A UCLA Hillel rabbi accused of accosting a freelance journalist in October 2003 has sent the writer a letter of apology as part of a court settlement. Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, UCLA Hillel director, was accused by Rachel Neuwirth of verbally and physically assaulting her outside Royce Hall, on the UCLA campus, during a speech by Alan Dershowitz more than four years ago.
Etzioni-Halevy has focused her attention on reworking popular biblical stories, making the characters, particularly women, more alive and personable for modern readers.
When Judea Pearl asked composer Steve Reich to create a piece of music that would commemorate the life of his son, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, he knew what he did not want the music to be.
Moses made the first menorah. God commanded him to hammer out an ornate, free-standing, seven-branched candelabrum, replete with cups, knobs and flowers, from a solid piece of gold. Back then, in the desert tabernacle, and later in the First and Second Temple, the menorah fulfilled a largely inspirational and symbolic function. It was lit with the purest oil in an outside area, and it was meant to illuminate the world with the light of God and the Torah.But the menorah has changed over time.
Ohad Naharin, choreographer of Israel's Batsheva Dance Company credits a back injury with helping him develop a new language of dance.
What will Lemony Snicket do now? And who is Beatrice? These are the questions that are setting children abuzz -- a word which here means "something that everyone is talking and guessing about," -- now that "The End" (Harper Collins), the final, 13th book of 13 chapters in Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events," hit bookstores on Oct. 13, which happened to be a Friday.
When Dallet Norris signed on to direct Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" for the fourth time in his career, he decided that the classic Bible tale turned classic musical needed some updating. So, for the new touring production, which opens at the Pantages Theater on June 20, he cast an "American Idol" finalist (Amy Adams from Season Three) as the narrator, gave the characters computers and turned hedonistic Egypt into a South-Beach style party town replete with a sun-glasses-clad Sphinx backdrop -- and the brothers use cell phones to call their father, Jacob, and to deliver the news of Joseph's fake demise.
Biting off more than most of us can chew, husband and wife authors Joel R. Primack and Nancy Ellen Abrams have taken on the enormously ambitious task of tackling that age-old question: How did the world get here, and does our existence really matter? Their new book, "The View From the Center of the Universe, Discovering our Extraordinary Place in the Cosmos" (Riverhead Books, 2006), uses cosmology -- the astrophysical study of the history and structure of the universe - to meld "Meaning" and science to reach a greater understanding of the origins of life.
When Erica Silverman was looking for a subject for her latest children's nonfiction book, she decided to seek inspiration from one of the most famous Jewish writers of all time, Sholom Aleichem.
"Truthfully, my grandfather really was the catalyst for the journey," Brian Bain said in a phone conversation from Dallas, where he relocated after his New Orleans home was damaged by Hurricane Katrina. He was referring to Leonard Bain, a retired traveling hat salesman and silent film editor who was 99, in 2002, when the film was made. The elder Bain has since died at the age of 101.
Welcome to Hip Hop Shabbat.
The three-part "Walking the Bible With Bruce Feiler" follows the recent documentary trend of sending a charismatic host to a series of dangerous or hard-to-get-to places. Accompanied on occasion by archaeologists, scholars, Egyptologists, and theologians, Feiler tracks his way through places in the Middle East where the biblical stories of Genesis and Exodus are assumed to have occurred.
In Myra Goldberg's short story, "Who Can Retell," reprinted in the National Public Radio anthology, "Hanukkah Lights, Stories of the Season" (Melcher Media, 2005), a young girl is concerned that her school's holiday glee club is singling out all the Jewish students to sing Chanukah songs.
There are, according to The Forward newspaper's recently published "Forward 50" -- a listing of the 50 most-influential Jews in America -- at least seven Angelenos whose voices are being heard way beyond the West Coast.
When you think of hip-hop or rap, you don't generally think of jowl-necked septuagenarians or skinny, psyched-out white guys rapping about the tsuris their mother gives them, but then again, you don't generally think of Jews either.
The lyrics are from "King Without a Crown" by Matisyahu, the sensational Chasidic reggae artist whose CD, "Live at Stubbs," is already No. 3 on the Billboard reggae charts. ("King Without A Crown" stands at No. 24 on Billboard's modern rock chart.)
Now, on her latest album "Confessions on a Dance Floor," the track that is receiving the most attention and critical acclaim is one called "Isaac." About a month before the CD's release on Nov. 15, rabbis in Israel claimed the song was about Rabbi Isaac Luria, the 16th-century kabbalist better known as the Arizal, and they blasted Madonna for using his holy name for profit.
Thirty-seven year old Ami Ankilewitz weighs just 39 pounds; he suffers from a rare disease called spinal muscular atrophy, which has prevented his muscles from growing and functioning. As a result, his body is skeletal; his small, fragile bones seem mangled and twisted, thinly covered by skin pulled tight. His eyes stare out dark and black from a gaunt, bony face, which appears too large and too animated for Ami's debilitated body.
For strictly observant women, being Orthodox can often mean putting a kibosh on artistic aspirations. Halachic prohibitions against singing and dancing in front of men means that many women who enjoy those art forms find they have little opportunity to perform.
