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Jewish Journal

Susan Freudenheim

  • Is 65 the new 40?

    3 weeks ago

    Two years ago on Yom Kippur, Rabbi Laura Geller began her sermon at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills with a musical clip from The Beatles. “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?” Paul McCartney famously sang.

    Then Rabbi Geller, the congregation’s senior...

  • Pearl Foundation: The pragmatic fight against evil

    August 27, 2014 | 11:50 am

    As the online video of an ISIS militant’s murder of American freelance journalist James Foley went viral on the Internet last week, the gruesome scene recalled another journalist’s murder more than 12 years ago. In 2002, al-Qaida member Khalid Sheikh Mohammed killed Daniel Pearl,...

  • Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis: What do we owe the stranger?

    April 9, 2014 | 11:42 am

    Thirty-six times the Torah talks about caring for the stranger,” Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis said. 

    “That is so unusual. It doesn’t talk about the love of God 36 times!” 

    A student of two of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century — Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan and Martin Buber —...

  • New Year’s Eve: Grand Avenue was great

    January 2, 2014 | 11:18 am

    Note to Los Angeles officials: We do like to party in public.

    Sure, we’re three hours behind the East Coast, but what’s wrong with that? Finally, Los Angeles turned up the heat on New Year’s Eve this year, after being forever the stepsister to New York. Some 25,000 people –...

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  • Wilshire Boulevard Temple’s musical Shabbat

    December 10, 2013 | 4:21 pm

    If Disney Hall has competition for beautiful acoustics in a magnificent setting, it is Wilshire Boulevard Temple. 

    For the Shabbat evening service on Dec. 6, some 70 extraordinary musicians from the Los Angeles Philharmonic squeezed onto an extended bimah in the great sanctuary,...

  • Uri Herscher’s center of gratitude

    October 19, 2013 | 6:53 pm

  • Uri Herscher’s center of gratitude

    October 18, 2013 | 11:18 am

    One day in early March 1954, Uri Herscher, just 12 at the time, ran away from his parents. His father, Joseph, a cabinetmaker, and mother, Lucy, a laundress, were having trouble making ends meet living in Israel. Together with Uri and his younger brother, Eli, they were meant to...

  • The Conservative gay marriage debate

    July 2, 2013 | 10:49 am

    On Rosh Hashanah in 1992, Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis stood before his Conservative congregation at Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) in Encino and declared that despite the words of Leviticus, homosexuality is not an abomination. He argued that the same understanding and compassion Jews...

  • Hillary Clinton, private citizen, reflects on Israel, Benghazi and Middle East unrest

    June 25, 2013 | 11:11 am

    “Live your values, embrace your traditions, but open yourselves up and never stop trying to heal the wounds of the world,” former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton implored an audience of 4,000 at Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City on June 24. Without revealing any...

  • Q&A with Rabbi Ed Feinstein

    May 8, 2013 | 6:37 pm

    On Sunday, May 11, Rabbi Ed Feinstein, senior rabbi at Valley Beth Shalom, will be feted for his two decades of service to the synagogue. He talks in this edited version of an interview about changes in synagogue life, his theology and what he prays for.

    Jewish Journal: Twenty...

  • Becoming Jewish: Tales from the Mikveh

    May 8, 2013 | 11:18 am

    Late on a recent Wednesday afternoon, Judith Golden and Suzanne Rosenthal perched at their desks in a small room in the depths of American Jewish University (AJU). It was a quiet day on campus; only a trickle of students occupied the new community library, the classrooms were...

  • Pico-union hope

    March 21, 2013 | 9:23 am

    A shofar blasted as Cantor Tannoz Bahremand of Stephen S. Wise Temple stepped into the historic downtown sanctuary, raising her voice in prayer as she walked from the back of the pews, down an aisle packed with people, toward the bimah of the newly founded Pico Union Project. The...

  • Getting to Know You...

    February 27, 2013 | 3:19 pm

    In 2000, an urban congregation of 1,000 families found itself at a crossroads. The synagogue had a balanced budget and a beloved rabbi who was retiring after three decades, but its building was badly in need of repairs and the congregation was aging. To survive, the leadership felt...

  • The Peanut Gallery: An American Icon Examined

    December 13, 2012 | 8:53 am

    Forget apple pie — if there is an iconic American food, it is surely peanut butter.

    The rich and satisfying story of peanut butter is told by Jon Krampner in “Creamy & Crunchy: An Informal History of Peanut Butter, The All-American Food” (Columbia University Press: $27.95), a...

  • Jewish Women’s Conference: Putting women first

    November 14, 2012 | 2:42 pm

    The talk at the second annual Jewish Women’s Conference of Southern California focused not so much on the Jewish part, as on the women’s part. Some 300 women (and one man — a devoted husband, perhaps?) filled the ballroom of UCLA’s Covel Commons on Nov. 11 for a series of sessions...

  • Let there be light

    October 3, 2012 | 12:04 pm

    We take light for granted. But in the Torah’s opening chapter of Bereshit, it was God’s first gift.

    It seems fitting, then, that when a local synagogue committed itself to helping an impoverished village in rural Uganda, the first gift would be to turn on the lights — to give the...

