October 26, 2000

Arthritis Rumba

\”Ouch,\” cried a perfectly coiffed, white-haired lady. \”It hurts.\”
\”My fingers won\’t listen to me,\” a tall brunette complained.

But Susanne Haymaker, their exercise teacher at the Jewish Home for the Aging, wouldn\’t listen. \”Lift your fingers up if they\’re hurting, \” Haymaker encouraged. \”That will signal the brain. People with severe arthritis have to help their fingers along.\”

Sounds of Healing

Half of Tina Feiger\’s family fled from there in 1938. Barbara Ravitz became so anxious on a visit there in 1969 that she hasn\’t been back since. Sherri Lipman, like so many American Jews, has never been there.

On Nov. 25, they will be in Germany, part of a huge, largely Jewish choral ensemble singing music based on a Jewish text, written by of one of the world\’s most renowned Jewish composers. They will be not just in Germany, but in Nuremberg, where the Nazi regime generated its restrictive anti-Semitic laws. Not just in Nuremberg, but in a concert hall built over the rubble of the arena where thousands of Germans gathered in the 1930s to affirm Adolf Hitler\’s hate-filled rants.

Healing the World

As a child, Mimi Leder used to ask about the faded blue numbers on her mother\’s arm. \”It\’s just a tattoo,\” her mother, Etyl, a classical pianist, would say. \”I was 10 before she told me the truth, and to be honest, that was not old enough,\” the director recalls.

Alternative Scene

The Shabbat morning services last Saturday were wonderful.

Boys Wonder

Joe [incredulous]: Jewish superheroes?\nSammy: What, they\’re all Jewish, superheroes. Superman, you don\’t think he\’s Jewish? Coming from the old country, changing his name like that. Clark Kent, only a Jew would pick up a name like that for himself.

A Beacon of Hope

Carlanna is a young woman who was paralyzed in a car accident in high school. She is now a producer with the \”Judge Judy\” show. Alex is a qualified doctor from the Ukraine who cannot work in his profession here. He is now a highly successful radiology technician. Irene was a newly divorced mother on welfare in the depths of despair. She is now a fundraiser working on the corporate level and providing services and support to single mothers.

Behind the Scenes

Every Jew in Los Angeles cheered when Holocaust denier David Irving lost his libel suit against author and historian Deborah Lipstadt this year. But the actual proceedings against the former UCLA professor remained shrouded in mystery (cameras aren\’t allowed inside British courts).

A Lesson Plan From Israel

In our hardwired global village, the old curse \”May you live in interesting times,\” has particular resonance. For local educators, the recent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians have made these past few weeks interesting times indeed. As events continue to unfold thousands of miles away, the conflict has been an ongoing topic in Southern California\’s Jewish day schools.


It was an innocent batch of chocolate chip cookies that started what I\’ve come to call \”The Great Gift-Giving War.\”

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More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.