My parents bought their first color TV so I could see Big Bird

(CNN)In a 1997 episode of “Sesame Street,” Big Bird is taking a walk around his neighborhood admiring all his favorite things as he sings the aptly titled “Walking Down My Street.” Towards the end of the tune, he says, rather contemplatively, “Sesame Street,” he sighs. “Not just a street. A way of life. Home.” Big Bird was right that Sesame Street is indeed home to so many. The whole gang is gearing up for Sesame Street’s 50th Anniversary Celebration on November 17 on PBS — a special that promises lots of celebrity guests and walks down memory lane. Sign up for CNN Opinion’s new newsletter. Join us on Twitter and Facebook The show’s classic theme song asks this question: “Can …

The President has failed us. We must look out for one another instead

(CNN)One year ago, on October 27, 11 people were murdered while praying in the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue. It was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States. In the hours before the shooting, the attacker posted to social media that he couldn’t “sit by” while HIAS, the Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees, which I lead, “likes to bring invaders in that kill our people.” Some people believe that Tree of Life may have been targeted because Dor Hadash, one of the three congregations that was housed in the building, was among the nearly 300 that joined HIAS’ National Refugee Shabbat celebration just days earlier. Looking back at the last year is hard …

Jessye Norman was a diva whose voice could not be denied

(CNN)If arias are like lyrical prose poems, then each singer who performs one is like a poet who reads their work with a unique timbre and cadence. Whether she was singing the Habenero from Act 1 of Bizet’s “Carmen,” “Lieder” by Richard Strauss or performing in a Wagner opera, Jessye Norman’s voice was pure poetry. Let’s face it: poetry and opera are two art forms that tend to make people feel inadequate. Talk of poetic forms and conventions elicits as much anxiety, defensiveness and accusations of elitism as mentioning overtures, arias and recitatives. Having been shaped in the world of Jim Crow Georgia in the 1940s, Jessye Norman understood what it felt like to be excluded, which affected her approach …

Grateful Dead drummer: We’re disrupting nature’s rhythms and killing our planet

(CNN)I bet you’ve never thought about what it would mean to set aside half the planet for all the creatures that thrived just 200 years ago. To tell you the truth, until recently, neither did I. And killing the thing you love the most seems like a pretty stupid idea to me. I am hoping to contribute to the solution by participating in the Earth’s Call live stream concert in Aspen, Colorado, on May 18. Earth’s Call is a new nonprofit that is finding and funding innovative solutions to the climate crisis, and the event is a celebration and call to action. My fascination with the rhythms of our planet — and the universe beyond — goes way back, and …