It is not our place to judge the neighbors of Ariel Castro. We don’t know enough about the particular circumstances of those who lived near this man who allegedly held three women hostage for a decade to be able to judge whether things could have been different had they been paying closer attention
It would be far healthier for American democracy, as well as for our community, if we would reject the use of Israel as a partisan issue and look at the policy areas where candidates from the two major parties truly do differ.
"As far as I'm concerned [Barack Obama] is a 'Baruch,' which means a blessing. He is a blessing to the United States Senate, to America, and to our shared hopes for better, safer tomorrows for all our families. The gifts that God has given to Barack Obama are as enormous as his future is unlimited. As his mentor, as his colleague, as his friend, I look forward to helping him reach to the stars and realize not just the dreams he has for himself, but the dreams we all have for him and our blessed country."
When the grind of settling in subsided, I leased a studio-with-a-view in pristine Santa Monica and acquired a job in the film industry to foot the rent; I also regained the luxury of longing. Three thousand miles divided me from comfort and companionship, and though I was determined to forge ahead and establish my independence, I needed a community.
If you've ever tried to split a Big Hunk candy bar -- the kind made out of brittle white nougat and peanuts -- then you understand a typical breakup.
A short time ago, in a galaxy all too familiar, a smart, adorable guy I'd been chatting with for months faded -- like one too many others -- into oblivion. The red flags were raised from day one.
As the years have gone by, I realize I'd just as soon be alone than continue to go through cycles of head-spinning effort with someone in exchange for a couple of moments of grace. So I don't do that anymore. And though this kind of spiritual honesty has created an ease in my nervous system (and a welcome death to that horrible intimate uncertainty of giving myself where it's not appreciated), I have to stop and wonder, have I become overworked and underplayed?
The timing couldn't have been worse. I was happily toting a batch of homemade bread and a broccoli quiche to a pot-luck birthday party, eager for some good fun and good eats. But I had barely crossed the threshold, when Sandy, the hostess and erstwhile birthday girl, announced that she had lost another 10 pounds on the Atkins plan.
I have a perfect record in setting up my friends on dates: I have struck out every single time. I am 0 for 20, maybe worse. Only one relationship that I tried to initiate made it past the first date. That one lasted for four years and ended in tears, anguish and confusion. The only thing those two friends agreed on in the end is they would never accept my offer to set them up again with anyone, ever.
I met Dan a few weeks ago at an awesome party downtown. It was held on the entire floor of an industrial building on Spring Street, where a dozen or so artists were showing their work -- mostly photographs and paintings but with a couple of jewelry and clothing designers interspersed. The lighting and the ceilings were low in a way that made everyone look more scintillating than they might in a retro basement bar in Santa Monica. Of course, it could have been the flutes of wine or the chocolate truffles. Or could it really have been Dan?
As soon as incoming freshman Chana Ickowitz received her UC Berkeley e-mail address, she registered on the online directory facebook.com. There, on her personal profile, she described herself as someone with moderate political views who likes sushi, rainy days, Urban Outfitters and "Jane Eyre" ... and who is a member of a group called Jew Crew.
Narrated in the first person, present tense (always risky), "Love With Noodles" follows Gelder's canoodling with a string of women who enter his life just as he emerges from mourning his late beshert, Ellen. Gelder lives alone. His grown son, Eric, faces financial ruin. What's worse, Eric is planning to marry a non-Jew.
Though a staunch conservative on most Catholic issues, Pope John Paul II made bettering Jewish-Catholic relations a centerpiece of his policy and took revolutionary strides toward this goal during his more than 26-year reign.
The term "boyfriend" is like the knee joint on someone who is morbidly obese. It is being asked to do way more than it was designed to do. It is buckling under the pressure. Where it once could do the job, it is now carrying too much weight
Nicole Berger's empathy for demons began early in life."I'm always fascinated by the falling of a soul or the sensitive tender side of an evil character," she said. "When I saw 'The Exorcist,' I thought, 'Why is this demon so screwed up?'"
What is a friend? When I was a kid, the requirements were none too stringent. Is he in my class? Can I ride my bicycle to his house? Do his parents have any insane "not too much candy before dinner" rules?
As I got older, other factors became more important. Do we root for the same team? Are we willing to lie to our parents for each other? Does he have a bong?
