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Jewish Journal

Robert David Jaffee

  • Artifact-rich Sports Museum opens downtown

    December 25, 2008 | 4:30 pm

    A T206 Honus Wagner baseball card, one of the rarest in the world. Barry Bonds' 755th home run ball. A handful of infield dirt, the broken champagne bottle used to christen the stadium and the first ball thrown out at Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, in 1913.

    These are...

  • Dodgers hit grand slam in history of Jewish players

    April 17, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    When the Dodgers celebrated their 50th anniversary in Los Angeles on March 29 with an exhibition game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, it seemed almost fitting that a Jewish ballplayer, Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis, would hit a pivotal home run that helped Boston win the...
  • Films: Director examines healing from surgery, grief

    March 7, 2008 | 5:00 pm

    Seated at his office in Beverly Hills, Ben Mittleman, 57, doesn't have a trace of gray in his sandy-brown hair. He says his mother used to kid him that he must have had a "facelift or something," but despite the fact that this veteran TV actor turned director-producer looks 10 years...
  • The living dream

    January 24, 2008 | 7:00 pm

    Artillery rounds launch from Nahal Sorek, an Israeli army base southwest of Jerusalem. The shells land with a series of distant, muted thuds. The artillery brigade, Amud Haesh, named for the torch of fire that carried Moses and the Israelites through the wilderness for 40 years, is...
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  • Theater: ‘The Kid from Brooklyn’ showcases Danny Kaye’s comic cavorting

    January 3, 2008 | 7:00 pm

    "The Kid From Brooklyn," a musical based on the life of Danny Kaye, now playing at the El Portal Theater in North Hollywood, takes us back to the heyday of Kaye (born David Daniel Kaminsky), a versatile performer whose tongue-twisting verbal artistry and physical high jinks have...
  • A ‘Victory Garden’ grows (in Brooklyn) from writer’s fertile mind

    October 25, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    "The Victory Gardens of Brooklyn" by Merrill Joan Gerber (Syracuse Univ. Press, 406 pages, $24.95)
    In the living room of novelist Merrill Joan Gerber's home in Sierra Madre is a harpsichord that is most often played by her husband, a retired Pasadena City College history professor....
  • Artist-Writer Maira Kalman creates illustrated memoir

    October 25, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    When asked why she became a painter and writer, Maira Kalman, author of "The Principles of Uncertainty," an illustrated memoir, says, "I can't do anything else. I clean very well. I'd like to be a maid for the Duchess of Devonshire."

    That Kalman, who will be appearing Oct. 30 at Los...

  • Six activists illuminate ‘Darfur Now’ documentary

    October 18, 2007 | 8:00 pm


    'Darfur Now' trailer
    While the Darfur crisis enters its fifth year, the American Jewish Committee and Warner Independent Pictures have taken a lead in raising awareness of and combating the genocide in the Western Sudan region, where an estimated 200,000 people have been killed...
  • Actor-writer pens memoir of life marred by murder

    October 18, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    "Bigger Than Life: A Murder, a Memoir," by Dinah Lenney (University of Nebraska Press, $24.95)
    For the past 10 years, Dinah Lenney, author of the memoir, "Bigger Than Life," has lived with the memory of the murder of her father, a prominent New Jersey businessman and onetime...
  • Ritual, worship and love: A rabbi/comic and a cantor/actress

    October 4, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    "Let me take you on the tour," cracked Rabbi Ira Rosenfeld, 48, a former standup comic, whose cherubic cheeks and broad smile suggest a better-looking and younger version of Al Lewis' Grandpa on "The Munsters." The tour of Congregation Beth Shalom (CBS) in the Santa Clarita Valley is...
  • Sukkahs become ‘Artful Dwellings’ in a holiday exhibit at the Skirball

    September 27, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Wearing matching light-green pants and jacket and a white hat, Marlene Zimmerman sits on one of the wooden benches of "Joyful Visions: An American Sukkah," her installation currently on view at the Skirball Cultural Center. The artist looks contemplative and at peace under...
  • Flamenco and tango melodies strike Jewish chords

    September 27, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Ethan Margolis, co-founder of Arte y Pureza (Art and Purity), a Seville, Spain-based flamenco troupe, says three influences stand out as soon as you begin reading about flamenco: Sephardic, Arabic and Indian. Margolis, whose company will perform at the Barnsdall Gallery Theater on...
  • Jewish TV Network brings High Holy Days home with Kol Nidre webcast

    September 13, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    It was only a matter of time before hi-tech came to the High Holy Days.

