The 114th Congress that convened this week is being called the most diverse in history. That is a bit misleading. Relative to prior sessions, yes, but far from reflecting the nation as a whole.
I am reminded of the dog food company that advertised its product as "half horse meat and half rabbit meat." When sued for false advertising it came out that the company's definition of half and half meant one horse to one rabbit.
My 2015 was off to a great start. I’d made some time the week before to reflect on my goals for the new year and managed to take some action steps to making them happen. My sister-in-law graciously offered to babysit our kids on New Years Eve and my husband and I enjoyed one of the best dinners out we’ve had in some time. On New Years Day, we took our children out to experience the Mummers Parade, a loud, overstimulating Philadelphia tradition that my son, who has autism, not only managed but really enjoyed.
“Walking encyclopedia” may have been the idiom that appeared most often in tributes to culinary historian Gil Marks, who died in Jerusalem on December 5, 2014, after a courageous three-year battle with (nonsmoker’s) lung cancer. A memorial gathering of family and friends will be held in Jerusalem on January 5 and will be streamed.
They say that it takes a village to raise a child. I say that it takes a village… and a synagogue or three, an edah (Amitzim) and a family camp (Ohr Lanu) at Machaneh Ramah and a loving, supportive family.
On Sunday, October 12, 2014, my son, Jacob Gruen, became a Bar Mitzvah at age 13 at Adat Ari El in Valley Village, CA. He led the Sh’ma, received his talit and blessed it, carried the torah, had an aliyah and read the torah, marched with a lulav and an etrog and said the Kiddush. He also sang a number of songs, including a solo of Adamah B'Shamayim (which he first learned at Camp Ramah) with his Kolot Tikvah choir led by Cantor Michael Stein of Temple Aliyah. To many, this would not seem extraordinary. However, Jacob has autism, which manifests in him as moderate speech and social deficits and academic delays.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence is in Israel this week, and you know what that means: he's thinking of running for president.
He's billing the trip as an "economic development" mission and hosting an Invest in Indiana breakfast and meeting with the American ambassador for a briefing on the Israeli economy. The Indiana Economic Development Foundation is footing most of the bill but, as with so many governors before him, it's more than a search for investors. It is a required campaign stop on the road to the White House.
Benjamin Netanyahu's political rivals are hoping his American campaign advisor will do as well for him as he did for his last high profile candidate, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Virginia). House majority leader Cantor, the highest ranking Jew in Congressional history, was on track to be Speaker before going down to spectacular defeat in June at the hands of a long shot Tea Party challenger.
The Netanyahu government, miffed that it was kept out of the loop, has rejected the Obama administration's request made to it and governments around the world to express support for the new U.S. Cuba policy. Canada and the Vatican were the intermediaries and there are no indications any other country was involved.