In the 1998 hit comedy "The Wedding Singer," the eponymous character was a nice Jewish boy named Robbie. At the Sept. 2 Century City Park Hyatt reception of 30-something newlyweds Daphna Ghozland and David Hollander, the wedding singer is a nice Jewish boy named Robbie. True, the latter -- singer/pianist/bandleader Robbie Helperin -- will occasionally perform the odd '80s pop song with his Simcha Orchestra as Adam Sandler did in the movie, but that's where the parallels end, or at least, that's where Helperin would like them to end.
"It was kind of painful to watch," Helperin said of the movie that immortalized his profession as a "Loserville" populated by "creepy musicians," in his words.
An undeniable physical reminder of a man's connection to Judaism, circumcision has been an important focus of the first days of a boy's life since before we received the Torah. However, for almost as long, there have been people who question the act of circumcision and those who have rallied for eliminating the practice.
The photograph of the Palestinian father cradling his terrified son moments before the boy was killed in Gaza this fall was viewed live on television and reproduced on the front pages of newspapers around the globe. Like the photograph of the boy with hands raised standing in the Warsaw Ghetto, nobody who saw desperate Jamal Al-Durrah vainly trying to shield 12-year-old Mohammed can ever forget the terror in their eyes.
There is something otherworldly about the experience of a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. It is perhaps the preeminent spiritual-cultural paradox in all of Jewish life. When girls and boys focus so intensely on this personal lifecycle event, each possesses a transcendent, timeless and eternal quality.
This past year, Toys R Us was excoriated for proposing and, in some instances, constructing separate "Boys World" and "Girls World" sections. But public outrage quickly forced the 707-store retailer to abandon this gender-based marketing concept, which it euphemistically referred to as "logical adjacencies."Twenty years ago, I would have vehemently condemned Toys R Us' discriminatory actions, perhaps even joining the ranks of the politically correct protesters. Girls, I would have argued, have as much right to play with a Tonka truck as boys with a Little Tikes vacuum cleaner. And not only a right, a need.Twenty years ago, I was single, childless and clueless.
I can't remember a word spoken by Ira Goldstein, the Plainview (NY) High School valedictorian, Class of 1965, but I'm sure his graduation address was brilliant. Ira, who apparently was in the Philosophy Club with me for three now-forgotten years, was the most brilliant boy in a class of brilliant boys. Girls were "smart" or "sweet" in those days; boys were "brilliant."
"The difficult he does quickly; the impossible takes a little
My first and only experience at summer camp was magical, or so it seemed to me. I entered a world I had never known before, and by summer's end had gained some recognition into who I was and who I was not. No mean feat at 13.
Building an audience has become something of a lifestyle for the group Guster. Formed at Tufts University, the band Guster consists of three Jewish boys -- Ryan Miller and Adam Gardner on guitars and vocals; Brian Rosenworcel on percussion -- who graduated from the Boston-area college in 1995. And the web-savvy musicians use the Internet to cultivate their loyal following.
On their third and latest CD, "Lost and Gone Forever" (Warner Bros./Sire), Guster deals with themes that are both personal and complex. The CD's title track, for example, refers to a friend's suicide.
History never precisely repeats itself. I was cleaning up after dinner the other evening when I heard my daughter, Samantha, now nearly 17, on the phone; she was talking with a guy named Vinnie.
"Vinnie?" I said, as she hung up. "I think we should be focusing on Jewish guys now, don't you?"
"He's a friend, Mom," said Samantha.
And to my surprise, I let it go at that because I wasn't sure what else to do.