    This year the Jewish Television Network will webcast Wilshire Boulevard Temple's entire Kol Nidre service, the first time viewers will be able to watch such a service live over the Internet.

    "Whether you're in...

  • New Chabad telethon chief follows in his father’s footsteps

    September 8, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Rabbi Chaim Cunin, the seventh of Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin's 13 children, has a strong handshake. That may be hereditary. His father, the spiritual leader of West Coast Chabad for many decades, famously used to arm-wrestle the UCLA heavyweights along fraternity row on Rosh Hashanah....
  • Books: Does a Jew pray in the woods?

    August 9, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    In the past 50 years, the world has become accustomed to viewing Jews as city dwellers terrified of nature. Woody Allen's lobster-fearing neurotic is only the most obvious example of this stereotype.

    Yet Rabbi Mike Comins, author of "A Wild Faith," wants us to know that Judaism...

  • Maccabi Games debunk myths about Jewish athletes

    August 9, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Woody Allen's oft-told joke about the paucity of Jewish sports heroes reinforces stereotypes going back centuries. A noteworthy example comes from sociologist Edward Ross, a Protestant, who about 100 years ago had this to say about Jews: "On the physical side, the Hebrews are the...
  • ‘Big Death’ evokes the muse of playwrights past

    May 31, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Mickey Birnbaum recently spent a year as an Inge Fellow in Independence, Kan., boyhood home of the late playwright William Inge, best known for his 1950s plays, "Picnic" and "Bus Stop." Birnbaum's "Big Death & Little Death," now being staged at the Road Theater Company in North...
  • Joe ‘Master Blaster’ Weider still going strong

    May 3, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Bodybuilding guru Joe Weider, who discovered and trained Arnold Schwarzenegger, among other champions, walks with a slight limp into the second-floor conference room in one of the buildings bearing his name in Woodland Hills. Outside, Tuscan columns of this Greco-Roman building...
  • Feminist ‘Scroll’ unfurled for Weisberg retrospective

    May 3, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Fifteen years since it was last exhibited at the Spertus Museum in Chicago, Ruth Weisberg's "The Scroll," a 94-foot mixed-media painting that encompasses the Jewish feminist narrative in mural form, will be displayed at the Skirball Cultural Center as part of a mid-career...
  • Creativity for a cause

    May 3, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Esther Netter, CEO of the Zimmer Children's Museum, speaks with infectious enthusiasm about her museum's upcoming exhibition, "Show & Tell: The Art of Harmony," which opens Sunday, May 6.

    "Look at what artists can do!" she says in the museum's storage room as she points to the wide...
  • Books: Creative minds at work— business, science and the arts

    April 26, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    "The Nature of Creative Development" by Jonathan S. Feinstein (Stanford Business Books, $34.95)

    With meteoric technological advances presenting many businesses with crises verging on the existential, there is a growing need for nimble minds able to adapt to changes in the...
  • ‘Living Lens’ celebrates 110 years of The Forward in pictures

    April 19, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    The New York Post may be the oldest continuously operating daily publication in the United States, but The Forward, which began publication in 1897 during the waves of Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe, was the first paper in this country to have a national readership. In its...
  • Crossroads School thanks its courageous music man

    April 12, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Crossroads School in Santa Monica might not be where one would expect to find the archived works of a celebrated composer who survived Dachau and Buchenwald, especially when one considers that the Vienna-born Herbert Zipper worked as an educator at a variety of institutions of...
  • Sex and The 30-Something Professional

    April 5, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Before David Rouda became a stage director and writer, he was an internationally ranked rower who placed 17th in the 1999 World Rowing Championships. Rouda, who started training as a sculler at 13, won six Gold Medals at the Maccabee Games and just missed qualifying for the 2000...
  • Theater: ‘Brother Theodore’ back from the dead

    March 29, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Brother Theodore was born Theodore Gottlieb, a well-to-do Jewish German publishing scion whose family was wiped out in the Holocaust. Gottlieb survived Dachau and tried to transmute his pain into a one-man show that gained a cult following. His moniker derived from his ubiquitous...
  • New books chronicle new exodus—Ethiopians’ journey and its aftermath

    March 22, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    "Black Jews, Jews, and Other Heroes," by Howard M. Lenhoff (Gefen; $24.95).

