My first major purchase with money I had earned myself was a black-velvet gown from the Laura Ashley store in the retail court of the swanky Charles Hotel, in Cambridge, Mass. I bought the dress six weeks into my career as a Harvard University freshman and research assistant to a Kennedy School professor so that I could attend a black-tie event. As an Orthodox Jew who kept kosher and observed the prohibitions against mixed dancing, I knew all the Thanksgiving and winter formals would be pointless for me to attend. But I was convinced that my college experience would be woefully incomplete without the donning of velvet or satin, and so I jumped at the chance to attend a formal reception at the Fogg Art Museum to welcome some new piece, collection or personage to that august institution.
Yale University Press has just published “Life Is With Others,” a collection of essays written by the late Donald J. Cohen and various colleagues. Cohen, who succumbed to cancer in 2001 at the age of 61, directed the Yale Child Study Center for nearly two decades, conducted pioneering research into autism and Tourette’s Syndrome, and helped craft social policy, which included early work on the Head Start program and a collaboration between Yale psychiatrists and the New Haven, Conn., police to assist children exposed to violence. Cohen, who also forged research alliances with scientists throughout the Middle East and Europe, was remembered at his funeral as the son of Joseph and Rose from Chicago, of Moshe and Molly from Berditshev, Ukraine, and of Mashie and Avrum from Bialystok, Poland.
The mikveh attendant in a town where I often visit but do not live was always the same: towheaded, horsy wig, vast muumuu, thick accent and brusque, brusque, brusque. Her job was to assist women preparing for ritual immersion in observance of the ambitiously named Laws of Family Purity. Assistance is necessary because these laws, developed
When sleep eludes me, I conjugate Spanish verbs. I begin with nice, regular verbs in the indicative mood. Hablar, comer, vivir: to speak, to eat, to live. I move methodically through the present tense, the preterit past, the past imperfect, the future and the conditional. Then on to forms requiring auxiliary verbs — the