‘Obama’s grandmother receives death threats from al-Qaida’ [VIDEO]


U.S. President Barack Obama’s grandmother has received death threats from the African branch of al-Qaida, prompting stepped up security around her home in Kenya, ABC News reported on Thursday.

Sarah Obama, the U.S. president’s step-grandmother, informed the Kenyan police that she had received a personal threat from al-Shabaab, the Somalia-based branch of al-Qaida, ABC reported.

Security personnel were sent to guard the elder Obama’s home the day after her grandson announced the killing of al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden, but the personal threat has prompted increased security and round-the-clock surveillance of her Africa home, the report said.

Read more at Haaretz.com.

Video courtesy of ABC News.

VIDEO: Rachel Somekh teaches two classic Iraqi Jewish recipes — potato chops and cigars


Rachel Somekh teaches two classic Iraqi appetizers, potato chops and cigars

 

Obituaries


Ronald Abelson died July 23 at 75. He is survived by his wife, Shirley; daughter, Kerry Zymelman; and two grandchildren. Sholom Chapels .

George Alexander died July 20 at 74. He is survived by his sons, Gerald, Robert and Lance; seven grandchildren; and sister, Frances. Groman

Richard Alexander died July 21 at 68. He is survived by his wife, Ann; and daughters, Debra, Karen and Kim. Malinow and Silverman

Marvin Bank died July 21 at 86. He is survived by his daughter, Gina. Malinow and Silverman

Burton Eugene Becker died July 23 at 88. He is survived by his wife, Barbara. Hillside

Allen Berliner died July 24 at 65. He is survived by his sons, Isaac and Kevin; brothers, Myron, Irving and Henry; sisters, Alice Mink and Rosalie Blackman; and companion, Carmen Moreno. Malinow and Silverman

Roy Bokhoor died July 20 at 24. He is survived by his mother, Zoya; and uncle, Maurice Neri. Groman

Mary Chaiken died July 20 at 92. She is survived by her daughters, Elaine (Jocko) and Joann Golden; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Arthur Chase died July 21 at 67. He is survived by his ex-wife, Charlene Haughey; and cousin, Leon Raskin. Groman

Irving Cohen died July 22 at 89. He is survived by his sisters, Terry Freedmond and Anne; seven nieces; two nephews; and many great-nieces and great-nephews. Mount Sinai

Irene Miller Curcio died July 24 at 67. She is survived by husband, George; son, Rob Miller; stepdaughters, Lisa Murphy and Linda (Albert) Shigemura; stepson, Vincent (Toni); and six grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Robert Gerschner died July 22 at 87. He is survived by his sister-in-law, Celeste (Hal) Erdley. Sholom Chapels .

Lola Goffman died July 21 at 95. She is survived by her sons, Sam (Darilyn) and Hirsch (Debbie); and four grandchildren. Hillside

Frieda Handschu died July 7 at 93. She is survived by her son, Dr. Sylvain (Linda) Silberstein; six grandchildren; and 21 great-grandchildren. Sholom Chapels .

Donald Carl Hoffman died Aug. 6 at 65. He is survived by his wife, Sheila; son, Lee; daughter, Eileen Gannaway; and one grandchild. Groman

Samuel Hoffman died July 24 at 80. He is survived by his sons, Stuart and Rabbi David; and sister, Ida Sachs. Groman

Dorothy Esther Jonesi died July 23 at 88. She is survived by her daughter, Gloria and Rochelle Cohen; three grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; great-great-grandchild, Brianna; and sister, Frances Rouse. Hillside

Roselle Lynn Kahn died July 20 at 88. She is survived by her niece, Patricia Robitaille; great-niece, Charlene Valli; cousin, George Gluck; and friend, Margit Herman. Chevra Kadisha

Esther Karnes died July 21 at 94. She is survived by her granddaughter, Vicki; sister, Dorothy Mallin; and niece, Tobey Silverstein. Mount Sinai

Belle Kosasky died July 22 at 88. She is survived by her son, Melvin; daughter, Doreen Rosen; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Groman

Judith Carol Levi died July 23 at 61. She is survived by her son, Darryl. Mount Sinai

Bessie Mandelblatt died July 21 at 89. She is survived by her son, Alvin; daughter, Diane Schwarz; and three grandchildren. Groman

Rachel Leah Marcus died July 23 at 90. She is survived by her grandson, Jan (Sandy) Lankin; three great-grandsons; sister, Marilyn (Nat) LeTraunik; nieces; nephews; and friends. Mount Sinai

