It is estimated that there are 4.2 million closed-circuit TV surveillance cameras operating in Great Britain, one for every 15 residents of the country. Don’t worry, though: the United States is rushing to catch up. Baltimore, for example, already has 400 such cameras in place and, as filmmaker Adam Rifkin notes, “Mayors Bloomberg and Daley [of Chicago] and Villaraigosa [of Los Angeles] all want to put in more cameras.”
Aleksander Ford was a Jewish-Polish filmmaker whose career summed up the bloody 20th century. He enjoyed one of the rare happy endings, thanks to a mixture of luck and foresight, but it is clear from his best film, “Border Street” (1949), that he knew all too well how rare his good fortune was. “Border Street,” which will have a rare U.S. showing on Nov. 18, was the first fiction feature to attempt to portray the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, and Ford undoubtedly knew many of the men and women who had perished in the flames that engulfed the ghetto.
Weddings are normally joyous occasions, especially ones planned with the care and devotion Leona Zeplin put into her daughter’s simcha last month. The guests were invited, the catering hall rented and the flowers ordered. Everything was set to go.
But on the morning of the wedding, Zeplin, a loving and committed mother, began having second and third thoughts about the occasion, despite the love and affection between her daughter, Joslin, and Joslin’s fiancé.
It can be frustrating or awkward “to see people involved in a peace walk one week and the same people involved in an anti-Israel protest the next week,” said Rabbi Micah Kelber of the Bay Ridge Jewish Center, a small Conservative synagogue in the midst of one of the nation’s largest Arab communities.
The death this month of Emanual Muravchik, a lifelong socialist and the onetime leader of the Jewish Labor Committee, highlighted a world that no longer exists — much of it recalled at a memorial service at the JLC last Friday. It also put into sharp relief a contrast between two generations of American Jews.
For Shelley Cohen, a member of Lincoln Square Synagogue on the Upper West Side and a mother of three, traveling anywhere with her oldest child, a 20-year-old quadriplegic confined to a wheelchair, can often prove taxing. Her son Nathaniel is afflicted with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a congenital, rapidly progressive illness that destroys the body’s muscles.
David Marwell, director of New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage, is among that small, but notable, group of historians and scholars whose career focus is on examining the Holocaust, making some sense of it, and conveying its lessons more than 60 years later.
But learned as Marwell is in the field, he avoided introducing his own children to the full horror of the Holocaust until he considered them old enough to absorb it.
One participant called it an “eye-opener” — a two-day conference aimed at introducing aliyah shlichim, or emissaries, to Reform Judaism and how the movement views immigration to Israel. But on that score — the priority that Reform Jews place on Israel and aliyah — the event presented a decidedly mixed picture.
The road less traveled is getting crowded. Not only are large numbers of Jews embarking on spiritual journeys, but many are writing about them, in full candor. The inner adventure story might be the Jewish book of the moment.
While bookstores are overflowing with memoirs of every stripe — the musings of people from all backgrounds, reflecting on remarkable families, abuse and dysfunction, divorce, relationships — Jewish writers seem to be revealing the details of their spiritual lives: The relationship frequently examined is that with God.
Next June, Anne Frank would be 70 years old. Public interest in the young Anne Frank and her diary — an account of her 25 months hiding from the Nazis in a secret annex in Amsterdam, which has now been translated into 55 languages, with more than 25 million copies sold — is unceasing, with new editions of the diary, a recent revival of the Broadway play, documentary films, children’s books, dissertations and critical articles, with frequent contention between the people and organizations who claim to represent her interests.