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...
  • 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."


  • 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...

  • Book Review: Tools to fight terror: big dreams, good friends

    October 12, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    "Prisoners: A Muslim & a Jew Across the Middle East Divide," by Jeff Goldberg (Knopf, $25).
    The full title of Jeffrey Goldberg's new book, "Prisoners: A Muslim & a Jew Across the Middle East Divide," immediately conjures up notions of a Pinteresque power struggle between two...
  • A Night at the Fais Do-Do

    October 5, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    There is a burgundy motif at Club Fais Do-Do -- burgundy curtains, burgundy tablecloths. The eastern wall is also painted a dark red hue but seems to have other colors beneath that seep through from the past.
    Just south of the 10 Freeway, in a nondescript part of Culver City,...
  • In the ring, at the front, boxer Barney Ross packed a punch

    September 21, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    "Barney Ross" by Douglas Century (Schocken and Nextbook, $19.95).
    To many sports fans, Shawn Green remains the only recognizable Jewish professional athlete. Green follows a relatively short but impressive line of Jewish baseball stars, one every generation so it seems, kind of...
  • Fight or flight? A Jewish Cuban mom wonders

    September 14, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Melinda Lopez's "Sonia Flew," which opens at the Laguna Playhouse on Sept. 16, depicts the parallel struggles of a Cuban girl in 1961 and a half-Jewish, half-Cuban American boy just after Sept. 11.
    Of Cubans and Jews, Lopez says, "These are two cultures that have experienced...
  • $2 million due now: “Parenting Services Rendered”

    September 14, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    "The Bill From My Father" by Bernard Cooper (Simon & Schuster, $24).


  • Radio Host Barry Gordon: It’s All Right to Be Left

    September 7, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    "I don't come in until the sax solo," Barry Gordon says to the technician in the cramped, second-floor studio in the North Hollywood area.

    Gordon takes off his glasses, places them on a pile of books, and, light-green highlighter in hand, he begins marking up another text, this one...

  • ‘Nighthawks’ Scribe Brings Hopper Painting to Life

    August 31, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Based upon Edward Hopper's famous painting of a late-night coffee shop on a desolate city street corner, Douglas Steinberg's new play, "Nighthawks," which is having its world premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theater, features a painter who says only one word in the entire first act....

  • Posters by Czech Students Bring Back Lost ‘Neighbors’

    August 24, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    The Czech nation, in its many incarnations, has figured prominently in Jewish lore and literature. It has spawned the Golem and Franz Kafka, to say nothing of the recent Maurice Sendak and Tony Kushner collaboration, "Brundibar," a play that was staged by the Berkeley and Yale...

  • Jewish, Muslim Filmmakers Team Up on Documentary

    August 17, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    With all of the negative images about Jewish-Muslim clashes in the world, it is nice to see a documentary, directed and produced by a Jew and a Muslim, about a Muslim son taking over his father's slaughterhouse business in Queens, N.Y.

    "A Son's Sacrifice," which will be screened...

  • Play’s Gay Theme Reflects Background of Creator

    August 10, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    "We have always existed, even though we've been hidden from history. The friends we met in childhood, it turns out they were gay. We gravitate to one another."

    So speaks playwright Zsa Zsa Gershick when asked why her four principal characters are all gay or sexually experimental in...

  • Shedding Light on a Dark ‘Rising’

    August 4, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    The film "City of God" shed light on a long-neglected subject, the Third World conditions and inescapable warfare existing in Rio de Janeiro's slums. Now comes "Favela Rising," a documentary that not only limns the tragedy of the favelas, the Brazilian ghettoes, but also tells the...
  • Jamie McCourt Proves She’s an Artful Dodger President

    July 19, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Bougainvillea and vines curl around a pergola at the Bel Air Hotel's outdoor patio restaurant, a lunch spot for Westside powerbrokers. It's 10:30 a.m., and powerbrokers are scarce at this hour, except for Jamie McCourt, vice chairman and president of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who is...

  • Performers Go It Alone and Like It That Way

    July 6, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Michael Raynor moves with the balletic grace and cocksure athleticism of a former pickup basketball player and street fighter. He simulates dribbling a ball between his legs with the adeptness of the highly recruited hoops star he once was, then he assumes his grandfather's boxer's...