Shoshana Mehrabanian died July 22 at 102. She is survived by her sons, Mansour and Yahya; grandson, Samuel. Chevra Kadisha

Salim Morad died Sept. 25 at 82. He is survived by his wife, Hanna; children, Shoshana Cohen, Rena (Bill) Martin, Ovadya, Adela and Osharat; seven grandchildren; sisters, Simcha (Shalom) Shemis and Haviva Zion; and brother, Nissim (Dalia) Morad. Mount Sinai

Faye Fortess Mortel died July 21 at 88. She is survived by her sons, Karl (Tihla) and Victor (Denyce). Chevra Kadisha

Rose Edna Newmark died July 24 at 93. She is survived by her daughter, Carole Wood; one grandchild; one great-grandchild; and sister, Jane Wynhoff. Hillside

Lana Esther Pimbley died July 21 at 62. She is survived by her daughter, Jennifer Rubenstein; sister, Linda Rubenstein; and brother, Bernard Rue. Hillside

Harriet Punim died July 22 at 78. She is survived by her husband, Norman; son, Jeffrey; daughter, Patrice Levin; four grandchildren; sister, Frances Miller; and brother, Henry Safer. Hillside

David Rose died July 23 at 81. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth. Groman

Sybil Scheffler died July 24 at 89. She is survived by her sons, David (Dina), Steven (Rose) and Stan (Dora); granddaughters, Irene and Brittney; great-grandchildren, Bridgette and Tyler; and sister, Sally Smith. Mount Sinai

Lily Abdullah Shad died July 23 at 57. She is survived by her husband, Jamil; and sons, Eddie and Charles. Chevra Kadisha

Phyllis Shano died July 22 at 61. She is survived by her husband, Jack; son, Jason; daughter, Hallie; and brother, Steve (Karen). Malinow and Silverman

Irving Spiegel died July 21 at 93. He is survived by his wife, Miriam; sons, Henry and Philip (Jana); daughter, Deborah (Jeffery) Sweitzer; stepson, David; stepdaughter, Susan; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Hillside

Dorothy Stein died July 21 at 79. She is survived by her son, Eric. Malinow and Silverman

Stephanie Lynn Susman died July 20 at 45. She is survived by her parents, Arnold and Norma; and sister, Valerie Goldfine. Hillside

David Tourqeman died July 22 at 83. He is survived by his wife, Marcella; and sons, Raymond and Jaime. Chevra Kadisha

Cele Troyan died July 20 at 88. She is survived by her brother, Jeff Lewis; and niece, Andrea (Brad) Polak. Mount Sinai

Lucille Victor died July 23 at 84. She is survived by her son, Michael Shulem; daughter, Lyn Greene; 11 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and relatives, Barton Shulem, Deborah Davis and Harold Ross. Groman

Harold Wasserman died July 20 at 74. He is survived by his wife, Heidi; son, Mark (Debra); daughter, Beth (Chuck) Samuel; five grandchildren; and brother, Leonard (Marge). Malinow and Silverman

Herman Weintraub died July 21 at 92. He is survived by his sons, Larry (Barbara) and Ronald (Marilyn); daughter, Renee; two grandchildren; and sister, Ruth Eskow. Mount Sinai

Libbie Winograd died July 23 at 91. She is survived by her son, Cary; daughter, Deborah; two grandchildren; and niece, Beth Cohen. Groman

Irene Zenker died July 21 at 95. She is survived by her son, Arnold (Barbara); and daughter, Carol. Malinow and Silverman

Obituaries following our October 8th issue, have been archived and can be found in our archives section.

Grandma’s Secret


There is no person on this planet more concerned with my
single status than my grandmother. No phone conversion with her is complete
without several highly unsubtle prods about finding a
suitable Jewish female companion.

Try as I might to steer our discussions as far away from
marriage as possible, Grandma has a way of looping us back to her favorite
subject. Just the other day I had her on the phone in order to get some cooking
tips as I prepared an omelet. As yet another golden yolk turned brown on my frying
pan, she offered her best culinary advice: “Why don’t you find a wife who can
make it for you?”

As much as I love my grandmother, her single-minded
obsession with my romantic life is fraying every nerve in my body. It isn’t
just the one-track phone conversations, either. Nearly every Jewish human being
Grandma meets she grills –Â in search of an unattached female family member or
friend to set up with me. While her intentions are good, it has become
difficult to question the standards with which she seeks my mate, because she
apparently doesn’t have any. Then she gets angry because I refuse to call an
18-year-old ultra-Orthodox girl whose first language is Yiddish and happens to
live in another state.

