Thursday, October 27, 2011

"I want Tim Tebow to fail!"

Tim Tebow while at U of F
Tim Tebow was a star football player with the University of Florida Gators from 2006-2009.  He was awarded the Heisman trophy as the best quarterback in the nation twice during his time at U of F.

Scene:  Sunday afternoon at a Sports Themed Restaurant just before kickoff.  Ary (a preacher) is seated alone at a table as Mat (mature atheist turtle approaches accompanied by another man.)

Mat: Ary, mind if we join you?

Ary: Not at all, have a seat.

Mat (sitting): Ary, this is a fried on mine - Jeff.

Ary: Nice to meet you Jeff.

Jeff: Likewise.  Game start yet?

Ary: Just flipped the coin

(Waitress brings Ary's order.  He bows his head and asks a silent blessing on the food.)

Jeff: I hope we don't see them doing that at the game.
Ary: Doing what?

Jeff: Praying.  I hate that.  It has no place at a football game.

Ary: Why not?
Jeff: Because it makes no sense.  Look, suppose there are Christians on Team A and just before the game they get together and pray; what are they going to pray for? A win right?  Meanwhile, the Christians on Team B get together and pray for victory too.  So which team's prayers get answered?

Ary:  Well, they also pray for a safe game.
Jeff: And then they go and try to hurt each other.  It's hypocritical.
Ary: But it doesn't hurt you in any way does it?
Jeff:  Yes it does, for example that guy Tim Tebow at Gainesville, he really irks me.  Not only is he a Christian but he's constantly shoving it in my face.  Anytime he's interviewed he thanks god and he puts bible verses on his eye black.

Ary: Relax, he's graduating.
Jeff: Yes, but he's going to the NFL.  (Jeff thinks for a moment) You know what? I want Tim Tebow to fail in the NFL. I want him to be drafted late, report to training camp, throw a bunch of crappy passes and be cut from the team. I want him to fail in the NFL, because a famous Tim Tebow is a dangerous Tim Tebow.

Ary: Dangerous, how on earth is Tim Tebow being famous dangerous?
Jeff: He doesn’t play football merely for the joy of the game. He plays football because he wants to spread the word of Jesus Christ. But not merely spread it. He wants me to accept it and, if I don’t embrace it, he wants me to think again about embracing it. And, if I still don’t embrace it, he wants you to think again. And again. And again. If, in the end, I'm still not sold, I will burn in hell. Christians who accept Jesus will spend an eternity in bliss. Those who don’t are doomed... Tim Tebow scares me.

Ary: (Looking at his iced tea while stirring it): Are you sure that it is Tim Tebow you are afraid of?  He is just expressing his faith. 
Jeff: You call it faith. I call it f***ing insanity.  You think everyone has a right to believe what they want … faith is admirable … you’ve gotta respect his feelings. Well, bulls***. I do not have to respect this sort of damaging craziness, where a group of people go to foreign, oft-Third World nations and convert the so-thought-of “savages” ie: those who don’t know Christ.  Tebow's family is involve with that and it makes me sick.  Not just me, I have a friend Jason Fagone wrote an excellent piece on Tebow.  He agrees that we need to stop embracing this dogmatic lunacy merely because it comes from the mouth of a supposed “good guy” jock. I don’t care how nice Tim Tebow is. If he’s in an ad for Focus on the Family; if he believes homosexuality is sinful and women are here to serve their men and Jews and Muslims and agnostics and the rest of us are sinful, well, to hell with him.

Ary: You are way off base.  Tim Tebow isn't singling out the world for being sinful, he is singling out the lost.  If  you were to ask him, Tim would tell you that he is a sinner too.
Jeff: Who cares? I live a good life, and any god who can't accept me doing my best is a god I don't want any part of.

Ary: That's not what Tim stands for.  Do you remember the BCS Championship game last year (2009)? Tim had John 3:16 on his eye black.  That verse tell you that your acceptance by God isn't based on what you do, its based on your relationship with Jesus.  How is that dangerous?
Jeff: I remember.  Google says that during and after that game 94 million* people searched John 3:16.  But the NCAA is going to ban messages in eyeblack from now on.  People call it the "Tebow Rule".

