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Jewish Journal

Deborah Berger

  • To Speak Up or Keep Silent

    May 31, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Outing a Cheat?

    Dear Deborah,

    Last week I was meeting my husband for lunch at a local kosher restaurant. On my way to the ladies' room, I noticed a friend's husband sitting at a back corner table with another woman. They were clearly playing footsies, touching under the tablecloth...

  • Dear Deborah

    April 26, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Bitterness Once Removed

    Dear Deborah,

    Eleven years ago my parents divorced after my father found out my mother had been having an affair for four years. Although my sister and I were already in our 20's, it had a devastating effect on the family. My father stayed single, alone and...

  • Dear Deborah

    April 5, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Shul-Shocked

    Dear Deborah,
    My 36-year-old, single daughter is a brilliant attorney, a mensch and wonderful mother to our precious grandson. She visits her grandmother in the nursing home and attends synagogue most Saturday mornings. My husband and I should be delighted,...

  • Dear Deborah

    February 22, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Irked By Homework

    Dear Deborah,

    My 9-year-old son comes home from school each day and rants about how much he hates school. Often he cries and it has become a 30 minute or so ritual. I try to soothe him and ask what's wrong, but usually it is irrational -- teachers aren't fair,...

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  • Dear Deborah

    February 15, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Harem Dropout

    Dear Deborah,

    I'm recently divorced (after more than 30 years of marriage), an educated and, I thought, pretty savvy woman. I have been dating a charming man now for almost two months. Recently we became intimate, and of course I expected our relationship to change.

    ...

  • Dear Deborah

    December 14, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    Halting Taboo Tales



    Dear Deborah,
    I am a 34 year-old single woman. My parents divorced when I was 22 and my younger brother was 19. At the time my mother and father explained that they had been unhappy for some time, but since my brother and I were on our own, they saw no...

  • Dear Deborah

    April 20, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Sharon Ann Dror, born deaf, didn't enjoy seders with her hearing family while growing up in a traditional Jewish home in Santa Monica. She could read lips, but she couldn't see peoples' faces as they read from behind their Haggadot. &'009;

    "I felt frustrated and bored," recalls the...

  • Dear Deborah

    March 23, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    Sharon Ann Dror, born deaf, didn't enjoy seders with her hearing family while growing up in a traditional Jewish home in Santa Monica. She could read lips, but she couldn't see peoples' faces as they read from behind their Haggadot. &'009;

    "I felt frustrated and bored," recalls the...

  • Dear Journal

    September 30, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Sharon Ann Dror, born deaf, didn't enjoy seders with her hearing family while growing up in a traditional Jewish home in Santa Monica. She could read lips, but she couldn't see peoples' faces as they read from behind their Haggadot. &'009;

    "I felt frustrated and bored," recalls the...

  • Dear Journal

    September 16, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Sharon Ann Dror, born deaf, didn't enjoy seders with her hearing family while growing up in a traditional Jewish home in Santa Monica. She could read lips, but she couldn't see peoples' faces as they read from behind their Haggadot. &'009;

    "I felt frustrated and bored," recalls the...

  • Dear Deborah

    September 9, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Sharon Ann Dror, born deaf, didn't enjoy seders with her hearing family while growing up in a traditional Jewish home in Santa Monica. She could read lips, but she couldn't see peoples' faces as they read from behind their Haggadot. &'009;

    "I felt frustrated and bored," recalls the...

  • Dear Deborah

    August 20, 1998 | 8:00 pm

     

    Kiss and Tell

    Dear Deborah

    What would you say about my wife, who says she loves me but almost always turns her head when I try to kiss her on the lips?

    Frustrated

    ...

  • Dear Deborah

    August 7, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Nice, Decent and But

    Dear Deborah,

    The three worst words in the English language for a single man are "nice," "decent" and "but," as in "You're a nice, decent man, but let's just be friends."

    A single...

  • Dear Deborah

    July 23, 1998 | 8:00 pm


    Dear Deborah,

    What do you do when your boss is crude, rude andplain obnoxious? He smells of cigars and alcohol after lunch, hehacks and spits, he shouts at me and others, and he uses foullanguage. Everything about him makes me cringe. Do you think I shouldanonymously place a...

