After 15 years of summer day camps, Orange County families finally have a resident camp option of their very own. The Merage Jewish Community Center in Irvine is in the process of signing up campers, ages 7 to 16, to fill 110 spaces available for Camp Yofi, a sleep-away camp at Angelus Oaks in the San Bernardino Mountains.
Oz Iluz loved to play goalie on his soccer team, but wasn't too keen on math or the math exam that awaited him. So the 12-year-old didn't really want to get on the small No. 14 bus in Jerusalem on that February morning in 2004.
For generations, Barbie's hourglass "perfect" figure has confounded experts in anatomy, while giving girls a role model of debatable merit.
Now there's a doll whose appearance is more modest, who looks like kids and whose values are distinctly Jewish.
Created by Aliza Stein of Teaneck, N.J., Gali Girls wear clothes that are not made to accentuate their bodies. Accessories include a matching Magen David bracelet for the owner and the doll, a Hebrew and English birth certificate and a separate wooden Shabbat kit that can be painted.
Gali Girls are designed to encourage girls to bring positive Jewish values, such as kindness, respect, and charity, into their doll play, Stein said.
There is something raw about the rough brush strokes in the work of native Israeli artist Rhea Carmi, and about her textured materials, such as sand and stone. But then, there also was a rawness to the tragedy that originally informed and inspired her work.
Jewelry artist Gail Goldin grew up immersed in Jewish culture and scrap metal, a combination that helped inspire her Modern Myths collection.
She comes by this unusual convergence of influences through her father, Steven Goldin, a freedom fighter in Poland who helped fellow Jews escape over the Alps during World War II, before building his own business in the U.S. scrap-metal industry. The family belonged to an Orthodox shul in Detroit, although they weren't Orthodox.
When Goldin put this all together -- stirring in some life experience and a fascination with universal spiritual symbols from world cultures -- she first made silver rings adorned with carved Asian good-luck beads called netsukes. Out of these rings came the idea for her Modern Myths collection. Several Modern Myths pieces combine stones with beads, mounted in ornate bezel designed silver.
Gifts for Grads That Will Make the Grade
Why is this night different from all other nights? For one thing, it's the food -- or, rather, the food that's featured on television. But there's also plenty of food for thought in the form of Passover-related travel and Jewish news features.
Meet Eric Schwartz, the 29-year-old actor, rapper and musician known to his fans as Smooth E. Think a combination of the satire of Weird Al Yankovich with hip rap persona, sort of Eminem with a Woody Allen smirk. He does both straight-ahead rap and parodies of well-known rap tunes, often with a Jewish twist, though he's also willing to get R-rated as the mood strikes him.
It takes more than a sense of rhythm to make a DJ business successful. Being able to mix two songs together seamlessly is a good start, but each act needs its hook -- something that grabs the audience and draws it in.
For Avi Elhiani and Yoni Aviv, both 14-year-old Orthodox day school students, that unique spin comes from the melding of their distinct personalities and drawing from the musical heritage of their Sephardic cultures.
Before the Big Boyz D-Jewz make it to a gig, these young entrepreneurs have a lot to overcome -- heavy schoolwork loads, long hours spent perfecting mixes and dealing with conflicts that inevitably arise in any business arrangement. But when they overcome the obstacles, Elhiani and Aviv can focus on what matters most.
"People wear this jewelry to make a statement," Yael Swerdlow said, "and we hope to make ours."