In 1901, a sixteen year old Jewish girl from Hungary, Kati Berger, along with several brothers and sisters, arrived at Ellis Island in New York. A brother and sister who remained in Europe, eventually both perished in a Nazi death camp in 1942.
Some still affectionately refer to the game that they and top coaches such as Red Sarachek and Red Auerbach developed -- emphasizing teamwork, crisp passing and defense -- as "Jew ball."
In speaking about illegal aliens, President Bush says the time has come to bring "millions of hard-working men and women out of the shadows."
However, Republican leaders in Congress claim that Bush's proposals would reward lawbreakers. They soon plan to pass legislation tightening the legal and physical screws on illegal immigrants. The idea is to make the bill veto-proof by tying it to emergency funding for U.S. troops in Iraq.
For me, the issue is of more than passing interest. It was to California, long an immigration battleground, that I came to the United States in 1941 as the only child of illegal aliens.
It's virtually "genealogy for dummies."
In a nation of immigrants where more than 35 percent of the population -- or 100 million Americans -- have at least one relative who passed through Ellis Island, officials at that historic entry point to New York have unveiled a new Web site that will enable even the least tech-savvy to mine a mother lode of information on their families' roots.
While visiting Ellis Island at the turn of the 20th century, Henry James wondered how the sweeping tide of immigrants would ultimately affect "the idea of" America. Comparing the incorporation of foreigners to sword- and fire-swallowing feats at a circus, James reflected on what it meant for America to share its patrimony with those "inconceivable aliens."
Jewish andJapanese American community leaders are headed for what could becomea bruising confrontation in the coming weeks, a battle of honor overthe urgent question of how to discuss World War II politely.