A Reporter's Notebook
Your inside scoop to the South Florida Jewish community

Celebrating us

All of us at the Jewish Journal just completed our very special “Double-Chai Anniversary” edition, and I’m proud to say all the hard work putting it together really paid off.

The anniversary edition, celebrating 36 years of Jewish Journal publication, not only reflects how much the community has changed over the years, but also highlights some of the people who contributed to those changes.

Actually, working on the edition was an eyeopener for me, as well. I leaned quite a bit about the Jewish Journal community and events that happened before 2002, when I first joined the Jewish Journal staff.

Much has happened during those ten yeas, and I’ve witnessed many changes in the paper itself. We have truly grown both in prestige and circulation.

Check out our anniversary edition – and see for yourself. You’ll enjoy it.

Way to go Heat

Florida is wildly celebrating the Heat’s victory last night. It just goes to show … never say ‘die’!

Congratulations Heat! Way to go!!!

Marching backwards

I thought women had won the fight over their reproductive rights years ago with the ‘new’ birth control pill of the 60s, followed by Wade vs. Roe.

However, with the current controversy raging over the morning after pill, or “Plan B,” as it’s called, it looks like some are trying to turn the clock backwards.

The controversy erupted after a New York district judge ordered the FDA to make the emergency contraception available to females of any age, without a prescription. Prior to that, the FDA ruled the Plan B One-Step pill should only be available to females age 15 and older, and they needed a prescription. Meantime, the Justice Department has filed a notice saying it will appeal the judge’s ruling. As usual, the Obama Administration is waffling of this important issue.

The controversy is grist for the mill for all the TV ‘talking heads,’ who are making a federal case (no pun intended) out of it.

As a liberated female of the 60s who fought for women’s rights, the advent of the birth pill broke the chains of slavery for many of us, and gave women the opportunity to decide their own fate.

The morning after pill is just one more step towards freedom for women – no matter what age. Truth is – teens are going to have unprotected sex, something that’s been going on since Adam and Eve. Yes, it’s better if they wait or use protection, but it’s not always likely to work out that way.

You would think pro-life advocates would welcome the ‘pill,’ which would result in fewer abortions. But, apparently not. They are stridently against it, especially for teens – exactly the people who need it most.

Their argument is that parents should have the right to make the choice. But it’s not the parents who are having the unwanted pregnancy. And parents, for religious reasons or whatever, often force the teen to deliver the child.

I believe if a female is old enough to engage in sex, she’s old enough to decide what to do about an unwanted pregnancy.

Looks, youth, equal doubt

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that even though all the evidence is stacked against you – you’ve got more than a ‘reasonable’ chance of beating a murder rap if you’re a 20-something, pretty white female.

Casey Anthony comes to mind. And now, here comes Jodi Areas.

If you’ve been following the Areas trial (which is proving more popular than “Keeping Up with the Kardashians), it’s hard to think otherwise.

For openers: After shooting her ex-boyfriend in the head while he’s naked and vulnerable in the shower, then stabbing him 27 times – and finally delivering the ‘coup de grace’ by slitting his throat from ear to ear – how can anyone with more than a single-digit I.Q. buy this was “self defense” ???

Moreover – Areas unbelievably claims self defense although she exhibited no bruises, bloody injuries or broken bones to show she was in a fight for her life. And those ‘cuts’ to her finger, were certainly not from repeatedly plunging a knife into the poor victim, she tearfully claims – but came from her breaking a glass earlier that day. (Where have I heard that one before … oh, yeah, O.J. used the same line!)

And what about her being caught in lie, after lie, after lie? As with the Casey Anthony debacle – lying seems not to matter to a jury. It’s a wonder both of them aren’t walking around with noses 10 times longer than Pinocchio’s!

All the TV talking heads are debating whether she’ll get the jury’s sympathy with her demure ‘plain Jane’ appearance and testimony, and who may let her off easy – or even find her not guilty, as in the Anthony case.

Meantime, what about the victim? What about some sympathy for him? I’m sure his family would settle for some justice.

Update on Downton Abbey

After anxiously waiting many months for the return of Masterpiece Theater’s “Downton Abbey” on PBS, it took only two episodes to throw us into despair.

Last Sunday night, Lady Sybil died in childbirth!

Yes, during the third installment of Season 3, one of most liked and sympathetic characters living at the Crawley digs will be no more. How can the writers do this to the thousands of loyal Downton Abbey fans?

If that’s not bad enough, while doing some snooping, I discovered that Matthew Crawley is also going to kick the bucket. Poor Lady Mary! Wonder if she’ll get pregnant before his demise.

I also learned that Tom Branson (rebel husband of the late Lady Mary) will become agent for the Crawley estate and his brother Kieran Branson will be joining him. Another new character coming on board is the young Lady Rose – I smell romance – but with whom?

I admit to being hooked on Downton Abbey. It reminds me of “Upstairs, Downstairs” of many moons ago. Same with “Brideshead Revisited.” I’m one of the thousands (probably millions) who clear their evening schedule at 9 p.m. on Sunday night to learn what’s doing at the Crawley’s. I never saw an hour pass so fast.

There are some, however, who ask me what’s so great about Downton Abbey? I answer … story, story, and story. Not to mention the first class acting and script, interesting and three-dimensional characters that you care about, and the wonderful period costumes and, of course, the location. Did people really live like that?

The fact that the PBS show is a huge hit says something about the usual, moronic TV fare that’s thrown at us. We’re starved for some really good quality drama. Used to be a time when more quality programming wasn’t such an anomaly – but, unfortunately, that’s the way is.

I hope the powers that be are taking notice of just how profitable good TV can be.