Readers who think I am preoccupied with political issues may find it interesting to learn that I lecture on the subject of happiness more than any other single topic. And, every Friday for the past 12 years, I have devoted an hour of my radio show to this subject.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 20.2 million people in America aged 15 to 19, and they are 7 percent of the population. So be careful what statements you make, or what biases you might allow yourself to believe.
As the doctor predicted, the breath-holding eventually subsided. By the time my second son came along, my child-rearing methods had evolved considerably.
The Alter Kayakers stand out for their awesome endurance and robust bearing, and they cram their days with endless bicycling, hiking, tennis, martial arts and river rafting. But no one has to quit when his abilities falter.
Theologically, Chanukah is insignificant, yet its historical lesson is of great importance to all religious faiths.
For so many Jewish men, it always comes back to fathers and sons, despite what Philip Roth might think. Look at the films of Daniel Burman, the rising young star of the New Argentine Cinema.
Many rabbinic texts detail our long tradition of ecotheology, explicitly supporting the idea that caring for the Earth is a distinctly religious imperative.
Skateboarding runs in the Tashman family, although not on the paternal side. His mother, who also grew up religious, skateboarded when she was a kid. She was sponsored by a local Velcro company. "She took her old roller skates and nailed them to a two-by-four for her first skateboards," Tashman said. Since he was 3 years old, "she would attach me to my skateboard and pull me down hills and our neighbor's empty swimming pool," he said. "She always wanted me to be a cantor, though."
Any organization's program and operational decisions should stem from the philosophy, beliefs and vision that are its reasons for being in the first place. These basic values, however, are often assumed, yet rarely articulated.
Stephen Lachter didn't know what to expect when a friend dragged him to a men's club meeting at his Conservative synagogue five years ago.
"My father was in a men's club, and to me, it was guys sitting around playing pinochle and volunteer ushering," he admitted.
Lachter was surprised to see "interesting people having serious discussions," and he "fell into a session on kiruv," or outreach, to intermarried families. "I said to myself, this is something shuls need to be talking about."
Gehry's creative solution -- his psychoanalytic victory -- was to embrace the delight of free-form design, while making sure that his buildings met the needs of his clients. His freedom in designing what appear to be purely sculptural objects that subsequently win rapturous praise must make him the envy of all architects who secretly wish they could find such willing clients.
My grandfather is my best friend. I have spent every Sunday with him since I was born -- going to restaurants, talking for hours and going to festivals. I could literally feel his unconditional love for me. When I was 5, he dropped me off on my first day at summer camp. I was terrified to be away from my family. The counselor called him and he rushed over to pick me up. He let me know that it was OK to feel afraid, and he took me to a restaurant and bought me gifts. He assured me that he would always be there for me. I quickly learned to love camp, but more importantly, my grandfather taught me to love and trust myself.
In the life of every single girl, there comes a point where she has to look herself in the mirror and ask one very important question: "Do I look fat?" No, just kidding. That one we ask every day. The other miasma hanging over our heads like impending gray hair is this question: "Am I too picky?"
Harry Sondheim, a retired criminal prosecutor for the L.A. County D.A.'s office, was traveling in Holland when he simply noticed an artifact that appealed to him. "They had a museum, Der Weg, which means the Weighing House. They had an artist named Bicart. I bought some postcards with depictions of Jewish ceremonies on them. You can't buy those postcards any longer."
As frequent targets of anti-Semitic cartoons -- many of them in the Arab press -- Jews on one hand sympathized with the Muslim outrage over depictions of the Islamic prophet Mohammed, which is considered by Muslims to be blasphemous.
But Jews joined many others in expressing shock at the level of violence the controversy sparked.
Letters to the Editor
There were always Jews in punk, even before there was punk.
"It really begins with Lenny Bruce," says Steven Beeber, whose new book "The Heebie Jeebies at CBGBs: A Secret History of Jewish Punk," will be published next year by A Capella Books. "Bruce sort of epitomizes the attitude, the whole smart-ass, clever truth-telling."
In fact, the punk attitude is also a Jewish attitude that begins with the midrash, in which Abram smashes all but one of his father's household idols and blames the sole survivor for the wreckage.
Natan Sharansky's attitude is as old as the Bible. This week's Torah portion began with a description of the olah, the obligatory burnt offering that was brought twice a day -- morning and afternoon -- to the Holy Temple.
The last time my name appeared in The Jewish Journal, I had just been dubbed the "Milken Idol" for winning a public-speaking contest with what The Journal termed a "stirring pro-Israel speech" that called for "Zionist solidarity."
Jamie Court, president of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights in Santa Monica, worries that multinationals are systematically whittling away our privacy, freedoms and safety. Unless society can curb big business, Court thinks we risk living in a world where profits trump all else, including individual liberty and happiness.
"'Jumor' is a look into our own culture through our elderly community," Aaron Krinsky said. "The more homes we visited, the more we realized we were interested in the stories itself, not the comics who told them."
There seems to be an unwritten rule that states: "If you are going through a convulsive experience, you ought to be open to those with equally or more compelling issues." Whatever happened to: "Put your own mask on first, then, tighten the straps before you try to assist others"?
Of course, it was only a matter of time before a class of frum frauds emerged on Craigslist. But if the missives from Orthodox neighborhoods are to be believed, where there are frum, there is desire.
As the old song goes: "I love Paris in the springtime. I love Paris in the fall." But for many Jews, Paris, and all of France, is not at the top of their visitor's hit parade, because of the anti-Semitic activities that have plagued that country in recent times.
These days, many women complain about the epidemic of males who run in terror from the thought of a committed relationship.
The Philadelphia-based Jewish charity Shefa Fund has started its first major West Coast philanthropic work this spring with the "Los Angeles TZEDEC Initiative," which supports low-income loans for homeowners in poor neighborhoods.
Last August, when Imam Mahdi al Jumeili of the small Hudheifa Mosque in Baghdad's Shurti neighborhood met three American officers to resolve a dispute over soldiers entering the grounds of his mosque, his first question was: "Are any of you Jews?"
Last week, we learned not to cut down the fruit trees of our enemies in times of war because, as the Torah says, the trees are "not our enemy."
Whatever our opinions about Israel's claim on the territories, its attitude to Palestinian nationalism or its rights to self-defense, no one was asking us to risk our lives for Israel's sake.
I had neither the right nor privilege to challenge the government of Israel's decisions on how to protect its citizens. If I did so, I was in some way undermining that government and endangering Israel's existence in a hostile world.
In a cynical age such as ours, this parochial attitude might seem charmingly out of date. And yet, this central tenet of a Zionist education remained embedded in my consciousness throughout high school, through my student leadership days and even into my 30s, when I had to make strenuous efforts to channel my bitter opposition to the Oslo process into nonpublic activism.
The scope and effect of projects in Israel funded by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles have always been broad. But the Tel Aviv-Los Angeles Partnership, with its specialization in hands-on, people-to-people programming seeks to transcend mere philanthropy in order to change the attitudes of Jews in both cities and create a mutual stake in each other's Jewish life.
For a man who was rational, and with whom one could discuss cause and effect and the logic of doing things one way (the non-inflammatory way) as opposed to another, it always amazed me how he would invariably choose the wrong path.
Three in five adults report that their level of Jewish involvement has changed substantially over the course of their adult lives. Remarkably, their involvement is nearly as likely to have increased as to have declined.What's constant is change. American Jews continually adapt and reinvent their identities throughout their adult lives.
There's good news and bad news in Catholic-Jewish relations.