Friday, June 5, 2020



She was ready to play this role

I’ve been married many times and mothered many children. I’ve walked down three aisles and run headlong down another. I’ve worn many wedding gowns...

Mom’s final resting places — a cremation story

If you are offended either by the idea of cremation or humor about the dead, you may want to stop reading. It\'s OK.

Only the best go there

There are moments when half a world away seems right around the corner. At Young Israel of Century City (YICC) on Sunday afternoon, Israel\'s pain at the murder of eight young yeshiva students burned through the Los Angeles Jewish community, just as it has in Jerusalem, where the boys lived, and as it has through Jewish communities throughout the world. The death of eight innocent boys studying Torah at Yeshiva Mercaz Harav shrunk the world.

The Dance of Life

I spoke to Fred several days before he died. He didn\'t want to be on hospice, didn\'t want to think about dying -- or to let me visit him in the hospital -- but he said he thought that he had danced his last dance. I was honored to have shared it with him -- asher hu bam.

The moment it dawned on me that being Jewish is important

During the opening session for the Professional Leaders Project (PLP), a conference for young Jewish leaders, a man delivered inspirations via PowerPoint, asking us to consider the one \"moment\" that inspired us to connect to Jewish projects and commit to the Jewish professional world.

Chanukah and adult faith

A lot of people have trouble with Chanukah. I did, for years. I\'d go to parties and nibble on my latke or sufganiyot while grumbling under my breath about how there was nothing here to celebrate. I\'d light my Chanukiyah, but I\'d only do the bare minimum needed to fulfill the mitzvah and I\'d do my best not to enjoy it. My problem then, and the problem of the people who this year have already informed me that they\'re all but going to boycott the holiday, is that the history of this particular celebration is, well ... complicated.

Yes, I have Tay-Sachs Disease

First person account of living with Tay-Sachs disease.

Life on the picket lines — a striking writer reports

When I was asked by The Jewish Journal whether I\'d like to write something funny about the WGA strike, I thought -- hey, there\'s nothing funny about this: corporate bullies refusing to pay writers for their work. This is serious. But as my friend Rob Lotterstein, creator and executive producer of Fox\'s \"The War at Home\" says, \"Just because we\'re not writing doesn\'t mean we\'ve lost our sense of humor.\"

Mom’s last day

Remembrance of a mother\'s last day.

From the San Diego fires — a burning question

What would you do if you had 10 minutes to get out of your home, not knowing whether it will still be there tomorrow? What would you take? What would you leave? What is truly indispensable? These are the questions that too many of my fellow San Diegans have faced in the last few days as fires ravage homes all over San Diego County. Members of our shul, families from our day school, my husband\'s colleagues -- many have been displaced, forced to grab their loved ones, pets and the few things they can\'t bear to live without.

Why I returned to live in The Big Easy

I just have to read what I wrote one week after Katrina, or during that first year when I was living in exile in Baltimore, to churn up the emotion and passion that is life in New Orleans these days. It is precisely this intensity that keeps me here.

When they killed Cousin Ebi with a bullet to the heart, my family finally decided it was time to lea

At a Sinai Temple Men\'s Club meeting earlier this month, Berookhim publicly shared the 30-year-old heart-wrenching story of his 31-year-old uncle\'s arrest and execution at the hands of Iran\'s Revolutionary Guard.

Combining fact and fiction confuses peace event

I was not entirely comforted. I recalled a conservative propaganda movie about Islam warning people of taqiyya, the Muslim \"mitzvah\" of deception, in which militant Muslims put on a peaceful disguise for Westerners.

Who was Moses? Oh wait, I think I know that one…

Stephen Prothero, author of the new book \"Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know-And Doesn\'t\" and chair of the religion department at Boston University showed up on \"The Daily Show\" recently, hawking the fact that his book contains a quiz to test the reader\'s \"religious literacy.\" Which raises the questions: Can a 15-question quiz test religious literacy?

