Saturday, October 31st 2020   |

Ted Roberts – The Scribbler on the Roof (In Memoriam)

THEODORE “TED” ROBERTS was a humorist and writer, who lived in the Deep South of Huntsville, Alabama and wove stories based on his lifelong love of Judaism. Roberts’ collection of columns that ran in the CCJN with his sobriquet “The Scribbler on the Roof,” are archived here in the hopes that reading his homespun brand of Talmud will bring you continued joy and love of Jewish learning and culture. Roberts, 89,  died on March 2, 2020 and was buried in his hometown of Memphis.

Revert to dirt – no way!

By TED ROBERTS, the SCRIBBLER ON THE ROOF

He knows not of Spring. So, tell him what warm winds bring. Like peaches and plums, apples and figs. They’ll soon reappear with birds on the wing. Please explain to him about Spring.

The white blossoms of the pear tree outside my den window remind me of a Midrash I just made up. Picture the Garden of Eden in late...

Genetically, I’m just a shepherd boy

By TED ROBERTS, the SCRIBBLER ON THE ROOF

I guess I don’t have a green thumb – I think it’s black. I put out thirty dollars and three hours of work for petunias and three weeks later they’re as dead as King Nebuchadnezzar (who can spell his name – right?). It’s a Jewish thing. We never were good farmers. Shepherding – that was our thing. I bet I could successfully...

The Golden Age of Parenting

By TED ROBERTS, the SCRIBBLER ON THE ROOF

Way back when, at the pink dawn of the 20th century, there began a Golden Age of Parenthood that survived until the Sixties. Unruly kids were rare. The great bustling world outside of the home echoed the speeches of Mama and Papa. Juvenile disobedience showed up in colored shoelaces and refusal to eat spinach. It was a golden age.

Courageous politicians, oblivious...

Is Valentine a Jewish name?

By TED ROBERTS, the SCRIBBLER ON THE ROOF

My rabbi, a man of learning and strict interpretations of Jewish guidelines, is aware of my propensity to make new Jewish holidays. “Ted, Valentine’s Day is not a Jewish holiday – never was, never will be.”

Well, he’s the rabbi and I’m only a scribbler. But, I’m thinking, hey the theme of Valentine’s Day is love. The theme of...

Adolph Hitler and Miss Smith’s People

By TED ROBERTS, the SCRIBBLER ON THE ROOF

Miss Smith, my third grade teacher, stood facing the class with her arm around my shoulders. She looked out to her students, her eyes focused above them. I looked down. I had just finished reciting a poem to the class and before I could return to my desk, Miss Smith was at my side.

“Children, Teddy’s Jewish. And I like Jewish kids....

Our Chumash: Teller of Truth

By TED ROBERTS, the SCRIBBLER ON THE ROOF

I tell you what I like about our Chumash. It’s so credible the characters are not masqueraded. It’s like the guy selling you the used car who shows you that small dent in the fender. Or tells you the battery is four years old. There’s no cover up – our ancestors, our patriarchs, are revealed in the full light of truth. Even...

There’s heaven, you know

By TED ROBERTS, the SCRIBBLER ON THE ROOF

On the High Holydays, having completed our ethical accounting of the past year, some of us are forced to declare bankruptcy. But we promise our celestial creditor that next year there’ll be a heck of a payoff. We’ll do better, we wail to the heavenly scorekeeper – just put my name in that book!

We want to see a glittering inscription in the Book...

Remember, our G-d is no sissy

By TED ROBERTS, the SCRIBBLER ON THE ROOF

“Life is real.

Life is earnest.

And the grave is not the goal.”

–  Longfellow

Ah, the High Holidays are ahead of us – facing me – brights on – in the highway of life. To say one “enjoys” them is the wrong word. More appropriate, it is like a surgical procedure that improves your health. Necessary, but not fun. And the...

I wonder about the Temple

By TED ROBERTS, the SCRIBBLER ON THE ROOF

I think G-d has a sense of humor. Pardon me if you think that’s blasphemous, but until I learn more – when I stride through those pearly gates – I’ll stick with that theory.

Let’s take one example. Our Creator, when he first meets up with our forefathers – especially Moses – plays one theme over and over. Do not, He says,...

Temptation is not seduction

By TED ROBERTS, the SCRIBBLER ON THE ROOF

It was just my usual walk around the block. I wasn’t prepared for a moral challenge any more than when Joseph listened in frustration to the soft cooings of Potiphar’s wife. Just my usual walk until suddenly a fig tree lush enough to have been plucked from the Garden of Eden infringed on my sidewalk path. It only stretched a few fruited branches...