Jewish Journal

Susan Freudenheim

  • Good-bye to the Jewish Journal, hello Jewish World Watch

    September 29, 2016 | 12:01 pm

    I joined the staff of the Jewish Journal in mid-November 2005, a seasoned journalist. I quickly found I’d entered something new, the world of Jewish journalism, which has its own language, structure and, to some degree, its own set of rules. The news story under discussion on my...

  • Love and Judaism are built into couple’s distinctive home

    August 18, 2016 | 9:02 am

    There is divine justice in the fact that the daughter of a survivor of Auschwitz now lives in a beautiful home wrapped in a metal sheath pierced with Hebrew letters and filled with Judaica.

    Meyer Wiesel, who died in 1987, survived the Holocaust — the only member of his family to...

  • Small groups contemplate big issues at Fields Institute

    April 20, 2016 | 1:54 pm

    “Israel is about meaning in Jewish life. If we reduce it to politics, in many ways we undermine the long-range possibilities of commitment,” Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, director emeritus of Hillel at UCLA, told 13 people gathered in the Beverly Hills home of...

  • Ruth Messinger: Social justice with a smile

    March 23, 2016 | 5:59 pm

    The tirelessly ebullient Ruth Messinger was in town last week and took time for an interview and tea at Le Pain Quotidien in West Hollywood, talking virtually nonstop for an hour about her past 18 years as president and CEO of the international aid organization American Jewish...

  • Moving and Shaking: AJWS Gala honors Barbara Boxer, Ezekiel Emanuel

    March 14, 2016 | 10:08 pm

    “I don’t often speak publicly about my religion,” retiring California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer said on the evening of March 13 as she took the stage to be honored at “AJWS at 30: Celebrating Our Global Leaders.” Boxer went on to describe how she inherited her drive for social...

  • Calm amidst the violence in Israel

    November 11, 2015 | 2:28 pm

    On the day the world was parsing Bibi Netanyahu’s suggestion that the notoriously anti-Semitic Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammed Amin Al-Husseini, was responsible for Hitler’s Holocaust, I was among a group of journalists touring Jerusalem’s Waldorf Astoria hotel, which had just been...

  • Q&A with Ron Wolfson

    August 26, 2015 | 10:37 am

    Ron Wolfson, the Fingerhut Professor of Education at American Jewish University, has long been at the forefront of reinventing and sustaining synagogue life. His emphasis on what he calls “Relational Judaism,” stressing personal connections over programing, has influenced...

  • Michael Berenbaum Q&A: ‘I thought we would have done better’

    March 11, 2015 | 2:36 pm

    On March 16, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, D.C., will honor Michael Berenbaum with the museum’s National Leadership Award at a dinner in Los Angeles themed “What You Do Matters.”  Berenbaum, currently director of the Sigi Ziering Institute:...

  • My interview with Leonard Nimoy

    February 27, 2015 | 12:25 pm

    Some 10 or 12 years ago, I got an unusual request from my rabbi, John Rosove at Temple Israel of Hollywood. One of my fellow congregants was, along with his wife, sponsoring a major classical music concert series at the synagogue, and would I be willing to interview this person for...

  • Is 65 the new 40?

    November 5, 2014 | 12:15 pm

    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 –...

  • 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

  • Rudolph Kastner: Traitor or savior?

    May 3, 2011 | 7:04 pm

    When a Hollywood synagogue wants to draw upon the strengths of its congregation, is it surprising that there’s a surfeit of attorneys and actors? Such is the case at Temple Israel of Hollywood (TIOH), which heralded the talents of both sets in last weekend’s performance of “The...

  • Unmasking the “Druggist of Auschwitz”

    April 15, 2011 | 5:48 pm

    It seems obligatory to open any review of yet another Holocaust book with the disclaimer that compassion fatigue and déjà vu might set in simultaneously. As Jonathan Kirsch, book editor of The Jewish Journal, noted last year while reviewing—what else?—yet another Holocaust...

  • Baruch Samuel Blumberg, 1925-2011

    April 6, 2011 | 2:31 pm

  • Save The Music

    April 6, 2011 | 10:31 am

    Phil Donney, who graduated in 2006 from Hamilton High School’s Music Academy, home to many Jewish students as well as talented students throughout the city, has created this video in the face of huge looming cuts that threaten the very existence of the LAUSD public school Magnet...

