davidfcooper: (headshot 01/18/07)

Melandmiriamalexenberg1

Today is Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, and I’d like to mark the day by sharing an oral-history from The Jewish-American Marriage Oral History Project of a couple of Jewish New Yorkers and artists who throughout their half-century marriage have alternated their residence between Israel and the United States. I interviewed Petach Tikvah, Israel residents Mel and Miriam Alexenberg a year and ten months ago at a restaurant overlooking Rockefeller Center during one of their visits to the city where they met and married.

As in my interviews with Fred Terna and Rebecca Shiffman, Gary and Judy Simon, Mindi Wernick and Malkie Grozalsky, Keith and Cindy Hamada, and Nadav Avital and Buffie Marie Longmire Avital, to make the interview read like a dialogue I have edited out my questions; for clarity the interview subjects sometimes rephrase a question as a statement, and where this occurs it indicates a change of subject. I began the interview by asking how they met.

Read the entire interview on jewishamericanmarriage.com

davidfcooper: (headshot 01/18/07)

In March 1939, four months after Kristallnact and six months after the Munich agreement under which Czechoslovakia was compelled to cede the Sudetenland, the German speaking areas that abutted the German border, to Germany, German troops occupied the rest of Czech speaking Bohemia and Moravia in what is today the Czech Republic, and a puppet state was created in Slovak speaking Slovakia. Prague resident Fred Terna was then 15; he would spend his late teens and early twenties in the Lipa, Terezin, Auschwitz, and Kaufering concentration camps. After the war he married a fellow survivor, and after his first wife died of cancer Fred married Rebecca Shiffman, the daughter of survivors, in 1982.

I interviewed Fred and Rebecca in August 2007 in their Clinton Hill, Brooklyn brownstone. I began the interview by asking how they met.

Read the entire interview on jewishamericanmarriage.com

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David Cooper's review of Yael Hedaya's novel Eden compares Jessica Cohen's translation with Ms. Hedaya's original Hebrew. The novel features two marriages and a teenage girl all of whom are at-risk and in varied states of distress. 

 

Read the entire review on nyjournalofbooks.com

 

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An excerpt from Eden appears in Words Without Borders

davidfcooper: (headshot 01/18/07)

With the new school year about to commence many New York area Jewish parents will have to find a way to fund their children’s day school tuitions. In my June 10, 2010 post I shared my interview with Mindi Wernick and Malkie Grozalsky in which they speak of having made financial sacrifices to send their children to a Jewish school.  In my interview with Nassau County residents Keith and Cindy Hamada, Keith speaks of day school tuition as a form of birth control that limits the sizes of Jewish families.

Although Keith and Cindy belong to an Orthodox synagogue and my wife Shoshana and I belong to a Conservative congregation, I was struck by how similar our levels of observance are, which teaches us that labels don’t tell the whole story.

I interviewed the Hamadas at their Nassau County home two years and ten months ago. As in the Wernick/Grozalsky interview and the Simon interview that appeared in this column on July 2, 2010, to make the interview read like a dialogue I have edited out my questions; for clarity the interview subjects sometimes rephrase a question as a statement, and where this occurs it indicates a change of subject. I began the interview by asking how they met.


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With the new school year about to commence many New York area Jewish parents will have to find a way to fund their children's day school tuitions. In my June 10, 2010 article I shared my interview with Mindi Wernick and Malkie Grozalsky in which they speak of having made financial sacrifices to send their children to a Jewish school.  In my interview with Nassau County residents Keith and Cindy Hamada, Keith speaks of day school tuition as a form of birth control that limits the sizes of Jewish families.

Although Keith and Cindy belong to an Orthodox synagogue and my wife Shoshana and I belong to a Conservative congregation, I was struck by how similar our levels of observance are, which teaches us that labels don't tell the whole story.

I interviewed the Hamadas at their Nassau County home two years and ten months ago. As in the Wernick/Grozalsky interview and the Simon interview that appeared in this column on July 2, 2010, to make the interview read like a dialogue I have edited out my questions; for clarity the interview subjects sometimes rephrase a question as a statement, and where this occurs it indicates a change of subject. I began the interview by asking how they met.  