  • ‘Superman’ Director Lives Out His Dream

    June 22, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    "Whether you're an immigrant or you're born in the heartland, at some point we all feel like an alien."

    Those are not the words of an immigration rights attorney but rather of filmmaker Bryan Singer, whose last three films, the first two editions of "X-Men" and the upcoming...

  • Uhry’s Latest Knocks Down Stereotypes

    June 15, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Even at the age of 69, Alfred Uhry has a slight lilt in his voice over the phone. It does not cover up his gravelly timbre, but one can detect the hidden mirthfulness of a former drama teacher.

    During the 1970s, Uhry taught drama for seven years at an experimental Manhattan high...

  • The Arrogant Poet You Love to Hate

    June 1, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    In "Pound of Flesh," at the Odyssey Theater, Ezra Pound spars with Pvt. Cooper, a young soldier who keeps him company while he awaits trial in Italy for his crimes of treachery against the United States in World War II. If this private is not Pound's intellectual match, he more than...

  • Power Begets Madness in ‘Steps’

    May 25, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    As Stanley Milgram's fake, electrical-shock experiments showed several decades ago, many of us, when put into a position of power, may end up wielding our newfound authority with a tinge of sadism.

    Michael Halperin, who wrote "All Steps Necessary," a new Holocaust-themed play being...

  • Ex-Movie Exec Isn’t Silent About Films

    May 18, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Roger Mayer lounges in the living room of his house on Benedict Canyon Road, a comfortable two-story clapboard structure in Beverly Hills. His dress is conservative, yet casual -- dark pants, dark shoes, light-gray shirt and what appear to be horn-rimmed glasses -- but he sports no...

  • Seeing Red Over Green’s Israel Policy

    May 18, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Local leaders of the Green Party are working to overturn an anti-Israel resolution that has become official party policy. Resolution 190, which passed in November, calls for a boycott of and divestment from Israel until "the full individual and collective rights of the Palestinian...

  • High Ideals and a Hot Bod

    May 11, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Writers as varied as Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott have written of the exotic beauty of Jewish women. But what about Jewish men?

    In "It Happened in Havana," a new play by Raul De Cardenas, that is playing at the Bilingual Foundation for the Arts, Marcos, a Jewish Cuban American,...

  • Israel’s Teens Get Ironic ‘Inheritance’

    May 4, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    "Inheriting the Holy Land: An American's Search for Hope in the Middle East," by Jennifer Miller (Ballantine Books, 2005).

    Amos Oz has explored the subject in novels. Amos Elon has penned essays about it. Politicians as varied as Abba Eban, Mahmoud Abbas, Bill Clinton and even Ariel...

  • The ‘Chosen’ Ones Across the Street

    April 27, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    It has long been a cliché that Los Angeles does not respect the culture of the book. It is true that this town famously eviscerated Faulkner and Fitzgerald, that Hollywood suits to this day treat screenwriters the way Henry VIII treated his wives. Yet, it is also true that Los...

  • ‘Hybrid’ Actor Crafts ‘Everyman’ Show

    April 13, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Is it possible for an everyman to be a leader? Can an everyman be a woman?

    Ameenah Kaplan, who calls herself a "hybrid" -- the product of an African American mother who converted to Judaism and a Jewish father -- is directing, choreographing and co-producing "Everyman for Himself."...

  • Jewish Groups Take Pro-Immigrant Stand

    April 6, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    You didn't see many Jews amid the sea of Mexican and American flags during the recent pro-immigrant rallies that filled city streets, but Jews and Jewish groups, in largely liberal Los Angeles, have been advocating on behalf of immigrants, mostly outside the view of television...

  • Passover Fest Offers Many Paths to Fun

    April 6, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    At a time when hundreds of thousands of protesters crowded downtown chanting "Let My People Stay," Passover may be resonating more acutely across all racial and ethnic groups than it has in recent years.

    It is not only illegal immigrants for whom the Passover tale holds appeal. The...

  • Pirates Plunder, Family Fumbles at Fest

    March 30, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    The Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival runs April 1-6 at a variety of venues around town. Below are the reviews for two of the films.

    "Edelweiss Pirates"

    It may seem obligatory to show a Holocaust-themed film at a Jewish Film Festival, but "Edelweiss Pirates" is by no means standard...

