First Person

03/12/2013 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

‘Stand sideways,” my father says. “Like this.” He plants his feet, left in front of right, pointing toward me, and I imitate his stance. “That makes you a narrow target, harder to hit.”

02/19/2013 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

Our motley crew of revelers, carrying our stereotypes of chasidic Brooklyn with us like so much baggage, step onto the D train, bound for the 19th century. It’s a recent Purim and we’re headed to Borough Park, where chasidim are known to host some of the most raucous festivities to mark the improbable victory over Haman.

02/05/2013 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

Grey lay on the bed, eyes closed, and waited for the soft and silky Tamar with the delicate baby powder scent to join him. Though time and use had dulled some of his brightness, Grey hid his frayed edges and sucked in as best he could the stretch in his middle that had recently appeared. Sounds of fabric rustling.

01/15/2013 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

My grandmother never owned a smartphone. Yet she worked full-time, raised a family and always remembered our birthdays.

12/18/2012 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

We’re the only Jews in Pennypack Woods, Pa. We exchange gifts on Christmas with our neighbors and each other, but have never had decorations that look or smell like Christmas.

Except once — when I’m 5.

“Can we please, please have a Christmas tree, Mommy?” I sob. “I’m the only one in our whole neighborhood without Christmas and I feel so left out. We don’t have any holiday, and Christmas is so beautiful.”

My parents finally exchange that look.

“OK, we’ll have a tree — a Chanukah bush. And Nana and Poppop must never know.”

11/27/2012 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

I am standing by The Western Wall in Jerusalem, a place I have stood many times before. I have prayed here, I have cried here and — God forgive me — I have mingled here.