Cecile du Bois Speaks About The Importance Jewish Education
Cecile du Bois writes 1/5/03: When I was a giddy seven year old girl, so innocent and naive, I asked Daddy to take me to Hebrew School. I thought of speaking a language was simply to purse your lips in an odd manner and make funny noises. I just wanted to go to Hebrew school to learn techniques of how to annoy the adults.
"Daddy," I begged in my then usual voice of whining, "Can I go to Heeeebwew School?"
After much begging, and like he said in the interview earlier with Luke Ford about my Mom, he feared that instead of a progressive education that gradually came to annoy me, he feared a rigid atmosphere where they would march like Nazi commandos, rapping our knuckles for nonsensical reasons.
Well, as he said, he was dead wrong. Dancing (which I hated), singing Jewish songs, and studying Hebrew letters, (which I was slow to learn) was our weekly routine. After my Bat Mitzvah, I wanted to dive into a more rigid Jewish study, not what my temple offered. I wanted to study Talmud, memorize the Gemarrah, and recite the Mishna just like my ancestors did and what the heroes and heroines did in Chaim Potok's Davita's Harp and The Chosen. But of course, being raised a Reform Jew and not living on the west side, I could not do that.
So, here I am, raised a grade in my Sunday School class at [XXX] temple studying comparative religions, debating on Jewish philosphy, and tutoting a lot of Jewish princes and princesses in Hebrew for their upcoming Bat/Bar Mitzvahs. When they whine, in their usual tone, I try to cheer them up by reminding them of their big post ceremonial bashes, where they hire a DJ and basically celebrate the end of their Jewish education, kissing goodbye to their Jewishness forever.
Well, it is not as bad as being stuck with a shrink in a room of peers talking, instead of Judaism, about the secular world-sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll. Why do they talk about those things? Ask them. According to the vice principal, these programs are the only chance of them coming back, and therefore, the only way to save the future of Reform Judaism. When I talked to the ninth graders in my class and what they thought about this, they unanimously agreed that the eighth grade program of "sex, drugs and rock'n'roll" was a bore and that studying Judaism is more interesting.
Agreeing with them, I went to the front office and asked if they could organize another program of studying Talmud if I could get some interested people. I asked around, and as expected, no one was interested. I now stick to the ninth grade program since next year, in the tenth grade, is graduation. Possibly, I could attend a weekly program at a yeshiva, or just study by myself. But now I read the Bible on the Sabbath, and put post-it notes on passages that prove that the Jewish people will survive. Recently, my teacher said that as long there are Hannukah lights burning and the wailing wall in Israel still stands, we will survive. Somehow, as I look at my books which I got for Hannukah, and I think of the rabbis davening before the wall, I believe him, even if my peers are studying sex....drugs...and rock'n'roll.
A Times Writer writes 1/3/03: Dear Mr. Ford:
As a reader of your site - albeit one who finds it to be the equivalent of watching an ugly car wreck - I find the recent postings by XXX and Cecile Du Bois hilarious. I don't know what XXX is doing posting on your site. This person actually knows something about the business of publishing.
In regard to Cecile du Bois, her allegation that your site is well written and the posting of XXX was beneath the quality of lukeford.net is an absurd statement made by someone who wants to stay on your good side. Your site is very poorly written. It is a disgrace not only to journalism, but also to the English language. You make Matt Drudge look like Herman Melville.
The only people in the world who would want to kiss up to you are Jill Stewart and Cathy Seipp, minor talents who have been slavishly praised on your site. I'm guessing that XXX, who overly praised Jill Stewart's physical charms, is either Jill Stewart herself or a husband/boyfriend/lover. Cecile du Bois is just the kind of pompous nom de plume that would come from Ms. Seipp, who, if I recall correctly, had a brief career writing wildly inaccurate gossip about the L.A. Times under the ridiculous alias of Margo Magee.
Mr. Ford, I think you are the victim of a cross-promotion hoax. Your site is disgusting enough without Hollywood hype artists who are desperate for attention promoting their fading images.
Cathy Seipp writes Luke: That this Times writer thinks [XXX] could possibly have come from either Jill Stewart or me -- or indeed from any woman -- shows that this person has a tin ear bigger than Master Cylinder. Ditto for the notion that I (or in fact any adult) is "Cecile du Bois," who may have a big vocabulary and be a lot more observant than this Times writer but is nevertheless just 13 years old.
I realize that no one ever claimed Spring Street was exactly running a brain trust. Still, such ideas make me wonder. I guess the only answer is the one Elaine famously said at the end of "Seinfeld" to one of George's opinions: "Well, that's because you're an idiot."
Cecile du Bois writes 1/5/03: Dear Mr. Ford, Responding to the woman who called me pompous:
Dear Miss/Mrs. Doe, or whatever your surname is, I don't think myself of "pompous". I got my first name from the writer Cecil Adams. My surname is adopted of the writer Henri Pene Du Bois. I merely thought it would help the readers of Mr. Ford's website picture Stewart, Loh, and Seipp more vividly.
I wrote the paragraphs you called "pompous" for fun. I am sorry you did not like it. Mr. Ford's weblog may not be the best written pieces in the world, but you must admit, (I assume you are a journalist of some sort obviously since you are interested in Ford's website), that you are also not the best writer in the world.