  • Band Gives Klezmer Extreme Makeover

    March 30, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Like so many other aspects of modern life, klezmer, that centuries-old Yiddish art form, is undergoing a makeover, fusing Jewish folk songs with Caribbean, Spanish and African influences. Yet Extreme Klezmer Makeover, a quartet that will be performing on March 31 at Club Tropical, a...

  • Spectator - A Sane Italian Jew? Fugedaboutit

    March 30, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Historians have indicated there were roughly 50,000 Jews in Rome when Caesar reigned and the same number under Mussolini. Beyond the obvious assimilation, it's clear Jews and Italians know how to coexist. No wonder the two peoples lived in adjoining neighborhoods on the Lower East...

  • New Valley Festival Accentuates ‘Festive’

    March 23, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    At the heart of Los Angeles' Jewish community lies a paradox. As the community grows and spreads into different areas in the Southland, can it still be a community? It is this very question that Hilary Helstein, executive director of the latest incarnation of the Los Angeles Jewish...

  • Crime Scribes Do First ‘Inside’ Job

    March 23, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    In his first decade as a filmmaker, Spike Lee wrote or co-wrote all of his films, which typically examined race in New York and featured African American protagonists. He began to diverge a bit in "Clockers" (1995), which he scripted with novelist Richard Price. Although "Clockers"...

  • The Faces of War From Israel to Africa

    March 9, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    If Steven Spielberg's "Munich" has shown that even Israeli commandos, some of the most battle-hardened warriors on the planet, ruminate over their roles, photographer Rachel Papo, a former member of the Israel Defense Forces, demonstrates in a new exhibition of her photographs that...

  • Director Pays Price in Making ‘Capote’

    February 23, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Truman Capote, the legendary writer and subject of the eponymous Sony Pictures Classics release that has been nominated for five Academy Awards, spent six years writing "In Cold Blood," the book that would cement his literary legacy while also leading to his spiritual downfall.


  • Sondheim Knows How to Book ‘Em

    February 16, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Some people begin collecting because they've coveted certain objects for as long as they can remember. Others collect as an investment. And, of course, there are poseurs who hire prestige dealers to buy them trendy art because they want to be viewed as taste mavens.

    Harry Sondheim, a...

  • Monologuist Pulls Plug on Ben Franklin

    February 16, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Josh Kornbluth grew up in a secular, communist household in New York City. He says that he's not trying to be flippant when he notes that his parents had an almost "Talmudic reverence for Marxism." Though he never set foot in a synagogue and wasn't bar mitzvahed, "I was circumcised,"...

  • Wandering Jew - A Relief to Laugh

    February 9, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    As master of ceremonies of "Middle East Comic Relief 2," Peter the Persian, a stout Iranian American comic who moonlights as a labor attorney, says of the comedians performing on a recent evening, "We've screened all these Middle Easterners. We've cleared them out. They're all Jewish...

  • Kate Braverman—Alive, Well, ‘Frantic’

    February 2, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    "Frantic Transmissions to and From Los Angeles: An Accidental Memoir," by Kate Braverman (Graywolf, $15).

    "Did I say that my work has been translated into Turkish? Apparently, it will be read in Istanbul, but not in Los Angeles."

    Yes, Kate Braverman did say that in a telephone...

  • Spectator - Two Worlds, Two Girls, One Dream

    January 26, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    "This isn't the kind of musical where it's 'OK, we're going to have a production number now,'" said Herb Isaacs, artistic director of the West Coast Jewish Theatre, about the upcoming world premiere of "American Klezmer." "Every song is integrated into the plot."

    If "American...

  • Art Exhibit Links Trojans, Bruins

    January 19, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Divided between the USC and UCLA campuses, the latest art exhibition by the Jewish Artist Initiative (JAI), titled, "Makor/Source," taps into the wellspring of Jewish life.

    How fitting that Ruth Weisberg, USC dean of fine arts, would include her water-themed, mixed-media drawing,...

  • Two Dark Tales Illuminated at Sundance

    January 12, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Martin Scorsese has famously influenced a whole generation of American filmmakers, from Abel Ferrara and Quentin Tarantino to Rob Weiss and Nick Gomez. But his influence is not limited to filmmakers in this country.

    One who has channeled the Gotham-based auteur, albeit...

  • Spectator - A Poet’s Slam-Dunk

    January 12, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Jewish summer camp introduces young Jews to many things -- sports, arts and crafts, drama classes; Eitan Kadosh, a 1999 National Slam Poetry champion, "learned that sex isn't always like pizza."