Ary: He seems to have a lot of rules named after him.  On several occasions separate and apart from the eye black issue, Tebow has caused "The Man" to change the way he conducts business as usual. For instance,  The "Tim Tebow Bill" in Alabama allows home-schooled students equal access to high school sponsored sports and activities. Kentucky has a similar "Tebow Bill" pending. And, the NCAA went out of its way last year to allow Tebow and Florida boosters to raise money for a Tebow affiliated orphanage in the Philippines.  I would like you to name one person who has been harmed by Tim Tebow.

(Jeff is silent)

Ary: I think you are angry at Tim Tebow because you are lo...
Jeff: (interrupting) Hush, here's the kickoff.

Jeff Pearlman is a writer for Sports Illustrated and other sports publications. The Jeff statements were adapted from

*Updated 10/27/11:  Some skepticism has been expressed regarding the 94 million people figure cited above.  The Atheist Turtle is committed to be factually accurate so that figure was double checked before the blog was posted but since then we have made additional inquiries and would like to note the following:
1) The American Humanist Association (an atheist organization) reports the 94 million figure without questioning it.  Of all reports they should have found fault with it if incorrect.

2) A blog called the TimTeBlog cites the 94 million figure being off by an order of magnitude but does not identify the source of the error claim.  It should be noted that even it was off by an order of magnitude, 9.4 million searches would still represent an incredible result from Tim's eye black.

Bethany House Publishers. "NCAA Football Committee OKs Ban on 'Eye Black' Notes". Retrieved 2010-05-24. 

"NCAA trying to ban messages on eye black under the 'Tebow Rule'". Retrieved 2010-05-24. 

"Tebow draws more attention for eye-black messages – Swamp Things – Gators Blog – Orlando Sentinel". Retrieved 2010-05-24. 

"NCAA bans wedge, eye black". Tulsa World. 2010-04-16. Retrieved 2010-05-24. 

"NCAA Bans Eye Black With Messages". Retrieved 2010-05-24. 


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Have You Ever Seen A Miracle?/Watch Out for Flying Pigs

A livingroom

Mat (Mature Atheist Turtle)
Ary (Christian Preacher)

Mat: Do you think god would ever make a pig fly
Ary: Why would He?

Mat: Because, if I ever saw a pig fly I would believe in god.
Ary: (laughs)  That's all it would take?  He actually did once, but the landing wasn't so good.  Anyway, I thought you said that miracles are impossible.

Mat:  I did, and they are.  Think about it.  If god created the universe, that means he established the laws that govern it, so, if he does something that violates one of his laws then his laws are not unbreakable, so he can't be god.
Ary: I don't see any connection between your premise and conclusion.  Why does God violating one of His laws invalidate His existence?
Mat: Because he wasn't powerful enough to create a law which couldn't be broken.  Gotcha!

Ary: Give me an example.
Mat: Sure: 2 Kings 6:1-7
"1 Now the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “Behold now, the place before you where we are living is too limited for us. 2 Please let us go to the Jordan, and each of us take from there a beam, and let us make a place there for ourselves where we may live.” So he said, “Go.” 3 Then one said, “Please be willing to go with your servants.” And he answered, “I shall go.” 4 So he went with them; and when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. 5 But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, “Alas, my master! For it was borrowed.” 6 Then the man of God said, “Where did it fall?” And when he showed him the place, he cut off a stick, and threw it in there, and made the iron float. 7 And he said, “Take it up for yourself.” So he put out his hand and took it."

Didn't happen.  Iron is more dense that water and an axe head would not have floated.

Ary: Why are you so sure?
Mat: Archimedes, he discovered the law of buoyancy.  "When a solid body is partially or completely immersed in water, the apparent loss in weight will be equal to the weight of the displaced liquid."*

* Read more: How to Calculate Buoyancy |

Ary: So it's Archimedes' law right?
Mat: Right, it's a scientific principle.

Ary:  But what limits God's ability to over rule Archimedes?
Mat: Because he would be violating the law.
Ary: I thought you said it was a principle.
Mat: Law, principle, it's the same thing.  God can't just go around ignoring science.
Ary: Says who?
Mat (getting visibly excited and loud): Me, that's who. If god did that we would be able to predict how things behave.

