Jewish Journal

David Finnigan

  • Interest Increases as Deadline Nears

    May 11, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Susie Tiffany of Beverly Hills suffers from a rare blood disorder and needs monthly infusions of blood components, which her insurance company ultimately declined to cover. She hoped the government's new prescription drug benefit would help her out because, despite her ZIP code,...

  • Community Briefs

    March 23, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Reclaimed Art to Be Shown at LACMA

    Five paintings by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt will be exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) from April 4 to June 30, following a seven-year battle to return the Nazi-looted art to its legal owner, Maria Altmann, a Cheviot Hills...

  • Community Briefs

    February 23, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    'Munich' Still Topic of Debate

    Even with Republican sponsors and a largely Republican audience, the panelists at a recent discussion on Steven Spielberg's "Munich" covered most of the spectrum from left to right.

    At the event, held at Pepperdine University's School of Public Policy...

  • Cartoon Riots Spark Sweet Backlash

    February 16, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    In the wake of a Danish newspaper's decision to publish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad, Danish flags and embassies are beset by violent protesters in heavily Muslim countries. But a chocolate store in the windmill-filled, Danish American tourist village of Solvang has...

  • Hamas Win Brings Mixed Reaction

    February 2, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Two days after the terrorist group Hamas swept last week's Palestinian elections, Rabbi Steve Jacobs ended Shabbat services at Kol Tikvah in Woodland Hills with this striking comparison.

    "Mr. Begin was a terrorist, Mr. Shamir was a terrorist, Mr. Sharon was a terrorist," Jacobs said...

  • Messianics Gather for National Meeting

    January 26, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    A Christian megachurch whose clergy has worked with local Jewish leaders in recent years to support Israel gathered last weekend to celebrate Jews who proclaim Jesus as the messiah.

    About 1,100 people attended the Jan. 20-21 Road To Jerusalem conference, which took place at...

  • ‘One People’ Adopts Novel Plan on Book

    January 26, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Rabbi Brian Schuldenfrei knew his congregants at Westwood's Sinai Temple loved reading when about 20 of them braved the evening rush hour last November for an event at the University of Judaism (UJ) celebrating the 1939 talmudic novel, "As a Driven Leaf."

    "This was sandwiched in...

  • Wake Up and Smell the Fish

    January 5, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    For UCLA geography professor Jared Diamond, the fall of a great civilization can come down to fish.

    "Fish prices have tripled; fish form a significant part of our diet," Diamond told The Journal. "At the rate we're going, most of the world's major fisheries will be gone within a...

  • So Much to Learn, So Little Time

    January 5, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Gina Gross would like to attend Jewish adult-education classes, but at the moment, she has a hard time even talking about how much she'd like it. The Beverly Hills licensing consultant briefly puts down the phone and turns lovingly to her 7-year-old daughter: "Dani, buzz off!"


  • Community Briefs

    December 22, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Wolpe Out of the Running for JTS Head

    Rabbi David Wolpe has removed himself from consideration for the job of leading the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York. Wolpe, of Sinai Temple in Westwood, had been widely considered a front-runner for chancellor at JTS, the central...

  • Nation & World Briefs

    December 15, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Jews React to Williams' Execution

    Rabbi Steven Jacobs was home late Monday night watching TV coverage of the execution of Crips gang co-founder Stanley Tookie Williams, and he was glad he wasn't at the loud candlelight vigil outside San Quentin State Prison.

    "The sideshows on both...

  • L.A. Enters the Season of Mitzvot

    December 15, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Christmas Day is the day of the year which some Jews often fill by doing some mitzvah volunteer work, then enjoying Chinese food and a movie. But that annual mitzvah-Chinese food-movie ritual is being put aside this Dec. 25 for Chanukah.

    "Chanukah makes it a big deal because now Jews...

  • Cantor Glickman Returns to Israel

    November 24, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Cantor Binyamin Glickman, who taught generations of Los Angeles children to love God through music, is returning home to his beloved Jerusalem.

    Ask him what he will see from his flat there and the 70-year-old smiles.

    "The cemetery of Mount Olive, where grandparents are buried and...

  • Rescued Souls and Torahs Meet at Shul

    November 17, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Leo Baeck Temple in Bel Air hosted an unusual commemoration of Kristallnacht, the event that is often considered the beginning of the Holocaust. Instead of focusing on mourning, the gathering last weekend was marked by raucous joy and a sense of reunification.

    The central symbolism...

  • Groups, Shuls Fundraise for Tsunami Aid

    November 13, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    Cantor Alison Wissot of Temple Judea felt the pull of the Asian tsunami at a Friday morning meeting of the women's group at her Tarzana Reform shul.

    "There was an outpouring of, 'This is so awful,' 'How do we deal with this event?' 'How do we not feel helpless?' 'How do we just do...

  • Wonderful World of Weird

    November 10, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    It was at the end of Yom Kippur services in North Hollywood that comic actor Larry Miller explained to a Journal reporter his new role on ABC's eye-winking drama, "Desperate Housewives."

    Said Miller, smiling broadly: "I play the neighborhood pornographer!"

    Not quite. Miller and...

