An ethical will is an informal, written document in which a parent bequests, not property or assets, but wisdom, values and spiritual understanding. It permits a parent to transmit a spiritual legacy to his or her children through stories, examples and meaningful life lessons in the hope that they will embrace those values in their own lives. It is meant to inspire, enlighten and encourage but never to punish, harass, blame or control a child "from the grave."
A collaborative project of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Jewish Family Service and seven other Jewish community agencies, HaMercaz (which means "the center") assists families with children up to age 21 who have developmental and learning disabilities such as autism, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) or mental retardation. The two-year-old program serves as a "one-stop-shop" for families, providing guidance, support, education and referrals. Programs include a toll-free warmline; support groups for mothers, fathers and grandparents; and referrals to agencies that can provide assistance, such as interest-free loans or parent respite.
Devyani Saltzman sat frozen over her math homework as her parents screamed at each other one evening at the Cannes Film Festival in 1992. Her mother, the Indian-born filmmaker Deepa Mehta, had come to Cannes to premiere her first feature, "Sam & Me," about the unlikely relationship between an elderly Jew and his Indian caregiver. Devyani's father, Canadian-Jewish producer Paul Saltzman, had joined her to celebrate.Instead, their own relationship unraveled that evening in what was to be the last fight (and, essentially, the last day) of their marriage.