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EstherK
currently: Los Angeles
Writer-at-large in Los Angeles. But occasionally also New York City, Jerusalem, and the world. #10 on the JTA's 2009 list of influential Jewish Twitterers. Yes, that's a real list...
Recent Activity
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On July , I did my first ELI Talks on Air hosting gig, an interview (embed below) with the guys from the Jewish video site Shmideo (check out their guide to creating a perfectly boring High Holidays speech here). We talked the Pew Report, puppets, Pythons, Yom Kippur, the Middle East conflict and the Messiah, not in that particular order. Actually, in this particular order - feel free to skip... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2014 at MY URBAN KVETCH
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At the "step-and-repeat" at the Opoli launch party in L.A., 6/26/14 Here’s a fun fact - I lived in L.A. for four years without a car. This fact is a stunner for many, who can’t imagine life in L.A. as a mostly-pedestrian; when they learned I was from New York City, many questioned whether I had ever learned to drive a car at all. (As a Jersey girl, I had.)... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2014 at MY URBAN KVETCH
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Social media is one of the tools that links us to community and connects us through experiences, good and bad, to each other. Our online expression serves as a stunningly effective way to connect with our network's intellectual and emotional flow. Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2014 at MY URBAN KVETCH
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Connecting to Community & Comfort: My #ELITalks on-Air (video) - talking singles, writing & #lifeafterloss Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2014 at MY URBAN KVETCH
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photo from Times of Israel site As everyone in the free world knows by now, Mick Jagger and the rest of the scraggly, scrawny superheroes of rock-and-roll have been touring Israel, taking photos at the Wall and - Mick in partick - showing off Hebrew study by interspersing their betwixt-songs banter with salutations and crowd-pleasing Hebrew phrases. (You can read all about it in Times of Israel.) But what you... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2014 at MY URBAN KVETCH
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So is my mom in the 7%? And if not, can you connect us, Skype? Three years after losing my mother, I'm beginning to gain some perspective. Don't get me wrong, I'm still devastated at my mother's absence and irritated by the onslaught of media messaging. And while I appreciate the sentiment, Skype telling me to call my mom on Mother's Day is a bit much - unless they actually... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2014 at MY URBAN KVETCH
I've seen Star Wars more times than I can count (because I stopped counting around time #47); I know a good portion of Episodes 4, 5 & 6 by heart, and prefer to forget about most of 1, 2 & 3. But my favorite part was always Mos Eisley Spaceport ("you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villany - we must be cautious...") and its creature-diverse... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2014 at MY URBAN KVETCH
"Sid Caesar invented sketch," said comedy legend Carl Reiner in an interview with Phil Rosenthal (creator of "Everybody Loves Raymond") at the opening night of the L.A. Jewish Film Festival on May 1, which was in honor of Reiner and in memory of Caesar, who died in February. "Sid performed it in such a way that it was never the same after." As the evening stretched on, the 92-year-old Reiner... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2014 at MY URBAN KVETCH
I've been flying Virgin America domestically for a while; I love the inflight experience, from the order-at-your-seat refreshments to personal entertainment screens. The flight attendants seem capable and friendly (and took care of me most recently when I got sick on a flight). Virgin America has also always had a bit of a sense of humor when it comes to safety videos. VA's previous animated video was jaggedly drawn, a... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2014 at MY URBAN KVETCH
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Me (and my purple scarf) leading a group in improv exercises at the ROI Summit Back in New York, people had been encouraging me to do comedy for years. But as far as I knew "doing comedy" meant either a) moving out to LA, pitching agents and studios on ideas, only to have your heart trampled on, or b) doing standup at an open-mic or "bringer" night at a comedy... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2014 at MY URBAN KVETCH
There's a classic joke about the oleh chadash, the new immigrant to Israel, who sees that wherever he goes, people are parking on the sidewalk. One day, he's driving around and looking for parking. Nothing. Not a single legal space free, but people are still parking on the sidewalks. He sees a policeman and asks, "Excuse me, officer, is it legal for me to park on the sidewalks?" "Absolutely not!"... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2014 at MY URBAN KVETCH
Do you spend a lot of time thinking about food and the role it plays in our lives? My friend, filmmaker Joseph Levy, previously famous to me for being a producer of the amazing short George Lucas in Love , does, and the result is a film that is beautiful in message and medium (and music). Spinnning Plates (available at Amazon via this link) is the story of three very... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2014 at MY URBAN KVETCH
