David L. Neale, a prominent bankruptcy attorney and major donor to AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), was stunned when the call came from Brazil in late 1999: His younger brother, John (not his real name), then in his mid-30s and previously robust, was gravely ill in Rio de Janeiro.
The race to find a cure for AIDS, one of Earth’s most pressing epidemics for more than three decades now, is often more of a chaotic relay. Thousands of international scientists must constantly revise their own projects to keep up with findings from across all scientific disciplines — always collaborating toward a common good, yet also trying to stay one step ahead of the competition.
Just over six years ago, in the lush Upper Galilee of northern Israel, the nation’s first large-scale harvest of legal medical marijuana was flowering on the roof deck of Tzahi Cohen’s parents’ house, perched on a cliff overlooking the bright-green farming village of Birya. Until then, fewer than 100 Israeli patients suffering from a short list of ailments had been allowed to grow the plants for themselves, but this marked the first harvest by a licensed grower.
A calming shade of purple punctuates the Manhattan Beach office of the woman who founded the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN). In one corner, two teddy bears with purple ribbons add a comforting touch to the “living room” setting where Pamela Acosta Marquardt meets with visitors, staff and supporters.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles named recent UCLA graduate Brianna Fischer of Oak Park as its inaugural Fishel Fellow last month. As part of the two-year paid fellowship, she will participate in hands-on community-service experiences in both Jewish and non-Jewish settings throughout the world, including in Israel, India and Germany. The program culminates with a 10-month paid position at Federation in Los Angeles.
He’s one of the oldest heads of state in the world and the star of his own two-day conference. Celebrities from Bill Clinton to Sharon Stone lavish praises on him. He walks into a room and it erupts into applause. Israel’s Presidential Conference is, in part, a tribute to Israeli President Shimon Peres’ nearly 90 years, two-thirds of which he’s spent serving the State of Israel.
When Joelle Milman was a high school sophomore, she met award-winning photographer Art Streiber, who has contributed to Vanity Fair among other high-profile publications.
“Americans are sicker and die younger than people in other wealthy nations.”
In 1989, Mollie Pier co-founded Project Chicken Soup (PCS), a nonprofit organization that makes and delivers free kosher food to Angelenos living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses. Today, at 92, she still volunteers, spending eight hours a month in the kitchen and calling recipients when their meals are ready.
Forensic experts took samples from the body of former Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat's uncovered corpse in the West Bank on Tuesday, trying to determine if he was murdered with the hard-to-trace radioactive poison, Polonium.
Israel and American men and women of all ages, representatives of Israeli and Jewish community organizations and others turned out to walk with Israel for a Cure, one of approximately 1,700 teams that participated in the AIDS Walk Los Angeles on Oct. 14.
Several days before Mollie Pier’s son, Nathaniel, died of complications from AIDS, she joined together with his doctors, Nathaniel and his longtime partner, Michael, as the couple exchanged rings and vows in his hospital room.
A delegation of prominent HIV/AIDS doctors from across East Africa is visiting Israel to expand medical partnerships and benefit from Israel's expertise.
Cedars-Sinai is one of only 11 hospitals in the country and two in the state participating in the study
The United Nations announced last year that the procedure could reduce the rate of HIV transmission by up to 60 percent. It was in Israel, with its experience performing adult male circumcision on a wide scale, that the international medical community found an unlikely partner in the global fight against AIDS.
" . . . This camp, this organization [Hollywood Heart] gives me true happiness.I get back so much more in ways that are impossible to quantify, in ways I couldn'tget from anything material or anything else I've ever done . . . "
" . . . The deceased is gone. Yet the living . . . [are] left sinning, hurting, reeling, and lost. I only hope and pray that our people can find ourselves again, and learn from this. It is time to stop, and put an end to this vicious cycle. . . . ."
"A funny thing happens when you become ill. Even though you're the person who's sick, you have to be a caregiverin a way. You can't just dump information on people."
HIV/AIDS education at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) means "making sure rabbinical students don't leave campus before they hone their skills to help people in need," said Michele Prince, director of the Kalsman Institute of Judaism and Health at HUC-JIR.
The notes are short, direct and never signed. They come from all over Los Angeles, from the South Los Angeles tenements to the San Fernando Valley suburbs. Their authors differ in age, ethnicity and religion, but have at least one thing in common: They all live with HIV/AIDS.
Their gratitude is directed at Project Chicken Soup, an L.A.-based nonprofit whose volunteers gather twice a month to cook nutritious, kosher meals and deliver them, free of charge, to the doors of clients across the city.
While HIV can pose health problems at any age, there is additional risk of having the virus as an older person. People 50 and older have less vigorous immune systems, and studies report that a majority of older adults have at least one or more chronic, age-related condition such as diabetes, arthritis or heart disease
Worldwide, there are more than 33 million people living with HIV/AIDS, and the epidemic continues to expand.
"Africa isn't something far awayand distant anymore. It's something very personal, and it's somethingthat you can't avoid."