Ary: God doesn't do it very often so our ability to predict and study is still intact and, just because Archimedes, or Newton, or Gauss, or Hook, or Maxwell, or anyone else identifies a 'law' or principle does not limit God from doing whatever He wants to.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

From Russia with Love/Florida Baptist Health Center

I have recently seen several pageviews from Russia and wanted to post something to honor their interest.  I hope that the below post will accomplish that goal.  The bottom section of this post, and indeed the bulk of it is a remembrance of “Pop” Wolfson an immigrant to the United States from Lituania.  He came to America penniless but left an enduring legacy which continues to help children and their families today.  I urge everyone to read the remembrance.

Road Trip
North bound I-95 approaching Jacksonville, Florida
Mat (Mature Atheist Turtle) and Ary (Christian Pastor)

Mat: The new militant atheists are giving no quarter to Christians and I love it.  Finally, someone is saying that the world would be better off without the evil of religion especially the disease which is Christianity.  It has caused nothing but heartache and misery throughout its history.

Ary: Your timing is amazing.

Mat: what do you mean?

Ary::  You see that building (pointing right)?

Mat:What about it?

Ary: What does the sign say?

Mat: Baptist Medical Center, why?

Ary: You heard of Baptists before?

Mat: Yeah, so what?

Ary: Let’s get a closer look while I tell you about this facility. (Exits I-95 and drives to BMC entrance)

The Baptist Medical Center, part of Baptist Health, is a network of five hospitals, affiliated with 34 primary care offices located throughout Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia. All Baptist Hospitals have the MAGNET designation, the highest honor a health care organization can receive for excellence in patient care.

For more than 50 years, Baptist Health has provided residents of Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia with care. The original Baptist Memorial Hospital in downtown Jacksonville was opened in the 1940s, and is the flagship hospital for Baptist Health.

In the early 1990s the hospital's name was changed to Baptist Medical Center Downtown. The facility is a tertiary referral hospital in downtown Jacksonville on the south bank of the St. Johns River next to Interstate 95. Baptist Downtown provides services in cardiology, oncology (including gynecological), women's health (including obstetrics, gynecology and a Women's Resource Center), orthopedics, pediatrics, ophthalmology, emergency care (including Life Flights air ambulance, a children's emergency center and hyperbaric medicine), intensive care medicine, bloodless surgery, pulmonary services (including an adult/pediatric sleep disorders lab), pastoral care, radiology, rehabilitation and psychiatry/psychology. They also have the following regional referral centers: Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute (located in the Reid Medical Building) and Baptist Cancer Institute (located in the Edna Williams Cancer Center).

Associated with Baptist Health is the Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Named among the top three children's hospitals in Florida by Child magazine (2007), Wolfson Children's Hospital, a part of Baptist Health in Jacksonville, is the regional pediatric referral hospital serving children throughout Northeast Florida, Southeast Georgia and beyond.  Because children have special health care needs, everything about Wolfson  is designed just for them and their loved ones.

One of only two children's hospitals in Florida to receive Magnet™ status, Wolfson is nationally recognized for excellence in patient care. Wolfson and Baptist Health were named one of the "100 Best Places to Work" by Modern Healthcare magazine. The staff work collaboratively with pediatric physicians from Nemours Children's Clinic, the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville, Brooks Rehabilitation, Mayo Clinic and the Northeast Florida Pediatric Society. These partnerships provide our patients with access to physicians in every specialty and subspecialty of children's medicine. They also have resulted in the creation of programs with services more comprehensive than those available at any single institution, such as the joint adult/pediatric bone marrow transplant program developed by Baptist Health, Wolfson, Nemours and Mayo.

Wolfson Children's Hospital plays an important role in training America’s next generation of pediatric professionals, serving as the main teaching facility for the University of Florida/Jacksonville Pediatric Residency Training Program. Wolfson is also affiliated with a number of premier nursing programs, including those at the University of North Florida, Jacksonville University, Florida Community College at Jacksonville, St. Johns River Community College, University of Florida, Florida State University, University of Central Florida and Keiser University.

In 1946 ‘Pop’ Wolfson wrote a letter to his sons indicating that he wanted to leave a substantial sum of money to found a children’s hospital. That letter and a $500,000 donation from the Wolfson Family Foundation sparked the creation of Wolfson Children's Hospital. Nine years after the letter's writing, in September of 1955, Wolfson Memorial Children's Hospital opened as a 50-bed wing in what was then called Baptist Memorial Hospital. The hospital grew incrementally during its early years, but a picture of what it would eventually become emerged in 1971, when Northeast Florida's pediatric physicians decided that a consolidated center of excellence would be the best way to serve the region's children and families.

