On My 21st Chicagoversary, I No Longer Have Faith in Chicago
Chicago Carless
by Mike Doyle
3M ago
I have no faith left in Chicago. On the 21st anniversary of my move to Chicago from my native New York City (which also nearly marks this blog’s 19th birthday), bringing my Chicago era to an end cannot come fast enough. And the saddest part is that in 2024, I’m far from the only Chicagoan who has no hope for a Chicago future where the city doesn’t end up looking like the Detroit of the past. Because Detroit has a lot going for it right now—consistent development, local megaprojects, new investment, fiscal health, increasingly great student math and reading scores, a downtown residential renais ..read more
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When the Rabbi Shows You Their Backside, Show Yourself Out
Chicago Carless
by Mike Doyle
3M ago
Lillian, Walter, and I re-enacting my shock at the shittiest Rabbinic response I’ve ever experienced. The ongoing pro-terrorism campus insanity keeps bringing me back to why Ryan and I were only members of an Evanston Reform synagogue that shall remain nameless (but IYKYK) for barely two months. I loved the two-hour, traditional Saturday morning service. Ryan liked the (barely any actual rubrics of a service at all) Friday night experience. But in the wake of October 7th, it was the standing toxic demand to keep allying with those who were publicly supporting our massacre (and obviously still ..read more
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A Republican Jew on Passover
Chicago Carless
by Mike Doyle
3M ago
In the middle of our national flood of flagrant antisemitism from clueless college students, hateful Hamas supporters, and Nazi-in-training Democratic Progressives, this has become one of my favorite Passovers ever. Because I’ve finally done what five months ago I said I would–crossing the raging political waters to the other, safer side. Last week, someone on Facebook asked, in the shadow of the October 7th massacre, how will this Pesach be experienced differently than all other Pesachim. I answered, this year I’ll have a lot less sympathy for the Egyptians. I spent the entire Trump presiden ..read more
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If Not Now, Later Is Okay Too
Chicago Carless
by Mike Doyle
8M ago
Walter isn’t ready for the day right now. Two months on from the October 7th massacre, many Diaspora Jews feel torn between a hardcore need for self-care and urgings by some Jewish community leaders to continue the work of social justice as a form of healing. Those community leaders are wrong. After the greatest mass murder of Jews and the accompanying greatest rise in antisemitism since the Holocaust, the world is as different post-10/7 as it was the day after 9/11. It took a long time for some New Yorkers to let the impact of that day settle in. I still remember a woman complaining loudly o ..read more
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A Jew with Corrective Lenses
Chicago Carless
by Mike Doyle
9M ago
“Am Yisrael chai. (The People of Israel live.)” I am a Jew, first and foremost. Everything else—my Hispanic origins, my place of birth, my current home, my autism—is secondary, and always will be. I am a Zionist Jew. I support Israel’s right to exist, to remain, to defend itself, to engage in wars that are just from a Jewish perspective, and to expect support from Diaspora Jewry. I am an affiliated Jew. The overwhelm and stress of my (then undiagnosed) autism dividing me from my former synagogues—and the long pandemic years without a shul—came to an abrupt end after October 7th. Having a comm ..read more
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Hebreo Rizado
Chicago Carless
by Mike Doyle
10M ago
After almost nine years, I’m done wearing a full-time kippah. Over the past year, I’ve kept my kippah off my head about as often as I’ve had it on. Better known to non-Jews as a yarmulke (its Yiddish name), wearing one full-time is primarily a custom for men in Orthodox and Conservative Jewish communities. Liberal Jews rarely wear them outside of synagogue. Yet even before I converted in 2011, the little Jewish kid in me demanded that I wear one. It made me feel better connected to my new, worldwide religious community. Better connected in the Jewish sense of peoplehood. But not so much ..read more
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When Bad Things Happen at Walt Disney World
Chicago Carless
by Mike Doyle
10M ago
There are two kinds of Walt Disney World fans–those who take it well when bad things happen in the Disney bubble, and those who don’t. I’ll never understand the latter folks. They never acknowledge when shitty things happen in the 40 square miles of the Orlando vacation empire–and they’re downright bullying to anyone who complains about shitty things happening to them at the mouse house, too. Back when Ryan and I were still Anaheim Disneyland Resort vets who ended up hating our first time at Disney World–before we fell completely in love with Disney World and switched our allegiances to ..read more
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Off with the Show
Chicago Carless
by Mike Doyle
10M ago
I was on the bimah with my synagogue choir one Shabbat evening a few weeks ago, when I knew. The more things change, the more people stay the same. That sinking knowingness that no matter what people say about themselves, it’s actions that really matter. I was mid-note in a song we’d practiced for months. We were singing it out of order because yet again our Friday evening service had become a train wreck. Just like the train wreck services of five years ago, when no matter the best of institutional intentions, Erev Shabbat services ended up feeling like afterthoughts. I don’t know why Reform ..read more
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Why I’ve Stayed in Chicago for 20 Years
Chicago Carless
by Mike Doyle
10M ago
The turn of spring to summer is my dual Chicago anniversary. I’ve written this blog for 18 years. And I’ve lived in my adopted City of Chicago for 20. As I told StoryCorps years ago, Chicago happened for me because of 9/11. As I’ve now known since 2020, running away from my native New York City was really an attempt at escaping my then-unknown autistic anxiety. A decade ago, on my tenth Chicago-versary, I retold the story of visiting here six times in three months in early 2003, then being guided by my now-international Media Goddess friend, Sarah, “New York will always be there, but if you d ..read more
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“I Bet Your Blog Becomes All About Autism”
Chicago Carless
by Mike Doyle
10M ago
Hey, 1999 version of me in Lisbon, do I have something to tell you… The title of this post is one of the main things I remember my autistic Angeleno friend, Adam, saying to me on Christmas Day in 2020. On a Zoom call in the middle of a pandemic, he pep-talked me down from the ledge of my 24-hours-old autism diagnosis. The other thing I remember him telling me: “I always knew; I was just waiting for you to know, too.” Like all of us, I didn’t suffer the pandemic gladly. Stir-crazy at home with also stir-crazy Ryan while the world outside switched off and stayed off limits. Hoping not to drop ..read more
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