As the events unfolded, it was a story that could only be measured against the biblical account of Job. It was everyone's worst nightmare.
Status used to be about social hierarchy -- whether you made a good living or were born into the right family or had achieved prominence in your community. But these days, if you say the word "status" to Generation Single-and-Facebooking, you may be understood very differently
As a counselor at Camp Kimama in Michmoret, Israel, I learned that the only connection these children from all over the world need is their passion and love for Israel. Camp Kimama is Israel's first international camp, where Jewish children spend two weeks forming a multicultural group of friends and exploring the different worlds that these friends come from. I spent one month of my summer working at Kimama, every day discovering more about myself and my fellow Israelis, Jews and Zionists.
In the course of a lifetime, we encounter any number of friends.
Some are friends by happenstance -- friends who happen to attend school with us, happen to work where we do or reside near us. When we graduate from school, change careers or relocate, most such friends slowly disappear from our lives -- and we from theirs.
An appreciation of Norman Mailer.
The extreme practice of ostracization was justified by the belief that only by completely cutting off those who married out would we be making a sufficiently strong statement as to the extent of their betrayal, thereby dissuading those who might follow suit.
When I started Milken Community High School's middle school after finishing the sixth grade at Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School, I further realized how unacquainted I was with my own feelings toward my religion. Although we had Judaic studies every year, I felt unable to drift away from my parents' beliefs and create my own.
I met "Mr. Nice Guy" more than three years ago, and I cherish our special connection -- he's affectionate, understanding, a good listener, open-minded, practical ...
I never thought my life would change during my freshmen year. I was in study hall when this tiny, skinny girl came in, pushed in a wheelchair. She hopped out of the chair and sat at the desk right next to mine.
Goldberg recently won the Anti-Defamation League's Daniel Pearl Award and goes so far as to suggest that being Jewish has benefited him in his dealings with terrorists.
The prophet Isaiah asks: "What is the house which you would build for Me, and what is the place of My rest?" (Isaiah 66:1). In the days following the Easter and Passover holidays, 41 Angelenos traveled to the Gulf Coast to translate their faith into action. We were rabbis and pastors, African Americans and Jewish Americans, high school seniors and senior adults, synagogue and church members from 12 Los Angeles congregations who rebuilt homes in Gulfport, Miss.
For several weeks, I had been visiting Nathan, a 6-year-old boy diagnosed with autism. We had been brought together through the Conejo Valley Friendship Circle, an organization that extends warmth to families in the community that have children with special needs.
Each of the artists' songs have flooded the radio waves for nearly five decades, a soundtrack, of sorts, to Israel's many wars, casualties, celebrations, assassinations, and shifting moods -- from hopeful to cynical and hopeful again.
Caroline Baron, the film's producer who worked with Hoffman on "Flawless" and has known screenwriter Dan Futterman and Miller for a number of years, said that all films present challenges, but that from the outset, she had "100 percent confidence in Bennett as a director and Phil as an actor."
There’s a study that shows that lab rats don’t get as stressed from being shocked as they do from not knowing when the shocks will come. Put that rat on a regular shocking schedule, and it doesn’t freak out.
It's Friday night, and as I wander toward the entrance of Temple Emanuel, a Reform synagogue in Beverly Hills, an usher approaches and asks brightly, "Are you with the choir?" I'm African American, but I'm not with the choir, at least not with the choir of Temple Bryant A.M.E. Church, which is visiting the synagogue tonight. I smile through a twinge of annoyance.
Peace Child Israel was founded in 1988 by the late Israeli actress Yael Drouyanoff and uses theater and other art forms to encourage dialogue between teens who might otherwise never meet. So far, seven groups have been formed, pairing Jewish and Arab towns throughout Israel, among them Misgav-Sakhnin, Raanana-Qalanswa, and East and West Jerusalem.
The movie house was dark. A beautiful blonde actress smiled at me from the screen in the small Duluth, Minn., theater.
"She's Jewish," my grandma Goldie whispered as we watched "Knickerbocker Holiday."
That was my introduction to Shelley Winters, a "Jewish movie star." The very concept was inconceivable to my 7-year-old mind. Not only was she Jewish, but she kept it no secret. That was very rare in the anti-Semitic years following World War II.
Here is a dreaded conversation familiar to most parents of Jewish teens: Them: "Hi, this is your synagogue youth adviser calling to make sure you received the flyer about our upcoming youth group event. Will your child be joining us?"
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?
The major reason many American supporters of Israel line up behind the policies of the Israeli government is that they do not want to be in the position of second guessing the Israelis.
A few years ago, a few moderate American Jewish leaders tried to allay Jewish fears that the Christian right was a threat.
While studying for rabbinic ordination at Yeshiva University in the late '70s, I was at the main study hall dedication where the late Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik spoke, honoring the great philanthropist, Joseph Gruss, who underwrote the project.
As a woman prepares to say "I do," her friends prepare to stand by her side in purple puffy dresses and lavender dyed shoes. In sickness and in health, in velour and in taffeta, in chartreuse and in lemon. As her bridesmaids, they will participate in a tradition that may be as old as Judaism itself.
