Berlin: It was a scene dripping with historical irony. On a street in this transformed former capital of Nazi Germany, a German man this week approached Philadelphia Rabbi Jacob Herber, here as part of a delegation of American spiritual leaders, and advised him to remove his kipa, fearing for his safety.
"He said, 'Sir, do you have to wear that,' " Rabbi Herber related. "It's very dangerous here because of Muslims."
"I was surprised," the rabbi said. "The fact that a German is protecting a Jew from a Muslim was unexpected."
Being the first isn't a new experience for Rabbi Janet Ross Marder, the newly elected president of the Reform movement's Central Conference of American Rabbis. Twenty years ago, just four years after being ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, she became the first rabbi to lead Los Angeles' predominantly gay and lesbian congregation, Beth Chayim Chadashim. While there, she established a federation-funded AIDS education program for the Jewish community.
Jaclyn Murphy's dream arrived in a large cardboard box the other day. Enclosed were two plastic caps, some T-shirts and a red, white and blue sweat suit: her uniform for the 1999 Pan American Maccabi Games.
The package came about a year after Murphy, 16, a senior at John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore, L.I., was declared free of cancer.