Because this was happening a short taxi ride from the White House, I half expected someone from Dick Cheney's office to burst in at any moment, grab the
microphone and proclaim the conference kaput, dissolved like an inconvenient parliament.
When I first started writing, I sat with Khanum for hours at a time, asking questions. I was 21 and on leave of absence from law school. I had no idea what I was going to do with my life, but I knew some stories from Iran, and had begun to write them. They were scattered pieces of people's lives, bits of conversations I had overheard through the years, rumors that had been whispered too many times and taken on a reality that may or may not have been deserved.
Many people took it upon themselves to raise vast sums of money for Israel during the conflict with Lebanon this summer, but how many were still in elementary school?
"God has a to-do list for you," the book opens. "You are God's partner. God needs you to continue the ongoing creation of the world."
Laura has never spoken a word, but she can coo, laugh, sigh and cry. At her best, she has taken steps with the help of a walker. She has a thin body with a smallish, sweet face framed by dark-brown hair. She gets 24-hour home care, with three rotating nurses monitoring her breathing and other vital signs.
Oh yeah, and she loves to smile.
"Homelessness is curable and we must cure it," Leo Baeck Senior Rabbi Kenneth Chasen said in his welcoming remarks. "Jews know too well the experience of being strangers and outsiders. We have lived in countless places where there were no homes for us."
Who will provide spiritual care for the needy?
Briefs courtesy of Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
On November's ballot, tucked among the local measures affecting only Los Angeles, is curious Measure R, a plan by the Los Angeles City Council to provide each of the 15 council members an extra $570,000 in pay.
My first instinct in any new city is to mingle. I like to walk the streets, stop into ordinary shops -- grocery stores and electronic shops, not just the Judaica stores or Dead Sea skin care outlets for tourists. I like to take public transportation.
"John has given real leadership to the issue of Ethiopian Jewry," said Barry Shrage, president of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, who earlier this year went to Ethiopia with Fishel and 100 American Jewish federation members. "He's always been the first one to speak up and stir the conscience of the federation movement."
The Haggadah tells us "you were strangers in the land of Egypt." Here is the interesting thing -- because we were strangers, we are supposed to learn not how the Israelites should have acted, but -- how the Egyptians should have acted. We are supposed to learn how not to oppress others. Don't treat others the way we were treated.
In this week's double Torah portion, Tazria-Metzorah (Leviticus 13, in particular), God instructs Moses and Aaron on the role of priests when people take ill.
It's not that glitz, glamour and secular themes at b'nai mitzvah are inherently problematic, like in the soon-to-be-released one-upsmanship film, "Keeping Up With the Steins," but when they're inadequately balanced with Jewish values we can be left with an empty shell of a party that undermines the entire point of these meaningful milestones.
While there are only four questions posed in the haggadah, most seders struggle with the unasked fifth question, "When are we going to eat?" It is asked, not only by hungry children, but also by adults who feel disconnected to the rituals of their ancestors.
Weight-loss prevention is one of the principal areas of investigation at the Borun Center, a joint venture between JHA and UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine. Housed on the JHA campus in Reseda, the center was established in 1989 to identify and test nonmedical measures that could improve daily care and quality of life for nursing home residents.
No one deserves a spa experience more than you do. Just picture it -- warm tubs scented with essential oils, invigorating body scrubs, refreshing botanical blend face masks smoothed on in soothing circular massaging motions and misty showers with luscious gels.
At Temple Beth Israel, the planting project, which is being done in phases with funding and physical assistance from a Jewish environmental group, has transformed congregants' preconceived notions of drab native plants.
Some 10 million older Americans need some kind of assistance to get through every day. Family members (mostly grown children) provide about 80 percent of that help. Lots of those adult children welcome the opportunity to give back to their parents a portion of the love and care they received as a child.
But what happens when an abusive or absent parent, now well along in years, turns to his or her adult child for help? How in the world do you care for an elderly mother or father who showed you no love, compassion or understanding when you were young?
As the prime minister lay in a post-operative coma Sunday, his temporary replacement, acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, chaired the weekly Cabinet meeting.
"We hope that the prime minister will recover, gain strength and with God's help will return to run the government of Israel and lead the State of Israel," Olmert said.
In November, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles brought together seven other agencies, including, the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Los Angeles, the Jewish Free Loan Association and Etta Israel Center, to create Hamercaz, a central resource for Jewish families raising special-needs children under 22.
One thing that pleases Harmatz about being the grand marshal is riding in a convertible. In fact, last year when it rained on the parade, someone suggested they put up the top, but Harmatz wanted it left down.
The president of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles recently visited refugee camps in the African country of Chad to bear witness to the pain and suffering of more than 250,000 victims of genocide from neighboring Sudan.
Four years ago, the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles funded the joint project between Centinela and two L.A.-based Jewish groups, the Progressive Jewish Alliance (PJA) and Beit T'Shuvah, a Jewish recovery program.
Dad's first bypass surgery was 25 years ago. I don't think any of us realized he was living on borrowed time.
Well, no. Tu b'Shevat is an annual celebration for a reason.
Thousands of years ago, our rabbis knew that we would need to be reminded on a regular basis about how important trees are to our lives. We must always remember to protect, plant and care for more of them.
When Lori Marx-Rubiner underwent a bilateral mastectomy two years ago, she lost the use of her arms for a few weeks. She couldn't brush her teeth, let alone tackle cooking dinner or driving her son to school.
