It's not every day that I am E-vited to a birthday party promising to feature live ammunition. Excitedly, I E-sponded with a resounding "yes." Paula was throwing a Wild West-themed shindig for her husband Bill's birthday. It was a "BYOF" (Bring Your Own Firearm) affair.
On the holiday of Sukkot, it is customary to read Kohelet, the Book of Ecclesiastes, written by King Solomon. The following "updated" version of Kohelet is written by Judy Gruen, with major apologies to King Solomon.
As a city woman whose family is unaccustomed to "roughing it," I planned our family vacation to involve a lot of nature but no sleeping on hard ground. That's what made El Capitan Canyon in Santa Barbara the perfect place for us: It's camping for people who like staying in Hiltons.
A two-hour drive north of Los Angeles, El Capitan Canyon is a former private campground that was transformed five years ago into a plush nature resort on 65 acres heavily populated with oak and sycamore trees. It allows guests to savor a rustic environment, but with down duvets and gourmet coffee for the coffeemaker.
It does not augur well when you must suck in your gut and hold your breath as if you are having multiple X-rays taken simply to zip up your skirt.
When this happened to me, I knew I had two choices: give up my current wardrobe or lose the excess baggage. Since I recently wrote a book on diet and exercise that ended with my buying a new, smaller wardrobe, I decided it would be too embarrassing to blow up like Kirstie Alley. Better that I should return to vigorous exercise and horrid Weight Watcher bars. I perused several fitness magazines I had at home and found an article about walking.
"Brisk walking is one of the best forms of cardiovascular exercise, even for out-of-shape marshmallows like you," the article explained. "It is suitable for all ages and abilities and requires no special equipment beyond a good pair of walking shoes and a commitment not to double-dip into the cookie jar. A simple, affordable pedometer or step counter can help motivate you to a more active lifestyle."
When my friend, Debra, learned that a young man she knew had been in a tragic accident and was comatose, she went to the hospital to visit him every day for three months. No one knew if the man would emerge from his deep, distant sleep, but Debra believed that he would.
Recently, I found myself spellbound while watching "Girl With a Pearl Earring." This film, based on the excellent Tracy Chevalier novel, is a fictional account of the history behind Vermeer's famous painting of the same name. The novel revolves around a servant girl, Grete, who became a secret assistant to the painter in his studio. In one scene, Vermeer accidentally glimpses Grete with her hair uncovered. The moment is electric. Grete, like all women of her social station, covered her hair at all times. It was as if Vermeer had caught her unclothed.
A few weeks ago I found myself spellbound while watching "Girl With a Pearl Earring." This film, based on the excellent Tracy Chevalier novel, is a fictional account of the history behind Vermeer's famous painting of the same name.
The novel revolves around a servant girl, Grete, who became a secret assistant to the painter in his studio. In one scene, Vermeer accidentally glimpses Grete with her hair uncovered. The moment is electric. Grete, like all women of her social station, covered her hair at all times. It was as if Vermeer had caught her unclothed.
It was odd to feel such a kinship with a fictional character, and one who lived in the 17th century at that. But, like Grete, I also keep my hair covered in front of all but family members.
Apples dipped in honey. And while you're at it, dip the challah, too. Chicken soup with knaidel. Here, who's gonna finish this last little piece of brisket? What? You didn't try the noodle kugel? Don't tell me you're too full for my homemade honey cake and cookies -- it's Yom Tov!
Avi Schnnur doesn't get a lot of sleep these days. Schnnur, a West Los Angeles physicist who works for the defense industry, now spends nearly all his nonwork hours putting the finishing touches on a communitywide conference he has organized, billed as "Spiritual Responses to September 11."
Hollywood may be taking a drubbing lately for its content and marketing practices, but if you ask Mark Honig, the industry has no one to blame but itself.
After months of debate and deliberation, my husband and I decided to trade in the ocean breeze and proximity to the brand-new Starbucks on Lincoln Boulevard for the clogged air and congested streets of Pico-Robertson. I had toyed with the idea earlier, and had even lookie-looed my way into a few open houses, but this time, we were lookie-loos no more. My kids were eager to be near their school friends and within sniffing distance of the kosher pizza shops. I wanted to walk to the bakery, where the proprietor still calls little boys boychikel and where I could feel slightly more justified in buying the shop's obscenely rich chocolate custard cakes for Shabbos since I would be walking home with it. (That is, whatever still remained by the time I got home.) I could even brush up on my Farsi waiting in line behind all the Iranian women in the cramped little markets along Pico Boulevard.
Most of the mainstream secular Jewish organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Congress would like us to think so. But a recent gathering in Washington proved that a grass-roots movement is taking hold among Jews -- not only the Orthodox -- whose views are economically,politically and socially more in line with members of the Christian Coalition than with either the ADL or the AJC.