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June 15, 2012

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PAGE 12A , HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 15, 2012 By Naomi Pfefferman Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles Mia Schaikewitz parked her shiny black Mitsubishi Eclipse in front of her graphic design of- fice in Pasadena, Calif., looking glamorous in her black leather jacket and purple eye shadow • with matching fingernail pol- ish. Then she opened her car door, lifted outawheelchair and assembled it in20 seconds fiat. The chair was sporty, like her car, with a leopard-patterned seat that matched her purse. "I've got another chair at home that's red and silver--it all de- pends on my mood and what I want to wear--it's almost like an accessory," She said, breezily. "When I first got paralyzed, I used to count the seconds it took me to get into the car," she said while hauling herself up a ramp with what looked like Herculean strength. "It was fun to see how many seconds I could shave off." l~he 34-year-old graphic designer is one offourwomen-- all paralyzed from the waist or neck down profited on the Sundance Channel s new docu- mentary series, "Push Girls," createdbyproducer Gay Rosen- O thal("Ruby").'Schaikewitz, who and we don't. But I also want isJewish, hasusedawheelchair to reveal the unsentimental since suffering a stroke in her realities of our lives, without spinalcordwhenshewas15;her being preachy. It's answering goodfriendsAngelaRockwood, all the questions people might 37, AutiAngel, 42, and Tiphany be afraid to ask us: How do we Adams, 29, were all paralyzed go grocery shopping, go to the in car accidents more than 10 bathroom, go to clubs or the years ago. gym?" Inatrendofreali~y television In the premiere episode last that includes the sensational- week, we first saw Schaikewitz ist "Housewives" franchises, asshewassnugglinginbedwith "Push Girls" stands out for her boyfriend; the camera fol- its non-sensational depiction lowsherasshenimblytransfers of women who can't walk but fromherchairintothebathtub, are also gorgeous, athletic and where she showers sitting down ambitious. Rockwood is hop- withherkne~shuggedtightlyto ing to jump-start her former herchest•"The questionpeople modeling career; Angel re- mostaskiswhetherwecanhave portedly the first professional sex, andthe answer is definitely hip-hop dancer to continue yes,"Schaikewitztoldme."And her professional career in a most people haven't seen'sexy' wheelchair--is trying to have in a wheelchair, which is why a baby with her husband of they can't" five years; Adams is exploring Schaikewitz attended a Jew- a lesbian relationship after a ishdayschoolinAtlanta, where bad breakup; and Schaikewitz her father became Modern is grappling with whether to Orthodox after her parents stay with her boyfriend while divorced when she was 3. She reassessing her relationship stillremembersherbatmitzvah with her mother and tackling speech at his synagogue, where competitive swimming for the she discussed Rabbi Akiva's first time since high school, parable about how water can She agreed to participate in carve stone. It was a lesson in "PushGirls,"shesaid."because persistence Schaikewitz said -I want to show people areas shedrewuponaftershebecame where they think we get stuck, paralyzed during her freshman 9 year in high school, steps, you start to feel a sense Schaikewitz to participate in The date was Oct. 27, 1993, of accomplishment." "Push Girls"; Schaike.witz when Schaikewitz, then a ris- Her confidence grew as she signed on, even though she de- ing star on her school's swim was welcomed back at high scribes herself as "an intensely team, developed a pain in her school, thenwentontobecome privateperson,"partlytoshatter side so sharp that it awakened the first person in awheelchair stereotypes about the disabled. her from sleep that night. By • to join a sorority at the Univer- "People thinkwe can only date the time doctors took an MRI sity of Florida, and, for a time, people in wheelchairs, that the next morning, she couldno became religiously observant we're lucky to get any guy, that longe.r move her legs. The news when a rabbi who shared her we can't be picky," she said by wasbeyondunsettling:Adefect views about disability inspired way of example.On the sh~w, in her circulatory system had her. "It has a lot to do with still she says she loves her freedom caused a stroke in her spine, havingchoicesandcontrolover so much that she doesn't want leaving her paralyzed from the yourlife,"saidScha]kewitz,who tosettledownwithjustanyone, waist down. still attends synagogue and aswellasfranklydescribingher "At first I was devastated; I Jewish events in Los Angeles, preference for able-bodied men thought my life was over," she where she has lived for the past who can keep up with her. said. "I even wrote in my j0ur- dozen years. Schaikewitz also decides on nal, 'I'll never go out in public The day she graduated from camera to swim again for the again,'~andIcriedfortwoweeks college, Schaikewitzloadedher first time in 17 years; while straight. But that was the best - wheelchair in the back seat of she had previously participated part of it--the darkest part, a friend's Saturn and drove in numerous adaptive sports, but also the catalyst for me out to Los Angeles to start her swimmingprovedtooemotion- to realize that's not a way to career in media production; ally difficult, reminding her of live." She was inspired when she'snowaprojectmanagerfor thetimeshelostuseofherlegs. the doctors reassured her that a graphic design firm. She met But her first trip to the pool she coklld live independently, Rockwood--whowasparalyzed proves triumphant. "I was just have children and participate on her way to a fitting for her finally ready to do it." she said. in adaptive sports, wedding dress--when she"It was time to just close the "We do learn to be reborn enrolled in an acting class that book. so to speak." again," she said of her three met at the model's Hollywood "Push Girls" airs at 10 p.m. months in a rehabilitation home."Angelaisaquadriplegic, Mondays on the Sundance hospital. "From sitting up in butshestilldoeseverythingshe Channel. bed to getting dressed, you can do and lives life to the full- NaomiPfefferman is Arts & learn everything over again, est," Schaikewitz said of their Entertainment The and it seems daunting at first, connection. Jewish Journal of GreaterLos But as you continue takingbaby Itwas Rockwoodwho invited Angeles. 