  • Niceness, by the Book

    March 30, 2011 | 10:59 am

    Right around the time the curtain was dropping on the opening night of Broadway’s new “South Park”-inspired musical, “The Book of Mormon,” I was in Salt Lake City, Utah, having dinner with two top-level elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, plus a few...

  • Rice, Powell and Albright: Friends

    March 8, 2011 | 6:19 pm

    Revolutions spreading through the Middle East added timeliness and weight to the convening of three former secretaries of state by American Jewish University (AJU) on Feb. 28, at the Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk. Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, all...

  • Will Palestinians Go All the Way?

    March 7, 2011 | 11:06 pm

  • Brandeis University head cultivating L.A. support

    March 1, 2011 | 6:28 pm

    Frederick M. Lawrence, the new president of Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., came to Los Angeles and environs in early February for a dozen meetings with donors, alumni, prospective students and more. With about 1,800 graduate and undergraduate alums in Southern California...

  • Rice, Powell and Albright: Friends in ‘Retirement’

    March 1, 2011 | 6:09 pm

    Revolutions spreading through the Middle East added timeliness and weight to the convening of three former secretaries of state by American Jewish University (AJU) on Monday evening, Feb. 28, at the Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk. Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell and...

  • Fashion and Hitler [VIDEO]

    March 1, 2011 | 8:55 am

  • Madoff Speaks from Prison

    February 16, 2011 | 9:18 am

  • Obama, in the eyes of an activist liberal

    February 10, 2011 | 11:50 am

    Barack Obama has been fated to lead the nation in interesting times, including a free-fall recession, a natural disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, a bitter and ongoing battle over healthcare reform, and the sea-changes that are only now welling up in the Middle East.

    That’s why Obama...

  • Two decades of secret Israeli-Palestinian accords leaked

    January 23, 2011 | 6:21 pm

    Al-Jazeera TV and The Guardian revealed Sunday the details of 1,600 confidential documents on negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians over the last two decades.
    The documents leaked so far mostly reveal secret concessions offered by Palestinian negotiators on the issues of the right of return of Palestinian refugees, territorial concessions, and the recognition of Israel.
    According to Al-Jazeera, Palestinian negotiators secretly agreed to concede almost all of East Jerusalem to Israel.

    Read more at Haaretz

  • Obama speech: ‘Our children’s expectations’ [VIDEO]

    January 13, 2011 | 1:44 pm

    As I was driving to one speech last night, I was listening to another in my car.

    “Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame,” President Obama said in the aftermath of the violence in Tucson, “let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each...

  • On praying with the Women of the Wall

    November 19, 2010 | 5:04 pm

    A group of leaders from my synagogue, Temple Israel of Hollywood, and I were excited to join The Women of the Wall for Shacharit services on Rosh Hodesh Kislev on November 8.  There were, in all, about 50 women who gathered, along with 15 men supporters, for 7 a.m. prayers.  The...

  • Bibi’s G.A. Hecklers: Young Jews [VIDEO]

    November 8, 2010 | 3:45 pm

  • Sanity rally, L.A.-Style [VIDEO]

    October 30, 2010 | 3:02 pm

  • Pitch in

    October 25, 2010 | 7:16 pm

    There’s something about the year’s end that pushes us to count our blessings — and our obligations. Maybe it’s the seasonal gift giving, or the end of the tax year, or the pressure to reconcile ourselves with last New Year’s unmet resolutions.

    Between Thanksgiving and New...

  • The Torah of teens

    September 23, 2010 | 6:12 pm

    I was driving my 15-year-old daughter to her bus stop, frantic over whether we’d get there in time. She was digging through her backpack for the bus pass that too often seems to go missing. She snapped at me, and I took a deep breath and asked her as kindly as I could not to...

  • A Story of a Deeply Compassionate Man

    September 3, 2010 | 3:48 pm

    It’s rare that we are given an opportunity to look inside the life of someone whose job it is to study our lives, but that’s exactly what happens in “Not by Chance Alone: My Life as a Social Psychologist” by Elliot Aronson (Basic Books: $27.50).

    Aronson, author of a leading...