  • Seniors Seek Loving Hands, Home

    November 10, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    When Arden Realty Chairman and CEO Richard Ziman's elderly father was beginning to fade about 10 years ago, the father made a simple request.

    "'If I begin to lose it, take me there,'" said the father, as recounted by his son. "'I will never be in better hands and with better people...

  • ‘350’ Exhibit Spends Winter at the Skirball

    October 27, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    In 1927, a popular duo called The Happiness Boys had a hit song called, "Since Henry Ford Apologized to Me," which lampooned the car magnet's supposed contrition for the anti-Semitic content of his newspaper, The Dearborn Independent.

    Its catchy lyrics proclaimed:

    "I was sad and...

  • Filmfest Seeing Red

    October 20, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Conservative filmmakers will invade West Hollywood this weekend for the second annual, Bush-loving Liberty Film Festival, with WeHo's Pacific Design Center becoming a haven to some Jewish entertainment names who vote red while living among the blue.

    "It's a film festival with a clear...

  • Sen. Clinton Talks Forgiveness in L.A.

    October 20, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke about forgiveness at Yom Kippur services in Beverly Hills, closing out what became a safe and reflective High Holidays for the Southern California Jewish community.

    "Forgiveness has little or nothing to do with fairness," Clinton said in a...

  • Messages of Meaning on Rosh Hashanah

    October 6, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Southern California rabbis used their Rosh Hashanah pulpits to speak on globalization, Africa's drought-ridden refugees and America's hurricane-drenched evacuees as well as Israel's Gaza pullout.

    "This was a terrible year. 5765 was a terrible year!" said Rabbi Elazar Mushkin of the...

  • Community Briefs

    September 29, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Soulful 'Hatikvah' Ends Wiesenthal Farewell

    It was an unscripted, final moment that may have best captured the Monday memorial at the Museum of Tolerance for Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, who died last week at age 96.

    The ceremony had been held outside. As long lines of mourners...

  • Holidays, Arrests Add to Terror Fears

    September 22, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    When she looks out from the bimah, Rabbi Zoe Klein of Temple Isaiah sees mostly known faces, but occasionally there is the odd or unknown person who could be trouble.

    For such an occasion, Temple Isaiah and other Southern California synagogues have installed panic button-style...

  • Going in After Katrina

    September 15, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    After a catastrophe like Hurricane Katrina, sometimes an aid worker helps by delivering a baby, sometimes the job is just delivering a cheeseburger -- or perhaps a thousand cheeseburgers. And sometimes the simple act of providing a yarmulke to an old man can provide solace.

    So it was...

  • An Ode to Parents and Other Strangers

    September 15, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    When Paul Reiser co-created and starred in the 1990s hit sitcom, "Mad About You," -- about a secular Jew married to a Christian -- he helped spur a new trend in TV comedy: the cute but neurotic Jewish leading man. Along with Jerry Seinfeld and Richard Lewis ("Anything But Love"), he...

  • Southland Responds to Relief Needs

    September 8, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Prominent rabbis have been urging their congregations to give generously to Hurricane Katrina relief funds, the most prominent being one set up by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, which had raised more than $500,000 by early this week.

    The scope of the disaster is...

  • Service Reaches Out to Jews by Choice

    September 8, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    It fit somehow that this recent Saturday service for converts to Judaism took place in a synagogue library. Because this gathering, at Temple Beth Am near Beverly Hills, was both an exercise in worship and in teaching. Maybe it even fit that this was a children's library, because...

  • Exodus of Family Hits a Low Note

    September 8, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Earlier this summer, Shana Leonard gave up her Fairfax District apartment to move to New Orleans and be near her 82-year-old father, legendary jazz photographer Herman Leonard. But late last month, the 33-year-old single mother, who also cares for her wheelchair-bound 10-year-old...

  • Torah by Numbers

    August 25, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Long before "The Da Vinci Code" dominated bestseller lists, a cluster of Jewish mathematicians were promoting "The Bible Codes," the deeply mathematical interpretations of the five books of Moses which may, vaguely, predict some future events.

    And yes conspiracy theorists, the...

  • Gaza Protests in L.A., N.Y. Prove Mild

    August 18, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    A rally planned for last weekend outside the Los Angeles Israeli consulate to protest this week's Gaza settler pullout was canceled, but in its place arose a somber gathering of about 70 people.

    "Nothing organized -- just people coming together and crying together and expressing pain...

  • War of Words and Ads Over Gaza

    August 11, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    In Israel, settlers are facing off with soldiers as the date nears for the mid-August withdrawal of Jews from Gaza. In the United States, that conflict is playing out in rhetoric as supporters and foes of disengagement buy ads and opponents plan a final local rally.

    Supporters of...

  • Gaza Settler Pullout Protest Draws 500

    July 28, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    More than 500 demonstrators, mostly Orthodox Jews, gathered in front of the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles last weekend to oppose Israel's planned, upcoming pullout of settlers from Gaza.

    The two-hour Sunday afternoon rally drew the largest gathering yet of several recent...

  • Unspeakable Acts, Incredible Pictures

    July 14, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    A large, striped blue-and-white flag bearing the phrase, "Liberation!" greets visitors at the Museum of Tolerance exhibit, "Liberation! Revealing the Unspeakable," about the Allied soldiers and the starved, dying and dead Jews they discovered while liberating concentration camps.