Also, keep in mind, that most of the content on Ford's front pages that you probably read are interviews, quotes, and email responses from readers like you. All of the other content, under his links, are articles or essays from his friends, family, and occasionally himself. Therefore, your groundless indication that Ford is a lousy writer can be true to you and to others, but have you read any of his articles? His essays? No, or not enough. Most of the stuff you read are posted on his site and occasionally edited or recited from his perspective. If you ever want to look at his writing and then say that he is a bad writer - with some ground, I encourage you to click under Luke Ford.
Anyway, since I am only 13, as Miss. Seipp said, I must go lollygagging off to bed. Happy New Year, for the sake of it.
Cecile du Bois writes: Dear Mr. Ford, I remember Jill Stewart floating on a raft in the Pasadena Ritz Carlton pool with Cathy and I, as we pulled her around the pool. Since she was very fair and had flaming red hair, we had to keep her in the sun. Cathy and I probably felt like ladies in waiting and Jill, our lady queen. She is smart and clever. She would tell us hysterical and nonsensical instances she heard of like when a principal nearly stepped on a child's head. I would pick up New Times weekly as I would tread out of shops in LA. With her fiery red hair and pale pallor over her humorous wit, I am fond of Jill Stewart.
Sandra Tsing Loh is also a nice witty woman. Mother and wife, she juggles changing diapers, entertaining her friends and touring on her hilarious one woman plays nationally. Her little cheery parties take place beside her backyard pool. Her loyal husband, Mitch*, a musician in his small band, along with her sister, Tonya* help her out. Cracking sarcastic jokes and anecdotes along with Cathy and some other friends, Sandra leads the party.
In response to Mr. X, no, she does not have horrendous table manners. She eats better than the queen of England of herself, and even better than you! Her language is so eloquent and stylized that if she heard of Mr. X, she would be astonished. Her aim is to entertain people and lead a healthy life, not to corrupt reader's minds with garbage. If it were the fifties, Sandra would qualify.
Amy Alkon, with her red curly hair, is your typical fresh in fashion Jew from Detroit. Her mid-west wit and and spunk make her unique and her language, sarcastic with sensitivity. Being around her is better than being well travelled. If you want to go to Paris, but just want the adventure, stay home and hang around Amy. She will tell you stories that will make you cry from laughter. She once had a boyfriend, Gaston* from France. He had a defiant look in his eye that seemed to challenge people with the message "Don't talk to me, I am haughty." But under that veneer, he seemed quite friendly. But, on the other hand, all he would offer was handshake, and a "How do you do?" Amy was quite a character.
Cathy Seipp is perhaps one of the wittiest writers in America, yet she is not well known. She attacks the media under the guise of Margo Magee, yet she later took her guise and attacked the media with full flame. She harms no one and cracks the funny bones of all the educated people in america. She is a born New Yorker yet she stayed and built her nest in LA after ex-husband left her.
Jerry Journalist says she strengthened her exterior after the divorce. She did not grow colder, yet she grew more wary of the world, and did not let people scrutinize her. She wrote better, and was a "don't mess with me" type, yet she would show her soft sides when her friends were around her. She make numerous friends, yet few were true blue. I am a friend of a friend of Cathy, and have known her for almost 15 years.
With her "friends", the people who she was fond of, yet was not interested in, she would take them out to lunch or dinner for etiquette, and would survive 3-4 hours of them. She would later tell me and her other friends how they were not....interesting. I should not really say this, but she sometimes could be insensitive and not know it. Overall, she is a great friend to know.
Cathy has a cousin, who is close to her. Marion Rosenbaum is also a great friend to have. Sometimes I see her at parties, and she is always talking to someone. She is not as well-known as Cathy but she is also talented. She acts in improv plays, and does occasional comics for The La Times. Cathy loves her dearly and Mari comes over for dinner sometimes. She should be a fashion designer, with her vintage outfits and becoming shoes. I saw Mari in a movie about 15 years ago, she has this essence of an actress that is very enjoyable to watch. I wish I could see Mari again sometimes, but she always busy, acting in improv plays around Beverly Hills.
If you really get to know Cathy, or just meet her, she will change your life. With her blue eyes poring over your face, expecting an intelligible answer, she will begin reciting anecdotes that she has told at least 50 other people. I was her roomate for a while, when I got evicted from my apartment in Echo Park, and I would hear her always laughing hysterically until she had a coughing fit, and telling anecdotes about seeing a squirrel or a coyote, and I would laugh in the background, even if it were the umpteenth time. Its just nice hearing Cathy laugh and chat; its a very homey sound.
Her cooking is superb. I still remember the Egg Drop Soup she made on my birthday, and the turkey meatloaf on New Years. The spicy arugula on pasta, and the fresh squeezed grapefruit juice she concocted in the midsummer. I stayed with Cathy for six months, and celebrated special occasions with her. I may not be her closest friend, but I sure am fond of her.
EW's Owen Gleiberman Is A Perv
Cecile du Bois writes 1/15/03: Dear Mr. Ford: I read YM sometimes and in the National Review I read Roman Genn and Rob Long. I didn't like Owen Gleiberman in the EW weekly once. When I was ten, he liked "Quills" the movie about the marquis de sade with kate winslet and geoffrey rush. So, I wrote him a nasty letter of how he was a pervert, and that's how I learned the word "sadistic".
What I think of you: (Someone told me that you want to post something juicy on your site): Well, Luke Ford is clever and sarcastic yet should sometimes not post nasty things from MR. XXX or other writers that are just a waste of space and language on his site. It is abusing the English language and the media by giving in to morons. No offense, Mr. XXX. I have to go because of my violin teacher.