My name is Ron Gordon. I am 44, Jewish, liberal, extremely nerdy, holder of a Ph.D. in Optics from the University of Rochester, and am a patent pracitioner. I live in Northborough MA with my wife and two children.
The contents of this blog are a reflection of my life experiences. I was born in 1970 in Brockton, MA, as the first child to moderately observant Jewish parents who had both grown up in poverty-stricken, religious households. My father is a testament to the value of drive and hard work, having risen to an executive position at State Street Bank without a day in college. My mother never had the opportunity for tertiary education of any sort and devoted her energies to raising my younger brother and me.
Evidence of nerdiness came early. I learned to read at the age of 4 by watching Sesame Street. My earliest happy memories are of my father bringing me to his State Street Bank office on Saturdays: while he worked, all he needed to do was stick me at a desk with a calculator and printer, and I occupied myself for hours, studying patterns of arithmetic. My mother interpreted this as evidence that dentistry was in my future.
Then why the Optics degree? Well, as I told my devastated mamale, ain’t no way I’m sticking my hand in someone’s mouth multiple times a day. To my parents’ initial fears of my living in the street, I majored in Physics and Math at UMass. One summer, my mother, who was trying to secure a job for our cousin who had just immigrated over from Russia, instead found a co-op position that I eventually won at a local pharma in the Optical Sensors group. My mentor had a copy of Born & Wolf, and I fell in love with the plethora of insane-looking integrals strewn throughout the book. My Optics career was born.
My liberalism is a direct outgrowth of my nerdiness and Jewishness; that is, my experience of being an Other. I admit to neoconservative tendencies between 9/11 and when I realized that there were no WMDs. My liberalism is of The New Republic sort (before it died and was resurrected as a Nation-wannabe), i.e. socially liberal, fiscally somewhat liberal, and a classic liberal Zionist in foreign policy, although I am being drawn into the J-Street orbit. I enjoy being called a fascist by lefties and a commie by righties.
My Judaism is of the liberal Conservative type. I try to be reasonable when it comes to questions about G-d and Torah…actually, that’s not true. My picture of G-d is lassez-faire, and I share a Reform-ish attitude toward all things Torah – a result of both my liberalism and my utter repugnance with the faux literalism of social conservatives. On the other hand, I do believe in the power of ritual and tradition in binding a people together, so I don’t like my prayers messed with and I don’t like innovations in how we go about our traditions. I strive for a deep understanding and appreciation of my religion as practiced by my ancestors without being enslaved by it.
Update, 15 Apr 2015: This all said, my beliefs are constantly being reshaped by my wonderful family. As of this edit, I am now the father of two boys, one cis and one trans. Their mother and I love each other and them unconditionally. Everything else I say or do falls from that.