  • Real Early Retirement

    June 30, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    TV comedy writer Rodney Rothman spent six months as the youngest resident of a largely Jewish retirement community in Florida, gaining insight into his own aging process for his book, "Early Bird: A Memoir of Premature Retirement."

    "I'm Jewish. I'm gonna end up in Florida anyway ......

  • Community Briefs

    June 23, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Decoding a 'Right' Supreme Court

    Two prominent federal judges presented different portraits of the U.S. Supreme Court's future to an audience of several-hundred Jewish lawyers at the Beverly Hills Hotel last week.

    The June 15 forum, titled, "Where Will Another Right Turn Take Us?"...

  • Briefs

    June 16, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    An Arrest, a Verdict, a Settlement

    FBI agents and U.S. postal inspectors this week arrested a man for allegedly mailing out at least 52 manila envelopes containing syringes to a handful of Jewish residents, a hospital and a congressional office.

    Federal agents took Stanley C....

  • Sudan Support Marks Memorial Day

    June 2, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Two events about two distinct crimes against humanity -- both in Sudan -- attracted strong Jewish community interest during the Memorial Day weekend.

    At least 600 Southern California Jews attended synagogue services around the Southland on Thursday evening, May 26, marking an end to...

  • Briefs

    June 2, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    PETA Apologizes for Shoah Comparison

    The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has apologized for its eyebrow-raising, 2-year-old "Holocaust on Your Plate" campaign, with PETA's leader stating, "it was never our goal to humiliate the victims" of the...

  • Camp Adjusts to Life Away From Parent

    May 26, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    This will be Camp JCA Shalom's first summer away from home. For the first time in its 54-year history, the Malibu camp is independent, having broken away from the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles (JCCGLA) in January.

    Life after the centers crisis hasn't been easy for...

  • L.A.‘s ‘Big’ Sunday

    May 19, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Between 35,000 and 40,000 people spent Sunday, May 15 at Woodley Park in Van Nuys for the annual Israel Independence Day festival.

    The festival's early afternoon main event featuring pro-Israel speeches and politicians lasted exactly one hour; on the last note of "The Star-Spangled...

  • Rites Mark Shoah, Camp Liberators

    May 12, 2005 | 8:00 pm


    Rain and clouds greeted Southern California's annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, while sunshine welcomed a gathering of World War II veterans and the Shoah survivors whom they liberated from concentration camps.

    "Our remembrance ensures that the truth never will be forgotten; this...

  • The 411 on the 818’s Israel Fest

    May 12, 2005 | 8:00 pm



    •What, Where and When: The 17th annual Israel Independence Day Festival celebrating Israel's 57th anniversary on May 15, from 10 a.m.- 7 p.m., Woodley Park, Van Nuys (between Burbank and Victory boulevards).


    •Price: Admission is $5. Kids under 6 get in free.



  • A Yiddish ‘Fiddler’ to Honor Aleichem

    May 12, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Actor and Yiddish-language true believer Theodore Bikel grew up in prewar Europe, with German as his first language and Yiddish a quick second, partly due to his father reading his family Sholom Aleichem stories every Tuesday night.

    "He picked the night," said Bikel, now 81 and set...

  • Abraham’s ‘Children’ Connect at Seder

    May 5, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Rare is the Passover seder that includes an Islamic call to prayer. But in the middle of this interfaith celebration, Muslim guests excused themselves momentarily from the third-floor banquet hall of Wilshire Boulevard Temple to pray in the hallway outside.

    Jews in attendance...

  • Holiday of Freedom Spent Behind Bars

    April 28, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    The high concrete walls of the little-used cafeteria at the Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles hardly spoke to Passover’s concept of freedom found and bondage ended. But this is where a dozen inmates gathered for their seder, in a setting that cried out Egypt rather than the...
  • Spectator

    April 14, 2005 | 8:00 pm


    Temple Shalom for the Arts has a little part of its soul in Los Angeles gospel, when the independent congregation will host the pre-Passover Shared Heritage of Freedom service at the Wilshire Theatre on April 15.

    "There was a real need to get the Jewish and African American...

  • L.A. Rabbis Voice Praise for John Paul II

    April 7, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Pope John Paul II died at 9:37 p.m. in Rome, which was 11:37 a.m. Saturday in Los Angeles -- in the middle of Shabbat -- at the same time that Rabbi David Wolpe talked to his Sinai Temple congregation about a pope who deserved the gratitude of the Jewish people.

    "Although we...

  • Artists Converge After ‘The Passion’

    March 31, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    Christian children wearing their Sunday best for last week's Easter services understandably could forget, amidst their Easter egg hunts, that the Last Supper of Jesus was a Passover seder.

    But in this season of Easter and Passover, connections between the holidays has inspired...

  • Q & A With Walid Shoebat

    March 10, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    "I truly hate my job," said ex-Palestinian terrorist Walid Shoebat. As a child, Shoebat was indoctrinated into hating Israelis, but as an adult he now travels extensively speaking out against terrorism. The Bethlehem native and Arab Christian lives in Northern California with his...

