Author Archives: Lindsey Bridwell

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Gwynallen — Rothman

090514_miles-Gwynallen-RothmanMaraji and Richard Gwynallen of Silver Spring and Robin and Damon Rothman of Potomac joyfully announce the engagement of their children, Fawn Willow Gwynallen and Dylan Adam Rothman. The couple met as undergraduate students at Towson University.

Fawn, a former resident of Medford, Ore., and Wachapreague, Va., is the granddaughter of Rosalie M. and the late Russell R. Levin of Philadelphia and Mildred L. and the late Worth B. Allen, originally of North Carolina. Dylan is the grandson of Gloria and the late Edward Katz of Fairfield, Conn. and Annette and the late Morris Rothman of Carle Place, L.I.

Fawn is a senior managing editor at Stansberry & Associates in Baltimore. Dylan is an associate at the Ezra Company in Bethesda and principal of
NMSystems, Inc.

An autumn 2015 wedding is planned.

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A Conversation About Nothing

090514_seinfeldEver wonder who coined the phrase: “Yada yada yada?” What about “double dipping?” “Shrinkage?” Although these terms are now part of English vernacular, that wasn’t always the case.

All three phrases came out of the brain of journalist, comedy writer, TV producer and YouTube host-turned-novelist, Peter Mehlman. Mehlman, a University of Maryland alum, will bring his unique brand of comedy to the Gordon Center for Performing Arts on Sept.18 at 7 p.m.

A Queens, N.Y., native, Mehlman, 58, said that “being funny has always mattered” to him. The decision to attend Maryland came to him while playing basketball one day.

“I stopped mid-game and just thought, ‘I’ve got to get out of here.’” Mehlman said. “All of the N.Y. state schools seemed too rural. I thought it would be good to be on a campus near a big city. Maryland was eye-opening.

“Being around Jews from Baltimore was so different,” he continued. “I think that Jews in Baltimore, and most Jews in the suburbs, have this day-to-day awareness of being Jewish. They don’t take it for granted. In New York, there are so many Jews that you don’t really think about it too much.”

Mehlman said he keeps in touch with many of the friends he made at Maryland. He even plans to see some of them when he visits Baltimore next month.

After graduating, Mehlman took a job as a sports writer for The Washington Post, which led to a position as a writer on ABC TV’s “SportsBeat with Howard Cosell.”

“He was the best,” Mehlman said of the legendary sports announcer. “He was incredibly funny, and you felt you were in the center of the sports universe when you worked with him. He took so much pleasure in his own success. Looking back, it’s quite refreshing. Famous people always complain it’s a burden to be famous. Howard never felt it was a burden. He loved being famous.”

Mehlman remained with “SportsBeat” from 1982 to 1985, when the show was canceled. Afterward, he returned to journalism, writing for publications such as The New York Times Magazine and Esquire, but he was forever transformed when he ran into Larry David, an acquaintance, who told him about a “little show” he was developing with Jerry Seinfeld. The rest is history. Mehlman became one of the show’s longest-tenured writers and eventually its executive producer.

“Working on Seinfeld was like being on the greatest thrill ride of all time. I knew this was something special,” he said. “We were hysterical all the time.”

Mehlman attributed his success on “Seinfeld,” for which he was nominated five times for an Emmy Award and once for a Writers Guild Award, not so much to his talent as to the fact that he behaved “like a mensch.”

“Other writers would make a big tzimmes when there was one little edit to their writing,” he said. “They screwed up their futures.”

As for his favorite episodes, Mehlman said “The Deal,” an episode written by David in which main characters Jerry and Elaine devise a plan where they will be able to have sex but remain friends, “was one of the greatest pieces of writing ever. It was unbelievable.”

Since “Seinfeld” went off the air in 1998 — incidentally, Mehlman liked the final episode — he has kept busy, creating the sitcom “It’s Like You Know” which aired on ABC for two seasons, publishing a collection of his essays called “Mandela Was Late” in 2013 and hosting a 2010 Webby Award-winning YouTube program called “Peter Mehlman’s Narrow World of Sports.” On the show, Mehlman interviews athletes such as basketball star Kobe Bryant and gymnast Shawn Johnson and asks questions he has “always wanted to ask.” An interview might go like this to Kobe Bryant: “What would happen if after a game you said, ‘It wasn’t a team effort. We won all because of me.’ Would the world explode?”

Mehlman’s first novel, “It Won’t Always Be This Great,” will be released this month. The novel tells the story of a middle-aged Jewish podiatrist, husband and father from the suburbs, who, in a sudden fit of anger, vandalizes a local store and sets in motion a highly unexpected turn of events that he shares with a comatose friend.

“I wanted to give it a form where it could become a confessional. He could really express himself, yet, since the friend is in a coma, it’s almost like he is rehearsing telling his story. It’s also about a good marriage,” said Mehlman, who is single. “Everyone is always complaining about his wife. No one ever writes about a marriage that works. It was a good challenge.”

To reserve tickets for this free show, visit gordoncenter.com.

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Cohen — Taubman

090514_miles-CohenArline and Victor Cohen of Reisterstown are happy to announce the engagement of their daughter, Jessica, to Daniel Taubman, son of Betsy and Ross Taubman of Franklin, Tenn.

Jessica is the granddaughter of Victoria and the late Michael Gaer and Ray and Nathan Cohen and is the sister of Stacey Cohen. Daniel is the grandson of Esther and Gilbert Herman and the late Ruth and Jack Taubman.