Farewell, my beloved Mom

Finally, I\'m grateful to the Almighty for having given me such a remarkable mother who, by example, taught her many offspring about the beauty of Judaism, how to lead meaningful lives and how important it is to do chesed for others. May her memory be a blessing.

Pledge to survivors — we will carry the torch

The responsibility for transmitting the survivors\' legacy of remembrance into the future must now increasingly shift to us -- their children and grandchildren.

Turn Memory Into Blessing

Holidays bring up feelings and memories about people who have died. They also offer opportunities to address unresolved issues. The four Yizkor services and the themes of their days correspond to different tasks of mourning.

Family Feud — with my family, it’s no game

I would take my mom against Clint Eastwood in any movie. Sure, he usually plays a grizzled, gunslinger with cat-like reflexes and something to prove, but if you cross my mother, you will find yourself, like the title of Clint\'s greatest Western, \"Unforgiven.\"

Mourning the Morning Call — back in New Orleans

I am a New Orleans Jew. The values of those identities fuel me like the smooth-yet-caffeinated drink that is the trademark of my hometown. I embrace the changing communal calendars and the rituals for their observances of joy and tragedy. These have taught me what it means to be human and how to extract eternity from the changing seasons.

On completing treatment …

I have finished my eight rounds of chemotherapy. I feel like someone coming to the end of a year of mourning, about to surrender the status of \"mourner\" and return to face the world without a label to describe my continuing internal struggle.

A kiss on the hand may be so Continental, but diamonds aren’t forever anymore

When I turned 18 years old, my parents gave me a pair of diamond earrings. Later that same night at a comedy club, when a comedian on stage asked me what I got for my birthday, I showed him the diamonds. \"You must be Jewish, right?\" he said. I was -- still am, as a matter of fact. But I didn\'t know yet about Jews and diamonds. I\'m not talking about the diamond industry, in which Israeli and Diaspora Jews are heavily involved, but in the purchase and wearing of diamonds.

Who needs law school? Just marry a lawyer!

First, let me say that by the time I announced to my family that I was actually getting married, at the already questionable child-bearing age of 34, they would have been ecstatic had I said I was marrying a Martian.The fact that Larry was a lawyer, on the partner track at a reputable Los Angeles law firm, was a bonus. The fact that he was a Jewish lawyer, strongly identified as a Member of the Tribe and actively engaged in the community, was beyond their wildest hopes.

Saying ‘shalom’ to Santa Claus

Occasionally, as I light a candle on the menorah on a dark December night, I think about my former Christmas dishes and the woman who bought them. I imagine that she lovingly sets them on her table, as she prepares her Christmas dinner, and I smile.

An open letter to the rabbis at the Jewish Theological Seminary

In elementary school I realized I was different. I had no vocabulary for it, but all the books, movies and relationships I saw led me to believe that my feelings were not normal and needed to be suppressed.

The great (non) depression

Depression is a word that has been cheapened. We forget that it is a diagnosis for a bona fide disease. It becomes a catch phrase for the weighty feelings we experience as we come to terms with life\'s challenges and honor the process of change.

Kashrut: The things we do for love

I have been passionate about Jewish education for two decades: When I worked in the public and private secular worlds of elementary education, I found myself searching for a more meaningful path to follow. I wanted to be able to talk to kids not only about being the best student they could be, but also about becoming the best people they could become.

It happened one weekend … at the Sisterhood

\"Something happens,\" I was told across the \"first timers\" table Nov. 2 at BJ\'s Restaurant in Woodland Hills. \"When these women get together. I can\'t explain it, but something happens.\"

To comfort me, first comfort yourself

The wisdom to help others is not privileged information. It is taught to all of us through our life experiences.

Schmoozing with the Shammes of Shanghai

The Jews of Shanghai, fleeing Nazi persecution, thousands of Jews journeyed halfway around the world to the sanctuary offered by Shanghai\'s unique status as a free trade city.

Married . . . at last!

I got married for the first time at 50. The groom was 51. Yes, we are both Jewish. We met online.

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