  • Israel, Palestinians to resume peace process

    August 19, 2010 | 10:30 pm

    From NYTimes.com:

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is expected to announce Friday that Israel and the Palestinians will return to direct negotiations for the first time in 20 months, delivering the Obama administration a small victory in its protracted effort to revive the...

  • A mother and her nanny

    August 18, 2010 | 6:40 pm

    Among the most crucial but also volatile relationships in human life is the one between a domestic worker — a housekeeper, a nanny, a caregiver — and his or her employer.  Various aspects of such relationships have been considered in novels ranging from “Lady Chatterley’s...

  • School funding: Turning lemons into Lemon-Aid

    August 6, 2010 | 2:02 pm

    One lemonade stand set up to raise a few dollars for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School district has grown into a community-wide effort, backed by local businesses ranging from the growing Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt chain to Huckleberry Café and Bakery on Wilshire. With an Aug....

  • Life renewed by accident

    August 6, 2010 | 1:16 pm

    “Rise and Shine: The Extraordinary Story of One Man’s Journey From Near Death to Full Recovery” by Simon Lewis (Santa Monica Press: $24.95)

    A car accident on the crowded roadways of Southern California is a wholly unremarkable event.  For producer and writer Simon Lewis,...

  • Pool Safety: A Mother’s Cautionary Tale

    August 5, 2010 | 2:46 pm

    Whenever my son was upset or hurt or scared, I used to whisper in his ear, “Don’t worry, Eli, mommy will always save you.”  A few weeks ago, I almost wasn’t able to keep that promise.
    We were spending Shabbat with my in-laws in Southern California, and we were all having a great...

  • Israeli, Lebanese troops exchange fire [updated]

    August 3, 2010 | 9:34 am

    An Israeli officer was killed during border clashes between Lebanese and Israeli troops.

    Lt. Col. Dov Harari, 45, a father of four, was shot Tuesday afternoon during an exchange of tank and artillery fire on Israel’s northern border. A second Israeli soldier, 30, sustained severe...

  • Israel Debates Children of Illegal Immigrants

    August 2, 2010 | 8:38 pm

    Even as the U.S. grapples with how to treat children of foreign workers who don’t have legal status, Israel, too, faces the same problem. The New York Times reports on “The public debate followed a decision by [Israel’s] cabinet on Sunday to approve a plan for granting status to the children of people who entered Israel with a valid visa or permit but have stayed on illegally.” Read more here.

  • Presbyterians’ General Assembly rejects Israel divestment

    July 10, 2010 | 12:35 am

    As Jewish groups struggle against increasing attempts to delegitimize Israel, they are claiming at least partial victory when it comes to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

    Following intensive grassroots lobbying efforts by a coalition of national Jewish organizations, the 219th...

  • Friends

    June 22, 2010 | 6:23 pm

    It all started with cake. Well, almost. The truth is, the cake was just one of the early signs of distress.

    This year, as in past years, in celebration of Yom HaAtzmaut, Jewish students at Williams College in western Massachusetts passed out cake to fellow students on the college...

  • Shalhevet students bring elders’ memories to stage

    April 27, 2010 | 10:28 pm

    “Collective Memory,” a theater program at Shalhevet High School last weekend, was the culmination of a process that brought together student playwrights with various seniors who gather at the Westside Jewish Community Center. The students interviewed the seniors about their...

  • Forgetting to Remember

    April 13, 2010 | 6:08 pm

    As I squeezed into my seat at Sunday’s Citywide Holocaust Remembrance Day at Pan Pacific Park, I listened as the woman next to me addressed a man in
    the row in front of us.

    “Why are you here?” she asked, and from his surprised look it was clear they’d never met.

    “To honor...

  • Iran threat dominates L.A. Yom HaShoah event in speeches by civic leaders, Israeli dignitaries

    April 12, 2010 | 12:10 am

    On a cloudy Sunday afternoon, April 11, a crowd numbering almost 3,000 gathered under a blue-and-white striped tent to listen to speeches in commemoration of Yom HaShoah, the day of Holocaust commemoration.

    Speaker after distinguished speaker paid homage to the Holocaust...

  • Frieda Erman’s Traditional German Matzah Balls [RECIPE]

    March 18, 2010 | 11:46 am

    Be aware that these delicious matzah balls (also known as knaidlach) in a recipe brought over from Germany are denser than typical “Eastern” ones, and are akin to a German dumpling or “knoedel”. I have enjoyed these many times at Passover seders at the Ermans, and to me they are...