  • Dear Deborah

    July 2, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Dear Deborah,

    I read your column in The Jewish Journal and waswondering if you have any good advice on sibling relationships. Yousee, my three sons are always at war. Since they were small, myhusband and I had to pull them apart, and now that they are adults ithas only gotten...

  • Dear Deborah

    June 18, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Your resounding replies to Headin' for the Exit("Renounces Jewish Women," April 17) and all the subsequent salvoscontinue to bounce off the walls of my P.O. Box. Although we are allundoubtedly weary from the sexism, anti-Semitism and plainpigheadedness the man-vs.-woman tug-of-war...

  • Dear Deborah

    June 4, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    "Love's Captive," collage by Jess(Collins). From "Pacific Dreams," 1995.

    Relationship Gridlock

    Dear Deborah,

    I'm a divorced 39-year-old businesswoman with twoyoung daughters. "Paul" and I have been dating for two years andliving together for a year and a half. I am very attracted to...

  • Dear Deborah

    May 21, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Outspoken Men

    Readers: When itcomes to Jewish men and women and the great, complicated knot oflove, hate, passion, contempt and yearning, Jewish Journal readers --in this case, men -- are outspoken. These responses and excerpts areto Headin' for the Exit ("Renounces Jewish Women,"...

  • Dear Deborah

    May 7, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Detail from the cover of "Boy MeetsGirl," a romance comic book, 1947

    Suffocating Sweetheart

    Dear Deborah,

    I am engaged to a wonderful man whose "littleproblem" has become very, very big during the course of our two-yearcourtship and has grown acute during our engagement. He was always...

  • Dear Deborah

    March 19, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Dear Deborah,

    I never wanted or expected to be financiallysupported by a man, but I now have a beautiful 9-week-old daughter,and my heart hurts when I think about returning to my full-time job.Here's my story:

    I grew up in an affluent suburb. My family wasstable and loving. My father...

  • Dear Deborah

    March 5, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Dear Deborah,

    My girlfriend of three months, some friends, one of her employees and I went out to dinner the other night. This employee is a friend of my girlfriend's, and they socialize frequently. The problem I have with this employee-friend is that sheis competitive and always...

  • Dear Deborah

    February 19, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Two-Timing Online

    Dear Deborah,

    My roommate and friend, "Joe," is engaged to bemarried to a terrific woman, and the wedding date is set for thisJune. I am to be his best man. Joe, who is 38 and marrying for thefirst time, had a terrible time committing to one person. Now that hehas...

  • Dear Deborah

    February 5, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Cooking Up Regrets

    Dear Deborah,

    My sweet, 87-year-old mother has become anincreasingly horrible cook. The food she prepares often is made fromstale ingredients, and because of her poor eyesight and memory, shemisses ingredients in recipes. For example, she forgot to add sugarto a...

  • Dear Deborah

    January 22, 1998 | 6:59 pm

    Barbed Words

    Dear Deborah,

    I don't understand, and I'm feeling hurt. I wasdating someone who, when she became upset, would say things that notonly didn't express how she felt but were verbally abusive. How can Iwork with someone who glibly says, "I never have any fun with you?" Ifound...

  • Dear Deborah

    December 11, 1997 | 7:00 pm

    Dear Deborah,

    I am trapped in an emotionally and financiallyabusive marriage. My mother died when I was 4 years old, and myfather married a woman with a daughter around my age. My stepmothertreated her daughter like a princess, buying her the best clothes andgiving her the best...

  • Dear Deborah

    November 27, 1997 | 7:00 pm

    From "Teenage Confidential," Chronicle Books, 1998.


    Bat Mitzvah Advice

    Dear Deborah,

    This Dec. 6, our daughter, Melanie, will celebrateher bat mitzvah. In the Jewish tradition, this event marks a comingof age and an acceptance of responsibility to obey the commandmentsand laws...

  • Dear Deborah

    November 13, 1997 | 7:00 pm

    Ruth Bernhard's "Dead Sparrow, "1946. Photo from Pacific Dreamscatalogue

    Warring Parents

    Dear Deborah,

    I am 16 years old. My parents haven't spoken toeach other in over a year, although they do not talk about divorce.The problem is that they make me and my little sister pass...

