Only sing dinosaur songs with your children if they are learning about dinosaurs!!

From Music Together, which is sometimes too...earnest.

Music can be a powerful ally in learning nonmusical subjects because words gain meaning and energy when set to music. It is fun to sing songs about dinosaurs when children are learning about them. However, recent research in music-learning indicates that words can distract children from the music, particularly the tonal elements of a song. Therefore, songs without words are an important part of the Music Together curriculum. They allow children to have a more purely musical experience without being distracted by attempts to process language at the same time. This gives the tonal part of their music development a chance to catch up with language development, which is so much more emphasized in our culture.


The epic life of Avrom Sutzkever

Sutzkever’s work was outside the boundaries of school or ideology while benefiting from many of them. Like Marc Chagall, he was a virtuoso of the fiddle, the rose, the dove, and the rain, which in his hands became not cliches but inexhaustible possibilities. Even when the wellsprings of Yiddish culture dried up and it became ever narrower, Sutzkever found new depth in his craft, as if following his own map to buried meaning.

Read more in Tablet.



The sleet on your cheek
is every forgotten face
The oilslick is a party
everyone remembered forever
overtaking the pure swan
of graceful forgetting


How should patients decide which hospitals are best for them?

Johns Hopkins Hospital is consistently named one of the best in the country. I can’t disagree with that; after all, I just started working there as an internist in September. Coincidentally, in the midst of the raging debate around health care reform, the past few months have seen increasing discussion of a small but crucial question: why do some of the best hospitals spend more money than others? If other hospitals named to the best-of lists consistently spend less money than my employer, shouldn’t we be emulating them instead? And how should an individual patient go about deciding which hospitals are the best for them?

Read more at KevinMD.


Doves, time, and pianos - together again

Three new translations of mine of three Yiddish poets - Avrom Sutskever, Yonia Fain, and Boris Karloff - are up now at InTranslation. Have a look! (And thanks to Alex Cigale for making me aware of the journal. While you're there, check out his translations from the Russian.)


Risky business

How can we use the best evidence to improve doctor-patient risk communication? That's the topic of my upcoming mini-workshop at the Mid-Atlantic SGIM meeting, my attendance at which is not just an excuse to go eat Indian food in Manhattan.


The latest news from Baltimore, in Yiddish

Public Yiddish television is made possible by the good offices of Youtube. And some kids who love the camera.


The cure for the common cold - what will it be like?

When it exists, it will be effective in 30% of people, and associated with intolerable side effects in another 10%. Thus doctors and patients, 60% of the time, will still have to hear the dreaded words: it's a viral infection, all we can do is try to improve your symptoms.

Progress doesn't march along, it sort of limps, gets lost, finds its way again, and lies down for a nap on occasion.


Future reasons for interrogation by the crack Western Wall egal-women arrest team

1. Tzitzit while ovarian.
2. Female etrogging.
3. Giving tzedakah while under the influence of X chromosomes.
4. Studying Torah . . . while female!
5. The tallit was too cute.
6. Singing. Singing is just bad. All singers should be arrested a priori.
7. Mitzvot are disruptive in general to the status quo. All the more so when done by women.
8. Arrest them all! Let Ovadiah Yosef sort them out.