  • A promise for Rosh Hashanah: Remembering the value of dignity

    September 12, 2012 | 2:13 pm

    After all the political speechmaking of the past few weeks, in the wake of all the claims  and fact-checking, name-calling and back-slapping, one simple word has stuck in my mind and my heart. It was spoken at the beginning of Barack Obama’s short tribute film that was shown just...

  • The Architect and the Rabbi: Wilshire Boulevard Renovation is a Collaboration, History Lesson

    August 1, 2012 | 10:59 am

    Early on a recent Wednesday morning, architect Brenda Levin bounded up the metal steps temporarily installed at the center of the historic sanctuary of Wilshire Boulevard Temple. Leading the way up 10 flights — that’s 100 feet — she climbed to the normally inaccessible domed...

  • Helping mothers have it all

    June 27, 2012 | 4:22 pm

    The much-discussed article in the July/August Atlantic magazine begins with a story that likely will be familiar to any working mother. The author, Anne-Marie Slaughter, is at an evening work event talking to very important, very professional people, and all that’s really on her...

  • Fishing in Africa

    May 2, 2012 | 2:28 pm

    To meet Ikal Angelei in a Wilshire Boulevard coffee shop, as I did this week, is to traverse oceans and travel through deserts. Angelei is an activist from Kenya specializing in the geopolitics of water, a 32-year-old powerhouse who just won a highly prestigious Goldman Environmental...

  • Living with Holocaust ghosts

    April 25, 2012 | 12:42 pm

    Ed Asner, aka Lou Grant, walked slowly to the front of the stage at the Museum of Tolerance on Sunday night, and in his familiar growl — this time with a Latvian accent — he softly spoke: “Thank you for the help that is not only material, but also moral. A person lives through...

  • 20 years after the L.A. Riots

    April 19, 2012 | 12:40 pm

    On April 29, 1992, the acquittal of four white Los Angeles police officers involved in the beating of Rodney King, an African-American man, triggered riots in Los Angeles that resulted in more than 50 dead, thousands injured and some $1 billion in property damage.

    To mark the 20th...

  • Community panel on the L.A. Riots

    April 19, 2012 | 11:58 am

    On April 29, 1992, the acquittal of four white Los Angeles police officers involved in the beating of Rodney King, an African-American man, triggered riots in Los Angeles that resulted in more than 50 dead, thousands injured and some $1 billion in property damage.

    To mark the 20th...

  • Beauty that heals

    April 4, 2012 | 11:50 am

    Last Sunday, I took my first trip to Beit T’Shuvah. I’ve been hearing about this highly successful addiction treatment center for years and had met some of its staff, but I’d never visited its campus on Venice Boulevard, with its sanctuary adorned with stained-glass windows, as...

  • The Other Side of ‘Kony 2012’

    March 14, 2012 | 5:54 pm

  • Beyond 'Kony 2012'

    March 14, 2012 | 12:47 pm

    A week ago last Monday, my daughter brought her laptop to the dinner table and insisted, “We have to watch this.” This never happens in our house. We don’t watch TV at dinner, nor does my very independent 16-year-old tend to share. But her urgency was palpable, so we let her...

  • Hadassah feminists

    February 29, 2012 | 12:54 pm

    Amid all the boozing, smoking and jumping from bed to bed in “Mad Men,” there’s a certain 1960s persona that’s missing from the popular TV show — and that’s the sort of dedicated young woman who devoted herself not just to her husband and family, or even to her work, but...

  • Thank you Planned Parenthood

    February 15, 2012 | 2:33 pm

    Amid all the hubris and rancor flying around the subject of women’s reproductive rights these days, I suggest we stop for a moment and send a word of thanks to Planned Parenthood for its 100 years of caring for both women and men with nowhere else to turn — almost 50 of those...

  • Pearl lecture features New Yorker editor Remnick

    February 1, 2012 | 3:02 pm

    “I learned a lot from WikiLeaks,” David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker magazine, told a full auditorium at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management when he spoke on Jan. 30 at the 10th annual Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture, sponsored by the Pearl Foundation, in partnership with...

  • What Can the Adelsons Buy Next ? (Newt?)

    January 23, 2012 | 9:21 pm

  • Opinion: Debbie Friedman’s gift

    January 18, 2012 | 11:01 am

    One evening last February, 1,500 people poured into the vast sanctuary of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, filling every inch.

    Rabbi Ed Feinstein stood on the bimah and addressed them: “With the ashes of Auschwitz in our throats, it was hard to sing,” he said. “With the death and...

  • Opinion: The back of the bus

    January 11, 2012 | 5:41 pm

    If Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy teaches us one thing, it’s that the fight for civil rights is not particular to a time, a place, a people or a gender.

    It’s still shocking to watch vintage 1960s TV footage and see moms and dads yelling at someone else’s children for simply...

  • Opinion: Good writing counts

    December 22, 2011 | 12:28 pm

    Each autumn, the Milken Family Foundation throws one of the best luncheons of the year, and it’s not the fine kosher fare at the Luxe Sunset Boulevard hotel that draws us in. This is when Gil Graff, executive director of the BJE (Builders of Jewish Education) and Richard Sandler,...

