REMEMBERING MICHAEL ...... LIST OF #1 ARTICLES
For the last almost 10 months I have read so many fascinating articles regarding MJ.
I tried to keepsake as many as possible and unfortunately some I can’t find. Just wondered if anyone else has a favorite article to share?
Published on Jewish Telegraph:
September 22, 2000 - In my second year as rabbi at Oxford, a chassidic couple came to stay with my family for the festival of Succot. Following dinner with several students, a young woman looked quizzically at the couple’s 10 children surrounding their mother. “Are all these yours?” she asked. The mother assured her yes, to which the student responded: “Don’t you think that that’s a bit much?” The mother’s eyes reddened, and she excused herself. I followed her into the kitchen and apologised for my students’ remarks. “That’s ok,” she said. “I get it all the time. But my Rebbe told me never to be embarrassed for having many children.”
I was reminded of this story last week when my family and I spent a week on Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in California. I know that everyone hates a name-dropper, but bear with me just this once. For what I witnessed in those six days with Michael was an extraordinary human being, utterly misunderstood and misrepresented, with a limitless compassion for children.
The scene was simply astonishing. Neverland is Disneyland meets the San Diego Zoo, gates open wide to a steady stream of children. Some youngsters were fighting off cancer, others were bussed in from inner city schools to enjoy a day of rapture, and all were rendered speechless by the personal attention that Michael gives to each and every child.
One 10-year-old child, ashamed to take off his hat and reveal his chemo-ravaged bald head, finally removed the covering after Michael spent a day building up his confidence.
“Compassion” is a broad term that encompasses both sympathy and empathy. Of the two, empathy requires deeper involvement, for it entails actually feeling someone else’s pain. From the moment I met Michael in New York last year, I knew he had a greater capacity for empathy than almost any other person I had encountered. We spoke of deer hunting — a common sport in the United Kingdom. Michael’s eyes teared slightly and he probed me with his questioning gaze: “I don’t understand how someone could shoot something that helpless?” Later, he spoke of the many parents in our world who miss suppertime with their children. His voice cracked with emotion as I tried desperately to hide my guilty expression. When his young son Prince came into the room. Michael spoke to him as he would a young adult, answering Prince’s questions with great patience. Clearly the little boy with the golden hair was the unequalled delight of his father’s life. A lesson from Michael: We should all grow up on the outside, but for ever retain the child at our centre. As we grow older, the pain of the world around us forces us increasingly to close off our hearts. Were not Adam and Eve, the uncorrupted progenitors of the human race, depicted as children, naked and innocent, in the Garden of Eden? It is for this reason that when I am around Michael what I most feel is freedom, liberated of pretension and rigidity. I remember first experiencing this when Michael took us as his guests to see Toy Story 2 at a local cinema. At first, I was there for my children. But Michael was behind me laughing loudly at the screen, and slowly I let go. Within a few minutes, I too was laughing and enjoying the film. It then struck me that even as an adult I did not need to see people getting shot, dismembered limbs exploding in the air, or erotically naked bodies, in order to be entertained. As a writer on relationships, I am often asked by women, “What should I most look for in a spouse?” I tell them to watch his interaction with children. A man who loves a child’s innocence, is himself innocent. A man who loves a child’s playfulness is himself playful. And a man who has patience for children, is a patient man. There is a human quality more essential than food or water that we need to give to our children — dignity. It is an invisible gift more enigmatic than sustenance or tangible care. But I believe that God has given Michael a special pair of glasses. He sees the robes of dignity, and drapes our children’s shoulders in these royal garments of admiration and respect. As he said to me, “Every child should be treated like a movie star, getting lots of attention.” My eight-year-old daughter got lost in the halls of Neverland’s video room and started to cry, Michael ran over to her and said: “Oh, I know how you feel. I remember that happening to me when I was a little boy.” I contrasted this with what my natural response would have been — to dismiss her fear and encourage her to “toughen up”. I recall an old Jewish, mystical tradition that says that not all humans were expelled from the Garden of Eden, together with Adam and Eve. There are still some individuals who frolic in Paradise and beckon us all to re-enter. Could it be that Michael moonwalked back into Eden? Perhaps. This is certain. Because of Michael I have planted a few more flowers in the garden of my own heart. Watching him with his children has made me a better father, seeing him interact at his ranch with cancer patients has made me a more compassionate human being, and witnessing his humility has made me realise that if he can be approachable, then I have no excuse for aloofness. Some will criticise me for these words, as a defender of Michael’s eccentricity (even though my Oxford years taught me that all great geniuses are eccentric). But last week we celebrated Michael’s 42nd birthday with him at the ranch, and I asked myself, what do you give a man who has everything? The only thing I could come up with was to head out into the world and correct a grave injustice. It is high time someone spoke of the extraordinary works of kindness that are so central to Michael’s life.Michael deflects praise or compliments, almost telling you that in some way he feels unworthy of the praise. Perhaps the pain of mean spirited attacks has left its scars on him. Perhaps he is confused as to why some people presumed his guilt even though the cornerstone of our justice system is that all men are innocent until proven otherwise, and Michael has never even been charged with any wrongdoing. Or perhaps, it is just his natural discomfort at becoming the centre of attention, when he would much rather that we all gave every ounce of attention we can muster to the needy children who surround us.
Oh and another thing is this....
"I recall an old Jewish, mystical tradition that says that not all humans were expelled from the Garden of Eden, together with Adam and Eve. There are still some individuals who frolic in Paradise and beckon us all to re-enter. Could it be that Michael moonwalked back into Eden? Perhaps.
… we all around him have the desire to protect him because he doesn’t even put up a defense that bars him from being hurt."