When Shi Lei finished a presentation about China’s hidden Jewish past recently, his California State University, Northridge (CSUN), audience was full of questions. They wanted to know more about the former synagogue in Shi’s hometown of Kaifeng and about his Jewish ancestors who settled there 1,000 years ago. One yenta, however, had more contemporary concerns on her mind:
When the grind of settling in subsided, I leased a studio-with-a-view in pristine Santa Monica and acquired a job in the film industry to foot the rent; I also regained the luxury of longing. Three thousand miles divided me from comfort and companionship, and though I was determined to forge ahead and establish my independence, I needed a community.
Third season of "Numb3rs"
When Cameron Kerry fell in love with Oak Park, Mich., native Kathy Weinman, he chose to convert from Catholicism to Judaism.
Little did he know that he already had a strong Jewish connection. His father's parents were Jewish -- a fact uncovered last year when the Boston Globe hired a genealogist to check into the family roots of his brother, John Kerry, the Democratic presidential frontrunner thought by many to be of Irish background.
The Kerry family was traced back to a small town in the Austrian empire, now part of the Czech Republic. There, the paper discovered that before immigrating to America, the Kerrys changed their name from Kohn and converted from Judaism to Catholicism.
In Veracruz, Mexico, there lived a group of people who for generations had avoided eating pork and lit candles on Friday night without knowing why. In the early 1980s, some members of the group discovered their Jewish roots and converted to Judaism, and now, 20 years later, are still struggling for acceptance from the Jewish community in Mexico.
Their story is being told in "Eight Candles," a 2002 Mexican documentary, one of nine Jewish films being shown in Mexico's first Jewish film festival.
Christmas '95 I received the most ironic of gifts -- Rabbi Morris N. Kertzer's "What Is a Jew?" The book was given to me by a friend, who originally bought it as a gag gift for her boyfriend. He had Jews in his family somewhere but apparently wasn't too proud of his Hebrew roots. He rejected the book and it became mine.
"What Is a Jew?" spoke to me. This characteristically Jewish way of questioning stood out in weekly Sunday school at church, where a large leap of faith was required. I don't remember exactly what my Sunday school teachers said to me, but phrases like "Don't question," "That's the way it is" and "Jesus died for our sins" were the answers I remember receiving to my most deepest questions on faith.
Three years ago, Los Angeles entrepreneur Severyn Ashkenazy gathered in Warsaw, Poland, a small group of American and Polish Jews, all of whom had fled their native land during the Holocaust, and hosted the first Passover seder in that city since 1945.
In a key scene in "Masterpiece Theatre's" "Daniel Deronda," adapted from George Eliot's 1876 novel, the hero attends a Zionist meeting.
If you "Treat Me Nice," "Save the Last Dance for Me," or once were "A Teenager in Love," chances are you are old enough to remember the
early, "innocent" years of rock 'n' roll music.
If there was any doubt that the Polish government is taking seriously plans to build a Museum of Polish Jewish History in Warsaw, they were
put to rest Feb. 5 in Beverly Hills.
Ancient Greek democracy created the "citizen." Renaissance Europe invented the "gentleman." Colonial America produced the
"In this fast-food, fast-fame world, we are like single blades of grass," says Dr. Maya Angelou, the poet, author and historian.
First it was then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Next it was Gen. Wesley Clark, the supreme allied commander of NATO during the war in Kosovo. Now it's Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry whose Jewish roots are being reported.
Kerry? The Massachusetts senator, the quintessential WASP-y looking politician with an Irish-sounding name?
Two of Kerry's grandparents were Jewish, it turns out.
It's virtually "genealogy for dummies."
In a nation of immigrants where more than 35 percent of the population -- or 100 million Americans -- have at least one relative who passed through Ellis Island, officials at that historic entry point to New York have unveiled a new Web site that will enable even the least tech-savvy to mine a mother lode of information on their families' roots.