First Person

FIRST PERSON: Praying for three boys whose plight hits close to home

By MARCY OSTER

KARNEI SHOMRON, West Bank (JTA) — Four days into the search for three kidnapped Israeli teens, I attended a group prayer session dedicated to their safe return.

Dozens of women gathered together to read responsively psalms seeking God’s mercy and intervention before the start of our morning...
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FIRST PERSON: My history with the family of Lee Harvey Oswald’s Jewish killer

By STEVE NORTH

NEW YORK (JTA) — We were sharing a pastrami sandwich and pickles at the Los Angeles landmark Canter’s Deli. I was 24. She was nearly 50 years older, with a piercing voice as loud as her flaming red wig.

Her name was Eva Rubenstein Grant, and she...
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Reporter’s Notebook: One in 800,000 at Rav Ovadia’s funeral

By BEN SALES

JERUSALEM (JTA) — I didn’t need to ask directions. Stepping out of the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, I saw them, men in hats and coats walking together slowly, a steady stream moving  east along one of Jerusalem’s central thoroughfares to the funeral of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. At...
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FIRST PERSON: From church choir to Jerusalem, a couple’s interfaith journey

By HAROLD BERMAN

EFRAT, West Bank (JTA) — One Christmas eve, as Jews across the country headed for Chinese restaurants, I found myself in a church choir.

The church, on the outskirts of Boston and straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting, had hired me to sing for their service. As...
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FIRST PERSON/YOM HASHOAH: In Germany some closure for the son of survivors

By ADAM FRIEDMAN

NEW YORK (JTA) — As a child of Holocaust survivors, I have always managed to avoid visiting Germany. Part of my parents’ legacy was never to visit the country, with its dark past — not even to own any products in our home that were made in...
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FIRST PERSON: For 1 Holocaust survivor, Siemens was a roadblock to his story

By TOBY AXELROD

BERLIN (JTA) — I was 23 when I first met my cousin Gilbert Michlin. He was sitting at a brasserie near his office in Paris wearing a dark suit with a folded handkerchief poking out of the breast pocket. His short, dark hair was perfectly combed.

He...
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Somebody’s Getting Married…Under the Chuppah!

By ANN ZIVITZ KIMBALL

Only this Jewish woman – this devoted, active, works-in-the Jewish community Jewish woman! – would meet and marry a man named Christian from Corpus Christi  (“Body of Christ”), TX!

In all seriousness, one of the realities of growing up and living in the South is that there...
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B’nai Mitzvah event has New Orleans Mardi Gras theme

By ARLENE S. WIEDER

I attended quite a unique family gathering in Sarasota, Florida this past weekend. My cousins were hosting a New Orleans-themed B’nai Mitzvah event. What made this celebration so distinctive was the two teens who were sharing the bimah weren’t siblings, as one might suspect, but first cousins. And...
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FEATURE: Israel’s friends in Gaza

By ALEX JOFFE

(Jewish Ideas Daily) — Hamas was quick to declare victory in the latest conflict with Israel. A closer look at the price it paid in terms of personnel and equipment shows that its bravado was false. But the fact that Israel was able to destroy so many installations, weapons...
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FIRST PERSON: Freedom Sunday recalled 25 years later

By DAVID HARRIS

NEW YORK (JTA) — Exactly 25 years ago on Dec. 6, more than 250,000 people gathered in Washington to call on the Kremlin to open the gates and let Soviet Jews emigrate. Freedom Sunday, as it came to be known, was the largest Jewish-organized gathering in American...
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