What is our role in the interfaith family unit? We are not just the grandparents; we are the Jewish grandparents. Their other grandparents are Christian, Muslim, Hindu or of another faith. Even when grandchildren are not raised within any particular faith, this is how we will be distinguished. Why? Because interfaith children are part of two-family cultures; therefore identifying us as such, is necessary.
Rabbi David Baron of Temple Shalom of the Arts, the synagoue attended by the big and medium-sized names in the entertainment industry, has a starring role in the new Universal movie, "Along Came Polly."
Well, not exactly starring, but he plays the rabbi officiating at the wedding of Reuben Feffer and Lisa Kramer, portrayed by Ben Stiller and Debra Messing, respectively.
The moment former Sen. Gary Hart told the audience at the Milken Institute's Global Conference that America is "at a cross roads," Abe Zarem leaned over to me and said, "He's wrong."
There were 1,500 people sitting in the audience listening to a panel tussle over the United States' role in the world. For a conference that annually attracts the world's financial and academic elite, the seating at the Beverly Hilton was refreshingly democratic: no place cards, sit almost anywhere you like. So I found myself between Charlie Woo, the innovator behind downtown Los Angeles' Toy Town district, and Zarem, inventor, professor, entrepreneur, thinker.
"Crossroads is not the right word," Zarem told me, correcting Hart, "because at a crossroads you pick a direction and you know where you're going. We're at a cloverleaf. When you turn off a cloverleaf you don't know where you're going."
"A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair" by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen. (Knopf, 2002). $25
After provoking a furious debate over the role of ordinary Germans in the Holocaust with his book, "Hitler's Willing Executioners" (Vintage, 1995) Daniel Goldhagen tackles an even more explosive subject, the role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust, in his new book, "A Moral Reckoning." The power of the book is neither in the answers it gives nor the evidence it marshals, but in the questions it poses. None is more central than the one that frames the book: "What must a religion of love and goodness do to confront its history of hatred and harm, to make amends with its victims and to right itself so that it is no longer the source of a hatred and harm that, whatever its past, it would no longer endorse?" Goldhagen approaches the question in three parts: Clarifying the Conduct, Judging the Culpability and Repairing the Harm.
Rena Sofer always seems to land ethnic roles. As the newest regular on NBC's "Just Shoot Me," Sofer plays Vicki Costa, a hairdresser from Brooklyn, whose name is Greek, but whose ethnicity is undefined. It's reminiscent of her Emmy-award winning role of Lois Cerullo Ashton, the brassy Italian Brooklynite she played for five years on the soap opera "General Hospital."
She's also known for playing journalist Rachel Rose, the stereotypically ideal Jewish woman who goes out with a Reform rabbi (Ben Stiller), in the 2000 film "Keeping the Faith."
The highly controversial French documentary film, "Terrorists in Retirement," offers a striking revelation that, on reflection, should come as no surprise at all -- Eastern European Jews played a prominent role in the most daring exploits of the World War II French resistance movement. This truth comes as a jolt only because French popular myth and official histories have so thoroughly suppressed it, considering it harmful to the nation's heritage to admit that stateless immigrants, facing deportation and almost certain death, fought harder for France's freedom than did many citizens who were content to collaborate with their German conquerors.
In March 1996, John Turturro packed a trunk filledwith Primo Levi's books and traveled to a remote part of the Ukraine.His destination was the set of "The Truce," Francesco Rosi's filmbased on Levi's searing 1963 memoir "The Reawakening." Portraying theHolocaust author, Turturro sensed, would be the most difficult roleof his life.