Thus began a 20-plus-year period of dynamic growth fueled by Baptist Health’s dedication to developing the region’s center for pediatric health care. The culmination of Mr. Wolfson’s vision and Baptist’s commitment was the 1993 construction of a new building that has become one of Jacksonville's most distinctive architectural pieces. Nearly all of the services that have become hallmarks of Wolfson's guiding philosophy were developed during this time, including its: Pediatric Intensive Care Unit; Children's Emergency Center; and its specialized programs, such as pediatric oncology, radiology, pathology and research.

‘Pop’ Wolfson’s generosity combined with that of Baptist Health and the generosity of the Southern Baptists led to this world class consortium of hospitals which continues to grow.

Mat: So what?

Ary:: Well, it doesn’t say Rationalist's Medical Center on the building. Christians around the world have built hospitals similar to this one to provide facilities to care for people.  Smug authors who wish for a world without Christianity would do well to remember that.  And remember, Wolfson Children's Hospital is the result of a Jewish foundation working with a Christian organization imagine that.  Do you suppose all the children and families WCH and the Baptist Health organization have helped wish religion did not exist?

Mat: I have nothing more to say.

Ary: Time to Turtle Up is it?

Pop...A Very Rare Man
by Karen Read Wolfson

It must have been cold, bitterly cold for the thin clothing that hung on his slight arms and legs, but the times were hard. It must have seemed terrifying because of the push toward Russification deep into the Baltic countries by Czar Alexander III. Programs, eviction, abuse -- increased anti-Semitic behavior was a smoke screen for the smoldering revolutionary forces lying wait in the Lithuanian heartland. Often, along with the
fear, he must have felt exhaustion...because he was only nine.

Such an enormous sense of responsibility for Jennie and Lillian, his sisters, and his mother, Dora, and later, his step-brother Louis, must have followed him each day. Morris David Wolfson, now fatherless, worked as a cemetery watchman in his small Lithuanian village, Posville. In those days, the only birth and death records were the inscriptions on headstones, so the elders had them guarded. The year was 1888, and it would be another eight years before Morris, a conscript with the Russian army, would escape and find passage to the United States. The times were hard, but courage and hope were the mettle of this young immigrant.

Around July 15, 1896, a Jew who had faced the rigors of the five week steerage crossing stepped off the ship at Baltimore, and Morris, without money or possessions, was clothed in the pride of having come to this country. America was heaven; it was paradise to him, and in his heart, he never forgot this moment, this opportunity which forged the rest of his life.

Morris' older sister, Jennie Friedman, who lived in Baltimore, had managed to immigrate a few years earlier; thus she was the one who helped Morris leave Europe. In addition to peddling, he soon found work in a tailor's shop pressing clothes. By 1905, he had married Sarah Goldberg, and on September 9, 1907, they welcomed the birth of their first child, Irene (Renee), and on August 15, 1909, Samuel William. Poverty stalked the young Wolfson family of four, so Morris worked at any odd jobs he could find.

Physically, "Pop," as he was later called, was extremely powerful, though standing only 5'9". Going from one gym to another, earning a little money for his family, Pop was paid to wrestle with the great American Free-style Champion, Frank Gotch. He'd never wrestled before, but stories are that he held his own in the ring, and that was really something in those days.

Still grappling with a pauper's existence and wanting to escape the sweatshop, Morris took the advice of a friend, a landsman, and moved his family to St. Louis, Missouri, where he thought that peddling watermelons and ice would enable him to support his growing family, for on January 28, 1912, Louis Elwood was born.

The success of selling seasonal fruits and ice was affected by the cold weather, so Morris, responding to the encouragement and financial assistance of another friend from the Old Country, moved to a warmer climate, to Jacksonville, Florida. Forced to leave Sarah and the three children behind until he had money for their travel, Morris, often starving himself, somehow saved the meager earnings from peddling and reunited his family around l9l3.