    "The Ethiopian Jews of Israel," by Len Lyons (Jewish Lights; $34.99).

    Roughly 20 years ago, Sudan, whose western Darfur region has been engulfed in genocide for four years, watched another other tragedy...

  • Festival of Arts celebrates a decade of Tel Aviv/Los Angeles Partnership

    March 15, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    In the mid-1990s, following the Oslo peace accords and with the prospect of a thriving Israeli economy, the debate raged in Jewish philanthropic circles about what might change if Israel "was going to grow up and not be a poor cousin," said Lois Weinsaft, senior vice president at The...
  • Films: Truth is key to unlocking genocide silence in ‘Gates’

    March 15, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    The International Court of Justice recently handed down two rulings refusing to characterize the atrocities in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Darfur as genocide. While The Hague is reluctant to use the G-word, filmmakers around the world are not.

    "Beyond the Gates," a BBC production about...

  • ‘Tragic Loss’ documents Israeli astronaut’s ill-fated flight

    March 8, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    Space escapades have been filling the news of late, from the tale of a jealous NASA astronaut stalking her rival to Virgin Galactic's 99-minute trek into space for $200,000. But it is all a far cry from the devastating turn space travel took four years ago, when the space shuttle...
  • Interfaith and intercultural festival to benefit Darfur

    March 1, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    Craig Taubman hoped to draw maybe 5,000 people to last year's inaugural "Let My People Sing," a festival that featured basketball games, musical acts, stand-up comedy and a seder to benefit those living in Darfur. Much to his surprise, it attracted roughly 15,000 attendees and raised...
  • IFF: Tinseltown opens arms and wallets to Israel counterparts

    February 22, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    When it started, the Israel Film Festival was a New York-based institution showing strictly feature films. With executive offices off Wilshire Boulevard near Fairfax Avenue, the festival is now a multicity event that this year will pack in 10 to 11 features, 12 documentaries, eight...
  • Yiddish curtain rises at the University of Judaism

    February 15, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    In a showbiz career that has spanned nearly six decades, Israeli American actor Mike Burstyn has played everyone from Al Jolson and Tevye to Nathan Detroit and P.T. Barnum.

    But for the one-time child actor who grew up in the Yiddish theater with actor parents Pesach Burstein and...

  • Photography: Life during wartime

    February 8, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    "It's terrible being far away," said Israeli-born photographer Elinor Milchan, about watching the news of last summer's Israel-Hezbollah war on CNN or Fox. "They only show you brief moments of terror. They don't show you in-between moments that give you strength."

    Milchan's...

  • David Copperfield makes patients’ cares vanish

    February 8, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    Trails of balloons lead down the hallway to the buffet at the Centinela Freeman Health System, formerly known as Daniel Freeman Hospital, where attendees -- nurses, occupational therapists, patients and the occasional nun -- nosh on skewered meat, cheese and fish, before heading into...
  • A punch-by-punch guide to life

    January 25, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    "Ringside: A Treasury of Boxing Reportage," by Budd Schulberg (Ivan R. Dee, $27.50).

    In a town where industry types seek multihyphenate status, Budd Schulberg is among the only legitimate triple threats, a true literary lion as adept as a novelist and journalist as he is as a...

  • Release of ‘Alpha Dog ’ reopens Markowitz family wounds

    January 18, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    The film, "Alpha Dog," based on the 2000 kidnapping and murder of 15-year-old West Hills resident Nick Markowitz, has received mixed reviews but growing notoriety. The fictionalized Universal release has become increasingly tied to the very case it portrays -- the manhunt for Jesse...
  • Alex Baum: Wheels of a Dream

    December 28, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Alex Baum
    Barri Evins

    Alex Baum

    Betty Neymark

    Eve Marcus

    Fran Rosenfield

    Marilyn Harran

    Noah Bleich

    Rebecca Levinson

    Yehoram Uziel

    Yoram Hassid

    Alex Baum, who will be celebrating his 84th birthday on Dec. 30, fought in the French Resistance, survived two and a half years...