Jessica graduated from Temple University with a bachelor’ s degree in political science and religion. She earned her Juris Doctor degree from the Emory University School of Law and a master of science in criminology from the University of Pennsylvania. She is an attorney and works as the compliance manager for Employment Background Investigations, Inc. in Owings Mills.

Daniel graduated from the University of Alabama with a bachelor’ s degree in history. He works as the career promotion coordinator for the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine in Rockville.

A September 2015 wedding is planned.

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Perolman — Parkins

090514_miles-Perolman-ParkinsCathie and Gary Perolman of Ellicott City are thrilled to announce the engagement of their daughter, Karen, to Andrea Parkins, daughter of Audrey Mento of Holland, Pa.

Karen graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in Jewish Studies and was ordained as a rabbi in 2010 by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. She serves as associate rabbi at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in Short Hills, N.J.

Andrea received her bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. She works as business development and training manager at The Chefs’ Warehouse, a specialty food distributor.

A June 2015 wedding is planned.

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Israel’s Land Seizure

 Children play in the streets of the settlement of Gvaot on Sept. 2. Two days earlier the Israeli government declared part of the settlement,  located near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, as state land.  (Miriam Alster/Flash 90)


Children play in the streets of the settlement of Gvaot on Sept. 2. Two days earlier the Israeli government declared part of the settlement, located near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, as state land.
(Miriam Alster/Flash 90)

TEL AVIV — In the days after the war in Gaza concluded, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to bear left.

He spoke of a “possible diplomatic horizon” for Israel on Aug. 27 and suggested a return to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Reports emerged that Netanyahu had met secretly in Amman with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

But on Sunday he took a sharp right turn, seizing nearly 1,000 acres in the West Bank as state land near the Etzion settlement bloc. The move is a prerequisite for settlement expansion and prohibits Palestinians from using the land for building or agriculture.

According to Israeli reports, the government seized the land in response to the nearby kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in June.

The land seizure — Israel’s largest in decades — drew condemnation from the Israeli left and from the international community. The U.S. State Department said it was “counterproductive” for the peace process. In a statement, the left-wing NGO Peace Now called the move “proof that Prime Minister Netanyahu does not aspire for a new ‘Diplomatic Horizon.’”

“Israel is trying to be territorially maximalist in the area and to deny territorial contiguity to the Palestinians,” said Hagit Ofran, the head of Peace Now’s Settlement Watch. “The message of this act is clear: The inclination of Israel is not to peace and compromise but to continuation of settlement.”

But some experts said that though the move hurts Israel diplomatically, critics overstate its importance on the ground. The area is a strip of land
adjacent to the West Bank that Israel intends to keep under any peace deal. Declaring it state land was, they said, a way for Netanyahu to placate his
allies on the right after opposing their suggestion to depose Hamas during the Gaza war.

“I think it falls in a certain pattern,” said Michael Oren, Israel’s former ambassador to the United States. “The government does something that is unpalatable to the right wing, whether it be making concessions in the peace process or, in this case, agreeing to a cease-fire in Gaza, and then it attempts to palliate the right by building in Judea and Samaria or, in this case, reclassifying land.”

According to Maj. Guy Inbar, spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces’ Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the seizure is only the first step toward a potential settlement expansion.

Palestinians who claim the land have 45 days to challenge the decision in Israel’s courts. If the appeals fail, the government still has to make an additional decision to legalize building there before any construction can begin.

An illegal Israeli settlement outpost, Gvaot, already sits on a portion of the land. Several surrounding Palestinian villages, according to Ofran, have laid claim to the land. But Inbar said an Israeli investigation found the land has not been used for decades.

Netanyahu has backtracked before on settlement expansion plans following international criticism. In 2012, Netanyahu announced Israel’s intention to build in an area known as E1, which sits between the Palestinian cities of Bethlehem and Ramallah, as well as between Jerusalem and the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim. The United States opposed the plan, and nearly two years later the land sits empty.

But Sunday’s seizure does prohibit Palestinian use of the land. And Israeli politicians and commentators have criticized Netanyahu for alienating Abbas and Israel’s allies just as the sides could have restarted peace talks following the Gaza cease-fire agreement.

“[The] announcement, which wasn’t brought to the Cabinet, regarding 900 acres of land for building in the Etzion bloc harms the State of Israel,” Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid of the centrist Yesh Atid party said Tuesday in a speech. “Maintaining the support of the world was already challenging, so why was it so urgent to create another crisis with the United States and the world?”

Meanwhile, the future of peace talks remains unclear. Negotiations ended in April after nine months as Israel reneged on a scheduled release of Palestinian prisoners. Abbas responded by applying for Palestinian accession to a range of international treaties, and talks collapsed as Abbas formed a unity government with Hamas.

According to reports, Abbas said he won’t return to talks unless Israel proposes a border in their initial stage. Should Israel refuse, Abbas reportedly plans to turn to the United Nations Security Council to call for an Israeli West Bank pullout.

Palestinian officials also threatened recently to apply for membership to the International Criminal Court, which could allow the Palestinian Authority to sue Israel for settlement building and allegedly violating Palestinian rights. But Abbas has yet to submit the application.

“Given that there’s no negotiations, trust with the P.A. and Abbas is not at a premium,” said Jonathan Rynhold, a senior research associate at Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. “If [Netanyahu] offers a fairly generous territorial offer, this will be irrelevant.”