Morris' struggle to make enough to feed his family continued in Jacksonville, especially with Edith's birth on September 9, 1914. Strong-minded and determined, Morris sought to expand his peddling business with his step-brother Louis, who had now come to America with Lillian and Dora. Edith Wolfson Edwards recalls the purchase of their first horse and flatbed wagon. "My dad examined the horse before they bought it. It was a
healthy specimen; they even counted the teeth. The next day when they got up, the horse was dead. They had all their money in it."

For most Eastern European immigrants, hard labor and persistence were the keys to life, but one also had to have that elusive force...luck! Striking out with the flatbed wagon, Morris met his first taste of real fortune. In downtown Jacksonville, next to the YWCA, a lady in a large, two-story, red brick house sold Morris the entire contents of her attic, which he promptly resold. Thus, each day was spent buying and reselling discards, a natural calling for a man with a sincere love for and interest in people. Gradually, other recyclable items worked their way onto his wagon, and eventually he opened a small business on Davis Street where large bins held the glass, rags, and newspaper that he resold to dealers. Since Sarah had a basic elementary school education (quite unusual for a woman at that time), she would go down to the business every other day to do the bookkeeping. Morris, not unlike other immigrants, could neither read nor write English well and never had any formal education. Versed in Russian, German, and Yiddish, he kept abreast of the times by reading The Jewish Daily Forward, the news Bible of the immigrant, written in Yiddish and published in New York. The strength of his business acumen lay in his amazing retentive memory; he kept a full set of books in his head, often challenging the bookkeeper, Mr. Gavin.

Later, his daughter Edith taught him to write his name so that he could participate in writing checks and signing business contracts with his sons. Learning the English language was a goal he pursued much of his life.

As the Davis Street business grew, so did the Wolfson family; Saul was born December 8, 1916, and Cecil on August 15, 1919. Sarah's management of the business accounts along with six children under the age of twelve was just as much a wonder as the building up of a rags and bottles business into a successful enterprise based on peddling in the early 1900s.

April 16, 1917, at age 38, Morris David Wolfson became a naturalized citizen of the United States. The impassioned respect and gratitude that he felt for this country, plus his innate belief that this was a place where ALL Americans were equal, were attitudes that dominated and influenced his life and the lives of his children. He was intolerant of prejudice. Louis Wolfson recalls, "He always developed a good relationship with any race or color of man, and that was unusual for a Jew coming from a foreign country. Later on in the business, Sam and I would be worried about the creditors at the bank, and Pop would be back talking to and concerned about a Black man who had some problems...Pop was a very rare man."

Times were changing in the country, and Morris eventually started picking up metals and scrap iron along with the rags, glass, and paper. In our nation, this was a time of burgeoning prosperity and spectacular growth with new businesses, so the opening of M. Wolfson & Co. on Myrtle Avenue was no exception. The United States government encouraged foreign trade relations following WWI (1914-1918), with petroleum, raw materials, and scrap iron being chief in demand in the Orient.

To Morris, honesty and fairness were paramount in his life. His word was his bond. By this time, many men were selling him scrap iron, which would be loaded on the huge ships in the Jacksonville port. To maintain this type of business, Morris would borrow money against his receipts, then repay the bank immediately as he was paid. "He had a wonderful reputation. He always had confidence in himself, and other people had confidence in him... He always did business on a handshake," Edith remembers.

The older boys, who were now in junior high or high school, helped with the business. "We all looked up to him, respected him, and loved him. In those days, there were no hours. You worked morning to night, Saturday, Sunday, until you got the job done," recalls Saul. No matter how successful he later became, the image of Pop standing in the scrap iron and metal yard, wearing his overalls, is the image of the humble, unassuming man he was. He loved people and, according to Mrs. Monteen C. Tomberlin, who worked for Louis and Pop from the time she was sixteen, "Everybody who knew him, liked him, and most people loved him."

"He wasn't a person to flaunt anything," remembers Cecil. "He was a very modest individual. He would take care of just about anything that he was capable of doing for someone. It didn't make any difference who the person was... He would be right there to give to the best of his ability. My father always instilled in us that if we were successful, to share our good fortune with others and to be tolerant of others... He conveyed to us
the Golden Rule, to treat others the way we would like to be treated ourselves."

