“I’m reading a great book about the middle-aged brain,” I recently told a friend, “but I can’t remember the title.”
The destruction of Solomon’s Temple by the Babylonians in 586 BCE was the first great national tragedy in Jewish history. During the subsequent exile, four fast days commemorating the calamitous event were added to the Jewish calendar...
Adam Ungar was a happy kid who loved to ski and play the piano. He was a regular at his local synagogue, and he always looked forward to spending the holidays with his grandparents, who lived an hour away by train. Adam and his younger sister, Helen, would often go horseback riding while visiting with their bubbe and zayde.
A German fund established to compensate victims of forced labor under the Nazis sponsored a project that produced anti-Semitic propaganda.
Natalie Portman reflects about what Israel means to her.
Obituaries, December 7 - 22.
Do you write from memory? Someone always asks, and I become tongue-tied and uncertain, scrambling for the words, the ways to make believable what I know will sound bizarre -- a too-complicated response where all that is required is a simple "Yes" or "No" or "Sometimes; the rest is research."
I lived in Iran for only 13 years. I remember very little -- a handful of places, a couple of dozen friends and relatives. Yet, I've spent my entire career writing about the country and its people, and I've written it all -- this is the part that's difficult to explain -- from memory.
It's 8 p.m. on a Wednesday, and I'm at the studios of KIRN -- a Persian-language AM radio station on Barham Boulevard near Universal Studios. I'm a guest on a program called "Live From Hollywood."
Amnesia of the past foreshadows amnesia of the future. Forget yesterday's tragedy and the threat to tomorrow is denied. Forget the first genocide of the 20th century -- the murder of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 -- and the memory and atrocities of the first genocide of the 21st century in Darfur turn invisible, and the world response is muted.
The responsibility for transmitting the survivors' legacy of remembrance into the future must now increasingly shift to us -- their children and grandchildren.
They say that familiarity breeds contempt, but I'm thinking that when you meet so many strangers in so short a time, familiarity might just breed comfort. You see a guy's picture 20 times, you begin to feel you know him. Maybe the first time he wrote to you, you weren't sure about him -- maybe he even creeped you out -- but a year or two later he practically seems like family (possibly that family member you want to avoid, but family nonetheless).
"This issue of Holocaust revisionism is not just a diversion or demagoguery," said Frank Nikbakht, public affairs director for the Council of Iranian American Jewish Organizations. "It is really what the Iranian government officials believe and not just what Ahmadinejad believes. It is part and parcel of their long-term program of global jihad as embodied in the current Iranian constitution."
My grandfather is my best friend. I have spent every Sunday with him since I was born -- going to restaurants, talking for hours and going to festivals. I could literally feel his unconditional love for me. When I was 5, he dropped me off on my first day at summer camp. I was terrified to be away from my family. The counselor called him and he rushed over to pick me up. He let me know that it was OK to feel afraid, and he took me to a restaurant and bought me gifts. He assured me that he would always be there for me. I quickly learned to love camp, but more importantly, my grandfather taught me to love and trust myself.
I really wanted to reach out to my uncle to wish him a happy birthday, but I didn't have his phone number or his address. If I did, I'd certainly call him or visit him, and certainly I would have mailed him a card. To be honest, I am embarrassed to admit this, but I actually don't know where he really is now, and perhaps you could help me find him.
My senior students suffer from short-term memory loss, a condition less severe than Alzheimer's and dementia but nonetheless frightening. They can recall exact moments from decades past, but in the present, from one moment to the next, many don't remember who or where they are. Sort of like elected officials.
As a child, Joseph Lelyveld's parents called him "memory boy."
The other day, it suddenly hit me. I'm the anti-Forrest Gump.
When those people at the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation put on a fundraiser, they don't fool around.
The gleaming digital tracking board that dominates Shaare Zedek's new emergency room, with its color-coded system for monitoring patients, has Dr. David Applebaum's fingerprints all over it.
