It turns out, see, that I am endangered: I am a non-Orthodox Jewish man engaged in Jewish life.
When I finally got behind the wheel of a car myself, conceit and self-importance set in. If ever I saw someone with that familiar awe-struck gape staring at my car during one of my innumerable driving lessons, I would think, with a shameful amount of pride, "I am cooler than you because I am operating a motor vehicle right now."
Fans of the legendary first seasons of "Saturday Night Live" remember Laraine Newman sashaying with Gilda Radner in the hilarious faux commercial for "Jewess Jeans." They recall her Barbra Streisand impression and her angry beatnik character reciting bad poetry in nasal Brooklynese. But Newman, 50, will reveal one of her more serious roles when she's honored at Hillel at Pierce & Valley Colleges' Comedy Nite 2003 on Feb. 1: her involvement with the Jewish community. The granddaughter of an Arizona Jewish cattle rancher, Newman will describe how she grew up so assimilated that "all my Jewish friends went to Hess Kramer but I was shlepped off to Camp Trinity."