But just when it seemed there was little hope of getting
Grandma off my back, some help came from an unexpected source. I had taken on a
project with an uncle of mine to transfer our family tree, which traces my
ancestors back to the 17th century, to a computer program that could more
easily accommodate updated information. It was a fascinating exercise that gave
me personal statistics on hundreds of family members — including Rose Flatow,
my grandmother.

As I perused her file, an alarm went off in my brain. I
noted that 1944 was when she married my grandfather, who died 20 years ago.
Recalling that she is 92 years old, I realized something I had never thought to
question before: the age my grandmother got married. It was 33 — two years
older than I am now.

My next thought was euphoric: What better way to get her to
ease up on me than to point out the simple fact that she was pressuring me to
accomplish what she herself had not done? Grandma was a hypocrite, and though
it might put me out of the running at the Grandson of the Year Awards, I
planned on holding that over her head for as long as I could.

For our next phone call, I was ready to pounce. Seconds
after her first reference to marriage, I retorted, “Gee, Grandma, that’s
interesting coming from you considering you were 33 when you got married.”

Disclaimer: This may sound like a disrespectful way to talk
to a 92-year-old grandmother, but Grandma actually enjoys a good verbal
sparring match. A woman who describes “doing time” at a nursing home in Long
Beach, N.Y., entirely in prison metaphors without a trace of humor begins to
act like a hardened lifer after a while.

“Have it your way,” she responded. “I just hope I’ll still
be around for the wedding.”

The guilt that comes with having your grandparent play the
Age Card might humble an ordinary soul. Not me. As her most formidable Scrabble
competitor, I recognized it in the same way as when she would play a 10-point Z
tile without bothering to align it with a triple-word score: a last-ditch
gambit.

Intrigued by her defensiveness, I pressed on in search of more
information. As ordinary as it is today for a woman to be married in her 30s,
it was distinctively rare when she came of age. I wanted to uncover why.

There is nothing my grandmother loves more than reminiscing
about her younger days, but nudging her nostalgic riffing in the direction of
her dating life was terra incognita for me. Like many Eastern European Jews,
Rose Silverstein grew up in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn and the Lower
East Side of Manhattan. She was the youngest of seven siblings, five of whom
were brothers. She “kept company” with some of their friends, she admitted, but
doesn’t remember being too enthralled with any of them.

“If they asked you on a date, fine, and if they didn’t call,
well, who gave a damn,” she said.

Probing further, I learned Grandma took a dim view of men
during the Depression. While she held down a job as a secretary at the Parks
Department, she saw many of the unemployed men she encountered as lazy and
passive; how could they ever support her, she wondered? Many never went to
college, but she attended night school to get her degree even though her father
frowned upon it. Sometimes she attracted the wrong kind of attention: When a
drunken coworker chased her around the office one too many times, she had her brother,
Louie, give him a stern talking-to.

Listening to her travails, I felt chastened. She had bona
fide sociological trends to support her reasons for late marriage; I could not
compete with that. Just the same, I was glad to get to know Grandma not as a
grandmother but as a woman with whom I shared common ground. Growing up we tend
to assume our grandparents were pretty much born at the age of 65.

Her story has a happy ending. She met Sam Flatow on a beach
in Far Rockaway. He asked her if she minded watching his things while he went
for a swim. She watched them until he returned and promptly stepped into his
shoe and crushed the eyeglasses he forgot he had hidden inside.

I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to top stomping on a glass
should there be any foreshadowing of a Jewish wedding in my own future. Â


Andrew Wallenstein writes for the Hollywood Reporter and serves as a weekly commentator on National Public Radio’s “Day to Day.” His work was included in the recently published “Best Jewish Writing 2003” (Jossey-Bass).
He can be reached at awally@aol.com.

Like Grandmother,Like Granddaughter


"I really didn’t want to do it" said Chiara Greene, 16, of her bat mitzvah. "When I was 12, it really did not seem that important to me. I was not religion oriented, and I didn’t want to do something that I didn’t completely understand."

Those were not words that Chiara’s father, Richard Greene, wanted to hear. "I kept telling her you are Jewish, you are my daughter, and I want you to have this experience," he said.

Chiara was no pushover, so it took Richard three years and a "secret weapon" to convince his daughter to have a bat mitzvah.

