First Person

11/17/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

I’ve always been bored by anti-Semitism, contemptuous even, of those who look for it everywhere and then find it. If you look hard enough, you can find anything you want. Anyway, it always seemed to me a thing of the past.

11/10/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

I was behind the mechitza. I did not like it. 

How could it possibly happen, that I, a regular shulgoer in the Orthodox world, would find myself behind the mechitza at a Shabbat service?

10/27/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

Politicians who find sport in demonizing immigrants often praise their European ancestors, who came to the United States from abroad. Previous generations of immigrants, after all, supposedly valued work and family, to achieve the American dream. But a recent reading of Kate Simon’s 1982 best-selling memoir “Bronx Primitive” suggested that the Eastern Europeans who passed through Ellis Island in the early 1900s were less admirable than they’ve been depicted.

10/13/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

When one walks into the Shabbat service of the Jewish Home Lifecare, it seems the rabbi and cantor are conducting a service entirely for themselves. The room is full of wheelchairs and walkers, canes and assistants. There seems to be little stirring, an eerie stillness. Opening with the Ma Tovu prayer, Rabbi Jonathan Malamy explains how we begin by praising God, then we petition God. It is basically praise and praising and more praising. It can seem that these words are falling on yawning mouths, hanging heads.

09/17/2015 | | JTA | First Person

Berlin — When supporters of the anti-immigrant PEGIDA movement and right-wing extremists in the former East Germany started demonstrating by the tens of thousands this year against foreigners and “American Zionist” policies, I got mad.

09/10/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

At my son’s recent high school graduation, my emotion-fueled thoughts were all over the place. Yet I kept coming back to the Talmudic teaching that we master the entire Torah in utero, only to have an angel tap us on the mouth and erase that knowledge at the moment we enter the world. It was hard to believe the strapping graduate had once been that small, because there he was: ready to leave for a year of study in Israel, the next leg in his quest to relearn what was snatched from him the day he was born.