I was in the best place I could be that day 50 years ago — Nov. 22, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
It was shortly after 11 in the morning, Pacific Standard Time, and I was hunkered down behind a typewriter in a small office on the 9th floor of the Embassy Hotel in Los Angeles, editing the next edition of the Student Statesman.
It was an eight-page, advertisement-free, political advocacy tabloid aimed at college students. It had a circulation of 40,000. I essentially produced the Student Statesman by myself.
Suddenly, Dale Collins, who managed Wings of Healing, the organization that published the newspaper, poked his head through the door.
“President Kennedy has been assassinated,” he said softly. And then he was gone.
I sat stunned for a few minutes. Finally, I walked down a hall toward a room at the other end of the building.
I knew I would find solace where several employees were silently praying.
I was the only Jewish employee at Wings of Healing, an international, interdenominational Christian organization involved in a variety of religious initiatives aimed at spreading the Gospel.
There was a time decades ago when I could not conceive how I could be at that place at that time, how I could be hired and spend 16 months at Wings of Healing. But eventually I made sense of it.
Two of the four daily newspapers in Los Angeles had merged a few months earlier, as I was getting my degree in journalism. Hundreds of seasoned journalists were unemployed. Finding a newspaper job in southern California was nearly impossible.
One morning shortly after I graduated, I noticed a small ad in the Los Angeles Times. An unnamed organization wanted someone to edit a monthly newspaper.
I sent a resume and cover letter. Three days later, Collins called and I learned the organization was Wings of Healing, founded by Dr. Thomas Wyatt. Collins and I agreed to meet the following Saturday morning.