Michael Gabai is on a quest. The owner and administrator of Ayres Residential Care Home has spent the last two weeks calling physicians, senior centers, grocery stores and pharmacies in search of flu shots for about half of the 18 residents in his facilities who have been unable to get one.
When obstetrician-gynecologist Ludmila Bess and her husband, a civil engineer, immigrated to the United States from Russia in 1977, they came with only $600 in their pockets.
Cornell University psychologist Uri Bronfenbrenner agrees with Julius Segal, and adds that children crave the respect, acceptance, patience and feeling of being cherished from at least one parent or other significant adult in their lives.
As a couple, they bonded over their shared disabilities, their commitment to religion (they are both Orthodox) and their desire to have children.
"When Shmuel and I were dating that was one topic we discussed," Rivkah Klein said. "We both wanted children, and it wasn't a question of whether we would be able to, but rather finding the right way to have them."
Aviel Atash was the entire world for his mother, Rachel.
Israel and the United States each have successes and failures in their respective health care systems, but the younger of the modern nations, rooted in its tradition of helping the needy, has much to teach its American ally.
The Ohr Dessa Project was established 11 years ago by Rabbi Shlomo Bakst to rebuild Kiev's Great Choral Synagogue, completed in 1997. During reconstruction, Bakst became aware of numerous homeless Jewish orphans in Odessa. The Tikva Children's Home was created in 1996 as a spin-off of the Ohr Dessa Project.
In this presidential campaign year, the figure is ubiquitous: One out of four Americans, about 70 million people, do not have health insurance.
Today we are beset with a series of health-care plagues, each seeming worse than the one before. The number of Californians without health-care insurance coverage hovers between 6 million and 7 million people -- that's about one in five of us. About 85 percent of those people are working in jobs where health care is not provided. Nationwide, health-care costs are the second largest cause of personal bankruptcy.
A 55 percent vote still requires a larger majority to pass our budget than 47 other states and the federal government. Arkansas and Rhode Island are the only other states that currently require a two-thirds vote to pass a budget.
For the 27 years of my married life, I measured all the mikvah ladies I met by Rachel. It was unfair competition. Had Agnon known her, he would have written a story about her, like he did about Tehila. But, of course, he couldn't have known her like we, the women, did.
The rabbis say that the world stands on three things: learning, prayer and righteous deeds.
Even when Jews packed medical school classrooms, there were few organizations dedicated to their special concerns.
Nearly 200 Jews descended on Sacramento this week to lobby California's most powerful politicians to protect major programs that serve the poorest and frailest Jews and other Californians from the budget ax.
In 1998, Alice Elliott received a disturbing call from Larry Selman, the remarkable man with developmental disabilities she was profiling in her Oscar-nominated short documentary, "The Collector of Bedford Street."
There is a lot of teaching going on in Parshat Emor.
State Assemblyman Lloyd E. Levine (D-Van Nuys), 33, sits on the influential Assembly Budget Committee. He recently spoke with The Jewish Journal about the possible impacts of Gov. Gray Davis' proposed 15 percent cut in Medi-Cal reimbursements.
Budget cuts are inevitable. The deficit is huge.
"We have a continuing crisis in this country of millions of Americans without health insurance, and that's just plain wrong," said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles), who will speak Friday, April 25 at Leo Baeck Temple as part of a series on health care.
Research examining the attitudes of 3,500 entering medical students from across the nation concluded that most were indeed empathetic and humanistic when they began their studies. Clearly, some time during medical school and the end of the residency experience, many caring young doctors change. Why do some students maintain a humanistic orientation while others lose it?
"So teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom...." (Psalm 90:12)
NORCs have cropped up around the country, with an estimated 5,000 now dotting the U.S. As the population grays -- an estimated 75 million Americans will be over 55 in 2010 -- the number of NORCs is expected to jump, said Andrew Kochera, senior policy advisor at AARP in Washington.
Roughly 175,000 Jewish elderly in Russia are now served by the 88 Heseds across the former Soviet Union. These centers, run by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), account for about one-half of all Jewish social and welfare organizations in the former Soviet Union.
Because elder care can be an enormous drain on an individual's resources, with nursing homes costing in excess of $100 a day and home care costing even more, planning ahead and buying long-term-care insurance is one way of preventing the costs from being too overwhelming.
Didgee is looking forward to the day he can leave the quarantine cage to snuggle up with his two Sheilas in the shade of a eucalyptus tree, and learn to say "Shalom" as well as "G'day."
At the best of times, caregiving involves a certain amount of stress, but often, the anxiety is compounded when there are many miles between the caregiver and care recipient.
Several years ago I became a Jewish Big Brother. The decision to do so followed fast on the heels of a breakup with my girlfriend, in one of those "search for meaning" moments of introspection that only getting tossed out of the house can provide.
Residents and staff of the Jewish Home for the Aging (JHA) gathered March 26 at Eisenberg Village on Victory Boulevard to celebrate the institution's 90th anniversary. About two dozen residents participated in blowing out the 10 candles (one for each decade and one for good luck) on the massive birthday cake.
The decorous moment was not without humor. As one bright-eyed resident in her 80s hovered nearby, a staff member asked if she wanted to move closer to watch her friends blow out the candles.
"Oh, yes," she replied. "I want to make sure they don't spit on the cake!"