  • Our Problem

    February 16, 2010 | 6:32 pm

    Sometimes you have to go to Orange County to learn about Israel.

    The third annual LimmudLA was held over Presidents’ Day weekend in Costa Mesa; it’s a conference run by a volunteer-based grass-roots organization that transforms an otherwise nondescript Hilton into a vibrant...

  • NYT Jerusalem Chief Responds to Critics

    February 16, 2010 | 6:26 pm

    Fresh on the heels of a piece by The New York Times’ ombudsman calling for the removal of the Times’ Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner from his current post, the author and journalist spoke to a small group of American Jewish University supporters at a private home in Beverly...

  • LIVE From LimmudLA: Jammin’ JEWS

    February 14, 2010 | 10:27 am

  • Live From LimmudLA: Shabbat Winds Down

    February 13, 2010 | 8:08 pm

  • Behind Disney Animation: What We Never Saw

    November 24, 2009 | 1:59 am

  • Get to Know Gehry in ‘Conversations’

    July 2, 2009 | 3:20 am

    When architect Frank Gehry turned 75 some five years ago, he was hugely famous, much in demand and aware that even beyond his prolific output, his legacy needed some explanation. So he started thinking about how to go about preserving his thoughts. Because he is always generous in...

  • A Walk to End Genocide [SLIDESHOW]

    June 8, 2009 | 8:31 pm

    “I don’t need an introduction, I need a conclusion,” Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis said on Sunday, June 7, as he stepped up to a microphone on the Pierce College campus in Woodland Hills to address the well over 2,000 people gathered for Jewish World Watch’s third annual Walk for...

  • Three Stops and a Chart

    May 20, 2009 | 7:55 pm

    Fifty miles of driving, three very different experiences, a million jumbled thoughts about life in this very diverse city. One Sunday in Los Angeles.

    It was a day of many opportunities too good to turn down. I spent the morning staring the future in the face at Young Israel of...

  • Madoff Revealed

    May 13, 2009 | 1:59 pm

  • Mort Sahl Missing, Then ‘Found’

    May 9, 2009 | 9:25 pm

  • Payback Time

    April 23, 2009 | 3:15 am

    On Sunday, May 3, I will be at the city animal shelter in South Los Angeles, creating gripping mini-biographies about the dogs, cats and whatever other strays are residing there that day. The idea is to write those stories on cards, affix them to the cages, and make those wannabe...

  • Shul Steps Up to Plate So Others Can Eat From It

    March 25, 2009 | 11:06 pm

    As kids slid and bounced at the Purim carnival in the courtyard of Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue a couple of weeks ago, a handful of people accompanied Rabbi Noah Zvi Farkas down to a tiny space in the shul’s basement for a very different kind of celebration. In a room that had once...

  • Brandeis: Selling Off or Selling Out?

    February 4, 2009 | 4:32 am

    Would you sell off your precious family jewels to save your house?

    That’s how Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., is presenting the quandary it’s in these days.

    Nearly two weeks ago, the university announced that because of a severe budgetary crisis, it would be closing...

  • Little Gaza

    January 21, 2009 | 8:14 pm

    Just three miles east of the happiest place on earth lies a small strip of shops and fast-food outlets where, last Sunday, people were anything but pleasant to one another.

    Straddling a never-ending seven-lane stream of traffic is an Orange County neighborhood called by its largely...

  • Can we help?

    November 19, 2008 | 2:21 am

    My desk is coated with letters of request: Adopt an animal at the zoo; come to a gala for the Jewish food bank; plant a tree in Israel; plant a tree in Los Angeles. Feed 50 meals to homeless people. Support public radio. Support the temple building fund. Support the school PTA, the...
  • Malibu tango on Carbon Beach

    July 24, 2008 | 1:02 am

    It is not a secret that many beachfront homeowners in Malibu have a disproportionate sense of ownership of the surf and turf that fronts their properties. They pay millions for the illusion that they own the beach.

    It's also not a secret that they don't.

    So, the battle between some...

  • Dad’s drive

    June 12, 2008 | 2:38 pm

    My father, Milt Freudenheim, retired a couple of weeks ago from a job that he couldn't let go of. Despite the fact that he is 81, he said he still plans to go on working for as long as he's able.