Enter Margy Horowitz, a Los Angeles-based piano teacher from Chicago who'd heard about all-women's productions in her hometown from a friend. Intrigued, she started envisioning an all-women's production for Los Angeles with women not only just in the cast, but also in the audience.
There is an old Jewish saying that if you change your place, you change your luck. The organizers of the 21st annual Israel Film Festival are putting it to the test.
Don't call Nancy Sher Cohen at home after 8:30 p.m. "One of two things is usually true," the 54-year-old-litigator said. "Either I am asleep, because I am exhausted [from all the work], or I am out because I am working."
Feiler spoke to The Journal by phone while taking a break from moving into his new Brooklyn home, which he shares with his wife and his 6-month-old identical twin girls.
Since the early 1990s, Rabbi Abner Weiss, former rabbi at Beth Jacob Congregation and current rabbi at the Westwood Village Synagogue, has been using kabbalistic tools in his psychology practice. Recently, he published "Connecting to God, Ancient Kabbalah and Modern Psychology," a book that asserts the congruity of the two disciplines.
West Hollywood Book Fair
When actor Steven Goldstein started reading David Mamet's new play, "Romance," he was thrown by the relentlessly foul language.
Reviews of the play, which ran in New York for two and a half months, generally appreciated the humor in the obscenity and racial-epithet laden play. And many in the audience laughed raucously, although others exited the theater by the second act.
Now, L.A. theater patrons will be able to judge for themselves. The play opened this week at the Mark Taper Forum.
Erich Lessing received his first camera when he exited the synagogue from his bar mitzvah in Vienna in 1936.
"There was no idea of taking up photography as a profession," said Lessing, 82, from his house in Austria. "In a good Jewish family in Vienna you would only be a lawyer or a doctor."
When Mark Firestone was searching for a shul to join, he didn't look for a shul that had a nursery school or Hebrew school attached. Nor did he fret about the services he'd be getting for his membership fee. Instead, he wanted a shul that was quiet.
"I wanted it to be very quiet, so you can hear yourself daven, and hopefully Hashem can hear it," said Firestone, a Pico-Robertson life insurance salesman who belongs to Aish HaTorah. "I have been to other shuls where you can barely hear the Torah reading, because people are talking so much. Aish has zero tolerance for people talking in shul."
For many Jews, the High Holidays is a time when they consider joining or renewing their synagogue memberships. However, what attracts them to synagogues, and what rabbis feel is important when choosing a synagogue, is not always the vast array of services that synagogues and temples provide.
Many members and rabbis feel that it is the intangibles -- the atmosphere in the shul or the feeling of community that really attracts people, not the Hebrew school, youth program or adult education that is offered.
Let's face it. Many people go to synagogue on the High Holidays because they have to. A feeling of poorly understood and unappreciated obligation can pervade this time of year. But it doesn't have to. You can put yourself or your children in the spirit and in the know with help from this by-no-means-comprehensive list of titles that elucidate the prayers and customs of the holiday.
"The Song of Hannah" as imagined by Etzioni-Halevy, tells the story of two women -- Hannah and Peninah, Elkanah's other wife -- and its chapters alternate between their two voices.
Simone Bitton, a French filmmaker who has made seven other documentaries about the histories and cultures of the Middle East and North Africa, considers herself an "Arab Jew."
The Middle Eastern fusion music on "Hamsa" is so insidiously infectious and rhythmic that you will not only be humming along but tapping your feet, as well.
Nineteen-year-old Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Cpl. Nachshon Waxman was off duty when Hamas operatives kidnapped him in October 1994.
Robert Berger is a third-generation Angeleno who dares to do the unthinkable in Los Angeles. He actually gets out of his car and studies old buildings.
The very word Siberia evokes a cold, distant place -- it's so, well, Soviet. But Siberia just got a little warmer and a little more Jewish because of San Fernando Valley resident Elaine Berke, who arranged for the b'nai mitzvah of 61 Siberian Jews ranging in age from 12 to 26.
Elaine Romero experienced "a cool fusion of art and life" when she wrote the play "Secret Things."
The play tells the story of Delia, a Latino journalist, who goes to New Mexico to investigate the origins of an anonymous package she received postmarked from there containing articles about Crypto-Jews (that is, descendants of the "Marrano" Jews of the Spanish Inquisition, who openly practiced Catholicism but conducted Jewish rituals in secret to escape persecution). In New Mexico, Delia finds herself mysteriously drawn to the world of Crypto-Jews, and reluctantly comes to terms with her own Crypto-Jewish roots.
When Romero, also a Latino, was writing the play, the same thing happened.
After taking his children to see a pleasant Disney cartoon, Dr. Rob Goldblatt thought there would some animated chatter about the film during the drive home.
"There was level of musical sophistication that goes with the kind of music you can play on the mandolin, and my intention was to start a new acoustic-fusion thing, with an emphasis on string and wind instruments," said Eric Stein, who went on to form Beyond the Pale, a klezmer-fusion band.