Hearing the name Frank Siciliano, you would probably not immediately think “Orthodox Jew.” But this Jew by Choice, who has lived in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood for the past three years, is as passionate about his religion and his people as one can get.
The much-discussed article in the July/August Atlantic magazine begins with a story that likely will be familiar to any working mother. The author, Anne-Marie Slaughter, is at an evening work event talking to very important, very professional people, and all that’s really on her mind is the plight of her teenage son, who’s floundering at home without her.
Now, following the latest publishing craze of themed Jewish anthologies comes "Bread and Fire: Jewish Women Find God in the Everyday" (Urim Publications, 2008), edited by Rivkah Slonim (with consulting editor Liz Rosenberg). The 400-page compilation features writings from 60 women on topics including modesty, faith, childbirth, prayer, family, community, feminism and, in one way or another, Orthodox Judaism.
Letters to the Editor
This past week, the New York Times Book Review ran a lengthy essay by writer Wendy Shalit titled "The Observant Reader." In it,
Shalit harshly criticized books she deemed to be unfriendly to Orthodox Judaism. Even worse than the books, she asserted, were some of their writers, including such literary luminaries as Tova Mirvis ("The Outside World") and Nathan Englander ("For the Relief of Unbearable Urges").
Shmuel Marcus is a bit like the lucky son of an ambitious frontier storekeeper, who relies on family to staff a second storefront.
Since January, Marcus, 27, has operated Orange County's newest Chabad from a living room alcove of the second-floor Cypress apartment he shares with his 25-year-old wife, Bluma, and two young children.
Scion of an unusual family, Marcus has joined the equally unusual society of shluchim (emissaries). They are foot soldiers for a powerful ideology of outreach by the Chabad-Lubavitch branch of Orthodox Judaism. Trailblazers like Marcus must solicit their own financial support and, with their wives, make a lifetime commitment to remain in often-remote areas, ranging from Armenia to Zaire. In not-so-remote California, 20 new sites are planned this year alone in places such as Calabasas and Monterey. The Golden State already has the largest concentration of Chabad centers outside of Israel.
Wendy Graf's new comedy "The Book of Esther" focuses on a central character named Mindy, who, like Queen Esther, bravely declares her Jewishness in the face of opposition. Unlike Esther, Mindy doesn't save the Jewish people, but confronts her ardently secular family and friends when she discovers her religion.
Award-winning mystery writer Rochelle Krich, the "Orthodox Agatha Christie," has a confession: "I became a talk show junkie during the O.J. Simpson trial," sheepishly admits Krich, 52, the author of nine whodunits in as many years. "When the trial was over, I still needed my fix."