    I bring this up not only because it's Father's Day this weekend, and I feel that anyone...

  • Only the best go there

    March 10, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    There are moments when half a world away seems right around the corner. At Young Israel of Century City (YICC) on Sunday afternoon, Israel's pain at the murder of eight young yeshiva students burned through the Los Angeles Jewish community, just as it has in Jerusalem, where the...
  • A different taste

    December 20, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    Last Saturday night, my husband and I were invited, along with many others -- most of whom didn't know each other -- to the home of Lorin and Linda Fife. The occasion was not a party, but rather a "Taste of Limmud," a precursor to something called LimmudLA. The Presidents' Day...
  • Berries, Pizza and a Smile

    July 12, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    I walked into Trader Joe's last Sunday and spent $54 on a gallon of milk. Truth be told, it was the strawberries, frozen pizza, extra dog treats, new kind of low-fat cheese and that tempting bottle of Prosecco wine that drove up the bill -- none of which I'd intended to buy, and all...
  • Fires of war can’t extinguish the magnitude and majesty of Galilee’s forests

    July 5, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    "We're all healing -- emotionally, psychologically, ecologically," said Paul M. Ginsberg, director of the Forest Department in the Northern Region Office of Keren Kayemeth Leisrael (KKL), the Israeli arm of the Jewish National Fund. He stood on a hillside looking over the Hula...
  • Suad Abu Siam turns sorrow into power

    June 28, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    "I am a mother of five, and I am pregnant. I didn't plan this pregnancy, and I am very tired," Suad Abu Siam, a 35-year-old Bedouin told a group of American women last month. "It energizes me to get out of my reality."

    We'd come to Tel Aviv on a mission organized by the Jewish...
  • An inadvertent gift

    April 26, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Maya Nahor learned she wasn't Jewish from an Israeli bureaucrat.

    Three years later, as she tells the story, she still cries.

    She was 19 years old and had just arrived in Tel Aviv from Spain, having left her family behind for the first time. She was alone in a country that she'd...
  • Adam Gopnik: Doctor, Doctor! There’s a joke in my Judaism

    April 19, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    It all began with a Purim spiel. Seven years ago, the much-loved New Yorker magazine writer Adam Gopnik was living in a kind of secular New York Jewish limbo.

    Then he got an invitation from the Jewish Museum to serve as Purimspieler -- the one who tells the Purim story. That...
  • A privilege to share

    February 8, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    Hanging above the sofa in the den of my next-door neighbor's house when I was a child was an old-fashioned family portrait painting; the figures in it looked stiff, the background was dark brown, muddied by time, and it was forbidding.

    But spookiest of all, the picture bore a...

  • Advice and Reality Face a Moment of Truth in Israel

    July 13, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    "Just don't take the bus."

    As I left on a trip to Israel a couple months ago, this was the advice I got from everyone. Even then, a time of relative peace, the ersatz front-page pictures of terror-torn Israeli commuter buses surrounded by wounded people being moved to ambulances...

  • A Mother’s Pride

    July 13, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    A few weeks ago as the school year ended, my daughter stood on the bimah in the chapel of our synagogue and, with four of her fellow fifth-graders, led her Jewish day school's Monday Tefillah services. Four girls and a boy shared the honor, and their radically varying sizes bespoke...

  • A Torah Trek to Find a ‘God Moment’

    February 9, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    It's a Sunday afternoon in midwinter Los Angeles, the sun is sparkling, the temperature is perfect, I'm in one of the most beautiful settings anyone can imagine, and I'm supposed to be talking to God. I'm sitting alone in a lush, grassy field near a rustling brook, mountains surround...

  • The Greatest Game

    January 12, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    We sat at my sister-in-law's kitchen table, 11 of us from three generations of my husband's family, absorbed by a wicked game of dreidel on the fifth night of Chanukah, howling with abandon and anticipation at each seemingly endless spin. My 10-year-old daughter, the youngest...

  • Temple Israel Honors Its ‘Conscience’

    December 15, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Dozens of congregants at Temple Israel of Hollywood gathered in the synagogue's aging all-purpose room not long ago to talk about a major expansion of their 79-year-old institution. One by one, members spoke excitedly of overhauling the shul to make room for the future -- a new...