First Person

09/03/2013 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

It’s high time for a Jewish innovations catalog, and I have just the one: “The Shtarker Image.” In Yiddish “shtark” means strong or powerful, smart, tough-minded or hard-hearted. But for my purposes, shtark refers to terrific Jewish items you thought you could live without until you actually owned them.

08/27/2013 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

‘The weather is holding out on us,” an older volunteer says as he sits down.

08/13/2013 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

I’d known Joel since I was 14, when we bonded over golf, skiing and baseball. Over the years while he was married to my sister, our relationship ebbed and flowed, as is often the case with brothers-in-law. Since their divorce I ran into him once at a local golf course where I ended up playing with him, and saw him once again at my niece’s wedding. 

07/16/2013 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

Driving through the California farmland near my home, I was listening closely to an interview on National Public Radio with Michael Pollan. He’s a hero in these parts, and I was really surprised to hear him say that he’s had to eat restaurant food while on tour for his new book, “Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation.”

06/18/2013 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

I am the eldest of four siblings. I was 10 when my Grampa died.  Larry was 8; Eddie was 4 and Ronnie was not yet born. So I am the one who carries the memories, of which I have only two, and those are more impressionistic than they are specific.

05/28/2013 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

I’ve never been one to hide our son Ben’s diagnosis. I’ve always spoken openly about the difficulties that Asperger’s can create for him as he navigates a world rife with bumps at every turn. But what I did conceal for many years was the pain I felt — the sometimes-oppressive nature that an autism diagnosis can foist upon all the members of a family. The isolation. The depression.

I hid behind my work. I hid behind the tasks I had been called to do when I was ordained as a rabbi. I shielded my son from much of the public aspect that comes with being the child of a congregational rabbi. I shielded my California congregation from seeing the sometimes-ugly aspects of a complicated and misunderstood disorder.