From left: Sara Koval, Shelly Shotel and Judy Szekely were the top three players in Congregation Adath Jeshurun's mah-jongg tournament this past spring. Shotel won first place. Top players won prizes that were donated from local businesses.
Along those lines, the 1997 documentary "Mah-Jongg: The Tiles That Bind" chronicles the game's impact on the lives of Asian and Jewish American women. According to filmmaker Bari Pearlman, the ritual of the weekly game, particularly among longtime groups, fosters strong bonding between members. Over time, she asserts, whether on child-rearing, personal issues or even illness, the group effectively becomes the core of "advice-givers on critical family matters."
"I have been playing with the same group of girls for 16, 17 years," Dunn says of the league she is a member of at Congregation Shir Ami in Newtown. "You get to know