Along with modest business success in the 1920's, came three more children: Percy in 1922, Sylvia on June 19, 1924, and Nathan, the baby, June 20, 1929. There was a large, community swimming pool in Springfield. After going in the pool, Percy developed some type of bronchial illness; his death from pneumonia at age one left its tragic mark on Sarah and Morris.

The Great Depression slammed into Jacksonville around 1930 with M. Wolfson & Co. a victim along with everyone else. Huge supply ships filled with two or three thousand tons of scrap iron were idle, and the metal, once worth around $30 a ton, now had lost 90 percent of its value. Irene was married, but with no money to attend college, Edith and Sam worked along side of Pop, while Louis, at Pop's insistence, attended Georgia on a football scholarship sending home most of his money each month to help with the six children. Severe shoulder injuries ended Louis' athletic career, and he, turning down a job with Coca-Cola, returned to Jacksonville the end of the 1931 school year to help his struggling family.

The Depression was a time of anguish and despair; Morris lost everything and, following his usual practice of borrowing against receipts, faced a huge debt at Barnett Bank. Owing $135,000, creditors and friends urged Morris to file bankruptcy. "I saw my father cry when Percy died, and the only other time was when the Barnett Bank wanted him to file bankruptcy," remembers Lou. For the immigrant who had struggled so hard and whose word and handshake were his bond, for the man who believed that if you owed another man money, you paid it back, for the man whose reputation and his family's reputation meant everything, bankruptcy was not an option. According to Saul, Morris said, "I will not walk away," and he vowed, as long as he had his health, to work until he and his sons had retired the debt, even if it took ten to fifteen years.

The mid-30s was a time of restructuring for the young Wolfson family, along with the rest of the nation.

Again, in 1932, luck found her way to M. Wolfson & Co. when Sam and Lou paid $275 to Penney Farms, a retirement community south of Jacksonville, to haul off all scrap and unused materials that were not attached to the buildings...railroad tracks, lead pipes, brass fittings, plumbing supplies. With a ready smile on his face, Lou still recalls Pop and Sam saying, "Where'd you get this? It can't be possible," when Lou and Jack Surasky, a friend, pulled into the yard with the first truck load. With a $5,000 loan from Mr. Harold Hirsch, Sr. and $5000 borrowed against the cash value of their father's insurance policy, Sam and Lou opened Florida Pipe and Supply in 1932 as an outlet to sell the new plumbing and mill supplies they'd bought at Penney Farms. The resale value of the $275 purchase repaid the bank debt by 1937, and Morris was the happiest man in the world.

With the aggression of Japan in Southeast Asia and the rise of Hitler and Mussolini in the late 1930s, the world found itself in a second world war. The United States entered with Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Only a few months later was Nathan's June 1942, bar mitzvah, and then Sam, Saul, and Cecil went off to war. Lou, with a steel plate in his shoulder, stayed at home with their many families to look after and a business to run with Pop.

Good fortune came again as all of Sarah and Morris' sons came home, but Edith's husband, Maurice, died fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. Nathan recalls his father's sensitivity to this loss, "He asked me to take a ride. We did, and Pop sobbed."

For Morris, family had always been the center of his existence. According to Saul, "The sun rose on his wife and children." Every Sunday the family would go on an outing with a picnic, perhaps to the beach, Green Cove Springs, Valdosta, or Avondale. On one Sunday ride, Cecil, a toddler, was bounced right out of the open Buick. Edith and Lou recall people hollering, "You've lost the baby! You've lost the baby!"

Looking back, they saw Cecil stunned but sitting in the middle of the road. Morris stopped the car, picked him up, checked him over, and then off they went. Laughter-filled Sunday rides were like holidays; they framed the closeness that all the children felt growing up. Sam and Lou, Saul and Cecil, Sylvia and Nathan seemed to be the paired players, with Edith often being the care giver since Renee had married very young. The children experienced strong family ties, sharing with one another, and, as Lou expresses, "...making any sacrifice for each other." Cecil recalls that "there wasn't the selfishness that seems to exist today in a lot of families."

Being the youngest, Sylvia and Nathan enjoyed the days when Pop was at home more. "He took pride in his home and loved to piddle in the kitchen. When we'd come down for breakfast, Pop would have made oatmeal or cream of wheat, scrambled eggs, toast, and freshly squeezed orange juice," recollects Sylvia Wolfson Degen. After breakfast, Nate recalls Pop taking him to school in his Lincoln Zephyr. He remembers a man who loved all men, and who, perhaps, seemed most at home playing checkers with Henry and Adam
in the scrap yard or fishing off the pier with his cronies. "You have to be taught to hate, and we never had any of that," reflects Nathan.