What finally caused her to cave was that her father had found her a partner to be bat mitzvahed with — his 73-year-old mother, Eileen.

"When I realized that my grandmother was going to do it, and my dad was not going to give up, I decided it was time to start learning," said Chiara.

The last time Eileen Greene had learned Hebrew was when she was 9 years old, and attended a Hebrew class for two weeks. Chiara’s Jewish experience also stopped when she was 9, and she moved to Santa Fe, N.M., with her mother. This time around, the grandmother and granddaughter started learning Hebrew about a year ago, so that they would be able to read from the Torah at their bat mitzvahs.

"Learning Hebrew was very difficult at the beginning, but once I got the hang of it, it became a lot easier," Chiara said.

"Among the many obstacles I had to overcome while learning Hebrew were the ‘senior moments’ that lasted for more than moments — they lasted for days!" Eileen said. "It was so embarrassing. You would read it one morning and say it was wonderful, and by the evening you didn’t quite remember it all."

In June, both Chiara and Eileen were called up to the Torah in a unique grandmother/granddaughter bat mitzvah ceremony at Temple Isaiah.

"I was scared to death," Eileen said. "I was afraid of making a fool of myself. I did make a few mistakes, but when I was doing it, I was just doing it. When I said ‘Amen’ at the end, I had the funniest look on my face, like ‘phew!’"

"It was completely nerve-wracking," Chiara said. "I was shaking, and once it was over, I was still shaking, but I was relieved."

Despite the nerves, both found the experience to be immensely gratifying.

"I got to see what our religion was like," said Chiara. "I focused, learned the prayers and learnt our heritage. It was an amazing experience to see how far we had come."

"I felt so incredible to be able to read Hebrew, and to finally be able to look at the books in the synagogue and be able to recognize [the words] and not to rely on the English and the transliterations," Eileen said. "Not that I am fluent now, but I can read it. And to be able to look at the Torah and read the words — even slowly — is a wonderful feeling."

Not Your Grandmother’s Macaroons


You knew this was bound to happen.

Just this past Purim, The Journal reported about how hamantashen were becoming a hot food delicacy outside of Jewish circles. Now, two enterprising Los Angeles-area women are bent on doing the same for yet another holiday dessert staple — the macaroon.

“They’re not just for Passover anymore!” is the official slogan of Melfer’s Macaroons, the West Los Angeles-based gourmet macaroon business founded by Melissa Sanders and Jennifer Klein. And we have Sanders’ uncle Sid to thank for the original chocolate macaroon family recipe.

“I was the only third-generation person baking,” recalls Sanders, 32, of her childhood. She was only 8 years old when she began baking batches of the delicious family treats.

Before long, Sanders was making the magical macaroons every holiday season and beyond. By the time she was attending McGill University in Montreal, Sanders was sending batches of her family holiday confection to friends at other colleges.

Sanders, who studied sociology at school, recently entered the gourmet macaroon business as “kind of a fluke.” One day, Klein, 36, asked Sanders for the macaroon recipe, and Sanders told Klein to come over and bake some. “I said OK, and we baked a few hundred,” Klein says.

Last December, Sanders and Klein tested the market waters by selling the macaroons at a Wyndham Bel Age charity event. The baked morsels went over well, and the women decided to enter into business together. The friends, who are both single, now spend a lot of time together baking up batches of 50 macaroons at a time, usually in five-hour spurts.

“I don’t think our friends realize the work that goes into it,” says Klein, whose day job is working as a freelance producer on commercials and shows, such as “America’s Most Wanted.” “They’ll say, ‘Oh, you’re baking today.’ But, we’re also packaging and marketing.”

There’s marketing and then there’s taste: The freshly baked treats live up to their promise — far superior to anything one might find on the supermarket shelves around Passover. Consider the exotic flavors Melfer’s offers: original chocolate, chocolate chip, white chocolate chip, chocolate truffle, chocolate cappuccino, chocolate orange, white chocolate pina colada.

There are also monthly novelty flavors. February’s was white chocolate raspberry, which capitalized on Valentine’s Day. Sanders and Klein even whipped up a batch of candy cane-flavored macaroons just this past Christmas.

These macaroons even look different — far more textured and attractive to the eye. Call it a Passover makeover.

Currently, Melfer’s Macaroons are only available through Vicente Foods and through the official Melfer’s Macaroons Web site. And if you’re allergic to chocolate, you need not apply. Melfer’s Macaroons’ gourmet flavors are all chocolate-based. However, the pair are working on a sugarless recipe for diabetics.