Read the interview on examiner.com

 

Posted via email from davidfcooper's posterous

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To read the interview click here

In Monday's article I introduced the The Jewish-American Marriage Oral History Project. In honor of Brooklyn Pride's 14th Annual Pride Celebration this week the first Jewish-American couple whose interview will appear in this column is a Brooklyn lesbian couple, Mindi Wernick and Malkie Grozalsky, whom I interviewed in their Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn apartment two years and ten months ago. To make the interview read like a dialogue I have edited out my questions; for clarity the interview subjects sometimes rephrase a question as a statement, and where this occurs it indicates a change of subject. I began the interview by asking how they met.

Posted via web from davidfcooper's posterous

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To read the interview click here

In Monday's article I introduced the The Jewish-American Marriage Oral History Project. In honor of Brooklyn Pride's 14th Annual Pride Celebration this week the first Jewish-American couple whose interview will appear in this column is a Brooklyn lesbian couple, Mindi Wernick and Malkie Grozalsky, whom I interviewed in their Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn apartment two years and ten months ago. To make the interview read like a dialogue I have edited out my questions; for clarity the interview subjects sometimes rephrase a question as a statement, and where this occurs it indicates a change of subject. I began the interview by asking how they met.

Posted via web from davidfcooper's posterous

davidfcooper: (headshot 01/18/07)

Three years ago in a moment of introspection I realized that the two things in my life that are most meaningful and contribute most to my emotional well-being are my marriage and myJewish identity. At the time I was looking for work in journalism and my wife asked me "If you could write about any topic what would it be?" I replied without thinking twice, "I'd interview Jewish-American couples about the their Jewish identities and their marriages."

That concept initially took the form of a book project, I Am My Beloved's: Jewish-American Couples Talk About Their Marriages. Over the next couple of years I interviewed and photographed about a dozen couples and my co-author interviewed another three. Of these fifteen couples twelve were living in the Boston to Washington, DC megalopolis, half of that dozen in the greater New York metropolitan area.

After having our book proposal and sample chapters turned down by about a dozen publishing houses the project is now morphing into The Jewish-American Marriage Oral History Project, an on-line archive of interviews of Jewish-American couples. These interviews and photographs show the diversity of the Jewish-American community. In future examiner.com articles I plan to publish some of these interviews.

There has been much discussion in the Jewish-American community about continuity, much of which has focused on education. But if parents work long hours to earn day school tuitions and have little time to spend with their children how does that help? My hunch is that the quality of Jewish marriages is an under-explored factor in Jewish continuity. As we say on the The Jewish-American Marriage Oral History Project's home page:

Tribal membership and conjugal partnerships both offer emotionally salutary feelings of belonging. Are there any synergies when both life partners belong to the same tribe? Maybe, maybe not, but show us someone who is alienated and estranged from his or her tribe and odds are that his or her parents had an unhealthy and dysfunctional marriage. More specifically, children of Jewish parents who have strong, healthy marriages are more likely to develop positive Jewish identities.

What do healthy Jewish marriages look like? They are demographically diverse: religious and secular, gay and straight, urban/suburban and rural, monogamous and polyamorous, first marriages and second marriages, passionate couples and companionate couples, able bodied and disabled, teachers and techies, artists and professionals, Jews from birth and Jews by choice, native born and foreign born, parents and child-free by choice, parents of able-bodied children and parents of disabled children.

The Jewish-American Marriage Oral History Project will be a repository of interviews and photographs of Jewish-American couples; a selection of these will be published as "I Am My Beloved's: Jewish-American Couples Talk About their Marriages" in the form of either a book, an e-book, and/or a website. "I Am My Beloved's," a work in progress, is a collection of interviews and photographs of Jewish-American couples that explores the intersection of each couple's identities as a couple and as Jews. "I Am My Beloved's" will include the voices and images of a wide range of couples reflecting the diversity of the Jewish-American community.

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Books of The Times - ‘Catching Fire’ by Richard Wrangham - Humans, the Cooking Apes - Review - NYTimes.com

This author knocks the raw-foods diet, dismisses marriage as a "primitive protection racket," and insists that we are the small mouthed cooking ape. Marx reduced everything to economics, Freud did the same w/sex; for Wrangham it all comes down to cooking. It's an interesting hypothesis.

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