First Person

03/17/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

My son recently finished two-and-a-half years of service in the IDF’s Golani Brigade. While I have written several essays about my experience during this time, permit me to share yet one more. 

03/10/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

Havana, Cuba — I had never seen a keyboard played at a Friday night service before. Then again, I had never been in Cuba before.

02/17/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

It was, at first glance, a scene out of a Yiddish folktale, transposed from the Old World shtetl to modern-day Zagreb. There were rabbis and healers, plot twists and turns, a small miracle, even the requisite chickens. And just when I thought it would remain a vision from the pages of my imagination, the pictures that flashed on my iPhone confirmed it was real. 

02/10/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

I wear a necklace with a hand-shaped charm that’s called a hamsa as a point of Jewish pride. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris in January, I was asked at a gathering in Manhattan if I wore it because I was Muslim. 

01/27/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

We will soon be celebrating Tu b’Shvat, the day that marks the new year for trees, and while it is cold and grim in New York, the plant world is awakening in Israel and the agricultural year is coming to life. Think of it as the beginning of the magic that leads to the harvest festival of Sukkot.

01/13/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

Birmingham, Ala. — On Thanksgiving at my son’s house, I found myself at the end of a long dinner table, some in-town family members on my left. They were chatting about college football, especially the Alabama-Auburn game that would be played two nights later.