  • Super Sunday Calls Raise $4.6 Million

    February 17, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Frank Ponder put in a long, fruitful day at the Feb. 13 Super Sunday annual fundraising campaign, helping gather the phone-driven dollars that became part of more than $4.6 million pledged that day for The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.

    Last year, the Federation raised...

  • Down Terror’s Deadly ‘Road’

    February 10, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    Portland author Anne Marie Oliver has seen suicide bombers and other Palestinian extremists up close, and she says the cultish world of the terrorist group Hamas has "its own momentum and driving force and it has nothing to do with almost anything else."

    Oliver and co-author Paul...

  • Ugandan Rabbinic Student Up for Grammy

    February 10, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    University of Judaism rabbinic student Gershom Sizomu is deciding what he and his wife will wear to the Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 13. "I'm confused," said Sizomu, 35. "Some people say I should put on Ugandan clothes; others say I should put on a tuxedo."

    Red-carpet choices...

  • Nonprofits Refocus 2005 Funding Efforts

    January 27, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    At the Israel advocacy group StandWithUs, executive director Roz Rothstein can look back wistfully on a seemingly more innocent time when fundraising was less convoluted for the four-year-old group.

    "Life was simple when we had one brochure, one Web site and two or three people...

  • Jewish GOPs Descend on D.C.

    January 27, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    Southern California Jewish Republicans saw history up close at President Bush's inauguration, attending not only his swearing-in but numerous social events including a pre-inauguration dinner for the president where a local Chabad rabbi lit the candles

    "I was shocked at how many...

  • Safe Harbor From Shoah in ‘Shanghai’

    January 13, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    Boys can be squirrely when any adult visits a classroom to lecture. That's why when Ursula Bacon comes in to talk about her Holocaust experience, she tells stories about how she once had a cockroach for a pet, and that she didn't have use of a toilet for eight years.


  • L.A.‘s Jews, Koreans Work to Build Ties

    January 6, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    Shema Educational Institute's Web site shows photos of typical Orthodox Jews: a father studying with his sons, a frum mother holding her infant and a man unrolling a Torah scroll. But in that last photo, the Orthodox man is standing next to a Korean man in traditional Korean dress....

  • A Holiday Redemption

    December 23, 2004 | 7:00 pm


    When my wife left me last year, I was not prepared for how lonely Christmas could be, nor did I realize how Jewish it would become.

    Last Dec. 24, I was alone in the Sherman Oaks townhouse we once shared. I did not buy a Christmas tree; there was no joy in my home that such a tree...

  • African Shoah Lives in ‘Hotel Rwanda’

    December 23, 2004 | 7:00 pm


    When British actress Sophie Okonedo portrayed the wife of a hotel manager who saved more than 1,200 people during Rwanda's 1994 genocide, she worked with 10,000 extras -- including Rwandan refugees living in Johannesburg. Some agreed to be in "Hotel Rwanda's" harrowing scene...

  • Xmas Shabbat Grounds Some Merry Mitzvahs

    December 16, 2004 | 7:00 pm


    Consider this year's fluke on the December Dilemma: Christmas Day usually occurs during the workweek, with Jews often handling this day off by filling Dec. 25 with some volunteer work -- then Chinese food and a movie.

    But the quirks of the calendar find this Dec. 24 falling on a...

  • Windows to the Yiddish Soul

    December 16, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Russia's Yiddish actors, playwrights and poets are some of the oft-forgotten victims of the 20th century's murderous Stalinist purges.

    "It was such a crazy-making situation; one minute they were praised to high heaven and the next minute they were torn down," said Sabell Bender, a...

  • Symphony to Debut Fiery ‘Soul’ Music

    December 16, 2004 | 7:00 pm


    Wayne Hinton is a Methodist, and he understands what Jewish audiences will feel when they hear a performance by the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony.

    "It's like when you hear a Frenchman conducting French music," said Hinton, the symphony's executive director. "It's akin to their...

  • Israel Taps Into Interfaith Tourism

    December 16, 2004 | 7:00 pm


    As Israeli tourism officials focus on their main demographic with seven new tourism DVDs targeting Christian churches, 233 people will travel to Israel on Dec. 20 for the Los Angeles Jewish community's 10-day, post-Chanukah Mega-Mission. The number falls short of the 400 Jewish...

  • The Paintbrush as Sword

    December 9, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Samuel Bak's first art exhibit was in the Vilna ghetto when he was 9 years old. While the Nazis killed 75,000 Vilna residents, he and his mother emerged as just two of 200 survivors.

    Some of that young boy's artwork, which depicted a culture that once was called "the Jerusalem of...

  • Briefs

    December 9, 2004 | 7:00 pm


    Sports Program for Disabled

    When Jeff Liss saw a group of developmentally challenged boys wearing kippot last year at the Third Street Promende, it gave him an idea.

    Liss, a coach with the Westside division of the Special Olympics, had trained and worked with mentally and...

  • Moroccan Jews Get New Center in NoHo

    December 9, 2004 | 7:00 pm


    It was not a typical Los Angeles synagogue banquet. Perfumed blonde women spoke French -- melodic, very pretty French akin to how Brazilians speak Portuguese. Near the long dessert table, businessmen greeted each other with bear hugs, chomped cigars and bent their shoulders in...

