First Person

Face To Face With Homelessness

07/17/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

A man with a long white beard, dressed in rags, comes about an inch away from my face and says, “I’ve been waiting for you.” I try not to act too startled. I had just finished leading a session on spirituality at a day program for the Jewish homeless, and this would be the first of many such conversations, where social norms disappear amid the schizophrenic street prophets of New York City.

Avram Mlotek

Tangled Up In Thread

06/26/2012
Special To The Jewish Week
The dress was perfect. Light worsted yarn woven into glowing blue and green medallions, it fit that elusive category of “transitional” clothing. And, just before Thanksgiving, it was on sale. I didn’t care if it was held over from the summer or orphaned from the fall season. I bought it immediately, threw out the sales slip and put the dress away for the spring. Passover, or maybe Shavuot, I thought.
Michelle Friedman

Honor Thy Father?

06/12/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

I hated Father’s Day when I was a kid. In the stormy family stew that was my almost-daily diet, “Father” meant “Sid,” and that meant trouble.

Susan J. Gordon

Next Time Under The Chupah

05/15/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

When you’re facing a divorce, you cast about for signposts of your identity. You seek indicators of who you were before, and glimmers of the stronger, more empowered person you hope to become.

In my case, newly separated from my non-Jewish husband, I find myself looking to Judaism for a renewed sense of self. Well, not Judaism, exactly — my relationship with the religion hasn’t changed much. I still go to a Reform shul on the occasional Shabbat, alone, as I have since college.

Wendy Paris

Confessions Of A Gay Zionist

04/17/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

Many times people ask, “Do you think it’s nature or nurture?” I always respond by telling them that my love for Israel is most likely a combination of both. 

Jayson Littman

The Search For An Unleavened Life

03/27/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

He is a character from a story I’ve read, but I can only recall the description of his humble, bearded image, not the plot in which he finds himself a player. He comes and goes, an apparition here to foretell or forewarn, and each time I see him, that is precisely what he does. 

We share an annual ritual, he and I, in the kosher aisle of our local market. On an inclement February day, while filling my cart with reinforcements for an impending snowstorm, I spot him — without warning — out of the corner of my eye.

Merri Ukraincik

After The Deluge, A Flood Of Jewish Pride

03/13/2012

As I sit here in Tokyo reflecting on the first anniversary of the tsunami (it hit last March 11), I recall my surprise the first time a Japanese person thanked me, as a Jew, for Israel’s immediate response to the disaster. It was certainly not the time to instruct that well-meaning person that not all Jews are from Israel — the average Japanese does not make a distinction between them — so instead I proudly basked in the thought of Israel being the first country to come to Japan’s aid with its emergency field hospital.

Antonio Di Gesu

Songs Of Defiance, Songs Of Life

02/15/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

Adrienne Cooper was scheduled to perform “Ghetto Tango,” a cabaret piece, with my father towards the end of January. Due to her illness, the singer, who played a leading role in the Yiddish revival, withdrew three months before the performance, and the decision had to be made whether to cancel the show or continue with different singers. Adrienne and my father decided to proceed. I was asked to participate and did so with a heavy heart.

Avram Mlotek

The Perils Of ‘Potch Culture’

01/24/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

About a month ago, I ran into my son’s former kindergarten teacher in the streets of Jerusalem, where we live. “Pinchas misses you,” I told Rebbe Shlomo. He really does. Rebbe Shlomo taught Pinchas to make about seven different kinds of paper airplanes.  

William Kolbrener

Among My Mother-In-Law’s Pots and Pans

01/17/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

To have known my mother-in-law was to have tasted her cooking.  Unfortunately, I never did.

I was an enigma to her, and she to me, from the very beginning.  With the former Yugoslavia in the throes of violent civil war, I found myself — an observant, then twenty-something girl from the Upper West Side — in Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, in the fall of 1992. Her son and I met in the local Jewish community center, where I spent my days at work with Jewish refugees from neighboring Bosnia and he volunteered between medical school exams. 

Merri Ukraincik
Syndicate content