First Person

03/08/2016 - 12:08 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

In a few weeks I will marry my fiancé Brenda and adopt her 4-year-old daughter, Marta. I will also attach myself to a new country.

02/16/2016 - 12:47 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

Last year I journeyed to the precipice of death. It was a horrible trip, ending in the loss of my sister-in-law, Ali.

01/19/2016 - 12:09 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

Last spring, I consented to a surgical face-off with a medical condition that had left me with no other options. Still, it had taken serious convincing for me to overlook the risks and pin my hopes on the procedure’s life-changing potential.

01/05/2016 - 13:55 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

My tefillin-zekl — the small velvet sack in which I store my phylacteries — tells me a story early every morning, when I open it in preparation for davening. 

12/22/2015 - 10:14 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

On Thanksgiving I was reunited with a Vietnamese family with whom I had no contact for more than 30 years. It was a heartwarming reunion and a poignant reminder that aiding immigrants and refugees is not only a matter of advocating enlightened policy, but also should be seen as a personal responsibility — and a wonderful opportunity.

12/15/2015 (All day) | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

I grew up in the small but undaunted Orthodox community of Jackson Heights, back in the 1950s and ’60s. I turned my back on the humble turf, as much for its relentless exhortation of piety as its failure to thrive.