  • Singing Klezmer Isn’t Hard to Do

    December 2, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Neil Sedaka is a punctual, polite musical legend, and at 65, he still likes being a mama's boy.

    "I do. I like being protected," Sedaka said. He grew up in a loving Sephardic/Ashkenazic home in Brooklyn, where he practiced piano for hours. It was a sheltered Coney Island Avenue...

  • No Stranger to Strange

    November 18, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    From call girl to Trump girl, actress Lisa Edelstein has played myriad parts on stage and off. Now she's landed a plum role, starring on the Fox TV series "House," an "E.R."-meets-"CSI" drama. The Boston native heads the fictional teaching hospital that houses strangely ill...

  • Rolls of Veterans Groups Dwindling

    November 11, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Seymour Goldman spent World War II with an Army cleanup crew handling mustard gas drums in India.

    "It was a terrible job," said the 83-year-old, a retired TV repairman who lives in Culver City. "When I got out, I just didn't want anything more to do with it."

    For Goldman and...

  • Millions More for Shoah Museum

    November 11, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    The fundraiser in Bel Air featured yellow rose centerpieces on every table. The DJ played big-band tunes, including Bing Crosby's "San Fernando Valley." A gay couple cooed over their infant and Ginna Carter, the 30ish daughter of "Designing Women" star Dixie Carter, traipsed through...

  • Jehovah’s Witness Recalls Nazi Capture

    October 28, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    A 99-year-old Jehovah's Witness who survived Nazi persecution has been touring the United States and giving people a face to put on the usually obscure story of the estimated 2,000 Jehovah's Witnesses killed in the Holocaust.

    Once an Austrian farmhand persecuted in World War II...

  • Briefs

    October 14, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Christopher Reeve, 'Superman' Star and Hero in Israel, Dies

    With his death Sunday night, actor Christopher Reeve of "Superman" fame ended his valiant fight against paralysis at the age of 52.

    Reeve, who became a hero to Israelis during a visit last year, fell into a coma at his New...

  • Episcopal Church Mulls Divestment

    October 7, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Jewish leaders are displeased with another mainline Protestant church's call for divestment of church funds from companies doing business with Israel, with Southern California clergy trying to quell what could be an interfaith nightmare.

    "Obviously one of our fears when the...

  • Body Shop Sorry for Palestinian Award

    October 7, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    The Body Shop, a British-based retailer of personal care products, is apologizing for a 2002 human rights award it gave to a Palestinian group. The action comes after a Los Angeles-based boycott campaign caught the attention of The Body Shop and Jewish leaders.

    Jewish activists...

  • Episcopal Church Mulls Divestment

    October 7, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Jewish leaders are displeased with another mainline Protestant church's call for divestment of church funds from companies doing business with Israel, with Southern California clergy trying to quell what could be an interfaith nightmare. "Obviously one of our fears when the...
  • Episcopal Church Mulls Divestment

    October 7, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Jewish leaders are displeased with another mainline Protestant church's call for divestment of church funds from companies doing business with Israel, with Southern California clergy trying to quell what could be an interfaith nightmare.

    "Obviously one of our fears when the...

  • Episcopal Church Mulls Divestment

    October 7, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Jewish leaders are displeased with another mainline Protestant church's call for divestment of church funds from companies doing business with Israel, with Southern California clergy trying to quell what could be an interfaith nightmare.

    "Obviously one of our fears when the...

  • Quiet Debut for ‘Passion’ DVD

    September 30, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    When Rabbi Harold Shulweis learned that the DVD of "The Passion of the Christ," which debuted on Aug. 31, would be just a bare-bones, no-frills copy of Mel Gibson's controversial movie, the spiritual leader of Encino's Valley Beth Shalom said, "That's very good. I don't think the...

  • New Year Sermons Take Political Turn

    September 23, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Southern California rabbis welcomed 5765 with words both patriotic and angry as they used their Rosh Hashanah pulpits to speak out against indifference, bigotry and other issues large and small.

    "This is a congregation that is passionate about Israel, something of which we should be...

  • Quiet Debut for ‘Passion’ DVD

    September 2, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    When Rabbi Harold Shulweis learned that the DVD of "The Passion of the Christ," which debuted on Aug. 31, would be just a bare-bones, no-frills copy of Mel Gibson's controversial movie, the spiritual leader of Encino's Valley Beth Shalom said, "That's very good. I don't think the...

  • Polito-tainment: Movies as Diatribes

    August 26, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    When Canadian Jewish filmmaker Mark Achbar decided which talking heads would discuss business history in his new, capitalist-critiquing film, "The Corporation," the lineup was a quartet of four Jewish left intellectuals, including Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn.

    "And that wasn't done...

  • Synagogues ‘On Guard’ for Holidays

    August 26, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Sinai Temple in Westwood has spent at least $365,000 annually on increased security since Sept. 11.

    "That's just for my manpower, to have bodies here when the building is open," said Howard Lesner, the Conservative synagogue's executive director, who gleans the extra security budget...

