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  • After terrorist attacks, fearing fear itself

    ENCINO, Calif., Sept. 24 (JTA) — My husband, Larry, and I have been training, or so I thought, for the upcoming Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day, a 60-mile walk in California from Santa Barbara to Malibu. But now I realize we’ve really been training for a grave new world. For when an act of God or,…

  • After terrorist attacks, fearing fear itself

    ENCINO, Calif., Sept. 24 (JTA) — My husband, Larry, and I have been training, or so I thought, for the upcoming Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day, a 60-mile walk in California from Santa Barbara to Malibu. But now I realize we’ve really been training for a grave new world. For when an act of God or,…

  • In Poland, everything Jewish is intense

    ENCINO, Calif. Aug. 8 (JTA) — My 17-year-old son Zack is celebrating Shabbat dinner tonight at the Bohema Restaurant in Krakow, Poland. In fact, not only is he celebrating Shabbat, but he and his group — 15 students from Milken Community High School in Los Angeles and 140 more from Tichon Chadash High School in…

  • Family: The trials of motherhood

    ENCINO, Calif., April 29 (JTA) — The photographs from my son Gabe’s Bar Mitzvah sit on my dining room table, waiting to be ordered. His Bar Mitzvah took place more than a year ago. The handpainted needlepoint canvass that I am stitching for my husband’s 50th birthday remains unfinished. Never mind that he’s now 51….

  • We’re really the People of the Question

    ENCINO, Calif., March 8 (JTA) – Why are we the People of the Book? Why aren’t we the People of the Question? After all, before Moses receives the Torah on Mt. Sinai, like Abraham earlier, he answers God’s call to service with a question. In Exodus 3:11, he says, “Who am I that I should…

  • Holiday: Real story of Purim is no Sunday school tale

    ENCINO, Calif., Feb. 12 (JTA) – “Be happy, it’s Adar,” the rabbis tell us. Yes, be happy. Unless you’re a goldfish, a Purim carnival prize, who finds himself swimming inside a sealed plastic bag, fated for a shortened life of cramped captivity and neglect. Yes, be happy. Unless you’re a woman, appalled by the unexpurgated…

  • Family: Black, Jewish students come together

    ENCINO, Calif., Jan. 9 (JTA) – Although only 23 miles apart, Milken Community High School in Los Angeles’ Bel Air hills and Jordan High School in South Central Los Angeles exist in different worlds. Milken, part of the Stephen S. Wise Temple and the largest non-Orthodox Jewish high school in the United States, was founded…

  • Family: Chanukah and Christmas don’t mix

    ENCINO, Calif., Dec. 3 (JTA) — “Look, elves spinning dreidels,” my son Danny, 9, says as we pull up to the cleaners in full view of their freshly painted holiday window. “And Santa hanging a Star of David ornament on the tree,” Jeremy, 11, adds. Yes, welcome to Chrisukah 2000, a mix-and-match, one size fits…

  • Family: Vegetarian cries ‘fowl’ on Thanksgiving

    ENCINO, Calif., Nov. 9 (JTA) – Judaism commands us to be kind to animals. Thus I don’t eat them and I don’t keep them as pets. But this Thanksgiving, I’ve gone a step further. I’ve rescued one. “Oh great, you adopted some foul fowl,” my husband, Larry, says. “Not any old fowl,” I answer, “but…

  • Family: ‘Survivor’ has little to teach Jews

    ENCINO, Calif., Oct. 4 (JTA) – Move over, Richard Hatch. For 13 weeks this past summer, you lived in a makeshift shelter on a South China Sea island, roasting rats, manipulating interpersonal alliances and winning $1 million as the last person on the U.S. television show “Survivor.” Big deal. For thousands of years every fall…