Melfer’s also produces gift baskets, which run in the $50-$83 range and contain a dozen macaroons packaged with an assortment of items, such as bubble bath, bath soaps and salts, champagne flutes, hot fudge and hot cocoa mix, gourmet coffee, herbal teas and salmon paté.

Although the macaroons are already made with only natural, kosher ingredients, the ladies are presently pursuing official kashrut certification for their mouthwatering morsels, so that they can get Melfer’s Macaroons into Los Angeles’ kosher stores.

Judging by the current word-of-mouth on their product, Sanders and Klein should be spending a lot more time together in the months to come.

“Thank God we haven’t become bored of each other yet,” Sanders says.

For more info visitwww.melfersmacaroons.com

‘Big Bad’ Debra


In a sunny hotel room overlooking the Pacific, Debra Winger is telling Jewish tales as big and bad as “Big Bad Love,” her first film since abruptly quitting show business seven years ago. Her turquoise eyes well up and her raspy voice breaks as she breathlessly describes attending Manhattan’s Congregation B’nai Jeshurun a couple of days before her son, Noah, became bat mitzvah in 2000. “It was the first time I was ever called to the Torah,” says Winger, who wasn’t allowed to have a bar mitzvah growing up in the Valley. “My Orthodox grandmother wouldn’t hear of a girl on the bimah.”

The 46-year-old actress — whom Newsweek once dubbed “as life-size as the girl next door if the girl next door happens to be a Marlboro-smoking Jewish wildcat” — felt she was becoming bat mitzvah that morning at B’nai Jeshurun. She’s also felt a lingering sadness: “My grandmother never acknowledged Noah,” she says, laughing and crying in a manner reminiscent of her Oscar-nominated turn in 1983’s “Terms of Endearment.”

“She disowned me when I married his non-Jewish father [actor Timothy Hutton]. And I had been the most devoted grandchild, and I had named Noah after her late husband, and I’d had a bris and raised him Jewish. But she sat shiva for me, and she never took me back; she took it to her grave.”

Unspoken resentments also seethe throughout “Big Bad Love,” the haunting saga of an alcoholic Mississippi writer (played by Winger’s current husband, Arliss Howard) obsessed with his ex-wife (Winger). “I wanted to investigate what it means to be a man and a woman, together and apart,” Howard, 47, says of his directorial debut.

Perhaps no one was better suited to play his onscreen wife than Winger, but she was reluctant. After starring in the forgettable “Forget Paris” in 1995, she’d signed her Screen Actors Guild retirement card. Some observers wondered if her reputation as a “difficult” actress had tanked her career: She’d fought with directors, spurned reporters and publicly trashed her own films if she thought they were bad.

Keenly peering through wire spectacles during a recent interview, Winger offers a different explanation: “My mother was passing, and I wanted to be there for that,” she says. “And that segued into a big reflective period. I’d never liked show business, and I just wasn’t finding the kinds of stories I wanted to tell, especially weighed against the drama happening in my life.”

Instead, she married Howard, a Missouri-bred non-Jew, in a ceremony conducted by a rabbi on Thanksgiving Day, 1996. She had another son, Babe, now 4, did theater with her husband and taught a course at Harvard. When Howard began nudging her about “Love,” she gave him lists of other actresses to consider. He lured her by rewriting her character as an ex-wife-against type: a former spouse who “is not bitter, whose heart remains open,” says Winger, herself an ex-wife.

If Winger has a rebellious streak, it’s extended to her Judaism. She says her parents were “horrified” when she decided to intensify her religious studies by attending Los Angeles Hebrew High School: “My mother had moved away from Cleveland to escape my grandmother’s Orthodoxy, then I became her mother,” she says, with a boisterous laugh. After graduating high school at 15, Winger ran off to a kibbutz and contemplated living in Israel, but left after a stint of army training. Back in Los Angeles, she resolved to become an actress while recovering from a car accident that left her partially paralyzed and blind for several months.

Eventually she earned three Oscar nominations for her performances in “Terms,” “An Officer and a Gentleman” (1982) and “Shadowlands” (1993), in which she played a secular Jewish divorcee who weds author C.S. Lewis.

Winger admits that she’s been outspoken with directors. On the set of “Big Bad Love,” based on Larry Brown’s short stories, Howard says his wife created a “productive adversity.” “You don’t direct Debra,” he says. “You tell her stories.”

