Imagine a world in which having a child is more difficult than getting into Harvard, a world in which government bureaucrats decide who is fit to be a parent. That’s the idea behind Susan Josephs’ new play, “The Interview.”
For the past four years, Kadosh and Alfi have been meeting regularly to exchange pedagogical advice, offer insight into each other's communities, pay visits to the other's turf and, above all, continually affirm how educators of different faiths can help each other.
These two women have formed a solid friendship, and whether or not that will eventually lead to an enduring bridge between Jewish and Arab educators in Los Angeles, they have set an important precedent.
Growing up in Syracuse, N.Y, Eileen Douglas lived for the moments she could climb into her grandfather's lap and find the pennies he brought -- special for her. He faithfully visited his grandchildren every day after leaving his work as a butcher. Yet he never really spoke about his upbringing in Kovno, Lithuania.
"I thought we weren't allowed to talk about it, that if you did, you would hurt the family," Douglas recalled. "My grandfather died suddenly when I was 12 and I never got to say goodbye."
Some 25 years after her grandfather died, Douglas paid a visit to her childhood home and stumbled upon a series of forgotten family photographs.
"The Modern Jewish Girl's Guide to Guilt" edited by Ruth Andrew Ellenson (Dutton, $24.95).
When Ruth Andrew Ellenson achieved the writer's milestone of selling her first book, her father responded in classic Jewish parental fashion.
"He was thrilled and said, 'Honey, that's wonderful.' Then there was a long pause," Ellenson recalled. "And he said, 'I guess this means I have to wait longer for grandchildren.'"
As the editor of the newly released "The Modern Jewish Girl's Guide to Guilt," Ellenson now has both the professional and personal credentials to speak on behalf of any Jewish woman who struggles with the notion of "letting my people down. I've always been interested in what's complicated about being Jewish and how you balance the different parts of life," said the 31-year-old freelance journalist. "Jewish women have been given opportunities they never had before. We live in a time of choice and so there are myriad new ways to feel guilty."
Like her protagonist Sophie Katz, Kyra Davis has skin the color of a "well-brewed latte." That's why she has spent a large portion of her life fielding comments about her ethnicity.
There was her supervisor at a clothing store, for example, who asked about her Star of David necklace, since how could Davis be Jewish when she looks black? Or all the times people have assumed she's Puerto Rican and lecture her on taking pride in one's heritage when they discover she can't speak Spanish.
"Occasionally, when people ask me where I'm from, I'll make up some country in Africa and act really offended if they say they never heard of it," Davis said.
As a kid growing up in Philadelphia, Edward Schwarzschild did a stint as a Kosher Boy Scout and hated it.
"Carrying two sets of dishes into the wilderness was a real turn-off for me," he said.
Now 40, Schwarzschild hails from a venerable tradition of writers who have mined their formative Jewish experiences for literary purposes. This makes sense, considering that his first novel, "Responsible Men" (Algonquin) due out April 8, revolves around a Jewish family in Philadelphia faced with the challenge of understanding their past and improving their present.
When it comes to film festivals, Calabasas is far off the beaten path for the Sundance crowd. But there's method to the madness of film lovers who beat a path to Calabasas in the first week of April.
The seventh annual Method Fest claims to be the nation's only festival that specifically celebrates actors and their performances. This year's lineup includes significant works with Jewish themes. There are films about the Holocaust, contemporary Jewish families and Israeli-Palestinian issues among the 25 feature films and 47 short films. The festival also features panel discussions, workshops and special events.
Esther has been dreaming about Jake for four years. So when he finally asked her out, she did not hesitate to say yes. It no longer mattered that he lived in Miami and did not lead an Orthodox Jewish life. Though she hated to think of leaving New York City and wanted to make sure that their future children would receive a Jewish education, "we were going to try to work it out," she says. "It's really hard to find someone Jewish, so if you don't try, then what?"