Now that I'm one half of a couple (actually, 49 percent when it comes to decision making, 51 percent when it comes to heavy lifting) friendship is trickier. Are our children the same age? Do our families have comparable incomes? Do they have a bong?
It took me six years of being a grandfather to accept the fact that my grandchildren may not be more brilliant or athletic than everyone else's.
Who is Marion Pritchard and why would a Jewish girl choose to share her special day with a non-Jew more than six times her age?
When I was offered a job to write on "Significant Others," a new sitcom about marriage, I'm not sure who laughed harder -- my mother or I?
'Saved' was not an easy sell for co-writers Michael Urban and Brian Dannelly (who also directed the film). There was concern over the potential controversy of a religiously flip teen comedy, especially with all of the "Passion" fervor.
We are standing before God and God is standing before us -- especially during this particular time, when certain fundamental liberties are being denied individuals and when justice is being withheld from specific groups -- all in the name of "homeland security."
For The Kids
Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, is a time to recall the miracle that occurred more than 2,000 years ago, and celebrate the discovery of the small amount of oil that burned for eight days, the amount of time needed to prepare pure oil from the local olive trees to rekindle the flame. That miracle is the focus of the Chanukah celebration that begins at sundown Friday, Nov. 29. Was it also a miracle that this event occurred at this time, since the months of November and December are the usual time for the olive harvest?
Growing up in Orange County, Rebecca Rona did not have a single Jewish friend. While her family practiced Judaism, her parents also encouraged a deep appreciation for other cultures.
In these portions, the borders of Israel are drawn in two different ways.
Norman and Lela Jacoby are talking about Camp Ramah again.
James D. Stern, 40, a part-owner of the Chicago Bulls, got his chance after breaking into the movie business with "Michael Jordan: To the Max," a successful large-format documentary film about the athlete's final days in pro basketball. He quietly secured the rights to Keith Reddin's play, "It's the Rage," which is now a film dedicated to his murdered friend.
It's not easy being 52, especially when you're a country. Israel and I are the same age, and I get the feeling it's harder on her than on me. The other night my high school classmates living in Israel got together for a 35th reunion. There were 116 graduates of our modern-Orthodox day school that June long ago, and today 12 of us live in Israel, four men and eight women. Half the women are grandmothers by now; one has a granddaughter the same age as my daughter. Jeepers, how time flies.
Israel had good reason to remember King Hassan II of Morocco as "a friend and a statesman," and not just because of his tireless efforts to build bridges between the Jewish state and its Arab neighbors.
Secret cooperation between the Moroccan and Israeli intelligence services began in 1961 under King Hassan's father, Mohammed V, who allowed Moroccan Jews to emigrate to Israel. The younger monarch broadened and institutionalized the contacts after Meir Amit, the then-head of the Mossad, Israel's CIA, clandestinely met Hassan in Marrakech in 1964. Undercover contacts continued, with only two brief interruptions, until Hassan's death last Friday.
Girl meets clown.
Girl is fascinated by clown, who is a bona fide graduate of clown college and can walk on stilts.
Each Yom Kippur, a vestigial loneliness creeps over me. I achingly feel that my parents and family are back East; that my cousins live in Japan; that some of my dearest are dead. On this day, dispersion and alienation seeps in, and I cling to my community like fog to the shore. And this is the way it should be.
My friend Jane and I met for dinner last week andhad a good laugh about death. California's political campaign seasonis just commencing, and we were discussing, in an offhand way, whatmy husband, an attorney, might have made of an upcoming ballotproposition were he still among us.
"It's amazing that he's still dead," I said,without quite knowing what I meant. Simultaneously, Jane and I letout a roar, a "yipes!" of astonishment, as people do when they touchsomething hot, or come too close to the sitra atra, what kabbalists call"the other side."
My friend Susie asked me to recommend a "goodhaggadah" for her seder. Tell me first about your guests, I said. Arethere many children? Grandparents? Republicans? Buddhists? Today,selecting a haggadah is a form of Rorschach test, a unique,personalized snapshot of you in the here and now, never to beduplicated again.
"Don't you want to play with the other little girls?" my grandmother asked me one summer, while the two of us sat on a park bench near a pack of screaming children.
I buried my head deeper into my book.