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  • 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…

  • Holidays: Saying ‘I’m sorry’ isn’t enough

    ENCINO, Calif., Aug. 9 (JTA) — In California, as soon as Gov. Gray Davis signs Assembly Bill 2804, we’ll be able to say “I’m sorry” without admitting any guilt or liability, whenever our sports utility vehicle sideswipes a new PT Cruiser or our Rottweiler nips our neighbor’s fingers. Yes, we can offer “benevolent gestures expressing…

  • Family: Ancient Jews knew value of education

    ENCINO, Calif., Aug. 3 (JTA) — If you can read this, thank a teacher. And thank High Priest Joshua ben Gamla, who established the first system of compulsory public education in the first century C.E., arranging, according to the Talmud, for teachers “in every province and in every city.” As we approach the beginning of…

  • Family: Mom, I want to join the NRA””””

    ENCINO, Calif., June 25 (JTA) — “I can’t wait until I’m older so that I can join the NRA,” my son Danny, 9, announces. The National Rifle Association? This seemingly angelic, pacifistic son? Doesn’t he realize that my husband, Larry, and I send contributions on a regular basis to Handgun Control, Inc.? That, according to…

  • A modern mom confronts Passover

    ENCINO, Calif., March 20 (JTA) — Why is this night different from all other nights? This night is different because I, a person who equates working in the kitchen with working on a chain gang, cook most of the multicourse Passover meal. Single-handedly and from scratch, I might add. While I know that Passover is…

  • A modern mom confronts Passover

    ENCINO, Calif., March 20 (JTA) — Why is this night different from all other nights? This night is different because I, a person who equates working in the kitchen with working on a chain gang, cook most of the multicourse Passover meal. Single-handedly and from scratch, I might add. While I know that Passover is…

  • Esther and the woman who wanted to marry a millionaire

    ENCINO, Calif., March 5 (JTA) — The Fox network may have thought it had an original idea in producing “Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire.” But more than 2,000 years ago, Esther of the Purim story entered a similar competition. “It’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as with a…

  • Family: All you need is love

    ENCINO, Calif., Feb. 3 — “Girls are my mortal enemy,” announces my son Danny, 8. He won’t be sending any Valentine’s Day cards this year. My husband, Larry, and I won’t be sending any Valentines either. Or exchanging gifts. We never have. For me, the problem is not the pagan and Christian roots of Valentine’s…

  • A family’s birthdays  and the birthday of the trees

    ENCINO, Calif., Jan. 12 (JTA) — The month of January marks three important birthdays. On Jan. 3, my oldest son, Zack, turned 16. Exactly 16 years and 90 minutes after his birth, he received his driver’s license. During the time I spent waiting at the Department of Motor Vehicles, only slightly shorter and less painful…

  • FOCUS ON FAMILY The October dilemma: Should Jews trick or treat?

    ENCINO, Calif., Oct. 20 (JTA) – For me the October dilemma consists of finding Halloween candy to pass out to trick or treaters that I will not eat, no matter how desperate or distraught I become. For my children, the challenge is creating peer- and parent-approved costumes that will also work for Purim. But for…