The strategy apparently worked. While “Love” has received some mixed reviews, Winger has been unanimously lauded for her understated yet raw performance. She says the experience has whetted her appetite for more film work, if the right project emerges. Meanwhile, she’s content being a mom in Westchester County, N.Y., lighting candles on Shabbat, arranging for Noah’s weekly Jewish studies tutor and teaching Babe the Alef Bet.

Suddenly — in another big, bad flourish — she reveals she hasn’t set foot in synagogue since the tragedy of Sept. 11. “I’ve become convinced that organized religion is the root of all evil,” she says. “Because I’m still pulled toward Jewish ritual, that’s a dilemma. But I’m willing to sit with it and see how I feel.”

“Big Bad Love” opens today in Los Angeles.

Taking Over the Waiting Room


My mother called to give me an update on my aunt Ruthie’scondition. She had a cancer-spotted kidney removed a few days ago,and the family Jew-Ex was hot with medical reports. My mother, whosecurse it was to be the firstborn, was cursed a second time by havinga daughter who she used to liken to her sister Ruth whenever Istepped out of line — which was often, according to my mother.Ruthie’s curse was to be born two years after my mother and to neverhave had a daughter.

In the course of our phone conversation, Mother and I talked aboutmy grandmother and how she lived to 94 — namely, by never going todoctors. The only time she ever saw the interior of an examining roomwas when her eyes were examined by Dr. Kauderer, which was once everyfive years or whenever her glasses broke. I have her last pair ofglasses, and when I tried them on recently, I realized that her eyeswere better at the end of her life than mine are now.

If she were alive today, she would be considered in the vanguardof alternative medicine. My grandmother dispensed her own antidotes:for croupy chest, a slab of mustard plaster that, when removed, alsotook with it the last layer of skin (I swore that was the reason Iwas flat-chested until 15); a wool sock filled with kosher salt,heated in the oven, placed behind the ear for earaches (I used thison my son); cold baths for high fevers; milk of magnesia forclogging; and enemas for everything else, including the common cold.

I used to go to school sick rather than be treated by her brand ofmedicine, but my cheeks blazed with fever and gave me away, and I wassent home to face the medical establishment. My grandmother wasalways in. Since being sick in my house always carried the extraweight that death was just around the corner, vigils were the waydeath was warded off.

My family is absolutely terrific if someone is in the hospital. Wetake over the waiting room from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. We read charts,question the doctors, rearrange the furniture, solve other people’shealth problems and sometimes, as in the case of my uncle Joey, savelives.

It was my aunt Ruthie who discovered that he was running a feverafter a gall bladder operation more than 25 years ago. She refused tobe dismissed and pressed the doctor to find the reason. Joey wasbeing attacked by a virus that had invaded his blood and probablywould have killed him had it not been for Ruthie — or Nurse Klavell,as she used to be known.

And, now, as I write this, a vigil is happening in a Miamihospital for Ruthie. My aunt Syl, aunt Adele, Ruthie’s boys, Michaeland Stevie, and my mother are standing guard against the angel ofdeath. Those of us in the diaspora get the news strained throughselective memories and stories. Take the topic of yesterday’swaiting-room conversation: the upcoming wedding of Ruthie’sgranddaughter and how she has been told to wear navy blue. Navy blue?

I remember when my grandmother was told to wear yellow for mywedding — the first one where color coordination mattered. Not onlydid she wear pink, but she walked down the aisle alone, refusing tolean on anyone’s arm — proof that she was in no way infirm. How ourconversation segued to my wedding, I’ll never know, but my mother andI were matching memories, and I disagreed about who paid for mywedding gown (me, and it was $60 wholesale), who allowed mygrandmother to wear pink (me), and, suddenly, she backed off andsaid: “You’re a writer, so if you want to remember things like that,go ahead. I understand.”

What’s a girl to do? So I pretended to be one of those consecutivetranslators at the United Nations, and here’s how I heard it: “I’mright, but you’re not exactly wrong.” I think we’ve reached amilestone in our communication system.

I come from a tightly knitted family in which disagreements arenever resolved, because everyone is right. My aunt Ruthie soughtjustice and understanding in this family and received none. But, now,as she lies in the intensive-care unit, she has everyone’s attention,finally. And everyone has solidarity on one issue: No one should beforced to wear a navy blue dress.

Linda Feldman, a former columnist for the Los Angeles

Times, is the co-author of “Where To Go From Here: DiscoveringYour Own Life’s Wisdom,” due out his fall from Simon &Schuster.

All rights reserved by author.

+