  • Shul Selects Rabbi to Spur Twin Goals

    August 26, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    When Rabbi Jason Van Leeuwen sat for interviews this spring with the search committee at Congregation B'nai Tikvah in Westchester, he was struck by the questions. Normally, search committees ask rabbi finalists to, for example, name their three great strengths and three great...

  • Good Kids,  Bad Revenge

    August 19, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    At the Humanitas Prize awards luncheon in Universal City earlier this summer, Jacob Aaron Estes picked up a $10,000 cash prize honoring the screenplay for his Paramount Classics film, "Mean Creek," which opens this weekend.

    When asked what he would do with the money, the...

  • Campers Display the Write Stuff

    July 29, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Almost every summer day, the Malibu Post Office receives a large amount of mail from the several hundred Jewish campers at Camp Hess Kramer and Camp JCA Shalom, a lot of them letters home written by girls.

    When the 13-year-old girls at Hess Kramer's Cabin Rachel were asked if girls...

  • Small Shul With a Big Heart

    July 22, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    When comedic actor Larry Miller and his wife first went to Studio City's Congregation Beth Meier 11 years ago, the very small shul's Tomb of Rachel architecture was less inspiring than watching elderly Rabbi Meier Schimmel toss one back at L' Chaim time.

    "He pours himself a blast of...

  • A Solemn Day in Santa Monica

    July 8, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Santa Monicans call it "the accident." Upon further reflection, some residents also concede that while this word is accurate, it does not capture the enormity of what happened on July 16, 2003. That day, an 86-year-old man's foot pressed down on the accelerator of his 1992 Buick,...

  • Jew Jokes Not a Joke

    July 1, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    A Jewish teenager in Ventura County has filed a federal lawsuit against the Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD), alleging that his high school coach and teammates repeatedly made anti-Semitic remarks to him and that school officials were indifferent to his complaints.


  • Catholic Teachers Experience Israel

    June 17, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    When John Fitzsimons traveled to Israel this spring, he spent a week away from his students at Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, but as the Catholic teacher said, "They did announcements over the intercom every morning about where I was and what I was doing that day."


  • Reagan Had Strong Ties to Jewish L.A.

    June 10, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    The Reagan Revolution that gave the late president unprecedented national Jewish support had strong roots among Southern California's Jewish philanthropists and political strategists.

    Ronald Reagan's relations with Jews in the 1980s were cemented by his principled support for Israel...

  • Summertime and the Livin’ Is Costly

    May 27, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Day schools are fine for school days. Synagogue is great for Shabbat and High Holidays. But for those weeks when children are in cabins, singing and laughing with friends, Jewish camp is a singular experience of 24/7, full-tilt boogie Judaism.

    "Although I attended religious school,...

  • With Camperships for All

    May 27, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    They are not scholarships but "camperships" in Jewish summer camp parlance. Of the 1,000 campers expected soon at Malibu's Camp JCA Shalom, which is supported by JCCGLA, about 200 parents applied for camperships.

    "It's amazing, in the past few years, the income level of people who...

  • Carpenter Parents Step Up for Kids

    May 27, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    You can hear envy in the voice of Los Angeles City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel. It is a subtle envy but one well known to certain parents in Studio City who, like Greuel and her family, live next to, but not in, "The Promised Land."

    "We're actually just outside the boundary of...

  • Israel Opens Arms to L.A. Vacationers

    May 20, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    A 10-day Los Angeles Jewish community trip to Israel in December caps off what is expected to be a stronger tourist year for the Jewish state.

    The "Mega Mission" trip was originally planned last December as an Aug. 1-10 journey incorporating all denominations, with support from...

  • Israeli Fest Crowd Feels the Heat

    May 6, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Brutal heat was the dominant feature of the May 2 Israel Independence Day Festival in Van Nuys, as 99-degree temperatures kept thousands indoors and away from the sprawling Woodley Park celebration.

    "I think it was the heat," said festival organizer Jerome Goodman, who added that...

  • Israelis Fill Growing Security Niche

    April 29, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    When Holocaust survivor and Los Angeles real estate developer Jona Goldrich wanted to hire security consultants and guards for his vast network of Southern California apartment buildings, he hired Israelis.

    "They are much better because of the training, and the problems they've got...

  • Young and Old Recall Shoah Rites

    April 22, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Southern California Jews and non-Jews marked Holocaust Remembrance Day together at numerous events, including one that saw German teenagers and Jewish and Hispanic schoolchildren under the same tent, listening to their peers recite the words of Anne Frank.

    "It is very emotional,"...

  • The New Color of Rock

    April 22, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Does New York's Orthodox Jewish rock band Blue Fringe have groupies? "It's not really sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll," lead singer Dov Rosenblatt, 22, said. "One father e-mailed us and he wrote it reminded him of 'Beatlemania.'"

    About 4,000 fans attended the Yeshiva...

  • Q & A With Norman Brokaw

    April 15, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Norman Brokaw's first day at the William Morris Agency was July 7, 1943; he has never worked anywhere else.

    The 15-year-old, $25-a-week mailboy was the first mailroom trainee to become an agent, later becoming the agency's chairman of the board. He represented Bill Cosby for four...

  • Redemption!

