Here we were at a dinner for the Jewish Community Relations Council in the elegant ballroom of New York’s luxurious Pierre Hotel when Joel I. Klein remarked, “The fact that you can come from any zip code to this event is due to the power of education.”
It was the power of education that catapulted Klein, a product of the city’s public schools, and of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, to the role of chancellor of New York’s 1,600 public schools.
During my years in rabbinical school,… Oh, wait, I have to check something on Facebook for a second… Do you mind waiting?... Okay, I’m back. So, where was I? Right – during rabbinical school, a frequent topic in our Professional Development classes was how to keep a healthy boundary between the personal and the professional (and, clearly I’m on the edge).
When my older brother Scott was a senior in college, he wrote home about the new woman he was dating. Three pieces of information stuck out: 1) she had the same first name as his sister (that's me), 2) she was from Minnesota (where's that?) and 3) she was Jewish. While many Jewish families would have regarded that third detail as cause for either relief or celebration, our family took it as evidence that his new girlfriend was in a cult, and would certainly try to get my brother to drink the (kosher) Kool-Aid.
The Holocaust, whose memory usually serves as an honored shared point for the Jewish community, sometimes is a point of contention for haredi Jews, who say they feel excluded from mainstream histories of the period. Those histories, and exhibits in Yad Vashem, emphasize the exploits of secular partisans and pay less attention to religious Jews who resisted the Nazis by studying Torah in ghettoes and keeping the commandments in death camps.
One of the most distinctive things about California’s Pacific Coast Highway is how little it has changed over the years. Those heart-stopping curves along dusty cliffs, the vast Pacific Ocean crashing on rocky shores below, the towering evergreens that block out the sun around Big Sur? It is scenery as massive in scale as it is timeless.
In his native Tashkent, capital of the now-independent Soviet republic Uzbekistan, Aron Aronov built up a collection of Jewish items from Uzbeki life that he would show visitors to his apartment. He couldn’t bring the artifacts in his limited luggage space when he came to the United States in 1989, so he shipped the stuff ahead, at great personal expense.
There are a few days left of Passover, and either your fridge is full of leftovers, or you’re thinking desperately about what to eat for the rest of the week. But if you fall in to either of those categories, this cake is for you.
Q - I was shocked to read recently that corporal punishment is still legal in 20 states. I also know the famous quote from Proverbs, “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” But on Passover we are taught to answer a child’s questions with patience. Is it ever acceptable for a parent or teacher to hit a child?
A - It is never appropriate to hit a child, at school or at home. Period.