At Israeli weddings, gifts of china, silver and art are not welcome. Guests are expected to bring their checkbooks and contribute to a young couple’s purchase of their first home, often bought with substantial help from the newlyweds’ parents.
Israel stands at a crossroads once again, threatened from within by the lack of solidarity and crisis of trust between the Israeli government and the middle class. Israel is also threatened from without by the ‘’Palestinian September’’ as the Palestinians take their case for an independent State to the United Nations.
Los Angeles’ new school superintendent, John Deasy, says one of his top goals is to persuade middle-class families, including Jewish parents, to return to the Los Angeles public schools. “It’s one of the major projects I have to deliver,” he said.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's recent handling of protests by pro-illegal immigration crowds showed a man awkwardly straddling opposing sides of a political chasm that divides Angelenos who have all supported him. And his lack of deftness leaves doubt about whether he can bridge this gap as well as whether he can keep some of his most fundamental and important promises.
One of the best University Synagogue tours ever was our 2000 trip to Argentina and Brazil. Both countries were physically beautiful and Jewishly fascinating, and the speakers with whom we met were unforgettable.
Since that time, however, Argentina has been reduced to terrible economic straits, and its once-thriving middle class is in danger of disappearing. That middle class made Argentina unique in South America, where polarization between rich and poor is the norm.
But like many members of the middle class, the busy professional -- who declined to give his name for this article -- suffered a major financial blow as the economy faltered. Over a year ago, an import-export firm for which he subcontracted failed to pay him a $65,000 commission.
Suddenly, his financial security evaporated, and he quickly fell behind in his children's tuition payments. His marriage grew strained. Nights were sometimes sleepless.