    April 1, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    On an alcohol-free St. Patrick's Day in the tranquil, grassy courtyard of a Westside recovery house for Jewish drug addicts, a former addict displayed his battle scars from 17 years of relentless freebasing, mainlining, snorting, bingeing, shooting up and coming down. The ex-addict's...

  • ‘L-Words’ in a J World

    March 25, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    The 2000 book "Best Lesbian Erotica" includes Jewish writer Joan Nestle's short story and its provocative, leave-nothing-to-the-imagination title referencing sex with World War II pinup Rita Hayworth.

    "Desire and passion are a very big part of my life. I am a Jewish woman and I...

  • Jewish Groups Meet Bush at Conclave

    March 11, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    President Bush hugged a cantor, listened to an Orthodox high school choir, walked with an addict-turned-rabbi and heard success stories of the Jewish-based Beit T'Shuvah addiction treatment center during his March 3 Southern California visit.

    "We're all realizing that we need to have...

  • First Election Round Goes to Jews

    March 4, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    While most Jewish politicians easily won Tuesday's primary election, four out of six Jewish candidates in Los Angeles County Superior Court judge races survived the primaries, with two Jewish women competing this fall in a tough judge's race.

    California's Jewish legislators who...

  • Jewish Candidates Vie for Court Posts

    February 26, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Jewish district attorneys and subordinate judicial officers are among the 36 candidates seeking to fill nine Los Angeles County Superior Court judge vacancies in Tuesday's primary election.

    One interesting Superior Court race is for Office 69, where the five candidates include two...

  • Q & A With András Simony

    February 26, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    András Simonyi, Hungary's ambassador to the United States, made his first visit to the Museum of Tolerance Feb. 11 to plan a spring memorial marking this year's 60th anniversary of the Nazi deportation of Hungarian Jews in 1944.

    A trim man who speaks in the short but thoughtful...

  • The Goriest Story Ever Told

    February 26, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    USC film student Jennifer Tufaro left Wednesday's midnight screening of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" emotionally drained, her eyes red from tears. She stood in the lobby along with hundreds of the estimated 1,200 people who had just watched the movie on three screens at...

  • VBS Reaches Out With Tunes and Tie-Dye

    February 19, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Jewish tunes, Grateful Dead-style tie-dyed T-shirts and rows of singing, swaying, arm-in-arm Jews gave a summer camp feel to Valley Beth Shalom's (VBS) "25th Hour" event, which marked the end of the Valentine's Day Shabbat.

    Nearly 400 people came to the Conservative Encino...

  • Quiet South Bay Community Speaks Out

    February 19, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    B'nai Tikvah Congregation in Westchester is in the northern tip of the South Bay's small, self-contained Jewish community. Its Manchester Boulevard sanctuary has 204 seats, and as synagogue president Tony Schaffer said, "We bring in a good 40 to 60 people on a Saturday and we will...

  • Q & A With Rabbi Isaiah Zeldin

    February 12, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    If you spend a Saturday afternoon touring Stephen S. Wise Temple with Rabbi Isaiah Zeldin, you will be immersed in the living history of one of Judaism's great, modern temples. Resting atop 18 commanding acres off of Mulholland Drive in Bel Air, the Stephen S. Wise complex houses 11...

  • Q & A With Steve Oney

    February 5, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Los Angeles writer Steve Oney's book, "And the Dead Shall Rise" (Pantheon Books, 2003), details two infamous, unsolved crimes: the 1913 murder of non-Jewish preteen Mary Phagan in an Atlanta factory and the arrest, trial, conviction, death sentence commutation and 1915 abduction and...

  • Let There Be Bart

    January 29, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Do you pray? Do you watch "The Simpsons" religiously? Do you pray while watching Bart and Homer and the rest of the Springfield gang?

    Answer yes to any of these queries and you belong at Sinai Temple in Westwood for its unique, February-March Torah study program centered on the...

  • No Local Plans to Quench ‘Passion’

    January 29, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Jewish leaders are talking -- but also wary of talking too much -- about filmmaker Mel Gibson's controversial religious film, "The Passion of the Christ," opening Feb. 25.

    "My fear would be an overreaction on the part of the Jewish community. It raises, to high prominence, Gibson and...

  • Chasen Forging New Path at Leo Baeck

    January 15, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    When Rabbi Kenneth Chasen came to the Leo Baeck Temple for a final interview with the search committee in the spring of 2002, he put together a sample Shabbat service for about 40 people. During the service, congregation president Robin Bernstein closed her eyes and smiled. A feeling...

  • Non-Jews Provide Key Community Support

    January 1, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    They are security guards, schoolteachers, cooks and banquet hall waiters. They are waitresses, agency and museum executives and walkie-talkie-toting synagogue maintenance workers. There are hundreds of non-Jewish support staff at synagogues and other Jewish institutions throughout...

  • Gaming Hearing Takes Israel Spin

    December 25, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Bingo impresario Dr. Irving Moskowitz is either the hero of Hawaiian Gardens or a prolific and controversial supporter of West Bank settlements, according to wildly differing viewpoints expressed at a Dec. 18 state Gambling Control Commission hearing on his casino license request....

  • Doing Chinese Food and Mitzvahs

    December 25, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Christmas Day found some Southern California Jews volunteering at social service agencies, some working and still others marking the holiday with a Jewish tradition -- eating Chinese food and going to movies.

