‘I’m getting older every day,” the octogenarian repeats. Once valedictorian of her high-school graduating class, she now hugs a toy bunny to her chest. “What should I do next?” she asks, as if she’s at an amusement park instead of at a Jewish nursing home in New Jersey.
The geriatric assistant sums up my mom’s condition in one word: “confused.” Yesterday my 86-year-old parent believed she was in an airport; today, she may be Alice in Wonderland, bewitched by a rabbit.
Gossip has so infected cyberspace that in just a few months, two young students killed themselves because of it. Two weeks ago a Rutgers freshman jumped off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate and another student used a hidden camera to view him during an intimate moment with a man, and stream it onto the Internet for all to see. Before that, a high school teenager hanged herself when classmates mocked and bullied her online.
This past spring, my partner and I moved to Cincinnati. Soon after we arrived, an Orthodox synagogue in town prohibited our attendance. The rabbi of the shul called apologetically to inform us that the ruling had come from a rabbi whose authority exceeded his own. I decided to call this rabbi, who is the head of a prominent yeshiva and a respected halachic authority. I wanted to meet him personally to discuss the decision with him. He agreed to speak with me on the phone.
Like many in North America I was saddened by the recent suicide of Rutgers University freshmen Tyler Clementi. I feel for his family and friends. May their memories of him be a comfort.
As I have been reflecting on the events that led to his death and discussing it with my family, friends, and colleagues, a few thoughts come to mind. I'd like to share them with you because I know you are also thinking about this tragedy.
Thank you for your reference to the Fort Tryon Jewish Center in the article, “Washington Heights Jews Caught In A Growth Bind” (Aug. 13).
As executive director of the Jewish Center, and as a member for over 35 years, I am deeply gratified by the renewed growth of our congregation, and by the decision of so many of its newer members to make their homes here in the Heights. I believe this reflects the kind of Jewish community that is evolving in the Heights: open, inclusive, observant and egalitarian.
Whoa! Benjamin Brafman has a well-deserved reputation as a criminal defense attorney, and he is certainly entitled to his literary criticism of Erica Brown’s work (“There Is No ‘Season Of Scandal,’” Opinion, Sept. 24).