9 " i of Ag By Ben Sales NEW YORK (JTA)--The works of Shmuel YosefAgnon, Israel's only winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. are on the shelves of nearly every Israeli bookstore. Readers seeking S.Y. Agnon's writing can access several editions of his novels, novellas and short stories. Except one: the first edition of his first book. This year, on the 100th an- niversary of that book's publi- cation, an Israeli organization is searching for the first copies of Agnon's first novella, "And the Crooked Shall Be Made StraighL" An unusual tale lies behind the book's first printing: Yosef Haim Brenner, who in 1912 was a more prominent Hebrew author than Agnon, liked the latter's writing and sold a pair of suspenders to fund the novellas publication. At the time, Agnon had published popular short stories but no longer works. Brenner printed 50 editions Courtesy Agnon House S.Y. Agnon, the only Israeli author who has ever won the Nobel Prize for Literature, published his first novella a century ago. of the novella in Jerusalem, national library End the other sending 30 to a small com- in the Agnon family's private munity of Hebrew speakers in collection. New York who had emigrated Agnon House, the group fromAgnon's native Galicia, an that maintains the author's area that overlaps the border Jerusalem home as a museum, of present-day Poland and is on a mission to find others. Ukraine. Although the writer, who A century later, just two died in 1970, lived in Jerusa- of those 50 editions have iem, "And the Crooked Shall been located: one in Israel's Be Made Straight" is among FIRST WE LISTEN... THEN WE DELIVER! LET MY 41 YEARS OF INSURANCE EXPERIENCE REVIEW YOUR COVERAGES A ND DESIGN A PACKAGE THAT PROTECTS YOUR BUSINESS BY MEETING YOUR SPECIAL NEEDS! All Forms of Insurance Products for Business Retailers, Manufacturers, Contractors, Service Industries, Restaurants, Child Care, Physicians, Attorneys Call Today To Schedule An Appointment At Your Convenience | Marshall L. Helbraun Representing The Sihle Insurance Group, Inc. An Independant Insurance Agency Phone: 1-800-432-6652 (407) 761-3521 (cell phone) his few works thatwere printed there. "We saw a lot of symbol- ism in this." said Eilat Liber. director of Agnon House. "He wanted to live in Jerusalem• In his [1966] Nobel Prize speech, he said he felt 'as one who was born in Jerusalem.' "" even though he was born in Galicia. The hunt has taken Liber far from Agnon's beloved city, with Agnon House searching the United States for books. The search has yielded noth- ing not even a few leads, although Liber hopes to find copies in American libraries and private collections. • During a cursory search, JTA was able to locate copies of a later 1912 printing of the book from Jaffa at Brandeis and Hebrew universities but not a first edition. The search is one of a few efforts this year to celebrate "And the Crooked Shall Be Made Straight," which follows a childless couple through tragedy inAgnon's native town of Buczacz, in present-day Ukraine. The novella's first English translation is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Michael Kramer, the trans- lator, praisedAgnon's rich and intricate language. Agnon's writing in the novella and in later works is laden with allusions to the Talmud, Midrash, Bible and Chasidic tales. Using the book's first edi- tion, Kramer said, will allow him to translate with greater accuracy and better knowledge of Agnon's intent. "When I started translating the book, it was clear that it was a kind of mission impos- sible," said Kramer, a profes- sor at Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv, "On the one hand, I wanted to create a text that would render the story in an interesting and accessible way, but on the other hand, reading The opening pages of a 1912 copy of S.P. Agnon's first novella, 'And the Crooked Shall Be Made-Straight.' Agnon in Hebrew demands the That world may seem alien kind of cultural literacy that is to today's readers, but Alan untranslatable." • Mintz, an Agnon expert and To stay faithful to Agnon's translator, said that "And the textual references, Kramer is Crooked" was revolutionary using the King James Bible to Hebrew readers a century and legalistic, Talmudic lan- ago, when most books about guage. He believes the story, Eastern Europe satirized life despite the esoteric nature of there. Agnon's writing, is relevant to "He took a chance writing American Jews. his first longerw0rk goingback "It reminds me of [Na- to Eastern Europe and show- thaniel] Hawthorne's 'S~arlet ingthatthisisaworldinwhich Letter,'" Kramer said. "What serious ethical and human Hawthorne did for Puritan • dilemmascouldbeportrayed," New England, Agnon did for said Mintz, a professor at the 19th-century Jewish life in Jewish Theological Seminary Galicia. It's a story aboutthe in New York, constancy of life that will at- While the translation's pub- tract all readers." lisher, Matthew Miller, thinks ThewindowAgnonprovides Jewish readers will enjoy into the world of Eastern Eu- the novella, he expects that ropean Jewry Also has begun many copies will be bought to attract a new generation of for college classes on Hebrew Israeli readers to the author, literature. says Liber. " Miller's Toby Press has pub- "For many years, Israelis lished some of Agnon's more didn't want to know about well-knownworks, suchas"To. Jewish life in the exile, and now This Day" and"A Simple Story." there's more interest in Yid- Lamentingadeclin¢inJew- dish and in the generation of ish literacy among American Agn0n," Libersaid."Israelis are Jews most likely to read novels, going to Poland and Ukraine Millerhopesthatthisbookwill not because of the Holocaust introduce readers to the wide but to see the synagogues and variety of Jewish texts. shtetls." "Itwould be nice ifa modern In another aspect of the AmericanJewishreaderwou!d celebration, Liber plans to discover that Jewish literacy," lead a trip to Galicia to explore Miller said."MaybeAgnon will Agnon's roots, be a spur to regain it." v