King Solomon was known to have coined the expression, "Educate the child accordingly so that when he grows old, he will not leave." In other words, take advantage of the child's education as soon as possible.
In modern times, this admonition certainly applies to preschool, and it's something that my day care school, the Bilowit Learning Center, based in the Lomita-Torrance area, has always taken as a mission.
Single malt Scotch. Schmaltz herring. Cholent. Kugel. Marble sheet cake. What do all these delicacies have in common?
Yes, they all contribute to heart disease, but there's something more: They are all served at the Kiddush Club. A Kiddush Club is an exclusive group of shulgoers that meets somewhere outside the sanctuary during services -- usually during the chanting of the Haftorah -- to have a private "pre-Kiddush" Kiddush.
Fagin, who recruits a gang of young thieves in "Oliver Twist," is arguably the most villainous caricature of a Jew in English literature -- not excepting Shakespeare's Shylock -- but his creator, Charles Dickens, was no dyed-in-the-wool anti-Semite.
Indeed, in "Our Mutual Friend," his last completed novel, Dickens took a 180-degree turn in his portrayal of the Jew Riah, who is as saintly as Fagin is evil. For good measure, Dickens added a Jewish factory owner and his wife, who treated all their employees with kindness and generosity.
The appraisal of Dickens comes from Harry Stone, one of the foremost collectors and authorities on the great 19th-century English novelist.
Stone, who taught English literature at Cal State Northridge for 32 years, recently donated to the university the thousands of items in his private Dickens collection, including first editions of all the novelist's works, the monthly newspaper installments in which they first appeared, personal letters, corrected proof sheets, translations, photographs, and even dolls and figurines inspired by his characters.
About six months ago, Gregory Rodriguez, a contributing editor to the Los Angeles Times opinion section, phoned his friend, Rabbi Gary Greenebaum, West Coast regional director of the American Jewish Committee (AJ Committee). Rodriguez had attended events purported to promote intellectual fellowship among diverse Angelenos, but had found them not-so-diverse. "There's a lot of lip service paid to crossing barriers in this city, but many gatherings are organized around political or ethnic lines," Rodriguez said.
To mix things up a bit, the two friends went on to launch a program, co-presented by the Los Angeles Public Library. The series, Zócalo, which means "public square" in Spanish, will gather Eastsiders and Westsiders for private discussions and public lectures on crucial civic issues. It kicks off at the downtown Central Library's Mark Taper Auditorium on April 9 at 7 p.m., when the Economist's Washington correspondent Adrian Wooldridge, co-author of "The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea," will describe his take on the corporation as "an engine that can work for the public good as well as ill," Greenebaum said.