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Welcome to My Urban Kvetch, a place for me to vent about the issues that clutter my brain as I live my so-called-freelance life in the Big City. I'm all about looking at my experience through the lens of humor, whenever it's possible. […]And though I've resisted long enough, I'm joining the blog generation. My hopes? That this space will provide me with a forum for fleshing out ideas, kicking... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2014 at MY URBAN KVETCH
Although it's hard to believe, both for me and for those who know me, there was a time when I was not a blogger. The me of this time was a struggling freelance writer, desperate to find venues who would publish her, even though she had rarely been published before. The me of this time also had a friend who recommended that, as I developed my reading audience, I might... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2014 at MY URBAN KVETCH
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In Winter 2006-7, philanthropist Lynn Schusterman brought an international group of young Jewish leaders to the Galilee to help “repair” what the Second Lebanon War had destroyed. Because we lacked painting experience, we imparted way more personality than artistry – illustrating bomb shelter walls with images we believed to be calming, inspiring or uplifting. Fish in an ocean. Flowers and animals frolicking in a sunny field. And my friend Dave... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2014 at MY URBAN KVETCH
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On January 2, 2013, Ha'aretz published a piece I'd written about how the community can support those who grieve (if there is a paywall on this link or any of the ones below, please contact me and I'll send you a PDF). It might have seemed a strange way to begin a year, a year whose start is supposed to inspire optimism; but I saw it as an opportunity to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2014 at MY URBAN KVETCH
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Online connections are a daily thing to me, but as much as possible, I try to seek out opportunities for online connections to cross over into real life. While meeting someone who's basically a stranger sometimes leads to awkwardness, I'm always amazed by how much deeper a connection can get when you add an in-person dimension - as if something in the in-room chemistry reinforces human solitude and interdependence simultaneously,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2013 at MY URBAN KVETCH
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If you work in or adjacent to the Jewish nonprofit world, you know that the release of a study on Jewish identity can launch a thousand op-ed pieces, even if the findings themselves are not entirely surprising. The arrival of such a study can elicit excitement or flat-out panic, and reactions swirl together violently into an intellectual and emotional froth. As passionate consumers - educators, academics, rabbis, Jewish communal workers,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2013 at MY URBAN KVETCH
This is a continuation of last Sunday’s post, “(What's Not) Working at a Nonprofit: Tumbling Ideas for Nonprofit Improvement.” The nonprofit worker's life is full of frustration - while many of us suspected this was the case in our particular nonprofit professional experiences, at the end of July, we learned it wasn't just us. The Working in a Nonprofit Tumblr made it clear - these things are far more wide-reaching... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2013 at MY URBAN KVETCH
If you’re working for a Jewish nonprofit, it’s entirely probable that you’ve seen the “Working at a Nonprofit” site, featuring images from TV and film – which themselves don’t really have anything to do with actually working at a nonprofit –juxtaposed with text headings to illustrate the challenges and frustrations of nonprofit professional life. For instance, “When you are in a meeting, scheduling a meeting, about the next meeting,” features... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2013 at MY URBAN KVETCH
After some needling via social media, I've been told that it takes "up to 20 days" to get a response from customer service. So expect an update around August 26...maybe...
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"You've already seen 'Conversations with My 2-Year-Old'? But have you seen zefrank's 'True Facts About' nature series?" I seem to do this a lot, ask my friends what they've seen, what they're enjoying, what's making the rounds virally on the web. I delight at being among the first few viewers, and when something is good, I really enjoy sharing it. And so, I launch a new series here. ICYMI, for... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2013 at MY URBAN KVETCH
Fine, fine....I get it. Obviously in shielding the identity of one airline, my goal was never to malign another. I'll change it to something else immediately, and then the internet people can tell me why the new alias is a bad one...
I'm not generally the person who makes a federal case out of delayed flights and travel troubles - this is the cost for modern airline travel. But last weekend, I flew back from New York on a flight that was severely delayed. And the fun didn't end there. This is the letter I wrote to the airline, submitted via their customer service form for Comments or Complaints - name of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2013 at MY URBAN KVETCH
It is often the custom at large meetings at Jewish organizations to have someone present a Jewish framing for the work at hand, usually rooted in either a recent calendar happening or in the weekly Torah portion. A few weeks ago, I was asked to prepare a few words for a committee at the Jewish Federation named "Ensuring the Jewish Future" - since the week containing Tish'ah b'Av (a fast... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2013 at MY URBAN KVETCH