The biological mystery of unlike offspring from the same parents is the challenge of parenting some children.
For the Kids
Can we learn from history? Is the past a succession of meaningless, unrelated events? Does the rise and fall of nations in the past have
anything to do with today's world? Are people that much different than they were then? Do they strive after different things, have different desires?
These questions came to mind recently as the similarities between Israel's geopolitical situation increasingly resembled that of the Jews during the first Roman War. (Some would argue that it more closely resembles 20th-century Czechoslovakia, but that's another article.)
"Ana," a Catholic Latina nanny working for a Jewish family in Studio City, was afraid to ask her employers whether she could buy a holiday gift for their young son. She was torn between wanting to give the child a present and worrying about insulting the family. Like many foreigners, Ana (not her real name) was unsure of proper holiday protocol.
"It's hard for these women to know where to draw the line," said Davina Klein, who teaches a class at Adat Ari El in North Hollywood for Latina nannies working for Jewish families. "They don't want to ask questions because they don't want to rock the boat. I think that comes from a different mentality."
"Girl Meets God: On the Path to Spiritual Life" by Lauren Winner (Algonquin Books, $23.95).
Lauren Winner's spiritual memoir, "Girl Meets God," is a passionate and thoroughly engaging account of a continuing spiritual journey within two profoundly different faiths.
Winner, the child of a Reform Jewish father and a "lapsed Southern Baptist" mother, was raised as a Jew in the South. Told she was not really Jewish, since Jewish law dictates that Judaism passes through the blood of the mother, she chose to convert to Orthodox Judaism at the end of high school, following her parents' divorce. By the end of her senior year at college, she decided that while in graduate school in England she would convert again, this time to evangelical Christianity.
In the Byzantine politics of the Middle East, even a suicide bombing is subject to differing interpretations.
After a suicide bomber detonated his explosives aboard a bus near Haifa on Wednesday, killing eight Israelis and wounding 14, Palestinian officials said the attack proved that Israel's military operation in the West Bank was ineffective in halting terror. The Bush administration said the attack reinforced the need for Israel to withdraw its forces. Yet, Israeli officials countered that the attack proved the necessity of continuing the operation until the entire network of Palestinian terror is eradicated.
In the opening book of his monumental code of Jewish law, Maimonides declared, "We are bidden to walk in the middle paths which are the right and proper ways...." The great medieval sage was articulating the golden mean, the principle that we should avoid extreme behavior, ethical or physical, at all times. The person who succeeds -- indeed, who navigates between indulgence and self-denial -- is, by Maimonides' standards, the wise one.