That initial meeting, as it happened, was the start of something entirely unexpected. Within a year, we were engaged. That was the fairy-tale ending of one story, but the prelude to another -- our Hollywood moment.
It's Friday night, and as I wander toward the entrance of Temple Emanuel, a Reform synagogue in Beverly Hills, an usher approaches and asks brightly, "Are you with the choir?" I'm African American, but I'm not with the choir, at least not with the choir of Temple Bryant A.M.E. Church, which is visiting the synagogue tonight. I smile through a twinge of annoyance.
Despite having a population of far more than 3 million and a cultural and economic diversity rivaled by very few places, Los Angeles is not quite viewed as a real city by much of the outside world.
And the fact that Jewish and Christian themes and theology overlap, especially in the black church -- the story of Moses and the divinely aided deliverance of his people from slavery comes to mind -- makes Nelson resonate that much more. All of which is fine by him.