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November 01, 2002 - Image 116

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-11-01

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The Ride Of Your Life

Joyce Weiss uses bicycle metaphor in her guide to being happier in life.


Special to the Jewish News


or author and motivational
speaker Joyce Weiss,
learning to ride a bicycle
is more than a child-
hood experience; it's a metaphor
for life.
In her latest book, Tike the Ride
ofYour Life! (Bloomfield Press;
S12.95), Weiss shows how those early
bike-riding lessons can be used to bring
more fun, fulfillment and optimism into
everyday life.
"There are two things we never forget
from childhood: how to ride a bike and
how to laugh," said Weiss, a Detroit
native who lives in West Bloomfield. "It's
never too late to become happier."
Weiss writes about the steps involved
in this rite of passage — the anticipation,
the trepidation, the inevitable spills and
the freedom that comes from finally tak-
ing off those training wheels and flying

into the wind.
Weiss conducted interviews with peo-
ple from all over the country; men and
women, young and old, in a variety of
professions, from all
walks of life. The
book is filled with
anecdotes about
those first "bicycle"
experiences, includ-
ing their dreams,
growing pains, victories, falls
and what inspired them to
get back up and try again.
The upbeat mood of the
book is' reflected in chapter
titles such as, "I'm Afraid to
Take Off the Training
Wheels — Go from Fear to Joyce Weiss
In-Gear," "I Feel Like I'm
Stuck in High Gear —
How to Slow Down and Stay Balanced
When the Road is Bumpy" and "You
Can Teach an Old Biker New Tricks —
Never Stop."

Each chapter ends with exercises
called "Gear-Shifting Action Steps" that
allow readers to use the information to
enhance their own personal lives.
"Joy is not trivial and
humor is not optional; it's
a survival skill," said
Weiss. "Today, we need it
more than ever to fight
against all the negativity in
the world. People are hun-
gry for that little ray of
Weiss recommends
keeping a "humor journal"
to record at least one inci-
dent each day that pro-
duced a laugh or a smile.
"If life is a creative jour-
ney, laughter is the shock
absorber," she writes.
Weiss suggests employing "verbal aiki-
do" (aikido is a Japanese form of self-
defense) to counteract pessimism and
negativity and create optimism.

The spirit of Weiss' book is best
summed up in this paragraph from a
chapter entitled, "Look Ma ... No Hands
— Give Yourself the Freedom to Have
"Do more than just live. Be creative
and design the best ride possible. Take a
detour and see where it will take you.
Don't be afraid to try new things. Look
at where you are on the road, instead of
concentrating on the destination."
Weiss is a nationally known motiva-
tional speaker and corporate coach who
has spent many years teaching businesses
to increase morale as well as the bottom
line by helping employees become more
confident and optimistic.
Her first book, Full Speed Ahead:
Become Driven by Change, focuses on
perceiving change as a vehicle for oppor-
tunity and finding creative ways to deal
with stress so that it becomes a positive

Joyce Weiss is participating in the
Local Author Fair at the Jewish
Book Fair 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday,
Nov. 10, in the Janice Charach
Epstein Gallery of the Jewish
Community Center in West

Seeking Meaning In The Shoal'

Learn about the Holocaust, reminds Dr. Sidney Bolkosky, but expect to find no lessons.

Staff Writer


r. Sidney Bolkos s new
book, Searching for Meaning
in the Holocaust (Greenwood
Publishing Group; $59.95) is
not an easy read.
For 25 years, Dr. Bolkosky,
professor of history at the
University of Michigan-Dearborn,
has been recording Holocaust sur-
vivor testimony.
When he was approached to write a
"think piece" as part of a series on
Christianity and the Holocaust, for a
pair of editors in Connecticut, he
Calling it "a rare opportunity to write
something that you can put part of your-
self into,' the book is not a serious
research-oriented text, Dr. Bolkosky says.
"This was pretty much an essay."
He addresses the question of Chris-
tian complicity in the introduction.



According to Dr. Bolkosky, Christians prism of survivor testimonies," he writes,
asking: "Do survivors seek and/or find
did not actively seek the destruction of
meaning in their own experiences or in
the Jews in the Holocaust as they did in
the Holocaust? Do they think or talk
the Crusades, but centuries of hatred
about it at all?"
towards Jews "could not have
The author says
helped but provide at least the
attempts to bring survivors
basis for Christian indifference [in
and perpetrators together,
the Holocaust] that stalked
to discover some connec-
Europe as an almost materi-
tion from which genocide
al presence."
could explode, has been
The rest of the book
seeks to find lessons from
He writes, "No rational
the perpetrators and mean-
point links the two
ing from survivors.
groups, no reasoned ani-
Most perpetrators concentrated
mosity, only what appears
on their jobs, Dr. Bolkosky says,
Sidn ey Bolkosky
to be an arbitrary and
writing: "The craftsmen who built
deadly crossing of paths.
the camps, the electricians and the
apply. There were
plumbers, the railroad people, the
Jews, Nazis
bureaucrats, the administrators — many
who helped hide them and devout
of them filled out forms but never left
Christians who helped hunt them
their desks to see what those forms did."
Meaning seems to "elude any purely
We must learn about the Holocaust,
rational examination of these events,
he says in his book, but there are no clear
especially when viewed through the

lessons to be learned. He writes:
"Contradictions mark the nature of
the experience and its aftermath for sur-
In speaking to Holocaust survivors,
Elie Wiesel once noted, "If you ask them
if they are happy they survived, whatever
they answer will be a lie. The urge to
speak exists simultaneously with an equal
urge to remain silent; there must be
meaning from the Holocaust, but there
cannot be."
And all these feelings are true, Dr.
Bolkosky believes. As he writes:
"Speaking and silence inexorably and
often enigmatically coexist; we may
extract meaning from the Holocaust, but
it may be sacreligious to speak of it." ❑

Dr. Sidney Bolkosky speaks .11 a.m.
Sunday, Nov 10, at the Jewish
Community Center in West
Bloomfield and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday,
Nov. 12, at the JCC in Oak Park.

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