Growing up, I called my grandmother Grandma.
We were Jewish, but also American. There was never any question but that my grandma would be Grandma. Even if she was born in the Old Country and, like all my friends and all their grandparents, spoke with a Yiddish accent. I used to think, in fact, that in order to be a grandparent you had to have been born in the Old Country and speak with a Yiddish accent.
The following is a list of known Jewish athletes competing in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing
Each of us lives a spiritual journey. One of greatest tasks in life is to know our journey, to understand its contours and what it demands of us. The Torah teaches us these journeys, these paths into our center.
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.
A few months ago I flew from Long Beach to Brooklyn. It was a long, sad and lonely trip. A few days earlier, my mother had turned 82 years old and was looking forward to a special birthday, when tragedy struck. A fire broke out in her home. Quickly, her life was taken by fire and smoke. No goodbyes or time to prepare for closure, just a cruel death.
My father survived the fire but lives daily with his memories. He now spends his time living a day or a week with different children and grandchildren. He recently came to California to join our family for the holidays. Even though the children and grandchildren were here something big was missing. Yes, our dear mother, the grandmother, was missed.
A major new tool can help Brazilians learn about their possible Iberian Jewish origins: the "Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames," a 528-page tome featuring some 17,000 surnames of Sephardic Jewish families from Portugal, Spain and Italy and their descendants.