    He also learned how to entertain people, playing one of the brothers in "Joseph and the...

  • Spectator - Musical Mystery of Letters

    January 5, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    While Madonna and other celebrities have made it fashionable in recent years to pursue Kabbalah, guitarist and composer Adam Del Monte has the musical sophistication and spiritual depth to explore Jewish mysticism beyond the trendy or superficial. In his new piece, "Kabbalistic...

  • The Look of a King, the View of a Geisha

    December 29, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    "It's cozy out here," says Arthur Golden, author of "Memoirs of a Geisha." Out here is in the Japanese garden in the back of Elixir, a teahouse in West Hollywood.

    Golden, in town for the recent film premiere of "Geisha," is dressed in a dark turtleneck and sits relaxed on a bench,...

  • Two Shows Set the Stage for Chanukah

    December 15, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Two winters ago, in one of its traditional Victorian teas, A Noise Within (ANW), the classical repertory theater company in Glendale, staged a series of holiday readings from actors as varied as Ed Asner and Fred Savage. One of ANW's own troupe members, Len Lesser, in his inimitable...

  • Spectator - ‘Sit Down’ Standup With David & Co.

    December 8, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    In an age of assimilation, a couple of generations removed from the ghetto, can Jews still be funny? Yes, says David Steinberg, host of the new talk show, "Sit Down Comedy With David Steinberg," which premiered this past Wednesday on TV Land. "Kvetching is funny. That's what Jews...

  • Stages of Faith: Light, Dark, Absurd

    December 1, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    The intelligent design vs. Darwinism debate presumes that one or the other theory provides the answer to life and all its mysteries. Playwright Seth Greenland explores the falsity of this dichotomy in "Jerusalem," his play opening Friday at the NoHo Arts Center....

  • Perils of the ‘Perfect’ Student

    December 1, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    In New York, parents tell horror stories about the pressure to get their 5-year-old kids into the right kindergartens, the kind attended by Woody Allen's kids. In Los Angeles, the social cachet may be even more skewed.

    "So and so from the Lakers' kid goes to some school," says...

  • A Different Brand of Texas Governor

    November 10, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    They don't make Jews like Jesus anymore, Kinky Friedman proclaims in his most famous song. They don't make Jews like Kinky Friedman anymore, either. While there are some notable Jewish pop and rock icons, Jews have never proliferated in the ranks of country-western music. Nor are...

  • Spectator - Bruce in Living Off-Color

    November 3, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Cynics contend that dying young can be "a good career move." It worked out that way for Lenny Bruce, a rebel hero of the Beat-era comedy scene who has been lionized since his premature death by drug overdose in 1966. At 40, Bruce had, for five years, been hounded by law enforcement,...

  • Wal-Mart as a Low-Price Villain

    November 3, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    When asked how he differs from documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, Robert Greenwald deadpans, "He's taller than me. He has a beard."

    For his part, Greenwald is not backed by major studios. His films receive next to no traditional advertising. And he resorts to no gimmicks or...

  • A Novel Boxer Novel

    October 27, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) has joined the long list of solons who have dabbled in writing. Unlike John Kennedy, she admits to collaborating with a professional writer. Also unlike Kennedy, she is not likely to win the Pulitzer Prize.

    Still, her just-released novel offers an...

  • The Real World: Warlord

    October 27, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Imagine an Uzbek warlord who takes time between mortar attacks to remove his clothes and display his manhood in the bunker. Now, imagine that he willingly does this for a camera operator, who films the chieftain and his family for an "Osbournes"-meets-"Sopranos" reality-TV show.


  • Wiesenthal Larger Than Life on Screen

    October 6, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Simon Wiesenthal, whose dogged persistence led to the capture of approximately 1,100 accused Nazi war criminals, was the quintessential larger-than-life figure filmmakers crave. While there were some less-than-distinguished films made about him over the years, they were outweighed by...

  • Exhibit Links Shoah, Cambodia Genocide

    September 29, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Midway through Roland Joffé's 1984 film, "The Killing Fields," journalist Sidney Schanberg, played by Sam Waterston, visits the family of his friend, Dith Pran, who has been captured by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. The scene takes place in New York City, where Schanberg tries to...