So do the more private individual rooms for patients, the improved nurse-to-patient ratio and an area for paramedics to rest and grab a cup of coffee between calls.
Today, I am a nephew. Last weekend, the names of more than 3 million persons murdered in the Holocaust were posted on the Internet as part of a searchable database created by Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
Yad Vashem was established in 1950 by an act of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, as the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance authority. From its very inception, it has taken on the task of being a repository for the names and memory of the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators.
Nancy Goldov says the chuppah cost a few hundred dollars to make, but is now considered a priceless family heirloom. She is having a quilt made for their bed that mimics the design of the tree. Someday she may change the chuppah in some way to signify their children.
James Albeck died July 9, at the age of 72.
"'Jumor' is a look into our own culture through our elderly community," Aaron Krinsky said. "The more homes we visited, the more we realized we were interested in the stories itself, not the comics who told them."
I reminded Mom of her move to Los Angeles three years ago, and her life at a San Fernando Valley board and care.
She sighed and said, "Ellie, I'm losing my marbles."
Seventeen-year-old Megan Knofsky keeps alive her sibling's memory by sustaining a teen support group that raises money for research to find a cure for cystic fibrosis, the genetic disorder that affects 30,000 people and claimed her sister, Sarah, in 1997.
Memory is a multibillion-dollar enterprise these days. I am personally on my fourth PDA and angling for a fifth even sleeker, more efficient model.
iel Avrech died of complications from severe pulmonary fibrosis on July 1. He was 22.
"He was incredibly learned," said Avrech's father, Emmy-winning screenwriter Robert Avrech ("The Devil's Arithmetic"). "I always learned from him. Our roles were reversed. He was also very funny and had a very dry, ironic sense of humor."
>"The secret of redemption is remembrance," as a sign announces in Israel's Yad Vashem, an institution dedicated to remembering the Holocaust.
Judaism's moral imagination describes that King Ahashuerus was not able to sleep because of all that was going on around him: Esther was involved with planning and preparing her next feast; Haman was busy building gallows; Mordecai was upset, praying and wearing sackcloth.
Here's the scenario: I travel for work almost 20 days a month. It's lonely out there on the road, one long Bob Seger song. Dating is almost impossible, but I've met a guy who seems to fit the suit.
"All Jewish stories have a deeper meaning," reflected Judy Aronson, a graduate of Brandeis University and Harvard Divinity School. "It's the community that makes the latkes, the people that create the celebration. If nobody had contributed anything, all they'd have was an iron nail. Because everybody cooperated, they not only had a feast, they had peace of mind forever more."
Now a year has passed. We have bombed. We have infiltrated. We have analyzed and rallied and written.
Responding to widespread debate over Poles' participation in a 1941 massacre of Jews, Poland's political and religious leaders are calling on Polish citizens to confront their past.
It is hard to write dispassionately about Ofra Haza, the Israeli pop icon who died last week at 41. She sang her fusion of Yemenite folk and '80s beat with intense, unabashed emotion. And she generated emotion in others.
Los Angeles, as always, attracted a variety of interesting visitors in recent days. The Jewish Journal couldn't meet all of them, but we made contact with a group of German journalists and government officials, the former executive editor of The New York Times, and the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations.
Palestinians have an official term for whathappened to them when Israel gained its independence 50 years ago:"Nakba," or, in English, "Calamity." In the failed Arab attack on theJews in 1948, some 600,000 Arabs fled the land or, in tens ofthousands of cases, were expelled.
Rose Freedman is 104 and, by any account, a remarkable woman.
Linda Deutsch and Theo Wilson liveda cross the street from each other for most of the past 21 years. They were trial reporters who met in the Charles Manson courtroom, competitors and best friends. On Jan. 17, Wilson called Deutsch four times while anxiously awaiting the limo that was to take her from her Hollywood Hills home to a CBS interview -- the official start ofpromotion for her new book, "Headline Justice," which had taken her 10 years to complete.