Although Edith feels that he really kept the children in line with love, Pop was strict, especially with Sam and Lou. "He was the patriarch of the family," recalls Monteen Tomberlin. "When Pop talked, they'd listen. He'd even reprimand his 'giant' sons. Most of the time, Pop was right; he had much wisdom. He was a figure that commanded respect. Underneath, he was the softest, sweetest man in the whole world. Those great big
guys just loved him better than anything."

In his 60s, Morris looked back over the years of his life, from Lithuania to Florida, and felt that he was a man indebted to this country and its people. His natural love for all children, his need to help others as he had been helped, his belief in the importance of children's health care, and his desire to leave a legacy to his own family all contributed to his vision to build a children's clinic. In Lou's opinion, Percy's death also had a major effect on Pop's desire to do something for the children of Jacksonville.

These feelings and goals were expressed in Morris' l946 letter to his sons, two years prior to his death. Since Morris was not fluent in English, Mrs. Tomberlin, still Lou's personal secretary, helped Pop express himself after he had thought for months and months about the contents of the message. Although his wife Sarah was very supportive of the idea of a children's clinic, the dream was purely Pop's vision and his effort to repay the country which had given him so much.

Morris had hoped to see the children's hospital in his lifetime; however, in 1947, he experienced renal and congestive heart problems, which caused his death a year later. While in Riverside Hospital, Cecil recalls how he and his brothers took shifts staying with their father, two at a time, around the clock. When his health didn't improve, Morris went by Pullman car to Johns Hopkins for further treatment. His health continued to deteriorate, and, since Pop wouldn't stay in bed, he was taken to Seton Hall, another hospital in Baltimore.

He died September 27, 1948.

Always a fighter for the "little man," Morris, with some of his friends, helped establish Etz Chaim Orthodox Temple. Although Morris worshipped in the Conservative synagogue, he saw the need for the older Orthodox Jews to have a place to pray. It was the custom for the more affluent congregants to have the seats during worship; therefore, the poorer, older men, who lived each day just to pray, had no place to go.

After Pop's death, the four older boys went to Etz Chaim every day, morning and night, for eleven months to minyan services. "We couldn't read the prayer books," recalls Cecil, "but the congregation would put their arms around Sam, Lou, Saul, and me. The people took a loving to us, even though we were the only one sthere who were very young and very American looking. The older people accepted us because of the love they had for our father."

It would be until September 27, 1951, before the Wolfson Family Foundation was formed to carry out Morris' wishes. Through Mr. Bert Reid, a friend of Lou's from University of Georgia days, a client of Mr. Joe Glickstein, Sr. (who was the Wolfson family attorney and knew about Morris' letter), and a member of the Baptist Hospital Association (the body charged with raising funds for a new hospital), a contact was made to the Wolfson family. All of the right elements came together: the city had a need for a new hospital, the Southern Baptist Hospital Board desired a new hospital, and Morris Wolfson's children wanted to carry out the wishes of their father. The initial gift of the foundation, which was announced in December 1, 1951, was to help construct a pediatric wing, Wolfson Memorial Children's Hospital, at the Baptist Memorial Hospital scheduled to open in 1955.

Morris Wolfson's inheritance to his children was the role model of a man who shared what he had; worked hard to do the best job he could, and saw all men and women as equal. It is from this legacy that a small family foundation was created to provide children's health care, as well as to recognize and affirm the needs and rights of all people. The new Wolfson Memorial Children's Hospital, which opened September 13, 1955, would be a place for all children to be admitted and treated without regard to creed, religion, race or financial position. Love and affection, devotion and respect, good fortune and opportunity have enabled Morris' children to honor their father's request - to fulfill his dream.

Information for this article is based on the recollections of Edith Wolfson Edwards, Sylvia Wolfson Degen, Cecil, Louis, Nathan, and Saul Wolfson, Mrs. Monteen C. Tomberlin, and Mr. Mack Crenshaw, Sr. December, 1992.

Wolfson's Children's Hospital
Baptist Health Center