Thoughts of Monica Lewinsky consumed me this week. Her name, her face, the too intimate details of her life. I couldn't escape the 24-year-old former White House intern whose allegations against the president have brought on the worst political crisis of the decade. No matter how much I know, I'm compelled to go deeper. There's a story that the media is missing. For me, she's a Jewish girl, a Jewish daughter. She is my younger, more naïve self. She is one of our own.
Never underestimate the propensity of American Jews to scare themselves silly. Here we are, in the midst of an unprecedented Jewish renaissance, enjoying the most favorable spiritual climate in more than a century, including shelf loads of Jewish books at every Barnes & Noble, and still our leaders are playing Stephen King, terrifying themselves (and us) with grim fairy tales and devil's food. Here are three recent exhibits.
In the aftermath of thedeaths of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa, every woman I know hasparticipated in some version of "The Goddess or the Saint." We'vetaken sides, debated our husbands and boyfriends, our mothers, ourfriends. At Torah study last Saturday, we weighed the two women interms of a moral dilemma: The princess or the nun, the glamour or thegrit. Our choice of icons defines our lives.
We arrived in New York at midnight, and by 1 a.m. my mother was serving us dinner. "It's too late, Mom," I say. "I'll just have some fruit."
A huge bowl of cut-up pineapple, strawberries and melon was already on the table, set for four, but that would not suffice. In our family, there is a ritual: No visit officially begins unless we sit down together to eat a full meal.