  • Remember the Children: Daniel’s Story

    October 30, 1997 | 7:00 pm

    Those who grew up in the 1950s and '60s heard little about the Holocaust. Considered a subject too frightening for children, it was seldom discussed or taught. Even now, with almost a glut of literature, films, exhibits and college courses on the subject, it is still a difficult...

  • Dear Deborah

    October 16, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Deborah Berger-Reiss is a West Los Angelespsychotherapist.

    All rights reserved by author


    Hooked on Rejection

    Dear Deborah,

    My 17-year-old son is hooked on a girl. She's everything he sayshe wishes he could be and everything he knows we wish he couldbe. She's sure to be valedictorian, on...

  • Dear Deborah

    October 2, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Detail from "Family," 1917, woodcut by Emile Nolde. From"German Expressionist Woodcuts," 1994.

    A Mother's Cruelty

    Dear Deborah,

    As Yom Kippur approaches, I am thinking about my mother in thenursing home and feeling guilt, dread and anger. At this point, herdementia is advancing, and...

  • Dear Deborah

    September 18, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Untitled, by Rose Mandel, 1947. Photofrom Catalogue of Pacific Dreams (Armand Hammer Museum 1995)

    Middle-Aged Marriage

    Dear Deborah,

    Why is it so much more difficult to recover fromour middle-age marital difficulties than it was when we were in our20s? We used to be able to...

  • Dear Deborah

    September 4, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Readers: Again?

    The subject of men, women, money and our stereotypes about them consistently seems to whip up agitation. This new bundle of letters -- some in response to J, the blue-collar man whose wife left him because he didn't earn enough ("When Dollars = Esteem," Aug. 8), and...

  • Dear Deborah

    August 21, 1997 | 8:00 pm


    Roller-Coaster Life

    Dear Deborah,

    I have had a strange, traumatic, roller-coaster life, but I havefinally settled down with a truly wonderful man. The problem I haveis that I cannot understand why I feel so empty and have no sexualdesire whatsoever for my prince.

    When I was small, my...

  • Dear Deborah

    July 24, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Family events do not necessarily create closeness. Painting "Tompkins Square Park" by Morris Shulman, from "The Jews in America," 1994

    One Big, Happy...

    Dear Deborah,

    I have always had the fantasy of having a big family. I complained bitterly to my parents about being a single child,...

  • Dear Deborah

    July 10, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Illustration from "Painting with Passion," 1994. Photo-illustration by Carvin Knowles

    Losing My Religion

    Dear Deborah,

    My husband and I have decided to get a divorce, and we have amicably worked everything out -- finances, custody, etc. What has become acrimonious and ugly are our...

  • Dear Deborah

    June 26, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Dear Deborah,

    I am a 35-year-old, reasonably happily married mother (of a small child) who is having an affair. I ran into "Ron," a college sweetheart, after not seeing him for 14 years. It turned out that he had moved to my neighborhood. Soon after that meeting, a year ago, we kept...

  • Dear Deborah

    June 12, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    "No Relationships, Please," pastel by Carole Kerchen. From Painting with Passion, 1994

    Marriage Material?

    Dear Deborah,

    I have been married two times, the first time for three years and the second for five years. I have no children from either marriage, and, although I want children,...

  • Dear Deborah

    May 29, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Dear Deborah,

    My husband and I were very depressed this past Mother's Day. Both of our mothers passed away years ago, my husband's by suicide. Also, both of us came from parents who divorced when we were young, and neither of us had very good relationships with our mothers.

    We do not...

  • Dear Deborah

    May 15, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    For some brides-to-be, family relationships will never become fairy tale "happily-ever-afters..."


    No Fairy Tale Wedding

    Dear Deborah,

    I am 32 years old and getting married this summer. Ever since my mother passed away four years ago, my family has been a mess. I am the only girl of four...

  • Dear Deborah

    May 1, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Dear Deborah,

    I'm in love with a woman who broke up with me a year ago and has moved on to a new relationship that looks serious. Two years ago, I won her back from the same man. We've been together on and off for three years, and when she's not with me, she's with him.

    She said the...