Julie Alter


Meaty hands shove you forward.  You stumble and fall, your hands sinking into the grass, knees swallowed by the mud.  Tears sting your eyes and you think.

This is where it all began.  The first humans, naked and afraid, clawed their way up from the corners of the earth and somehow managed to stand on shaky legs.  You feel the warmth of the sun on the back of your neck . . . and you rise.

What Does Confirmation Mean to Me?  To confirm anything is to get closure . . . to seal the deal . . . bring it full circle.  And, what’s a better way to end an encounter than with a firm handshake; fingers intertwine, palms touch and hold for a moment until you pull apart and continue on your way.  But a handshake is not only good-bye.  It can also be hello.  Confirmation is only the beginning.




Hope – My dreams for the world of the future

Drowning in the Glass Half Full by Julie Alter

     I like this world.

    Of all the planets, Earth is certainly my favorite. It has something that none of the others can match– water.

    Internet facts try to scare us. They tell us that of the 326 million cubic miles of water on Earth, 96% is made up of ocean. Of the remaining 3 percent of freshwater, only .3 percent is in rivers and lakes, the water source we mostly use. Therefore, our everyday water accounts for less than one percent of all freshwater that exists. That detail may get some people clutching onto their Poland Springs for dear life, but what these statistics fail to show is how large that amount is. I’ve done some math:

    If health authorities suggest drinking half a gallon of water per day, then over an average lifetime (82 years,) each person should be drinking 14,965 gallons. That, multiplied by the 7.1 billion people on the planet, equals 110 trillion gallons of water needed to provide for the entire human population over a lifetime. In that original one percent of freshwater that we use, there are 1.1 quintillion (that’s 17 zeros) gallons of water. So, for every person to drink half a gallon a day, it would only require 1 percent of 1 percent of 1 percent of the total freshwater that exists. That leaves quadrillions of gallons in excess for other necessities like agriculture, livestock, and industry.

    With that said, there are still millions of people who lack access to clean (if any) water. People die every minute because of it. How is this possible if there is clearly enough water to go around and then some? Well, in developing countries, it’s not that simple to find a 24-pack of Aquafina or to put whatever you find through a Brita canteen. There may not be a lake or well around for miles; even if there is, those stricken by poverty often cannot afford running water, let alone the cost of prepackaged bottles.

    The water crisis lies in geography, economics, and action not being taken. As a Jew, I am taught that tzedakah is one of the most important things in life. I am lucky enough to not only have access to clean water, but to dozens of options to choose from. My hope for the future is that more fortunate people take part in contributing to delivering drinkable water to all corners of the world. Although I am surely not clever enough, I have confidence that WE have the potential to improve water access, sanitation, and resource management everywhere. Not to mention that solving this issue would open opportunities to aid other worldwide dilemmas with millions of deaths avoided and major economic benefit.

    As a human and as a Jew, I love this planet. Love needs sacrifice.

Hopefully, the search to overcome worldwide issues like this will draw more attention to the future until the word solution is no longer a distant dream, but rather the nearing reality.