crime was prevalent.   As George Jorgensen, he was bullied by the boys who the neighborhood because he was a frail, blond and shy little boy.  George was drafted into the US Army in 1945 and, although he was honorably discharged, George was concerned about his so-called “lack of male physical development.”

He flew to Copenhagen Denmark in 1951 to visit his relatives and during this visit, he met Dr. Christian Hamburger who advised him to begin hormone replacement therapy.  On September 24, 1951, the first surgery was performed—it was termed an orchiectomy.  In November 1952, thirteen months after the first procedure, a penectomy was performed at Copenhagen University Hospital.  When George Jorgensen returned to the US, it was official — she was Christine Jorgensen and her first name was dedicated to Dr. Christian Hamburger.

In a letter, Jorgensen proclaimed to her friends: “My second operation, as the previous one, was not such a major work of surgery as it may imply.”

With the help of Dr. Joseph  Angelo, a doctor in New York City, Christine had more surgery in the US .  He was the husband of his classmate  at the Manhattan Medical and Dental Assistant School, Christine Jorgensen eventually obtained a vaginoplasty.

Christine Jorgensen became a spokesperson for transgender issues.   She influenced other transgenders to change their sex on birth certificates and to change their names.

What is sexuality?   What determines sexual identity? A set binary, that is, one can be only female or male, was questionable, especially after 1952 when George became Christine Jorgensen.  Traditional genders used to be considered a permanent designation.  No longer.   The new “psychological sex” designation may not be the  same   as biology, i.e. the biological sex designation.

Christine (aka George) Jorgensen is a part of the American sexual revolution.  Lily McBeth in 2014 died but the controversy over same-sex marriages and transgenders continues.


October 20, 2014

Zisa Moglen



Their family loved children.  They were so happy in their everyday lives as they raised their four little boys.  But, oh, how wonderful it would be if they only could add a female– A GIRL CHILD — to their family. They dreamed about having a little girl in the family.  It would complete their happy family.

One day, Suzie told her husband Ben that she was pregnant.  Nine months later, a little girl was added to their family.  From the beginning, they knew that she was so beautiful.  They knew that she would grow up to become a fine human being and an outstanding adult female.  Her name was Pearl.

When she was a baby, I loved playing with Pearl.  She was so cute and she possessed a charming little giggle.  Her smile attracted every family in the neighborhood.

And then, one day, in the wink of an eye, Pearl became an adult.  At age 21 years old and even in her late twenties, Pearl was adored by her brothers, her mother and father.  But, along the way to adulthood, something mysterious happened to Pearl.

I remember the night I visited her. We had dinner and had a terrific talk until the wee hours.  It was very late at night.  In fact, it was too late for me to drive home to my own house across town.

“Why don’t you stay overnight,” Pearl said to me.

“Oh, that sounds fine,” I said.

“Oh, I wanted to tell you that my date will be staying overnight too,” she added.

“It is your home, Pearl,” I responded.  “You can invite whomever you wish.”

As I prepared for sleep, I heard the door open.  I met Pearl’s date.   She was a girl just like Pearl.   Then, I learned the family secret.  The last child, who I thought was a girl, was really quite masculine.  As a gay female,  Pearl liked to date other women.



In 1951, George Jorgensen made history in America.  No, his name on the front page of the New York Daily News was not George.  The newspaper printed his name as Christine Jorgensen.

I was a schoolgirl and too young to understand the implications of the first person to have a sex change publicly.  However, I remember how often the name of Christine Jorgensen was in the news.

Born in Bronx, New York, George Jorgensen fought in the military and was a soldier so much like other soldiers.  Except George yearned to become a woman.  In the 1940s and 1950s, that was not a common wish nor was the procedure available in the United States.

And so, George went abroad for the sex change surgery.  It was successful and he returned to the United States as Christine Jorgensen.  She wanted to become a nightclub performer.  As Christine Jorgensen, she was a celebrity in the 1950s.  She lived a colorful life and even attempted to marry but there were legal issues with the marriage certification.

Christine Jorgensen lioved to be sixtyish and died in San Clemente California.  Until Dr. Stanley Bieber, the well-known surgeon who performed sex changes in Trinidad, Colorado, the surgery was not popular in the United States.  Ironically, Dr. Bieber learned his unique surgery from a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine manual.


SOYLENT GREEN — 1973 science-fiction movie


You may whisper the phrase:   “Soylent Green is people.”   The phrase was used in an old 1973 science-fiction movie called: “Soylent Green.”    Based on the 1966 novelMake Room!  Make Room” by Harry Harrison, the movie shows people living in an overpopulated New York City of more than 40 million people in the year 2022.  (The year 2022 seemed so far away to the moviegoers in 1973).

In this science-fiction movie called SOYLENT GREEN, there is little or no food available to feed the more than 40 million people dwelling in New York City.  With problems such as poverty, overpopulation, endless polluiton and homelessness, what is a person to do?  Daily living is almost unbearable because of the dense humidity which makes breathing very difficult.

Hunger is a major issue.   Food is scarce and distributed in rations…….What do people eat each day?   So many problems and too few solutiions.

Help is on the way.   Thanks to a big corporation called The Soylent Corporation, there is a new type of food.   They have created a new green wafer which is promoted as better than the previous red wafer or yellow wafer.  The Soylent Corporation says that the Soylent Green Wafer will be distributed in rations because the supply is so limited.  The ad states that the wafer contains “high-energy plankton” from the dying oceans of the world.

No, I am not going to give away the plot of the movie.   I hope you can rent the movie because it is a thriller.  Also, SOYLENT GREEN was the final film of famed movie actor, Edward G. Robinson.  The cast also included Charlton Heston, Leigh Taylor-Young and Brock Peters.

Finally, in 1966 when author Harrison wrote the novel, he gave a warning.  Take care of Planet Earth before it is too late to save the planet.

Soylent Green is people…..



The frost is not yet on the pumpkin

Although morning greets me more coldly than just yesterday.

And I open the door each morning wearing a warmer sweater.

The frost is not yet on the pumpkin.

Rich velvety red and orange leaves still cling to yonder trees.

Autumn blushes openly.

But when I visit the stores,

There are displays heralding the Christmas season.

Halloween hasn’t arrived yet.

It is mid-October

And I want to appreciate the theatrical glow of a bright jack o’lantern,

The tang of apple cider,

A cold fall dawn,

The ever-earlier darkness

At the end of an autumn day.

Don’t rush me into the Christmas season

Until I enjoy Halloween’s drama.

Don’t cheat me of autumn

And tempt me with Christmas.

What will happen to Thanksgiving?

Give me a moment

To savor the taste of pumpkin pie

And bask in the sunlight of golden aspen leaves.

A gift from Mother Nature.

Let the pumpkin gather frost after all.

Updated October 15, 2014—Published in RUSTLINGS Magazine, Virginia Publication — October 1978


When Zisa Moglen entered a department store in Washington DC in October 1978, she was astonished.  No Halloween decorations and no signs of autumn were evident at Woodward & Lothrups.  Instead, there were Christmas trees and decorations for the Christmas season and a sign:  FOR SALE.   Emboldened by these symbols of Christmas, she drove home.  As she passed falling leaves, pumpkin patches and apple cider for sale along the beautiful Virginia countryside, she thought about the Christmas trees.  How dare the commercial companies and retail stores sell Christmas so early!  The beauty and magnificence of the autumn season — Halloween and Thanksgiving  — were meant to be enjoyed.  Savor the moment!  Zisa Moglen was inspired to write a poem: “The Frost is Not Yet on the Pumpkin.”