  • Voices of women loud and proud with ‘Vox Femina’

    December 14, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    More than a decade ago, when Gay Men's Chorus director John Bailey lobbied Iris Levine, chair of the music department at Cal Poly Pomona, to start up a parallel women's group, she balked. "It wasn't something I wanted to do," she said over the phone recently, recalling how Bailey...
  • Theater: Troy vs. ‘Tsuris’

    December 14, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    "How should I prepare?" asks playwright Mark Troy after agreeing to an interview the following morning about his new play, "Tsuris," opening Friday, Dec. 22, at the Sidewalk Studio Theater in Toluca Lake. "Should I wear a blue tuxedo?" Although he is not a standup comedian and says...
  • KCRW’s annual Chanukah show lets the light go out

    December 14, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Ruth Seymour, general manager since 1978 of KCRW-FM 89.9, is best known to many listeners for her annual Chanukah program, "Philosophers, Fiddlers & Fools," which will have its final airing on Dec. 15. But Seymour is not stepping down.

    "I'm not retiring," she says over the phone in...

  • Mamma Mia! That’s a Chanukah

    November 30, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    The Skirball Cultural Center has chosen to focus on Italian Jewry as the theme for its upcoming "Hanukkah Family Festival," a series of performances, workshops, exhibits and other activities on Sunday, Dec. 10.

    Italian Jewry is a fitting theme since the Jewish community in Italy is...

  • Books: Farce, fascism and dash of Proust create a ‘Wonder’

    November 30, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    "The Eighth Wonder of the World" by Leslie Epstein (Handsel Books, $24.95).

    "I don't think it's possible to write a really interesting or good book without the Holocaust being in it. Even if you're not Jewish, you're a Jewish writer. If it doesn't enter your consciousness, you're...

  • Too cute: The Moscow Cats Theater

    November 22, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    They climb a rope upside down. They scale a pole 15 feet high. They leap through an obstacle course.

    It's not boot camp at Camp Pendleton. It's the Moscow Cats Theater, whose lead performers, 30 or so felines, are not deprived of sleep and not subjected to verbal abuse like Marines...

  • Judith: The woman warrior who brought down a general

    November 22, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Arabian rugs and pillows are spread out in a tent as Holofernes, the general of the Assyrians, plots his victory over the Israelites. Wearing a tunic, he speaks lines of great beauty: "I am overcome with wonder, trembling with a terrible infatuation."

    He is speaking of war, yet he...

  • Film: Too soon to forgive Dr. Mengele?

    November 16, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Just when the film world seems to have examined the Holocaust from every possible angle, a new film comes along that shakes up our complacency.

    "Forgiving Dr. Mengele" focuses on the story of Eva Kor, one of the so-called "Mengele twins," who along with her sister was subjected to...

  • Theater: ‘Leipzig’ weaves heartfelt Alzheimer’s tale

    November 9, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Wendy Graf was at the women's group at her synagogue when she discovered that a number of her colleagues were the children of Holocaust survivors. She became fascinated with the repercussions of the tragedy on their lives, but put aside the subject as she wrote "Lessons," a play...
  • Books: It’s the end of the world as we know it—again

    November 2, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    "A History of the End of the World" by Jonathan Kirsch (Harper San Francisco; $25.95)

    To true believers, North Korea's recent nuclear test was just the latest in a series of signs that the end-time is near. In Jonathan Kirsch's compelling new book, "A History of the End of the...

  • Theater: The answer isn’t black and white

    October 26, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Scott Jay and Brian Weed, star/producer and director, respectively, of "The Grey Zone," now playing at the Deaf West Theater, initially had reservations about staging a play about Auschwitz's Sonderkommando, Jews who cleaned the gas chambers and crematoria in exchange for a few...

  • State of Humanity Forum: ‘Darfur silence is lethal’

    October 26, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    In opening the inaugural State of Humanity Forum, held Oct. 17 at Valley Beth Shalom, Marcy Rainey, VBS chair of Jewish World Watch (JWW), spoke of the atrocities in Darfur, proclaiming: "Silence is lethal, and meekness is inexcusable."
     
    Despite the brutality of the genocide, in...
  • The operatic model of a punk rock major satire

    October 26, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Mixing punk rock and opera may be about as heretical as it gets, yet that is precisely what Julien Nitzberg, librettist and lyricist of "The Beastly Bombing," now playing at the Steve Allen Theater, has done.

    Despite being the grandson of Austrian composer Hans Knauer, who...