    Conservative Rabbi Mark Diamond, executive director of the Board of Rabbis...

  • Muslims Fumble on Team Names

    December 11, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    "Intifada." "Mujahadeen." "Soldiers of Allah."

    These names of teams in the all-Muslim flag football tournament in Irvine have upset Southern California Jewish leaders, but engendered varying reaction from local Muslim leaders.

    "You pick something shocking as a young football player,"...

  • Lovin’ the

    December 11, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    For playwright Miriam Hoffman, Yiddish is hardly a dying language. "It just doesn't want to die," said Hoffman, who will teach Yiddish at the Dec. 14-20 intensive language/culture immersion courses at UCLA and the University of Judaism.

    "Yiddish was always a problem since its...

  • Israel Protests Hit Southland

    November 20, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Local activists protesting Israeli policies have expanded this month at various events that have attracted a range of pro-Palestinian activists, scholars and clergy from across Southern California.

    The growing pace of such gatherings reflects a trend among peace activists to...

  • TV Drama Dances To New Beat

    November 13, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    NBC's Sunday night drama, "American Dreams," finds the generally non-Jewish saga's second season storylines, about an Irish Catholic family in 1960s Philadelphia, becoming a bit more Jewish.

    "We have people praying on TV," said "Dreams" executive producer Jonathan Prince, the...

  • Central Coast Home to Holocaust Exhibit

    November 13, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    In a watershed event for the California central coast's small Jewish community, the Santa Barbara Jewish Federation marked the 65th anniversary of Kristallnacht by opening the city's first permanent Holocaust exhibit.

    The opening shows just how far this small Jewish community has...

  • Hispanic Tourists Top Israel Wish List

    November 6, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Israel's Ministry of Tourism, facing a 50 percent drop in tourism since the intifada began three years ago, is making an aggressive push into a fresh territory of potential new tourists: Hispanic Evangelical Christians.

    "We need you in Israel -- we want you to visit our wonderful...

  • A Few Jews Focus on Props, Too

    October 2, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    With a few notable exceptions, Jewish politicians, activists and community leaders are getting into the controversies over Propositions 53 and 54 late and lackadaisically, having focused most of their attention and fundraising efforts on the recall election.

    Proposition 54, The...

  • Israel Falls for Gay Military Romance

    October 2, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    "Yossi & Jagger" is partly a gay love story about two Israeli officers on the Lebanese border. But the 71-minute film's only love scene comes early in a larger, far less romantic story about the contradictions of modern Israel.

    "Yossi & Jagger" has touched Israelis who long for...

  • Just a Peace Rally? Read the Fine Print

    September 25, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    This Sunday's "End Occupation" rally in Hollywood has led Jewish watchdog groups to be concerned about the increasing anti-Semitism of the antiwar movement.

    "How did the antiwar movement become anti-Semitic?" asked Amanda Susskind, regional director of the Pacific Southwest Region...

  • New Books: World Hates Us, Let’s Eat

    September 25, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Solid proof that Jew-hating is on the rise is the number of nonfiction titles publishers are releasing on the subject.

    The human fever called anti-Semitism finds the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) borrowing from the Jewish Defense League (JDL), with the JDL's mantra "Never Again!"...

  • Solidarity Makes for Strange Bedfellows

    September 25, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    "Anybody who supports Israel will be my friend, even though they may be Christian fundamentalists." -- Rabbi Isaiah Zeldin of Stephen S. Wise Temple in Bel Air

    As Israel enters the third year of the Al-Aksa Intifada, L.A. Jews are reaching out to pro-Israel Christians to express...

  • Animal Activists Gone Wild

    September 18, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Holding up grisly posters that juxtaposed images of Holocaust victims next to animals in slaughterhouses, animal rights activists demonstrated Tuesday in front of the Museum of Tolerance.

    While only 10 protesters attended the demonstration, which was staged by the People for the...

  • God’s Conversations With Allah

    September 11, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Documentary filmmaker Ruth Broyde-Sharone's latest work, "God and Allah Need To Talk," will make its Los Angeles debut Sunday, Sept. 14, with the 18-minute film being central to a three-hour interfaith celebration highlighting common bonds between Muslims, Christians and Jews.

    "A lot...

  • Israel to Seek Celebrity Support

    August 28, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Flush with the worldwide publicity generated by this summer's visit to Israel by actor Christopher Reeve, Ambassador Yuval Rotem of the Israel Consulate of Los Angeles said that in September he will "re-embark on this mission, to appeal to some people from the entertainment industry...

  • Dollars and Sense of Jesus Films

    August 21, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Despite Mel Gibson's solid box office reputation, a major Hollywood studio stepping forward to distribute his $25 million Jesus film "The Passion" is not a certainty. The film falls long after Hollywood's era of Bible epics and outside the trend of Jesus movies finding safe homes on...

  • ‘The Passion’ Over Jesus

    August 21, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    "It's a headache that we don't need," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, articulating a central complaint about Mel Gibson's upcoming film "The Passion" and its resurrection of ancient images of Jews and the death of Jesus.

    "I wish the movie...