Susan Goldberg, rabbi of Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park and Eagle Rock, grew up in nearby Echo Park. “There were no Jewish families around when I was growing up,” Goldberg, 38, said. Now that these neighborhoods are being gentrified, and a young, creative crowd is moving in, the Jews are coming, too.
Why should I feign interest in my 9-year-old's latest obsession, a Lego "Star Wars" computer game, just as I had in his "Backyard Baseball" meshugash, where I got to know fictional kids and their batting averages and pet peeves?
A friend told me about a scene he witnessed recently at a delicatessen. There was a woman who apparently was not Jewish standing in line at the bakery counter. When they called her number she pointed to the prune and poppy seed hamantaschen and asked for a dozen.
"No, you want these," said the elderly Jewish woman who was serving her, pointing to the apricot hamantaschen instead.
"No, I want those," the woman reiterated pointing again to the prune and poppy seed variety.
From "The Extraordinary Nature of Ordinary Things," by Rabbi Steven Z. Leder (Behrman House, Inc.)
"A parent's love isn't to be paid back; it can only be passed on."-- Herbert Tarr
Tomorrow is Father's Day, and we are thousands of miles apart -- apart as we are too often and for too long. So it seems a good time to write you and tell you -- dear God, what to tell you? How can a son possibly say what a father means to him -- how can I say what you mean to me?
Thursday was Tisha B'av -- the ninth of the Hebrew month of Av -- the day on which we fast, pray and commemorate the tragedy of our people's past. According to tradition, many of the worst catastrophes to befall the Jewish people took place on Tisha B'av: The destruction of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem, the Crusades, the expulsion from Spain, the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto. All of it -- all of the pain and the shame of the past tragedies -- comes crashing down upon us each Tisha B'av.
I never heard the N-word, growing up, because we were Jewish. For my parents, the S-word sufficed. Although they never would have denied someone an opportunity based on skin color, it was "schvartzes" who tried to rob my Uncle Max and Auntie Jean at their grocery store. When "schvartzes" moved into the neighborhood, it was time to sell the house. My dad had "a big schvartze" who worked in his scrap yard.
It was my third funeral of the week, and I was tired of death. I thought this one would be easier than the others,since it was an elderly woman who suffered terribly and truly wanted to die. Her name was Sarah; her only relatives left were her nephew, Harry, and his son, Joel.