  • Whole Foods, wHoly wrong on Chanukah

    December 18, 2011 | 11:17 pm

  • A moment for Angelina Jolie

    December 13, 2011 | 6:15 pm

    The draw of a Hollywood premiere for a film written, directed and produced by Angelina Jolie is irresistible. True to her A+-list status, Jolie’s “In the Land of Blood and Honey” got the glam treatment at the ArcLight on Sunset Boulevard last week, complete with a red carpet...

  • Opinion: Imagine

    December 7, 2011 | 5:14 pm

    On a particularly beautiful day like last Sunday, I, to be honest, had a hard time facing the prospect of spending the afternoon in windowless conference rooms at the Sheraton Universal Hotel. The draw, however, was “Imagining Our Future: A Day of Jewish Learning & Culture,”...

  • Who owns a horror?

    November 22, 2011 | 4:28 pm

    At the Los Angeles County Museum of Art right now, in the ground-level hall of the Art of the Americas building, right off the main courtyard, a life-sized, lifelike sculptural installation shows a black man being castrated by a group of five white men wearing cartoonish masks.

    ...
  • Opinion: Empowered women

    November 17, 2011 | 12:13 pm

    It takes a little effort to find the exhibition “Women Hold Up Half the Sky” at the Skirball Cultural Center. You have to bypass three alluring gift shops and a bunch of other special exhibitions as well as close your ears to the children laughing in “Noah’s Ark” to get to a quiet...

  • Holocaust survivors’ 11th hour

    November 9, 2011 | 5:04 pm

    Last week, everyone was scurrying around Zane Buzby’s small but serviceable office, high up in a rather creaky building in downtown Los Angeles. Right inside the door, one person packed tubes of arthritis creams, soaps, magnifying glasses and Star of David necklaces. Someone else...

  • Women gather for first conference for advocacy

    November 9, 2011 | 1:59 pm

    About 200 women, as well as a couple of men, turned out on Oct. 30 for the first Jewish Women’s Conference, sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women of Los Angeles (NCJW/LA), Hadassah and Na’amat USA, and held at the NCJW/LA headquarters on Fairfax Boulevard.

    The day...

  • Opinion: Jetsons vs. Flintstones, a visit with Thomas Friedman

    October 26, 2011 | 7:11 pm

    Last weekend, I was talking to a friend in New York who is a top IT manager for an advertising firm. My friend is in the process of remaking the Web presence for a hair-products conglomerate, and his staff is divided among the firm’s offices in New York, Argentina, Singapore and...

  • Feminism, revisited: Gloria Steinem meets Mona Eltahawy

    October 19, 2011 | 6:28 pm

    When an e-mail arrived in my inbox recently announcing a public conversation between Gloria Steinem and Mona Eltahawy, I knew I had to be there, even though it was scheduled for midday on a Thursday across town at UCLA’s Hammer Museum. The juxtaposition of these two women was...

  • Los Angeles Gathering Scheduled for Gilad Shalit Release

    October 16, 2011 | 5:43 pm

    The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, the Israeli Consulate and the Israeli Leadership Council announced Sunday that they are jointly organizing a community program for Tuesday, Oct. 18, to allow the community to come together to watch and commemorate the release of Gilad...

  • Art Spiegelman: Behind the Mouse Mask

    October 10, 2011 | 5:19 pm

    Wearing a three-piece suit and looking more elder statesman than the artist he is, Art Spiegelman addressed an audience of about 100 at the high-toned Soho House on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood late in the afternoon of Oct. 9. The occasion was the taping of a conversation with...

  • Opinion: Hungry 24/7

    October 5, 2011 | 6:50 pm

    Are you hungry?

    Chances are you’re only a short reach away from your next meal or snack. If you’re reading this on Yom Kippur, your wait is probably longer. But either way, when you say you’re hungry, you probably know where your next meal will come from.

    On Yom Kippur, we...

  • Opinion: Fighting to preserve Obamacare

    September 27, 2011 | 7:09 pm

    I broke a bone in my foot several weeks ago, and I’ve been limping around in an expensive, ugly boot and shlepping to doctors ever since. A simple slip costs lots of money — happily, not entirely to me. I have health insurance; I’m lucky.

    How lucky was especially clear a...

  • Opinion: A penny to get to Israel

    September 21, 2011 | 6:11 pm

    I’m standing in a room with Sheldon G. Adelson, the tough, outspoken billionaire casino magnate. And I’m wondering: Where is he?

    I had arrived at the lovely Wilshire Boulevard high-rise home of Corie and Michael Koss expecting to meet the fearsome subject of Connie Bruck’s...

  • Musicians Kill Only Themselves

    July 25, 2011 | 9:10 pm

    I’d love to know if, in the long history of human evil, a great musician ever became a mass murderer. I ask this question because I’ve always had this crazy theory that when someone is busy and obsessed with creating and playing music, he or she doesn’t think about killing...

  • Still Mad About Madoff

    June 28, 2011 | 8:12 am

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