Yes, it's true. I was raised as an Orthodox Jew -- in Bakersfield no less. My parents were very strict about going to temple and observing the holidays and religion. But Dad also used to take me to the local wrestling matches when I was around 10. He got a kick out of watching the wrestlers and their antics, and I did, too.
One of the more unusual characters in Jewish literature appears in the Book of Esther.
It was Sunday afternoon, July 6, 2003, and I was approaching the end of a successful three-week mission to Israel dedicated to responding to a new wave of missionary activity.
A documentary about an old-age home. Sound like a snoozefest?
In Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's "Nathan the Wise," now at the Lillian Theater, a bloody war ravages the Middle East. Jerusalem is the flashpoint.
Most would argue that a couple thousand miles is a large enough gap to keep distance between people. Ten days and two groups of complete strangers put this notion to shame.
For some reason, it's rare that anyone sets me up. You would think being a thin, employed, Jewish heterosexual with a full head of hair, long eyelashes and a great sense of humor would be a gimmie.
Time does move on. When Irwin Greenfield's wife died 16 years ago, he figured he had two choices: either stay alone behind closed doors curled up on his couch or get out and mingle with the rest of the world. He chose the latter, and he hasn't looked back.
After World War II, when Japanese Americans were sent home from internment camps in Wyoming and Arizona, many found their lives had changed in untold ways. For Kenji Tanaguchi, his return to Boyle Heights -- an immigrant community east of the Los Angeles River -- was colored by what was no longer there: his family had returned to Japan, and he was left to fend for himself.
On the lecture circuit, Bernat "Bernie" Rosner and Frederic "Fritz" Tubach make for an odd couple.
One glorious sunny day, my girlfriend "C" and I share a seaside restaurant table with a married couple, call them Harry and Sylvia.
I first met Jay in the early '60s. I was in the fourth grade, and he, a smart, funny Jewish kid, was bumped up to my class by skipping a grade.
We hit it off immediately, and became good friends. Together with our friend, Eddie, we formed a club -- "Rat Finks Anonymous" -- complete with a secret handshake that I can still perform on demand.
Sixty members of Young Israel of Century City gingerly walked on the muddy path and crowded into Dalia Har Sinai's little farmhouse in the southern Hebron Hills community of Susia.
While writing "Good Harbor," about the midlife friendship between two Jewish women, Anita Diamant says she suffered a bout of "second-novelitis."
Her 1997 debut novel, "The Red Tent" -- a sexy spin on the biblical story of Dinah -- had been a runaway best seller that's still on the New York Times list. Julia Roberts told Oprah magazine that "Tent" was one of her favorite books. The book has sold more than 1.5 million copies in the United States alone, and publishers have bought the rights in 18 countries.
It was a rekindling of a friendship that lay dormant for 56 years.
Now I understood why Reuven was able to bring me into the neighborhood, into his home, into his shul, invite people to meet me, and then into his yeshiva. No one would question the actions of an ilui. I further understood his ability to teach me, to move so adroitly into the issues of my world and professional endeavors while we were in London.
My relationship with Reuven has continued to grow through further visits, meals with my wife and his wife, and through study. He has brought me as his study partner into all the great yeshivas of Jerusalem. He wants me to see them all.
I am a comedian and I have been lucky enough to have worked in my business for 20 years. This is a huge thing because most people in comedy never even work 20 days in 20 years.
I promised I'd call her the next evening, but I never did. For five days, I felt guilty, but what could I do? To make the commitment to call Jenny Lerner is like signing on to a weekend of aerobics; you really want it -- the challenge, the learning opportunities -- but when the time comes, you take a rain check. Jenny talks and talks, rails against injustices, sings songs or reads from the Torah. Conversations go on for hours, and if one doesn't insist that it's time to go -- my house is burning down, Jenny; sorry, gotta hang up -- she can go on until dawn. She's got that kind of energy. I have a family to take care of; sometimes it's weeks before I can call. She has other friends, yes, but, basically, Jenny is like so many other lonely, older people in this city -- she could drop dead one day, and no one would know.
I have just emerged from a four-day conversational jag with an old friend who was visiting me from New York.
When the pope came to Missouri this week, the St. Louis archdiocese made sure to include several dramatic gestures of Catholic-Jewish friendship in his schedule.
My name is Sarah -- actually, it used to be Sarah, but that was before I went to Israel and experienced the best summer of my life. A summer that changed me forever.
I must admit, I have a soft spot for the man I'll call "Pizza Guy."
He writes me almost weekly to report his trials and tribulations in the helter-skelter world of food distribution and to comment on my columns. Sure, his first letter was a little frightening, what with psychotic penmanship and "screen play ideas" doodled in the margins. Still, he takes the time to write, and I can't help but be flattered by his missives.
Who needs Halloween or Mardi Gras? On Purim, the masquerade of characters is lively and intriguing: Spangled Vashtis, bearded Mordechais, snarling Hamans, bejeweled Esthers, silk-robed Ahasueruses.
You read me! You really read me!
When I perused the stack of letters in response to my recent column on the difficulty of finding friends in a new city, I not only felt less like a huge loser, but I was reminded what it means to have a community. When I question why being Jewish is important, I will look at those letters and know.