After Ryan Silver returned home from a trip to Africa with his family, he began preparing for his bar mitzvah. Without hesitation, he knew that his mitzvah project would involve helping the children in the orphanage he visited in a Nairobi slum. Between the guests' donations and his own, Silver raised more than $2,700. In addition to completing a Jewish rite of passage, Silver was pleased that his celebration helped educate others about the plight of the children in Africa and to ultimately offer financial support.
The idea for "Tied Hands" began to take shape in the 1990s, when he visited director Amos Guttman, who was living with AIDS and had come back to Israel to die.
Rebecca Levinson grew up always doing things for the community.
"This is what you do," the 17-year-old junior at North Hollywood's Oakwood School, said matter of factly.
Self-help books are essential tools.
Ariel Jacobs had been jaundiced at birth, because of a blood-type incompatibility with her mother, and required a transfusion. As a result of contaminated blood, she contracted HIV, which later developed into AIDS.
A couple of years ago, I heard about an oral history project for older gay men and women that resulted in a staged play. I didn't see it, but when Bob Baker, the adapter-director, sent out the call for a new cast, I signed up. We listened to each other's stories, wrote up the most telling ones and turned remembered conversations into dialogue. After nine months, out came a play.
Michael Chorost climbs the flight of stairs to a room filled with metal file cabinets. He's never been to this place before, but he's greeted like a long lost relative. A smiling woman hands him what he has come to see: file No. 27392.
Hearing Loss Helps Writer Find Voice
Jewish groups from across the denominational spectrum are calling on the Jewish community to help fight AIDS in Africa and other places hit hard by the pandemic. An open letter to the Jewish community issued by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, together with Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist Jewish leaders, called on "synagogues and rabbis to renew and affirm our commitment to ending the AIDS crisis in Africa and elsewhere around the world."
Judging from his public statements, Assad seems convinced that the Bush administration will not stop at Iraq, and that after a U.S. victory in Baghdad, he could be next on the regime-change agenda.
Therefore, when Assad vilifies the United States and openly aids the Iraqi war effort, he believes he is fighting for his life. In late March, buoyed by what he saw as initial Iraqi success in resisting the U.S.-led invasion, Assad explained the basis of his thinking in a fierce diatribe against Israel and the United States.
The war in Iraq, he told the Lebanese newspaper, As-Safir, was an Israeli-American conspiracy "designed to redraw the political map of the Middle East." In Assad's view, the United States would take Iraq's oil, and Israel would become the dominant regional power.
Bob S. insists that his mother back in Virginia made the best chicken soup ever, but he's willing to admit the homemade version delivered to his Van Nuys apartment is a close second.
The delivery is part of the mission of Project Chicken Soup, an all-volunteer group that cooks, packages and personally delivers kosher meals twice a month to patients living with HIV and AIDS. It might be a chicken breast or a casserole, along with the soup, salad, fruit, dessert or even a protein drink.
Acuity, passion, the ability to hold several conflicting ideas at the same time, a wide-ranging and detailed understanding of the world we live in, and an ability to articulate a broad intellectual and moral vision -- watching Bill Clinton last Monday night at the Universal Ampitheatre made me realize how much I miss these attributes in a president.
This is not a criticism of George W. Bush. I imagine he would be the first to acknowledge, with some pride, that he's no Bill Clinton. Among the crowd that pressed to touch flesh with Clinton in a post-speech reception, several people admitted that Clinton would probably have done no better, and maybe worse, than Bush in executing the war against Al Qaeda. Different men, different strengths and weaknesses.
But last Monday night, it was Clinton's gifts that were on display.
Africa is not much on our minds these days. We have obviously been preoccupied by America's election and by Israel's chaos.
For those who don't remember, Attanasio is the brilliant creator and writer of "Homicide: Life on the Street," the former NBC series that was always more beloved by critics and its small but fanatically devoted group of viewers than by the public at large. Among the talents spawned by that show, none made more of an impression than Andre Braugher, a Shakespearean-trained actor of enormous power who, during the show's run, got himself a cover of TV Guide which asked the question in banner headlines: "Is this the best actor on television?"
When Ofra Haza, the 41-year-old Israeli Yemenite singer, succumbed to complications of AIDS in February, she died under a heavy cloud of silence.
When I'm 79, I want to be Mollie Pier.
Africa is not much on our minds these days. We have obviously been preoccupied by America's election and by Israel's chaos. Many of us have long since stopped reading the news from Africa, since it is almost always gloomy -- Africa as the world's basket case, the one continent that seems irretrievably trapped by misgovernment and murder, and now by a horrendous pandemic of AIDS.
In "Hit and Runway," a straight Italian-American naif teams up with a gay Jew to write a screenplay. In "Aimee & Jaguar," a Jewish woman and a Nazi's wife begin a torrid affair. In "Man is a Woman," a gay man marries a woman, a Yiddish singer, who has never known a man.